An African City: S2E1-Another Return



Nana Yaa 1

The episodes starts with Nana Yaa in the studio at Citi FM 97.3 jamming to some music she seems so happy. Her cousin Adoma is coming back from the US and she is calling all the girls to ask them what they need from the US. [when you are visiting back home you always bring people gifts of things they need that they can’t get in Ghana or would cost them a fortune if they bought it there]

Nana Yaa calls Sade first to ask what she needs. Sade is busy having sex with Kwame when Nana Yaa calls her and tells Nana Yaa that she wants underwear from Nubian Skin. I have no idea why Sade answered the phone and why Nana Yaa stayed on long enough to take her request. (People pls don’t answer the phone when you are doing soko pimpim. Let it go to voice mail).

Ngozi tells Nana Yaa that she wants Quinoa from Whole Foods since it is all the rage with Vegetarians. Makena asks for a book called the Rule of Law. She explains to Nana Yaa that the last time she bought something on Amazon it arrived to her in Accra smelling like urine (yuck)Zainab tells Nana Yaa that she wants Pepto-Bismol after living in Ghana for so many years her stomach still hasn’t adjusted. She even went to throw up after talking to Nana Yaa that I thought she might be pregnant.

Ngozi 1

Next we see Nana Yaa’s cousin Adoma going through Customs. The customs officer looks through her passport and asks to be her “friend”. What he really means is he wants to be more than friends. (That constantly happens to me at the airport. If it is suppose to take you 30 mins to exit Kotoka it takes me 55 mins because all the men that work there want my number and to be my “friend”) Adoma then goes through another checkpoint where the officer is shocked to see all the items she is bringing back. She explains that they are gifts for family members and that her father told her that he couldn’t find a specific type of Irish Spring in Ghana. Nana Yaa greets Adoma at the entrance of Kotoka with a big hug and they head off.

Adoma-NanaYaa 1

Adoma is returning home to Ghana and will be staying with her family in Kumasi, but first she is spending time with Nana Yaa in Accra. She hasn’t been to Ghana in 7 years. She is excited to be back. Nana Yaa starts talking to her in Twi and tells her that she goes to Twi class 3 times a week. Adoma tells her she is doing a good job but is speaking it in a American way. Nana Yaa gets upset and talks about how she is tired of people telling her she is not Ghanaian enough, first for not speaking Twi and now for speaking Twi with an accent. (for many of us that is the dilemma never being Ghanaian enough for anyone)

Adoma asks what they are going to do for her first night back and Nana Yaa tells her that they are meeting up with the girls. Adoma says she can’t wait to eat proper Waakye (an amazing bean and rice dish) and real shito (black pepper sauce) because the stuff in the Bronx is not real (lies! im offended at that statement). At dinner with the girls Adoma complains that she is eating salmon. She is shocked to know they sell salmon in Ghana. Zainab tells her that the owner of the restaurant has it shipped in from Europe every week. Adoma tells Nana Yaa that she wanted fufu and grasscutter (you dont want to know) and not salmon.

girls at dinner 1

The waiter comes over to tell Nana Yaa that their bill has been paid by Mr. Sarpong as a courtesy to her father. Sade says she loves going out with Nana Yaa cuz they hardly have to pay once they know who her father is. Adoma makes a big deal about them accepting to have Mr. Sarpong pay their bill. Apparently Mr. Sarpong has been wasting state funds and Adoma feels he is only paying the bill to be on good side of Nana Yaa’s father. Nana Yaa tells Adoma that she will pay the bill but Sade tells her not to be silly and rude to Mr. Sarpong. The girls tell Adoma that they are going to take her out dancing and she is excited. They take her to a Salsa club and Adoma and she is upset to be there. She can’t believe they go Salsa dancing in Ghana. (Clearly Adoma doesn’t know that Gh ppl LOVE Salsa dancing and many are really good at it) Ngozi says she regrets following them to the club because it is the devil’s play ground. Sade tells her if she keeps up with her uptight attitude she will never find a nice GH husband. Ngozi corrects by saying she is looking for either a GH or Naija husband.

Girls clubbing1

Adoma tells the girls that she didn’t come to Ghana to dance Salsa (Adoma is in for a rude awakening about Ghana and what it really is like there) She tells Nana Yaa that she came to Ghana to drink Akpeteshie (Gin’s uncle-it has more kick) and eat Kelewele by the road side. She starts speaking Twi and Ngozi explains that her and Makena don’t understand Twi but Adoma says in Twi she don’t give a damn (I know that is not the translation on the screen-it says “that is not my problem”- but in Twi it is all about how you say certain words and this chick said it like she don’t give a damn) . Zainab tells Adoma that Ghana has changed a lot (truth). Sade says she is happy it has changed because it now has a semblance of the things she loves in the West. Adoma asks why they moved then and how they should have stayed in America. She then tells them that they act white which offends them all. Makena asks her explain her comment so she cant prove to her that she is wrong in her logic. Sade says they are not acting white but acting like themselves. (Since when does liking Salsa make you white? Latino sure, but white?) Nana Yaa looks so disappointed in Adoma’s and her behaviour.

The next day, the encounter at the Salsa club has Nana Yaa thinking about assimilation and wondering about what Sade said and if the only way to return to life on the continent is if it resembles the life left in the Western world. We see that Fidel Roberto is sitting on her couch. Nana Yaa talks to Fidel Roberto about the situation with Adoma. He asks where Adoma is at that moment and Nana Yaa tells him Adoma got on a tro-tro (a form of transportation) to Makola Market. She had offered to drive Adoma there but she refused. Nana Yaa tells Fidel that she feels like there is a disconnection between her and Adoma, like a big wall is between them. Fidel Roberto tells her to give it time since they both have different views points. But Nana Yaa says that she feels guilty and like a traitor because she likes deep pan pizza over banku and tilapia. Fidel tells her that she is her own person and knows her reasons for why she returned home to Ghana and Adoma has her own as well.

Nana Yaa Fidel

[Nana Yaa starts listing returnee rulesReturnee Rule #1: know why you came home] Fidel tells her that she returned because she loves Ghana and no one can tell he she isn’t Ghanaian enough and that her experience isn’t Ghanaian enough. Nana Yaa explains that people always feel the ned to tell her that she isn’t Ghanaian enough. She asks Fidel Roberto what his experience has been like. He saays his family has always lived in Angola and never went elsewhere, but people would still find a chance to tell him who he was. Nana Yaa asks him who he is and he says he is an Angolan man that is in love with a Ghanaian woman.

Sade is having trouble with her married Ghanaian boyfriend Kwame. They are on the couch making out and Sade is trying to get him to travel lower. She gets frustrated with his resistance and asks him why he wont go lower. She is upset he has only done it once on her bday. (do older GH men do that? That’s like our uncles..ewww…lol don’t mind me) Sade tells Kwame that she needs him to do that for her. He tells her GH men don’t do that in their culture.

Sade Kwame 1

Sade asks Kwame if he doesn’t approve because of culutre why is he ok when she does it to him. Kwame tells Sade that her wanting him to do it so bad and not fitting of a GH woman. She corrects him that she is Ghanaian-Nigerian-American. Kwame says it must be her American side that is causing her to demand this from him and that it is not appealing. Sade argues that it has nothing to do with being American but her being a woman and having needs. She storms off upset. [Returnee Rule #2: know what makes you proudly African]

Zainab is in he office when someone named Deborah walks in (guessing she is an admin assistant) to talk about an employees father dying and that the funeral is next week. She hands Zainab a paper and talks about the company doing funeral donations. Zainab looks confused. Deborah tells her that every member of senior management is suppose to make a donation of $200 (not Cedis).

Zainab at work1

Zainab is shocked at the price and wants to know who decided the price. Deobrah tells her Mr. George decided on the amount. She also tells Zainab that Mr. George has decided car arrangements should be made for senior management to travel to the funeral next Friday in Tumu. Tumu is in the most Northern part of the country right at the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso and it will take 20 hours to drive there since there is no airport. Zainab is shocked at this decision. [Returnee Rule #3: Expect lots of Funerals and lots of rules]

Makena is writing at a desk when Stephan places one of those barrister wigs (think UK lawyers) on the desk (they wear them in Ghana as well). He tells her that she forgot the wig at his house the other night. She claims that she doesn’t need it but Stephan tells her that she does need it for work. Makena feels she will never need to wear the wig for work.

Makena Stephan1

Stephan reminds Makena that she is in the final rounds of interviews with the law firm and that the wig is part of being a lawyer. Makena gives him a sad look and says the wig looks terrible and that it is too hot to wear the wig because most court rooms in Ghana do not have A/C and she will never be able to survive. Stephan tells her that she will. [Returnee Rule #4: use a lack of A/C, traffic or light off as a valid excuse] Makena holds the wig up like a dead animal and says she will look ridiculous in the wig. Stephan tells Makena that is it part of a tradition that dates back from Egypt an that she could never look bad in the wig.

Ngozi has a deep desire to get married to an African man. She sits down with  Pastor Gideon to talk about the issue. She tells him that Sade told her that she will never get married (ugh..she didn’t say it like that) and in typical West African Pentecostal fashion the pastor responds by saying “the devil is a liar”. Ngozi tells Pastor Gideon that Sade says she is too Westernized to find a husband in Africa. The pastor replies by saying that when the devil lies he lies like a serpent in the night (what?).

Ngozi Pastor1

Ngozi asks what she should do and Pastor Gideon says they should pray. [Returnee Rule #5: you will hear some form of “lets pray” on a daily basis] While praying for Ngozi, the pastor’s hands keep going lower on her body. At one point in the pray Pastor Gideon tries to pull Ngozi closer to him by holder her waist. Ngozi pulls away and tells the pastor Amen and leaves.

Adoma takes the girls out for what she calls an authentic GH experience. It looks like they are at the Accra Stadium (not sure). Sade asks what they are doing at there and Adoma tells her they are there to see Kofi Annan speak. Sade says she knows Uncle Kofi is speaking but she wants to know what they are doing sitting up so high, they usually sit in the VIP section when they go out. Adoma tells Sade to stop being bougie and that this is a real Ghana experience listening to a great GH man speak while bonding with the people (Adoma doesn’t seem to understand everyone’s GH experience is different plenty GH ppl sit in VIP only) Adoma seems so happy to be in the stadium and so does Nana Yaa. Zainab then asks about Kofi Annan and how he has spent most of his life living in the West. But Adoma defends him by saying that regardless his foundation and roots were firmly planted in Ghana. Makena also comments on them being so high up. Ngozi asks what the speech is about and Adoma once again replies in Twi to Ngozi about the speech being about African greatness. Ngozi tells Adoma once again that her and Makena do not understand Twi and Adoma once again says in Twi she don’t give a damn.  Nana Yaa tells Ngozi it’s about Africa rising. Makena says she loves anything that doesn’t paint Africa as a dark continent.

Sade starts talking about her problem with Kwame and how she has tried to push his head down and even sat on his face at one point. A man sitting in front of them turns around in shock with wide eyes when he hears Sade talking. Adoma looks a bit disgusted and asks Sade if everything about her is sex. Sade point blank says yes. Adoma tells Sade that she is an Afolabi (her last name) and that is a powerful Yoruba name that demands respect. Nana Yaa tells Adoma to stop and that Sade was obviously joking. Sade wants to know from Adoma why sex is disrespectful. Makena tells Sade to fry some kelewele and put it all over her body especially her inner thighs and that will solve her problem and has worked for her in the past. Ngozi says that sounds disgusting (I kind of feel the same way. Spicy food shouldn’t get so close to the lady parts). Makena makes fun of Ngozi by suggesting that Sade get Pastor Gideon to pray about her situation.

Girls at stadium1

Zainab changes the subject when she says that she wishes she had a penis. The girls look at her confused. She explains that she owns 70% of the company but George walks around the place like he owns everything because he is a man. Zainab talks to the girls about being forced to contribute money to a funeral fund and having to go to a funeral for a parent of one of her employees all the way in Tumu. Adoma tells her that is not about George being a man but about GH tradition and customs (true my auntie has to attend plenty of co-worker funerals in the year and they all plan on how to get there and how much they will contribute). Nana Yaa tells Adoma that she is right and agrees with her. Adoma excuses herself from the group. Sade says she prefers the Western approach  on death with a 60 second insincere phone call of condolence. Makena says she likes the Western way of sending condolences via Facebook walls. Nana Yaa says Ghana is about family and community and all the traditions bring the culture to life.  Ngozi agrees and talks about going to her college room-mates mother’s funeral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and how everyone came to visit the grandmother and laid on the floor to show absolute respect. Ngozi talked about how it was wonderful to see them singing hymns and drinking traditional tea. Zainab says she respects tradition but doesn’t like the idea of it being forced on her. She wants to feel genuine about attending the funeral. Sade goes back to asking Makena about the kelewele and she assures her that it will work.

girls at stadium2

The girls are walking to their cars after hearing Kofi Annan speak. They are mesmerized and start reciting parts of his awe inspiring speech. Adoma is so happy the girls are so excited to have enjoyed the speech. She tells them that this is how they should have fun in the country and suggests that they go out to dance to some Hiplife music.  Adoma tells Nana Yaa to wait for her as she looks to find credit to buy for her phone. She yells out credit and we can hear off screen a man  yell “Obroni” (yall!! I know he is talking to Adoma). Obroni means white but in this context it means foreigner. The guy selling credit approaches Adoma and calls her Obroni once again and says he has credit for her to buy. Adoma is shocked and asks if he is talking to her. Nana Yaa says she shouldnt take it personal (Which is true I have been called crazy things. Apparently they can tell if you are not from there) and he probably called her Obroni because she was standing beside Ngozi since everyone thinks Ngozi is white.

adoma fight1

Nana Yaa tells Adoma to just get the credit so they can leave, but Adoma wants to correct the guy. She tells him in Twi that she is not a foreigner or white but a Ghanaian and was born there. The credit seller is not listening he just wants to sell his credit and keeps saying over again “Obroni I have credit”. [Returnee Rule #6: accept that at some point someone will call you Obroni] Adoma is hurt that she is called a foreigner and talks about how everything is so different in Ghana  and she doesn’t recognize anything any more. (poor girl no place stays the same after 7 yrs) Nana Yaa tells her that she is taking the situation too personal. Adoma blames the whole situation on hanging out with Nana Yaa and her friends. Nana Yaa is upset and tells her that she cant disrespect her and her friends and that they came out to have a good time and be inspired. Adoma tells her rudely to open the car door. Nana Yaa tells her she cant be rude and talk to her like that.

The next day Nana Yaa drives Adoma to the bus station so that she can take the bus home to Kumasi to live with her mom and dad. (I feel Kumasi will be more of Adomas style. Accra is a whole different beast and not for everyone) At the bus station sitting on the bench Nana Yaa asks Adoma if she has everything. She asks Adoma if she wouldnt feel more comfortable flying to Kumasi instead or maybe having the family driver take her there. (the bus to Kumasi can be fun so I dont blame her for wanting to take the bus. You get to watch movies and see different types of people) Adoma tells her no, that she will be fine and that a driver is not her style and too bougie.  Nana Yaa rolls her eyes at that comment. Nana Yaa is now a bit pissed but asks Adoma what her plans are when she reaches Kumasi. Adoma says she doesnt know and that she only has $500 to her name and she will have to quickly start figuring things out. Nana Yaa starts to offer her help but Adoma rudely cuts her off by yelling that she is fine. Nana Yaa looks shocked at her outburst and rudeness to her offering to help. [Returnee Rule #7: accept returnees will come back but in their own way, to what coming home means to them] Adoma can see Nana Yaa is hurt and nudges her and tells her that she loves her. They hug and all is well between them. Adoma tells her to let Sade know that Makena is right about the kelewele and that it really works. Nana Yaa looks at Adoma shocked and they both laugh. Adoma is about to get on the VVIP Bus and her and Nana Yaa hug goodbye.


Sade tries the kelewele thing and it works. Makena decides she wont take cases that require she wears the wig, but decides she will wear the wig during role play with Stephan. Zainab contributes to the funeral fund and takes the 20 hour bumpy car ride to the funeral in Tumu. Ngozi changes her church so she wont have to deal with the touchy feely pastor. His prayers must have worked because her new church is filled with fine fine men. Nana Yaa sits on the couch with Fidel Roberto reading and feels 100% African being loved by this Angolan man.


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