The internet-based show follows the lives of five modern African women who have relocated to Ghana’s capital Accra after previously living in the west. Each of the first season’s ten episodes already has tens of thousands YouTube hits.
The women of An African City spend their free time discussing sex and relationships while drinking wine in Accra’s top restaurants or lying next to the pool. Issues such as snoring boyfriends and men not picking up restaurant bills dominate the women’s conversations.
The show’s creator is Nicole Amarteifio, who, like her characters, was also raised abroad and returned to Ghana. “For me it is home, there is no place I’d rather be,” she says.
The show has been praised for breaking traditional stereotypes of African women, but has also come in for some criticism for its unrealistic portrayal of life in Ghana.
During a recent conference at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Amarteifio said she finds it bizarre that no one would challenge the authenticity of a group of affluent women in Europe or America, but when it comes to Africa it is questioned. “Why can’t we have a story of five successful African women?”
Amarteifio credits the show’s success to her own personal ambition. “I didn’t wait for a big TV network to come and talk to me.”
While An African City started as a hobby for Amarteifio, it is now showing potential as a legitimate business.
The series initially made a bit of money from YouTube advertising, but has since received interest from television networks and companies seeking product placement opportunities. Amarteifio expects the second season to turn a small profit.
“Business opportunities are coming left, right and centre… There are so many television networks on the continent and globally that want African content… I had calls all the time from France [and] they were begging me for more shows because they have a francophone African audience that really wants this kind of material,” says Amarteifio.