A review of Love Brewed in an African Pot by Kwaw Ansah

Love-brewed-in-an-African-potLegendary Ghanaian movie producer director Kwaw Ansah was in town for a movie festival recently. His biggest claim to fame in these parts is the 1981 movie Love Brewed in the African Pot. The visit of the producer reminded me about how much my mum loved the movie since she watched in when it was first screened in Nairobi in the early eighties at the Nairobi Cinema. She loved it so much that she always made a point to go to the theatre whenever they screened it again which tended to happen at least once a year. Her two yearly arts related habits are thus reading Pride and Prejudice that Jane Austen classic and watching Love Brewed in the African Pot.

If you want to enjoy the movie you can watch it now as it is available online for free on your tube. How cool is that? One hour and fifty seven minutes of movie that I can watch from the comfort of my computer. This I did and I was impressed. The movie is about Aba, a young woman born to privilege who falls in love with the son of a fisherman. That’s the story in a nutshell really; random dude who can’t even read gets to fall in love with a girl way out of his league and luckily for him she accepts his “love” and they marry. That theoretically should be end of the tale but we all know that this is never so when watching movies from our continent.

Aba’s parents especially her dad were hoping that their pretty daughter would marry the son of a prominent man who was a lawyer. The family of said lawyer had already approached Aba’s family seeking her hand as they do in such movies (and in real life sometimes I have heard). She rejects the advances and goes for her fisherman’s son who is a mechanic’s apprentice and marries him and they start living the simple life. She starts sewing clothes to help generate extra income and gets pregnant. Happily ever after surely? Nope.

First the lawyer dude who was rejected decides to opt for the stalking option and starts following the young woman Aba around trying to convince him to get back with him. Even though he knows she is a married woman. Psycho. In one of lawyer dudes unsuccessful approaches Joe sees the two engrossed in talk and the simple man loses it accusing his wife of cheating on him and disowning his child to be. He heads to the bar to catch a few pints and his wife unwisely follows him to ask him to return home; he says no and hurls her to the ground in anger and of course she loses her child. Sob. On returning from the hospital where her beloved Joe never visited, she encounters the stalker lawyer and she pelts him with tomatoes (food fights in an African themed movie from 1981 – how revolutionary). More bad things happen to her and she is eventually has to get the double treatment for her ills. First a witchdoctor cures her of the bad spirits and then she lands in the looney bin as she needs her hubby. He eventually comes to the rescue. Late bastard.

The movie was extremely enjoyable to watch with some very cool visuals in many areas with the beach scene where Joe shows his strength coming quickly to mind. In this scene, the men of the beach sit in a semi circle and those who felt the strongest would challenge whoever was in the centre to a pushing contest like with the Sumo people. The battle is very congenial with everyone singing and clapping rhythmically including the wrestlers which kind of takes away the sting of the battling. Then there were the dream sequences with the father visualizing his daughter being married to the most eligible dude in the land. It was a mite surreal that visual. Also in the surreal territory was the scenes of witches that were haunting the girl Aba.

Her father had wanted her to marry someone from her league and she of course chose her preferred mate who proved her dad right as he was a spineless no good dude who couldn’t even believe his wife when she had told him that she was only with him. Punk. He really deserved the pain and she didn’t poor child.

I recommend you watch this movie. There are some very dark scenes you have to navigate and there are some scenes that are not necessary, film editors weren’t that glorified in those days and there was no HD, but it shows Ghana in the late seventies/early eighties and you want to see that. The older you are the more likely to enjoy it.
You can watch the movie yourself below.