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Sakawa Rituals and Cyberfraud in Ghanaian Popular Video Movies

  • Joseph Oduro-Frimpong

Abstract:

Sakawa indexes a cyberfraud practice in Ghana allegedly linked with occult rituals. This article examines the phenomenon as an analytically relevant example of a material understanding of religion. It then offers a critical reading of a popular sakawa video series and contrasts its thematic perspectives with the reactions of some Ghanaian political leaders to the possible motivations for the practice. This critical approach is conceived as a response to the persistent myopic view of such popular genres as irrelevant to key debates around problematic Ghanaian issues and also to calls in global media studies to de-Westernize the field.

Les rituels Sakawa indiquent une pratique de la cyber-fraude au Ghana qui serait liée à des rituels occultes. Cet article examine le phénomène comme un exemple analytique pertinent d’une interprétation matérielle de la religion. Il propose ensuite une lecture critique de la série populaire vidéo appelée Sakawa et contraste ses perspectives thématiques avec les réactions de certains dirigeants politiques ghanéens aux motivations possibles pour cette pratique. Cette approche critique est conçue comme une réponse à la perspective myope persistante que ces genres populaires ne sont pas pertinents pour les débats sur les problématiques ghanéennes, et aussi comme une réponse aux incitations des études sur les médias globaux à désoccidentaliser le domaine de recherche.

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