December 2015


New track from Mista Silva ‘Born II Win’

British-Ghanaian musician Mista Silva is the gift that keeps on giving. Over the years he’s built himself a well deserved reputation as a giant in the Afrobeats scene, with his infectious beats never failing to make you get up and dance.

This time the MOBO Award nominee is back with ‘Born II Win’, a mid-tempo track that still delivers on true Mista Silva style – a banging beat, a catchy hook and thoughtful lyrics.

Have a listen below and don’t forget to share:

https://soundcloud.com/mista-silva-music/mista-silva-born-win-exclusive

Rocky Duwani Nominated for Grammy for Best Reggae Album

Cumbancha artist Rocky Dawunis latest album, Branches of the Same Tree, has just been nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Reggae Album category. Dawuni, the only non-Jamaican artist in the running this year and the first Ghanaian to be nominated, is up against some of the heavyweights of modern reggae with his Billboard Top 10 album.

Reflecting on the prestigious nomination, Dawuni says that he feels, “truly honored and at the same time humbled. I’ve always focused on giving my best in my work and it’s a good feeling to know that it is being appreciated. I am grateful for the recognition. Branches of the Same Tree is about stressing the common roots that we all share in this human family. It inspires the listener to aspire to a place of hope. It’s about having faith in the power of compassion and oneness.”

The final ballots to determine the GRAMMY winners are due by January 15th, 2016. If you are a voting member, we encourage you to include Rocky Dawuni on your ballot. The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will broadcast live on CBS on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

An interview with An African City Nicole Amarteifio

 

An African City creator Nicole Amarteifio (c) MisBeee Writes

An African City creator Nicole Amarteifio (c) MisBeee Writes

YouTube web series An African City is back for a second series and is due to premiere in January 2016, much to the delight of avid fans. For those of you that have been living under a rock since 2 March 2014, the 10-part series, which was the brainchild of Ghana-born Nicole Amarteifio, charts the experiences of five successful and professional women who return to Ghana from the US to settle.

The cast includes journalist Nana Yaa, Harvard graduate and marketing manager Sade, Ngozi, who works for an international development agency, entrepreneur Zainab, and Oxford graduate and lawyer Makena.

As with most of the five leading characters in the show, Nicole was schooled and worked in the US before deciding to return back to Ghana. Her inspiration for the web series came from feeling tired about the single story told about Africa and its people, and wanting to challenge these stereotypes.  

The series is unashamedly modelled on the US blockbuster Sex and the City and just like Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, it has enjoyed huge success on YouTube. So much so, that Nicole is embarking on a second season, according to a post on the show’s Facebook fan page.

_mgl1713But An African City continues to divide opinion with some viewers critical of its sexual content and its apparent focus on the elite in Ghana. One of the memorable episodes features Sade, who was raised in Texas by a Nigerian pastor father and Ghanaian mother, arriving at the customs office trying to retrieve her vibrator. When bribing the customs agent fails to work, dropping her well-known father’s name into conversation does the trick.

Although Nicole has also been accused of playing up to stereotypes, she has made it clear from the start that she set out to write a story about Westernised African females. The series has comedic elements but also explores some of the social issues [sexism, affordable housing, corruption] still faced on the continent. Her aim is to hold up a mirror to African society and draws on real experiences to reflect what many of us have experienced when going back home.

Ahead of the second series launch, Kirsty Osei-Bempong revisits an earlier interview with Nicole after the first series was aired in 2014. In the interview Nicole explores audience reactions to the web series, and her future plans. Let’s see how many have come to fruition in Season 2.

 

Kirsty Osei-Bempong: What has been the global response to An African City?

Nicole Amarteifio: What we’ve seen is people around the globe are ready for fresh new content from Africa. For so long, the story about Africa was poverty, war, and disease. So for somebody to come up with a story about five successful, educated, fabulous women ‘talking about sex all the time’, it was something different – something new.

 

KOB: And speaking of sex, how was that received in Ghana?

NA: First of all, all the talk about Ghana being conservative….whatever! All I know is that there’s a lot of people who come up to 1526400_496071583832099_1706091554_n-e1395686675729me and tell me that it’s their mothers that introduced them to the show. People stop me in restaurants in Accra and say ‘thank you’.

They are overlooking whether it is prudish or not conservative enough. They are looking at the fact that finally they feel that another story about the African woman is being presented. And because they relate to the girls, they are saying ‘thank you’ for making me and my story visible on screen.

I also think it’s about priorities – and asking the question of whether the conservative and non-conservative issue is more important than allowing these women’s stories to become visible. Making their stories visible is more of a priority for many and those women have appreciated that from us.

 

KOB: You’ve successfully launched the series on YouTube, where next?

NA: Our first thought has been M-Net (A South African subscription-funded TV channel) which has dominated the TV space. And when you are a TV producer, that is your ultimate goal. What I’m only just learning is that there are so many networks around the globe that are interested in African content. So we will see……

At the same time, we have really enjoyed the web experience of putting content on YouTube. It has meant that wherever someone is in the world – if it is an African woman in Italy or Canada, she can access the show, and I love that. I also love the online conversation, whether it is good or bad, critical or positive. So there’s a part of me that is conflicted about traditional versus non-traditional media platforms when it comes to showing Season 2.

 

an_african_city_episode_2KOB: Longer term, what are the plans for the show?

NA: Setting aside budget constraints, I would love to see more African cities represented in the show. It would be lovely if the girls took a business trip to Lagos, a romantic trip to Kigali, or a conference in Nairobi. That is our ultimate goal.

 

KOB: Will we see men playing a more central role?

NA: Well, Nana Yaa will have a serious boyfriend and Makena will be dating Stefan. But I think it is ok if we focus on women. 

Listen, African men have ignored us for so long, When the West writes books on the best African stories – most of those collections will be just stories by African men. When African men consolidate collections – ‘best stories out of Africa’, they tend to forget about African women. So I think it is ok if An African City has five female leads. It’s ok and I don’t think the show should apologies for that.

 

KOB: Could you see this show becoming a global brand? 

NA: One of my favourite comments on YouTube was from somebody who wrote: ‘I’m a Puerto Rican American born in New York an_african_city_salonbut live in Italy. What do I have in common with all these girls? Everything!’

That’s my favourite quote because it shows that it’s an African story or a story for African women but it’s a story that’s still for everyone. It’s a universal story and that melts my heart when I read that comment.


By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Your One Stop for ALL Ghanaian events!

With new media and modern technology, people are turning more and more to the internet to access information. But with the internet, unless you know where to go, you may miss the information you’re searching for.

As an Event Organizer, you want your advert to reach the maximum number of people. But with so many TV and Radio stations, websites and apps, how can you be sure your audience hear your message?

www.ghanaeventsguide.com is the only website and app dedicated solely to Ghanaian events globally. So if you’re organizing a Ghanaian fashion show in Italy, a Ghanaian music event in UK, a Ghanaian business conference in Botswana, etc., wherever, and whatever your event, as long as it’s Ghanaian, you can submit it to www.ghanaeventsguide.com

Guaranteed access to your target audience

I. People who visit www.ghanaeventsguide.com do so for one reason, they’re looking for a Ghanaian event to attend. These days, Ghanaian movies are popular and premiers are held outside Ghana. Imagine the costs the organizer of a movie that’s premiering in Ghana, Nigeria, UK and USA will save simply by advertising on www.ghanaeventsguide.com. Instead of advertising in each country, the Event Organizer will save costs by submitting all their premier dates to www.ghanaeventsguide.com. Fans from all the over world can simply visit www.ghanaeventsgudie.com and viola – all the information will be readily available. No fuss. No having to type in several searches.

II. With so many TV and radio stations, how can you guarantee the station (including time and show) you choose to place your ad is getting to your audience? There are many people who would like to attend your event but may not be listening to the station or show you choose to advertise on.

III. How many events, although well-organized were considered flops simply because of low attendance? Low attendance due to the fact that people didn’t hear about the event until after it had taken place?

 

Benefits to the Event Organizer

As an Event Organizer, you’ll benefit from advertising on www.ghanaeventsguide.com because:

I. You’ll be hitting a direct target of event goers who are visiting www.ghanaeventsuide.com /using the app because they want an event to attend.

II. The cost of advertising on www.ghanaevents.guide.com is competitive

III. By listing your events on www.ghanaeventsguide.com, you’ll be saving the costs involved with advertising on several radio and TV stations simultaneously.

IV. People can schedule your event into their plans. Especially when travelling. For example booking their travel ticket to coincide with your event. Imagine for example, somebody sitting in Canada, planning on visiting Ghana. They realize you’re about to organize a conference on investment opportunities on the day they’re planning to leave Ghana. Because they want to attend your event, they change their ticket and leave a day later. If this person comes to Ghana before seeing your billboard for example, it may be too late and costly for them to change their tickets. Yet this is the person you want at your event.

V. SMS reminders sent directly to our database of clients. We have a database of visitors to the website who have opted for event reminders to be sent to their phones. Advertise on www.ghanaeventsguide.com and have access to this service.

VI. Competitive rates. Compare our rates to others and you’ll find our rates truly affordable.

 

Easy to use website and app

www.ghanaeventsguide.com stays true to its objective of being a solely eventslistings guide. So visitors won’t be distracted by news, gossip, videos etc. Visitors to the website can use it in two quick steps:

I. Click onto the country of their choice.

II. Click onto the date. This step is made even easier on the home page where visitors can access the events diary directly.

 

How to advertise on www.ghanaeventsguide.com

Event Organizers can submit their events on www.ghanaeventsguide.com directly or by sending it to events@ghanaeventsguide.com

SPECIAL PROMOTION: ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT FOR FREE THIS DECEMBER (2015) ON www.ghanaeventsguide.com

Contact

Email: info@ghanaeventsguide.com

T: 0247205057/0264806750 E:info@ghanaeventsguide.com W: www.ghanaeventsguide.com

 

The Wives We Leave in Ghana, Na Wow!

couple getting divorcedGhanaians abroad are often confronted with diverse problems. Chief among these are their inability to procure resident permits or jobs which would enable them to bring their wives from Ghana to join them. There are some men who also fear that when they bring their wives abroad, these women will learn the ways of the “white woman” and abandon them. Whatever the reasons, not all the women left behind can hold out until their husbands come home, sometimes after several years. It is easy to fall into temptation. Some of these may result in pregnancies which are given to unsuspecting husbands who return home and sleep with them. Indeed many men are fathering children that are not theirs. These, among other things, are what the article is going to talk about. I will also talk about my own personal experience.

 

Joshua lived in Kumasi with his wife, Esther. They both had a child each from former relationships. Joshua, a hardworking tailor, took both children as his own and cared for them. He lived in a single room with wife and both children.

Joshua had a very good friend from childhood who helped him to secure a UK visa when he added his name to a business delegation visiting London.

Joshua overstayed his three-month visa, worked hard at several menial jobs and saved enough to “buy” a residence and work permit by marrying a Ghanaian lady with a UK passport. It cost him £12,000!!!

He called his wife and told her of the good news and promised her that she would soon join him in London. Since he had saved enough money he decided to have his own house in Ghana. She sent money to the wife to buy a double plot. An architectural design of twin buildings was drawn for him and he sent it to his wife. Work was finished on the project within two years.

 

Strangely enough Esther called Joshua and told him that she was no longer interested in the marriage because she had waited for so long. She added that if he got anyone in London he could go ahead and marry her. Joshua then ordered her to leave his house. But the woman told him that he did not have any house in Ghana.

He rushed to Ghana for the first time after living in London for seven years. The first thing he did on his arrival in Ghana was to consult a lawyer. He explained the whole problem to the lawyer. The lawyer explained to him that if he could prove by receipts and documents that he, indeed, sent all the money for the buildings the court would revoke her ownership of the houses and give them to him. But Joshua had no such documentary proof of the remittances he had made. The lawyer advised him to go and plead with the lady to give him one of the houses.

 

He took the lawyer’s advice, went home and selected three elderly members of his family and an old friend. They went to meet Grounds-of-divorce12Esther and her family members. No matter what Joshua and his people said Esther refused to give any house to Joshua.

They rose up to go. Esther and her people followed them and hooted at them. Joshua’s friend who accompanied him hurled his elbow swiftly behind. His elbow landed accidentally on the left jaw of Esther’s mother. She fell flat on her back and died on the spot. They ran to board the car but Joshua knelt before the dead woman and asked an onlooker to find him a taxi. The police arrived and arrested Joshua. To cut a long story short he was given a seven years sentence and imprisonment for bringing in the man who caused the death of the woman. As I write, he has already spent four years in jail.

 

What Joshua went through is very similar to what I am going through right now. I married a Ghanaian woman in 2003 after circumstances purely beyond my control led to a divorce between me and my Finnish wife with whom I have four children. When I came back to Ghana I met a lady who was introduced to me by a close friend. I married her but not long after her real intention for getting married to me began to come out. I lived abroad and I had a school in Kumasi. I placed my wife in charge of the kitchen. For most of the time, she extended her authority beyond the kitchen, stepping on the toes of teachers, head-teachers and even the board, anytime I travelled. It was my intention to bring her to join me in Europe. I returned to Ghana a year later. The head-teacher complained that my wife showed no respect to both parents and teachers. She was even insolent to members of the school board. The school suffered because of her attitude. Many parents withdrew their children. They could not take the insults from my wife.

 

I used part of the proceeds to buy a house and another plot. It was my intention to give the house to my four children and build another house for my wife. I could not complete the transfer of ownership forms with the landlord when it was time for me to go back to Europe. I gave my passport-size pictures to the landlord and asked him to complete the forms and I would append my signature when I returned from Europe. He did so and left them with a close friend of mine. I told my wife to collect the forms and keep them until I come.

 

I returned to Ghana to discover to my utmost surprise that my wife had changed the documents of the house into her name. She sold my cars; a MB van and a Nissan Pathfinder.

104370352_divorce_282607cShe sold the plot too and collapsed the business I opened for her. She got back the GHC8000 goodwill I paid for the shop space by giving the shop to another businesswoman. With all these monies in hand she was able to bribe her way through the Lands Department and succeeded in transferring my landed property into her name. She then finalized the deal with a lease-hold from the office of the Ashanti Stool Land Registry. This was how she decided to bring to an end all the achievements I made for the past three and a half decades spent living abroad.

 

Many well-wishers and sympathisers have suggested several ways of dealing with this woman. Some said I should divorce her. Others also said I should end her life by any means necessary. But I am a Christian. There is this group which also suggests that I choose the legal option to retrieve my property.

You as a reader may also have other suggestions. What do you say?

By  Stephen Atta Owusu

Article taken from here

Reggie N Bollie: The ‘X Factor’ of X Factor 2015

As the X Factor Live Finals of 2015 kicked off on ITV1, fellow finalists Che Chesterman and Louisa Johnson came out individually in turn, flanked by a parade of fighters carrying placards emblazoned with their names as they brilliantly sung their own battle cries. But the X Factor production team knew what they were doing when they left the best till last. Reggie N Bollie thundered through the crowd with a powerful and vibrant rendition of ‘Jump!’ This was their time to shine and they were going to enjoy their time in the sun.

 

craigdavid2_2602095a

Reggie N Bollie performing with Fuse ODG (far right) and Craig David (second left)

Reggie N Bollie’s duet piece was kicked off by a special appearance by our very own Fuse ODG. The stars had finally aligned as this was the joint performance that many had expected and desired the most: the premier flagbearer of the Ghanaian music scene in the UK allied with the newest Black Stars on the block, on the biggest televised musical platform in the country, live to millions nationwide. The epitome of ‘Ghana Stand Up!’

 

Craig David then appeared as the bass of ‘Million Pound Girl’ faded into the familiar strains of ‘Re-wind’ – and the capacity crowd of 10000 plus in the Wembley Arena lost their collective minds. Reggie N Bollie bounced off this legend of the music scene effortlessly, with Fuse gallivanting across the stage and drumming up support. It was at this moment that you knew something special was in the offing.The boys’ couldn’t actually do it – could they? What was once fanciful fantasy, now seemed like a legitimate possibility – a sentiment echoed by a certain Mr Cowell himself.

And so the votes were frozen and the finalists returned to the stage at the end of Day One of the finals. Louisa was first called, before Reggie N Bollie’s names were announced as the act to complete the final set-up for Sunday. Incredible scenes, the boys had now secured at least second place in the X Factor 2015!

 

The gap between the Saturday & Sunday evenings crackled with various views and opinions. It would be amazing if the boys couldmedium_aCyQfY0Hb9xhtbnd6Xn0LCbINobhrYaTtI_llHG0PyU win it, Ghanaians from grass to grace. But would a win benefit their careers in the long-run? X Factor has a long history of handing the winner a poisoned chalice, with many examples of acts who didn’t win becoming bigger successes revelling in greater freedom. But then it would be painful to lose at the final hurdle right? But can second place at the X Factor Final be considered a ‘loss?’ Debate here, debate there, debate everywhere.

 

Reggie N Bollie at the end of the day just couldn’t overcome Louisa Johnson, who throughout the finals showed a finesse and an embarrassment of riches when it came to vocal ability – with final vote data showing they had 38% of the vote compared to Louisa’s 53%. A ballad winners’ single did not help their chances, exposing the discrepancy in vocals. It was unfair that in previous years, three options for a Winners’ single were available for acts to choose from, recognising that one man’s meat is another’s poison – and yet this year, Reggie N Bollie struggled as they were shoehorned into an area out of the comfort zone they had consistently remained in from day one. Their poorest performances came with a drop in tempo – ‘Locked Away’ in the semis, which could have proved fatal even then; and the critical Winners’ single performance.

 

But as the confetti settles, the horizon becomes clearer. Firstly, second place may be nowhere when it comes to football, but when it comes to the X Factor, even third place can be king. As people such as Olly Murs, JLS, Fleur East and pop behemoths One Direction have shown, a place in the live finals alone can be a platform to success.

 

Reggie N Bollie for the past seven weeks have performed live on Saturday Night Primetime TV in front of MILLIONS of people cheryl-reggie-bollie-x-factorin the UK and worldwide. There are so many out there who would kill for that opportunity. They got to the final two not on the basis of judges votes (having never been in the bottom three), but on the power of the public! They got there because there are so many out there who fell in love with their humility, their vibrancy, their energy. That’s a massive accreditation of their act, and very encouraging for their future – they are boys in massive demand.

 

Whether you loved them with all your heart, or despised them because you considered them a ‘novelty act’, Reggie N Bollie were THE act you wanted to see! And that is what will define them in the annals of X Factor history. To re-iterate what I said in a previous post, among a cohort where we saw 12 shades of the same grey we’ve seen time and again every X Factor season since the beginning, Reggie N Bollie plastered our screens with explosive red gold and green! In dark times as these, they presented us humility and joy, bringing a smile to many faces and providing a brief escape from the vagaries of real life. They were the energy. They were the show-stoppers, the party. And most importantly for the big bosses, they were the entertainment.

 

xfactor_land73_2602761aNOBODY expected ‘Menn On Point’ to be performing on the same stage as One Direction, Rod Stewart, Coldplay and Adele at a world-renowned venue that is the Wembley Arena, packed to the rafters with 10000 people, streamed live into the homes of millions. Nobody expected them to win millions of votes over the series, and take at least 20% of the vote share from Week Four onwards and be second in the overall voting from Week Five right to the very end when Louisa was all that stood between them and winning the whole thing. Nobody expected them to be legitimately, honestly and seriously be considered winners. Not even Reggie himself, who had battled his own demons and doubts just a year ago and had grown so tired of the struggle that he flirted with the idea of pulling the plug on their whole act. And yet here they were. On a pedestal nobody expected them to climb, with the world as their oyster.

 

So people may speak about their lack of vocal talent all they want (and to be honest, a lot of that comes from people who have never listened to Afrobeat before, so we will allow them). However, the X Factor has always been billed as more than a singing competition. It’s been a competition to find people who have ‘it’ – that rare essence which captivates the masses,electrifies the public, wins hearts and captures minds. They may not have been crowned winners, but as talk of record deals and live appearances start to gather serious momentum, something tells me that in the long haul we will find that Reggie N Bollie do indeed have the ‘X Factor’.


By Dr. Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Panel Discussion: Diaspora, Transnational Belonging and Giving Back

In recent years, there has been increased recognition of the potential of migration in stimulating development in countries of origin. Migrants living in diaspora can contribute greatly to the development of their countries of origin in many ways; through remittances, diaspora entrepreneurship, transfer of skills and knowledge as well as competencies, which can have a positive impact on the national economic growth. Research suggests that diaspora identity is characterized by a transnational sense of belonging with attachment and commitment to both the homeland and the country of residence. This panel discussion proposes to explore what drives diaspora members’ generosity and passion for their countries of origin, how belonging is nurtured across continents and generations and what “giving back” looks like in practice.

 

Panelists:

Patrick Awuah

Patrick Awuah is the founder and president of Ashesi University, a private, notfor-profit institution praised as one of Ghana’s Patrick_Awuahfinest institutions of higher learning. Patrick left Ghana to study in the United States of America in 1985. While abroad, he worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft. After living in America for almost two decades, he returned to Ghana in 2001. In recognition of his service to Ghana, Patrick was awarded Membership of the Order of the Volta in July 2007. The Order of the Volta is one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country. He has won many prestigious international awards including the MacArthur Fellowship and the McNulty Prize. In 2015, Patrick was named one the 50 greatest leaders in the world by Fortune Magazine. He has also twice been recognized by a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of Ghanaian CEOs as one of the ten most respected CEOs in Ghana.

 

Christabel E. Dadzie

Christabel Dadzie works as a Program Specialist in the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Christabel E. DadziePrior to joining the Bank, she has worked with for USAID and within the UN system. In 2011, Christabel, founded Ahaspora Young Professionals (Ahaspora – “Aha” is a Twi (Akan) word for “Here” and “Spora” is a stem of Diaspora.), a group of young, Ghanaian professionals who have lived or been educated outside Ghana and have returned home to make a difference. Ahaspora now counts over 1200 members, who have pledged to use their knowledge, skills, and resources to give back to their Motherland Ghana. http://www.ahaspora.com/

 

Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka

Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka is an entrepreneur and youth advocate. He is Chair of the Future of Ghana project and founder of multiple Arnold Sarfo-Kantankaaward winning company Me firi Ghana & sister charity WAM Campaign. In 2010, Arnold who was born, raised and lives in the UK, launched the WAM (“What About Me?) campaign, which connects young Ghanaians in the diaspora to selected grassroots organizations in Ghana. The objective of the WAM Campaign is to support the educational development of children and young people through diaspora volunteering. Arnold’s other pioneering initiative, The Future of Ghana is an annual project dedicated to showcasing, nurturing and mobilizing Ghana’s talent in Ghana and abroad for the development of the country. The impact of Arnold’s work has permitted him to represent Ghana during the 2013 World Economic Forum and speak on platforms such as TEDx SOAS. Arnold was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet HRH The Queen of England and Prince Charles for his contributions to the Ghanaian community.

 

Kobina Graham Kobina

Graham is a lecturer, writer, blogger, and DJ on Ghana’s growing arts scene. Born in London and raised between there and Cape Kobina GrahamCoast, he is a University of London School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) graduate. As a DJ, he was part of London’s Amplified collective, with whom he supported artists like Erykah Badu. Moving from London to Accra a decade ago, Kobby has since experienced everything from being a security expert and heading a market research department, to being a journalist with Ghana’s biggest media group and becoming one of the first people paid by the Ghanaian government to work in social media. Deeply passionate about popular culture, counter culture, and writing, he currently teaches Africana, communication and critical thinking courses at Ashesi University. He is also co-editor of nKENTEn – an experimental online magazine that exists at the intersection of Ghanaian popular culture and politics – and the former editor of DUST: a pioneering Ghanaian magazine that combined creativity with social awareness-raising content.

 

Programme

10.00 – Start  Opening and welcome remarks by Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian, Chief Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI)  

 

Statement by Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration  

Video  Presentation on IOM’s Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) and Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) Programmes, Daniel Sam – IOM  

 

Video  Presentations by panel members:  Patrick Awuah  Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka (by Skype from the United Kingdom)  Christabel E. Dadzie  Kobina Graham


13.00 – Closing and light lunch

Breaking Barriers: Giving Ghanaian Female Footballer’s a Right To Dream

At the turn of the 21st century, the Ghana national women’s team qualified for the Women’s World Cup, making the Black Queens the first Ghanaian national football team to debut at an international competition. It was another 7 years before the male Black Stars equalled the achievement by qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

 

27-Dream-Academy-Ghana-Iain-SutherlandDespite breaking that glass ceiling, female football in Ghana has struggled to break down other barriers. Today, the women’s game battles thanklessly against stereotypes and opposition, as well as the financial burden which makes development of the women’s game such a difficult prospect.

 

Stories can be found all across Ghana of girls who enjoyed kicking a ball barefoot with friends, cousins, neighbours in the streets and the dust pitches, at school or after church, under the morning sun or in the dusk of evening. Girls who prefer their Ronaldo’s to their Rihanna’s, their Di Marias to their Dumelo’s; young ladies who would take Match Of The Day over Millionaire Matchmaker or would prefer a new pair of Adidas Predators over a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

 

But in Ghana many of these same girls face a tough choice between footballing passion and the aspirations of their parents or family members, or even society as a whole. A daughter’s choice to play sport remains very hard for many to accept. Girls have no business in a man’s world, they would have you believe. Some may propose that religion does not allow for a female to partake in a male pastime. Others would suggest that football makes a girl lazy, butch, unmarriageable material, barren – and to top it all off, the girl wouldn’t get paid well for the privilege anyway.

 

It’s tough to observe the fierce opposition to the prospect of a female footballer which still exists at a large scale in Ghana. Many 27-Dream-Acadely-Ghana-Iain-Sutherland1coaches of girl’s teams advocate that football offers a way out for many girls who are in communities where teenage girls get pregnant or run off to the capital to work as a hawker or sleep on the street. Football can also offer educational support, where it is noted that more than 65% of girls over 15 in the Northern Region have received no formal education (compared to the national average of 21%).

 

In a country where sport and education are traditionally dominated by men, the Right to Dream football academy is fighting against the dominance of male football and gender inequalities by helping provide young women a route to excel at both.

 

Right To Dream has opened the very first residential football academy for girls in Africa – providing lush green pitches and state of the art equipment and facilities to help young women cultivate their skill and aim for the stars. Right To Dream has also been offering scholarships to girls in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In one round, 1000 girls from those countries took part in trials for the first nine places on the course. Parental scepticism was one of the biggest hurdles faced by the academy when it first launched, so scouts and employees had to physically attend homes of those lucky enough to be selected to attend, in order to explain to family members how beneficial an opportunity this is.

 

ghana.fans.533There are 15 girls at the academy, with two more at recently launched schools in Kumasi and Takoradi. Small but viable steps are being made to give girls a chance and a platform to live their dreams. Former Manchester United scout Tom Vernon, the founder of Right To Dream says that the academy’s programme “not only bodes well for challenging and changing the mind-set around women’s sport in West Africa, but I would hope [it] provides the catalyst for many more similar development opportunities for talented African girls across the continent

 

Right To Dream, which was first established in 1999, has operated an academy service for males since day one. Its structure has provided a safe and secure route to a possible footballing career. Abdul Majeed Waris was the first graduate of Right To Dream to play at a FIFA World Cup, with the honour of being one of the Black Stars to perform for Ghana at World Cup 2014. So the future is bright for the girls who are finding their feet at the new female academies. And with two US scholarships in 2015, the Right To Dream ladies are catching up to the boys and hopefully blazing a trail right through the barriers to the female game in Ghana and the African continent as a whole.

 

By Dr. Jermaine Bamfo

 

Reggie N Bollie homecoming!

Ghanaian duo Reggie N Bollie who have taken this year’s X Factor by storm brought the party to their hometown Farnborough on Tuesday, welcomed by family, friends and fans alike.

In fact is seemed the whole of Farnborough turned up to welcome the boys home, singing and dancing in the streets. Reggie N Bollie who secured their place in the X Factor final last Sunday, have brought such life to the show, wowing audiences with their infectious performances week after week.

Check out the pictures below from the homecoming courtesy of Ernest Simons Photography:

 

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Free mentoring for all Senior High School students!

The Ahaspora Young Professionals with support from the Junior Camp Ghana Program, will be organizing a free mentoring event for  Senior High School students in Ghana at the World Bank Office in Accra, on the 30th of December 2015

Senior High School students will gain the following benefits from attending the event: advise on career development,  how to develop Life Skills, information on College preparation, mentoring for a year etc

Interested students who want to attend the event must sign up here http://bit.ly/ahaspora2015menteeform

Ahaspora Young Professionals (Ahaspora) is a group of young, Ghanaian professionals who have lived or been educated outside Ghana and have returned home to make a difference.