June 2011


Ghanaian Musician: Wanlov The Kubolor

 

Wanlov The Kubolor has a video out called “For the River (Bathe in the River)” which tackles the issue of water pollution.

The song which is inspired by Hollie Smith’s “Bathe in the River” takes a real look at the issue of water systems in Ghana becoming dumping grounds. 

With his gift for creativity, Kubolor makes “For the River” a catchy tune for listeners while addressing the important state of water in Ghana, due to pollution from individuals and corporations alike, who dump items such as plastic bags or electronic waste.

For the River  was chosen as the official video for  The Environmental Film Festival of Accra which took place June 7th– June 19th.

SO WHAT ARE YOU!

Recently I watched the movie “From Prada to Nada”. It’s a movie based on Jane Austen’s novel “Sense and Sensibility”, but with a Latin twist on the story.

One part of the movie had me thinking a lot about who I am, and what I consider to be my culture/heritage. In one scene the character Mary was asked about her love interest if she was Mexican and she replies by saying “No my parents are”, which leads her love interest asks her “so what are you?”

So what are you? That is a question many of us have been asked at least once in our lives. Being born outside of Ghana can make it difficult to answer that question. Trust me I use to struggle with the answer to give to that question. I use to have a hard time explaining myself as I was born in Europe, raised in Canada and have parents who are from Ghana.

Sometimes you don’t know exactly who you are. You fit in with the culture of the land you live in but also have traits that stand out from others and show that you are very much African.

Growing up in Canada was not always easy. At school and in the neighbourhood there were times when other kids would make fun of me for being African. Horrible names would be used to hurt my feelings, names that even at my age I still remember like it were yesterday. The name I hated the most was African Bum Cleaner. To this day I have no idea what that was suppose to mean, but as a young child it just hurt to be taunted or mocked.  Another thing that hurt was to be told lies about your culture and country. Kids would say things about Africans living with lions, riding elephants and sleeping in trees.  And I would just be hurt. I have no other word to explain it except hurt, deeply hurt.

Let’s face it kids can be mean and cruel. The taunts would be too much sometimes that I would go home in tears and tell my mother about what the kids were saying about me being African. She of course would get mad and tell me the kids were stupid and that I should ignore them. She would tell me that Ghana was not like what they were saying. My mother would tell me the beauty of Ghana and her people and that I should never be ashamed but proud that I was Ghanaian.

So I decided to take my mother’s advice and embrace my culture and the beauty of Ghana. Some African kids couldn’t handle the taunts and decided to not embrace being Ghanaian. When asked where they were from they would say Canada (which wasn’t a lie since lots of them were born here). Yet when asked where their parents were from I saw many kids lie and say other countries like Barbados or Jamaica.

Being African just wasn’t acceptable to them. Being African meant you had to deal with taunts and stupid remarks about not having clothes to wear and have monkeys for pets. Therefore lying about their background/heritage was the only option they felt they had.

I recently came across a short film that dealt with the issue of struggling between two identities titled “Africa Booty Scratcher” .

I loved watching this short film. It brought back memories of struggling with both identities and how to embrace them both.

As the years have gone by I no longer have a problem embracing both my Canadian and Ghanaian cultures, although if you ask some people I’m more Ghanaian than I am Canadian.  I decided that there are many parts to my life that make me a whole person. If I had decided long ago to hide one part of myself I would never be as satisfied as I am right now with myself.  Some days I’m very Canadian in my thinking and behaviour but on other days I’m very Ghanaian in my beliefs, but I never let one hinder the other from existing.

Let us know if  you’ve had any similar experiences at www.mefirighana.com/blog and share your thoughts.

Daniela Domfeh

WANNA BE A STAR! – Casting for a Film

CASTING FOR FEATURE FILM  

The BBC are currently casting for a feature film and are looking for a Ghanaian boy (aged 11 – 14yrs) and Ghanaian girl (15-16 yrs) to play the lead roles.  The BBC are ideally looking for a boy and girl who have lived in the UK for less than 18 months or still have a Ghanaian accent. 

If you fit the brief then please come along to our open casting on Saturday 2nd July at the Bernie Grant Centre, Town Hall Approach N15 4RX between 12.00 and 6.00pm  

The BBC are specifically looking for Ghanaian people, so please do not come along if you are not of Ghanaian descent. At this stage it will just be an informal chat on camera where we get to meet you and tell you more about the project, for those who go onto be in the film, it will be fully paid work.  

The BBC say that they cannot stress enough that; NO PREVIOUS ACTING EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY (just a willingness to come along and try out, nothing ventured nothing gained.)

Des Hamilton Casting are known in the industry for launching the careers of kids and adults who have never acted before, most notably Thomas Turgoose in ‘This is England’.  Other recent credits include ‘The Firm’, ‘Bronson’ and ‘Four Lions’.  

For further information visit www.deshamilton.com or call 0207 253 5558 or email sophie@deshamilton.com

Ghanaian Culture: GHANA, Sweet Paradise

OK guys,

This Blog Strictly talks about the SWEET, Creation of our Home Town Ghana!!

I will be sharing my Feelings of experiences I had when I visited GHANA with you all.

I remember when the pilot placed his wheels of the plane delicately onto the ground and everyone on the plane clapping away & praising the Pilot and Thanking GOD.

I remember when I first set foot in the homeland I was standing on the verge of the plane steps just about to take the next step, when Ghana welcomed me with a slap of Humidity.

 I remember when I entered Accra Airport, and witnessed  the immigration officers sadly blackmailing my family, of either giving them a tip, or else Bags will be  Ceased.

I remember when I set foot out of Accra Airport, I witnessed  an army of Ghanaian citizens scrambling towards any traveller exiting the airport, pleading to assist with luggage.Then later on, requesting for A Tip!!

I remember walking through the crowds of Ghanaians and never understanding how they GLARED so hard without embarrassment.

I remember sitting on the Coach OA, from Accra- Kumasi and observed the children who sell their products away by banging on the windows.

I remember when

Parry Time -An oldie but a goodie

Old skool Daddy Lumba

Share your favourite memories of this song here at Me Firi Ghana.com.

You know how it goes aunties and uncles telling you to dance promising the winner gets £1, you dance so hard till your feet hurt, doing the running man with all your strength yet you never ever get that £1 how annoying.

Cheryl Hudson: Blog 1 – The Journey Back Home!

A young womans diary of making that transition from the western world to the west of Africa.

Settling In

Hi I’m Cheryl, I’m 25 and I’m a Fanti. I’m coming to Ghana for a few months to prepare for my forthcoming wedding. Being here for a few months on my own is a first in both instances. I’ve usually only ever come with family for a month at a time. I’m getting to experience Ghana in a new way.

What I love about here is that there’s so much to do! You can never get bored. You can relax all day under the sun and still feel exhausted or you can go explore the attractions. One thing you are certain of is the atmosphere buzzing with hustle and bustle. The streets filled with sellers carrying purchase items. People are hustling you to buy their clock or their PK gum just so they have enough to live on. We can’t forget that there is poverty here, and it’s a reality for many people.

Settling in was tough. Trying to integrate into the society proved a lot more difficult than I had imagined. People looked at me up and down in my Primark clothes as if I was wearing Fendi or Gucci. As soon as I spoke, my South London accent fell onto their ears like a foghorn. They just looked at me and blanked me. Ghanaians can be ill-mannered with a poor level of understanding.

As I stood taking pictures of the beautiful savannah plains, they would watch me as if to say, “Why am I taking pictures of Ghana/Africa?” either that or they were thinking how much if they could reach the camera it would go for.

I think sometimes that some of the bad manners are due to insecurities.

I’ve found out many truths since being here. Like, culture in Ghana is sometimes misplaced. Tradition and morals are somewhere in the 1500’s and yet the American/Western influence here is undeniable.Women are expected to behave and look a certain way. Most are shunning these prehistoric attitudes in favour of the more liberal Westernised view. They would rather wear jeans and a halter neck top instead of the traditional African bubu and gele. The Accra Mall at Tetteh Quashie is super popular with tourists and locals alike frequenting the spot which hosts Shoprite and Rhapsody’s amongst others. Here you will find a cross section of what modern Ghanaian society really looks like.

Professionally, I am an International Politics graduate with a major in War and Peace studies. I wanted to see what Ghana has contributed in terms of peace in Africa. I went to the refugee camp for Liberians, Buduburam just past Kasoa about 1 hour outside Accra. I travelled via trotro which was my first experience (strangely enough, I quite like it). The conditions at the camp were bad though. All that they wanted was a better future for themselves. I’m hoping to continue working more with them in collaboration with the United Nations.

Michael Essien held a football match, “Peace in AfricaAfrica Vs the World that I went to watch at Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra (nr Liberation Square).

Michael-Essien

Michael-Essien

For about a fiver a ticket, the place was packed with fans and spectators people even getting tasered by the police. Other than that it was a good day, and a great atmosphere, with the crowds upbeat attitude. Footballers included Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, Freddie Ljungberg and Paolo Maldini.

I’ve never been to a live football match before and being as it was my first experience of live premier league action it was great.I loved seeing Asamoah Gyan aka Babyjet do his thing at half time with Castro. Also, Hi-life legend Kwabena Kwabena sang great. Proper authentic old school Hi-life. All was going great until the heavens decided to open up and completely massacre the stadium. We were drenched. People were sprinting to the nearest shelter but my fiancé and I stayed at our seats. I had to stand on the seat because the rains were about 6 inches deep and ruining my challewatey. The pitch was also desecrated. They would kick the ball and it would land about 1cm infront of them. You could tell that they were really trying their hardest and so we kept on supporting. I kept blowing that horn! All in the name of Peace.

It’s a shame Africa lost by 4 goals to 2. We had to drive back completely soaking wet and cold not to mention 2 goals down. That was quite demoralizing..

It’s great when Ghanaian’s come together. You can really see the magic we create together. It’s one that makes you turn around and let someone know that “Me Firi Ghana”.

We have come really far as a nation and should be proud of our achievements and should continue to strive to bigger and better heights.

How can we as individuals be proactive to help create positive change in Ghana?

Xx Cheryl xX

To find out what happens next in Cheryl’s story please keep on logging on to www.mefirighana.com/blog and be a part of making Ghana relevant.

ME FIRI GHANA NEEDS YOU!

Are you interested in writing, blogging or do you just have an opinion? If the answer is yes then why not get in contact about the joining the team. We’re looking for writers and contributors who are passionate about Ghana and most importantly have something to say. If you’re ticking all the boxes and are interested then drop me an email at

Audrey@mefirighana.comwith an example of your work, an interesting blog post, or just a few words about why you want to be involved and be a part of making Ghana Relevant. Best of Luck

Ghana Party in the Park

All right guys, we are 2 months away from the The Big UK Ghanaian event, only coming round once a year. This event is for an audience of diversity, brings together Not only Ghanaians but Africans in general. This is an event to find a friend, to find your friends or even to join your family. This event is a the event which commemorates, GHANA:
What Ghana is!
How we celebrate!
How we eat!
How we dress!
How we sing!
How we dance!
How we talk!

If you wanna find any of the above, you need to come to this event wearing your Me FiRi GHANA Clothing:
Ladieswear: http://www.mefirighana.com/index.php?p=shop&c=womens
Menswear: http://www.mefirighana.com/index.php?p=shop&c=mens

Ghana Party in the Park, is literally a party in the park you’ll see beautiful faces, delicious food, Sexy outfits from our traditional kente’s through to Entuma’s, you’ll view our flags everywhere, you’ll hear the vibrant

Meet Ama K Abebrese

Ama K. Abebrese is a British television presenter, producer and actress of Ghanaian origin. In 2011 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Abebrese began her training at ‘Youth Culture Television’ in London, an organisation started by Sabrina Guinness on the TV show Challenge Anneka. She was a presenter on BBC2’s youth show Pass da Mic and the English File educational series.[3] Abebrese was a regular TV presenter on OBE TV, hosting and producing on a number of shows including One Touch, and the entertainment chat show On The Sofa, where guests she has interviewed range from Akon to Ziggy Marley.

Not to forget she has the whole package, she is also a trained actor, Ama K, has featured as part of the Lyric Theatre summer company in the play ‘Chinese Whispers’ on the London stage. She also portrayed the lead female role in the short play Three Nights at the Diroma Theatre in London. She played a cameo role in the 2006 African film London Get Problem.

An accomplished television producer Ama K’s co-producing credits include Fresh Act, a reality television show format that sought to find actors and actresses for a TV drama, the first its kind to be produced on a UK Minority ethnic TV channel. She produced and presented in 2008 a six part series filmed on location in Johannesburg called South Africa Business Profile. She is also a producer on long standing shows One Touch and On the Sofa.

Final words… hmm this beautiful diva certainly stands out from the crowd, her bubbly character and wonderful persona just stuns us all, if you’ve see her do what she does best you certainly would agree with me. She is certainly doing us Ladies proud in today’s Ghana/uk modern industry.

By CLOUDIA

Ghanaian Food: Shito Goes With Everything!

I’ve decided to blog about this particular condiment because although I have always been aware of it. I have only recently been adding it to my dishes (I never really ate it as a child, and have discovered it goes nicely with a bit of kenkey & Fish!

The condiment I speak of; is course Shito ! a big favourite in many Ghanaian homes. You are certain to find this in the fridges or cupboards of many a Ghanaian due to its versatility.
Shitor Din, commonly called Shito is the word for pepper in the native language (Ga) of the capital Accra. Whilst the word for pepper is different for each of the Ghanaian native languages, the word ‘Shito’ is widely used as the name for the hot black pepper sauce ubiquitous in Ghanaian cuisine.
Shito sauce consists primarily of fish oil and/or vegetable oil, ginger, dried fish and/or crustaceans, tomatoes, garlic and spices. The blend of spices and fish differs between different regions and villages.
In Ghana, shito is used with a variety of dishes. These include kenkey, steamed rice, eba and waakye (rice and beans). Indeed its uses have been adapted to that of a local ketchup and/or chili oil. It is not uncommon to find shito being eaten with white bread or spring rolls. In most Chinese restaurants across Ghana, shito replaces hot oil as a condiment to fried rice.
So as you can see Shito can and is eaten with just about anything!
Thus here’s what I want from you (the blog readers). Let us know what you have eaten shito with or what you think it goes best with? Recently a friend told me she used it as dip for Doritos tortilla chips! Can you beat that? I want to hear from you.
Don’t be shy, it’s time for all the shito lovers to stand up and be counted!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi