If sadness could be quantified, it will be how we feel about the end to the first season of the hit TV series on Akwaaba Magic, Market Queens.
Beyond the guffaws and peals of laughter, were some important messages delivered plainly or hidden smartly with theatre. The season finale served us a fine mix of drama, suspense and humour leaving us wanting more.
The show gave us a story with a wide range of characters that made us not only feel relaxed during the week, but this debut season was also a wonderful representation of these present times. We explore a few of those here.
Oh, there was plenty.
In the finale, Hajara and Obaa Yaa combine forces to finally catch Alhaji with his fling. They nearly beat the poor woman – who claims she does not know Alhaji was married – to a pulp. There’s more marriage drama when Auntie Florence gives Oforiwaa a tip-off that her husband is cavorting with a woman in their matrimonial home. Plot twist: the woman turns out to be Auntie Florence’s own niece, Charity.
And then there was Yaaba. Following the funeral donations made at the late Aunt Lucy’s funeral, it turns out that Yaaba was planning to keep the monies to herself, but her colleagues figured it and out laid ambush. The season ended with Yaaba running away with a large brown bag, leaving us wondering if she got caught.
Diversity of characters
In this show, traditional Ghanaian markets and their resilient workers finally get the realistic portrayal they so richly deserve on film. There is a thoroughness about the spread of characters that deserves commendation. The story of Market Queens makes sure the show’s main voices are from different parts of Ghana (Yaaba from Nzemaland, Naa Koshie from Accra, Hajara from the north, Elorm is of Volta extraction and so on) making it easier for viewers that hail from all parts of the country to feel represented, to see themselves in there.
Not only that, but also some of the characters have an aspirational side to their arcs, something that encourages the viewers to follow their storylines. Naa Koshie, the market queen herself, is ambitious and in her pursuit of bigger things. But the finale showed us that even she has problems: when a young, Nigerian damsel approaches her shop to patronize her goods, the debit card used for payment belongs to none other than the husband of Naa Koshie herself!
Markets are special places
Indeed, from time immemorial, markets have been more than just places of commerce and trade. However, Market Queens has shown the importance of using such spaces to spread awareness of hygienic practices, food safety, and other public health messages.
Highlighting the memorable scene where Yaaba, ever the nosy one, reported Agyeiwaa to sanitary inspectors for peeing into a bowl at her stall rather than making the short walk to the market urinal. The subsequent dialogue between a remorseful Agyeiwaa and the angry inspector showcased the changing role of modern Ghanaian markets.
Again, the sense of community and close friendships we saw among the market women in times of need is very typical of real-life situations. Recall when Obaa Yaa was reduced to near tears and needed a hug? The warmth of Naa Koshie’s warm, reassuring embrace could be felt right through the screen.
Of course, there are occasional squabbles – as there are in every human institution – evidenced in a heated exchange between Elorm and Patricia when they accused each other of engaging in ritual activities. Or the argument that ensued when Osofo’s accomplice, the pickpocket, was caught and beaten black and blue by the women. These simply highlight the vibrancy and energy around our markets.
The show manages not to take itself too seriously, and the characters are able to provide ample comic relief. Even better is the fact that humour is delivered without sounding forced – it seems to flow naturally from the characters.
Oforiwaa comes across as a serious person, but fulfils her role with regular sardonic wit. Yaaba, who seems to have a book of terminologies hidden somewhere, is a fan favorite for her mixture of funny English, Akan and Hausa expressions. Naa Koshie’s sharp tongue is never shy to trot hilarious quips in her native Ga, while Elorm’s forays into the spiritual realm can be punctuated with the occasional remark that leaves us howling.
All in all, Market Queens has been a breath of fresh air in a world where bad news dominates our timelines, delivering typical market moments in creatively lighthearted ways.
Will we get the pleasure of another season? Stay tuned to Akwaaba Magic, where brilliant Ghanaian entertainment lives, while we all wait with baited breath!