An African City! Searching for the African Dream

An African City Cast

Characters: Ngozi, Zainab, Nana Yaa, Sade and Makena

This could be the capital city of South Africa, Nigeria, or Angola. Based in Ghana An African City is a web-series chronicling the lives of the five single African women settling in Accra. This time last year we had all fallen in love with the web-series which aligns itself to our ethos of providing the other African story. This is a story of  the professional, educated, well-travelled African woman, and provides a refreshing alternative, as oppose to the view presented of the quintessential African woman adorned in her traditional wrapper, carrying a pot of water on her head. A view that the shows creator Nicole Amarteifio agrees is part of Africa, but isn’t the only representation the continent has to offer.

Africa’s Sex and the City

Billed as Africa’s Sex and the City, creator of the series Nicole Amarteifio saw how the US show Sex and the City was used as a platform to present fashion to America’s women, and felt an African City could be used to do the same where Africa was concerned, providing a platform for African fashion designers and musicians to display their creative talent. The ladies can be seen wearing clothes from Ghanaian fashion labels Christie Brown and KIKI Clothing, and each episode uses music from Ghanaian artists such as Samini, Mugeez, E.L, Jayso and Sarkodie.


Africa’s Challenges

The series explores some of the challenges faced within Africa, particularly those faced by expats and returnees to the continent, factors such as poor supply of water and electricity, the recent issues with load shedding, resulting in what is colloquially refered to as Dumsor (Dum to turn off, and So to turn on) which relates to the instability of the electricity supply currently being faced in Ghana.

The challenges of buying land or property within desirable locations, are discussed, and also to add to this the challenge of adapting to the countries social norms and values. The picture painted isn’t one for the faint hearted, but the rewards of accepting theses challenges are also presented, the standard of living, quality time with friends and family, and opportunity to make a vast return for those who are prepared to invest.

The Cost of Living

Like everywhere in the world there are pockets of Africa which can be expensive, and the perceived value is not always based upon price. $500,000 for a property or plot of land, or $60,000 upfront to rent a property may seem excessive where some are concerned, however the same notion could be said of the amounts foreign buyers invest in the London property market.

One of our favourite scenes from episode 2 features the character Nana Yaa searching for a property in one of Accra’s affluent neighbourhoods, and plays out the realities faced by those trying to get on the property ladder.

Nana Yaa: So I don’t understand, if I were to take this place I would owe $500,000… Upfront… Cash…Today?

Real Estate Agent: Yes!

Nana Yaa: And to rent, that’s $5,000 a month?

Real Estate Agent: Yes!

Nana Yaa: And to rent I’d have to provide a whole years rent up front, $60.000?

Real Estate Agent: Yes!

Nana Yaa: That’s more than my rent in New York…And water, light, and electricity…no guarantees on a daily basis…and people here can afford this?

Real Estate Agent: *Nonchalantly looks at his watch* Yes!

The African Dream

As diverse as Africa is, so is the individual experience. An African City paints the picture of This is my Africa acknowledging the pitfalls but embracing the challenges, and beyond the focus on sex and relationships, there is a deeper story. The story of the African returnees, or in some cases, African’s in the diaspora who are seizing this opportunity start their attempt at living their African dream. Amarteifio’s goal is to paint a picture which will encourage people to come home, “Africa is home!” Describing the series as “a small contribution to try to ensure that the current perception is broken”

An African City - Ngozi

The former social media strategist for Africa for the World Bank, advised that the current free platforms on social media are an excellent way for Africa to be seen and heard, although online penetration is still relatively low on the continent, the sheer size of the market presents an opportunity to tap into a rising audience. Challenging or rewarding, it is the fact that we can identify with many of the scenarios presented in the series that makes this enjoyable to watch, we are waiting in the wings to see if the series provides a well deserved Season 2.

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