December 2011


Weekly Insight: Ola the Poet

The ‘What If’ Factor

 

If to a believer you are no more than an illusion of faith and to a dreamer you are a figment of imaginations past. Then what is a soul that lacks belief and hope?


In the time of need where the skies trimmings are purple and gold and your lips echo defragmented speeches of light and love, where do I lay my burdens If the sky already has a barrel filled with scattered promises and sheltered dreams.

 

If emptied souls relied on weak minds to fix them, the turning of the moon will be an eclipse during sunrise and mountains will flourish with snow and fog. A smoke screen to cover the insecurities of which is carried by many.

 

If in an ideal realm lavender cured the scents of our promiscuity and rose gold covered our envious hearts. Would we be wild and reckless with love and dreams, with sight and vision or would we be basking in creations deep as Gods mantle piece.

 

Will the emancipation of men and women be told vicariously through others who Willingly delve in greatness or would perish in silence because of our own impediments.

 

Redemption comes with hope and hope with belief. Belief with faith and faith in high power.

 

So….. If to a believer you are no more than an illusion of faith and to a dreamer you are a figment of imaginations past. Then what is a soul that lacks belief and hope?

By Ola the Poet

Wish You a Happy Sunny Christmas…

 

 

Christmas_in_GhanaI miss being at home for Christmas. A week before Christmas day, mama and I would put up the Christmas decorations all around the house. The plastic Christmas tree with the fake snow, the fanciful lights, the blow up Santa, the balloons! We had the whole lot. Without the decorations it would not feel like Christmas. Those were the little things that I have come to associate with Christmas and this is no different in most Ghanaian households, and I guess it’s the same for most parts of Africa. Households, offices and streets are therefore decorated accordingly. However, I have been thinking about this over the years and it all seems well out of place. Why the tree with white dots all over it? Why Santa on a sleigh? Why was the stereo playing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” on a bright sunny day in December? Santa would be drenched in sweat in that red and white suit and poor Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, I don’t think they can survive the heat and we do not even have any chimneys in Ghana for Santa to come sliding through. Most houses in Ghana have big fob off walls around them. On top of the walls are spikes of broken bottles and barb wire and behind the massive metal front gates lies one angry growling dog. Now I wonder how Santa is going to make it through to deliver his goodies.

Santa_Claus_Christmas_in_GhanaIt’s clear our idea of Christmas have been hugely influenced by the many Hollywood movies we watch and songs we hear. Snow, the Christmas tree, Santa Clause, the reindeers – all these are Western branding of Christmas. It goes without saying that these things bear no relevance to the true essence of Christmas – the birth of Christ. And it does not snow every Christmas as the movies would have us believe! Surely we should be putting our own Ghanaian/African imprint on Christmas, what we associate with it and how we celebrate it. I think we should swap the plastic trees for coconut trees and the snow for our white sands. Let’s associate Christmas with our beautiful beaches. Christ himself was a bit of a fisherman so I guess he would quite like this idea and most Ghanaians spend their Christmas holidays at the beach. We can make the Christmas season a big sales season for our magnificent beaches.

So how do we start this change? Well it’s a bit too late to do anything this year but I will make it a point to be in Ghana next Christmas. I will suggest to mama to bin her fake Christmas tree and replace it with a miniature coconut tree grounded in a pot of sand with all the lights and other décor. She will think I have gone bonkers and so will anyone else who comes to the house but I will explain my idea to them and hopefully it will catch on. I think it also a good idea to write to the television stations to get them to do the same in their studios. They may or may not but at least it will get them thinking. It will be a big step to rebranding Christmas in our own unique way. Well I will stop rambling on now, hope you all enjoy the Christmas season and to the good people in Ghana I wish you not just a happy Christmas but a Happy Sunny Christmas!

Afehyia pa ooh!!!

By Maclean Arthur 

Miss Earth Ghana launched!

Passion for the environment – Miss Earth Ghana launched!

Miss_Earth_Ghana_Me_FiRi_GHANAGhana has launched another new beauty pageant, but there’s definitely something about this one that stands out! The newly launched Miss Earth Ghana is a beauty pageant to search for delegates who will represent Ghana on the international stage concerning environmental awareness.

The pageant is set to take place next year with auditions beginning in January and it’s open to participants from colleges and universities across Ghana. Twelve finalists will then be selected to compete for the crown of Miss Earth Ghana.

Miss Earth Ghana comes in the wake of recent environmental disasters that have taken place across the world in countries such as Haiti, Japan, Pakistan, China and more recently Thailand. Climate change has become a hot topic on most governments’ agenda, and if human activities remain unchecked, it will lead to dire consequences for the planet. This is especially for Africa, where increasing drought and limited water supply means millions are faced with water shortages. Water shortages affect farmers, and cereal yields in Africa are expected to continually drop if nothing is done.

The finalists who will be chosen will take part in environmental activities such as tree-planting in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Northern regions as well as visiting selected schools to give talks on environmental preservation. They will also be educated on various environmental issues concerning Ghana such as flooding, deforestation, bush-burning and beach littering. But most importantly the delegates will focus on afforestation to go with the international and United Nations environmental theme – The International Year of Forests 2011.

This pageant will undoubtedly help educate Ghanaians about the importance of taking care of the environment around them. It great to see a beauty pageant going for such a great cause!

By Yaa Nyarko

When Sarkodie met Chipmunk & Wretch 32…

When Sarkodie met Chipmunk and Wretch 32…

Sarkodie_Chipmunk_Tim_Westwood_Me_FiRi_GHANAGhana’s fastest rapper Sarkodie has proved that his talent knows no bounds as during his UK tour he’s managed to collaborate with not only two of the leading UK artists Chipmunk and Wretch 32 , but also got interviewed by two of the biggest stations in the UK, Choice FM and BBC Radio 1Xtra. Obidiponbidi met Chipmunk in a secret studio where he impressed the UK artist with his trademark fast flow. So amazed was Chipmunk that he requested Sarkodie to do a remix of one of his songs. And we can’t wait to hear it! Not only that but Sarkodie also taught Chipmunk how to azonto, something I’m sure will come in handy for Chipmunk when he headlines the ‘Ghana Rocks’ concert in Ghana on the 27th of December.

Also blown away by Sarkodie was Wretch 32, who was quick to add his magic touch to Sarkodie’s azonto anthem ‘You Go Kill Me’. And again we can’t wait to hear what that sounds like! Sarkodie was interviewed by Choice FM host Eddie Kadi, making him the first ever African guest to achieve that feat.

Sarkodie_wretch32_Me_FiRi_GHANANot content with that, the rapper also scored an interview with Tim Westwood, whose show on BBC Radio 1 Xtra has helped break artists such as Tinie Tempa and Wretch 32. It was on Westwood’s show that Sarkodie set the record straight on his musical relationship with Akon’s label Konvict Africa, stating that he was not signed to the label.

All this is thanks to AfrobeatsUK, a newly set up company and lifestyle brand in the UK whose main aim is to promote African music on the international stage as well as connecting African artists with the mainstream. With their help Sarkodie is now not only a household in Ghana but has been exposed to UK audiences as well. We’re sure there’s more great things lined up for the rapper in the near future. So all in all it’s been one very successful tour! Well done Sarkodie!

 

Below is Sarkodie in the studio with London Rappers Chipmunk and Wretch 32 via AfroNews

By Yaa Nyarko

Kobi Onyame: Best Unsigned Act 2012…

Kobi_Onyame_MTV_Me_FiRi_GHANAGhanaian born UK hip hop artist Kobi Onyame is a name to watch out for, as he’s been included in MTV’s long lists of artist for MTV’s Best Unsigned Act 2012. MTV are offering one unsigned band/artist the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the UK’s finest such as Jessie J, Wretch 32, Labrinth and Tinie Tempah. From now until January, 8th people would have to vote for their favourite acts to make the shortlist of 10, in order to have a chance of winning. So far Kobi Onyame has been supported immensely by the BBC as he has performed at Introducing Stage at Glastonbury Music Festival 2009 and Introducing United Nations showcase in Cardiff 2010 where he was the representative for Scotland. Kobi has also been the opening act for artists such as Kanye West, Akon, De La Soul, Jessie J, Flo Rida, Tincy Stryder, Wu Tang Clan and more. Based in Glasgow Kobi was named one of 50 Scottish artists to watch out for this year by Vic Galloway’s (BBC Radio 1 and Radio Scotland Presenter).

In April 2011 Kobi Onyame released his album Green Green Grasses which peaked at No. 29 in the ITunes UK Hip-Hop chart. It features the likes of Sway, Emeli Sande, Saukrates, Young Fathers and many more.

Since the drop of his independent album he has played at festivals such as Rockness, goNort, T In The Park and Wickerman to support the release.

To see Kobi Onyame ‘Protect Myself’ reach the shortlist, all it takes is a simple click: http://brandnewunsigned.mtv.co.uk/kobionyame

So let’s get voting!!!!

By Kimberley Osei-Abeyie

Weekly Insight – Ola the Poet

No Condemnation

We haven’t spoken in a while,
I have so many questions but not enough answers,
I reach for the manual but I lack understanding,
My lips are sealed,
So I guess its time to let it rip,
My biro leaks questions of a lost child,
In my dream,
The king and I had scenes in which we played,
I believed in the wonder that is him,
No!
I’m not Alice,
Jst a soul who’s joy has soiled through many sheets of scattered failures.

Truth be told I am angry,
In rage,
Like the ash that spreads through Iceland,
I am infected by diseases of this world,
Tell me!
Tell me why you sit on the throne and allow Agnes to die?
Or why Damilola went through turmoil before you erased him?
Why did you let Haiti crumble? And let Katrina loose?
Why did you let war rip in Freetown, Sierra Leone?
Answer me,

Yes its true I do things I shouldn’t do,
so I front,
Like a hologram,
I can’t touch you, but I should trust you,
Trust you with my life as it deteriorates whilst you watch me go
through invigorating pain.
You say you do everything for a reason,
What reason do you have to allow those in Afghanistan to die in the
hands of the Americans?
You hear my thoughts each day of the ticking clock,
You see my battle with pornography,
Yet you do nothing,

Yeah I think his buff
I’d lash him,
Sexual thoughts whilst in church, The sermon of the pastor is a blur,
As brother Ayo who sits opposite me wears revealing shirt of all his muscles,
A bulge poking from him T M Lewin trousers,
Stupidly I confide in a sister and brother is Christ and they look at
me as though I’m filthy,

You hear my cries,
But you don’t comfort me at night,
You say I won’t give you what you can’t Handle,
Erm! I don’t think so,
Do you jst reveal in my aches and pains?

You see I adore you,
seriously I wanna be like you,
But I’m washed in sin and I need your blood to wash me clean,
or do I?
Would I rather enjoy the pleasures I roll in?
How can I believe in someone I cannot see?
Then you whisper keep the faith it will manifest,
In a new rage I drown,
I slip through sage,
Return through the wardrobe like the kids of Narnia,
To see the chapter “faith without works is dead”

So I begin to pray,
Speaking in a tongue only he can understand,
Bound by his blood,
I am cornered,
By a serpent in sheepskin clothing.
I rebuke you that inderrs my progress,
For my faith teaches me strength and confidence.
In him I am free,
Like the dove that saws through the skies
My faith in him has no bounds. You see his word is bond and so I stick
to it for that is faith.
My manual to life is filled with the books of courage and wisdom,
Before I was born he knew me, Better than I know myself,
Each hair on my head,
Every footprint I made, He was there,
There with me he stood,
Through my failures,
So I go back each day frustration boils from within,
And John 3:16 and I become acquainted again…

By Ola the Poet

Ghana Football News: Weekly Update

In this week news update,

1. Andre Ayew Shines in Champions league
2. Tunisian side and Harrison Afful  ready to shine at the FIFA Club WorldCup Japan 2011
3. Ghana National Team Captain talks up chances ahead of CAN 2012
4. Stephen Appiah on the verge of realizing his premiership dream
5. The big announcement is around the corner
6. Asamoah Gyan lights it up in the UAE

1. Ghana International Andre #Ayew scores in #ChampionsLeague in the 85′ as Marseille come back from 2 goals down to win 3-2. Dede Ayew has now scored 9 goals this season. 6 in the French league, 3 in the champs league.

2. The Kings of African Football (Espérance) are ready to show their skills! The Tunisan side represented Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011 {December 8-18 2011} Espérance ST – Al-Sadd SC {Match 3} Sun Dec 13 7:30pm Japan time/ 5:30am eastern/ 11:30am Ghana time. They also had Ghana International, Harrison Afful in defence. He scored the only goal in the final to win the 2011 CAF African Champions League.

3. Ghana captain John Mensah, insists the Blackstar of Ghana are braced for a tough task of winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations  despite the absence of big names.

4. ‘Capito’ is close to realizing his dream of playing in the Premiership  Former Ghana Captain Stephen Appiah, is on the verge of joining Barclays Premier League club, Blackburn in an effort to boost the midfield. The 31 year old has had trials at Ewood Park and the Rovers are looking to secure the midfielder on a 1-yr contract. Appiah impressed and was told by Blackburn boss Steve Kean that he has to work on his fitness level. ‘He has been working at the Presby Boy Senior High School Park in Legon to step up his fitness before joining the club.’ Appiah has returned home to Ghana to bury his father, who passed away last month, before completing the move.

5. Ghana National team coach ‘Plavi’ Goran Stevanovic selected the 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Plavi was expected to meet the FA next week {Tues. December 13} to defend his decisions. He will after, then hold a press conference with members of the media on {Thurs. December 15} (full report coming soon!)

6. Shoutout to Ghana international, Asamoah Gyan who converted an 11’ penalty for Al Ain. Then his Teammate Scocco added a 2nd in the 32’ via volley. BabyJet and Al-ain ended this game 2-0 v. Diego Maradona’s Al Wasl. This win has put them in 2nd place in the UAE Top flight League. Gyan has scored 6 goals so far this season.

This is the week’s news for Ghanaian footballers in Europe.

You can follow me on twitter @IamMarfioso
www.marfiosoblackstarblogg.tumblr.com
www.facebook.com/GHANASportsCenter.MarfiosoMarfioso_Me_FiRi_GHANA

 

 

Education in Ghana: Part 2

Basic education
Primary- and middle-school education is tuition-free and will be mandatory when enough teachers and facilities are available to accommodate all the students. Students begin their 6-year primary education at the age of six. Under educational reforms implemented in 1987, they pass into a new Junior Secondary School system (JSS) for 3 years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training.

Senior Secondary education
Education_in_Ghana_Me_FiRi_GHANA
After basic school, pupils may enter senior secondary (or technical/vocational) schools for a three-year course, which prepare them for university education. Students usually study a combination of three (in some cases, four) ‘elective’ subjects and a number of core subjects. For example, a science student could study Additional Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics as his or her elective subjects.

An arts student might study Geography, Economics and Literature as his or her elective subjects.

In addition to the elective subjects, there are ‘core’ subjects, which are those studied by all students in addition to their elective. The core subjects include Mathematics, English and Science.

school_kids_marching_in_Me_FiRi_GHANAAt the end of the three year senior secondary course, students are required to sit for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). Students who obtain aggregate 18 or better (six is best) can go onto further education in the form of university. Usually, the score is determined by aggregating the student’s grades in his or her elective subjects. The aggregate score is then added to the aggregate score of his or her best core subjects, with scores in English and Mathematics considered first. So if an arts student scores an ‘A’ in Geography, ‘B’ in Literature and ‘C’ in Economics, the student would obtain an aggregate score of 6 for their electives.

 Please refer to the example given (i.e. A=1; B=2 & C=3…F (fail) =6).

Their best electives are then added. If they obtain a ‘B’ in English, ‘C’ in Mathematics and an ‘A’ in Social Studies, their best core aggregate will be six. Therefore, their overall aggregate score will be 12 and one would qualify for admission into a university. Once again, an overall aggregate score of six is best.

Tertiary education
Entrance to universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school.

Useful Facts & Figures
School enrolment totals almost 2 million: 1.3 million primaries; 107,600 secondary; 489,000 middle; 21,280 technical; 11,300 teachers training and 5,600 universities.

Ghana has over ten languages some typical examples are: Dagaare, Dagbani, Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Gonja, Kasem, Nzema, Twi & Fante.

However, the principle language mainly used within the classrooms; lecture halls is English.

Caroline N. Mensah

Afrobeats Star Becca’s Girl Talk Concert

It’s an all female affair: Becca’s Girl Talk Concert

Becca_Rebecca_Acheampong _Me_FiRi_GHANAThe tagline ‘no guys, no boyfriends, no men’ says it all. Ghanaian singer Becca has demonstrated that she epitomizes the word ‘independent woman’ by sticking to her guns and going forward with her females-only concert slated for 23rd December. Becca, real name Rebecca Acheampong upset her male fans when she announced last month her upcoming concert at the National Theatre were for her female fans only. She elaborated later at a recent interview that everything about the concert was gendered towards women and it was the ultimate girls’ night out, and under no circumstances were men going to be allowed on the premises.

As well as having fun, the concert is also meant as a learning experience for the women who attend, with talks from outstanding women across various social class lined up for the night as well.

The afropop singer has promised some ‘big surprises’ on the night, with an all female production team and various female artists rumoured to be flying in across the continent for the concert. The concert, which is being put together by Becca’s management EKB Records and sponsored by RLG, is set to be one of the biggest events on the Ghanaian entertainment calendar.

By Yaa Nyarko

Sarkodie on Tim Westwood Show in UK…

Sarkodie becomes the first Ghanaian to appear on the Tim Westwood show

 

Sarkodie_Meets_Tim_Westwood_Me_FiRi_GHANAFrom the groundbreaking appearance of Kwaw Kese aka Abodaaaaaaaam on BET, Sarkodie is the latest music artist to make history.

This weekend Sarkodie became the first ever Ghanaian to feature on the Tim Westwood’s show. Westwood is one of the most recognized urban DJ of the decade and is regarded to be an influential figure in hip hop as well as a pioneer of the UK scene. He has had artists such as 50 Cent, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Lethal Bizzle and many more appear on his show.

GH’s fastest rapper has been in the UK for the Azonto Tour, and whilst in the country has completed the remix version “U Go Kill Me” featuring comedian Eddie Kadi and chart topping artist Wretch 32.

Also from trusted sources we can soon expect collaborations with British rapper Chipmunk. On Monday tweets from both rappers suggest that their studio session went extremely well and the making of the track is set to be one of the biggest tunes of next year.

Sarkodie tweeted “Studio tym wif ma boy @ChipmunkArtist craazzyyy.. Baddest mcee,, Gh uk raah!!!”, Chipmunk also tweeted, “What a session in the studio man… Mud ting!!!!”.

For all you Sarkodie lovers who happen to be in Ghana during the Christmas period it has been confirmed that the “rapperholic” is set to hold his first ever concert on the 25th of December, to launch the much anticipated album at the Dome in Accra.

Sarkodie’s appearance on the Westwood’s show no doubt reflects the well deserved recognition of Afro beats as well as boosting the Ghanaian music scene.

Checkout the freestyle below:

By Kimberley Osei-Abeyie