Heart of Gold

Documentary: 40 minutes. 2006. The living mythology of gold in Ghana.

Set in the Akim Abuakwa region of Ghana, Heart of Gold is a poetic documentary exploring the changing relationship people in the region have with gold. Traditionally considered to possess a spirit like any other sentient being, gold has played an imprtant part in the history and mythology of Ghana. This is still evident today, though this relationship is rapidly changing, as gold becomes a crucial part of the Ghanaian economy, controlled almost exclusively by multi-national companies.

By treating the mythology as equally factual as the observed empirical world, Heart of Gold is built on stories told by various people in the Akim Abuakwa region and these stories are woven together by an over-arching story of a young boy who finds a lump of gold in the river Brim and wonders what to do with it. This quest leads him to meet a number of people and have a number of experiences which enlighten us to the spiritual relationship that people still have to gold.

Featuring Kwasi Akufo as the boy, others appearing in the film include a retired jeweller, a chief’s elder spokeman, a fetish priestess, galamsay miners and other people from the small town of Kibi, situated in the heart of the region. Heart of Gold builds on some stylistic and thematic themes which Erik Knudsen first explored in his previous film set in Ghana, One Day Tafo.

While researching and shooting the film, Erik Knudsen wrote three reports which you can read on this site. Report one and two were written during his first research trip to Ghana, while report three covers the period of principal photography.

During the research for the film, Erik Knudsen conducted a number of interviews with people in the Kibi area of Ghana. These interviews formed the basis for the development of Heart of Gold and in some cases were creatively incorporated directly into the film. Below you will see a sample of these interviews:

Research Interview with Kwasi Akufo

Research Interview with Yaw Barima and Osei Hansen

Research Interview with Nana Afuakwa

Research Interview with Dr Dartey Kurmandzi

Research Interview with Dr Yao Graham