A presidential campaign is underway in Ghana and everyone on the team has got something they’re hiding. Welcome to the intriguing world of Shampaign.
Currently streaming on Showmax, Shampaign follows the presidential campaign train of Naana Akua Quasah (Jocelyn Dumas), a brilliant and beautiful woman who is looking to make history as Ghana’s youngest and first female president. As Naana navigates the political maze in the final weeks of her campaign, members of her team try to keep her and more notably, themselves above water.
Written, produced and directed by the AMVCA and AMAA-winning Shirley Frimpong-Manso (The Perfect Picture, Potomanto, and Potato Potahto), Shampaign stars Ghanaian fan favourites like John Dumelo, Jot Agyeman, Nana Aba Anamoah, and Zynnell Zuh, as well as Nigerian actor Blossom Chukwujekwu.
Like any good political show, Shampaign holds a lens against several issues in the society, exploring themes like:
1. Single parenting
Naana, who is running for the highest office in the land, is a single mother to an 18-year-old son, a fact her political opponents never let her forget. She also shrouds the identity of her father’s child in secrecy, which causes a lot of tension between mother and son. As Naana’s campaign heats up, her status as a single mother continues to pose challenges, as she’s caught between family and career.
2. Parental influence
It’s not uncommon for African parents to dictate the career path of their children or in some cases insist they toe the line of the family business, many times against the wishes of the children. We see this play out on Shampaign, albeit with a twist, as a father insists on using his daughter in Naana’s campaign team as a courier for his marijuana business. despite her protests. The dynamics of parental influence are also explored in the relationship between President Malm and his mother.
While the rate of divorce has increased over time, it is still largely frowned upon in many African societies, giving rise to infidelity in many cases. The show explores infidelity in campaign manager Frank’s marriage as the couple struggle with Frank’s demanding job and their failing relationship.
4. Old vs Young
Politics is still largely driven by the older generation in Africa and this is highlighted in the show. Naana’s opponents often use her age and gender as a basis for discrimination, despite the fact that she is well-read and had previously served as a minister. Even more pertinent is in the case of Mr Sarpong, who is the field manager and the oldest member of the campaign team, and is often dismissive of his younger colleague’s ideas owing to his age and experience.
5. Same-sex relations
Same-sex relations are illegal and highly frowned upon in most parts of Africa. This theme is also explored on the show as a PR manager, Julia, finds herself a victim of blackmail as she is involved in a same-sex relationship despite the fact that she is engaged to be married.
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