Dressed in a tight-fitting skirt, put on a wig and lipstick, a “female” character who likes telling dramatic stories starring a Ghanaian male, is now going viral on TikTok, a social media platform that is gaining more and more popularity in Ghana.
Wesley Kese, the 27-year-old Ghanaian who has little acting experiences before, was astounded when he found his first self-made video being hot online in March.
“It was when I started, and now I have more than 120,000 followers,” said Wesley, who established himself as an influencer on the platform within seven months.
Wesley’s online show business kicked off almost at a time when the country’s COVID-19 pandemic set in. Ghana recorded its index case on March 12, and a raft of measures including a partial lockdown was followed to curb the spread of the virus.
As people were advised to stay indoors, more of them turned to the internet for work and entertainment. Since then, Ghana’s online grass-root comics have seen increasing popularity.
“About that time, we saw a lot of faces on TikTok, and we have become good friends by helping each other in producing content,” said Wesley, who is also a chef in real life.
Wesley preferred calling the local comedians who popped up after the coronavirus “a new generation”.
For him, those new comedians who are from all walks of life have been willing to show and share regardless of bias.
Besides the popular “female” character, Wesley has been trying to create various roles online, such as a spoiled child who was reluctant to share food with his sister and an energetic young man that likes showing off his dance.
“I have been trying to mimic these people in real life, and I believe what makes my content special is my facial expressions are on point,” said he.
Warren Appiah, a 26-year-old Ghanaian comedian, said he was proud to be a member of the so-called “new generation”.
Being a school drama activist before, Warren currently focused on posting amusing videos on social media platforms, and he described the job as being “interesting but stressful”.
“Sometimes we did our videos early in the morning, and we wanted everything to be perfect, then we tried almost 10 times to complete one,” said Warren.
Following months’ tough measures against the pandemic, many African countries, Ghana included, have come to ease restrictions on residents’ activities, yet safety protocols are still widely required.
Wesley said while a growing number of people have taken the new media as their new sources of entertainment, more and more locals are joining in TikTok in the meantime, which requires online video producers to diversify their content for more attention.
“I am hoping that I could go international with this platform, and I don’t just want to use it for fun,” Wesley said, adding that he also hopes the exposure online could open new doors for his acting career.
“We are all hoping for the best,” Warren added.