London documentary maker to probe language endangerment in Ghana


A British-Ghanaian documentary maker is taking her investigation into language endangerment within the Ghanaian community back home.

Pamela Sakyi – the writer and director behind the ‘British Ghanaians: Lost in Translation’ documentary – plans to start filming a sequel in Ghana by early 2017 at the latest.

The first production features Gadget Show TV presenter Ortis Deley who explores; the reasons why some British-Ghanaians are struggling to speak their parents’ languages.

Around 70 languages are spoken in Ghana. The most widely spoken are Akan, Ewe, Ga and Dagomba. But shockingly, Ghanaian languages spoken on home soil face a similarly uncertain future as in the diaspora.

Ghanaian children at school and at home are encouraged to speak English rather than their native tongue and as a result this is affecting fluency, Sakyi said.

So much as that Ghana’s education minister Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang is working to push through a language policy that would remove English as the medium of instruction in schools.

The first documentary was developed by international TV network OHTV and Sakyi’s media production company SparkleLight Productions. It includes interviews with leading Ghanaians including the Right Honourable Lord Paul Boateng, recently retired British sprinter Jeanette Kwakye, and GUBA Awards ceo and founder Dentaa Amoateng.

Demand for a part two materialised even before Sayki announced her plan. Keen not to give too much away, she has confirmed that Deley will be presenting the second sequel.

“Ortis is there at the end [of the documentary] digging into his fufu and his light soup and it is only natural that he goes home – to the Motherland – and explores some of the issues that are affecting language endangerment in the UK. And so we want to see the roots of it.”

The success of Sakyi’s first production has earned her official recognition by the West African Film Festival in Houston, Texas.
To see a trailer of ‘British Ghanaians: Lost in Translation,’ click here


By Kirsty Osei-Bempong

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