Category: GHRBS


Introducing: Talented Ghanaian Musician Sofie – Touch My Soul

Here at Me Firi Ghana we’re keen to showcase and promote emerging young creative talent. Within the Music scene we’ve seen the continual rise to fame of artists like Fuse ODG, Ed Sheeran, Sarkodie and Justin Bieber, but what we may not have seen is their journey in realising their dream!

I remember standing with Ed Sheeran at Tinie Tempah’s first London concert during the release of his album Discovery some years back. As we all looked at him perform I remember Ed staring in awe saying, ‘wow, this guy is really talented’; Ed is now doing world wide tours selling out stadiums! We also remember how Justin entered the music scene, doing MJ and Usher covers on YouTube, using the platform to showcase his diverse creativity in music. Well, he now has the ability to ask fans to stop buying his records so others can be number one in the charts as he did last Christmas for the Lewisham NHS Choir!

All came from humble beginnings in pursuit of their dream, so when we heard Sofie’s recent song Touch My Soul and saw her pursuing her dream sharing her journey on YouTube and then we found out she was Ghanaian, charlie, we had to support, share and interview her to find out more…

 

What’s the story behind your new single?

How the whole song came about is actually kind of peculiar but interesting at the same time. I was in bed, had just woken up but was in one of the half awake, half asleep states. I remember I kept singing this melody to myself consciously and subconsciously at the same time… It was so strange. But after that happened I immediately threw my duvet off and grabbed my guitar and recorded it on voice notes on my phone because I knew it had the potential to be a really good chorus for a song. That’s how ‘Touch My Soul’ was born. After I had worked out the chords I wanted to use for the song, my lyrics and the rest of the melody flowed pretty quickly. The first lyrics of the chorus are ‘Touch my soul then you might get permission to touch my body.’ Those lyrics literally just flowed out of me so quickly, it was all so organic. A lot of young people today get together in some random club with whomever whenever without even getting to know the name of the person and without even connecting with them first or getting to know them. That’s not my style. That’s basically what the song is about.

 

nu7a0216_29190677672_oHow would you describe your style?

I’m a singer/songwriter and I would say that my style is kind of acoustic pop but there are also some jazz/rap elements that are portrayed in my music. I really dislike putting myself into a genre. I’ve listened to so much music from many different genres over the eighteen years of my lifetime and I feel like they’ve all influenced what my debut single ‘Touch My Soul’ and the rest of my unreleased music sounds like. My music style is going to change and evolve into so many different things as I change and evolve as a person and I think that’s one of the things I’m most excited about; hearing the music I’m going to make in about 5 years time.

 

We’ve seen your social media countdown for the new single, how’s the campaign and song preview been received so far?

Yeah I’ve really enjoyed doing the social media countdown! It’s been so fun involving my friends as well on Instagram. It’s been received really well and people seem excited to hear ‘Touch My Soul’ so I’m really hyped to share it with the world.

 

What do you do for fun when you’re not working on music?

I really love playing most sports but especially football and I love watching football too and playing Fifa. I’m also really into photography and film-making, I’m studying Photography ‘A’ level at the moment as well as English and Classics.

 

nu7a0274_28676298174_oIf you could collab with 3 artists, who would they be and why?

This is so ridiculously hard to choose but I’m just going to give you 3 artists that I love. Logic because he’s one of my favourite rappers and he carries a great message. Lianne La Havas because her music is so beautiful and she also seems like such a lovely person and lastly Alessia Cara because I can relate to her music so much and I feel like we could make such epic music together and we’d probably get on so well.

 

Which musicians are you most influenced by?

Tracy Chapman

Lauryn Hill

Bob Marley

Ed Sheeran

The 1975

Alicia Keys

Justin Bieber

Chance The Rapper

Lianne La Havas

Drake

Jack Johnson

Cody Simpson

Amy Winehouse

Raury

There are so so many more but this is what I can think of off the top of my head.

 

What can we expect to see next from Sofie?

More music very, very soon! 🙂

 

 

Sofie SvanikierAfter listening to her new single and some of Sofie’s covers on YouTube, we can say she is defiantly a talented cool artist following her passion who knows how to write a catchy tune that we can all relate to! We look forward to hearing more from Sofie…

You can listen to the new single by Sofie Touch My Soul now on soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/sofie-svanikier/touch-my-soul

Flying the flag for Ghana – meet fencer Yasmine Fosu

When one thinks about sports in Ghana, football, rugby and boxing are perhaps one of the first things that immediately jumps to mind. But what about fencing? Yes, fencing. Did you know that there’s currently a young female Ghanaian making waves and breaking barriers in that sporting field, representing Ghana at international competitions? And she’s only just turned 16!

Enter fencer Yasmine Nana Serwah Fosu, who has already competed in several national and international competitions, including the British Public Schools Championships, the Cadet European Championships, the Mediterranean Championships and the Commonwealth Fencing Championships, and now has the 2020 Olympic Games firmly in her sights.

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Yasmine with her medal

And Yasmine is not just competing, she’s WINNING! At such a young age her list of achievements is extensive. At 14 she had already broken the North African monopoly on the sport by taking bronze at the African Cadet Championship in 2014, and was the first black African nation in any category in either gender to make podium at Cadtes U17, Juniors U20 and Seniors in the history of the sport.  She won gold at the Champion at Arms British Public Schools Championships U14 in 2014, and has claimed gold again at the 2016 Champion at Arms British Public Schools Championships U16. By special invitation of the Mediterranean Confederation, Yasmine finished 7th in the Mediterranean Championships, and she’s the youngest ever to finish 8th in the U20 Junior African Championships as well as the youngest ever to finish 10th in the Senior category at the African Championships. She won silver at the 2016 British Youth Championship U16. Oh, and she came 10th at the 2015 Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Cape Town. The 16yr old is currently ranked 116 in the world Seniors, the youngest person to rank that high.

Yasmine’s accomplishments at her age are made the more remarkable by the fact that fencing is a sport that requires not only physical training and strength, but also draws immensely on the fencer’s tactical skills, skills that take years to develop and hone. So to see her rank so high in the sport at her age is nothing short of amazing.

Yasmine in action

Yasmine (left) in action

Yasmine, who specialises in the épée form of fencing, discovered the sport at the age of 8 and by 11 she was offered a scholarship to start her fencing training at Plymouth College, which boasts Olympians such as Tom Daley. Following another scholarship to Millfield School, Yasmine turned down the opportunity to represent Great Britain, choosing rather to represent Ghana at international competitions. She’s had her fair share of bigotry, often being the only black African AND female in a dominantly white sport competing at an international level. But this experience has only made her stronger. Though she didn’t qualify for the 2016 Rio Games, Yasmine is determined to make history by representing Ghana at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and at the rate that she’s going, we at Me Firi Ghana know this girl can!

By Yaa Fremah (@yaa_fremah))

Pop-Art Kingmaker: Introducing Dennis Owusu-Ansah

Over the past few years we’ve seen an explosion of African print and culture in the mainstream. From the epidemic of ‘Angelina’ dashikis to the notorious need-to-see-to-believe ‘Ghana-Must-Go’ bags going for thousands of pounds and being billed as ‘high fashion’, you don’t need to go far nowadays to catch an essence of Africa. Even so, 2despite seeing a hint of kente here and some semblance of an adinkra sign there, it was easy to find aspects of African culture appropriated and you didn’t see much evidence of those who are considered royalty in western black culture catch onto the African trend.

 

So when a portrait painting of Nicki Minaj dressed completely in beautiful traditional kente and rechristened ‘Nicki Maame Akua Amponsah’ began to filter across our timelines and bleed down our social media profiles, many sat up and took notice. The painting went viral, and more pieces of art depicting the biggest and best stars of our age adorned in African garments were gradually unearthed. On searching for the artist responsible, all roads led to the New York Bronx.

 

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Dennis Owusu Ansah

For there resides Dennis Owusu-Ansah – a 26 year old New Yorker visual artist of Ghanaian descent who is a producer of pop art highlighting the beauty of African culture using popular personalities as his muses. His work has seen a burst in popularity and intrigue. However, superimposed upon his work’s viral nature is a serious motivation to drive aside the misconceptions many have regarding Africa.

In a recent interview with CNN, he notes how an unfortunate incidence of ignorance triggered him to get to work with his paints and use his artistry to challenge perceptions of Africans. “After witnessing my friend get teased by a group of men for wearing a kente cloth on our way to church, I figured something must be done to change the perspective of people who are not familiar with the African culture,” he told CNN. “They had no idea what my friend was wearing. One of the guys shouted ‘that man has a blanket wrapped around his body like it’s winter time.’ I saw this incident as an opportunity to educate people about who we are, and what we stand for through my art.

His ideas fall in line with the much acclaimed T.I.N.A. (This Is New Africa) adage advocated by Ghanaian musician Fuse ODG, who tirelessly pushes the agenda that Africa needs to be depicted in a better, more glorious light than Western society tends to throw upon it. “Africa isn’t only about what the media portrays on television, [but is] a continent rich in history, diversity and traditions” Dennis opines.

 

And what better canvas upon which to depict that richness in culture than the biggest and 1most-celebrated stars of young black culture today. The works of Dennis Owusu-Ansah burst with bright colour, bold statements on a background of elegance and with a foreground of opulence. How can someone fail to be captivated by the sight of Meagan Good wearing an extravagant gele, or rap behemoth Rick Ross adorned in the vestments of a Nigerian chief? How can you not be enamoured with the sight of Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs & Jay-Z, usually spotted in the cleanest of suits and urbanwear, dressed in the finest Nigerian and Ghanaian apparel – depicted as West African royalty.

He even remixes the names of his subjects when he posts their portraits, fully integrating them into the fabric of African culture – so we have had the pleasure of being introduced to characters such as ‘Sean Puffy Nana Antwi Combs’, ‘Meagan Omotola Good’, ‘Chief Shawn Ugonna Jay Z Carter’ & ‘Chris Kofi Sarpong Brown.’

 

Just like Peniel Enchill in January 2015, Dennis Owusu-Ansah is a Ghanaian artist who is taking the world and social media by storm at the turn of a year. “I’ve been getting positive comments from people all over the world,” he told Okayafrica in a recent interview. “It’s good to hear people you’ve never met tell you that your art puts a smile on their faces. Comments like that motivate me to work harder every day.”

5The artistry of Dennis Owusu-Ansah has given those who may not be too familiar with African culture a bridge over which they can cross in order to appreciate the power and the nobility which resides within. How better to showcase the best of African culture by using some of the most recognisable stars around – using those with the biggest social media followings and the biggest fan nations to spark a strong desire to learn more about authentic and genuine African culture. The movement of African awareness now has another member added to its ranks, as Dennis continues on his mission to challenge misconceptions by bringing Africa to the world at large and making Africa accessible through contemporary pop art.

Follow Dennis Owusu-Ansah on his Instagram page @denny_ow for updates and visit his website densahcollection.com to check out his artwork and fashion collection.
By Dr Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

FOG 2016: Nominate a Pioneering Young Ghanaian Today!

The publication recognises the Top 30 under 30 pioneering Ghanaian youth from around the world, whilst also featuring forward thinking articles highlighting key industries, innovators and organisations vision for Ghana and Africa.

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MAKE YOUR NOMINATION TODAY: CLICK HERE

 

WHY THE FUTURE OF GHANA PUBLICATION?

We believe the publication will act as a catalyst to encourage greater youth participation with the development of Ghana.

We aim to produce a positive visual resource promoting Ghana whilst also using the publication as a point of inspiration for youth to showcase relatable role models excelling in a variety of industries globally.

The publication launches annually on Ghana Independence day to amplify a forward thinking narrative about the Future of Ghana, showcasing positivity whilst creating platforms to discuss solutions to specific issues the Ghanaian community face in Ghana and the Diaspora.


NOMINATION CRITERIA:

1. Aged 30 years or younger (as of 6th March 2016)

2. Be Ghanaian (born in Ghana or Ghanaian through birth, via a parent(s) or grandparent(s))

3. Please use the following characteristics as a guide when explaining your reasons for nomination:

  • MotivationalSomeone who helps to get the best out of others and themselves
  • VisionarySomeone who has a desired future outlook of a product or service they wish to or are a part of providing
  • AmbitiousSomeone whose demonstrated the will to succeed and/or shown a willingness to learn, especially from failures
  • Role ModelSomeone people look up to. A person who inspires others as a result of something they have done or are doing
  • Social Influence/ImpactSomeone who as a result of what they do/have done, have a positive of influence within a community
  • Communication Skills: Someone who demonstrates their ability to listens to others and as a result helps find solutions to problems for individuals/groups & communities

4. If a nominee was selected as one of the Top 30 Under 30 in 2015, as per the Future of Ghana constitution, they are not eligible for review and cannot be featured as one of Ghana’s Top 30 Under 30 Pioneer’s for the subsequent five [5] years; in this instance, not until 2019.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

Q. Can I nominate myself?

A. Yes you can, as long as you fit within the eligability criteria detailed 


Q. 
Do nominees have to be based in Ghana?

A. No, this is a global search for young Ghanaian talent. We welcome nominations from anywhere in the world, as

long as the nominee fits within the eligability criteria detailed 
Q. Can I nominate more than one person?

A. Yes, but all nominations will have to be made seperatly
Q. How are the Top 30 Under 30 selected?

A. 

Stage 1:

  • An independent committee is be responsible for scoring (from 1-10, according to Nomination Characteristics and the content of the nominators descritption of the nominee within the nomination form), reviewing and sifting all nomination entrants

Stage 2:

  • The shortlisted candidates are informed and groups of shortlisted candidates are equally distributed to the FOG Judges (nominations are presented without nominates name) for the FOG Judges to initial independently review and score candidates (scoring from 1-10 according to Nomination Characteristics and the content of the nominators descritption of the nominee within the nomination form) whereby the FOG Judges will score and select their top 7 candidates from their group

Stage 3:

  • The FOG Judges come together to feedback their group of Nominees scores and as a collective group the FOG Judges will conclude by jointly selecting the Top 30 Under 30 Pioneers

Stage 4:

  • The Publication and annoucement of Ghana’s Top 30 Under 30 2016 Pioneers is officially released on Ghana Independence day on March 6th 2016 

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)

Introducing Dislabelled

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MeFiri Ghana caught up with Dislabelled to find out more about their plans to improve the special education system in Ghana. Dislabelled is a non-profit initiative, seeking to change the notion that people with intellectual and physical challenges are unable to be a productive part of society. The charity aims to take on this task by improving the special education system in Ghana. In 2012, Founders Nana Ama Akowuah, Efua Asibon and Sedinam Worlanyo joined forces to create an effective curriculum for special education. After visiting a few special education schools, the trio noticed that the main issues with the system stemmed from a lack of resources along with the lack of support that special educators had.  

 

Some of their shocking discoveries were that there was no necessary training required tumblr_inline_moo4ffqfv71rtmfyy to teach at special schools, there were no test centres for students to identify where they stood on the disability spectrum and there was a massive stigma faced by people with disabilities. This sparked the girls’ determination to make a change.

 

Since this discovery, they’ve held multiple events to combat these issues. To name a few: ‘ThisAbility,’ which was a two-week summer programme at an Autism awareness centre, enabling children to take part in exciting activities, including engaging in arts and crafts. ‘SustainAbility,’ a meeting with teachers from a variety of special schools in Ghana, to share their concerns and thoughts on how to improve the current system, and this year the charity is implementing these changes based on the feedback they were given.

 

tumblr_inline_moo4n2Gc9t1rtmfyyThey’ll be hosting a one-week intensive teacher-training programme held by experts in the special education division, to give teachers the opportunity to be equipped in their roles as special educators. We asked Co-founder Nana Ama what her proudest and most exciting moments were since building the charity:

“We had a mural painting at the school where we invited new stations and opened it to the public to showcase artefacts the children had made and the dances they had learnt. It was such a great experience,” she said.

Since it’s birth in 2012, Dislabelled has already made an immense impact in improving the special education system in Ghana and is already changing people’s perceptions on disability. They have achieved this in a short space of time through social media campaigns, events, volunteering and not only researching the issues but also providing solutions with their commitment and passion for the cause.

 

In the future we can expect Dislabelled to break new ground by tackling problems faced by those with special needs in the country including the employment and health sectors. We’re excited about this charity, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for their journey in revolutionizing the special education system in Ghana.

 

By Wilma Sagoe (@WilmaSagoe)

 

Introducing Amon Ogyiri & Ashantibeads

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Ashantibeads was founded by US-based Ghanaian Amon Ogyiri in 2012. He was moved to found Ashantibeads having observed what he perceived as a lack of recognition for the African culture in the world. “There is plenty of beauty in Africa which still hasn’t been exposed to the rest of the world,” Amon reflects. “My mission was to display as much beauty from African culture as possible, through art & fashion. “

 

The hallmark of the brand are the trademark African bead bracelets of various colours which are adorned with a Gye Nyame charm. Ashantibeads’ African Beads are dedicated to gratifying the most sophisticated jewellery consumers, designed for all people from different backgrounds to admire what Africa has to offer. Amon was inspired to make these bracelets by his role model Russell Simmons, who had created a green bracelet whose sales would produce proceeds which would go on to help improve the quality of life of people in Africa. Amon’s idea was to follow-on from this by creating a bracelet for Ghana and also do his own bit to contribute to the advancement of the Ghanaian People.  Amon has been able to use a percentage of the profits from Ashantibeads to work with a non-profit organization in Ghana called Youth Icons of Ghana” to help build libraries in less-privileged rural communities in Ghana.

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The beads have enduring all-encompassing appeal, with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds having purchased their own bracelets. The beauty of the colours available, and the mystery of the enigmatic “Gye Nyame charm, are an undeniably attractive concoction. “The beads represent the history, culture and pride of Ghana – my homeland,” explains Amon. “For example, the black Ashanti African Beads are an emblem for the people; a great build for customers who seek amongst their collection of jewelleries one that graces their acquired taste. The green Ashanti African Beads embodies the fruitful land of Africa, and so forth.”

Many celebrities have showed interest in Ashantibeads. such as Angela Simmons (daughter of Rev Run of RUNDMC) American based rappers Nipsey Hussle and Shad Moss (aka Bow Wow), the late Ghanaian singer Castro da Destroyer, superstar Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie,  Ghanaian boxer Joshua Clottey,  and the vibrant Nigerian singer Davido, amongst many others!

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The celebrity endorsements have gone hand-in-hand with ashantibeads impressive social media machine in increasing awareness of the brand. People who see or hear about the products usually have an urge to tell others about what Ashantibeads are doing for Africa with the brand, with Instagram and twitter helping extend reach to many people across the world.  Customers usually upload photos of themselves wearing their products on Instagram which allows their followers to see Ashantibeads’ work.

Despite the level of success to-date, Amon does not feel like he has reached the point at which he can say he is successful with the brand. “I have more things to do and accomplish before I can say I have been successful. The mission is not over.”

So what are the plans and dreams for the future of Ashantibeads? “We have just released Africa’s $100 dollar shirt designed by me,” informs Amon. “It is an extension of the Ashantibeads brand. I feel that the ‘Gye Nyame’ symbol has been depreciated and taken for granted for a very long time. I saw the value in this symbol.  It’s about being proud. Africans need to realize the value of our culture.”

You can view and purchase your own Ashantibeads products from www.ashantibeads.com

 Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

An Exclusive Lyric Dedicated To Me Firi Ghana….Written By Adwoa Asiedu

There is More….

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More than what we see.

More than what we hear.

There is more to our identity.

This is why we proudly say

Me Firi Ghana

 

Connecting you to Ghana, taking you to another realm

To experience the unexpected, this is our mission!images

Call us a new wave who will explode, we’re not afraid.

With new eyes that see beyond, we’re not ashamed.

With one heart, with one mind

Run with us and proudly say

Me Firi Ghana

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There is more, more. (There is more)

There is more, more. (There is more)

There is more, more. (There is more)

 

Adwoa Asiedu (@Adwoa Asiedu777)

Introducing Peniel Enchill….

The illustrator who took the world by storm at the turn of the year

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We’ve all seen it. As an Instagram post. Or a profile picture. Endlessly retweeted on your twitter timeline, or extolled to the heavens by celebrity. The epitome of a viral sensation. Sometimes, something goes viral for no reason at all. But a lot of the time, something goes viral because it is fuelled by exceptional talent and its essence contains something that captivates the masses.

This is what most accurately describes the much-acclaimed 2014 piece titled ‘Self Worth’ drawn by Peniel Enchill – a wonderful summary illustration of the hopes and dreams of many as we made the big step from one year to another; a beautiful depiction which gave much-deserved attention to a wide-ranging portfolio of incredible artwork.

So who is the young lady behind the sensation? Peniel Ewurama Enchill is a 22 year old Ghanaian-born fashion designer and illustrator who moved to the UK at the age of 12 and settled in the city of Sheffield. Drawing and Illustrating has been a part of Peniel’s life for as long as she can remember. Super-gifted with artistic talent, Ms. Enchill also holds an MSc in International Fashion Retail and a BA Hons in Business Management & Economics.

A proponent of a personal ‘Afropolitan’ style, Peniel is open to various influences. Her current inspirations include Aisha Ayensu of Christie Brown (mefirighana.com/introducingaisha-ayensu/), Deola Sagoe (Nigerian haute couture fashion designer), Andrea Iyamah (custom couture & swimwear) and Kobe Adu (Illustrator and Fashion Designer) amongst many others – all whom inspire Ms. Enchill in different ways. However, one forever looms large in the landscape of her life. Her biggest Role Model is her father, Dr Stephen Enchill, with her portrait of the great man standing proud as her most favourite piece of work to date!

Scrolling down Peniel’s Instagram account, you realise that much of her work is familiar! The long-distance relationship piece is one example, and her various illustrations which have centred on style, love and ambition have gained acclaim over the years. However this past Christmas season, she published a piece which touched hearts across the globe and caused her reputation to catch fire…

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As 2014 began to give way to 2015, Peniel published a piece titled ‘Self Worth’. It depicted a beautiful black woman, stepping over the obstacles of 2014 and carrying the good of the previous year into the next, embracing a bold & beautiful new year. The reaction to the illustration was mind-blowing, with the picture spreading like wildfire! “I really never expected it!” Peniel exclaims. “The response blew my mind and taught me so many lessons.” So what was the thinking behind the famous illustration? “I’m a staunch believer in goals and practically achieving them. What better way to start a new year than to set goals. The piece was meant to inspire people to evaluate the 2014 they’d had, and consider what they would want to see change in 2015.” Peniel felt that this exercise in introspection was something that people routinely underestimated. Her artwork ensured that at the end of 2014, thousands upon thousands took the time to indulge and celebrate it. However, shortly after publication, attempts were made by various people to degrade the message of the Self Worth piece – attempts which will not be glorified in this post by precise identification. Exercises which were damned in various sectors as expressions of ‘misogyny’, further examples of ‘black self-hate’ which I personally thought were inflammatory in the name of ‘trolling/banter/keeping-it-real’.

“I was initially very bothered and hurt as I spent so much time on it with the aim to inspire, but somehow, not only had that been ignored, it had become an object of ridicule and vessel of hate,” Ms. Enchill reflects. “Any artist would agree that is a hard pill to swallow. But that’s life and that’s art. No one piece of art is appreciated and interpreted in the exact same way by all its viewers.”

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This whole experience has been an education for Peniel. “Every single day is a learning curve. Increased attention is not as glamorous as many may feel. It comes with a lot of responsibility!” Ms. Enchill is a one-man band at present, and so the extraordinary levels of attention via all kinds of sources can be difficult to balance at times. However, she states “It’s a challenge I gladly welcome, and I’m in the process of building a small team to help me reach my vision.

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“ And a team will be needed to keep the Enchill machine ascending into the stratosphere. She plans to branch out into products such as stationery (e.g. Calendars – I can’t even begin to imagine the extreme demand there would be for Peniel Enchill calendars!), hold exhibitions and possibly run classes to give back to the community at large. In essence, her biggest desire remains true – Peniel aims to keep on being a force of inspiration, reaching out to people near and far through her illustrations.

Just like the lady in the ‘Self Worth’ picture, Peniel remains unperturbed. She is stepping boldly into a bright and beautiful 2015, and into an even brighter future which stretches beyond the borders of a piece of paper. She on a mission to keep inspiring, keep reaching out. The sky is the limit. The best is still to come.

Please follow Peniel Enchill’s Instagram account @Peniel_Enchill

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Introducing Veronica Nyantakyiwaa…….

Founder of Starlight Enterprise on a mission to showcase the luxury within Africa

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Some people I dentify a need but do nothing to meet it….. Veronica Nyantakyiwaa is not such a person . The founder of Starlight Enterprise was so moved on  a trip to Ghana and decided there was  need to showcase its development and the experiecne it can offer.. Thus Starlight Enterprise was born.

The main aim of StarLight Enterprise (S.L.E.) is to establish itself as the leading web portal for luxury news as well as providing bespoke event management and PR services to their clients.

Travel, Lifestyle, Fashion, PR & Events  all  come under the S.L.E umbrella and they  keep their followers and clients updated with the latest news, trends and tailored event packages.

Me Firi Ghana recently caught up with  Veronica for a candid interview on What drivers her, Ghanaian culture and what’s next for starlight enterprise. Details below;

MFG: Describe Veronica Nyantakyiwaa  in 3 words?

VN:Self-motivated, tenacious, respectful

MFG: What motivates you?

VN:My family

Why did you decide to establish Starlight Enterprise?

VN:It was on my much awaited two week Easter break of 2012 that I decided (after eight long years) to head back and see the Motherland once again, where I was completely taken aback with Ghana’s development compared to my previous visits.

Consumerism, very much like the West was now flourishing in Ghana with boutique villas, hotels, resorts, eateries and the likes sprouting all over the city, however I was disappointed that I hadn’t found out about these earlier on.

So once I returned to London, my research began and this brought to light a very lucrative gap in the market, with not only the opportunity to showcase what Ghana has to offer but what West Africa has to offer.

And so with much prayer StarLight Enterprise was born to showcase “West Africa’s Hidden Gems” but with more of an emphasis on the luxury industry in West Africa; from travel, lifestyle, arts, news and fashion.

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How important are the diaspora to the development of Ghana?

VN:The diaspora’s involvement to the development of Ghana is absolutely fundamental. In some ways there may be the fear of ‘Westernising’ Ghana and it losing its identity, however, when you understand that we are a collective of first/second generation immigrants, the culture, traditions and upbringings of Ghana are still embedded within us.

Where the diaspora are able to apply their own knowledge, skills, and experiences in the aim of bettering Ghana it will always be a win-win situation. With the likes of Fuse ODG, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi of A A K S Handcrafted, and Zoe from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, all using their talents to showcase Ghanaian-inspired products, services, and entertainment.

MFG: If you could change one thing about Ghana what would it be?

VN:The mind-set of our people. Being a firm believer in the power in unity, there are some things the people of Ghana should not tolerate yet it seems many things are being swept under the carpet later leading the underlying issues the vulnerable are left to pick up on and clear up.

The concept of ‘Together we stand, but divided we fall’ is what in more recent times, the masses are becoming aware of and God-willing with time the right change will happen.

MFG:What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?

VN: Never give up. Creating StarLight Enterprise has been a complete challenge and still is, where new things are being learnt constantly it’s very important to remain focused on your goals but most important to strategise your plans carefully and remain on track

MFG:What is your favourite Ghanaian food?

VN:Tuo Zaafi.

MFG:What does the future hold for Starlight Enterprise?

VN:This year is going to be very exciting for StarLight Enterprise not only with the blogging aspect continue with full force, but we are also introducing luxury holiday packages tailored to all, ensuring our clients have the ultimate travel experience West Africa has to offer.

We’ll also be creating platforms such as workshops, and online space where the industry’s best will come together making their products and services accessible to all in Ghana and various locations across West Africa.

You can connect with MissNyantakyiwaa via twitter @v_owusu and check out the work of Starlight Enterprise via their website –http://starlightenterprise.org/

Veronica Nyantakyiwaa Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)