November 2011

Ghanaian Culture: Respect Your Eldest…

The importance of Elders within the Ghanaian community

Africans show a lot of respect for age & seniority. Typically within the Akan culture it is extremely common for a young person to address a senior male as Papa (Father) even if the elder gentleman is not his biological father. Equally, a senior female would expect to be addressed by a younger person as Maame (Mother).

Other names which signify respect toward an elder male or female would be:

Owura (Sir /Mr)

Awuraa (Mrs / Madame)

Opanyin (Elder male)

Obaa panyin (Elder female)

Nana baa / barima (Grandma / Granddad)


Nana is also a title for a male / female chief.

When greeting an elder it is customary for one to be polite and ask how they are as an opener to any conversation.  Here is an example of a typical greeting:

Obaa panyin, maakye oo. Wo ho te sen?” Translated this means “Good morning, elder. How are you?”

Elders_Me_FiRi_GHANA_dot_ComIt is important to remember that quite often ‘oo’ is added to the normal greeting as a sign of respect, especially if the person is some distance away from the speaker. In a traditional Akan home it is not uncommon to have the grandparents living with the rest of the family unit. Elders are not placed in care homes, the responsibility of taking care of the elder members of the family are assumed by the extended family.

Each family unit is usually headed by a senior male or headman who might either be the founding member of the family or have inherited that position. He acts in council with other significant members of the family in the management of the affairs of the unit. Elderly female members of matrilineal descent groups may be consulted in the decision-making process on issues affecting the family, but often the men wield more influence.

Elders_in_GhanaFamily elders supervise the allocation of land and function as arbitrators in domestic quarrels; they also oversee naming ceremonies for infants, supervise marriages, and arrange funerals. As custodians of the political and spiritual authority of the unit, the headman and his elders ensure the security of the family.

To ensure that such obligations and privileges are properly carried out, the family also functions as a socializing agency. The moral and ethical instruction of children is the responsibility of the extended family. Traditional values may be transmitted to the young through proverbs, songs, stories, rituals, and initiations associated with rites of passage.

A typical scenario would be the grandchildren sitting around the feet of their beloved grandma whilst she shares with them her wealth of knowledge & experience.

Land is ordinarily the property of the lineage. Family land is thought of as belonging to the ancestors or local deities and is held in trust for them. As a result, such lands are administered by the lineage elders, worked by the members of the kinship group, and inherited only by members of that unit.

A network of mutual obligations also joins families to chiefs and others in the general community. Traditional elders and chiefs act for the ancestors as custodians of the community. Thus, in both patrilineal and matrilineal societies, and from the small village to the large town, the position of the chief and that of the queen mother are recognized.

The phrase “Respect your elders” goes a long way within the Ghanaian community and as such the elders should be revered for they laid the way ahead for us to follow.

By Caroline N. Mensah

Ghanaian Football: Black Stars Star Retires…

KPB Retirement at 24 to damage Black Stars ?

I have to admit when I first heard this news I was not that surprised. In fact in my last blog post (of 02 November 2011-Black Stars handed tricky draw for CAN 2012). I questioned the fact as to whether KPB would even be in the squad for CAN such has been his absence from the Black stars team since the World Cup last year.

Kevin_Prince_BoatengBoateng’s retirement certainly came as shock to the Ghana FA though. GFA president Kwesi Nyantaki described Boateng’s retirement as a ‘devastating blow‘ to the country and went on to claim the midfielder’s decision to quit damages Ghana’s hopes of winning the Nations Cup. Nyantaki went on to say; “I am very, very surprised because I least expected something like that to happen especially at a time very close to the Nations Cup,””This comes at the time we were banking on the availability of all our key players, including Kevin, so this news came as a thunderbolt. It was not taken lightly at all. It really shook all of us to the core”.

So there were strong words from the GFA president on Boateng’s retirement. But what were his reasons for doing so. Well he has claimed that his decision was based on his injury record was behind his decision and the physical demands of playing for both club and country at high levels are taking a toll on his health. The more cynical amongst us will say he has turned his back on Ghana and rushed into the decision especially considering his young age in footballing terms. I have even heard accusations from some that Boateng used Ghana, when switched nationality last year to represent the Black Stars, just to secure more profile for himself and for an opportunity to play on the biggest stage i.e. world cup.

Whatever the real reasons behind his decision the Black Stars will move on. His decision does not leave Ghana lacking in the Midfield department. As youngsters Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew as well as Michael Essien, Anthony Annan and Sulley Muntari are still available for the national team.

Ultimately Boateng’s retirement is a blow for the Black Stars. Simply because he is a good player and has been in good form for his club side AC Milan in Italy this season but Boateng has hardly featured for the Black Stars since the World Cup last year so I guess the writing on the wall.

Let us know your thoughts below

Ben JK Anim-Antwi

Kwesi Nyantaki

Weekly Insight: Ola the Poet – Man…


From their roots you will know them” I heard a man say to stylishly glowing lady. From experience he had seen the ins and outs of a temple he conquered prior to his new found philosophy.

Expressing that he knew all the fruits of the spirit. So when conversation took place his senses escaped to pollute the propaganda he had just heard.

A woman has the right to do as she pleases“. Being seen and not heard wasn’t her motto. Her forte was to pleasure. But her strong will devoured her into an equilibrium. She had told him that life was her teacher and through her faults she understood the perplexed man. A man she envisioned as the world. One who rapes your dreams and feeds you lies through a straw which you so happily drink through.

Then I over-heard him say “you regurgitate what you have been spoon fed and you spit it back out with conviction. Feeling that nothing else could be the truth“. In a land where knowledge is power we believe that once applied we are in position to be great. Not knowing that your knowledge is restricted by those that produce the products you indulge in.

She looks at him as he preaches the laws of the Black Panther. Piercing his aura she tells him “by their roots you will know them”. Through Adam I know you. Man of the world I see you. Manipulating the ones who suffer painfully to carry you. I see you.

Man, the example of failed dreams and broken hearts, of eagerness and irresponsibility. The representation of the world we live in. “Man cannot be trusted“.

As he listened to her trembling voice and the passion that hailed from her, he realised that she wasn’t a woman that was to be seen and not heard. But a woman with a voice that must be heard. Amongst the midst in which two parallel worlds met. A sense of understanding and comfort reigned.

The realisation that both men and women can be heard coherently in a conducive environment was overwhelming.

By Ola the Poet

Ghanaian Music: D’Cryme – It’s You

Dr CrymeDr Cryme, the rapper famous for the catchphrase “you don’t need to be told” is back with a brand new single and video ‘It’s You’. Currently one of the biggest artist Tema has produced yet again, Dr Cryme has cemented his stay in the music business by collaborating with artists such as Sarkodie, Chemphe, D-Black and Stay Jay as well as releasing his own singles ‘Kill Me Shy’, ‘Mene Woa’ and ‘Fre Me’.

It’s You’ will be the fourth single from Dr Cryme’s highly anticipated album ‘Finally Finally’, which was launched at Citizen Kofi in Ghana last Friday. The twi pop singer delivers yet again and ‘It’s You’ is definitely a song to write home about! Having established himself as a rapper as well as a singer, he moves smoothly between the two in the song. His silky voice over a relaxed hip hop beat accompanied by the piano works very nicely and he switches effortlessly between Twi and English. So even if you don’t understand one or the other, you’ll definitely get the gist of what the song is about.

The video itself was directed by Nana Asihene and it’s a simple one shot in black and white. With no storyline it just features Dr Cryme alone in an abandoned stairwell and an open field. The lack of activity and movement in the video means that focus is centred on Dr Cryme’s singing and thoughtful lyrics. A definite thumps up for the song!

Check the video out!

By Yaa Nyarko

Sarkodie – You Go Kill Me (Azonto)

Ghana’s fastest rapper Sarkodie has finally released the video to the azonto anthem ‘You Go Kill’ featuring EL. The song which came out some few months ago generated a lot of hype for new dance craze in Ghana, AZONTO. Subsequently videos of people doing the azonto appeared all over the internet, with a compilation video of senior high schools in Ghana doing the azonto and Afro Mask Azonto in London on youtube proving to be the most popular videos around.

The official video of ‘You Go Kill Me’ was shot by Phamous Philms and sees “you know say money no be problem” rapper putting on his swag for a lady who seems uninterested in his advances and girls and boys doing their own versions of azonto behind a colourful graffiti backdrop. The video is well shot and includes cameos by Sulley Muntari and Castro among others doing the popular dance.

I think the boys did the azonto better than the girls?

What do you think?

Check the video out below:

By Yaa Nyarko

Ghanaian News: Naa Kai Laryea – Unsung Hero…

Unsung Hero:  Naa Kai Laryea

With the GUBA (Ghana UK Based Achievement Awards) just gone I thought I would bring to attention the courageous actions of young Ghanaian Londoner earlier this month. Naa Kai Laryea from Hackney is this person her brave actions resulted in the saving of a baby’s life.

Naa, who is just 16-years old, took control when she found lawyer Gianna Gudsell frantically screaming in the street, holding her 14-month old son Hector who was limp and unconscious. The 35-year old mum had been washing Hector in the bath last Monday when he slipped, hit his head and fell unconscious. Panicked, she ran screaming into Tudor Road, where Naa Kai, happened to be passing by.

Naa Kai who had completed a St John’s Ambulance first aid course at the South Hackney church she regularly attends, patted Hector’s back as he seemed to be choking, before he threw up and began breathing again. Naa said “because she knew what to do she was not scared”.

The ambulance arrived shortly afterwards, and although Hector fell into a coma at the Homerton Hospital, he is now safe and sound back at home. The ambulance had said it Naas actions were vital in Hector’s recovery. Hector’s mum was so grateful to Naa and said; “The ambulance came very fast, but it was essential that she was there… this experience gave me a nice feeling that the world is not unfriendly – you have people around who care for you even thought you don’t know them and that’s a nice feeling.

This serves as a reminder to me that I need to renew my first aid qualification as Naa’s story shows you never know when you might need it.

In a year that has seen negative headlines for our young people it’s good to see young people being so courageous, caring and responsible. Na Kai Laryea, Me FiRi GHANA salutes you!

By Ben Jk Anim-Antwi

Ghanaian Film: “The Dead”

Ghanaian actor’s Hollywood film ‘The Dead’ Leaked Before Premier

Gollywood_Ghanaian_Film_The_DeadGhanaian actor Prince David Osei who has appeared in films such as Naked Faces, Kiss Me If You Can and Heart of Men has had his latest film leaked to the public before it premiere in Ghana last Friday.

The Dead, a film by Hollywood directors the Ford Brothers in which Prince stars as one of the main protagonists was filmed in Burkina Faso and Ghana. It tells the story of an American engineer (Rob Freeman) stranded in a zombie-ridden Africa who must teams up with a military man (Prince David Osei) who’s looking for his missing son in order for them to survive the flesh-eating zombies.

The film was released across cinemas and theatres in the US last month and was to open in Africa by having its first premiere in Ghana. However before the premiere, the film ended on laptops of some movie fans. As to how the movie was leaked and who was responsible remains a mystery.

This is not the first time in Ghana a film has been leaked before its premiere. Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Adams Apples and Leila Djansi’s Sinking Sands were leaked to the public before being released in the cinemas. This is obviously a huge problem for those involved in the making of the films as audiences will not pay to see movies if it’s available for them on the internet, thereby affecting the profit the film can potentially generate.

The premiere of The Dead was attended by Adjetey Anang, Luckie Lawson, James Gardner and Prince David Osei himself among others. The film also features Ghanaian veteran actor David Dontoh.By Yaa Nyarko

Ghana News: GUBA Awards…

2nd Annual GUBA Award celebrates achievements of Ghanaians in UK

GUBA_Ghana_UK_Based_Achievement_AwardsThe GUBA Awards took place on Sunday 6th of November in London to celebrate the achievements of Ghanaians in the UK. The star-studded event which took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank attracted the crème de la crème of Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike in the music, film, business, sports, radio and fashion industries. Stars who graced the event included Sway, Anton Ferdinand, Asamoah Gyan, Jeanette Kwakye, Lethal Bizzle, Hugh Quarshie, Nadia Buari, M3nsa, Charles Thompson and many others.

GUBA, which stands for Ghanaian UK Based Achievement awards, was founded by media personality Dentaa to celebrate, acknowledge and support Ghanaian-based businesses and individuals in the UK. This year, the award also recognised non-Ghanaians who had significantly contributed to the Ghanaian community and culture. The event was a hosted by former BBC 1Xtra radio presenter Ras Kwame and actress Ellen Thomas and saw performances by FOKN Bois M3nsa and Kubolor, Stephanie, Lyrical Soldier and Juyliaa. The night was a spectacular success and having an award ceremony that celebrates the achievements of Ghanaians not only portrays a positive image of Ghana but also inspires Ghanaian businesses and individual to do more for their country. So a big well done to the GUBA organisers for putting on such a wonderful event and congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Winners List:



BEST SHIPPING | Speedlink Travel and Freight




BEST RADIO PRESENTER | Kwaku Owusu Frimpong

BEST CLUB DJ | Neptizzle





BEST EVENT | All White BBQ & Ghana’s Official 54th Independence Celebration Dance

BEST CHARITY | Ghana Education Project

BEST GHANAIAN ASSOCIATION | Ghanaian Community in Bradford

RISING STAR | Fidel Frimpong & Emmanuel Frimpong


SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT | Wanlov & M3nsa – “Coz of Moni” First Pidgeon musical

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT | James Barnor – 50 year photography career

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT | Kwami Sefa Kayi – Popular running morning show in Ghana / 11 years

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT | Samuel Awuni – Cocoa Farmer


By Yaa Nyarko

Ghanaian Culture – Okumfo Domfo

The Destroyer Helper

Was sat somewhere in Asia watching telly. It was an Indian operated satellite dish so almost all the sports channels were showing cricket.

I flipped to ESPN hoping to catch some English Premier League highlights, it should have started about a minute ago but the commercials were still running. This lot are worse than Ghanaian television on the number of commercial breaks per programme. They would stop a movie at the very end for a 10 minute commercial break, only to return to the movie to show the credits! But they do have some pretty clever adverts so it’s not so annoying. One particular advert caught my attention. It was for a charity organisation trying to raise funds for needy children in India. An Akan oxymoron popped into my head when the commercial ended – “okumfo domfo

This Akan oxymoron concisely captured all the thoughts and emotions going through me at that moment. “Okumfo domfo” translates into English as the “destroyer helper” it’s used to describe an entity or a person who in a genuine effort to help you, causes more harm.

This is the exact description of the numerous charity organisations and aid agencies working across the continent. They offer an invaluable service to the many that are unfortunately caught up in war torn nations, natural disasters, famine and poverty. They provide food, portable drinking water, build classrooms, clinics and other health facilities and create awareness on issues affecting the vulnerable.

The list of their good work in Africa goes on and on. When governments have failed to provide essential care to its people in times of need – which is almost always the case, these charity organisations have always proved to be reliable. So why would I describe these benevolent agencies as “okumfo domfo”? These organisations rely heavily on the media to raise funds for their projects and they use a rather flawed technique in their adverts. They make use of powerful and graphic images. Images of starving African children on the brink of death, so weak they cannot find the strength to beat away the flies from their face and inside their mouths. Images of children drinking murky river water. Images so detailed it is permanently echoed in the mind of anyone who sees it. Images so dehumanizing it will move many hearts to give.

African_Child_Me_FiRi_GHANALet us go back to the commercial I had seen earlier. It was for a certain charity organisation appealing for donors to sponsor needy Indian children through school but there was no Indian child in this video! All the images were that of African children and one Latino looking boy. There was only one reasonable explanation I could come up with for this anomaly. This charity organisation in an attempt to cut costs and maximise its revenue to further its work had used an old video but did a new voiceover appealing for funds for these Indian children. This is all well-intentioned but the images played over and over again all across the world re-enforces the negative images people have of Africa. The affect to Africa’s image is devastating. The continuous propagation of these images is not only embarrassing; it also damages the collective psychic of the whole continent and its people. Not so long ago, many media houses refused to show live images of former Arsenal player Eduardo’s broken ankle during a league game against Birmingham City FC. They said the images were too graphic, too un-dignifying. Images of the dead on 9/11 will not be printed or aired for the same reasons so why would these same media houses allow the use of images of dying children on their medium? We all know these charity organisations mean well but it’s time they started having a good look at the images they use and its long term effect on the continent.

And now a word to all of us Africans living in and out of the continent.

The sooner we start helping ourselves, the quicker these images will disappear from the screens.

The Western aid agencies have done a good job but they are damaging our image at the same time. African based charity groups need to step up and take the lead (WAM Campaign – If there are hungry children in Africa, we must take the lead in feeding them but these charity groups will need funds. Giving £5 a month is not too much to ask. Find a genuine African based charity organisation and start donating today! All talk and no action brings no change. Start the process of change, start giving today!

By Maclean Arthur

Ghanaian Music: M3NSA – Fanti Love Song

M3nsa, the other half of the duo FOKN BOIS has released the video of his new song Fanti Love Song from his critically acclaimed album No1 Mango Street. The song itself is a delightful surprise, as M3nsa shows that not only can he spit bars but he can sing as well and very well at that.

The fanti spoken over laid back hip hop and guitar chords works really well, and M3nsa’s mellow voice adds a touch of sensuality to the song. The simple and straight to the point lyrics makes Fanti Love Song very easy to sing along to, so makesure to add this to the playlist in your car.  So a massive two thumps up to M3nsa! Well done!

Check the video out!

By Yaa Nyarko