Otterbein Alumna Returns to Campus to Showcase Her African Roots through Film
Posted Feb 20, 2023
By Erica Bush ’25
Claudia Owusu ’19 recently returned to campus to showcase her short film, “Ampe: Leap into the Sky, Black Girl,” to the Otterbein community.
The film screening, hosted by Otterbein’s Department of English and Race and Ethnic Studies Program, also included a talk-back session with “Ampe: Leap into the Sky, Black Girl” co-directors, Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide.
The short film goes back and forth between two sister cities: Columbus, Ohio, and Accra, Ghana. It focuses on two groups of girls and young women in both cities as they reflect on their Ghanaian heritage, community and girlhood through the game Ampe.
Ampe is a high-energy game played by children in Ghana, West Africa. Although it seems like a simple game with clapping, jumping, and cheering, it signifies much more.
Ampe can be played with any amount of people and requires no equipment, making it accessible for everyone. Each team has a leading player, referred to as the “mother,” who encourages the rest of their team. When thinking about how bold and daring Ghanaian girls are when playing Ampe, Owusu thought about those same girls as they live out every other part of their lives.
During the talk-back session after screening of the film, audience members had the chance to share their thoughts on the film as well as ask the co-directors questions about the game of Ampe and the community built from Ampe.
“I only have one criticism,” one audience member said after finishing the film. “I wanted it to keep going. You have a gem here.”
Owusu and Oluwamuyide both spoke to the audience about how playing ampe offers Ghanaian women and girls a safe space to connect with other Ghanaian women and girls and truly be themselves. They said they both could feel the spiral connection between players while filming.
Moving forward, Owusu and Oluwamuyide are looking into multimedia options to continue to tell the story of the community built by ampe but are still currently working on the distribution of “Ampe: Leap into the Sky, Black Girl.”
At the end of the talk back session, Owusu thanked Otterbein’s professors for allowing her to follow her interests and passions while she was an Otterbein student. She wants current students to keep following their heart and to keep experimenting.
While at Otterbein, Owusu studied English creative writing with minors in film studies and race and ethnic studies. Outside the classroom, she was involved in the African American Student Union (AASU), Sigma Tau Delta, and Quiz and Quill. She also served as a peer mentor, a resident assistant, and NEST Mentor, sang in the gospel choir, and worked at the writing center.
You can learn more about Owusu and the film at ampefilm.com.