March 2017


Marwako saga: Chef Elijah’s reflections

For the past two weeks radio stations, TV stations, friends, colleagues and pals on social media have been calling and mailing me for my opinion on the Marwako issue, given the fact that I have been working in commercial kitchens since I was 14 years old and have had the opportunity to rise through the ranks of a kitchen cleaner to the manager of commercial kitchens.

Earlier, I had decided to be mute on the issue but now I think sharing my reflections will go a long way to educate people who don’t know what goes into the food they enjoy  in restaurants and hotels within our hospitality industry.

We live in a world today where social media has made it possible for people to easily share their sympathy for the problems of humanity  with the touch of their mobile devices. Flood explosion at Circle and  social media  is flooded with millions of  sympathies and solutions. Someone commits suicide and we share sympathies till another thing happens. This and many other  social issues that society face will always trend on social media. Social media is a good tool for us to express our emotions but we must remember that there is life beyond social media and it is called “reality”.

Our world today  needs people who will step into the problems and pains of our world to offer solutions rather than stand outside of the problems .We have tried sympathy for so many years, now let’s try empathy.

There is this secrecy pact most chefs and cooks can identify with. “What happens in the kitchen stays in kitchen.” Right from the day I took the job of a kitchen cleaner in  Lagos, Nigeria at  the age 14 years, I  became familiar with  flying plates, knives, forks, pepper and all kinds of things in a kitchen.

I remember a particular Sunday night –  I was in a rush to go home to prepare for school on Monday and in my haste threw away the sauce my headchef had prepared. He insulted and threw plates at me, and at that poin  I started crying and shouted out “do you think if my mummy was alive, I would be a cleaner here whiles my mates are in school?” Did my chef care? No, but the following day he invited me to his office and apologizes for his actions because I reacted to his actions immediately and that was how he became the mentor who helped me to realize my potential as a scientist in cooking. How many Ghanaian vocational schools teach the realities of commercial kitchens? “You don’t prepare an antelope for a battle and put it into the midst of lions in a jungle.”

I never understood why chefs and kitchen supervisors across the world are so heartless until I became a Sous Chef at Chase Restaurant in 2011. The pressure and silent psychological trauma that the profession came with can turn -45 degrees to 20 degrees in 5 minutes.

Away from the kitchen, I am the Elijah you know but back in the kitchen I’m a different kind of creature. All chefs and cooks are synonymous with that law of nature. The pressure of ensuring consistency in food quality to beat competition from other hospitality companies, meeting your monthly G.P on food costing to ensure profitability, dealing with the failures of ingredient suppliers, dealing with staff  problems, buying and maintaining very expensive kitchen equipments, meeting health and safety standards in the kitchen are a few of the many hurdles kitchen managers have to deal with daily.  In an attempt to address the stress, employers will tell you that is why you get two day’s off work every week to overcome the stress, but that is not enough

Management and customers  will not accept any of this as a excuse if there’s problem with the food they ordered. Most times chefs have had to sleep over in the kitchen to be on top on issues  and that is why most chefs turn to smoking, drugs and alcohol as a way of  overcoming stress.

This is why some hotels and restaurants in Ghana will go the extra mile to bring in expatriate chefs to manage their kitchens with the perception that local chefs can’t handle the pressures in a kitchen.  I remember while serving as secretary of the Greater Accra Chefs Association, I suggested at a  tourism forum that Ghana Tourism Authority should help the association to have a counseling unit that works with hospitality companies to support kitchen staffs to overcome pressures associated with the profession.

Punishing the management and supervisor of Marwako as a deterrent will not bring to an end the occurrence of kitchen manager’s “boiling over their staff” incidence in the hospitality industry. It happens in every hospitality company across the world. In regards to this issue what I think all stakeholder’s within the hospitality industry in Ghana should do are as follows:

–          Chefs, cooks, kitchen staffs and managements of hospitality companies in Ghana should come out and accept that it is a problem that happens in the profession and form a consensus towards addressing it

–          The Ghana Tourism Authority and Ghana Tourism Federation should work with the Chefs Association of Ghana and other stakeholder’s within the hospitality industry to establish an anger and emotional management unit that gives training to people who work in the industry

–          Management of hospitality companies in Ghana should allow their kitchen staff especially young cooks and chefs to join and attend programs and training of the Chefs Association of Ghana

–          Ghana Tourism Authority and it’s partners should make it compulsory for all expatriates who intend to work in commercial kitchens in Ghana to register with the Chefs Association of Ghana as members in order for them to be giving  support and training on working with Ghanaians.

–          Stress management in Africa should be a core principal focus of all stakeholder’s in society

 By Chef Elijah Amoo Addo

The Future of Ghana 2017 – Top 30 U30 List announced

At 18:00 GMT on Monday 6th March 2017 the announcement of the Future of Ghana 2017 Top 30 U30 took place live on Abn Radio UK amongst huge anticipation online.

The Top 30 U30 list revealed a diverse range of talent, pioneers and changemakers from Ghana and the diaspora. There is strong representation from countries in the diaspora such as the UK, Canada, and the USA. This year’s Top 30 list also saw an even split between genders for the first time ever.

Among the pioneers selected were Koby “Posty” Hagan founder of UK Urban Entertainment platform GRM Daily , Ghana based digital entrepreneur and founder of the Circumspecte platform Jemila Abdulai,  Ghanaian Media Influencer and Radio/TV Personality Antoine Mensah  and 16 year old rising fencing star Yasmine Fosu to name but a few. For the full list visit www.futureofghana.com

Now in its 3rd cycle Me FiRi Ghana once again began a mission to find the pioneers and innovators of the Future back in October 2016 by undertaking a global search for the top 30 Ghanaian talent aged 18 – 30 years – impacting industries around the world. The search consisted of an open nomination process from (28 October – 2 December 2016) driven through Ghanaian Diplomatic missions, Ghanaian Associations/Organisations, Commonwealth Secretariat, media partners and social media using the official hashtag #FOG2017

The job of assisting the Future of Ghana Committee to select worthy candidates went to this cycle’s esteemed judging panel – Lord Michael Hastings CBE, Sangu Delle, Queen Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo I, Nana Aba Anamoah and the Charity’s  patron James Barnor.

#IamFutureofGhana…

From the 13th March 2017, the Future of Ghana will launch a targeted social media campaign – #IamFutureofGhana

Using this hashtag, the campaigns aim will be to continue the conversation around Ghana’s development in such a significant independence year but more importantly mobilise Ghanaians all over the world to think about what role they can play in Ghana’s development.

When Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo revealed the Ghana@60 logo last month it came with the slogan; “Mobilising for Ghana’s Future” which of course is reflected in the Future of Ghana’s mission statement.

The public will be able to participate in the conversation by using the hashtag on all social media platforms whilst posting/accessing exclusive visuals.

Stay tuned to our platforms from the 13th March for further information.

Keche drops new track ‘Flavour’ featuring Shatta Wale!

Ghanaian duo Keche have teamed with the dancehall king of Ghana Shatta Wale on hot new track ‘Flavour’. Produced by Willisbeats, ‘Flavour’ is an upbeat track that will sure be a hit with fans of both Keche and Shatta Wale. Have a listen below!

 

‘My Ghana’ – a refelctive poem on Ghana’s 60 year journey

6 March is here again, and with Ghana celebrating 60 years of independence today, many of us will undoubtedly at some point pause to reflect on how far our motherland has come, and where we are heading.

There are many who view Ghana as the beacon of Africa, but despite being recently classed as a middle-income country, several years of mismanagement by corrupt government leaders has propelled many Ghanaians into difficulties. Unemployement among the youth stands at 48%, the public debt stock stands at 73.3% of GDP and almost 9 million Ghanaians live below the poverty line.

These are just a few things that Jones Awuah touches on in ‘My Ghana’, a poem reflecting on Ghana’s 60 year journey since 1957. Have a listen below:

Ibrahim Mahama presents a portrait of Ghana at his first exhibition in London

The Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, 29, has joined White Cube in London. He is the first artist born and based in Africa signed by the gallery. His arrival follows the departure of the British duo Jake and Dinos Chapman, who left White Cube earlier this month after 20 years with the gallery to join Blain Southern, and shows the continuing internationalisation of the White Cube roster.

The memory of objects

Mahama’s debut exhibition at White Cube, and his first solo show in the UK, opened to the public on 28th February. It includes five wall hangings made from the jute sacks which are used to transport goods in Ghana. Their history illustrates the complex trade networks of the global economy and post-independence Ghana.

Made in Bangladesh and India, the sacks are imported to Ghana and used to move cocoa beans, one of

Ibrahim Mahama, Crop Estate (2016) (Image: © the artist. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell))

the country’s leading exports, to the ships which will transport them to international markets. Because cocoa beans are a fragile luxury export, the sacks will move the product first and only once. They are then used multiple times to take crops such as rice, millet and maize around the country for domestic consumption. Finally, they are used to shift coal. Mahama and his collaborators acquire the sacks at the end of their working life, sewing them together to create massive tapestries which the artist has draped over buildings in Ghana such as theatres, museums, luxury apartments, and social housing projects, among others, and abroad (for the 2015 Venice Biennale he covered two external walls of the Arsenale with 300-metre-long hangings).

On some of the wall pieces at White Cube, Mahama has also added fragments of the tarpaulin which is first used to cover food transport trucks in Ghana and then recycled to protect metal objects such as engines. In another tapestry he has added discarded leather seat covers from trains, alluding to the deterioration of the railways in post-independence Ghana.

“I’m interested in looking at the artistic and political implications of these materials. What happens when you pick several different objects from different places with specific histories and memories and put them together to form a new object?” Mahama asks.

Shoe repairmen

Another cycle of work focusses on the wooden boxes used by shoe repairmen in Ghana to hold their tools. Working with a team of collaborators around the country, Mahama has assembled thousands of these boxes, exchanging them for new ones built by his assistants. At White Cube, Mahama has constructed a massive wall out of these boxes, carefully slotting them together with no external supports. Every time the piece is dismantled and re-assembled elsewhere, its “composition will change,” explains the artist.

Ibrahim Mahama, Diesel Room. Non Orientable Nkansa. Sekondi Locomotive station 1901-2030 (2016) (Image: © Ibrahim Mahama Photo: Ibrahim Mahama)

The boxes contain a multitude of objects such as the original tools used to repair shoes and the slippers worn by the repairmen to do their work as well as new objects inserted by Mahama’s assistants, for example, old issues of the Economist magazine. “The wall contains a narrative of post-independence society,” explains the artist, and deals with issues such as political crises and gentrification: many of the boxes were originally made with materials found on building sites or in houses slated for demolition to make way for new developments. “A lot of residues come out of those spaces,” says the artist.

“The boxes represent the failure of a system, a failure we haven’t yet acknowledged. The structures of global capitalism shift things such as the cosmopolitan life of the city and the structures that are built around it.” Now they have a new life as a work of art in a high-end gallery. “The potential of these structures when you look at them beyond the chaos and the crisis is also interesting,” says the artist.

Also on display are archival photographs of a paint factory set up by the Ghanaian State, then privatised

Ibrahim Mahama, Exchange Exchanger (still), (2013-16) (Image:
© the artist. Courtesy White Cube)

in the 1990s, and later abandoned. Mahama found the images in the factory when he set up a studio there for the shoe box project. Also at White Cube, a two-screen film shows the installation of Mahama’s massive jute-sack tapestries on buildings such as the National Theatre in Accra. Drone footage surveys the sites from above while hand-held cameras follow Mahama’s collaborators as they laboriously carry the massive objects up to the roof.

This ongoing project has often been compared to the work of “wrap” artist Christo. But, Mahama finds the comparison lazy. “You can’t reduce art just to aesthetics and what you see. There is a deeper, political meaning to it.”

Ibrahim Mahama: Fragments is at White Cube Bermondsey until 13 April

Article via The Art Newspaper

Waterforeveryone launches community platform to learn, share, connect and empower innovative solutions

The online-based community platform Waterforeveryone  has been officially launched today. This unique social-entrepreneurship portal allows individuals and organizations, both private and public, to create a profile free of charge. It enables its members to connect, share knowledge and expertise, support existing concrete initiatives and create new ones, promote innovative solutions, as well as contribute to the online resource center by posting articles, news, research findings etc. The portal’s crowdfunding mechanism enables all members to run fundraising campaigns for their initiatives to bring sustainable solutions tackling water related issues and promoting collaboration across countries and regions.

Waterforeveryone is a non-profit organization registered in Switzerland, developed by a multi-disciplinary group of professionals that aims to alter the harrowing statistics of lack of clean water available to millions of people across the planet.

With more than 10% of the world population not having access to safe, drinkable water, there is more we can do to help alleviate this statistic. We strongly believe that every step counts to find out effective and sustainable local solutions for this global challenge,” said Mathieu Lamolle, founder of Waterforeveryone. “The purpose of this community platform is to educate while encouraging collaborations for a more efficient end goal. Besides, Waterforeveryone will directly contribute to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG3 (Good health and well-being), SDG6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG11 (Sustainable cities and communities), SDG12 (Responsible consumption and production), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals),” he added.

We invite everyone to join the global community to spur innovation, knowledge and successful projects. We strongly believe that every step counts and so does every drop: your support will contribute to help thousands, if not millions of people. Registration to Waterforeveryone is completely free.

Visit here for more information:

Website: https://www.waterforeveryone.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Supportersofwaterforeveryone/

U.S native gave up everything to serve the Children of Ghana

At B.A.S.I.C.S. International school here, students are gathering for afternoon “Harambee,” a self-affirming session of song and dance.

“Jump in! Jump out! Introduce yourself!” the first song goes. “There’s Crystal! And she loves to read and write!”

They clap in rhythm to a contagious melody, with the school’s founder, Brooklyn native Patricia Wilkins, swaying in their circle.
“Everybody do the freedom rumble! Everybody do the freedom rumble! I wish I knew how it feels to be free! Wish I could break all the chains holding me!”

It’s been 17 years since Wilkins arrived in Ghana from Queens, N.Y., where at 35, she jettisoned most of her possessions and boarded a plane to answer what she believed to be a calling to do missionary work in Africa.

“I was very involved in the United Methodist Church, and had just served a year doing missionary work at an orphanage in Russia,” says this African-American woman, who at the time was making good money as a fashion merchandiser.

“After Russia, I wanted to come to Africa, and they were like, ‘We’re not sending any missionaries to Africa.’ I was like, ‘Why not? Africa needs us.’ They said there was no funding for it. So I was like, ‘Alright, well, I’m going to come myself,’ ” Wilkins recounts.

She started out volunteering at schools here and cajoling family and friends in the U.S. to sponsor a child’s education. That turned in to three schools of her own.

The first — her headquarters here in this overpopulated fishing village — opened in 2010. Today, B.A.S.I.C.S. is a recognized NGO here, tackling illiteracy and poverty among extreme poor who live off less than $1.25 a day.

“We’re a nonprofit organization providing access to education to children being deprived due to child labor, child trafficking, poverty, lack of parental care. We take dropouts, and children who have never been to school. We transition them back into mainstream education,” Wilkins says. “We also run an after-school program, a girl’s boarding house, a feeding center . . .” The list goes on.

And a developing country is hard terrain. Atop the devastating poverty, plumbing and electricity challenges abound. To work here takes real commitment.

Dependent on funding from government, corporate and individual contributions, B.A.S.I.C.S. was adopted by Ghana’s Israeli Embassy, which has provided equipment, secured activity venues, and run a music education workshop for students. Israeli Ambassador Ami Mehl is a staunch advocate within Accra’s diplomatic community, bringing B.A.S.I.C.S before other foreign embassies to seek further support.

“I was volunteering at a school in Chorkor when I started seeing kids on the streets that weren’t going to school. I decided I’d sponsor a child” to go to that school, she recalls. “It was right after 9/11. I had about four children I was trying to sponsor, and sent emails to all my friends and family, saying, ‘Help me sponsor these kids.’ I got an overwhelming response. . . . People just wanted to do something to help.

She opened her first school in 2004. And the sponsorships have kept coming.

“I went from five kids to 12 after 9/11. We had 50 kids that year, and 100 the next year. We’ve sponsored over 1,000 kids to date.

“When I first came, I thought maybe six months I would be here. Six months then turned into 16.”

Source: www.chicagosuntimes.com

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

Ghanaian bishops: Avoid vices to keep Ghana as ‘Star of Africa’

In preparation for Ghana’s 60th anniversary celebration March 6, members of the nation’s bishops called on Ghanaians to continue to make the nation truly the “Star of Africa,” a symbol of hope for Africa’s total liberation.

The bishops also announced Ghana would hold a national eucharistic congress August. 7-13.

“God has been good to us in these six decades. Let us continue to thank God for our heritage and ask for his forgiveness where we have failed, one and all, in our various vocations and professions to contribute to making Ghana what God is calling us to,” the bishops said.

Ghana became independent from Great Britain March 6, 1957.

In a pastoral letter to Ghanaians issued February 23, the bishops called on Ghanaians to work hard, be honest and just in all they do, and to do away with all forms of corruption and immorality.

The bishops said avoiding these vices was the only way for Ghanaians to “enjoy God’s abundant blessings and favors on our homeland.”

If truly, God’s laws have been our “protection and shield,” then Ghanaians must eschew all those vices that have engulfed society, such as armed robbery, the illegal use and sale of narcotics, bribery and corruption, they said.

The bishops said even though Ghana might not have achieved all of its expectations and goals as it marks 60 years, it had made significant progress.

“Even though our democratic forward-march has suffered some political challenges and derailment in the past, God has spared us the worst, namely civil strife, wars,” they said.

 Source: Cruxnow.com
@Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)