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Opinions of Sunday, 4 September 2016

Columnist: Sarpeah, Adu

The impact crew: The ugly side of telenovelas

Gone were the days when owners of Black and White television sets were demigods in their vicinity.

Hitherto, most people come from afar to encamp at vantage areas and stay glare at the emitting rays from the TV sets, with all their protruding foreheads and eyes determined not to miss a sight of programmes telecasted on GTV.

Inspector Bediako, Taxi Driver, By the Fire Side, Cantata, Bob Santo and Nkommode's Concert Party (key soap and Kristo asafo concert party) were the source of entertainment and inspiration for its viewers. No one can imagine the amount of values worth emulating the Ghanaian community folks gained from them.

The representation of cultural elements common to viewers (folklore, customs and traditions, gastronomy, dress codes and music) acts as a means to build and strengthen national identities.

Morality was at the highest peak as the very people in existence avail themselves as vessels for the propagation of positive change among children. Our traditional customs and taboos were cherished so well that it safeguarded our ethics and conduct. Due to the way abominable acts were handled, that is, such offenses were tantamount to banishment.

Their willingness to build and leave unprecedented legacy for the generation to come was a patriotic one. Media censorship was in operation which served as a tool to shape the morality and content in relation to talk shows on the media and on TV drama shows as well.

Those in authority had a sense of nationalism and the zeal to help build a nation where communal interest remains paramount.

A generation from nowhere arose who demeaned, blamed and classified their ancestral era as "barbaric". These critics who we thought knew better rather ended up blindly copying the western cultures and neglected their own. The 21st Century Ghanaian embraces everything "white" as good in its own paradigm.

Telenovelas, within a twinkle of an eye have been given a seat in the social aspect of our Ghanaian culture getting full support from our local Television stations and large size audience from our ladies. These fictional stories have dominated primetime programming on most of the television stations in Ghana.

These telenovelas are designed to attract a wide viewing audience of men, women and children. These stories can act as a mechanism in the construction and reconstruction of viewers' personal identity and self esteem. With series of consultation from loyal ladies I've known as lovers of soap operas that are shown on our TV screens, I sampled these telenovelas which are the notable ones that keep people seated for considerable hours without blinking.

These are; Rosalinda, Veera, Curse by the Sea, Abyss of Passion, Rafaela, Destiny of power, Juana the virgin, Marie Cruz(wild at heart), La gata, La patrona, Daniella, Unforgivable, What Life Took from Me, Shadows of the Past, Simply Maria, Kumkum Bahgya.

Indigenous movies are less patronised killing the industry as days go by, labeling our movie artistes as comic actors and actresses who refuses to embrace modernization.

Nonetheless, these telenovelas are impacting and dictating the lives of those who patronise them. Therefore, this piece will analyse the ugly side of telenovelas on relationships, morality and education in our Ghanaian socio-cultural setting.

Faithfulness in marriage is becoming less appreciated, couples are parting ways, relationships are breaking up while friendships are loosing its relevance as a result of non-flow of communication, deceit and lies copied from other cultures.

The real functions of the aforementioned has been replaced by telenovelas which are shown on daily basis by our television stations. Expectations of our ladies in relationships has risen to the highest level per the illusion and actions of the actors in such soap operas.

Meanwhile, there's a sharp contrast between movie scenes and the realities in practical life. Our women are expecting their husbands to exhibit the same behaviour and attitude as portrayed by the opera actors.

Married women skip their duties to catch glimpses of such telenovelas when they're on repeat. Sadly, those who're addicted to telenovelas do not have equal time to things that matter when the durations of such programmes coincide because they'll always go for the later.

The devil is too smart, telenovelas have gotten transcribers who translates the original language into Twi which makes the majority of Ghanaians to appreciate and understand it better, even the village grandmother.

Nonetheless, every society is well developed by its cultural heritage and setting. Therefore, inculcating foreign culture which is alien to us will definitely do us more harm than good.

The setting, costumes and expressions of telenovelas are entirely different from ours. Making a transition to modernity involves profound, and perhaps also radical, amendments in numerous aspect of the way of life of the populates.

Certain aspects of our culture make provision for cups to be filled by virtue of the uncertain diaspora of life but when the human minds of those who are glued to these soap operas and cannot differentiate between fallacies and realities fall a victim to the tragedy. I call it a "modern satanic civilization".

It's in some of these telenovelas that we see married men and women cheating on their partners all in the name of love. Children below the age 16 who are not psychologically fit tends to watch men and women kissing, caressing, and using sexually abusive words in broad day light. With this, what moral generation are we nurturing?

They keep on saying; education is the key to success whereas the priorities of our children in schools are shifting to telenovelas. The rate at which children of school-going-age has become so addicted to the watching of 'telenovelas' with less supervision from parents has become a major threat to Ghana's quest to ensure quality standard of education at the basic and secondary schools.

Therefore, parents and guardians must regulate the manner at which their school going children watch telenovelas at the expense of their books.

It's absolutely wrong and irresponsible for parents to gleefully watch movies and telenovelas with their kids, instead of instructing them to revise their notes given by their teachers back in school. Why do you take delight in watching telenovelas like "Kumkum Bahgya" with your children when you know they will not be asked questions about them in their final examination? As kindergarten kids are being taught to memorise; all work and no play make jack a dull boy! I am not saying watching telenovelas is bad, however, everything must be done in moderation.

Adu Sarpeah