Repatriation in the Black community is usually associated with African-Americans relocating to AFRICA—usually to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa, with Liberia still in the mix. Lately, Stevie Wonder has stated that he intends to move to Ghana in the very near future, and several other notable Black Americans have already made such a move or have established businesses and other firm relationships with the continent (Oprah Winfrey’s Girls’ Academy is still doing very well in South Africa).
The model is still to arrange a dual-citizenship relationship if possible, so that one gains, not loses, in the new association.
Recently, comedian and show host extraordinaire Steve Harvey has introduced a new dimension to the repatriation phenomenon: hosting a popular American TV show in Africa.
Without changing the format of the popular Family Feud Show, which Harvey has successfully hosted since 2010 in the U.S., he has now begun filming Family Feud in Ghana and in South Africa, among other places. It has greatly tested his comedic skills, and some things simply don’t translate well, but the shows have already become very, very popular in their new locales.
Every episode has been a crucible for cultural information exchange, mixing many African-American (and some White American) idioms with local African ideas and habits.
“Bringing ‘Family Feud’ to Africa has long been a dream of mine.” Harvey says. “I believe the Family Feud show will become a household name for local African families. And this is just the beginning in Africa. I expect this show to lead to multiple media and business projects in and throughout the continent.”
One recent show broadcast in Ghana asked what kind of dances would one expect to do at a Ghanaian party? The audience was then introduced to dance names like Azonto, Shaku Shaku, High Life and Zanku, with Mr. Harvey asking the family members to demonstrate each one for the audience. Far from being a mimicry of minstrelsy, the family guests quietly demonstrated small moves from each dance, as Mr. Harvey tried to demonstrate his own Americanized versions of the moves. It was very entertaining and educational at the same time.
The Family Feud Africa shows are broadcast through a link-up with South Africa’s BBC African Rapid Blue and Steve Harvey’s Global Productions, distributed by Fremantle, and also broadcast on e.tv. There is also a version produced for Tunisian TV (in Arabic), called Malla Twensa and hosted by a local personality, El Hiwar El Tounsi. For all the versions, the rules are basically the same as in the U.S., with the winning family receiving cash prizes. No doubt that aspect of the show will keep Family Feud popular for quite a while in various parts of Africa, as it does in the U.S.
We applaud Mr. Harvey for this new approach to Pan African programming and urge more mobile entertainers to mount up and ride similar horses in this vein. This is a mutually beneficial cultural pollination that has many more up-sides than down.
The Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud in Africa show can also be seen in the U.S. on YouTube, Netflix, and various other media platforms.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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