Film

FOKN Bois & the New 'Contradict' Documentary Highlight Despair and Hope in Ghana

We talk to M3nsa and Wanlov about being part of a documentary that shows the role musicians play in addressing some of Ghana's—and the world's—biggest issues.

As the Norient Film Festival kicks off this month, it signals a homecoming of sorts for M3nsa and Wanlov the Kubulor, also known as the FOKN Bois. The Ghanaian duo are part of a documentary called Contradict, which is featured on this year's virtual lineup of the Swiss event. It's at the festival, almost a decade ago, where FOKN Bois first showed their film, Coz Ov Moni, which gained acclaim as the "first pidgin musical" and showcased their outspoken views and immense creativity.

The film attracted the attention of festival founder Thomas Burkhalter, who together with co-director Peter Guyer would go on to enlist FOKN Bois to be a large part of their doc, Contradict. It's been screening at virtual festivals for the past year and won the Bernese Film Award last year.

"We just connected with Thomas and Peter and they said they were going to be coming to Ghana, to shoot a little short documentary," M3nsa tells OkayAfrica. Burkhalter and Guyer intended to include the artists in a multimedia documentary that dealt with music trends across the globe. But the filmmakers ended up deciding to hone in on Ghana and make a documentary that looks at today's world from both a Ghanaian, African, and a Swiss, European, perspective.

Burkhalter and Guyer asked seven Ghanaian musicians—FOKN Bois' M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor, along with Adomaa, Worlasi, Akan, Mutombo Da Poet and Poetra Asantewa—to write new songs especially for the documentary. The concept taps into their views on some of the biggest issues of our time, and how their visions could perhaps become new global realities.

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