One notable thing is the song is a shift from Wendy Shay‘s typical style, which predominantly features heartbreak songs, and rather focused on a topic that’s been on everyone’s minds – the state of the economy.
Before diving into a content analysis, one can’t help but notice the video’s aesthetics. Rufftown Records deserves commendation for their video’s quality. It’s simple yet engaging, portraying the lives of ordinary Ghanaians as Wendy Shay interacts with them and sings about the struggles they face in an unforgiving economy.
Despite the seriousness of the message, the video carries a somewhat positive tone. The brightness of the quality as well as the upbeat tempo creates some sense of contrast.
Hidden within the beat and Wendy’s interactions with the cast, there’s a sense of hope that things will improve.
Now, let’s delve into the content.
The song bears some resemblance to Barima Sidney’s 2011 piece, ‘African Money.’ Sidney’s fast-tempo, five-minute song was produced by Morris Babyface who also featured on the song. The piece conveyed a strong message criticizing the growing acts of corruption, mismanagement, and politicians getting richer at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian. It was titled ‘African Money’ and featured the phrase ‘Nyafun Nyafun’ as part of the chorus.
In under two minutes, Wendy Shay, using a slow-tempo approach in the 2023 song, manages to deliver a barrage of criticism and subtle references to the current government.
One major point of interest is the line, “Africa money na everyone dey chop oo (Nyafu Nyafu).” The term “Nyafun Nyafun” is Nigerian slang for “plenty” or “abundance.” Wendy Shay‘s follow-up clarifies that “everyone” includes the president and the government, insinuating their involvement in looting assets belonging to African countries.
Another notable moment is the reference to “Aunty Cici.” In her first verse, Wendy Shay says, “Aunty Cici nso da paa, osore a sika nkoaa.” To wit: ‘Auntie Ceci sleeps a lot; when she wakes up lots of money’.
It could be interpreted in two ways – an individual named Aunty Cici going to sleep while thinking about money or as a jab at the embattled former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, who faces prosecution due to the discovery of what has been described as unexplained cash at her residence and in her bank accounts.
In any case, “Africa Money” represents a fresh direction for Wendy Shay, departing from her typical style and offering unfiltered commentary on the state of the country’s economy.
It’s a narrative of hardships, a critique of those in power who prioritize consumption, and, most importantly, a story of survival – even in the face of adversity.
But one last notable fact, during the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protests, many artistes were called upon to lend their voices to the protest. Many did, others didn’t; citing that they already protested through their music.
But Wendy Shay is out with a song that doesn’t hide its criticism, leaving one to ask; will she take over Sarkodie as the queen of protest music?