September 2014


UK Afrobeat Pioneer Mista Silva up for MOBO Award..

Mr “Boom Boom Tah” nominated for Best African Act!

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Those familiar with the UK Afrobeat scene will know Mista Silva has paid his dues. He was the first unsigned UK Afrobeats artist to have his music playlisted by BBC 1xtra,with the well received track “Now Wats Up” Mista Silva released his debut EP Full Vim, in 2012 with the single “Boom Boom Tah” tearing up dancefloors nationwide. The success of the EP led to a record deal with Polydor in 2014. Now he has been nominated for the Best African Act at this years MOBO Awards.

You can vote for him by following this link –http://www.mobo.com/voting

You will need to register by entering your name/email address. Once you have registered click VOTING, then MOBO BEST AFRICAN ACT then MISTA SILVA then SUBMIT!

Voting closes on 8th October! With the Award Ceremony taking place the SSE Arena, Wembley, London on 22 October 2014.

Me Firi Ghana wishes Mr Silva the best of luck! #MOBO2014

In the meantime check out the music video Mista Silva’s latest single “Green Light

 

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA) 

F– USE ODG nominated for Three MOBO Awards!

“King of Afrobeats” hoping to win a MOBO Award for second successive year

 

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Ghanaian and UK based Afrobeats Star has been nominated in three categories for this year’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards. The categories include MOBO Best Male Act, MOBO Best Song and MOBO Best African Act.

Fuse ODG is currently the highest selling black male in the UK and has played a significant role in creating a new movement within the Afrobeats genre and bringing it to mainstream attention. In a recent interview on Ghana’s Starr FM 103.5 Radio’s  STARR DRIVE Monday show, the hitmaker confirmed that he is now ready to release his album at the end of October.

We are thoroughly anticipating for the arrival of his new album. With hits such as ‘Million Pound Girl’ and ‘Dangerous love’, we ae more than confident that Fuse ODG will not disappoint on this project. Moreover, His fans are expecting a big win from this phenomenal star at this year’s MOBO’s.

The “King of Afrobeats” deserves every success and Me Firi Ghana is steadfastly rooting for him. You can vote for him by following this link  – http://www.mobo.com/voting  and selecting the relevant categories. Although you will need to register first by giving your name and email address.

In the meantime check out Fuse ODG’s latest single “Dangerous Love” featuring dancehall legend Sean Paul..


Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

Introducing Deborah Kormi……

Led by faith to promote the Christian faith!

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At 17, Deborah Kormi or ‘Aya’ as her friends naturally address her is a British- Ghanaian whose faith and obedience has worked as the raw foundation to the many fruitful works she has proudly accomplished so far. Under her students’ uniform and juvenile appearance, Deborah is a published author, a project founder, and a motivational speaker. Raised in Mitcham, London, in a Christian family, it is not until the age of 12, in 2009 that she personally gave her life to Christ. Following her repentance, Deborah who was renowned at school lost a number of school friends who deemed her new life “boring” and unexciting.

Nonetheless, instead of throwing a ‘pity party’ for herself and focus on what she has presumably lost, Deborah concentrated on building a closer relationship with God and studying the Bible, which in return gave her the boldness and identity she was longing. As she continued to invest in her spiritual walk daily, Deborah increased in wisdom, and formed a great desire to testify about Christ. In 2010, led by faith, she founded ‘The1WayProject’. The initial aim was to gather young people in a room to discuss life and Christian topics, in a free and open forum, once a week. In 2011, Deborah upgraded ‘The1WayProject’, as she was giving the opportunity to move the weekly meetings from her living room into a real hall. It gave the -then 14 year old the chance to expand her organisation by inviting guest speakers, such as ex gang members and prisoners who have had their lives transformed after accepting Jesus Christ. During that time, Deborah also began to write, by transferring into pages the things she has discovered in her continuous walk with Christ.

Her first book “Walking the Walk”, launched in March 2013 is the product. The 86-page book is one which strips off the ideology sometimes associated with Christianity. The introduction says: “A number of Christians have totally misunderstood the true meaning of being a Christian. I have written this book to give a broader understanding on the values of who a Christian is. What it means to be a follower of Christ and what it means to be truly saved.” The book launch was successful as it attracted hundreds of people, youths and adults alike. Now, in 2014, it is with the same faith and obedience in God which enabled her to start, that Deborah is still going forward climbing greater heights and inspiring this generation. In July 2014, Deborah who is currently studying Business was at a reception event at The UK Parliament’s House Of Commons building in Westminster, and was given the opportunity to speak about her organisation ‘The1WayProject’.

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This project, with its slogan ‘Introducing Salvation to young people in Communities’ is being a continuous dose of blessing for many youths like Deborah, who in this dark world finds light in the message it brings. Through her many works, Deborah has only one goal, she wants “people to establish a true relationship with God and to stay focused in life.” A girl with a bright future!

You can get Deborah Kormi’s book ‘ Walking the walk’ on amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walking-Walk-Deborah-Kormi-ebook/dp/B00BYG8QVO  And you can check her website too at: www.deborahkormi.com

Myriam Osei (@Angelpeacejoy)

Half Moons & Umbrellas: Sickle Cell Overview

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and this article aims to throw some light on a disease which is particularly relevant to the African-Caribbean community. Sickle cell is prevalent in these communities as carrying the sickle gene seems to confer some resistance to malaria. So in many areas of Africa where the risk of malaria is high, there is an almost counter-intuitive genetic selection where the gene persists in these communities to protect against malaria, but also increases the risk of future generations getting full-blown sickle cell…

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So what is this ‘sickle cell disease’ which we hear so much about?

Sickle cell is a genetic condition where alongside normal red blood cells, patients carry mutated ‘sickle-shaped’ red blood cells in their bloodstream which can block blood vessels and cause a variety of complications. These strange sickle cells also die earlier than their normal doughnut-shaped counterparts, which causes a shortage of blood cells (i.e. anaemia). The median life expectancy of those with sickle-cell sits between 40-60 years in high-income countries.

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Approximately 300000 babies a year are born with sickle cell disease, an umbrella of syndromes of which sickle cell anaemia is the most common and most severe. Initially mostly prevalent in Africa and parts of the Mediterranean, its distribution is becoming wider-ranged with increasing numbers of mixed-race people.

Most cases of sickle cell can present in childhood, however milder forms such as HbSc disease may only be diagnosed in adulthood with a patient having an acute episode of pain, or an incidental blood test.

Typically, the first symptom to present in childhood is a painful swelling of the hands and feet, called ‘dactylitis’, which affects 30% of patients before the age of one and tends to be uncommon after 2 years of age. Infections due to a type of bacteria known as ‘encapsulated bacteria’ tends to be common due to the underactive spleen which is seen in sickle cell. Studies have shown that giving sickle cell children doses of penicillin in health can keep such infections at bay.

Sickle cell involves a wide array of complications, involving a wide array of systems, from the urinary system to even the visual system. Issues include abdominal sickling, which involves severe pain, a distended tummy and constipation. Another issue which is seen in 30% of sickle cell males by the age of 30 years is priapism, which is a painful, unwanted erection which lasts for more than 2 hours. Other issues include acute visual loss, blood in the urine, and more longer-term complications such as leg ulcers and kidney disease.

One complication is what is called ‘acute chest syndrome’, which involves symptoms such as chest pain, cough, shortness of breath and increased heart rate. This tends to be serious as it tends to be a vicious cycle where reduced oxygen supply encourages further sickling and further blockage of blood vessels, which consequently reduces oxygen supply even more! Most patients improve with no need for hospital admission, started on a course of antibiotics. However serious cases can be managed in hospital with additional means such as ventilation and blood transfusions.

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Sickle cell anaemia is known to be probably the most common cause of stroke in childhood, with bleeding in the brain occurring due to either damage of fragile new arteries which have grown to counter reduced oxygen supply to the brain or from swellings in the arteries which are known as ‘aneurysms’. In high-income countries, incidences of such childhood strokes has reduced due to scanning of the brain known as transcranial Doppler scanning, to identify kids at high risk.

Acute pain is a big issue – usually caused by blockage of blood vessels, which causes organ damage due to not enough oxygen getting to organs. How can this complication be prevented? Cold and dehydration are just two factors which have been shown to precipitate acute episodes of pain, so dressing well and keeping hydrated as well as taking effective painkillers can help keep pain at bay. The drug hydroxyurea has been shown to lower the frequency of acute pain and complications associated with sickle cell, with about 15-30% of patients in England using this medicine which many feel is underused.

For more up-to-date information to help you or a relative/friend get clued up about sickle cell, visit the following websites:

www.sicklecellsociety.org

www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sickle-Cell-Anaemia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Also check out supermodel Jourdan Dunn’s article for Vogue September 2014 about her son’s experience with sickle cell: http://www.vogue.com/1301063/supermodel-jourdan-dunn-sons-battle-sickle-cell-anemia-help-fight-disease/

Dr Jermaine Bamfo (Dr_Jabz27)

AFCON 2015 Qualifier: Ghana 3 – 2 Togo

Late Atsu goal gives Black Stars vital win over Togo

 

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Ghana recorded their first win after a poor showing at the 2014 World Cup to restore their hopes of qualifying from Group E for AFCON 2015 after heroics from Christian Atsu.

The winger, on loan at Everton from Premier League rivals Chelsea, hit home the winner five minutes from time to give Kwesi Appiah’s men victory in the Group E qualifying match in Lome.

Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Uganda last Saturday, Ghana appeared set for further disappointment when Floyd Ayite put the hosts ahead after 12 minutes.

First-half goals from Asamoah Gyan and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu quickly turned things around for Ghana, only for Emmanuel Adebayor to seemingly rescue a point for Togo 13 minutes from time.

But the hosts were left heartbroken as Atsu settled the game in Ghana’s favour, boosting their hopes of qualifying for a competition they have won on four occasions.

Togo will have been keen to get back to winning ways after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Guinea in their opening match last Friday.

And Tchakala Tchanile’s men promptly made a superb start as Ayite capitalised on a defensive mistake from the visitors to find the net at the second time of asking after seeing his initial effort blocked by goalkeeper Stephen Adams.

Yet Togo’s lead lasted just 12 minutes, striker Gyan levelling matters with a towering header into the bottom corner, before midfielder Agyemang-Badu completed the turnaround in the 34th minute.

The Udinese man was left unmarked by the Togo defence and made no mistake as he nodded home Abdul Rahman’s low cross at the near post.

Ghana held out for much of the second half with little difficulty, however, Adebayor set the stage for a frantic finale when he netted with a towering header.

But it was Atsu who had the final say, the 22-year-old using his pace to break free from the defence, confidently slotting home to seal all three vital points for Ghana.

 Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

 

Touring Ghana -Part 6

Brong Ahafo Region

Known as the breadbasket of Ghana, the Brong Ahafo region is home to several cocoa plantations and forest reserves, cascading waterfalls, mysterious caves and local festivals. With an idyllic landscape and atmosphere, the region is perfect for a relaxing break or retreat.

Getting there

The capital region Sunyani is 1.5 hours away from Kumasi and when driving from Accra it’s about 7 hours. Sunyani also has an airport so for those of you wishing to fly, there are domestic flights from Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi that will take you straight there.

Where to stay

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The Brong Ahafo region has several hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, so whatever your budget, there’s something for you. Choices available include Hotel Sanba in Hwidiem, Yakam Hotel & Restaurant and Falls Executive Guest Lodge in Kintanmpo, Deri Yire Hotel, Encom Hotel and Premier Palace Hotel in Techiman and Eusbett Hotel in Sunyani.

Things to do

A region that is becoming increasingly known for its natural beauty, a defining feature in the region not to miss is its waterfalls. Kintampo Waterfalls is a truly spectacular sight to behold – the water cascades 70 metres down the beautiful falls to continue its journey towards the Black Volta. Another is Fuller Falls – its scenic beauty makes it an ideal place to catch some alone time or for quiet meditation. Make sure to also visit the River Tano Pool, home to sacred that are protected by the local community.

For nature lovers, head to the wildlife reserves in the region, including the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, home to over 200 Geoffrey’s Pied Columbus and 500 Campbell’s Mona monkeys. These monkeys are regarded as sacred by locals and it’s a crime to harm them. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of butterflies, birds and 90 species of trees. Bui National Park is also worth a visit – it inhabits hippos and roan and hartebeest antelopes.  imagesW36EB9GS

The Brong Ahafo region is also culturally and historically rich – immerse yourself in local history by visiting the Hani archaelogical site near Wenchi, which was inhabited by the Benghos about 1200BC. There, one can see the ancient caves as well as Stone Age tools such as hammers, cutting blades and grindstones. Also visit the Pinihini Amowi Caves – local legend has it that the Bono people came out from there after a fierce battle with the Mossi people in the North. Finally witness some traditional healing by visiting the Kwaku Fri shrine in Nwase, where a traditional priest performs cures for sicknesses, divinations and pours libation.

Another thing distinctive to the Brong Ahafo region is their unique handicrafts such as kente weaving, adinkra stamping, pottery and wood carvings. Visit the village of Nsuta, where the ancient craft of making tree bark cloth called ‘kyekyen’ is still practised.

Finally enjoy some local festivities that are held all year round most notably the Apoo festival held in November and celebrated in Techiman and Wenchi. Another is the Kwafie festival held between November and December and celebrated by the people of Berekum, Dormaa Ahenkro and Nsoatre, and the Sasabobirim and Fordjour (Yam) festivals. Highlights of these festivals include durbar of chiefs and dancing and drumming. The best thing about these festivals is that everyone is welcomed to take part!

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But before you say goodbye to the Brong Ahafo region and its people, make sure you’ve tucked into some of their wonderful dishes such as fufu and kontomire soup and plantain and cocoyam ampesi.

Yaa Nyarko (YaaYaa_89)

AFCON 2015 Qualifier: Ghana 1 -1 Uganda

Ayew Penalty Salvages Draw for Black Stars as fans stay away in Kumasi

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Ghana was forced to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Uganda in its opening Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday. The Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi was noticeably empty as fans decided to stay away after a dismal World Cup riddled with off-the-field problems.

Kwesi Appiah’s men made an unconvincing start to their qualifying campaign in Kumasi. Without Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng  (suspended indefinitely because of disciplinary problems) the host toiled against their opponents, ranked 45 places below it in the world.

After Tony Mawejje had given Uganda the lead at the end of the first half, Ghana was grateful to receive a controversial penalty that Andre Ayew confidently dispatched to earn the hosts a point

Ghana made the brighter start, and captain Asamoah Gyan was twice denied by fine saves from Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Those stops proved crucial on the stroke of halftime as Mawejje gave the visitors the lead with a shot from the edge of the area that bounced awkwardly in front of Fatau Dauda and flew into the corner.

Ghana reacted strongly at the start of the second half and was level in the 50th minute. Abdul Majeed Waris was judged to have been felled inside the box and, after protests from the Uganda players fell on deaf ears, Ayew sent his spot kick straight down the middle.

Uganda almost retook the lead immediately, but Dauda tipped Brian Umony’s low effort onto the post. Although Ghana had much the better of the final half an hour, Appiah’s men were unable to force a winner and will now travel to Togo for their next Group E qualifier Wednesday, while Uganda will host Guinea

 

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

Touring Ghana – Part 5

Western Region

They say the best comes from the west, and this cannot be more true when in the western region. One of the most interesting regions in Ghana, the western region is home to picturesque villages, former historic European trading forts, beautiful and affordable resorts, fantastic beaches, tropical rainforests and of course, birthplace of the first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. I can’t even begin to tell you the things that one can find in that region, but whatever your tastes and interests are, there’s guaranteed to be something for you!

Getting there

Journeying to the western region is relatively easy. STC buses from Accra just takes four hours and trains leave from Kumasi to the capital Secondi-Takoradi twice daily.

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Where to stay

Being a coastal region, one is spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. As well as resorts, there are several hotels, guest houses and lodges to choose from. Some of the best rated accommodation in the region include Busua Inn Resort, Ghana Spirit, Casablanca Guest Inn, Stellar Lodge, Anomabo Beach Resort, Planter’s Lodge, Lou Moon Lodge, Escape3points Ecolodge, Ezile Bay Village and many others. Most of these are located in the cities of Busua, Axim and Beyin, and Secondi-Takoradi.

Things to do

Where to begin!? There are a plethora of things one can do in this region. Let’s start with the beaches. Some of the best beaches in Ghana can be found here, and due to few visitors, the beaches are clean and safe. These include Miamia Beach, Busua Beach, Ajua Beach, Coconut Grove Beach Resort, Ankobra and Paradise Beaches, Sports Club Beach, Alaska Beach and Princess Town Beach. These beaches are perfect for picnics, quiet reflection and meditation, BBQs and those of you who want to get your surf on!

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For those who of who want to get into a bit of local history, the western region is littered with several forts and castles built by the Dutch, British, Portuguese and Brandenburgian during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries for trading slaves, gold and other products. Some of these forts are World Heritage sites and the ones open to visitors include Elmina Castle and Fort St. Jago in the historic town of Elmina, Cape Coast Castle in Cape Coast, Fort Metal Cross at Dixcove, Fort St. Apollonia at Beyin, Fort St. Antonio at Axim, Fort Batenstein at Butri, Fort Sebastian at Shama, Fort Groot Fredericksburg at Princess Town and many others.

Also, be sure visit the original grave and pay your respects to the founding father of Ghana Dr Kwame Nkrumah, which can be found in Nkroful.

There are several other attractions that are not be missed if you’re in the Western region. These include a trip to Nzulezu, a picturesque village entirely built on stilts which one can explore on a canoe. Head out to Monkey Hill located at the Heart of Secondi Takoradi, a tropical rainforest inhabited by monkeys. For breathtaking views of the region and all its glory, visit the southernmost point of the country, Cape Three Points. Also, be sure to pass by the Wassa Dormama Rock Shrine, a nature shrine known as ‘bosom kese’ (great god) by locals. There, you’ll find a mammoth rock monolith reaching almost three storeys high and supported by three other rocks and wrapped in a forest of ancient tree vines. It is truly a sight to behold.

As the region with the highest rainfall in Ghana, the western region is awash with lush hills and tropical rainforests where one can find many wildlife and nature reserves. The Ankasa Conservation Area is one of the natural treasures of Ghana – its home to some of the most diverse plant and bird species, the bongo, forest elephants, endangered primates, several streams and rivers, and the spectacular Bamboo Cathedral (there are camping facilities for those who want to stay overnight). Another nature reserve worth visiting is the Amansuri Conservation Area, a wetland that has the stand of an intact swamp forest and is home to monkeys, birds, crocodiles, and marine turtles. Other wildlife reserves in the region include the Bia National Park, the Egyambra Crocodile Sanctury and the Akatakyi Crocodile Pond.

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Finally get stuck in local festivities that take place during the annual Kundum Festival which occurs between July and August. Enjoy the drumming, dancing and feasts that take place during this period. If you’re a foodie, make sure you check out Captain Hook’s, Han’s Palace Northsea Restaurant, Veivaag Lodge Restaurant in Secondi Takoradi, and Saha Country Kitchen and Cafe Puerto in Beyin for mouth-watering local and international cuisines. Local dishes to definitely try are akyekye (made from cassava) served with avocado and fufu with mushroom or snail lightsoup.

What I’ve covered above are just some of the things you can do in this region. There is so much to discover (fishing, whale-watching, canoeing etc.) in this part of Ghana so be sure.

Yaa Nyarko (@Yaayaa_89)