Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘This is actually a good interpretation of modern civilisation’: popular theatre and the social imaginary in Ghana, 1946–66

  • Catherine M. Cole

Résumé

Le théâtre populaire à l'ouest de l'Afrique est de plus en plus le sujet de livres théoriques. Cependant, ce qui n'a pas été encore examiné dans cette littérature sont les changements historiques aussi bien au sein de traditions théatrales particulières que dans leurs rapports avec la société en général. Cet article commence à adresser cette lacune en se concentrant sur le parti concertiste ghanéen dans les années explosives entre la fin de la deuxième guerre mondiale et les premières années de l'indépendance. Pendant cette période, le parti concertiste ghanéen avait subit des transformations profondes en ce qui concerne sa forme, son contenu, et ses modes de production et de consommation. A travers leur mobilité et leur large popularité les partis concertistes avaient participé directement à la transformation de la conscience publique. Tout autant que la presse populaire avait joué un rôle central dans la formation du nationalisme européen, le théâtre ambulant populaire avait joué un role pivotant parmi une population pour la plupart illéttrée durant la transition entre le colonialisme et l'état nation moderne au Ghana. Cet article interprète les conventions génériques à travers lesquelles le parti concertiste avait rassemblé et constitué son nouveau public. En dèploy ant une gamme éclectique de techniques officielles pour dramatiser les réaltiés journalières, les partis concertistes étaient devenu un mécanisme intégratif principal à travers lequel les publics avaient négotié une période historique tumultueuse.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Interviews are identified by a number such as ‘95.97’. The number preceding the decimal point indicates the year the interview was conducted (in this case 1995). The subsequent number refers to a catalogue number within my collection of field material. The University of Ghana Audio Archive at the Institute of African Studies is abbreviated here as UGAA.
Agovi, K. E. 1989. ‘The political relevance of Ghanaian highlife songs since 1957’, Research in African Literatures 20 (2), 194201.
Trio, Ahanta. 1961. Ebusua do Fun (The Family honours the Dead). Performed 4 March. Audio-taped and preserved by UGAA.
Trio, Ahanta. 1995. The Family honours the Dead (Ebusua dɔ Fun), translated by K. Keelson. Unpublished manuscript, based on UGAA audio recording of 1961 performance.
Trio, Akan. 1961a. Mma W'enyi Mmber obi N'adze (Don't Covet your Neighbour's Possessions). Performed in Swedru, 1 March. Audio-taped and preserved by UGAA.
Trio, Akan. 1961b. Ɔbra tse de Ahwehwε (Life is like a Mirror). Performed in Cape Coast, 5 August. Audio-taped and preserved by UGAA.
Trio, Akan. 1995a. Don't Covet your Neighbour's Possessions (Mma W'enyi Mmber obi N'adze), translated by K. Keelson. Unpublished manuscript based on UGAA audio recording of 1961 performance.
Trio, Akan. 1995b. Life is like a Mirror (Ɔbra Tse Dε Ahwehwε), translated by C. M. Cole and K. Keelson. Unpublished manuscript based on UGAA audio recording of 1961 performance.
Allman, J. M. 1993. The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante nationalism in an emergent Ghana. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.
Anderson, B. 1983. Imagined Communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Revised edition, London: Verso, 1991.
Ansah, B. S. 1995a. Interview No. 95.34a with author and N. K. Braun. Audio recording. Accra, 12 February 1995.
Ansah, B. S. 1995b. Interview No. 95.57 with author. Video recording, filmed by N. K. Braun. Accra, 26 July 1995.
Appiah, A. 1992. In my Father's House: Africa in the philosophy of culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
Apter, David E. 1963. Ghana in Transition. Revised edition, New York: Athenaeum.
Arhin, K. 1994. ‘The economic implications of transformations in Akan funeral rites’, Africa 64 (3), 307–22.
Austin, D. 1964. Politics in Ghana, 1946–60. London: Oxford University Press.
Bame, K. N. 1968. ‘Comic play in Ghana’, African Arts 1 (4), 30–4, 101.
Bame, K. N. 1985. Come to Laugh: African traditional theatre in Ghana. New York: Lilian Barber Press.
Barber, K. 1982. ‘Popular reactions to the petro-naira’, Journal of Modern African Studies 20 (3), 431–50.
Barber, K. 1986. ‘Radical conservatism in Yoruba popular plays’, in Drama and Theatre in Africa, pp. 532. Bayreuth African Studies series 7, Bayreuth: University of Bayreuth.
Barber, K. 1995. ‘Literacy, improvisation and the public in Yorùbá popular theatre’, in Brown, Stewart (ed.), The Pressures of the Text: orality, texts and the telling of tales, pp. 627. Birmingham: Centre of West African Studies.
Barber K. and Ògúndíjò B. (eds.). 1994. Yorùbà Popular Theatre: three plays by the Oyin Adéjòbí Company. Los Angeles: African Studies Association Press.
Barber, K., Ricard, A. and Collins, J. 1997. West African Popular Theatre. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.
Bourret, F. M. 1949. The Gold Coast: a survey of the Gold Coast and British Togoland, 1919–46. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press.
Clark, E. 1979. Hubert Ogunde: the making of the Nigerian theatre. London: Oxford University Press.
Clarke, P. B. 1986. West Africans at War, 1914–18, 1939–45: colonial propaganda and its cultural aftermath. London: Ethnographica.
Cole, C. M. 1996a. ‘Ghanaian Popular Theatre: a historical ethnography of the concert party, 1895 to 1965’. Ph.D. thesis, Evanston, III.: Northwestern University.
Cole, C. M. 1996b. ‘Reading blackface in West Africa: wonders taken for signs’, Critical Inquiry 23 (1), 183215.
Cole, H. M. and Ross, D. H. 1977. The Arts of Ghana. Los Angeles: University of California Museum of Cultural History.
Collins, J. E. 1976a. ‘Ghanaian highlife’, African Arts 10 (1), 62–8, 100.
Collins, J. E. 1976b. ‘Comic opera in Ghana’, African Arts 9 (2), 50–7.
Collins, J. E. 1987. ‘Jazz feedback to Africa’, American Music 5 (2), 176–93.
Collins, J. E. 1994a. ‘The Ghanaian Concert Party: African popular entertainment at the crossroads’. Ph.D. thesis, Buffalo, N.Y.: State University of New York at Buffalo.
Collins, J. E. 1994b. Highlife Time. Accra: Anansesem Publications.
Darkey, J. C. A. 1991. ‘Popular Theatre in Ghana: its social concerns, artistic form and traditions’. M.A. thesis, Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.
Trio, Fanti. 1961a. Beautiful Nonsense. Performed in Swedru, 4 March. Audio-taped and preserved by UGAA.
Trio, Fanti. 1961b. Onyimpa Ye Edwuma Ana Oedzidzi (Man must Work before he Eats). Performed in Cape Coast, 4 August. Audio-taped and preserved by UGAA.
Trio, Fanti. 1995a. Beautiful Nonsense, translated by K. Keelson. Unpublished manuscript, based on UGAA audio recording of 1961 performance.
Trio, Fanti. 1995b. Man must Work before he Eats (Onyimpa yε Edwuma ana Oedzidzi), translated by C. M. Cole and K. Keelson. Unpublished manuscript, based on UGAA audio recording of 1961 performance.
Fortes, M. 1945. ‘The impact of the war on British West Africa’, International Affairs 21 (2), 206219.
Ghana Concert Parties Union. 1995a. Author's notes from Union meeting,23 March.
Ghana Concert Parties Union. 1995b. Interview No. 95.54 with author. Video recording, filmed by N. K. Braun. Accra, 6 June 1995. Translated by O. N. Adu-Gyamfi.
Ghana National Entertainment Association (GNEA). 1961. Correspondence to J. H. Nketia, 20 February. Private collection of J. H. Nketia.
Gilroy, P. 1993. The Black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Gold Coast Independent. 1943. Editorial, ‘Colonial reconstruction’, 29 May.
Hagan, G. 1993. ‘Nkrumah's cultural policy’, in Arhin, K. (ed.), The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah, pp. 326. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press.
Haywood, A. and Clarke, F. A. S. 1964. The History of the Royal West African Frontier Force. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.
Holbrook, W. P. 1978. ‘The Impact of the Second World War on the Gold Coast, 193–95’. Ph.D. thesis, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University.
Holbrook, W. P. 1982. ‘Oral history and the nascent historiography for West Africa and World War II: a focus on Ghana’, International Journal of Oral History 3, 148–66.
Isichei, E. 1977. History of West Africa since 1800. London: Macmillan.
Jokers, Jaguar. 1995a. Onipa hia Moa (Mankind needs Help). Performed in Teacher Mante, 15 July. Video-taped by C. M. Cole and N. K. Braun.
Jokers, Jaguar. 1995b. Mankind needs Help (Onipa Hia Moa), translated by O. N. Adu-Gyamfi. Unpublished manuscript based on performance in Teacher Mante, 15 July.
Jeyifo, B. 1984. The Yoruba Popular Travelling Theatre of Nigeria. Lagos: Nigeria Magazine.
Kerr, D. 1995. African Popular Theatre: from pre-colonial times to the present day. London: James Currey.
Killingray, D. 1982. ‘Military and labour recruitment in the Gold Coast during the Second World War’, Journal of African History 23 (1), 8395.
Langley, J. A. 1970. ‘Modernization and its malcontents: Kobina Sekyi of Ghana and the restatement of African political theory’, Research Review 6 (3), 161.
Manns, A. 1984. ‘The Role of Ex-servicemen in Ghana's Independence Movement’. Ph.D. thesis, Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University.
Manuah, T. 1993. ‘Women and their organizations during the Convention People's Party period’, in Arhin, K. (ed.), The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah, pp. 101–27. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press.
Manuah, T. 1996. Interview with author, Chicago, 11 March.
Mauny, R. A. 1954. ‘The question of Ghana’, Africa 24 (3), 200–13.
Nketia, J. H. 1955. Funeral Dirges of the Akan People. New York: Negro Universities Press.
Nketia, J. H. 1965. Ghana—Music, Dance and Drama: a review of the performing arts of Ghana. Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.
Okome, Onookome and Haynes, Jonathan. 1995. Cinema and Social Change in West Africa. Plateau State, Nigeria: Nigerian Film Corporation.
Oppong, G. A. and Oppong II, M. K. 1995. Interview No. 95.40 with K. A. Hammond and author. Video recording, filmed by N. K. Braun. Aboso, 21 April 1995.
Prempeh, K. 1995. Interview No. 95.39 with author and K. A. Hamond. Video recording, filmed by N. K. Braun. Aboso, 21 April 1995. Translated by M. Narh.
Priebe, R. 1978. ‘Popular writing in Ghana: a sociology and rhetoric’, Research in African Literatures 9 (3), 395–42. Reprinted in Karin Barber (ed.), Readings in African Popular Culture, London: James Currey; Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, for the International African Institute.
Rathbone, R. 1973. ‘Businessmen in politics: party struggle in Ghana, 1949–57’, Journal of Development Studies 9 (3), 391401.
Rathbone, R. (ed.). 1986. Ghana: British documents on the end of empire. London: HMSO.
Rattray, R. S. 1929. Ashanti Law and Constitution. Reprinted New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969.
Ricard, A. 1974. ‘The concert party as a genre: the Happy Stars of Lomé’, Research in African Literatures 5 (2), 165–79.
Ricard, A. 1986. L'Invention du théâtre: le théâtre et les comédiens en Afrique noire. Lausanne: Editions l'Age d'Homme.
Sekyi, K. 1974. The Blinkards. London: Heinemann.
Ward, W. E. F. 1948. A History of Ghana. Fourth, revised edition, London: Allen & Unwin, 1969.
Yankah, K. 1989a. ‘Proverbs: an aesthetics of traditional communication’, Research in African Literatures 20 (3), 325–46.
Yankah, K. 1989b. The Proverb in the Context of Akan Rhetoric: a theory of proverb praxis. New York: Peter Lang.
Yankah, K. 1995. Speaking for the Chief: okyeame and the politics of Akan royal oratory. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.
Yankah, K. 1997. ‘The Sung Tale as a Political Charter in Contemporary Ghana’.Paper presented at the international conference ‘Words and Voices: Critical Practices of Orality in Africa and in African Studies’, Bellagio Study and Conference Centre,Bellagio, Italy,24–8 February.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed