Category: interview


An interview with Ghanaian author Frances Mensah Williams

Growing up between cultures, because the country you live in is different to your ancestral roots, can be a challenging journey of self-discovery. That’s why for me, reading From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams, was a complete revelation.

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Here was a novelist who skilfully articulates these insecurities about identity and deftly weaves them into an engaging story about cultural awakening.

If only this book had been around when I was growing up!
The novel, published by Jacaranda Books Art Music, charts the experiences of 20-something Ghana-born Londoner Faye Bonsu who grapples with understanding her place as an Anglo-Ghanaian.

Her understanding of herself is tested when her infuriating boyfriend Michael challenges her constantly about a heritage she knows very little about. When she decides to find out about her Asante roots, she realises there is much more to her than she previously thought.

 

Frances takes some time out of her busy schedule to share some insights with me on her book. She explains in the first of three YouTube vlog instalments here, why food features so heavily in the novel.

In part two, she explains why a book on the experiences of a British-Ghanaian living in London is every bit as authentic as a piece of ‘African’ literature set in a rural African country.
And in the final instalment here, she talks about a From Pasta to Pigfoot sequel, set for publication in April 2016, and a possible TV adaptation.

 

From Pasta to Pigfoot is Frances’ first novel but the Ghana-born author is a seasoned writer who has penned two non-fiction books. She is also the chief executive of award-winning UK-based human resource company Interims for Development, and is the publisher and managing editor of website and online magazine ReConnect Africa.

Frances’ other accomplishments include an inspiring TEDxTalks presentation at the beginning of the year entitled Where is home. And the bookworms among you will recall she launched From Pasta to Pigfoot at literary festival Africa Writes 2015 in July.
By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

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)

Testing boundaries: an interview with Gold Coast film co-producer Kwame Boadi

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ghanaian TV director Kwame Boadi of inGenius Africa about his move into feature film production. Many of you may know him for such TV series as Sunshine Avenue, Abiba, and Sun City.

Well, he has recently co-produced an arthouse film set in Ghana called Gold Coast that looks at Denmark’s presence in Ghana during the 1830s.

The 2015 arthouse film was written and directed by Daniel Dencik and is a depiction of 19th century life three years after the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was officially but not totally banned in 1833. Slavery was finally abolished in Danish colonies in 1848, according details from the BBC.

The film arrived in London on 11 October and was screened at local cinemas for a week. Some of you will have read my assessment of the film in my previous blog ‘Gold Coast: A lucid look at Denmark’s colonial past’.

I caught up with Boadi to dig a bit deeper into how and why he got involved in the film; when the film will be coming to the African continent and exploring his views on slavery. Enjoy!

 

MisBeee: How has the film been received so far?

Kwame Boadi: It has been very well received. Everyone is saying it is very heavy but you cannot treat a slave story lightly. We hope we can find a sales agent so we can release it in the UK.

MB: Can you tell me why it was important for you to be part of this film?

KB: I was drawn mainly to the fact that for lots of Danes in Denmark, their history of the slave trade is not that well known. So for me, that was a good point because it meant the film would help educate them the better.

And then when I saw the script, it had lots of redeeming values. Very interesting characters such as the missionary’s wife, and the central character Wulff as well. And it was my first feature, so I thought it would be a good learning experience for me.

MB: So how did documentary and film director Daniel Dencik and the team find you?

KB: So the Danish guys behind the film had not come to Africa before so they started looking around in Denmark for Ghanaian contacts. Fortunately for us, the Ghanaian connection they found happened to be my business partner’s roommate in Germany.

My business partner – Oliver Safo – is half German and half Ghanaian and lived for a time in Germany. His roommate, when he was in Germany, was a Danish guy who is also in the industry – a sound engineer. So, Gold Coast producer Michael Haslund and the rest of the team came across this guy and thought it would work. They called us and we took it from there.

MB: The film is powerful and the scenery is amazing. I have been to Cape Coast and Elmina castles before but it looks as though this film was shot in different locations.

KB: Elmina was the central location – we spent about three and a half to four weeks over there. We had wanted to use the Osu Castle [the Danish fort also known as Christiansborg] because of course it used to be the centre of government. [Fort Christiansborg was built by the Danes and Norwegians in the 1660s]. But it has been modernised and lost a lot of the historical aspects.

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One of the sites for the film ©Michael Haslund

Instead, we used Elmina. Although Elmina is a Dutch castle, we adapted it and the Danes brought us some Danish motifs to decorate it.

We spent a bit of time at the Cape Coast Castle, Fort Amsterdam in Abandze, Central Region and Fort Batenstein in Butri in the Western Region.

All the greenery and the beaches were in the Western region in the Beyin area. We spent two weeks there and we filmed a very small part of the film in Burkina Faso [north of Ghana and neighbouring Cote ‘d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin, Niger and Mali].

MB: So in total, how long did it take to film the entire production?

KB: The shooting time was three and a half months but of course we spent about two years from the moment that Michael and the team got in touch to when we finished shooting.

MB: Did you need background historical knowledge before starting the film or had your Ghanaian education meant you were well-versed in the country’s slave history?

Yes, we needed to do some research but fortunately there is a Wulff family living in Osu on the route to Osu Castle who are descendants of Wulff Frederik Wulff. So, during the research period, we spent some time with the family conducting test shoots and that helped to fill some of the gaps.

The Danes had conducted their own research and so had Jakob Oftebro, who plays Wulff. He also met the family. The rest of the team spoke with the family and even had more information than the family that they were able to share.

MB: There is this voicelessness that pervades the film. What was the decision-making behind that?

KB: That’s Daniel’s style – you know the director calls the shots. He thought that it would be more poignant if lots of parts of the film were voiceless. So what you find is that some parts are sometimes driven by voice-overs or by the score, allowing the pictures to speak for themselves. And I thought it was fine.

MB: So was Lumpa the slave boy -actually mute because I had read articles saying that he was.

KB: No he was not mute but that is an interesting story …….

At all the villages we shot at, it was smart to use locals to create business but also to cut down our own costs, so we went round to do castings. We went to this village Alabokazo – it is off the Beyin area also in the Western region – and were conducting some auditions there. But there were these four young boys playing soccer close by who were making a lot of noise.

 

John Aggrey aka Lumpa ©Michael Haslund

John Aggrey aka Lumpa ©Michael Haslund

One of them was asking questions and he was kind of interrupting our auditions. So I turned to one of the camera guys and said: ‘Go and tell these boys we will take some shots of them – so they can go away, and assure them we will add them to it.’

We weren’t going to add it to anything because at that time, they were not in frame. You see, earlier in the script Lumpa was supposed to be 18-19 years old and I was actually planning to cast Ghanaian TV star Lil’ Wayne.

For me in terms of the commercial viability of the project in Ghana that would have been splendid.  But Daniel said he wanted a younger boy on set someone who was 10 or 12 years. We had a long argument over that because that was not going to work too well for me. But the director calls the shots and in the creative areas, you have to follow their lead.

So, we had to start looking for 12-year-old boys. We had not captured any because we had not been looking for them but as we were going through our pictures, lo and behold we found these four boys that we had just taken randomly. These pictures were suggested as possible candidates for the part and John Aggrey – one of the four – was picked and became the star in the end.

MB: And he’s never acted before, has he?

KB: Never ever. He did so well so we have actually decided that we are going to fund his education to university. We have put him in a boarding school and he’s in class six now. We will take him through, if he is able to do well, he will go on to university and we will take it from there.

MB: So when can Ghanaians and other Africans on the Continent see the film?

KB: We own the film rights for half of Africa and the whole of Ghana so that is where my concentration is. Earlier we were looking to premiere in Ghana in December 2015, but looking at the schedule I would rather take it to Easter – March/April 2016, there about. I would have finished the second season of Sunshine [Avenue] and would have more time to organise and make a bit more noise. So it will premiere in Ghana, then I am looking to find a distributor for Africa.

MB: Is South Africa among the countries interested?

KB: Nigeria is interested and I know that South Africa would be.

I am looking to shorten the film as well. We in Africa are used to the American-style movies that move very fast. Gold Coast is an arthouse movie that drags a bit and I think that people would get tired of it. So I am thinking of bringing it to 90 minutes. I am still talking to Michael and the rest of the team, that is why I am waiting for them to finish the European tour first otherwise we will have two films coming out in circulation at the same point.

Once it has finished the European rounds (sometime early next year) then we can think about reducing it to 90 minutes. Then it will be pacier, a bit faster and we will indigenise it a bit more for our market by adding some more African pictures and sounds.

 

MB: I was one of a few black women in the audience on the opening night in London, and it wasn’t comfortable to see that degree and prolonged bouts of female nudity in the film.

KB: No, no you are right. You are dead right. I am sure if I were sitting in the audience, I would have been uncomfortable too. But for me, I believe in the shock and awe tactic too.

 

Female extra shot in the castle walls  ©Michael Haslund

Female extra shot in the castle walls ©Michael Haslund

In today’s times, we still have slavery everywhere. In Ghana’s Volta region you have these very small boys who are picked up and sold for a pittance in the Western and Central regions to go and work as divers for fishermen. So I have a different view about slavery. We [Africans] tend to say that we have not done anything wrong.

MB: I appreciate that slavery still exists today and I know we played our part but I think that marrying what happened then and what is happening now diminishes the brevity of the Trans-Atlantic trade, which many modern-day countries are built on. And I think it gives racists license to defend what happened then by saying slavery is happening now. 

KB: Not necessarily, I disagree with you a bit on the human trafficking issue. It is not only blacks who are trafficked now. We have eastern Europeans that are being trafficked in containers – right? So I don’t know about it being a race issue. It is white on white, white on black, black on white, black on black. I tend to have a different view on that. If you are racist you are racist, if you are not well read you will pick anything to justify, something that is not justifiable.

And you must look at it in terms of a work of art. At that time, there was that school of thought that blacks were sub-human, and that is what Daniel wanted to show. And that is one of the reasons he made the black characters voiceless because that’s one of the aspects that will shock you.

I used to be a teacher, I taught for five years at Achimota School in Ghana, and one thing I learnt was that you can teach by positive example or by negative example. When this film was premiered in Copenhagen, some of the people were so distraught, especially the older ones. They came up to us and asked: ‘So do you hate us?’

Those with a good heart who didn’t know of Denmark’s participation in the trade and saw the brutality of it were completely traumatised. And I suspect it will make them better people going forward. They will tend to be nicer to black people when they meet them and that is fine by me.

MB: There seemed to be some symbolism attached to the use of white and dark clothing in the film. The Danish were often depicted in white as were the ‘native’ that had been converted to Christianity, while the rest wore darker or black garments. (check out my critique here). Was that intentional?

Jakob Oftebro and Ghanaian extras ©Michael Haslund

Jakob Oftebro and Ghanaian extras ©Michael Haslund

 KB: The blacks you saw and the change in Lumpa’s dressing was towards the end of the film. That was a funeral scene at the village. But apart from that the blacks you saw in the village were wearing calico and those were what they used to wear earlier and those weren’t necessarily black. So, I didn’t see that connection that you are referring to and I don’t think that was conscious. But it gives me food for thought.

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Kirsty Osei-Bempong is a journalist and blogger. She share news about Ghanaian arts, cultures and history on her blog site MisBeee Writes.

Me FiRi Ghana inspires and works with Youth in India…

Me FiRi Ghana means I am from Ghana, but the brand has been able to travel far and wind and not only inspire the Ghanaian Youth community, but in March 2013 our founder was able to share how our brand, YOUR brand, our story and the stories YOU have shared with us are changing how we are embracing our culture

 

Check out the video below…

 

Introducing you to Lavinia Gyamfuah

GHRBS Lavinia Gyamfuah

 

Lavinia_Gyamfuah_GHRBS_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_Com

 

Mefiri Ghana is excited to introduce you to GH Rising Black Star Lavinia Gyamfuah, a student entrepreneur who has been selected as one of ten people to compete for funding from Shell Live. She tells us about her company, what motivates her and her favourite drink from Ghana!

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Me Firi Ghana: Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.
Lavinia Gyamfuah: My name is Lavinia Gyamfuah and I am a student entrepreneur. I study Philosophy and Business at the University of Kent. I work part time and enjoy doing business as my hobby.

MFG: Congratulations on being one of the ten people selected for possible funding from Shell Live.
LG: Thank you

MFG: Have you always been business minded?
LG: Yes, I have always wanted to have my own business when I was younger. Knowing that through what I have created, the world could share and enjoy something in common through a product or service is what drives me.

MFG: Tell us a little bit about your company LAV Enterprises.
LG: At present, LAV Enterprises is a company focused on creating new and innovative ways to consume non-alcoholic beverages. We have created a refreshing fruit and herbal drink designed using purer ingredients with functional benefits especially for health management. Our drinks are designed to be healthy, with a great unique taste!

MFG: Why beverages?
LG: Coming from a background where food is one of my core family values, I’m sure, is where I became passionate about food and drink. I just think a better variety of great tasting healthier drink alternatives should be available for individuals’ conscious of living a healthy lifestyle.

MFG: What’s the worst beverage you’ve ever had?
LG: I think the worst drinks don’t really have the ‘well being’ of the consumer as their end goal. You can usually tell when that is the case because the drink won’t be around for long.

MFG: Do you have any favourite sayings that keep you motivated?
LG: ‘Nothing is impossible’ by Aliko Dangote and this from Barack Obama – ‘Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. But its not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.’

MFG: What’s your favourite drink?
LG: LAV Enterprises Juice drink

MFG: For you what makes a great beverage?
LG: A drink needs to have a designed purpose, whether that is for a unique taste, how it makes you feel, or what it does. That purpose needs to be communicated to the consumer and is currently what I feel makes a great drink.

MFG: What three best words to describe the nature of the drinks LAV Enterprises produce?
LG: Love, Refreshing, Innovative

MFG: What’s your favourite drink from Ghana?
LG: Cliché I know, but it has to be Supermalt.

MFG:  You’ve been selected as one of 10 people competing for funding from Shell Live. Where can we go to vote for you?
LG: You can vote for me at http://www.shell-livewire.org/awards/grand-ideas-awards#2

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Follow Lavinia Gyamfuah on twitter @LGyamfuah
Watch her pitch for the Shell Live competition below and don’t forget to vote vote vote by clicking on the above link!

Introducing you to Ghana’s finest DJ Kess

Ghana’s Only Female Recognised DJ…‘DJ KESS’

DJ_Kess_GHRBS_Me_FiRi_Ghana_dot_Com

Who said it was a man’s world? It’s a woman’s world too! Big Brother Africa accredited her as one of the Finest Female DJ’s alive in Ghana – she’s known as Dj Kess, however her real name is Nana Kessewa Adu. She’s currently living in New York and in the process of setting up a record label in South Africa. I had the privilege to converse with Ghana’s baddest Female Dj and she explains her break through into the male dominated profession.

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MeFiri Ghana: Tell is your name, and age?

DJ Kess: I am known as Dj Kess however I was born as Nana Kessewa Adu. Erm in terms of my age let’s just say, I was born in the late 80’S (laughs) on the 6th of November.

 

MFG: So Tell the Team, Where did grow up/or where were you raised from?

 DJK: I actually grew up in the western region of Ghana in Takoradi, thereafter I moved to Accra after high school to further my education.

 

 MFG: So Tell MeFiRi GHANA, are both your parents of Ghanaian descent?

DJK:  Yes, both my parents are of Ghanaian descent.

 

MFG: Tell us what is it that you do?

DJK: I am currently a DJ and a TV Presenter, I host a music video show called Airtel Magic Moment.

 

MFG: Tell us the Company Name you work for?

DJK: Currently I work with YFM and ETV.

 

MFG: In relation to what you do, what/who influenced you/ how did it start?

DJK: To be honest it really all started back in high school, my strong love for music, it all further developed and grew on from there till now.

 

MFG: How much do you love what you do?

DJK: Honestly so much to the extent whereby I cannot see myself in any other profession.

 

MFG: So Tell us what are your future aspiration?

DJK: I would like to pursuit a career as a sound engineer, to promote Ghanaian music as well as entertainment.

 

MFG: What events have you worked at so far?

DJK: I have worked at Big Brother Africa as a DJ, COPA COCA COLA as a DJ, in Nigeria, the RED LIPSTICK concerts and the fabulous Shontelle concert in Ghana.

 

MFG: Was it difficult in the first stages to engage with your hobby as a female?

DJK: It was extremely difficult purely because of people’s ignorance and intolerance to thinking a female cannot DJ, it’s all down to perceptions and thoughts.

 

MFG: What reactions did you receive as a female DJ in the music industry?

DJK: I received a huge amount of positive reaction, the one that portrays I’m proud of you.

 

MFG: What keeps you going?

DJK: I get my motivation from the fact that I am the only recognised female DJ in GHANA, this keeps going so hard.

 

MFG: Tell the Team, are you proud to state “MeFiRi GHANA”?

DJK: Yes of course I am very proud to associate and call myself a Ghanaian.

 

MFG:  MeFiRi GHANA want to know what do you Love about Ghana & why do you love being Ghanaian?

DJK: Purely because of how beautiful GHANA is, our country is so peaceful and friendly. These qualities I believe are find to find within an African country.

 

MFG: Have you heard of MeFiRi GHANA before?

DJK: Yes I have, I believe the visionary aims of company is exciting and excellent, I support it 100%.

 

MFG: What advice would you give to other females heading in your footsteps?

DJK: Ladies everything is possible if you put your mind to it, stay focused and you’ll achieve. Do not let anyone or anything put you down, as I have been there and done it. It will not be easy, but make the road a journey and finish it, as some will not make it to the finish line.

 

MFG:Where can we catch up with your latest movements?

DJK: You can catch up with me and any updates  on Twitter. Follow me @DjkessGH

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The time speaking with the young Dj Kess was truly inspiring. MeFiRi GHANA wishes you the best success in your career as a DJ, respect as well as continue to support and encourage you. As you are the only recognised female Dj representing for GHANA this makes you truly special.

We congratulate you in your break through to success – you have proved to ladies heading in your footsteps that all things are possible with determination.

MeFiRi GHANA Salute You.

Feel Free To Leave Opinions Below Please

By Trey’C

Introducing you to Ghanaian Youth Yaw Kyei

Yaw Kyei  in Youth Parliament

 ‘Opportunity Grabber’

16 year old Yaw Kyei was given the unforgettable opportunity to sit in youth parliament where he experienced life as a politician.

To become an MYP (Member of Parliament) you have to be elected by other young people in an official UKYP election, so if you are think you that person for the role, take this opportunity and look into it further. Any young person who is a resident of the UK, and aged between 11 and 18 years old (inclusive) has the right to stand for election as an MYP and the right to vote for their MYP.

I was delighted to speak with Mr Yaw himself, who shed some light on his experience with us. Kyei also tells us a bit more about himself as a Ghanaian Youth.

 

MeFiRi GHANA Interview 16 year Old Yaw Kyei

In his Words;

“I offer myself to Ghana. Once I finish my Pharmacy degree, I hope to move back to Ghana and live + work there for some years. Help out where ever I can and give back to such a great nation”

 

Me Firi Ghana: Tell us your name and age, and where your currently schooling?

Yaw Kyei: My name is Yaw Kyei, I am 16 years old, Currently in Year 11 attending Centenary Heights State High School, Toowoomba, QLD in Australia.

 

MFG: How did you come into contact with the opportunity?

YK: I got into Youth Parliament after a school notice was read one morning. I was excited and decided to nominate myself. I chose Youth Parliament because I wanted to make my parents proud, make a difference in my community and represent Ghana at a state level.

 

MFG: So what is your connection with Politics?

YK: I am not really too deeply into politics, however the adrenalin one gets by arguing something they stand for pretty much appealed to me, this was my urge to stand and represent.

 

MFG: Share with us something motivational?

YK:”I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

MFG: Where did you grow up?

YK: I was born in Kingaroy, QLD Australia; I was raised in an Adventist home. After spending several years there, my family moved to Toowoomba where my father got a job working for Queensland Health as a Social Worker, and my mother started working as a chef at a boarding school.

 

MFG: Are both your parents of Ghanaian Descent?

YK: Yes they are both of Ghanaian descent.

 

MFG: Can You Speak a Ghanaian language?

YK: I cannot speak fluently, but can understand and greet/respond to “simple” phrases/questions.

 

MFG: Are You Proud To State MeFiRi GHANA?

YK: Always and forever.

 

MGF: What makes you love being a Ghanaian?

YK: I love the people in Ghana. The great landscape and the friendly smiles all Ghanaians share. We’re such a giving people and don’t expect anything in return. Like anyone, I love and endorse my ethnicity to all. I’m proud to say I’m Ghanaian because I know in my heart, that it’s the best country in the world.

 

MFG: Have you heard of MeFiRi GHANA before?

YK: I haven’t heard of MeFiRi Ghana before, but my sister has told me lots about it.

 

MFG: Tell the Ghanaian Youths, where they can connect with you?

YK: Find me on Facebook, Yaw O. Kyei II, I love to chat and get to know lots of people

 

MFG: What have you to offer GHANA?

 YK: I offer myself to Ghana. Once I finish my Pharmacy degree, I hope to move back to Ghana and live + work there for some years. Help out where ever I can and give back to such a great nation.

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Yaw Kyei delivers a fruitful positive image in his words and responses, and as a Ghanaian youth he has taken advantage of opportunities in his way, and is working around them to build his successful future as a Pharmacist. Of just 16 years old, he thinks and dreams large, which is the way forward. He’s already planning ahead to what he has to offer back home in GHANA which is a big move. Many Ghanaian youths can learn from Mr Kyei and use his tactics of grabbing and making use of opportunities available, as we never know where they may lead us to.

Mr Yaw through his responses articulates himself precisely through his intelligence as a young Ghanaian youth, ready to take on the challenges our world may bring. However he seems very subtle yet powerful in thought, simply through his determination and with lack of fear he will fight through any difficulty or obstacles he may face. This is the spirit we set and want our youthful Ghanaian generation worldwide to inherit and carry as a tool to success.

We wish you the best success in your education and with your future career to become a Pharmacist. We believe in you, and continue to make GHANA proud.

If interested in becoming a member of youth parliament, then ask your local authority, or type into Google Your country city/Town with ‘member of youth parliament’ and you should get results.

For Ghanaian youths based in the UK for more information visit; www.ukyouthparliment.org,uk

What do you think of yaw Kyei?

(Leave opinions below)

By Trey’C

Introducing you to…

GUBA Award Nominee Brie Boateng

 

Mefiri Ghana meets with Brie Boateng, an up and coming artist nominated for the 2012 GUBA Awards in the Emerging Music categories. She shares with us her pet peeves, favourite food and being nominated for a GUBA award…

*

 

Mefiri Ghana:  Who is Brie Boateng? Introduce yourself to the world. Brie Boateng:  I’m a young entrepreneur – lover of music – passionate about people – born again Christian.

MFG: Congratulations on your GUBA awards nomination. Was it something you expected? BB: Thank you. I didn’t expect it at all – there are so many British based Ghanaian artists that are doing incredibly well in the music scene – I didn’t expect to be up against some of them. But I’m really chuffed so PLEASE KEEP voting for me – I’m in the emerging music category – http://www.gubaawards.co.uk/gubavoting/

MFG: What are your thoughts on the GUBA awards and what it stands for?BB: It’s a great idea. Many Ghanaians in the UK are contributing highly in so many industries from health to education to media etc. Receiving an award to accredit your achievements -famous or not- is a good thing. The GUBA’s stands up for the achievements of Ghanaians living in the UK and honours us in front of the nation.

MFG: Describe your music style in 3 words. BB: Meaningful, catchy, quirky

MFG: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life so far? BB: Sounds cliché but it is my mum – and my late father. I’m realising more and more that my mum’s business acumen and work ethic is rubbing off on me. She’s a business owner working in the field she’s always wanted to. She isn’t afraid to take risks and travel far and wide to support her business. My dad introduced me to the music scene – some of his favourite artists are also some of mine.                                                                                                                                                             

MFG: Tell us about any pet peeves you have.  BB:Lol erm. Just unnecessary rudeness and negativity.                                                     

MFG: Apart from music is there anything else that you pursue?  BB: My organisation Pass Peace On – it’s creates funding opportunities for individuals who are passionate about social responsibility. I also volunteer at my local homeless charity and donate regular time to housing projects in my local community.

MFG: How would you describe your musical journey so far? BB: It’s been great! I’m getting out what I’ve put in. And in hindsight, I’m really thankful for some of the opportunities I didn’t receive – it helped me refocus on what’s important. In my music career, I’ve helped to uplift people and spread encouragement. I launched a campaign to speak out against domestic abuse using one of my singles, I’ve released inspiring house and dubstep music and have written for several artists – including many UK based Ghanaian artists. I’m never short of music work. I think the only problem is making time for it all.

MFG: Where can we find out about you and any future projects you got going? BB: I usually keep people posted on my twitter feed @brieboateng but will soon have my own site brieboateng.com fully complete.

MFG: Do you have any particular mottos that you follow? BB: Not really. Although I once came across a slogan ‘Give joy Get joy’ and that stuck with me for a while.

MFG: And finally tell us, what’s your favourite Ghanaian food?BB: FUFU! With any soup. Makes me feel gooood!

*To vote for Brie Boateng visit: http://www.gubaawards.co.uk/gubavoting/ Twitter: @brieboateng

By Yaa Nyarko

Introducing you to…

MFG Interview with Star 100

 

I’ve been going to the Star 100 meet-ups for about 4 years now as it gives me an opportunity to meet other Ghanaians to network, talk about Ghana and discuss the hilarious but valuable traditions of our culture.

The group has been running for 8 years and it grows every month. The Chair, Richard Tandoh took some time out of his schedule to give me the heads up on what makes Star 100 tick and why a networking group like this is proving to be super important for Ghanaians in the diaspora.

Mefiri Ghana: What’s special about Star 100?

Richard Tandoh: It isn’t ‘owned’ by anyone. I think that makes it easier for the Coordinating Team and members alike to ‘buy into it’.
It has been sustained. In the eight years that Star 100 has been in existence a number of similar Ghanaian and African Diaspora groups have come and gone.
We don’t actively publicize its existence. Instead we leave it to existing members to tell other like-minded friends, colleagues and family members about it – and they do. It is focused on professionals/those with a professional outlook, rather than all Ghanaians.

MFG: What part does it play in the lives of Ghanaians in the Diaspora?

RT: It is a place to find like-minded individuals. Members often remark that is simply nice to see a room full of young(ish), professional Ghanaians. Many friendships have been formed.
It is a source of information on Ghana. This is particularly key as a large proportion of the membership is second-generation Ghanaians.


MFG: How would you like it to grow and speak to other Ghanaians who may not have considered this medium to stay connected?

RT: I’d like to see the business and online networking sides of the group develop. In terms of those that have not considered networking as a medium to connect, I invite them to come along to a Star 100 meet-up. The secret of any network is you get what you put in – it is about genuine human connections that can then be built upon.

MFG: What else can Ghanaians in the diaspora do as a group to stay connected, grow out of a minority and stay relevant?

RT: Staying connected – support the groups, events and websites that provide current opportunities to connect – rather than create a whole lot more.
Grow out of being a minority – not sure this can be done, but I encourage Ghanaians in the Diaspora to build links with non-Ghanaians in the Diaspora, especially those that have a genuine interest in Ghana – it’s a global world. Ghana and Ghanaians are well-respected generally. That provides a strong base to work from.

Stay relevant – continue to learn about Ghana and influence modern culture globally, e.g. azonto.

http://www.star100.org

By Adjoa Wiredu

Ghana Rising Black Star…

Uprising Ghanaian Rapper – Introducing: Young Ice

Young Ice, hailing from both Ghanaian parents, was born as Amon Ogyiri. However he uses the stage name Young Ice, due to Ice being his nickname. The 23 year old was born in Accra, GHANA, but is currently based in New York USA.

MeFiRi GHANA meets the man himself, an up and coming rapper who tells us a little about himself and what he has to offer Ghana…

 

1.  MeFiRi GHANA: What Are You About?

Young Ice: I am an unsigned artist, currently pushing my movement GMH (Ghana Made Hustlers) which promotes the culture of Ghana through entertainment. I have a strong passion for what I do as at the end of the day, it’s beyond music.  My passion for music, entertainment and the Ghanaian culture will hopefully help develop Ghana into a better country.

 

2.  MeFiRi GHANA: What influenced you to start rapping?

Young Ice: I am Ghanaian Hip-hop artist, the influence to my rapping was in fact, my love and passion with poetry from an early age. Writing poetry helped me release my emotions and thoughts onto paper, and transferring poetry on to a beat simply made it music.

I would say the likes of Maya Angelou and 2pac Shakur inspired me to write.

 

3.  MeFiRi GHANA: Which Ghanaian Artists Are You Currently FEELING?

Young Ice: I tell you I’m feeling a lot of GH artists out there, there is huge talent coming out of GH, which is being recognized over in the states. At the moment I am feeling music coming from El, Sarkodie, and Efya just to name a few.

I would like to work with many of the talents out of GH. If to choose, I artists such as E.L, Efya, Sarkodie, Edem, Raquel, Blitz the Ambassador, just to name a few. They are very innovative and creative when it comes to music and I am the same way.

4.  MeFiRi Ghana: Has Our Culture Influenced Your Talents?

Young Ice: Yes indeed, I would say my culture has influenced my talents in many ways. Being exposed to African music has helped me to be very versatile, it has also given me the ability to story tell which is very familiar in the African culture.

 

5.  MeFiRi GHANA: What Have You To Offer GHANA?

Young Ice: I have a lot to offer to Ghana. For starters I recently designed a bracelet called Ashanti Beads. This bracelet was designed to help bring change & help to Africa. A percentage from the sales of the Ashanti Bracelets will be donated to the Youth Icons of Ghana, a Non Profit foundation; hopefully this will bring better understanding and the importance of education.

I don’t want to let you guys know all the details so I guess Ghana will have to wait and see what I have in store for us, Knowing that Ghanaians are hard to impress, I have a great deal ahead of. (Chuckle)

 

6.  MeFiRi GHANA: ‘WO DOR GHANA’- (Do You Love GHANA)??

Young Ice: Of Course, I strongly love Ghana as it is my place of origin.

I enjoy everything within our Ghanaian culture, our music, our food, our child hood games, stories told by the elders and it being passed are all elements of the Ghanaian culture that I love.

 

7. MeFiRi GHANA: Have You Heard Of US Before?

Young Ice: Yes of course, through Twitter

 

8.  MeFiRi GHANA: Where Can we catch up with you, On updates & latest movements

Young Ice: Check Me Out Below;

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/YoungIce_GMH

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/YoungiceGMH

Tumblr:  http://therealyoungice.tumblr.com/, http://gmhlyfestyle.bigcartel.com/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhee

 

MeFiRi GHANA

A Huge thank to Young Ice, a true Rep of a Ghanaian Rising Black Star, We Welcome you warmly on board.

MeFiRi GHANA Love the Ghanaianism you bring to the community, both to GHANA as well as in the States. We love the act of sheer kindness you create in helping our Country through charitable creative ideas.

We can already see you shooting off like a black star, with sprinkles of success showering you.

With yet more success to follow, we wish you the best.

By: Trey’ C