November 2014


Introoducing… VVX Group

Art work at its innovative best!

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MFG caught up with the creatives behind innovative art brand VVX Group….

Kojo Marfo, 25 and Koby Martin, 26 have joined forces in creating the company, showcasing original and distinctive artwork.

The pair held exhibitions in the Belgrade theatre attracting over 600 visitors from across Coventry and have also worked alongside big brands in London such as Adidas. With the vibrant and captivating colours, we had to ask the artist behind the pieces, Koby, where he got his inspiration from. He said: ‘The music I listen to, my every day experiences and my spontaneous personality reflect my work and the colours I use.’ The brand sets out to push boundaries in the art market, by creating distinctive and unique pieces, and marketing them in original ways. Kojo said ‘ There isn’t really anyone doing what we’re doing and we guarantee you’ll find something you can relate to.

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Currently based within Coventry, the pair plan on building their enterprise by collaborating with different sports brands and musicians to create album covers and other original pieces.

Check out their website: www.vvxcreativegroup.com for more information

Koby Martin and Kojo Marfo aka VVX Group Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Wilma Sagoe (@Wilmasagoe) 

A Message from the Editor: The Future of Ghana…..

Mobilizing Ghana’s talent for Development!

 

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Why the Future of Ghana…

In less than 3 generations 41% of the world’s youth will be African”, “By 2035, Africa’s labour force will be larger than China’s” (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)…

Thus we believe now is time to celebrate, mobilize and invest in young people of Ghanaian heritage at a critical time in Africa’s growth.

Who are Ghana’s Future leaders? Who are the young people out there innovating and creating change? …… It’s about time we found out!

Award winning London based company Me FiRi Ghana are on a mission to find the pioneers and innovators of the Future by launching the Future of Ghana campaign.

The main objective of the campaign is to organize and mobilize Ghanaian talent for the development of Ghana by undertaking a global search for the top 30 Ghanaian talent aged 18 – 30 years – impacting industries around the world. The search will consist of an open nomination process driven through social media, media partners and using the official hashtag #FutureofGhana with the top 30 being featured in online publication. The secondary objective will be to stage a “Dragon’s Den” style competition in Ghana for budding entrepreneurs and small/medium size business owners hoping to expand.

Nominations for the Future of Ghana are now open to the public until 17 December 2014 via the website. Once closed nominees will be whittled down to a top 30 by a select judging panel, ready for the publication release in March 2015. The esteemed judging panel will be revealed the week commencing 1 December 2014 so look out for updates on twitter.

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The campaign has been endorsed by Ghanaian High Commissioner to the UK H.E Victor Emmanuel Smith. He has pledged his commitment to the campaign by agreeing to host a luncheon with a select number of the top 30 pioneers in the spring of 2015.

Future of Ghana Patron and pioneering photographer James Barnor says of the initiative;

“I am privileged to be chosen as patron for the Future of Ghana initiative. It is refreshing to see young Ghanaians in the Diaspora so forward thinking and genuinely passionate about our nation’s future. This initiative will mobilize and inspire a generation of Ghanaians to come together and utilize their skills for the development of Ghana. I can see history in the making. For that reason I am more than happy to be involved”

Let’s make history!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Asaawa by Josephine hits Oxford Street with Africa Fashion Week London Concession Store

Josephine Frimpong steps out with own brand

With over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, after building a reputation through her popular made to measure service and working with various designers, Head Designer Josephine Frimpong has decided to truly bring her creative ideas to life by launching her very own clothing line. The Asaawa by Josephine brand is a womenswear label that uses luxury hand woven fabrics to create contemporary designs.

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The label has a specific focus on pattern technology that contributes to a bespoke construction of each garment for every customer.  Josephine achieved her degree in Fashion Design and Technology from the London college of Fashion and as a native Ghanaian; she works with luxury kente, a special hand woven fabric from her home country to create garments that encompass Ghana’s colorful and delicate materials with her natural eye for design. The opening of the Africa Fashion Week London’s (AFWL) concession store in the West end Plaza, is a momentous occasion for the fashion industry and especially the African culture.

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Asaawa by Josephine are looking forward to showcasing their designs along with 14 other great designers through an initiative aimed at supporting the high street entrepreneurs of the future. The brand hope to build grow and create a following similar to that of Mefiri Ghana’s, a brand that encompasses the colourful creativity of Ghana with the style and sophistication of the Western world and espescially the Diaspora community. The fashion world is looking forward to seeing more of what Asaawa by Josephine has to offer..

You can follow the Asaawa brand on the following platforms

Twitter: @AsaawaJosephine
Instagram: @AsaawaJosephine
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/asaawabyjosephine
Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

Do They Know Its Christmast​ime At All? : This Is Old Africa….

The Band Aid single. The generational congregation of the most popular musicians of the day is now on its fourth iteration. I have to admit to singing along to the tune back in the day, revelling in its Christmassy feel and gawping whenever a familiar pop star appeared on my screen. “OMG!” “All these stars in the same place at the same time!” “Singing together!” Amazing.

Then you grow up.

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And when you grow up you begin to read deeper into things. When I first took proper note of the lyrics of the original singles, I turned cold. Over-righteous generalisations, coated and numbed with the voices of artists such as Kylie Minogue and Coldplay. Nothing ever grows in Africa apparently. We don’t have rain, neither rivers, because the only water that flows is the bitter sting of tears. Oh, and the greatest gift Africans will get this year is life. ‘Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?’ On a continent which is home to 500 million Christians, I’d bloody-well think so to be honest.

My twitter time line burned when the new single was first performed on a mid-November edition of X-Factor, with many picking up on the condescending generalising nature of the reworked lyrics for Band Aid 30. The Independent praised the single by pointing out the change of ‘there wont be snow in Africa’ (which they point out is oft criticised for making ‘Africa the country’ generalisations) into ‘no peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa – the only hope they’ll have is being alive.’ Oh. That lyric reads so much better. Not generalising at all.

Byrony Gordon wrote a great article for The Telegraph wondering why the rich-and-famous should only donate their ‘precious’ time, while the rest of us must donate our money? You have to question motives when Sir Bob goes around actively ‘charity-shaming’ multi-award-winning artist Adele for not taking part – what crime has she committed? When Adele is known to be pumping her money into Oxfam’s Ebola Appeal. As we Ghanaians would say, ‘is it by force’ to take part in Band Aid? Surely the fight against Ebola is the main issue, not the means of support? Surely getting as much money into the right places, and increasing the healthcare workforce and supplies, is more important than one single sitting at the top of the singles charts? Right?

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Fuse ODG is the most prominent Ghanaian artist this side of the Atlantic, regularly sitting atop our charts and using his exposure to attempt to deconstruct such archaic views of Africa by publicising TINA – ‘This Is New Africa’ – the Africa which is home to many of the world’s fast-growing economies, a bustling ground for creative talent and gifts. Not a cesspit of famine, war and disease. So it made sense and brought me comfort to hear that Fuse ODG wasn’t blinded by the bright lights of this ‘opportunity’ to share a stage with ‘Harry Styles n Dem’, and saw how damaging to his own message that backing this single would be.

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Because the TINA message is exactly the type of message we need to push. Hard. Personally, I feel that this Ebola epidemic has given a lot of people the platform to play out their latent prejudices about black people, especially Africans – it has become another reason to give us side-eyes, another reason to make sure that the sear next to us on the bus/train is the last one filled, another reason to see us as a potential reservoir for dirty disease by adding itself to a list which already contains HIV/AIDS. But look at the picture shown here – how many countries in Africa are known to actually have confirmed cases of Ebola? And how much mention is made of the one or two others like Nigeria which did have a couple of cases and have now been confirmed as all-clear?

That is my gripe with the BandAid single. That is why I feel Fuse ODG rightly declined to take part in perpetuating this unfortunate image of Africa. Yes, Ebola is a terrible disease. I have to give Sir Bob Geldof some credit when he described Ebola during his appearance on X-Factor as being an ‘Anti-Human’ disease – a disease which splits families apart, which prevents loved ones from directly comforting each other. But it is the generalisations which gets me. Over the past few weeks we have heard stories of Rwandan children in New Jersey being excluded from school, Malian teachers being kept from work, examples of utter madness and opportunism to paint us all as one-and-the-same, refusing to take the time to differentiate between us and appreciate the different unique fibres which make up the rich tapestry of the African continent.

Band Aid may have good intent. But it is still perpetuating that image of Old Africa. And that’s not sitting well with me. 

Not this Christmastime.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

 

Ghana Seed Law solidarity Campaign….

World Development Movement fighting for small scale farmers in Ghana

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The World Development Movement is a UK based activist organisation that campaigns alongside groups in the global south for global justice. They are currently running a solidarity action on the Ghana seed laws going through the Ghanaian parliament at the moment.

This action is in solidarity with farmer groups and activists who have called the law the ‘Monsanto Law’ as it will hand control over seed away from farmers and into the hands of big seed and agribusiness corporations.

You can support their action here – http://action.wdm.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1784&ea.campaign.id=32583

There is more information on the Monsanto law here:http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2605389/ghanas_farmers_battle_monsanto_law_to_retain_seed_freedom.html

The WDM have helped to table a motion in  the UK Parliament which MP’s have signed and you can view here- http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/466

For more information on WDM and this particular campaign check out their website – www.wdm.org.uk/food, follow them on twitter  @GlobalJusticeUK or email Dan Iles – dan.iles@wdm.org.uk

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_Ghana)

GUBA EXPO 2014 Review by Myriam Osei….

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There’s the ‘GUBA Awards’ – the prestigious Ghana UK Based Achievement awards founded in 2009 to celebrate the achievements of individuals in the British Ghanaian society –on the same line, stands ‘GUBA EXPO’, the two-day event, which premiered on 7th  November 2014.

The word ‘EXPO’ in the brand’s name, stands for ‘exposure’, or ‘exhibition’, and as one would expect this term fits perfectly well with the concept of this new platform, which is to showcase Ghanaian made products and provides an avenue for small or big businesses, to find their niche into the prominently fierce British market.

I attended the 2nd day of ‘GUBA EXPO’, not as a business entrepreneur or with a marketing degree fastened in my right hand, but simply as a creative and inquisitive mind, wanting to witness directly what the widely publicised event has to offer.

Rewinding to Day 1 of the event, it was composed of workshops and discussions, led by speakers who shared their expertise on the craft of business; a vivid exchange between members of the audience and industry experts. Some of the guests were Mavis Amankwah and Ghana’s minister of tourism and culture, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare.

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Day 2 was focused on the display of various African products; a chance for ‘GUBA EXPO’ and the investors to stand their grounds and prove to the audience and store’s representatives present why these Ghanaian made products were indeed worth importing to the British ground.

As a Ghanaian myself, it was with a mix of pride and astonishment, hidden under a calm pretence and demeanour that I walked through the sectors interestingly looking at products made in Ghana. There were clothes, bags, accessories and phones cases, covered in vibrant African print. There were also skin nourishment creams composed of natural ingredients from the West African country. From some steps away, I could also see a natural-made honey brand, and as I approached, the owner proudly tells me that the packaging and all that it contains originates from Ghana, which makes it all “natural”. From the other side of the room, I noticed a vivid exchange between a Tesco’s representative, and a woman discussing what I believe is Ghana’s favourite pepper sauce ‘Shitto’ conserved in a small transparent jar in the table in front of them.

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As I spoke with GUBA  founder, Dentaa, she explained to me that the inspiration for it started in 2013 when she witnessed the “remarkable products” that Ghanaians made through one of ‘GUBA awards’ categories for ‘Best product’, she recounts: “That’s when I realised ‘Wow, Ghanaians are actually making some remarkable products’, why is It not in the shops anytime I go, why isn’t in Tesco’s, why isn’t in Selfridges or Topshops or Topman, what can we do about that?” When asked about ‘GUBA EXPO’, she explained, “It’s about getting our products out there, and it’s about Ghanaians, Africans and other individuals coming to buy the products.”

‘GUBA EXPO’ is indeed changing the formal perception sometimes associated with business, and creates an exciting line for African and Ghanaian products to be promoted and used on an international scale.

Check out the Myriam’s video, capturing her experience and featuring interview with GUBA founder Dentaa Amaoteng below;

Myriam Osei @Angelpeacejoy)

Message from the Editor: UK Blog Awards 2015

We Go Again!……… So We Need Your Votes!

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The Me Firi Ghana Blog is up for the UK Bog Awards 2015 in the Most innovative and best Art & Culture blog categories for a company/organisation.

In April we were recognised as 1 of the top 10 Arts & Culture blogs in the UK and finished as one of two runners up in the Most innovative category at this years Awards. This after being the only black culture blog shortlisted for the awards ceremony making the final 28 from a pool of 900+ blogs.
Since then we have challenged ourselves to improve our content.Thus we hope to go one step further next year by picking up an award.The public vote is now under way from now until Monday 1st December 2014. The top 10 shortlisted blogs in each category with most votes in will then be judged by a panel in from the various industry categories from with the Awards Ceremony in April 2015.
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You can vote for us by clicking the following URL links;
 Your support is much appreciated as we continue to make Ghana relevant in 2015
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

GUBA EXPO 2014 …..

A Spectacular Showcase Of Ghanaian Products In The Royal Borough of Greenwich!

GUBA Expo, a two day Business event held at the Charlton Athletic Football Club on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th November 2014, sent the Royal Borough of Greenwich buzzing

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The GUBA Expo, powered by GUBA Awards, was an event connecting Ghanaian Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) with procurement experts, with the aim of cementing trade and business relations between the UK and Ghana. The expo was endorsed and attended by several dignitaries including: Ghana Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative ArtsMrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, Greenwich and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford, Mayor of Greenwich David Grant, Councillor John Fahy and a host of other invited guests.

The expo commenced with a message read on behalf of Hon Victor Smith, the Ghana High Commissioner to the UK, in which he expressed his support for the GUBA Expo and the necessity of strengthening trade relations between Ghana and the UK.

The Ghana Minister of Tourism – Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare also emphasised the need for more initiatives like the GUBA Expo in promoting Ghanaian businesses. There are a range of impressive investment opportunities in Ghana and the Made in Ghana products on offer today are just a sample of what we have to offer as a people. I urge everyone to invest and support Made in Ghana products” she added.

Project Manager Gillian Appau said the event ‘’will mark the beginning of opening exciting new doors of trade and economic opportunity for Ghana and the UK.’’

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Councillor John Fahy, Deputy Leader of Greenwich echoed this sentiment, commending the efforts and emphasised the importance of this joint venture in the Greenwich community.

The first day of the expo targeted established SMBs and upcoming start-ups. Workshops and discussions were held and successful brands; Blue Skies and Uncle John’s Bakery documented their rise to success and overcoming obstacles in business.

Speakers from various professional backgrounds also advised attendees on diverse topics relating to business growth. John Kennedy and Sarah Talland from Wildbore and Gibbons LLP, led a workshop on Protecting Your Brand, touching on topics such as trademarking and copyright. The Business Strategy workshop was covered by Bradley Rood from HASLERS whilst Darren Peiris from Barclays, covered the workshop on Business Proposition &Start-Up Funding. The Going Global on a Budget workshop was covered by Kubi Springer of She Builds Brands, Franklin Boateng advised on Improving Online Presence through Social Media, and Mavis Amankwah of Rich Visions concluded with a workshop on How to Pitch for Business and Win Contracts. The workshops moderated by Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka of MeFiRi Ghana and Andrea Opoku of Green Bean Marketing were well attended and highly informative. Speakers offered insightful business strategies for continuous growth, and attendees were offered a wealth of information and business contacts.

Attendees flocked to the products on offer on the second day of the expo. Products from Cosmetics to fashion accessories were available for purchase. Exhibitors on the day were: Black Secret Makeup, Selina Beb, Sheabutter Cottage, Obeliver Drinks, African Cases, Glory Roots, Kaela de Jean, UP Life Honey, Choco Revo, Acote Collections, Yaa Ataa Couture, Puréte Nature, Native Greetings, Shiela’s Kitchen and JN / Ghana International Money Transfer.

The CEO of PAKs Cosmetics, representatives from Tesco, ASOS and other buyers, were also in attendance. Exhibitors had the opportunity of pitching their product to these buyers.  Scott Burrell of Tesco was very impressed with the products on show and was keen on stocking two of the products on display.  CEO of Pak’s cosmetics which has over 28 stores in the UK was interested in stocking the Shea butter products.

Mayor David Grant expressed his delight at the products on offer “they are so many unique and vibrant products. I am especially impressed by the affordability of it” – he expressed.

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Dentaa Amoateng CEO of GUBA added: “The main aim of this event was to create a direct link which connects SMBs to distributors. The GUBA Expo met my expectations because it was a great opportunity for the SMBs to speak to the buyers and get valuable tips on how to market their businesses and utilize Social Media. The seminars on day one were very informative and the SMBs have expressed how educational it was and the number of tips they will be implementing into their businesses. There is also a great possibility that products from three of the businesses, will be making their way into Tesco and ASOS”

Over the course of both days, the theme was clear: Small and Medium Businesses have fantastic products to offer, positively impacts the economy and all is needed is for the gap between production and distribution to be closed.

More photographs from the event can be found on our social media portals:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gubaawards?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GUBAAwardsUK

For further information on the GUBA Expo, visit- http://www.gubaexpo.co.uk

Instagram @gubaexpo

About Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards:

GUBA Awards is a non-profit awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of Ghanaians living in Britain and acknowledging the valuable services of UK based organizations to Ghanaians in the UK and Ghana.  GUBA Awards is in its third year and aims to extend the awards to the wider African community in the UK.

For further information please contact:

George Ameyaw                                                                     Claudia Andrews

GUBA Head of PR                                                                       Head of Social Media

00447956945360                                                                    claudia@gubaawards.co.uk

george@gubaawards.co.uk

 

Writer/Poet Adwoa Asiedu releases debut book…

From Within Volume 1  available on kindle now!

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Talented writer and Me Firi Ghana’s very own blogger Adwoa Asiedu released her debut book, which is a collection of 54 Poems including 15 published poems. The foreward in the publication has been written by Olubanke King Akerele, the Former Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs . Adwoa also cites the influences of her parents in helping develop her talent for writing as well as Me Firi Ghana’s Editor Ben Anim-Antwi for his support.

At Me Firi Ghana we are extremely proud to say we have been involved in the journey which has brought her to this point . Her passion for writing is inspiring and the sky is the limit for her!

To purchase a copy visit the following link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Foreword-Olubanke-Akerele–Liberian-Minister-ebook/dp/B00P1W6J7A/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414860003&sr=8-1&keywords=From+within+Adwoa+Asiedu#_

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_Firi_GHANA)

Mista Silva single review…. Like it!

We Like it!

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UK afrobeats star Mista Silva has blessed us again with another infectious track. Like it featuring A.I.M (African Independent Musician) from his E.P ‘Let it off’. The track produced by Boatz has an energetic and bouncy rhythm with A.I.M vocals giving it a reggae feel.

The south London based  artist does what he does best on this one. Soothing us with his signature vocals over a feel good rhythm . Cant fault him on this one.

For your own listening pleasure, check out the track below –  We definitely like it!

 

https://soundcloud.com/mista-silva-muisc/mista-silva-ft-aim-like-it-produced-by-boatz-made-it

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_Firi_GHANA)