May 2011


Mokola Market Love it or hate it?

 

I’ve always wanted to blog on this so here goes;

The hustle and bustle of Mokola market is truly a sight to behold, narrow streets, market stalls and gridlock traffic! I’ve seen a marketplace so busy in my life, I’ve visited Mokola a few times the first as a small boy and when I hated the experience, however more recently in January 2011 I actually enjoyed the experience.

For those of you who do not know about this market; Mokola is a renowned market place and shopping district in the centre of the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana. The market, dominated by women traders, sells fresh produce, manufactured and imported foods, clothes, shoes, tools, medicines, and pots and pans. Makola Market is currently under the observation of Transaid, which is developing a project Transport and Trade for Market Women, which is designed to improve the livelihoods and security of female market traders through the development of Women’s Transports Co-operatives in Accra.

Presently most women use “tro-tros”, (passenger mini-buses or taxis) to fetch their goods to market. The co-operatives aim to reduce transport costs, bringing economic benefit, and providing a fast, reliable and secure means of transporting their goods for the female traders at Makola.

As I’ve mentioned before this shopping area is incredibly busy and makes places like Wembley and Portobello road market in London look like small gatherings. So if you’re claustrophobic then believe me this is not the place for you.

However I would really like to hear a few second opinions on this one. So what are your thoughts people?

If you have been leave a comment and let us know how you found your Mokola experience!. If you haven’t been would you like to go on based on what has just been said?

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi

Ghanaian Celebrity: June Sarpong

This month’s profile is a TV/radio personality who was at the forefront of urban youth TV programmes during my teenage years.  In era where “dark skin” women were not shown much love on TV she was a pioneer of the “young black female presenter”, here’s her story;

Sarpong was born in London to Ghanaian parents. She was educated at Connaught Girls School in Leytonstone and Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow. She began her media career with Kiss 100 and later became an MTV UK & Ireland presenter (MTV Dance Floor Chart and MTV Select show). As the one of the female faces of Channel 4’s Sunday morning strand T4 for the last nine years, she interviewed Tony Blair for a T4 special, When Tony Met June which aired in January 2005. She also runs her own production company, Lipgloss Productions. Projects in development include a sitcom and a programme on climate change.

In recent years, Sarpong has presented other series including Your Face Or Mine?, a game show co-hosted with Jimmy Carr for E4; Dirty Laundry, an urban talk-show which was an original idea of Sarpong’s; Playing It Straight, a dating game-show filmed in Mexico for Channel 4, and Sarpong has presented the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party and the Party In The Park. Sarpong is a regular at the MOBO Awards and has presented them for three years in a row. She has also appeared on BBC Television’s Question Time, 8 out of 10 Cats, and Have I got news for you. She also has appeared on the programme, Never mind the buzzcocks and introduced reports on youth culture for This Week. In 2006 she hosted ITV2’s WAGs Boutique. Sarpong has also appeared on the third series of Bo Selecta…).

Sarpong is an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and also campaigns for the Make Poverty History movement. In April 2005 she visited Ghana to make a film for Make Poverty History. She also hosted the major Make Poverty History event in London’s Trafalgar Square in summer 2005 on behalf of Nelson Mandela and Bob Geldof. Also On 7 July 2007 Sarpong presented at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.

Probably her most significant honour to date came at the age of twenty nine and after six years as a broadcaster, she was awarded an MBE in the 2007 New Year Honours List for “services to broadcasting and charity”.

On 8 July 2008, Sarpong launched a new venture called Politics & the City, an attempt to bring politics and news to a new market. The site received a great deal of media coverage and some criticism. In March 2011 Lipgloss Productions registered huffingtonpost.co.uk, sparking speculation that she will helm the UK arm of the popular website.

Miss Sarpong has a pretty good resume. Although she is not as visible on screen nowadays, in terms of TV/radio presenting, June as near enough done it all and has an MBE and her own production company to show for it. 

So this Month, June Sarpong we salute you!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi

 

 

 

 

 

Ghanaian Culture: Is Ghana Not Good Enough?

 “So you came all the way to Ghana to do an internship? Why on earth would you do that?”

That was the question I was constantly asked on my first day at my 3 month internship in Ghana.

When I would introduce myself, my fellow co-workers were shocked to find out that I was from “abroad” and had decided to travel all that way to Ghana for an internship.

I had always dreamed about living and working in Ghana when I was older, so when the opportunity to do an internship was given to me I decided it was my chance to go back to the birth place of my parents   and see what it would be like to work and live in the motherland.

That first day at work I had to constantly explain to people why I had chosen to come all the way to Ghana. I had to explain to people my love for Ghana, that I believed Ghana provided great opportunities and that I knew I could excel in this great country.

After hearing my response to their questions, I would just get stares and more questions about the sanity of my decision to journey back home when there are supposedly millions of opportunities for me abroad.

This led me to wonder about how Ghanaians in Ghana and oversees viewed our home land. I kept wondering to myself if I was the only one that believed in Ghana and the possibilities she held.

But as I looked around Ghana, I saw that many people did believe in Ghana and what she could offer and lots of those people were foreigners, that came from the Diaspora or were investors from other countries.

This led me to the conclusion that the people who didn’t believe in Ghana the most were her own people both in the country and abroad.

Many people, including my own parents, left Ghana for greener pastures and better opportunities for themselves and their family, in places like Europe or North America.  They believed that it was the only way they could make it.

Now, I’m not writing this because I believe it is wrong to leave Ghana and everyone should stay there. I’m writing because I’m concerned about our perception of our own country.

Is it not possible to succeed in Ghana? Must we all leave in order to make something of ourselves? If that’s the case what about those who can’t leave, are they doomed to fail?

I recently spoke to a friend that is in Ghana and he said he wasn’t even thinking about leaving Ghana anytime soon. Unlike other young men his age who had dreams of traveling abroad he was focused on staying in Ghana and making a life for himself there.  He said he couldn’t picture himself leaving a country where he was flourishing.  His last words to me were, “if people can come to Ghana and succeed, why can’t the Ghanaian stay in his own country and make it?”

I understand that there are many factors like poverty, education and lack of employment that make it hard for many to succeed, but if many people have no faith in their country and are determined to leave who will stay around to make it better? Who will fix the problems?

So my question to you is, do you think Ghana is good enough?

By: Daniela Domfeh

SAKAWA BOYS SWITCH UP TRICKS !!

The boys have taken a bend round and have gone  a different direction this time, the skillfull youngsters of Ghana have moved fast, and seem to be getting bored of the cyber fraud, they have something new up their sleeves which people would not tend to fall for, but by the day, victims have fallen for the net, and these youngsters are getting cash in their pockets  day by  day.

With the incessant countless raid  after raid on the youngsters by the police, the Sakawa practitioners have switched up Ting’s smoothly. The Sakawa boys also seem to be using the government search for previous government  functionaries , who are in possession of state vehicles, they seem to be using this to their advantage in order to pose as members who are part of the security detail who have authority to carry out the exercise. In some incidence the smart minded boys  trail presidential convoys, dress in military uniforms and pose as members of the security personnel guarding the convoy, they do this to the highest degree where you will be fooled and not see them as suspicious.

There scandals involve targeting   any driver who is interrupting the smooth operation of the convoy , by threatening the driver by taking the individual to the castle if they object to settling  with them. Obviously this will involve huge sums of cash, nothing small.

In another incidence too, they disguise as  members of the anti- crime unit or squad off the Ghana police force or either the Ghana army and they can arrest anybody in which they suspect are prosperous, and so  can compel  large sums of money from their victims. Usually the alibi put up by the Sakawa practitioners in that  particular situation is the arrested  individual had been stated wanted by the security appratus.

The boys are usually witnessed wearing military and police uniforms and on the look out for people whose appearance give them up as wealthy so the boys can easily attack. They are often found hanging around Banks, Restaurants, Big Stalls like the Shop Rite or the Accra Mall.

Investigators who have studied  into these areas suggest that the boys hang around the areas because these seem to be the hotspots  where big buissness men, spenders or wealthy people go either to do shopping or business.

On one account ,  Joseph Adjiri, a 50+ businessman fell victim to the Sakawa mongers on a Friday. He was on his way to his office on the Liberia road at Adabraaka, a suburb of Accra, when a “young uniformed policeman around his mid 30’s forced open my car and jumped on to the front passenger seat and begun threatening me that I have crossed the convoy of his Excellency the Vice President and therefore demanded from me an amount of GH3500, or in default send me to the Castle”.

According to Mr. Adjiri, the incident took place at the traffic light near the AP filling station at Adabraka: “The traffic light was red, so all vehicles on the particular road, including mine had to stop. Suddenly the uniformed man opened my door and sat by me”.

“He took me to my office just around the same area and demanded that unless I paid the amount he was demanding he would have no choice than to take me to the Castle”, Mr. Adjiri stressed, adding that the “policeman”, who gave his name as Osei indicated that, he was taking the said amount because the security detail that was overseeing the special exercise was seven in number.

By any stretch then, the GH3500 would have been shared GH500 each among the seven people. The said Osei, Mr. Adjiri disclosed, “then started making calls that suggested that he had arrested the man who crossed the Vice President’s convoy and that in less than no time, he would bring him to the Castle for further action”, stressing that “he begun recording my particulars in a diary that he was holding”

Mr. Adjiri disclosed that Osei was not armed like other policemen on such exercise do, but however demanded that “I hand over my license to him’.

After persistent pleading, Mr. Adjiri said, Osei agreed to collect GH1000. He would however not agree to withdraw the cash himself and insisted that Mr. Adjiri did that.

“I took him to the Inter Continental Bank, around the Ohene Djan Stadium where I parked at the Bank’s car park, near the Stadium. I then went into the Bank and withdrew the cash Cheque and gave it to him, and later drove him to the Castle gate where he alighted, cross the road and went away”.

In another case, a relatively elderly man  was virtually bundled into a waiting car by some army uniformed Sakawa boys on the Achimota-Ofankor road some weeks ago. The impression given for the arrest of the man by the boys, who it is believed are in the 20’s was that the man had been declared wanted by the state security.

Although the man’s gestures easily gave up his innocence, no one could muster the courage to challenge the uniformed boys. To many onlookers, they were young recruits of the army performing special operational duties.

Almost all those who witnesses   watched in awe  and amazement as the man was bundled into the waiting vehicle being used by the Sakawa boys.

The victim disclosed to the paper that he did nothing wrong to warrant the “arrest” and that the boys in the army uniform were fraudsters who took from him the only GH600 that had left on him and asked him to go back.

He disclosed that he was not told of his offence and that while on the way, they asked him to bring all the monies he had on him of which he obliged. He then reported the incident to the Kwabenya police.

An onlooker who was not easily convinced about the scene reported the  incident to Peace FM. an Accra based private radio station.

 I feel  the youths of Ghana can do better, we should not think of our youths as all criminals,  we have the young aspiring footballers, doctors and musicians,and  they are the future.

Source from http://www.naijafeed.com/

Please feel free to share your opinions and thoughts

By cloudia