The Film: The 80s by Romeo D. Amoateng
The 80s is a film that depicts the virtues and vices inherent in the cocoa industry in Ghana. It traces the origins of the crop from Tetteh Quarshie, who first brought the cocoa seeds from Fernando Po, Equatorial Guinea, to Ghana over a century and half ago. The Golden Pod, the agricultural contemporary of Ghana’s mineral resources was divinely gifted to Tetteh Quarshie to salvage the then Gold Coast from poverty, deprivation and squalor.
The cocoa industry is one of the few sectors that have served as the economic backbone of the nation for well over one-and-a half centuries. The impact of the industry has sustained the agriculture sector and given the nation the pride of place in the external market of the product. From the time Tetteh Quarshie brought the cocoa beans to Ghana, the Golden Pod has helped to build and sustain families, communities and institutions on their sweat.
With the product, Ghana immediately rose to the pinnacle in the production of cocoa; captured the commanding heights in the agricultural sector in West African, and thus catapulted the country into prominence as its iconic product aside gold (mineral). Cocoa indeed became a prestigious crop in Ghana and has since been Ghana’s primus inter paris agricultural product.
The 80s posits the question of smuggling in the cocoa industry, especially from the 1980s; whether the cocoa farmer can be justifiably charged with the offence for appropriating the end product of his toil and labour. It recounts the hard work of the Ghanaian farmer through the nursing of the precious seedlings; transplanting and painstakingly weeding to ensure its healthy growth; fighting attendant diseases – swollen shoots and the likes, as well as the occasional ravages of fire and perilous floods. In all, the cocoa farmer is assisted by the children, relatives and other dependents in the nurturing, the growth, the harvesting and the drying of the Golden Pod all lasting over a period of 36 months.
The question posed by the 80s is, what does the cocoa farmer; his family and relations benefit from all their toils and fights against sleepless nights, prickly thorns and thistles that antagonize their labour? The cocoa farmers lament their denial of basic amenities, resources and even rights to soar to prominence in education, politics and the social ladders! The roads to the farms are bad; the waters are polluted; the villages are denied of basic amenities including scholarships to their wards to further their education. Access to ready markets is a challenge due to bad and unmotorable roads. Then the hardships at selling, coupled with cheating at the hands of the Purchasing Clerks!!!
The 80s is a movie jointly produced by Dr. Daniel Dickson Boateng, USA; Jessica Ackwonu Aikins, Ghana, and Romeo David Amoateng who doubles as Producer-Film Director, Ghana. The idea of the 80s was hatched some seven years ago, and shooting was done in tourists locations across Ghana: Kaakum Forest, Aidoo Suazo, Nzulenzo, Elubo and Takoradi harbour, as well as in the Republic of Cote d’ Ivoire. About five languages have been deployed by the characters which include English, French, Akan and Hausa. Stars featured in the film include Andrew Mensah (Scorpion), Stephen Yao (Biggie Oteele), Queen Serbia Deboa and Richmond Boakye, with Samuel Adjei (Longface) as the Make-up Artist. Dr. D. D. Boateng (USA) and Anthony A. Aidoo supervised the scripts.
Rasta, played by Andrew Mensah, and his group of young cocoa farmers are arrested after a failed attempt to smuggle cocoa out of the country resulted in the drowning and death of some of the hired carriers. They are charged with the offense and sentenced into prison terms with hard-labour. The question is whether they were fairly treated or otherwise under the law; when they were only sending their own cocoa harvested from their own farms constituted an infringement of the law in any way. Should farmers and dependents famish when their products are unsold because of bad roads and careless purchasing clerks and officers; or allow the products to decompose for lack of buyers? The 80s provide food for thoughts; be our guests.
Watch the 80s movie trailer below