Tag Archives: Jarreth Merz

An African Election Tweet-Up: Pan-Africanism And Ghana’s 2008 Election

Pan-Africanism has such a hold on quite a few progressive people’s imaginations, but why and, more specifically, how did it play out in the 2008 election of where that philosophy originated, Ghana, as captured in Jarreth Merz’s documentary, An African Election?

Racialicious and the National Black Programming Consortium touched on it in our last tweet-up with Temple University’s Dr. Benjamin Talton. This week, we’ll do an extended tweetersation about Pan-Africanism and Ghana with Dr. James Peterson, who’s the director of Africana Studies and is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University (and a friend of the R).

So, check us out out on Twitter tomorrow night at 9PM ET and join the conversation!

Related Posts:

An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

An African Election on Twitter

An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton

As some of you may have read on our Twitter timeline, we at the R and National Black Programming Consortium had a great time with Dr. Benjamin Talton, who teaches Ghanaian history and politics at Temple University. He took time between classes to give a quick lesson on the politics captured in Jarreth Merz’s An African Election.

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An African Election‘s Director Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics

 

Soundbite Culture: You’ve said An African Election began because of questions you had about your own identity. What were they?

Jarreth Merz: One of them was “Why do I see myself as a cliché?” As an actor, I’d ask why am I cast as a terrorist or something exotic? Why am I not cast as something regular and normal? Is it because I am abnormal? What is it?

There’s a lot of doubt within who I am. We all go through that process. They say when you hit 40 you reach a mid life crisis, but for me I think it was more like an identity crisis. I just realised that I was in denial of my African heritage because of all the bad examples we hear about Africa. Or the clichés; everything is so colourful, you dance so well, you’re very chocolaty.

So this was something that motivated me to go back to where I grew up, which was Ghana. To have a closer look and see where I came from and where I grew up. Why was I happy then and oblivious to all this crap going on about colour or identity, and why had I become so wounded? I had to confront my demons and take a look at that. So I went back to Ghana and I was looking for a new reality.

SC: Did you find any answers?

JM: Let’s put it this way, I found enough to start a new journey. Because looking for answers never stops. It’s a part of life and I think it’s a beautiful part of life that you always question. I think it’s important for me at this stage of my life to be able to move on and to accept. In this case, with a very positive example through the film [I made].

Jarreth Merz. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED. Courtesy: blogs.suededeutsche.de

SC: How did making An African Election help you in this respect?

JM: I realised that Africa is so full of hope, so full of positive examples. And it was my responsibility to document that, to talk about it, to bring one positive example – and in this case it’s just one – to a larger audience. To show that democracy in Africa can be done and does exist and it can actually be done better. Going through two reruns, and an unprecedented second rerun, where have you seen that before?

SC: How did you feel about what the Ghanaian people had to say?

JM: People wanted change. At the time, Obama was running for President and that was something that inspired African nations. There were pamphlets at the rallies saying “Obama, Obama, Obama!”

It was a time when there was hope that change could really happen, thanks to the example of big brother, America. Ghanaians had been living in the conditions of a third world country for so long and they were sick and tired of it. They want to move on. Ghana is very positive in the sense that it is not a bitter country. People are aware that they have the power in their hands.

–Excerpted from Soundbite Culture. The film makes its US public-media debut, thanks to Racialicious’ collaborators  National Black Programming Consortium, on October 1, 2012.

Related: An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

Related: An African Election On Tumblr

Related: An African Election On Twitter

 

 

 

 

An African Election Takes Over Racialicious

The National Black Programming Consortium has acquired the rights to air Jarreth Merz’s An African Election in October! This fascinating documentary explores what happened in during the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana. The tense elections spun on a sense of anticipation–Ghanian citizens were ready for a total change in government, and the world wondered if Ghana would be able to uphold its democracy when so many other nations failed. The result was a charged two months, coming down to a single district–Tain–that would ultimately cast its ballots for Ghana’s future.

We are honored to help the National Black Programming Consortium and Jarreth Merz to promote this important film. Our role is helping with the conversation and the backstory around the events in the film, leading up to its public television premiere on October 1st. We’ll be hosting discussions on democracy, politics, voter enfranchisement, and much more, so watch for the special African Election icon above for our continuing conversation.