This Inspiring Doc Has Ghana’s Youth Jumping to New Heights

We spoke with co-directors Claudia Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide on their short film ode to the girlhood Ghanaian game ‘Ampe’.

Longtime friends and collaborators Claudia Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide have set the intention to make space for Black girl joy in mainstream media. And the Columbus, Ohio-based West African duo are doing so through their debut short film Ampe: Leap into The Sky, Black Girl. Ghanaian-American Owusu introduced Nigerian-American Oluwamuyide to the childhood game ‘Ampe’, and the two creators set their sights on highlighting the beauty within girlhood in West Africa.

‘Ampe’ is considered to be of Ghanaian descent, though various versions of the game exist across the continent. The girls split themselves into two teams of high-jumping, power-kicking badasses, intended on defeating the frenemy in front of them. Each one is set up with an opponent and tasked with out-jumping and out-guessing each other’s kicks. The girls are armed with a hearty dose of competitiveness and fancy footwork and will have no qualms about outdoing their besties. There are no friends in the game of ‘Ampe’.

Boys are allowed to play, but the game is set for empowering girls and belongs to the ladies. It’s seen as a coming-of-age activity and a powerful tool for building community – and self-esteem. Owusu and Oluwamuyide’s narrative documentary illustrates the game’s ability to push young girls into believing in their own power and demanding space in a world that encourages them to shrink themselves. The short film features a series of intimate conversations between women of all ages – ranging from primary school girls to leaders of female sports in Ghana.


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