’28th The Crossroads’ — An epic Ghanaian animation hits the big screens

28th The Crossroads’ is an animation film that is set in the Gold Coast in February 1948. The film recreates the events leading to the Crossroad shooting of 2nd world war veterans in Osu in Accra in the Gold Coast, which is what Ghana was called by its British colonial overlords before independence.

Intricately woven around the lives of 3 World War veterans at the time — Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey Lamptey, whose expectation of coming home to a life of honor and respect for having fought for the British Empire in the war is dashed when they walked into a life of failed promises and despair.

Tired of bottling up their frustration and disappointment, these 3 war veterans and dozens of their colleagues finally decided to make known their frustrations to the government of the day in a planned peaceful demonstration.

According to history, the men planned to present a petition to the British Governor of the time and Commander-In-Chief of the Gold Coast Regiment, Sir Gerald Creasy, over their unpaid gratuities after the Second World War.

In the end, what transpired redefined the political history of the Gold Coast when the men arrived at the crossroads of the Christiansborg Castle; the seat of government at the time.

The reason behind the animation movie

The film brings to life the veterans’ frustrations, desperation, and their spirited determination to claim what was rightfully theirs — respect and recognition. The veterans rally round Sergeant Adjetey with the expectation of restoring hope. A peaceful march on February 28, 1948, was however going to change their lives.

Events turned violent as six shots, fired by the British Police Superintendent Imray, ended up killing the three veterans, leaving sixty others wounded and many others angered and betrayed. This shooting became the catalyst that ensured the Gold Coast was to never be the same again.

In 2009, out of a burning desire to preserve, repackage and re-tell African history from an African perspective, Cycil Jones Abban, CEO of Parables Animation Studios of Ghana, decided that it was time someone gave a more accurate account of the immense contributions of African soldiers in the 2nd world war as opposed to the rather Eurocentric versions that have been fed to us over the years.

A cut from the ’28TH THE CROSSROADS’ movie

Mr. Abban told that “For the most part, Europeans and Americans have been projected as the real heroes of these world wars, relegating the heroic efforts of over 90,000 African soldiers conscripted by their colonial rulers across respective African countries to fight the Axis countries to the background. But we must be responsible for telling and preserving our historical truths for posterity, especially when there is incontrovertible evidence to back them.

Aside from the sad fact that these great African soldiers were deprived of any recognition, their colonial rulers added salt to injury by failing to pay war royalties to the surviving veterans. This led to a life of solitude for the war heroes, forcing them into a life of abject poverty.

We must tell our own stories most genuinely…

Because Mr. Abban wanted to tell the story of these gallant soldiers by highlighting their bravery and prowess during the war, he decided to give credence to the saying ‘charity begins at home‘ by delving to the root of the matter to unearth a genuine story.

I privately set myself to examining the impoverished lifestyles, struggles, hopes and aspirations of some surviving world war veterans in Ghana,” he told in an interview, “I spoke with some members of their families who gave first account reports and valuable details that painted vivid pictures in my imagination.”

Armed with fresh human interest information and visits to places in Ghana where some of these veterans resided, and with the help of my crew and partners, the time became rife to bring to life the story of these three war veterans from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) regiment through the art of digital animation,” a deeply excited Cycil shared who said he was also moved to see some of these war veterans in the Ghanaian media during the commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the incident.

We must tell our own stories most genuinely and with all the tools we have at our disposal. For me, rekindling this particular story is a way of empowering and helping people of African descent to realize their self-worth and significance in global history. A people without accurate knowledge of their past are physically and spiritually lost, and so I hope in my small way and through this story, we can shine a light onto the path of hope and rediscovery” — Cycil Jones Abban.

It is on this backdrop that this animation was produced in 2008 as an original 45mins-film and given the eponymous title: 28th the Crossroads — to reference the significant landmark in Ghana where the three veterans were gunned down and a number of their comrades got injured in their fight for quality and value of life — the then Christiansborg Castle crossroads where Imray opened fire on the unarmed men, now known as 28th the Crossroads.

Why a reboot became necessary but with more collaborators this time

Even though it only enjoyed moderate success at the time of the original short-animation release in 2008, the film caught the attention of certain schools in Ghana’s capital city of Accra where it was adopted as educational material for some children.

Then in 2020, given the fact that most Africans are becoming more thirsty for their real history following events of the George Floyd shooting and others preceding it that was captured on social media, it was only perfect timing to retell this story.

Cycil decided the time was ripe for a remake of the film to reach an even wider audience. He decided collaboration was a good idea in the industry and so he teamed up with some of Ghana’s foremost animators with decades of experience like Samuel Quartey of Animation Africa, and Alex Bannerman, to retell the 28th Crossroads story this time in a 60-minute animation film epic.

The all Ghanaian production team is made up of seasoned talents including accomplished actor Adjetey Anang who lent his rich voice to Sergeant Adjetey the lead character. Supporting him in the voice booth were Eldad Wontumi as Corporal Attipoe, Godson Quarcoo as Private Lamptey, Tendai Okraku as Superintendent Imray, and Pamela Karikari as Sergeant Adjetey’s wife.

At the helm of the directorial role is Cycil Jones Abban, with Alex Bannerman as the animation supervisor, and Samuel Quartey as the project’s executive producer. The story/screenplay is done by Jeffrey Abban of Modin Comics, the art director was Nana Asihene, with music produced by Kofi Owusu Dua Anto of KODA Studios.

This project is just one of many to come from the collaborating studios, we have a host of many other exciting titles that have been lined up to follow. The team expects to premiere the film in March 2021 in Ghana with planned international premieres in collaboration with starting in the United States late March next year,” Jeffrey Abban disclosed.

Animation in Ghana will never be the same again, ever!

Written by Oral Ofori

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