Kwaku Ananse: Film Breathes Life Into Old West African Fable

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Kwaku Ananse, 2013
25 mins
Nominated for Golden Bear, Berlinale Shorts

Ghana I Love You did an excellent feature on Ghanaian-American Akosua Adoma Owusu‘s short film “Kwaku Ananse”. Owusu wrote and directed the film which will make it’s World Premiere on February 12th at the 63rd Berlinale Film Festival.

The film is a creative retelling of a West African fable about wisdom which draws upon the rich mythology of Ghana. Owusu puts her unique stamp on the story by weaving semi-autobiographical elements with the tale of Kwaku Ananse, a trickster in West African stories who appears as both spider and man making the story deeply personal.

The film opens with Nyan Koronhwea, the main character, arriving in a West African village to attend her estranged father’s funeral. She struggles to accept her father’s Ghanaian family or even mourn his death because she knows he lived a double life – having families in both Ghana and the United States. Rather than face the reality of the funeral, Nyan retreats into the spirit world, where she meets her father, Kwaku Ananse, confronts him about his deception, and has to decide whether to forgive him.

Owusu describes the film as “an intensely personal project” that is “a reflection of a broader truth about the human condition,” and “an effort to preserve a fable (her) late father passed on.” Find out more here, here and visit Akosua Adoma Owusu’s website.

Kwaku Ananse was produced by Obibini Pictures and was created with the support of Focus Features Africa First, Art Matters and The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant. It stars Jojo Abot as Nyan and legendary palmwine musician Koo Nimo as Kwaku Ananse.

Another project Ciné Kenya has featured that is influenced by the tale of Anansi is Central City Tower‘s Spider Stories. Additionally, another African folklore project featured is Nosa Igbinedion‘s Oya: Rose of the Orishas here.


Akosua Adoma Owusu will be participating in a talk at the CinemAfrica festival on 17th February 2013.  She will be holding the discussion along with Ng’endo Mukii who we have also featured here.  Find out more about the CinemAfrica Sweden event Finding Her Roots here.
Written & Directed by: Akosua Adoma Owusu

9 thoughts on “Kwaku Ananse: Film Breathes Life Into Old West African Fable

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