Fans of historical TV series have been given a treat so far on Akwaaba Magic with the fascinating story of how Nana Akoto, a mythical prince, grew to become king of a powerful tribe among the Akan people.
The series is Nana Akoto – named eponymously after the main character; it's set between the 16th and 17th century Gold Coast, as Ghana was then known.
History tells us that this was a time of constant war, persistent tribal squabbles over natural resources and jostling for control over lucrative trade routes with European merchants. Among the Akan ethnic group, the Denkyera people are preeminent, ruling over a vast territory much to the angst and envy of other tribes.
One of these envious tribes is the Asante, with its ruler called Otumfuo Nana Twum. His happy household is riven with sadness when his wife, due to give birth, dies from complications. But she leaves him with a precious gift: Nana Akoto, heir to the throne. And so begins this compelling story of love, courage, betrayal and devotion, which has magnetized Akwaaba Magic audiences.
Let’s explore a few reasons why Nana Akoto has been such a hit!
Nana Akoto brings some fine production values and performances to bear. Featuring stunning costumes, sets, and locations that recreate the rich and diverse environment of West Africa in the 1600 and 1700s, the duty of care exercised by producers transports you into a world of yore.
The series is based on real historical events and sources and with this, you will learn about the culture, politics, religion, and warfare of the Akan kingdom and its neighbours.
The actors deliver powerful and authentic performances that bring the characters to life. You will feel like you are witnessing history unfold before your eyes as Otumfuo carries himself regally, with power oozing from every pore, his every word an edict, pronounced in such a way as to make you – the viewer – want to carry out his instructions yourself.
Okomfo Kusi, the chief priest, is remarkable in the way he delivers messages from the gods to his king without fear of favour, no matter how unpleasant the news is. There is a scene where he respectfully goes toe-to-toe with Otumfuo when the regent demands that Okomfo Kusi persuade the gods to change the fate of his doomed wife.
Who can look past the brilliant scheming of Nana Gyaasehene, the chief of staff to the king, and his daughter, Abrafi? Together, can they eventually worm their way into the royal family by getting Prince Ntim to marry her?
And then, there’s the language.
The entire series is predominantly in the three main Akan dialects of Ghana. Asante Twi is the most widely spoken, while Fante and Akuapem appear as various characters from those areas in the storyline emerge.
Fluent speakers of these languages will be pleasantly elated at the use of words that can be described as ‘old Akan’ – words that have limited usage in the modern era because the things they describe are no longer available or accessible. In essence, a key attraction of Nana Akoto is that it is a crash course in the evolution of one of Ghana’s most widely spoken languages.
The series explores themes and issues that are relevant today, not shying away from addressing the challenges and conflicts that Nana Akoto and his people faced.
Slavery was rife in this historical period, and it plays out here: when Afia Nyamekye flees Kwaaman with Kusi, her soon-to-be chief priest of a son as rumours spread that Denkyera kingdom was making slaves of neighbouring villages; Mansa, a cook in the Denkyera royal household, is described as the bastard daughter of a slave mother and one of the elders of the court. Yet, her influence is undeniable. Both examples paint a picture of hope, that no matter where one finds oneself in life, progress is possible.
For as long as human societies exist, there will be corruption – and its cousin, betrayal. Nana Akoto is not one to be described as a tragic hero, but he bears many characteristics of one: born of a noble birth, has an imperfection that makes him relatable, has a fatal flaw. Akoto trusts way too much, and it is this chink in his armour that is threatening to derail his path to greatness.
All in all, we have an engaging script, a compelling ensemble cast and enduring theme for your viewing pleasure. What’s not to like? Stay glued to this thrilling epic tale every weeknight at 8:00pm on Akwaaba Magic DStv Ch 150 and GOtv Ch 102.