The movie industries in Ghana (Ghollywood) and Nigeria (Nollywood) abound with numerous talented and creative individuals which the continent boasts of. Even though Ghollywood isn’t as developed as Nollywood, Ghanian actors and actresses didn’t recline on the redundancy of their movie industry, rather they sought greener pastures in many other movie industries the most notable of which is Nollywood, and today, it is no doubt that some popular Ghanian actors and actresses got their career breakthroughs in Nollywood.
1. Majid Michel
Majid Michel is somewhat a controversial Ghanaian actor who got into the Nigerian movie industry during the time Frank Rajah Arase and Abdul Salam Mumuni of Venus Films Ghana signed a contract that basically involved introducing Ghanaian actors into the mainstream Nigerian film industry and turning them into stars like their Nigerian counterparts. Majid was a beneficiary in this scheme which saw him feature in several Nollywood movies like Crime to Christ (2007), Agony of Christ (2008), Guilty Pleasures (2009), Heart of Men (2009), Emerald (2009), The Game (2010), and Bursting Out (2010) amongst others.
However, the movie that launched Majid’s career in Nollywood was Silent Scandals (2009). In the movie, he starred alongside Genevieve Nnaji and after an outstanding performance, he won the hearts of many Nollywood fans as well as stealing a spot in the limelight. However, towards the end of 2010, the actor took a break from Nollywood after he reportedly received death threats from some Nigerian actors for getting too many jobs. During this time, he returned to act in Ghana, where he featured in movies like 4 Play (2010) and the sequel, 4 Play Reloaded (2011) among several others. But he resurfaced in Nollywood featuring in several top productions including 2014, all-time blockbuster 30 Days in Atlanta, which got listed as one of the highest box office grosser of the year.
2. Van Vicker
This handsome actor was born in Ghana and started out his career in entertainment with Groove FM as a radio presenter. Van Vicker gradually began to act and got roles in some Ghanaian blockbusters. He debuted as a supporting actor in the film, Divine Love which coincidentally featured fellow then-upcoming actors/ess like, Jackie Appiah and Majid Michel who were cast as the female and male lead respectively.
Moreover, Vicker is mostly stereotypically cast in a romantic role and has been likened to Nigerian Ramsey Noah in this regard. This has earned him spots in several romantic Nollywood films alongside prominent Nollywood stars, like Jim Iyke, Mercy Johnson, Chika Ike, Tonto Dikeh, and Stephanie Okereke. Some of his Nollywood movie credits are Heart of Fire, Discovered, Popular King, Gambling with Marriage, Harvest of Love, Stolen Will, Against the law, and My Soul Mate.
3. Jackie Appiah
The beautiful Canadian born Ghanaian actress has featured in quite a number of Nollywood movies. Fans have been drawn by her stunning looks and performances. Moreover, she was already well known in Ghana before she appeared in any Nollywood movies as it is gathered that she kickstarted her acting career in notable Ghanaian TV series like Things We Do For Love. Some of her movie roles include Beyoncé – The President Daughter, Princess Tyra, Passion of the Soul, Pretty Queen, The Prince’s Bride, The King is Mine The Perfect Picture.
With regard to the Nigerian film industry, the most notable of her Nollywood films include Black Soul, The Last Wedding, and Bitter Blessing. She has acted alongside Nollywood actors like Ramsey Noah and Emeka Ike to mention a few.
4. Nadia Buari
The beautiful actress has been very active in the Ghanaian movie industry while in university and made her debut as an actress in the Ghanian TV series, Games People Play (2005). She then went on to appear as Beyonce in Beyonce: The President’s Daughter which earned her a lot of recognition.
Around 2008, she began to feature in Nollywood films. Her breakthrough role in the Nigerian movie industry was in the film titled, Beyonce & Rihanna in which she also featured as Beyonce alongside Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde who featured as Rihanna. The movie became very popular in Ghana and Nigeria which launched her into the limelight in Nollywood. Buari is also known for co-starring in Nollywood films alongside actor Jim Iyke, and over the years, they have received lots of attention together as they even dated at some point.
Some of her other notable Nollywood movies include Rough Rider, Hot Romance Beauty, the Beast, Behind a Smile, Holding Hope, Single and Married, among others. More so, in recognition of her efforts in Nollywood, she won the 2013 Pan African Actress award at the annual (NEA Awards) Nigerian Entertainment Awards which held in New York City.
Yvonne Nelson is a very talented Ghanaian actress and model who has grown to become an entrepreneur and film producer. Her foray into the entertainment industry started in modeling and she is renowned as a past Miss Ghana contestant from the 2005 Miss Ghana Beauty Pageant. However, she would later switch her preference to acting featuring in films likes Princess Tyra and Playboy.
Apart from her prominence in Ghanian movies, Nelson is also one of the few Ghanaian movie acts who found fame in Nollywood. She made several appearances in a Nollywood movie featuring established Nollywood stars like Genevieve Nnaji. Some of her notable works include Single and Married (2012), House of Gold (2013), In April (2016), and Swings (20117) among a long list.
6. John Dumelo
John Dumelo is a homebred Ghanaian actor who started acting in the 1990s. He has featured in several Ghanaian movies and established himself as an actor before testing the waters in Nollywood. He featured in a lead role in the 2010 Nollywood movie titled, The Maiden which earned him a nomination for ‘Best Actor’ in the leading role by ‘Best of Nollywood Awards’. Some of his other notable Nollywood movie credits are Hearts of Men (2009), 4 Play (2010), The Game, Men in love (2010), One Night in Vegas (2013), A Northern Affair (2014) amongst others.
7. Joselyn Dumas
Joselyn who studied law in the United States relocated to Ghana in 2009 to pursue her dream of being a television personality. She eventually became a seasoned television host, actress, and broadcaster. She ventured into acting in 2009 with a role in the movie Perfect Picture. Her performance left a lasting impression on the director who later invited her for subsequent key roles.
Over the years, Joselyn Dumas has starred alongside several prominent actors in the Ghanaian and Nigerian movie industry including OC Ukeje of Nollywood. Some of her Nollywood credits include Lekki Wives (Season 2, 2014), A Northern Affair, Love or Something Like That (2014), Potato Potahto (2017), and Cold Feet (2019).
8. Juliet Ibrahim
Juliet Ibrahim is a very beautiful woman who has been dubbed “Most Beautiful West African Woman” according to A-listers Magazine. She is of Ghanaian-Liberian and Lebanese descent and is a well-celebrated actress in Ghana and Nigeria. She made her debut in the Ghana movie industry in 2005 starring alongside Majid Michel in the film, Crime to Christ. Two years later, she was seen in the film, In The Eyes of My Husband.
In 2008, she appeared in her first Nollywood film which was titled, Yankee Boys and she has gone ahead to feature in more than 50 films since then. Some of her notable movie roles are in films like Losing You (2008), Royal Storm (2009), Restore My Love (2009), Beautiful King (2009), Princess Rihanna (2010), Millions (2010), 30 Days in Atlanta (2014), 10 Days in Sun City (2016), London Fever (2016) and several others which have earned her a lot of popularity.
9. Chris Attoh
Chris Attoh is popular as an Actor, Television presenter, and On-air Personality. His most notable role as an actor is “Kwame Mensah” in the Nigerian soap TV series, Tinsel. Moreover, Chris has featured in mainly Nigerian movies for the major part of his career. Some of them are Journey to Self (2012), Single and Married (2012), Flower Girl (2013), A Trip to Jamaica (2016), and Sylvia (2018). He has also featured in the popular TV series, Shuga (season 3) from 2013 to 2015.
10. Yvonne Okoro
Born in Ghana to a Ghanaian mother and Nigerian father, Yvonne has always referred to herself as an African through and true. She showed interest in acting from a very young age and attended the University of Ghana, Legon to study English and Linguistics. The stunning actress made her debut on screen in the film, Sticking to the Promise (2002) just after her Senior High Education. The movie was produced by Nigerian producer Theo Akatugba.
As of now, Yvonne has her feet firmly planted in the Ghanaian and Nigerian film industry. Some of her notable movie credits include Queen Lateefah, Mother’s love, Beyonce: The President’s Daughter, The Return Of Beyonce, The President’s Daughter, The Game, Agony Of Christ, Royal Battle, Queen Of Dreams, Pool Party, Single Six, and Rebecca amongst several others.
11. Selassie Ibrahim
Alongside being an actress, Selassie is a film producer and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Smarttys Management and Production. This seasoned actress who started acting in the 90s has featured in Ghanaian films as well as Nigerian films. She has starred in various productions that were produced in Nigeria for IROKOtv notable among them are Baby Palaver, and Her Mother’s Man, a movie directed by Desmond Elliott. She is among the main cast in the TV series Entrapped (2017) in which she starred alongside Ramsey Noah. She has also featured alongside Uche Jombo, John Dumelo, Shafy Bello, and Freddie Leonard in several other productions. More so, in her recently produced film, 40 Looks Good On You (2019), Selassie starred alongside Roselyn Ngissah
12. Kofi Adjorlolo
For someone who began his career in the entertainment industry as a musician, Kofi has really come a long way. When he was in his 20s, he traveled to Nigeria and played with renowned musicians like Victor Uwaifo (Joromi crooner). He didn’t join the movie industry until 2003. He has featured in several works with Nollywood ties. Some of them include Heart of Men (2009), Ties that Bind (2011), Somewhere in Africa (2011), Single and Married (2012), A Northern Affair (2014), Code of Silence (2015), Falling (2015), Ghana Must Go (2016) and several others.
13. Martha Ankomah
The beautiful actress can be mentioned as one of the actresses who got their big break in Nollywood considering the fact that she was a contestant in the reality show Next Movie Star which is centered around discovering and showcasing new talents in the acting profession. The show which was created by Sola Fajobi in 2004 has grown to have representation from 10 African countries. Martha was on the show in 2007 where she placed 3rd. She has been an ambassador for Globacom since 2018 and has featured in movies like Suncity, Heart of Men, Somewhere in Africa, Sugar Town, All that Glitters, Where is your Mobile?, Power of the gods, and several others.
14. Beverly Afaglo
Beverly is an actress and television presenter. In 2010, she won the Best Actress in Comedy award by Terracotta Awards (Nigeria) for her role in the movie, About to Wed. Some other notable credits in Nollywood include The Game (2010) and A Northern Affair (2014). Beyond Nollywood, her other film credits include Return of Beyonce, Crime to Christ, Prince’s Bride, Never Again, Single Six, Bachelor’s, Equatorial Escape, The King’s Bride, Total Exchange, Girls Connection, and several others.
15. Koby Maxwell
Even though Koby is a Ghanaian who resides in the United States, he has always had a strong interest in Nollywood than Ghollywood. He ventured into film production in 2010 after he hired a US film production company to produce his first Nollywood feature film, titled Paparazzi Eye in the Dark. Asides from being the executive producer, he starred in the film alongside Van Vicker, Tchidi Chikere, Syr Law, and Chet Anekwe. In 2013, he produced and featured in the Nigerian Comedy, One Night in Vegas. The film was well received and won several awards and nominations.
Koby, later on, started producing a show on the North American TV channel ABC2 called Nollyhot TV in 2016. The show basically captures interesting events and happenings within Nollywood and the Nigerian entertainment industry for an American audience. As of now, Nollyhot TV is broadcast on two other channels in the U.S.
What Distinguishes Nollywood From Ghollywood?
Unlike its Ghanaian counterpart, the Nigerian film industry is regarded as the second largest in terms of annual film production after India’s Bollywood. This milestone was a gradual process that started far back in time with persistence, the industry grew to become a leader in producing home videos. By the early 2000s, the popularity of Nigerian films has gone beyond the borders of the country.
It was during this time that the uprising Ghanaian film industry decided to tap into the opportunity. The Ghanaian film company Venus Films headed by Abdul Salam Mumuni proposed a two-year-long contract to the renowned Nigerian film director, Rajah Arase that required turning Ghanaian actors into stars like their Nigerian counterparts by introducing them into Nollywood. This pact proved to be very successful as it marked the rise of stars like Jackie Appiah, Majid Michel, Van Vicker, Kofi Adjorolo, Nadia Buari, and John Dumelo amongst several others.