Arts+Culture

TBT Diaries: Five Classic Ghanaian TV Series from the Past

Before soap operas and reality TV took over the airwaves, Ghanaian television was dominated by a variety of iconic shows that captivated audiences across the nation. These shows not only entertained but also played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of Ghana. From thought-provoking dramas to hilarious sitcoms, these TV shows hold a special place in the hearts of many Ghanaians, serving as nostalgic reminders of a bygone era. 


“By The Fireside”

“By The Fireside” is a renowned Ghanaian TV show that celebrated Ghana’s rich oral tradition during the 1980s and 1990s. Hosted by Grace Omaboe, Maame Dokono, the show transcended entertainment, featuring folklore, legends, and moral tales that educated and entertained families from all walks of life. Its ability to bridge generational gaps and foster cultural pride was remarkable, making it a cornerstone of Ghana’s television history. “By The Fireside” was a popular television program that united Ghana, showcasing Maame Dokono’s exceptional storytelling skills. The show emphasized life lessons like honesty, respect, and community, providing comfort and inspiration to Ghanaians. It was not just entertainment but a moral compass for many, serving as a shared experience and a source of comfort for many.


“Taxi Driver”

“Taxi Driver” was more than just a sitcom; it was a cultural phenomenon that captured the hearts and minds of Ghanaians during the 1990s and early 2000s. Through humour and social commentary, it provided a unique lens through which to view and understand Ghanaian society. The character of Master Richard, brought to life by Psalm Adjeteyfio, remains etched in the collective memory of the nation. It was a show that brought laughter, insight, and a sense of unity to households across Ghana. Even years after its original run, “Taxi Driver” continues to be remembered with fondness and nostalgia, a testament to its lasting impact on Ghanaian television and culture.


“Cantata”

“Cantata,” an iconic Ghanaian TV show that spanned over two decades, from the 1980s to the 2000s, was a Sunday ritual for music enthusiasts and families across the nation. This beloved musical drama series showcased the exceptional talents of the Apostolic Church Choir and featured themes of love, faith, and community. What set “Cantata” apart was its ability to fuse powerful storytelling with melodious performances. Each episode told a captivating story, often centred around moral values, love, and the challenges faced by everyday Ghanaians. As the Apostolic Church Choir filled the airwaves with their harmonious hymns and anthems, viewers were treated to a unique and enriching experience.  ‘Abrobe’, Abena Achiaa Juli Ju, SK Oppong, Florence Danso, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, Sogbojor, and numerous others were in the cast. These talented actors and actresses brought the characters to life, immersing viewers in the world of “Cantata”. Their performances were captivating and added depth to the already compelling stories being told. 


“Akan Drama”

“Akan Drama” was a cultural institution in the 1990s and 2000s, capturing the essence of Ghanaian society through short, compelling plays. The show featured talented actors who explored various aspects of Ghanaian life, culture, and tradition. The success of “Akan Drama” was its ability to connect with viewers on a personal level, address societal issues, and promote positive change. The authenticity of the characters and situations made the programme a powerful tool for addressing societal issues. The show encouraged critical thinking about values and norms, challenging outdated traditions, and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the nation. It featured a diverse array of characters and themes, catering to a broad audience.



“Things we do for love”


“Things We Do for Love” was a popular Ghanaian TV show in the early 2000s that portrayed teenage life, love, and friendship in a fictional high school setting. The show was relatable, capturing the challenges and joys of adolescence in a way that resonated with viewers of all ages. The show’s catchy theme song and memorable characters, such as Dede, Pusher, and Akiller, became household names. Viewers eagerly followed their journeys, celebrating their successes and empathising with their struggles. The show also provided valuable life lessons, discussing topics like peer pressure, the importance of education, and the significance of family bonds. It encouraged open dialogue between parents and their teenage children, fostering a deeper understanding of youth challenges. The show’s portrayal of strong female characters, such as Selorm, challenged gender stereotypes and inspired young girls to pursue their dreams with confidence.


These iconic Ghanaian TV shows of the past were cultural touchstones that united families and communities. From “By The Fireside” to “Taxi Driver,” “Cantata,” “Akan Drama,” and “Things We Do for Love,” they enriched our lives with stories, laughter, and valuable lessons. These shows continue to evoke fond memories and hold a special place in the hearts of Ghanaians, reminding us of a vibrant era in Ghanaian television that contributed significantly to the nation’s cultural heritage.

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