October 2015


A Ghanaian Footballing Pioneer: The Legend of CK Gyamfi

As summer 2015 began its first forays into autumn, one of the brightest Black Stars dimmed, fading away into the ages. Charles (Nana) Kumi Gyamfi, more popularly known as C.K. Gyamfi, passed on to glory on 2nd September 2015. In his wake, he leaves a legacy which still looms large over the landscape of Ghanaian football.

gfa_mourns_passing_of_legendary_coach_ck_gyamfi_975092106Born in Accra in 1929, Gyamfi began playing football at the age of 7 in junior school. His precocious talent was noticeable from the off, and he became an integral part of his School XI, playing against boys bigger and taller than him. Due to his special talent, he gained admission into the Accra Royal School in 1944, despite the School being closed to further admissions as they had no vacancies!

He started his senior professional career with Sailors Football Club in 1948. After a match against the Ebusua Dwarfs in which he excelled against the opposition, he was persuaded to join them for a brief time before commencing a 5 year run playing for the Asante Kotoko. Noted for being the pivot around which Kotoko’s attack rotated, Gyamfi earned the right to play for the Gold Coast team which toured the United Kingdom in 1951. The Gold Coast team stunned their opponents, playing barefoot on British shores and scoring a total of 25 goals, with CK Gyamfi scoring 11 of those goals!

On his return to Ghana, armed with his first pair of boots, he introduced football boots to the Ashanti and Southern Gold Coast playing circles, and is credited by some as leading the charge which led to every team in the nation adopting football boots. He formed the Kumasi Great Ashanti in 1954, following a big split in the Kotoko camp, leading them to many great victories. After 2 years, he left the Great Ashantis and joined the Hearts of Oak, helping them win their first Cleague title in 1956 as well as being the inaugural winners of the league title in a newly independent Ghana in 1958. His 4 year stint at Hearts ended in 1960, when he secured a transfer to Fortuna Düsseldorf – becoming the first African football to ply their trade in German football! He scored on his debut and was held in affection by the Düsseldorf faithful, nicknamed ‘Tunda Vita’ (meaning ‘Thunder Weather’) due to his powerful shots.

He then entered football management, becoming assistant coach in 1961 before taking full charge of the Ghana National Team in 1962 following the departure of the Hungarian Black Star head coach Joseph Ember. Winning the Uhuru Cup in Uganda, Ghana then went on to win the West African Gold Cup. Gyamfi then led Ghana to their first Africa Cup of Nations championship in 1963, before repeating the feat 2 years later in 1965. For those who may have considered that achievement a fluke, an anomaly achieved in the 1960s where football was a lesser standard, CK Gyamfi stuffed their opinions back down their throats as he returned to manage the Black Stars in 1982 and secured a record third Africa Cup of Nations crown! Even now, more than 30 years after becoming the first manager to win three Africa Cup of Nations championships, only one coach has managed to equal the feat, and none have been able to surpass it.

Such a figure simply could not be ignored, and Mr Gyamfi continued to be an important voice in Ghanaian football. Most significantly, towards the end of his life when asked about Ghana’s failures in international competition, he bemoaned a culture among today’s generation motivated by love of money rather than national pride. “The players that I worked with played for the love of the game and were totally committed to playing for their country,” said the man known in football circles by his initials, CK. He added: “Today’s players don’t know the value of the national jersey but my players were prepared to die for their country.”

CK-169x300He became a chief of Okorasi, a small town in the Eastern Region of Ghana, in 1999 when the stool of the town became vacant. He also received honours in the form of being named a ‘National Sports Hero’ and being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, as well as having the National Sports College in Winneba being named after him. The former captain of Accra Hearts of Oak & Ghana Black Stars, and the engineer of three of Ghana’s four Africa Cup of Nations triumphs, CK Gyamfi leaves behind his wife Madam Valerie Quartey Gyamfi (who was a former national tennis player herself) and eight sons.

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Vote for GH/UK artists nominated for 2015 Urban Music Awards!

The prestigious European Urban Music Awards & the UMA Academy have announced the nominees for this year’s highly anticipated 13th annual awards ceremony taking place on the 21st of November 2015 in London, with a number of Ghanaian/UK artists such as Stormzy, Lethal Bizzle, Kwabs and Fuse ODG among others making it on the nominee lists

 

Each year, thousands of avid music fans decide the nominees for each of the 21 categories in the event, and it is these fans who will decide the winners for the 13th annual European Urban Music Awards ceremony.

 

The Urban Music Awards also announced a five year sponsorship deal with multi-market store, Mokingo.com.

 

Gary McCarthy, Marketing Manager for Mokingo.com commented, “We are very excited to sign a three year sponsorship term with the Urban Music Awards. The UMA’s is one of the most recognisable brands in music worldwide and to be part of this great institution is truly an honour. Good luck to all the nominees and winners at this year’s 13th annual Urban Music Awards”

 

Other sponsors for the UMA’s 2015 include: Luc Belaire (Official Rosé Wine Sponsor) , Hip Pops (Official Snack Sponsor) , Turntable Bar & Restaurant, Beyond Beauty Cosmetic, Cosmetic Surgery Partner, DeChavel , InvestNation and Zuricom (Official Mobile Phone Partner)

 

The televised show will be broadcast on Showcasetv, Freeview channel 254., Sky 261 and FreeSat 402. #UrbanMusicAwards

 

***Ghanaian/UK artists have been highlighted in bold so let’s get voting for them!***

 

UMA Best Newcomer 2015 (In association with Mokingo.com)

Bugzy Malone

Zak Abel

Kelvin Jones

Fluer East

Section Boyz

Nao

Bonkaz

Nick Brewer

George The Poet

J Hus

Snakehips

Sinead Harnett

Yungen

Wstrn

 

UMA Best Video 2015

Lady Leshurr ‘Queen Speech 4’

Stormzy “Know Me From” (Directed by Serious Black)

FKA Twigs “Glass & Patron” (Directed by FKA Twigs)

Rita Ora Feat. Chris Brown “Body On Me” (Directed Colin Tilley)

Lethal Bizzle Feat. Diztortion “Fester Skank” (Directed by Ludovic and Zotto)

Kano ‘New Banger’

Jidenna ‘Classic Man’

Macklemore ft. Lewis, Nally, & Mel ‘Downtown’

 

UMA Best Female Act 2015

FKA Twigs

Fluer East

Lady Leshurr

Little Simz

Ella Eyre

Lianne La Havas

Jess Glynne

M.I.A

Ella Henderson

Melissa Steel

Katy B

 

UMA Best Male Act 2015

Skepta

MNEK

Mark Ronson

Krept and Konan

Jme

Stormzy

Tinie Tempah

Fuse ODG

Giggs

Kano

Kwabs

Ed Sheeran

Jidenna

Wstrn

Gregory Porter

 

UMA Best Single 2015 (In association with Luc Belaire)

Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”

Macklemoore ‘Downtown’

Kwabs ‘Walk’

Wstrn ‘In2’

Jedinna ‘Classic Man’

MNEK & Zara Larsson “Never Forget You”

KDA feat. Tinie Tempah & Katy B “Turn The Music Louder” (Rumble)

Skepta “Shutdown”

Kygo feat. Ella Henderson “Here For You”

Tinie Tempah Feat. Jess Glynne “Not Letting Go”

Jme Feat. Giggs “Man Don’t Care”

Krept and Konan Feat. Jeremih “Freak Of The Week”

Blinkie ‘Don’t Give Up on Love’

KStewart “Ain’t Nobody”

Maverick Sabre “Come Fly Away”

J Spades ‘Nobody’ (feat. MoStack, Cutfather ‘Swift’, J. Hus & Grizzy)

 

UMA Best Album 2015

Krept and Konan – The Long Way Home

Tyrese – Black Rose

Jme – Integrity

Ed Sheeran- X

Lianne La Havas – Blood

Wiley – Snakes & Ladders

Jamie XX – In Colour

Drake – If Youre Reading This Its Too Late#

Cole – Forest Hill Drive

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre

The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Black Messiah

Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show

 

UMA Best Grime Act 2015

Bugzy Malone

Big Narstie

Jme

Lethal Bizzle

Skepta

Stormzy

Ghetts

 

UMA Best R&B/Soul Act 2015

Shakka

Lianne La Havas

Andreya Triana

Joss Stone

Melissa Steel

Fluer East

Angel

Kwabs

Zalon Thompson

 

UMA Best Hip Hop Act 2015

Akala

Krept and Konan

Little Simz

Section Boyz

Lady Leshurr

Nines

Professor Green

Giggs

 

UMA Best African Act

Wizkid

Fuse ODG

Silvastone

Davido

Patoranking

Moelogo

Yemi Alade

AKA

Mista Silva

Shatta Wale

 

UMA Best Reggae Act

Stylo G

Chronixx

OMI

Popcaan

Protoje

 

UMA Best Jazz Act

Yolanda Brown

Binker and Moses

Dianne Reeves

Julia Biel

Zara McFarlane

Courtney Pine

David Lyttle

Polar Bear

GoGo Penguin

Sons of Kemet

Polar Bear

Gregory Porter

 

UMA Best Gospel Act

J Vessel

Chos3n

ACM Gospel Choir

Olaedo Ibe

Leroy Johnson

Ni-Cola

Faith Child

 

UMA Best Group 2015

Rudimental

Section Boyz

Wstern

Chos3n

 

UMA Best Radio Show 2015

Breakfast Club- DJ Envy, Angela Yee & Charlamagne (Power 105.1)

Neeve ‘Kisstory’ ( Kiss)

Ricki, Melvin & Charlie (In the Morning – Kiss)

Craig David presents TS5 (Capital Xtra)

Charlie Sloth (1Xtra)

E-Plus ( Capital Xtra)

Marvin Humes (Capital Xtra)

DJ Abrantee (Capital Xtra)

Shortee Blitz & MK (Kiss)

Max (Capital Xtra)

Jamz Supernova ( BBC 1Xtra)

A. Dot – ‘The Dotty Show’ (BBC 1Xtra)

Mista Jam ( BBC 1Xtra)

 

UMA Best Collaboration 2015 sponsored by DeChavel

Sigma & Diztortion ft. Jacob Banks ‘Redemption’

Redlight feat. Melisa Whiskey ‘Threshold’

Shakka feat. JME ‘Say Nada’

R. City feat. Adam Levine ‘Locked Away’

R2bees Feat. Davido – ‘Gboza’

Jesse Glynne ft Tinie Tempah ‘Not Letting Go’

Krept & Konan ft. Jeremih ‘Freak of the Week’

Rita Ora ft. Chris Brown ‘Body on Me’

Macklemore ft. Lewis, Nally, & Mel ‘Downtown’

Nick Brewer ft. Bibi Bourelly ‘Talk To Me’

 

UMA Best Producer 2015

Maleek Berry

Naughty Boy

Diztortion

Mele

Calvin Harris

Disclosure

Mura Masa

 

UMA Best International Artist 2015

Jidenna

Tyrese

Chris Brown

Yellow Claw

August Alsina

Nico & Vinz

Drake

French Montana

OMI

MackleMoore

ASAP Rocky

J.Cole

Weeknd

 

UMA Best DJ 2015

Manny Norte

DJ Charlesy

EZ

Shortee Blitz

DJ Fonti

Mista Jam

Tim Westwood

DJ Envy

Shy FX

Melody Kane

 

UMA Best Music Channel 2015

Channel AKA

Not For The Radio (Online)

MTV

ViVa

Flava TV

Link UP TV

 

UMA Best Clothing Brand 2015

Dench

Boy Better Know

Money Clothing

Trapstar

Mula Cake Clothing

Nike

Puma

DeChavel

 

UMA Best Music PR Company 2015

Dawbell PR

Sticky Toffee PR

Brand Weekly PR

Hudson PR

Outpost PR

Impressive PR

Ditto Music PR

Purple PR

 

UMA Best Radio Station 2015

Bang Radio

Colourful Radio

1Xtra

Rinse fm

Capital Xtra

Kiss

Juice fm

 

Voting for the Urban Music Awards 2015 is live now till the 15th of November 2015 on www.urbanmusicawards.net

Sensational GH Dancehall gem, Kora Out With A Banger ‘Yɛ Chilli’

Promising upcoming dancehall artiste, Kora has officially released his anticipated jam titled “Yɛ Chilli“, the official Christmas and Friday anthem.

The single was produced by multi talented sound engineer Hype Lyrics.

Kora is poised to pave his way onto the mainstream scene and with the backing of Jovac Multimedia (the label he’s signed to) and he is determined to break boundaries.

In addition, statement from the management of Kora has also hinted at the video shoot of the new single, which will be happening this weekend.

Check out the new single below:

 

Mental Health: The Dark Age in Ghanaian Society

The image will never leave me. A young lady – she must have been not much older than I am now. Chained to a stone wall, in a room which wouldn’t look out of place in Elmina castle or any of the historical slave-holding castles dotted around Ghana. Legs shackled, she lay slumped in the damp darkness. No energy left to act out the distress her face betrayed she was still feeling. Sat helplessly in a concoction of excrement and feminine fluid which looked so putrid I could swear blind the stench emanated out of the photo on the website and through my laptop screen.

 

A modern-day re-enactment of crimes against humanity performed on our shores centuries ago? A depiction of torture?

 

No. She was simply a mental health patient. In a mental health facility. In Ghana. In the 21st century.

 

mentally ill in chains

mentally ill in chains

In Ghana, mental health remains massively stigmatised and grossly misunderstood. And in the depths of misunderstanding and ignorance does not lie bliss, but rather a platform upon which traditionalist ideologies perform. The demonization of those with severe mental illness causes people to legitimise horrible treatment. A Human Rights Watch report on Ghana and BBC investigation into an Accra psychiatric facility found patients going without food or even clothes, being kept behind bars, and subjected to degrading physical treatment. It’s easier to perceive those with mental illness as animals, rather than understanding that these people need a greater, more intensive and careful degree of help than most.

Despite some progression over the years, you can tell that mental health provision remains an after-thought, almost a nuisance. That is why psychiatric nurses in Accra embarked on a nationwide strike to bring to attention the fact that the majority were in salary arrears (it’s also interesting to note that despite a news article reporting this being hosted on one of the biggest and most active of Ghanaian news sites, the comments in the comments section stood at a grand total of 0…).

Mental health workers  are underpaid and overworked, with facilities badly under-resourced. Ghana records at least 1500 suicide cases annually – which constitutes about 7% loss of Ghana’s potential Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly! And those are just the reported cases – with suggestions that for every reported case, there are four unreported cases of suicide. However, only 2 out of every 100 Ghanaians with a mental illness will get the care they need.

Government spending on Psychiatry is very low and the bulk of services, albeit sparse, are centred on Accra, leaving much of the Ghana-007rest of the country with almost no provision.  Ghana has only THREE psychiatric hospitals nationwide catering to Ghana’s population of 25 million – and ALL THREE are on the southern coast (2 in Accra, 1 in Central Region). Imagine how those in the Northern region feel, an area with the biggest mental health burden in the country. Logic.

While the UK is looking to spend a whopping £1.25 BILLION on mental health services over the next 5 years, Ghana spends a meagre £3million a year. Accra Psychiatric Hospital is a 700 bed unit – and yet, it houses more than 1200 patients….Go figure.

With few options for care outside these facilities, many people resort to prayer camps & traditional healers whose treatment methods can be inhumane at best. There is such a heavy stench of superstition and fear around psychiatric illness in Ghana. Don’t believe me? Here’s a bit of homework for you. Next time you’re in Ghana and an auntie asks you about job aspirations, tell her you want to be a Psychiatrist…

A paper published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems found that while there are more than 1000 registered mental health nurses, there are only EIGHTEEN registered psychiatric doctors – NATIONWIDE. That works out at 0.07 psychiatrists per 100,000 Ghanaians. And those are just the registered – some of those 18 may not even be in active service. If these numbers fail to horrify you…

5450930078_fbe25c23ea_bDr Sammy Ohene, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Ghana, recently decried the ‘cash-and-carry’ culture which has seeped into the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, noting that Ghana law suggests costs to provide treatment should be covered by the taxpayer, not paid at the point-of-care. He goes on to suggest that those who cannot afford the new service fees will turn to herbalists and spiritual healers in an attempt to get psychiatric care. There is already a problem with the provision of medication, with some patients acknowledging having to take much lower doses of their medicines in order to make their medicine last as they cannot keep up with costs.

And that is the last thing you need. To begin to drive people away from facilities which can best cater to their needs and back towards the stone-age dark areas of the country where they will be further demonised. But who cares right? Because according to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the only reason they have resorted to ‘cash-and-carry’ is because the central government isn’t providing money to cover costs of treatment and keep the hospital running…

trapped for being mentally ill

trapped for being mentally ill

The Mental Health Act 2012 seems to be just a means of simply keeping the watching international community off of our backs. The prospect of paying extortionate costs for care, and the ongoing stigmatisation and rampant traditional beliefs, are roadblocks preventing those who need care presenting themselves to receive it.

Listen – mental illness can happen to any of us. 1 in 4 will have some sort of psychiatric illness in our lifetime, of varying severity, regardless of race, nationality or creed. The people in the hospitals and those wandering the streets were once teachers, traders, hardworking wives or husbands, lovely children of parents and families. The social stigma so often associated with mental illness, allied with poverty and inadequate healthcare facilities, has conspired to rob these people of the care and support they deserve. Psychiatric care continues to suffer neglect in terms of practical, sustainable action that could benefit poor, marginalized people with mental illness. Will the image I described at the beginning of this article ever become a footnote in the legend of our nation? We have so much to do before we create enough light to drive out the darkness…

 

The paper ‘An overview of Ghana’s mental health system: results from an assessment using the World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) ‘ is available at http://www.ijmhs.com/content/8/1/16


By Dr Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Gospel’s finest to determine the UK’s top youth choir

Sonnie Badu - Singspiration Judge

Sonnie Badu – Singspiration Judge

Renowned award-winning gospel artists Sonnie Badu and Guvna B have been announced as judges for the GUBA Foundation’s ‘SING OUT!: SINGSPIRATION’ – a brand new youth choir/gospel singing group competition held in aid of raising funds for the charity’s campaign to reduce infant mortality. Other confirmed judges for the competition include gospel artists Rebecca Amissah and Reverend Emmanuel Osei-Kofi. This premier event will see youth singing groups under the age of 35 competing for the crown of the UK’s best youth choir. 

 

Taking place on Saturday 19th December at the Greenwich Town Hall in Woolwich London, this televised event will see young choirs from across the UK battle it out in front of the judges and a capacity crowd to win the inaugural SINGSPIRATION Winner’s Trophy and the opportunity to perform at the next iteration of the GUBA family’s flagship event

Guvna B - Singspiration Judge

Guvna B – Singspiration Judge

– the GUBA Awards!  The competition promises to be emotive and enlightening, as efforts will be made throughout the evening

to highlight the issue of infant mortality and the importance of raising funds to provide lifesaving equipment to healthcare facilities in Ghana. 

Guvna B said, “I am thrilled to be part of an incredible judging team at what will be a phenomenal event, supporting the GUBA Foundation’s ground-breaking mission towards giving Ghana’s babies a better fighting chance at survival.”

The GUBA Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that has been active since 2012. Birthed from the success of the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards, the charity was created to address the needs of the black and minority ethnic community in areas such as health, disability, education and poverty.  

 

Banner for GUBA Foundation Closing The Gap CampaignIn March 2015, the foundation embarked on a new mission, launching a project themed ’Closing the Gap’ to help reduce the

infant mortality rate in Africa. Ghana was chosen as the beneficiary country for this project as it has some of the most alarming infant mortality rates in the world. In 2014, there were a shocking 38.5 deaths of babies under the age of 1 per 1000 live births (Source: CIA World Factbook). Another horrifying depiction of the infant mortality rate of Ghana notes that close to 90 babies under the age of one month dies in Ghana each day, with one child under the age of one dying every 15 minutes. The majority of these deaths are preventable. As well as the contribution of disease, many deaths are due to inadequate availability of lifesaving equipment such as incubators in healthcare facilities.

Rebecca Amissah - Singspiration Judge

Rebecca Amissah – Singspiration Judge

Founder of the GUBA Foundation Dentaa Amoateng stressed the importance of the project stating, “It is an unspeakable tragedy that the majority of infant deaths are preventable,and are a result of system failures and inadequacies. No child should die because institutions in society, and its citizens, are not doing more to grant these babies their ultimate right of life. Therefore we must endeavour to fight to help save our babies.”  

All proceeds from the competition will help the Foundation purchase incubator systems, delivering them to various maternity facilities in Ghana and helping to assist in saving the lives of at-risk infants.  

 

To take part in ‘SING OUT!: SINGSPIRATION’ choirs with members under the age of 35 must send a short clip performing their favourite chorus to barbara@gubafoundation.org by Friday 30 October 2015.    

If you would like to donate to the ‘Closing the Gap’ campaign and help raise money for infant mortality in Ghana, please contact amma@gubafoundation.org or visit www.gubafoundation.org

 

By Barbara Baidoo & Dr. Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Rachel Kerr releases ‘All For You’ official video

There’s no doubt of the sheer talent of MOBO award winning singer and songwriter Rachel Kerr. Whilst a lot musicians these days hide a mediocre voice behind a well oiled production machine, Rachel’s ability at showcasing her powerhouse of a voice arguably puts her on par with some of the great vocalists in our time today. I had the opportunity of seeing her live a few years back, and I was not only blown away by her voice, but also by the masterful way she commanded and owned the stage.

 

Her latest offering ‘All For You’, which is available to purchase on iTunes shows Rachel at her best; her vocal range is impressive and she once again proves her mettle as a serious songwriter. With soaring vocals and heartfelt lyrics, ‘All For You’ is a true testament to Rachel’s musical maturity over the years.

Watch her newly released OFFICIAL VIDEO for ‘All For You’ below:

By Yaa Nyarko

Miss Ghana UK 2015

MGUK Presents The 23rd Edition of Miss Ghana UK 2015, taking place on Saturday 24th October 2015. The night will see finalists from all around the UK showcase their beauty, talent, intelligence, knowledge of Ghana and much more in a bid to be crowned Miss Ghana UK 2015!

This year’s Miss Ghana UK will take place at the Camden Centre in London and special guests from sports, music, film and fashion industries will be making appearances on the night so make sure you’re there! Tickets are on sale now!

 

Date: Saturday 24th October 2015

Venue: Camden Centre, Town Hall, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE (Entrance on Euston Road near Kings Cross Station)

Time: 7pm – Late (No admission after 11.30pm)

Tickets:

£20 – Seating Upstairs

£35 – Seating Downstairs

24 HOURS ONLINE BOOKING: http://www.akwaabauk.shoobs.com

Info: 07733 791988 – 07430 850193 – 07779 270727

Masquerade Of Justice: Introducing Anas Aremeyaw Anas

‘And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.’ – JOHN 1: 5 [NET]

Anas Aremeyaw Anas. An investigative journalist who cultivates his shining work in the depths of Ghanaian darkness. He works to the mantra ‘Name, Shame and Jail’ – a mission statement cultivated by his horror at corruption running rife in Ghana’s military and police. Brought up in a military barracks, and an owner of degrees in Law and Journalism, his metier focuses on human rights and anti-corruption – gathering hard evidence of crime and corruption in order to put perpetrators behind bars.

 

Anas posing as a mad man on the streets of Ghana

Anas posing as a mad man on the streets of Ghana

Amidst the ‘Who You Know’ culture which creeps along the corridors of Ghanaian power, Anas is a marked man. Enter, the disguises. His real identity is classified. He is seen publically wearing masks made of African beads which cascade down from various caps and hats, obscuring his features from view. Even when giving a TED talk in 2013, the beads remained, a candy-coloured shield to keep his identity intact while he shared his motives with the world. From his youth, Anas was known to enjoy theatrics, with a former President of the National Association of Pan-African Clubs recalling how Anas was once given a role in a casual play – “if you wanted him to play the role…he would go out and look for costumes, and then come in full regalia, ready to play the part”.

 

The ‘Name, Shame and Jail’ mantra has powered an impressive portfolio of investigative work. He published the results of two investigations in 2006 – one involving a cookie factory which was using maggot-infested flour, and another exposing corruption inside the Passport Agency, which earned him the Journalist of the Year Award via the Ghana Journalists Association. He has gone undercover in Ghana’s biggest state run orphanage, exposing corruption and child abuse. He has exposed fraud and corruption at the Tema Harbour. The dumsor fans among you may be interested to note that Anas in 2012 premiered a three-phase investigation into the power distribution sector in Ghana, exposing corruption carried out by employees of ECG. He has also investigated the effects of illegal gold mining in Ghana, and exploitation carried out by an ‘Abortion Lord’ who slept with female clients who came to him seeking abortions, as well as exposing child sacrifices being carried out in the Northern region, calling for the prosecution of fetish priests who were participating in such barbaric activity.

 

Disguises are required to successfully infiltrate the secret circles which are the focus of his investigations. There is no space for failure. Anas notes, “The threats are not imagined. They are real…When you are dealing with bad guys in the society and you take a swipe at them and you miss, you embolden them. I have no time for that. If I pick a story that I want to do, I do it well.” He is a possessor of many items of disguise – a marvellous array of wigs, masks, and surveillance equipment have helped him in many missions. He has masqueraded as an albino body parts trafficker, and even posed as a rock to film cocoa smugglers! One of his most notorious missions involved him gaining admission into Ghana’s largest psychiatric hospital under the guise of a severely mentally-ill patient. He secretly filmed, amongst other things, workers selling hard drugs to patients, patients scrounging for food out of bins, and a dead patient who had been lying in a ditch unattended for days being carted away in a van used to transport hospital food. This helped him bring an exposé of Ghana’s mental health service abuses of patient’s human rights to the masses, triggering further scrutiny by Human Rights Watch and the creation of a Mental Health Act in 2012.

 

When it comes to Anas Aremeyaw Anas, fact is stranger than fiction. But behind the various disguises stands tall a strong, powerful body of investigative journalism which has

Anas as a policeman

Anas as a policeman

brought down walls and made a tangible and very serious difference in Ghanaian society. His whistleblowing reaps results. And you won’t find a better example of this than his most recent and arguably most significant mission to date.

 

In September 2015, he premiered a new undercover film titled Ghana In The Eyes of God, which focused on corruption within the Ghanaian Judiciary sector and showed 34 judges and magistrates caught on hidden camera receiving money and animals in exchange for the freedom of various criminals. The affected judges have been suspended from service and the cases have gone to Ghana’s highest courts, with Chief Justice Georgina Wood ordering further investigation based on the findings of Anas’s work.

 

He has been noted for his portfolio of investigation, receiving a ‘Heroes Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery’ award by the US State Department in 2008 for his contribution to investigating human trafficking, as well as a CNN/Multichoice African Journalist award in 2009, and being named the best in Anti-Corruption reporting by the FAIR Investigative Journalism Awards in 2010. He has also received an Africa Achievers Award in Kenya in 2013, and an Engaged Journalism Award by the May Chidiac Foundation in 2014. President Barack Obama highlighted Anas’ virtues in a speech during his 2009 visit to Ghana: “An independent press. A vibrant private sector. A civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy. We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who risked his life to report the truth.” He was polled as the ‘5th Most Influential Ghanaian’ in 2011 by ETV and named one of the ‘Most Influential Africans of the Year’ by the New African Magazine in December 2014.

 

Despite the accolades, the face remains hidden, the identity remains secret. Mr Anas is a beautiful oxymoron who terrifies the underbelly of Ghana. He needs to keep his mask on in order to cause the masks of others to fall so we can see people for who they really are. He shuns the fame and the spotlight, and remains in the shadows. For it is in the darkness of Ghanaian society that Anas Aremeyaw Anas works best, and will continue to work – and bring our worst to light, warts and all.

Follow him on Twitter @anasglobal and view his 2013 TED Talk ‘How I Named, Shamed & Jailed’ at http://www.ted.com/talks/anas_aremeyaw_anas_how_i_named_shamed_and_jailed

 

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

HelpMeSee Launches campaign to end cataracts in The Gambia

cpyEkDOKIn 1986, with only one ophthalmologist to deal with a cataract burden of 5,500 blind persons, the West African country of The Gambia established a National Eye Care Programme and embarked on the training of middle-level manpower for the control of cataract blindness.  Today, with an indigenous team of one ophthalmologist and 17 non-physician cataract surgeons, the country performs an average of 3,300 cataract surgeries per year.   However, with a population growing from 0.7 million in 1986 to 2.0 million in 2015, the country still has a cataract blindness backlog of over 2,500. An estimated 15% of the population — close to 300,000 people — are affected by severe visual impairment. In recognition of the achievements of HelpMeSee in its short period of existence, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is collaborating with the organization in the “Campaign to Eliminate Cataract Blindness in The Gambia by 2018” so as to permanently end the scourge of cataract blindness in the country.

“We have great lessons to learn from our experience in The Gambia and have a strategy to reach every blind and visually impaired person in the country. There is no reason for tens of millions worldwide to lack access to the basic surgical care they need because there are not enough trained providers,” said Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, President & CEO of HelpMeSee. “HelpMeSee’s campaign in The Gambia and worldwide emphasizes training as the foundation of a sustainable solution to this public health challenge.”

On Monday, October 5th, HelpMeSee and its local partners at Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Center in The Gambia held a launch event at the hospital that included nearly 150 people from the local medical community, government, and public health organizations. The Honorable Omar Sey, The Gambia’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, attended as a special guest and formally launched the joint campaign with HelpMeSee.

“The goal is to improve the quality of life of The Gambia’s population while reducing the burden of blindness, and its specific objective is to achieve comprehensive and high-quality eye care services which are accessible and affordable to all Gambians, in line with the goals of Vision 2020,” the Minister said in an address during the campaign launch. “It is that background that motivated me to sign the MoU with HelpMeSee without any reservations.”

Cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness worldwide and are estimated to cause as much as 62% of blindness in The Gambia, which has already made major progress against other forms of preventable blindness. HelpMeSee’s campaign in the country aims to eliminate the cataract surgical backlog by 2018 and ensure that no one remains blind from cataract because they lack access to care.

HelpMeSee brings two of its key technologies to its partnership in The Gambia, including the HelpMeSee Reach App for population-based patient services, including screening and follow up, and a pre-sterilized surgical kit for Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery. Local healthcare professionals who started using the app report significant improvements in the patient screening process and expect to be able to identify patients much faster than before. The pre-sterilized surgical kit, which integrates with HelpMeSee’s surgical reporting system, will help to improve quality assurance and lower infection rates.

HelpMeSee has also developed a cataract surgical simulator and courseware designed to provide state of the art virtual reality surgical training. These systems will provide a safe, standardized, and comprehensive learning system to train thousands of cataract specialists in the areas of greatest need throughout the developing world.

Blakofe presents…Reflections of An Ordinary African Woman. Vol. 1

In a very unique and captivating event which was a first of its kind in Ghana, Blakofe Media, Ghana’s first (and possibly only) Virtual Company launched ‘Reflections of An Ordinary

Hon. Francis Poku, one of the attendees of the launch

Hon. Francis Poku, one of the attendees of the launch

African Woman. Vol. 1’ a book authored by Award Winning Writer, Akua Djanie, better known as Blakofe (on TV and Radio).

 

The book is a compilation of 30 articles first published in the number one Pan-African Magazine New African and reflects on Social Political and Cultural issues in Ghana between 2009 and 2013 as seen from the perspective of the writer.

 

guests at the book launch

guests at the book launch

Many have described ‘Reflections of An Ordinary African Woman. Vol. 1’ as ‘’Thought Provoking’’, ‘’An Eye-Opener’’ ‘’Profound’’, ‘’Intense’’ and ‘’A must read for all Africans, especially the youth’’. ‘Reflections of An Ordinary African Woman. Vol. 1’ is currently on sale at blakofe.com, Sun Trade (Asylum, Down) and by calling Blakofe Media on +233247205057 or +233267806759

 

Blakofe is currently embarking on a Reading Tour and can be booked by visiting blakofe.com or emailing info@blakofe.com. Schools, universities, churches, social and community groups, rotary clubs, etc are all welcome to invite Blakofe for a Reading Tour.