Basketmouth’s hit comedy series Ghana Jolof tells the story of two Nigerians who migrate to Ghana to pursue greener pastures, but the show manages to do more. Although this is Showmax’s first original Nigerian comedy series, Ghana Jolof joins Basketmouth’s list of thriving comedy and drama series after Flatmates and Papa Benji. However, the show stands out from the rest in a number of ways. His dedication to highlighting the different yet similar cultures between Nigerians and Ghanaians is just one of the reasons why he is so special.
Set in Ghana and filmed in Accra and Lagos, Ghana Jolof explores the different facets of West African culture through the setbacks of its main characters. Through Jasper and Romanus, played by Akah Nnani and Funnybone, we follow their journey through the different landscapes before and after their arrival in Ghana. The show begins with Jasper and Romanus, alongside their roommates Kweku (James Gardiner) and Nnamdi (Uzor Arukwe) at the University of Lagos in Nigeria. It follows them through life after school, unemployment, and the need to seek greener pastures. They discover that the grass may be greener in Ghana, so they make a move with the help of their now wealthy and successful friend, Kweku.
Interestingly, recent research shows some truth to the idea that life may be easier in Ghana than in Nigeria. Even though Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and Ghana is only eighth on the list, their standard of living (Human Development Index) is higher. According to World Data, Ghana has the 108th best standard of living in the world and Nigeria is 157th out of 161 countries on the list. In December 2021, Samuel Oyekanmi, writing for Nairametrics, noted that Ghana’s economy is growing faster than Nigeria’s. He wrote, “Ghana’s economy recorded a growth of 6.6% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the 3.9% expansion recorded in the previous period. This is more than the 4.03% growth recorded by Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy”.
However, apart from showing that Ghana, although now prospering better than Nigeria, is a haven for Nigerians, Ghana Jollof also shows that the two nations are friends. The story of friendship and brotherhood between Nigerians and Ghanaians has sprouted everywhere Ghana Jolof is necessary. The theme of love between friends of different origins and countries is topical. At a time when there are constant online chatter and jokes about the superiority of the two countries, the show helps put what’s important into perspective. And at the heart of being proud Nigerians and Ghanaians, what is most important is that we are all Africans. We have similar beliefs in God, values and virtues. It goes to show that even though our differences and similarities are nearly equal in number, the love we should have for each other outweighs it all.
Ghana Jolof explores the two sides of the two West African cultures through the interactions between Nigerian characters and its Ghanaian cast. The cast blends perfectly to show that Jasper, Mambo, Boniface and Romanus showcase the Nigerian hustler spirit. They have the zeal and ambition to succeed and pursue their dreams no matter where they are. But the show, which is mostly set in Ghana, also gives viewers a better understanding of their culture. You can enjoy their use of language, learn about their food, and even how they treat elders.
On the other hand, Joselyn Dumas, Jacinta Ocansey, Mawuli Gavor and James Gardiner represent Ghana. Ghanaian culture is on full display, from their extensive use of the local language to fashion, food and music. Yet several things in Ghana resonate deeply with typical Nigerianess. Ghanaians are hard workers and they don’t give up easily. They are as proud as Nigerians but just as forgiving. If you think Nigerians are welcoming, you better believe Ghanaians are too. They are also very religious and their military leaders, like those in Nigeria, remain very powerful even after their resignation. And perhaps most importantly, they enjoy living life to the fullest and showing up just as much.
You see the differences between Nigerian and Ghanaian cultures in how the characters navigate their experiences, relationships, and interactions. The show focuses enough on the culture to notice that meals with similar names in the two countries are quite different. For example, although similar in appearance, Fufu and Jollof Rice from Ghana taste different. However, watching the main characters struggle to adjust to Ghana’s diverse lifestyle is probably the easiest way to highlight these lifestyle differences.
The show can also be the best guide in deciding whether or not you want to move to Ghana or better yet stay in Nigeria. Especially, in Ghana Jolof, Nigerians and Ghanaians watching will find solace and relatable themes in the two incredibly vast African cultures.