If there is one campaign that actress Akofa Edjeani-Asiedu has been passionate about, it is the desire to preach peace and tolerance through the arts.
The award-winning actress has always used every opportunity to talk about the arts and having just returned from a three-week study tour in the United States which brought her face to face with everything arts, that desire has been further kindled.
Akofa attended the “International Visitors Leadership Programme” which took her to Washington DC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Texas and Ohio. Under the theme “Promoting Tolerance through Arts,” the programme brought together 19 participants from 17 countries including India, Croatia, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Turkey.
In a chat with Showbiz, Akofa outlined some of the activities they were taken through which has deeply informed her decision to raise funds to embark on a tour in the Northern Region especially, to preach unity and peace in this election year.
“The study tour was designed to let us meet arts directors and administrators while others were youth-based to keep children off the streets and away from trouble”, she said.
According to Akofa, involving the youth in the programme was highly successful and commendable, “for instance we met a non-governmental organisation called Living Voices who bring history to people through film and drama, the enactment and footage made them understand and appreciate their history better.”
For her, when the youth are kept busy with activities involving the arts, they stay away from acts that bring about violence and affect the peace of society. “We learnt for instance that in the States, children who participate in dance and music perform better academically”, she said.
With all these at the back of her mind and knowing the unstable condition in the north of Ghana, Akofa intends to raise funds for a trip to the North where she and other colleagues will go to the schools and also interact with youth leaders, “The whole process of tolerance and peace becomes more meaningful when you get the youth themselves involved through the arts,” she said.
“The arts is the soul of the nation, if it dies, the nation dies,” she stressed, adding that the arts should be re-introduced into the academic calendar to get children interested so they will grow up appreciating it.
Asked how she became a part of the programme, Akofa said she received a call from the US Embassy telling her about the programme and asked if she was interested, “I was surprised and excited at the same time.”
Obviously people had been watching and know how passionate Akofa is about the arts. She commended the US Government for the initiative, saying it was a wonderful experience.
“It was nice meeting the other 16 participants as well as all the others we met during the programme, I am in touch with my colleagues and we are already thinking of some collaborations in the near future.”
Movie enthusiasts would have noticed that Akofa has been off the screens for a while, this she says is because the kind of stories (scripts) that have come her way have not met her standard, “I work to build a reputation and not to disappoint my fans by settling for mediocrity,” she said.
Having gone into production herself, Akofa is looking at shooting an international movie by February next year. She hopes to bring down a Hollywood star to be part of the production as well as a few actors from Nigeria so that the movie can be sold to their audiences, “the script has been ready for a long time but lack of funds has been the problem.”
Between now and then, the sweet-faced actress said she will be busy working with some young Nigerians while she continues producing her documentaries.
Story by Jayne Buckman-Owoo