The cast: Ngozi, Zainab, Nana Yaa, Sade, Makena
I never really got into ‘Sex and the City’ but I have to admit to developing a huge soft spot for ‘An African City’ a web series that’s being billed as Africa’s answer to the former hit show.
The series is written, co-directed and produced by Nicole Amarteifio, a Ghanaian returnee with a first career in International Development. Set in the bustling city of Accra, Ghana’s capital, the 10-epidose series follows five stylish ambitious young women friends who have all returned to their homeland after living abroad.
In Episode 1, we see Nana Yaa, the main protagonist, fresh off the plane, so to speak, coming to terms with the high cost of property, sexual politics in Accra and the fact that the love of her life has also returned to Ghana and found himself a new love.
The rest of the series follows the young women through their sometimes hilarious and other times disastrous dating travails, with a roll call of eligible and not-so-eligible dates with everything from bad bedroom etiquette to being vertically challenged.
Many could relate to some of the joys and headaches of modern life in Africa portrayed in the series, like my favourite, Episode 4, where Sade struggles with the notorious African bureaucratic machinery to get her personal effects (including one very personal effect) cleared through Customs.
Zainab’s never-ending crusade to get Coke with no lemon, Boss.
The casting is great, and each character brings something unique to the table which every viewer can relate to. We have the captivating Nana Yaa, played by Maameyaa Boafo, the beautiful journalist who’s grappling with the loss of the love of her life. Sade, the sexually liberated and highly opinionated woman, perfectly played by husky-voiced Nana Mensah. She’s one we hate to love – bolder than most, with few inhibitions, and yet vulnerable.
Sweet and strait-laced Ngozi, played by Esosa E is regularly shocked by the antics of her friends, and offers an optimistic slant on all of her friends’ dilemmas. Makena (Marie Humbert) and Zainab (Maame Adjei) complete the circle of friends and add their unique perspectives of life on the business and dating scenes in Accra.
A scene shot in the hustle and bustle of Accra
The choice of Accra as a location is ideal, because it offers a good representation of a typical African capital on the rise (accepting all the diversity and nuance that different African cities have), with the young, modern and ambitious class striving to get ahead and make their mark. Ideal because it’s not as glossy as Johannesburg and not as gritty as Lagos. The series takes us on a tour of Accra from nightclub to golf club to high street boutique, giving viewers a glimpse of life in a modern African city. Most viewers who’ve lived or travelled on the continent will be hit by nostalgia when they watch it.
Wardrobe and styling are on the money, showcasing the best of Ghana’s talent.
One of the most outstanding aspects of the show and something the producers should uphold going forward, in my opinion, was the styling. With each episode, I couldn’t help but notice the showcase of top Ghanaian designers, like Christie Brown, Osei Duro (who’s also dressed Michele Obama) and Kiki Clothing, all of whom I love. Congratulations to the shows producers for getting this perfectly on the nose. I wish I could raid every character’s wardrobe.
Whatever it takes to get Series Two on the road, I hope it happens for ‘An African City’! Catch it here on Youtube.
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