November 2011

My Ghanaian Name

Maclean Arthur Is My African Name

My full name at birth was Maclean Kwamena Holdbrooke Arthur! Yeah, that’s quite a mouthful so I have resorted to using Maclean Arthur these days. To many (with the omission of Kwamena) my name is as English sounding as an African’s name can get. I have been urged on many occasions by some “conscious” friends to adopt a more African name. They have done so themselves. They tell me they have been on a journey of self-discovery and now feel more connected to the motherland because of their new names but I have always refused to change my name and I have two reasons for this stance.

Firstly, these “conscious” friends argue their new African names, asserts their true Africanness. This sort of argument really makes me laugh. If the sound of your name is the sole essence of yourAfricanness, then you are very much mistaken.

Twi_Names_Tradional_Ghanaian_NamesI am all for African parents giving their children African names. Adetoun Dosunmu, YaaAsantewaa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah – beautiful names with very deep meanings. When I do have children someday, they will definitely have African first names. However, we should be careful not to define our Africanness by just the sound of our names. OurAfricanness is much more than the names we bear.

Our Africanness is measured by how much we give back to our motherland. That is what it means to be a true son or daughter of Africa. Having a full African name does not make you more African than Casley Hayford or Nelson Mandela! And these two individuals with European sounding names have done more for Africa than any of these “conscious” African-name-bearing friends. If you ask me, Bob Geldof is more African than these friends of mine.

The second reason for my refusal to change my name is born out of its historical relevance. Maclean Kwamena Holdbrooke Arthur, as I always explain to my “conscious” friends, it’s as Ghanaian as Kwabena Fosu! It holds as much meaning and historical relevance as any other Ghanaian name. Mention my name to any Ghanaian and they will recognise it. They will even be able to tell which part of the country I originate from.

My name tells of a period in our history when our forebears welcomed the European traders into our land. Many settled along the coastal regions of Ghana. They married the locals and had families with them. It is therefore not uncommon to meet Ghanaians with English names like Greenstreet or Hughes or Dutch names like Van Dyke or Vanderpuye. These names acknowledge a connection to our European ancestry. We do not bear these names because it sounds good and can open doors as others would like to think.

We bear these names because it is part of who we are. It is like the St Georges cross and the lion that appears on the coat of arms of Ghana. It is not for mere decorative purposes. It is for historical relevance. It is an acknowledgement of our connection to the British Empire. It is and will always be a part of our history as a nation. So I will keep my very African name – Maclean Kwamena Holdbrooke Arthur. It is very much a part of me and my history.

By Maclean Arthur

Afrobeats: Ghana boys Vibe Squad et al.

Vibe_Squad_Me_FiRi_GHANAIt can fairly be said that Ghanaians everywhere are currently in a grip of azonto fever, more so here in the UK. The latest azonto track making a lot of noise is the new one from UK-based hiplife group Vibe Squad. ‘Wadi Mi Sika’ is the latest track from the group featuring Mr Silva, Kwamz and Flava.

The boys have done an excellent job of representing azonto in the UK! With a highly addictive beat, the guys each take it in turn to spit their lyrics in either Twi or English. Who said young Ghanaians here are not well versed in Twi? The song is accompanied by a fun video where the guys show off their azonto skills, but can’t decide which of them azonto the best! Big up to the boys for a job well done!

By Yaa Nyarko

ITV Television Show Supports Ghana…

ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…… Get Me Out Of Here, has opted Malaria No More UK as their charity to aid Ghana.

Im_a_Celebrity_get_me_out_of_here_Me_FiRi_GHANAThe charity aims to achieve its goal of ensuring that the entire Ghanaian population of 24 million are protected from malaria using mosquito nets by the end of 2012. This years contestants include Anthony Cotton, Dougie Poynter, Mark Wright, Freddie Starr, Willie Carson, Jessica Lee Clement, Crissy Rock., Lorraine Chase, Fatima Whitbread, Stephanie Power, Sinitta, Pat Sharp and Emily Scott. They will face many jungle trails and challenges in order to help end deaths from malaria, a preventable disease which takes the life of a child every 45 seconds

Every phone vote counts and the minimum of 15p would go to Malaria No More UK, to help save lives in Ghana.

Malaria No More UK has been selected for the third year running. In 2009 and 2010 series, funds which were raised went towards 2.5 mosquito nets to protect up to five million Ghanaians from Malaria. So this time round there is high hopes of reaching the target of 24 million. For most of the celebrity contestants past and present, malaria is a cause close to their hearts.

Im_a_Celebrity_get_me_out_of_here_Me_FiRi_GHANAaStacey Solomon, reigning queen of the jungle was overjoyed to hear that No More UK was to be the 2011 recipient charity. After a recent trip to Africa she said: “I’m overjoyed that Malaria No More UK has been chosen again. Earlier this year, I had a life-changing trip to Africa where I spent time hanging out with mums of my age. So many of them had suffered badly from malaria and lost their children to malaria.

As a Mum myself, this breaks my heart, especially as malaria can be prevented and treated. I think it’s amazing that everyone involved in I’m a Celebrity is getting behind the goal to help protect everyone in Ghana from malaria. I hope this year’s show will make it happen”.

Unfortunately 90% of all deaths linked to malaria takes place in Africa let alone. In Ghana, tens of thousands of children die every year from the disease. To fight against malaria, insecticide treated mosquito nets can cut down child deaths by 20% and half of malaria cases.

Im_a_Celebrity_get_me_out_of_here_Me_FiRi_GHANAaaCountry wide coverage of mosquito nets will be a first in Ghana’s history, transforming the lives of families. This will ensure people are free to focus on jobs, education, and family community life. Sarah Kline, Executive Director of Malaria No More UK said: “We are delighted to partner with ITV once again and build on our progress towards making malaria no more in Ghana a reality.

I was in Ghana just a few months back and saw how our support is helping save lives with millions of people across entire regions now sleep protected at night under mosquito nets.

Support from this year’s series will help make sure this is the case for everyone in the country.”

I’m A Celebrity…. Is all for a good cause, so pick up your phones and start voting.

By Kimberley Osei_Abeyie

Weekly Insight: Ola the Poet – My Portion

My Portion

Tears in my eyes but they don’t fall they are tears of the sun, but I don’t soar like Eagle’s in the sky, I am a black star, I reach for the blue skies, like a dove, peaceful and serene I have accepted that I am me. Going off like a firecracker this page echoes my understanding.

Listen to my story:

Speaking the truth comes easy when it is the truth. You see I never knew what the heavens looked like till I saw him. To me he was like poetry personified. Similies and metaphors encapsulated, pauses, nouns, adjectives and pronouns, Yes! He was a walking confirmation of my favourite past time.

He was similar to black clouds on a dark morning, orange flames resembling the sun, like a silhouette, behind sheets he covered his disguise. Reminiscent of my past, flashbacks of my once reality He was birth out of pain and stress I felt his hands write on my blood as he planted seeds, some days I can still feel them.

I a ruined canvas, paint splattered all over the Mona Lisa. During the early hours of the night I would interpret my mode into spoken images on my home made paperchase. When seen they said I hermeraged words, but then the bleeding stopped, the essence of it all overwhelmed me so I stepped back and saw my words move with passion at a steady pace and I realised time was the best healer.

So I took a voice. Not mine but that voice that compelled me to speak, speak for the voice that covered their scares with make up, or that one voice that is outspoken and flamboyant to hide how they really feel. That voice that always took the shouting, bullying and, cussing thrown at them but never spoke out. I am that voice standing.

Treasurer of hearts, my life was in that box, pandora, they portrayed me as they knew it, a vision of me through their eyes but not through mine.

Tears in my eyes but they don’t fall they are tears of the sun, but I don’t soar like Eagle’s in the sky, I am a black star but I reach for the blue skies like a dove, peaceful and serene I have accepted that I am me. Going off like a firecracker this page echoes my understanding.

By Ola the Poet

Daddy Lumba – The Legend!


Daddy_Lumba_Me_FiRi_GHANA_Dot_ComThey say a picture can speak a thousand words, none more so than this one here. This picture taken at the ‘Legends and Legacy Ball’ held in Ghana last week reminded me again why Daddy Lumba is truly a legend. We all know about the hostilities that exist between former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kuffour. Recently, it seems the two have been working towards burying the hatchet after being cordial with each other on a number of occasions. But it was the powerful hit of Daddy Lumba’s ‘Aben Wo Ha’ that truly brought the two together. Seeing Kuffour dance with Nana Konadu along with Rawlings as Lumba looked on was truly amazing.

Daddy_Lumba_Me_FiRi_GHANA_Dot_Com_2Lumba now known as DL, who can be described as one of Ghana’s most consistent hit-makers was honoured for his contribution to music at the Legend and Legacy Ball by the Musician Union of Ghana (MUSIGA). MUSIGA’s president Bice Obour Osei Kuffour described DL as “not only an entertainer but an entrepreneur, an employer and a critical investor whose works can reap great and enviable dividends which if well harnessed would be enjoyed by posterity”.

No one deserves this honour better than DL. Since releasing his first hit “Yeeye Aka Akwantuo Mu” with Nana Acheampong in the 1980s, Lumba has gone on to release 27 albums, and he’s also responsible to for the discovery of Ofori Amponsah aka Mr All4Real and Borax. He’s collaborated with Pat Thomas, Ofori Amponsah, A.B Crentsil, Felix Owusu and Sarkodie. His songs are legendary and going to a Ghanaian function without hearing a Lumba track is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower! Such is the impact of his music that some of the phrases in his songs have now become common use in the Ghanaian vernacular. No musician has achieved what Lumba has and for that we salute him!

By Yaa Nyarko

Aspirations of the Ghanaian Youth…


Meeting young British born Ghanaians whom hold high aspirations makes me proud and optimistic for the future.

We are human beings with precious lives; therefore it is important to have plans and visions of how we would want to spend the rest of our lives. Whether it is making our family proud, or ourselves, or whether it has been achieving some kind of life-long ambition, or simply making the first mark in history.

Having ambitions help us to build and prepare towards making our visions a reality. Without visions/ambitions, preparation would be difficult. I remember in class asking my friend:

“Akosua what do you want to be in life”?

She replied;

“I want to be PRIME MINISTER”

Hearing the response waddle into my ears was wonderful. Another one of my class mates back in school, named Keisha, always preached in class to us about how she wanted to be a doctor, and explained to everyone her ideas about medicine, and what she wanted to set. The passion was flowing out of her lips like the kofordia waterfalls.

I remember walking into the pharmacy with hay fever with a friend, I approached the pharmacist asking him what I could take, he then kindly advised me whilst searching for medication on what to take. Meanwhile my friend who was with me, asked me:

‘How do you say, how are you in Twi’,

As I was about to reply, the pharmacist replied,

‘Eti sen”,

I was quiet startled, I then asked him,

‘Are you Ghanaian’?

He replied ‘Yes’

African_School_TeacherAs he provided me with medication for my hay fever, I walked away feeling highly satisfied, in fact he cheered up my mood – simply because he was a Ghanaian Pharmacist. The importance of letting our children stay in education is vital. The continual process of learning can mould our children into the perfect shape. Education is the key to every door. As Mikhail Baryshnikov stated: Do not try to dance better than anyone else. But only try to dance better than yourself”.

As we are still young and bright, we need to enrich ourselves with knowledge, which would stun the world, and ourselves.

Remember we are free to be whatever we want to be, the choice is in our hands!

By Trey’C

FREE DOWNLOAD: Afrobeats Star A-S-E-M


Asem is back again with another one depicting his dislike for Mondays, who doesn’t?

A-S-E-M is an artist we have alot of respect for. When we last saw him perform live it is evident that he puts in the work. He has a fantastic stage presence and really knows how to interact with the crowd and get the people moving. We salute you ASEM!



Ghana’s Boxing: Heart of Boxing in Bukom

Ghana_Boxing_Accra_BukomWho would have thought this small town in the City of Accra would have such an impact on world boxing. The locality of Bukom in the heart of Accra has produced Ghana’s best boxers for more than a decade. Most notably Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson (a three time world Champion & Ghana’s most successful boxer) hailed from the town. However Ike “Bazooka” Quartey (former Welterweight world champion), Braimah Kamoko known as “Bokum Banku” (gotta love the nickname) and Kwame Asante, as well as welterweight Joshua Clottey, who won the IBF world title in 2008 all come from Bukom.

The town is only 25 minutes away from the capital Accra but when a champion returns here the journey takes two hours as the entire population turns out to welcome its latest hero. Entering Bukom, the first thing you see and smell is the remains of a huge bonfire lit to celebrate the victory and in the middle of town theres a boxing ring open to the elements. Bukom lives for boxing and worships its fighting men.

nelson_azumah_Me_FiRi_GHANAApart from Bukom is also the hub of cultural activities and has many cultural troupes scattered around. Youths whose hobbies include dancing pride themselves in belonging to one cultural troupe or another. Bukom is also a beehive of activities on the weekends. And a majority are into Ghanaian traditional drumming and dancing full time. You can see youth scattered across drinking spots or attending funerals, weddings or funerals on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

But it is clear Boxing is this town’s passion and and with the fighters it has produced in the past this corner of Accra should be very proud. However since most of the abovementioned fighers have come to the end of their careers all eyes are on the next star to come out of Bukom.

So Next time you hang a pair of Ghana boxing cloves in your car window, raise a toast to the town of Bukom the heart of boxing in Ghana !

By Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Ghanaian Celebrity: Nadia Burai Ville Promo…

Nadia Burai and family set to launch new ‘Reality Show’

Nadia_Burai_Reality TV ShowNadia Burai who we see on our TV screens is set to hit our TV’s yet again, but this time in a new a reality show ‘The Buari Ville.’ It seems that the african/nollywood actress Nadia is not the only celebrity in her family. Her father was a former musician/producer/athlete and her brother Majeed Buari a.k.a Jeed Rogers recently released his first major single titled ‘Tell Em’ featuring Mugeez of R2bees.

According to Africa online they do not yet know what the show will be about but being a fan of reality shows myself, I am sure the ‘Buari Ville’ will be a success amongst the African nation.

Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think:

By Kimberley Osei-Abeyie

Ghanaian UK Artist: Loick Essien’s Voice

Voices are precious – Loick Essien and his ‘Immaculate Voice’

It all started when I fell in Love with Loick’s voice. He was featured on Bashy’s underground classic ‘Black Boys‘, whilst watching the video, I realised Loick’s voice was touching, and extremely Powerful, there was something mysterious about his voice that seemed unique. I decided to then research on the young Artist, and discovered a few more of his songs via YouTube.

Loick_Essien_Me_FiRi_GHANA_dot_ComThere was one particular song of Loick Essien’s I cherish and Adore with passion- it was his leaked demo- *’Idol’*- from the moment I clicked play, that was the beginning of a much deeper interest in Loick’s voice. The special song ‘IDOL’ was one that moved me, butterflies would develop in my stomach, tears would drop, and emotions would grow, I couldn’t control myself, neither could I understand why I was reacting in this way.

Guess that’s when I discovered Loick Essien’s voice had an impact on me, his voice is immensely phenomenal, words can’t even describe, his pitches are beautiful, I mean he can hit extremely high notes, his tuning is sweet, WOW his voice is wonderfully perfect.

For those of you who don’t know Loick Essien:
Loick has Grown magnificently since his early feature, his voice, physical appearance, and his confidence, according to the the handsome young 21 yr old UK artist is of Ghanaian and Nigerian origin. Also signed to Top record label big-hitter Sony Music, His recent single featured Tanya Lacey which made huge waves in the charts.

Loick_Essien_Me_FiRi_GHANA_dot_ComLoick has been surrounded by music all his life, some of his big inspirer’s are; Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown, the young talented Essien spent his childhood discovering a variety of music including Madonna and Luther Vandross and he continued to try and master his dance skills and vocals, which I believe has definitely paid off. Loick has been regarded within the industry as the most explosive vocal talent, Featured Already on some of the most memorable collaborations of the early urban scene namely Chipmunk’s début single ‘Beast’, Bashy’s ‘Black Boys’ and Bashy on ‘When The Sky Falls’ for the movie ‘Shank’ soundtrack.

However, Loick’s smashing break through with his début single “Love Drunk” produced by Labrinth, which I really love, the single is a tune for the ladies, slow jam type, really lovely.

Essien has already recorded and written with some of the best national and international talent around from Labrinth, N-Dubz and Naughty Boy to the likes of espionage, Johntae Austin, Lashwan Daniels, Darkchild, James Fauntleroy, Eric Dawkins. I believe already we can see a young man, ready to overcome challenges and showcase his influential voice to the world.

Essien’s album ‘IDENTITY‘ I must say is special, it really is touching! Check it out! currently his new single (‘Me Without You’), just recently came out and if you ask me, I must admit, ‘Tear Drops Down My Cheeks‘, honestly moved my heart

Really, it is that good. Loick Essien’s voice is just so strong, that it feels like the song was made for you at times.

Personally Essien is my favourite Singer (if you hadn’t already guest), I’ve got to say to those who have been fans of their favourite singers, or bands, from the beginning of their journey till now watching their success and talent grow overtime really is special and beautiful.

Talent is God Given. Be humble.
Fame is Given. Be Grateful.
Conceit is self-given. Be careful.-By John Wooden

By Trey’C