Sakawa – the business of con

Sakawa – the business of con

Khaka Ngcofe finds the story behind the scam gap

It is no secret that there’s an economic gap between third world and first world countries, especially between white and black people. Many African people resort to illegal methods including swindling money from wealthy white people as a method of survival because of their impoverished conditions.
Sakawa, meaning illegal practices in Ghanaian terms. Sakawa is a Ghanaian word for internet fraud schemes that are often combined with religious rituals. Directed by Belgian-Ghanaian Ben Asamoah, follows the lives of young men and women who resort to internet fraud as a means of survival. Asamoah takes ‘a fly on the wall’ observational everything to unfold and for us to formulate our own conclusions.

The film shows the conditions the subjects live under and introduces us to their day to day struggles. Over a few drinks and smokes these young men and women sit glued all-day on their screens hoping their ‘preys’ will pull through to salvage them from their destitute lives. Letters, sexting, call calls and false promises normally do the con trick on these lonely European or American men but things don’t always go their way and there’s more to this job than meets the eye…
The film tackles the conditions many Africans live under even in the post-colonial era and exposes the economic gap between whites and blacks. We witness the behind the scenes lives of criminals and the extent some lonely men go to for sexual release by focusing on the lives of a small group of Ghanaian fraudsters. As much as it documents the issue around the dangers of technology, e-waste and interesting issues the ending remains flat.

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