Chale, how! Chale freeeesh!
Depending on intonation, pronunciation, context, time of day, people involved, energy, mood, the Ghaniaan word “Chale” – apparently a localised version of “Charlie” – can mean very different things!
In this case, it’s the newest “street-talk” web series produced by the Fashionista GH and Excelsis crew which – according to the official CHALE! Facebook page – seeks to “capture our very essence and the word on the street across an interesting mix of issues – some of which we easily gloss over.”
I mean, how can you knock that hustle? E be cool waaa.
When Fashionista GH team lead Ob Absenser first sent me the link to preview, I was immediately captivated by the name and branding – ingenuous, I’m willing to bet that every konkonsa (gossip) session in Ghana begins with “Chale”. Then came the sound bytes for M.anifest’s Blue (Charlie What Dey Happen) and it’s street cred was sealed.
After sharing my impressions with Ob about the CHALE! concept, we got into a very interesting discussion regarding language and more specifically, the lack of subtitles in the first episode which – quite aptly – captures people’s opinions about the World Cup and the Black Stars‘ chances of winning. Here’s what Ob said that struck me:
“When I was in primary school I read a book by a Nigerian author. He never translated the local language. That stubbornness kind of stuck with me.
Our discussion was spurred by the fact that I couldn’t understand a word of the Ga one of the ladies was speaking, and I wanted to know what she was so passionate about. I asked Ob if he planned to include subtitles. His response:
“Aha! So I wish people would FIND a Ga speaker to translate… What she said is very funny, but in English? Might lose the kick.”
Can’t argue with that. It’s about time we started promoting our local languages online and creating content around them. If not us, then who?
We’re already seeing an emergence of Ghanaian web series, beginning with the uber successful (or shocking – depends on who you ask) “An African City” YouTube series produced by Nicole Amartefio and Millie Monyo. I’ve had so many NON-Ghanaians, from Kigali to Tunis, asking me about the show and whether there will be a season two. According to Nicole, they are working on it, looking forward to it myself. Oh, and let’s not forget Boys Kasa and the antics of the humorous Kalybos, the only boss with one ‘s’, and his darling (yet ever elusive) Ahuofe Patri!
Given the success of Fashionista GH, Ob’s latest project is bound to be as riveting. Why? There’s a ton of great content to capture and even more people to consume it!
Chale, how you go do am? You for go with the flow, na what I mean? And without much further ado, I will spare you all from my poor attempt at pidgin LOL.
Ladies and gentlemen, the first episode of CHALE! with guest presenter Nana Fokzi. You can also check out Manifest’s joint below. E dey be!
P.S. Are you crazy excited as I am about the World Cup? This time dieerr, Ghana for show them all! Go Black Stars!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.