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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Gyamfi's Golden Soap': commodity marketing, reform legitimation, and the performance of cultural authenticity in Ghana's popular theatre
Author:Donkor, David Afriyie
Year:2009
Periodical:Ghana Studies (ISSN 1536-5514)
Volume:12-13
Pages:189-216
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:marketing
beauty culture industry
multinational enterprises
community theatre
African culture
Abstract:In June 1997, the multinational company Unilever relaunched its Keysoap, a well-known soap product in Ghana, at the National Theatre of Ghana in a 'concert party' play entitled 'Gyamfi's Golden Soap', a theatrical reworking of an Asante legend. In the play, a royal chief offers his daughter to whoever can perform her marriage rites 'in the traditional way'. The winning candidate conjures a giant bar of Keysoap, which descends from above on to the stage. He presents the giant soap to the princess and assures her 'of a cleaner, healthier and better life'. This paper explores how popular theatre and multinational commodity marketing intersected with authenticity, as a national-cultural style, in Ghana during the 1990s. It argues that the interrelationship of popular theatre and commodity marketing is no coincidence, but discloses a process of legitimation. Further, this process reveals the doctrine of neoliberalism that is operating in the socioeconomic, cultural and political context of late 20th-century Ghana. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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