Tag: Kwame Nkrumah


Is Rawlings really the founder of the NDC?

Former president Jerry John Rawlings has never been happy with the performance of the NDC presidents that came after him, namely Atta-Mills and John Mahama as regards to probity and accountability. He put excessive pressure on the two former presidents and accused them of incompetence. His criticisms drew him apart from the presidency. Those who benefitted from the corrupt and administration of the two presidents saw Rawlings as an enemy. Most of the time, the party held national and executive meetings and conferences without inviting Rawlings. Sadly enough, such attitudes of hatred by the top brass of the NDC have compelled Rawlings to do what he is doing. Observers from other parties felt that it was unfortunate to treat the founder of the party this way. But do his party members consider him as a founder?

Rawlings is generally considered as the founder of the NDC but, now and then, there are voices which challenge this view. A chief proponent of this view has been Obed Asamoah, a long-time member of Rawlings’ governments in their military and civilian incarnations. In an exclusive interview with Emera Appawu of Joy News, Obed Asamoah explained that when it was time to file the registration of the NDC, Rawlings was still in the Ghana Armed Forces so he could not have represented any district as a founding father. However, Dr Obed Asamoah explained that after the party had been set, a clause was fixed in the party’s constitution to recognize the contribution of Rawlings to the ideals upon which the party was founded.

Obed Asamoah made this position even clearer in his memoirs: The Political History of Ghana

Obed Asamoah

(1950-2013) – The Experience of a Non-Conformist published in 2014, where he stated that the idea of founding the NDC was a collective one taken by a group to which Rawlings was not part of. The group saw Rawlings as the best person to lead the new party and approached him with the idea. Rawlings accepted. It is, therefore, clear that the initiative of forming the party did not come from Rawlings. This can be compared with the formation of the CPP where the idea for the party germinated in the mind of Kwame Nkrumah who brought it into being, provided it with much of its ideological direction, singularly led it from its beginnings through all its glorious years and eventual demise. Today the CPP has been struggling without its revered founder. The NDC, on the other hand, has won elections even without Rawlings leading it.

The issue of who founded what can be a tricky one as we are seeing in the current debate about who founded Ghana. Even though Rawlings did not himself initiate the idea of forming the NDC from the remnants of the PNDC, he was the very personification of the party, at least in the initial stages. The party was built around him. It is doubtful if the party could have won the first two elections in the Fourth Republic without Rawlings leading it. That is why people generally regard him as the founder.

The same argument can be tweaked to apply to the foundation of Ghana. Even though the Gold Coast may have been in existence before Nkrumah burst on the political scene in the colony, the fact of our independence became personified in him. He was the very face of our independence and, by extension, the new nation. That is why people associate the founding of the nation with him. It does not mean they think there were no others in the independence struggle. Nkrumah’s contributions were unique and it is easier for people to connect with an individual and accord him a symbolic status than with an amorphous group of persons each of whose contributions cannot be accurately gauged.

Valerie Sawyer

And so Rawlings is likely to continue being regarded as the founder of the NDC in the popular mind, no matter what Obed Asamoah says. The question then becomes: is Rawlings trying to destroy what he created? It can be said that all of Rawlings’ bad-mouthing of his own party shows him in character. The pointing out of the ills of our society and the condemnation of others have been Rawlings’ trademarks as a public person since his first coup day speech on radio. The party and Ghanaians, generally, have endured his antics. Now and then, they try to give it back to him. Now, it seems a section of the party hierarchy can take it no longer. Valerie Sawyer’s outburst a few weeks ago is symptomatic of this feeling. Obed Asamoah quickly came to Sawyerr’s defence while others attacked her. Alhaji Bature has gone so far as to suggest that Rawlings should be sacked from his own party.

What particularly irks a section of the party hierarchy is what they think is his dancing with the ruling party when he gives Akufo-Addo a clean bill of health when it comes to corruption, and threatening that his own party would not regain power even in 2020 unless it changes its ways. They point out that the NPP itself, under the Kufuor government, was very corrupt and Akufo-Addo was part of that government and that Rawlings’ own life is not beyond reproach. His wife has become rich from deals that are tainted with corruption, all his children received higher education abroad at great expense, he lives a lifestyle far above that of the ordinary Ghanaian who he claims to be fighting for and he received what is clearly bribe money from Abacha. He has also exhibited the greed that is characteristic of all African leaders and the political elite: becoming rich through the acquisition of political power. Rawlings has been calling on his party to return to its founding principles but he may not agree that the erosion of those principles started under his watch.

Of late there is the belief that he is losing his influence over the party and therefore his deliberate scheme of blame and vituperations are meant to destroy the NDC party.

The Rawlings family felt very much disturbed and frustrated by the kind of treatment meted out to them

Nana Konadu Agyemang

by the NDC top hierarchy. Mrs Rawlings took a bold step to move out of NDC and through her admirers a new platform called Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings (FONKAR) was created. She later did everything possible to form a new party. Even though she craftily chose a party name whose letters (NDP) were intended to confuse the illiterate voter because it sounded midway between NDC and NPP when they are pronounced or seen. It is believed that her intention of forming the party was not to win but to split the NDC votes. Did she succeed?

It is difficult to predict what the intentions of Rawlings are. Does he intend to obliterate the name of the party with which he has been associated from the political map of Ghana, or is he just trying to make himself still relevant in Ghanaian politics? What he really intends to do lies within the womb of time.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Child-naming and its Impact on the Ghanaian Child

Babies born in Ghana come with one permanent name depending on which day in the week the baby is born. Ashantis may decide to skip their child’s day name and choose a different day name. This often happens when they name the child after a special person, a hero/heroine, a friend or a business partner. They often adapt the full names of that person. A parent who lived in Kumasi named his child after the first president of Ghana. The child was born on Tuesday but he was named Kwame Nkrumah, instead of Kwabena Nkrumah. This tradition or practice is common among the Ashantis in Ghana.

The other names given to the babies reflect the parent’s beliefs, wishes or preferences. The baby has no say in this matter. However, when the child grows up, she can decide to cast away the name the parents give her and choose her own.

05fbd6d427a1dcb5facaa365a558cc33There are several ways of giving a surname to babies. The most common one is for the father to give his surname to the baby. As said earlier on, the father can also name the baby after a hero/heroine, a special friend, or business partner.

Most names given to babies have some meaning. Nobody chooses a name that means nothing or has no significance. Sometimes names are given by fetish priests to parents who consult them to solve their child-birth issues. When their issues are solved, the fetish priest gives the child a name. This article will partly be discussing the effect of such names on the bearers.

Some people think or believe that certain names, by their definitions, carry with them bad luck and, very often, curses. Things may not go well for those who bear such names. However, it is not wholly true that all those who bear such names encounter bad luck.

I had a discussion with an elderly man when I visited Ghana last year. The man took his time to explain to me that there is no curse in the names per se but in most families, bad and destructive spirits, including witches and wizards, capitalize on the meanings of the names to shape the child’s destiny and to bring hopelessness, hardship and destruction on the child at the very incipient stage till the child reaches adulthood.  He further explained that not all Akan names can be brought under curse.

Some names given to babies by the Akans have obvious meanings. Berko is translated as a

fetish priest

fetish priest

person whose life is full of hustle and bustle, Abebrese (a sufferer), Bediito (a glutton whose preference is mashed plantain), Kokooto (mashed plantain in red palm oil), Bosompem (thousand gods), Asuo (a gift from the river god), Nkwantabisa (ask at the junction), Bediako (a fighter and a hustler), Diawuo (a murderer).

Names with funny meanings do not exist only in the Akan culture. The Anlos have names which sound humorous, interesting and thought-provoking. Ex-president J.J Rawlings named his first daughter Zanetor. It is said that this child was born while Rawlings was in jail awaiting trial for treason. The name means, “let the darkness stop.” The birth of the girl expressed Rawlings’ wish for the dark days to stop, and it stopped too (at least for Rawlings). Indeed, many Anlo names are full meaningful sentences. Mawuenyega means God is great, Kugblenu (death destroys things), Delanyo (the Saviour is good), Mawunyo (God is good), Dzigbodi (Patience), Edem (the Lord has saved me), and Delali (the Saviour is there).

Interestingly, there are some terrific Ewe names whose meanings, for the sake of decorum, I will not provide here. (You may ask your Ewe friends to tell you…) What will you say about names like Avugla, Amemornu, Fiadigbor, Avudzivi, Agbetsiame, Datsomor, Avagah, Kumasenu, Gamor, Degodia, Gbormitan, Avadzi, Gbortsu, Agbogah, Gasor or even Woyome? Every ethnic group has such names but my digging around the subject revealed to me that the Ewes may lead this league of “special” names. Some of these names may have started as nicknames, names by which the bearer boasts of some personal prowess or “drinking names” taken at the nsafufuo grove or ogogoro bar but which gradually become bona fide names that are passed on to offspring.

In an epic song, Highlife Maestro, P S K Ampadu, described the disastrous effect of how one day-names-colorname brought untold hardships on the bearer. The person in the song was called Yaw Berko. Berko means a person who came into this world to fight it out or struggle in life. In the song Yaw Berko was hit hard by the uncompromising arms of life. Penniless at forty, he tried to find jobs in almost all the regions of Ghana to no avail. Yaw Berko’s destiny was a sad one.

Bosompem, Bonsam, Asuo and Brekune are all names that are easily manipulated by the spirits to implant in the bearers of such names elements of fetishism. Most of the time, a child with such a name is donated by a river god. Brekune is the name of a fetish god. All these names affect the destinies of these individuals.

Ghanaians are now careful in choosing names for their children. They choose names that inspire, bless, and motivate. The common ones among the Akans are Nhyira (Blessing), Obrempong (a mighty royal), Adom (Grace), Oheneneba (Prince), Ohemaa (Queen), and many more. The Ewes and the Gas also use motivating and inspiring names like Born-great, Prosper, Fafa (Peace), Destiny and many more.

All what Ghanaians need to do is to wise up. We must all commit ourselves to constant prayers and to make the fear of the Lord a top priority. If God intervenes, no matter what name you give to your child, no bad spirit or witchcraft can turn a name to curse the bearer.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Why Are People from Volta Region Called Number 9?

The Ashantis go by the accolade Kotoko (the porcupine). They gained this accolade due to their military power and effective strategy in fighting wars since 1701. Their assertive claim that if a thousand Ashantis are annihilated in war, a thousand more will come to replace those decapitated (wokum apem a, apem beba), likened the Ashantis to the porcupine which releases its sharp long quills or spines and gets replaced almost immediately. Interestingly the Nzimas also call themselves Kotoko but the reason behind it may probably not be the same as that for the Ashantis.

This article will discuss why Voltarians are called “Number 9”.

At independence, Ghana was divided into seven administrative regions: Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Northern, Upper, Volta and Western. Brong Ahafo was the first region created after independence. It was carved out of the Ashanti Region in 1958. Anyone who went to school in the 60s and 70s will remember that Ghana had only eight regions. Yet Volta Region, which had existed since independence, was called “Number 9”. PNDCL 26 created Greater-Accra as a region on its own on 23rd July 1982. Greater-Accra, became the ninth region of Ghana. Yet the Volta Region retained its nickname of “Number 9”.

The youngest regions in Ghana are the Upper-West and Upper East which were created when the then Upper Region was divided into two by the PNDC government in 1983. Of course, the Volta Region continued to be called “Number 9”.

When Brong-Ahafo Region was created in 1958, it left the Ashanti Region completely “landlocked” within Ghana. The region has no borders with the outside world. Some observers say it was a deliberate ploy by Kwame Nkrumah to make it impossible for the Ashanti State, the heartland of the “matemeho” movement and congenital opponents of the CPP, from ever seceding from Ghana. When Greater-Accra region was created, it left the Eastern Region also “landlocked” within Ghana as it lost its sea border. It is, thus, only the Ashanti and Eastern Regions that share no borders with the outside world.

But how and why did the Volta Region get the nickname by which some people still call it? The well-

Wli Falls in the Volta region

Wli Falls in the Volta region

known fact must again be stated that the nickname “Number 9” is almost always used in a derogatory sense even if it is often said more as a joke than as a serious insult. The people of the region do not call themselves that and it is obvious they do not quite take much delight in being called so.

The derogatory connotation of the Volta nickname may come from it carrying a certain sense of “lateness”. This sense is reinforced by the fact that the region is made largely (but not completely) of the erstwhile Trans-Volta Togoland (TVT) which, until December 1956, was really not an integral part of the Gold Coast. Of the four entities that constituted modern Ghana, the TVT was the last to be formally joined to the Gold Coast (that became Ghana) even though the territory had long been administered by the British from their Accra seat as part of their Gold Coast “possession”.

It wouldn’t matter if the lateness denoted just that – lateness. But “Number 9” carries a sense of backwardness even though the region doesn’t come last on a range of important metrics. It is not the last region to be created, it is not the smallest region, it does not have the smallest population, and it does not have the lowest literacy rate. It does not come last in an alphabetic ordering of the regions of the county. Yet the nickname persists.

A second reason one can hear for the “Number 9” is that, until new codes were introduced in 2010, Volta Region’s code was 09. If you lived outside the region, you dialled 09 to get to the region. But this reason does not seem true. In the 60s, not many people had access to telephones and it is unlikely the region could be identified by its telephone code. Moreover, it is a bit difficult to assign a derogatory connotation to a region because of its telephone code number.

First Miss Ghana Monica Amekoafia

First Miss Ghana Monica Amekoafia

How did the “Number 9” come about? The reason is actually simple and one which, at a time, the people of the region would have been proud of. The first ever Miss Ghana competition was held on 4th March 1957, two days before our independence. It may have been conducted as part of our independence anniversary activities. The candidate representing the TVT (Volta Region), which had by then become an integral part of the new nation, had the identification number 9. Miss Monica Amekoafia, then 22 years old from Alavanyo in the Volta Region, and representing her region carrying lap number 9, went on to win the entire competition and was crowned as the first ever Miss Ghana. Ghana did not have television then (it wouldn’t come until 1964) and only those present at the function or listening to the radio (if it was broadcast live), would have seen or heard the announcers calling the Volta Region candidate by her lap number. The following day, the newspapers may have carried pictures of the candidates and their regions and their lap numbers.

People may have talked about the contest for days even as they still do today for “Ghana’s Most Beautiful”. Volta Region became identified with “Number 9”. If Ghanaians welcomed the TVT as part of Ghana, there might have been a lot of goodwill around. It was a time we all identified ourselves as Ghanaians. The tribalism we see today was virtually non-existent then. Those who then called Volta Region “Number 9” wouldn’t have done so for any diabolical reasons. That would come later on…

Today, there are still a few misconceptions about the Volta Region. The most serious is the one

districts in the Volta region

districts in the Volta region

which identifies the region with the erstwhile TVT. Today’s Volta Region is not identical with the former German colony of Togoland that the British took over in 1916. The CPP government made sure of that. Take a good look at the regional map of Ghana. The coastal areas of the Volta Region consisting of Anloga, Keta, Aflao, Denu and going up to Peki, Tsibu, Awudome, etc. were never part of the German colony of Togoland but are, today, parts of the Volta Region. These areas had been part of the Gold Coast since about the 1850s. Further north, parts of the present day Northern and Upper East regions were part of the erstwhile TVT but are not, today, part of Volta Region. The CPP government simply took the erstwhile TVT and divided it into several regions and added parts of the erstwhile Gold Coast to some of these regions. Just like in the case of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, there may have been some strategic reasons behind this move. Today, the erstwhile TVT can be found in three different regions. How can they succeed in seceding?

If you look at the map of the erstwhile TVT, you will notice that its southern border is a straight line just below Ho. This is one more evidence of the saying that in the scramble for Africa, the colonial powers used “ruler and pencil” to carve out Africa among themselves. The borders of the erstwhile TVT cut the Ewes in two “by heart”. That was why areas like Peki, Tsibu and even Kpeve, whose Ewe likens that of the “northern Ewes” found themselves in the Gold Coast whereas nearby Ho found itself in German Togoland.

German Togoland included the whole of Togo and the erstwhile TVT. The Germans colonized it for some 25 years until the First World War when the British and the French pushed them out of the area as part of their war effort. They then divided the area between themselves. The British administered their part from the Gold Coast.

After the Second World War, the UN mandated the area as a trust territory for the British to look over.

Akosombo Dam in the Volta region

Akosombo Dam in the Volta region

They called it Trans Volta Togoland and added it to the Gold Coast, though as a separate entity. When Gold Coast independence was imminent, the British informed the UN they would not be able to continue administering the territory after Gold Coast became free. It was then that the controversial plebiscite was held and the people of the TVT voted to become part of the Gold Coast and formally did so in December 1956 in time for independence in March 1957. The French, however, continued to administer the French Togoland until they were forced to grant it independence in 1960.

Number 9 has been repeated by Ghanaians till today to refer to Voltarians in a derisive and derogatory manner. Those who say it, see Voltarians as backward and the 9th and last region of Ghana. It is often said that when a lie is repeated continuously it gains an element of truth. People have either refused or are unwilling to accept or learn the history of “Number 9”. The Bible states that for lack of knowledge my people perish.

Today, there is a poorly maintained statue of Miss Monica Amekoafia (now deceased) in front of the Post Office in Hohoe in the Volta Region. It commemorates her victory in the beauty pageant of 1957. I wonder how many of Hohoe’s citizens who pass by this statue every day know that it is the young lady’s victory in the year of our independence that is the cause of their region being called “Number 9”.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Home Truths for the Homeland

Accra-floods

Accra Floods

Watching the Accra floods unfold across my TV and across social media timelines, a sadness and anger triggered within me. And frustration. And a realisation. As much as we love Ghana and for all we have achieved in recent years, there are home truths we’ve not been paying enough attention to. The cedi’s value has become a shambolic mess. Oil we apparently struck a few years back – what happened to the money? Infant/maternal mortality is another simmering issue which charities such as the GUBA Foundation are helping bring to the spotlight. The quality of schooling is poor, as has been recently publicised.

And don’t get me started on dumsor, an issue which is proving to be a terminal illness to business around the country and is as tiresome as the daily debate around it and the attempts to resolve it.

 

In June 2015, The Wall Street Journal noted the following – ‘[Accra is] perhaps the continent’s best example of an urban middle class. In 2011 it was the 2nd-fastest growing economy on EARTH…but [even then] below the city, its infrastructure was crumbling. Power has been off TWO-THIRDS of the time since January, because until recently Accra received almost all of its electricity from a 49-year old hydrodam that hadn’t been getting enough rain. Stop lights are frequently out, jamming up roads that haven’t been broadened. Ports are perpetually backlogged. And the city sewers are especially old…many of them dating back to the British colonial rule.’

 

That excerpt illuminates the fact that the floods in Accra, which produced images akin to a Hollywood disaster film, was a disaster waiting to happen – a landmine lying in wait beneath our foundations, for the right amount of pressure to trigger things to explode and implode.

IMG_5139And this is the crux of the problem. There are issues in Ghana that have been there from the days of Kwame Nkrumah. That’s not good enough. Nkrumah planned to get the Akosombo dam built to match demand at the time; not to meet demand in the future! The dam wasn’t *the* dream; it was the *beginnings* of a dream, for Ghana to start being more self-sufficient, stable and increasingly productive. The issue is we’ve accepted that standard as our ceiling. That standard was set 60 years ago you know. 60 years…

You see, my issue is that it’s not every day ‘build a Trasacco Valley’ or West Hills Mall to act like Ghana is ‘ballin’’, thinking that’s indicative of success. It’s not. Ghana rather needs to prioritise and concentrate on things which may seem simple, but as these floods have shown, are vital. We need to focus on investing and developing the fundamentals.

Things like electricity, water, roads and transport, education, hospitals and healthcare services

…but no. We want to make ourselves look better than we are by building residential areas where only the rich & powerful can afford to live, and building malls where only the rich can afford to shop.

 

Ghana is focused on building its roof when we haven’t even finished laying the foundations –  and that’s a crying shame. That’s why we have cholera outbreaks in Accra, by-the-renewing-of-your-mind-how-to-have-a-strong-foundation-1200x1161why large swathes of the country go without power for days. And that’s why we had a situation like the flood crisis – it was a system failure more than a natural disaster, exposing the fact that despite the energy and resources we’ve put into paving our roof, our house is infested and the foundations aren’t sound.

Our priorities need to change. For we need to realise the truths and stop the cyclical behaviours which fail to demand accountability from those in power and allow us to become complacent and accept inefficiencies as the status quo. Only then, will we finally be set free and realise the perfectness of the Independence dream.

 

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Ghana @57: The significance of an independent Ghana

INDEPENDENCE [Dictionary definition] not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence; not relying on another or others for aid or support; to self-govern; to not be subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free…

Independence is a strong word, and one which holds much significance and importance in many countries across the world. From the land of the Stars and Stripes, to the land of Kilts and Shortbread, the issue and sentiment of independence is one which triggers great emotion – whether it refers to success achieved in the past, or the present end-game desire a people have for their future.

For Ghana, the word independence is as significant to our cultural and historical fabric as the black star which resides dead-centre in our national flag. The sentiment of independence forms the very foundation of our being. We are known for our gold, known for our cocoa – but our claim to independence is one which triggers immense pride.

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In black sub-saharan Africa, it was we who shone forth as a beacon of light across the continent, showing others the way to freedom, showing that we didn’t need to rely on colonial rulers for our wellbeing but we were more than capable to govern ourselves. Nkrumah saw an independent Ghana as being a spearhead for the liberation of the rest of Africa from colonial rule – the pioneers, the example, the spark to ignite the touchpaper of African potential. From the shores of the Gold Coast, Ghana, the lighthouse of Africa, beamed its light far and wide across the plains of Mother Africa. Kwame Nkrumah’s voice boomed. His ideals infiltrated the fabric of nation upon nation, a domino effect set in motion on that dark morning of 6th March 1957. Africa slowly woke up from its slumber, woken by the victorious cries and startled by the momentous effort of those who went to sleep in the Gold Coast one day and woke up in Ghana the next.

The name ‘Ghana’ means ‘Warrior King’, and so it should be no surprise that it was the nation which was christened Ghana would be the one to step out and take back its heritage and reclaim its name. The fight was not easy, and reached further back than the days of Yaa Asantewaa, a woman who epitomised the core zeal and strength of the African female as she led the Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool against British colonialism.

untitled 1

Yes, if we’re going to take our rose-tinted glasses off, our time under colonial rule was greatly a result of our own doing, as tribes signed agreements with the British. Also, despite the best efforts of others, Great Britain were victorious in a series of campaigns to take over territories, especially against the Ashanti’s. There were many casualties along the way in our fight to have the authority to self-govern, their blood mixed into the red banner which sits atop our flag today. But those core qualities of strength, fortitude, resilience, faith and sacrifice were the fuel which drove our relentless race to independence to completion. Regardless of defeat, or setback, we refused to go backwards. And eventually, on 6th March 1957, we made the dream possible. As Kwame Nkrumah once proclaimed, ‘Forwards Ever; Backwards Never!’

Now, here in the present an independent Ghana is being celebrated as the model for African progress and development, a poster child for economic success, anti-imperialism, stability and democracy in Africa; celebrated within the continent for being at the center of the liberation struggle and therefore holding a special place in pan-African history.

So as we celebrate 57 years of independence, 57 years of standing on our own two feet, proud and free, what is the mantra of a free Ghana as we look to the future? I think Mr. Michael Kwame Gbordzoe said it best when he wrote the following to assist the composition created by Philip Gbeho:

God Bless our homeland Ghana, and make our nation great and strong. Bold to defend forever, the cause of freedom and of right. Fill our hearts with true humility. Make us cherish fearless honesty. And help us to resist oppressors’ rule with all our will and might forevermore!

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

The Love Triangle: Ghana’s Red-Gold-Green

Past, Present & Future

“Sankofa” the Akan concept is quite simple. One must ‘reach back to the past and retrieve it’. I’ve written about Ghana’s beautiful and exciting present, and the promises of a gorgeously promising future. However, none of this would be possible without taking a look at the past, and retrieving the esscence of what exactly runs through Ghanaian veins to fuel our renaissance in today and tomorrow’s world.

Ghana’s relentess climb to the top should not be surprising for a nation built on the shoulders of one of the greatest Kingdoms in African history, the Akan Kingdom & the Asante nation. We are a royal people, regal, who will fight to claim what we want. Even our name professes this notion (Ghana means ‘Warrior King’). We have been, and always will be, a GOLDEN generation.

_yaa_Asantewaa_165083671

However, our successes and our history has not been without pain. The bright RED blood of our ancestors has left a trail which leads from the Gate of No Return at Cape Coast and various other complexes where our people were traded as cattle, across the Atlantic Ocean, and connecting us to our relatives in the Americas and the Caribbean. Scars remain from in-fighting between tribes, and fierce battles waged physically by renowned warriors such as YAA ASANTEWAA, to ideological conflicts fought by political powerhouses such as THE BIG SIX.

Our present day flourishing in GREEN pastures of success has been because of the hard work of brilliant and innovative men and women dotted around our extensive history. Ghana, the first Sub-Saharan nation to claim independence, is a nation of firsts, a nation of innovators, a nation of leaders. People like TETTEH QUARSHIE, who brought Cocoa to Ghana – how incredible is that? He’s left a legacy which led to Ghana at one point exporting half the world’s cocoa! People like KWAME NKRUMAH, Osagyefo, who created a template which allowed many African nations to break free from the control of others and become independent.  People like ARTHUR WHARTON, the first ever black professional footballer. People like JAMES AGGREY, the founder of Achimota College, a seat of education which has educated many of Africa’s Heads of States, past & present. People like JOYCE BAMFORD-ADDO, the first Speaker of Parliament of a West African nation. People like KOFI ANNAN, who led the United Nations with trademark Ghanaian civility& humility – a quick look at his Wikipedia profile will amaze you at how many medals and awards he has collected so far for his tireless work in improving the world. And I will be bringing to light some of the everyday legends living among us in Ghana and around the world today, who are flying the flag high, and changing the world in the process.

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In my eyes, Ghana is the Lighthouse of Africa. It was the Lighthouse which showed other nations the way forward during one magical March night in 1957. Our BLACK STAR has never fallen. It will never fall. Our rich history has demanded this. And as we see today, our Star is shining brighter than ever!

“Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” translates as “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” To truly understand where we are going, we must take comfort and truly appreciate where we have been.

Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27

Legend photographer to be honoured…

Qirv Ventures Brings Acclaimed Photographer James Barnor On A Triumphant Return To Accra for First-Ever Retrospective of His Work in Ghana

 

 

Who: After several decades in Europe, iconic Ghanaian photographer James Barnor returns to Accra to celebrate the launch of the first-ever retrospective of his work in Ghana. Titled, ‘Ghana – A Heritage Ever Young,’ the exhibit will feature dozens of exclusive and some never-before seen prints from the photographer’s archives. Barnor’s celebrated prints feature intimate portraits of Presidents (Kwame Nkrumah, Jerry Rawlings etc.), Politicians (J.B. Danquah, Obetsebi Lamptey), athletes (Adjetey Sowah, Muhammed Ali, etc.) and influencers, (Michael Eghan, A.Q.A. Acheampong etc.).

In addition, Barnor’s lense captured everyday Ghanaians who were making history all their own such as the country’s first Police Woman and one of the first married interracial couples in Accra. The exhibit, which takes place June 30th through July 2nd, will be on display at the Silverbird Lounge in Accra Mall.

The exhibit is presented by London based company, Qirv Ventures, who are passionate about the works and are on a mission to raise awareness about Barnor’s epic contribution to the media, culture and heritage of Ghana.

What: ‘Ghana – A Heritage For Ever Young’ Photography Exhibition. This event marks the firstever retrospective of the work of James Barnor, who captured Ghana’s golden age of Independence. It will feature dozens of photographs, curated / handpicked by Barnor and Quest for public viewing.

The three day exhibit will be preceded by an invitation only dinner and cocktail hour at the British Council on Friday, June 29th.

When: Private dinner and cocktail reception: Friday, June 29th. Three day photo exhibit, Saturday June 30th through Monday, July 2nd

Where: Dinner and Cocktail Hour to take place at the British Council; Three day photo exhibit to take place at Silverbird Lounge, Accra Mall

Contact: admin@qirv.com and zandile@zandileblay.com OR tel: +233 (0) 5442 90909

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Flagship Brands Support Qirv Ventures in Groundbreaking Exhibition of Works By Acclaimed Photographer James Barnor

Accra, Ghana – In weeks leading up to the highly anticipated ‘Ghana – A Heritage For Ever Young’ exhibition – major flagship companies are showing support. Graphic Communiations Group, home of the leading newspaper publisher in Ghana, has joined a prestigious list of companies who will contribute to the groundbreaking exhibition. Graphic joins other media partners such as Ghana Broadcasting Corporation / GTV as well as radio station XYZ in documenting and reporting this historic moment.

In addition to media partners, the British Council have joined the movement to bring awareness to Mr. Barnor’s contribution by hosting an invitation only Opening Ceremony, Dinner and Private Viewing of Mr. Barnor’s archives.

The newly opened Silver Bird Lounge in Accra Mall has also come on board as host of a special three-day unorthodox public viewing of Mr. Barnor’s work.

Local and International Campaign supporters also include Basics International, Africa Style Daily, Autograph ABP, GUBA Awards, Me Firi Ghana, Ghanaian Londoners etc.

Together these media partners, institutions and venues are aiding Qirv Ventures’ campaign to highlight and honor Mr. Barnor for his rich contribution to Ghana’s history and heritage.

For more details on supporting or sponsoring email: admin@qirv.com

 

‘Ghana – A Heritage For Ever Young’

Timeline & Key Dates

June 2012

June 16: James Barnor Arrives in Accra

June 19 to 23: Barnor visits Press Partners and various Press Offices

June 25: Press Conference at Press Center

June 29: Opening Ceremony, Dinner & Cocktail Hour at British Council

June 30 to July 2: Three Day Exhibit at Silverbird Lounge, Accra Mall

July 4: One Day Photography Seminar led by Mr. Barnor

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About James Barnor

James Barnor is famed across the globe as a pioneer in photojournalism. He cut his teeth working out of his own makeshift studio (which he christened “Ever Young”) taking portraits of sitters from all walks of life, from civil servants to newly-weds. In the late 50s, Barnor moved to London to work as a fashion photographer, and began to capture unique images of Africans living in Britain. His covers and fashion shoots for Drum, the most widely read magazine in Africa at the time (established by British poet Jim Bailey), were taken while Barnor was based in the UK, and placed black models dressed in western, 60s fashions in typical London settings: in front of a red telephone box, exiting a tube station, or surrounded by pigeons in Trafalgar Square. He shot famous faces, too––Mohammed Ali preparing to fight Brian London in 1966, and Roy “Black Flash” Ankrah, after he became the first black person to win the British Empire featherweight boxing title in 1951. The pictures have become slices of history, documenting race and modernity in the post-colonial world. But according to the 83-year-old, the message he conveyed through his work was an accidental one; he always worked from commissions.

“Through my entire career I never chose many subjects, they just came. I live happy-go-lucky,” he says, “I call myself Lucky Jim.” Ever Young: James Barnor, the first comprehensive exhibition of the photographer’s street and studio work in Accra will debut June 30th through July 2nd at the Silverbird Lounge at Accra Mall.

 

About Qirv Ventures

Qirv Ventures is a London based holding company. It houses a spectrum of businesses from creative industries to property development under its umbrella. It was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Myx Boadi-Alawiye Quest. In addition to the United Kingdom, Qirv manages operations in Africa and the United States. Learn more at www.qirv.com.

Mefiri Ghana meets…

Kwame Nkrumah: The Man…

 

There’s no doubt that Kwame Nkrumah’s feat of achieving independence for Ghana will always be remembered as a triumph in not just Ghanaian but African history. However, what has become of Nkrumah’s ideals and dreams for Africa? Nkrumah fiercely advocated for the creation of a United State of Africa when he was alive, but it seems that Africa is further from this dream than ever.

Mefiri Ghana catches up with Clarissa Mudukuti, the author of Kwame Nkrumah: The Man, a book which outlines Nkrumah’s life and vision for Africa. She tells Mefiri Ghana what she hopes this book will do for the young African generation…

*

 

Mefiri Ghana: What inspired you to write the book?

Clarissa Mudukuti: I wrote this book to educate the African Diaspora.  The lack of knowledge of our African heroes, African politics, and awareness of the issues that plague our continent among the youth inspired me to write this book.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Do you think that significant African figures like Kwame Nkrumah are in danger of being forgotten?

CM: Absolutely. Most importantly their vision and work is in danger of being forgotten, as we celebrate significant dates of independence, but not enforcing their precepts and concepts.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Did you come across any interesting facts about Kwame Nkrumah that you previously did not know about?

CM: Yes, I came to understand how he had made such an indelible impact around the world.  His character, poise, and stance was greatly admired, one of the components of success in life.  Also his unique ability to marry idealism and realism for the people of Ghana is another quality that impressed me immensely.

 

Mefiri Ghana: What impact do you want this book to have on young Ghanaians and Africans as a whole?

CM: Young Africans must prepare for Africa’s future, solely because Africa is our continent.  In order to understand the future, they must understand the past.  This book should inspire this generation to do well for their countries, and for the continent at large, it is their responsibility now.  But we the adults must equip them. 

 

Mefiri Ghana: When did you start writing the book, and how long did it take?

CM: I started writing this book in 2009.  This is my first book; therefore I had to carefully set out the agenda of this book.  I finally published this book in December 2011.

 

Mefiri Ghana: How far along has the African continent come in regards to Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for Africa?

CM: I believe that we are still far away form Dr Nkrumah’s vision and dream.  Africa is still not economically independent, Africa still grapples with poverty, and we still do not have full control of our resources.  Africa at this point should be able to feed itself, but this is still not the case.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Which aspects of Kwame Nkrumah life does the book cover?

CM: This book covers his vision for Africa, his various attempts at unifying Africa, and how he went about it.  This book also highlights the obstacles he faced during his presidency, and critically looks at other aspects of his leadership.

 

Mefiri Ghana: How close are we in terms of seeing figures like Kwame Nkrumah being taught in schools in the UK?

CM: We are not close; neither should wait for this to happen.  We cannot expect inhabitants of another land to teach us of our history, heritage, and future.  It is time to take up our responsibility to teach our children, as are better suited to do so. 

*

Kwame Nkrumah: The Man can be purchased on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kwame-Nkrumah-Man-Clarissa-Mudukuti/dp/1908386045

 

By Yaa Nyarko

Inspirational People: Mefiri Ghana meets…

 

This month of March MeFiri Ghana is focusing on inspirational Ghanaians and I believe Adwoa Agyemang, founder of Ghanaian Londoners is someone who firmly fits in that category! A social entrepreneur with a fierce passion for empowering Ghanaians in the Diaspora, Adwoa Agyemang aims to use Ghanaian Londoners as the tool which Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike can utilise to create economic prosperity for themselves.

Ghanaian Londoners founder Adwoa Agyemang


Mefiri Ghana caught up with Adwoa, who shared with us her inspirations and aims for Ghanaian Londoners, and also why nurturing business and entrepreneurial spirit among young people in our  generation is so important.

 

 

 

 

Mefiri Ghana: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Adwoa Agyemang: I am a social entrepreneur, founder of Ghanaian Londoners Network & other initiatives. I am a passionate Ghanaian-British woman who embraces both cultures, a Global African who feels strongly about the empowering Africans, especially the young generation and women to achieve their fullest potential both home and abroad.  I am also a business mentor and proactive with many charitable organisations.

Mefiri Ghana: What inspired you to set up Ghanaian Londoners (GL)?

AA: I was inspired by the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah in the Diaspora and how he used the power of networking to achieve greatness through bringing people together for a good cause (fight for Ghana & Africa’s Independence) which I felt our current generation could also use to bring about the much needed socio-economic development. I was also inspired by the rich history of the Ghanaian community in London, which dates as far back at 1555.  I felt we have a fantastic community spirit, but still lacked togetherness of support for each other to fulfil our aspirations.

My vision for launching GL is to promote greater ties between Ghana and the Diaspora by providing a platform for networking home and aboard, developing our community in the UK, branding Ghana, encouraging and supporting Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Women Empowerment and Youth Development.

 

Mefiri Ghana: So in a nutshell what is Ghanaian Londoners?

AA: Ghanaian Londoners (GL) is a social enterprise which unlocks the potential of individuals with a core focus on enterprise, women empowerment, community & youth development in the UK and Ghana.

 

Mefiri Ghana: What has been the response so far?

AA: The response has been great. We started off with organising networking events which has attracted over 1000 people. Our launch event in February 2009 attracted over 200 Ghanaians & Non-Ghanaians from all walks of life and ages and different sectors including graduates & students.

In November 2010, GL launched WE [Women in Enterprise] during Global Entrepreneurship Week as part of GL’s Women Empowerment programs. WE is an annual awards, networking and mentoring initiative which celebrates successful women in business and community development as well as encouraging entrepreneurship among young women. Then in May 2011, GL launched the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) across London. The programme has worked with over 80 young people to date. YEP is a series of interactive business learning and mentoring sessions for young people giving them the training, necessary skills, encouragement and support to begin a career as an entrepreneur.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Do you think that there’s entrepreneurial and business spirit among young Ghanaian individuals Ghanaians Londoners have come across?

AA: Yes I believe there’s an entrepreneurial spirit, but it’s untapped yet. I believe young Ghanaian Londoners need to seize the opportunities available in the UK for them to turn their ideas into reality.

 

Mefiri Ghana: In what ways do you think these individuals can channel their talents into the development of Ghana?

AA: Firstly, I believe it will demand some research to find out a niche market in Ghana which can benefit from their talents. Ghana is a developing country and provides a great platform for many innovative talents & ideas to flourish & be successful.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Who or what inspires you to do the work you’re currently engaged in?

AA: I am inspired by a lot of different things & people such as my Father, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela & Mary Kay Ash, but ultimately by my desire and drive is to leave a legacy that will support the progression of my community, in particular women and young people.

 

Mefiri Ghana: If someone comes to you with a business idea, what’s the process involved in making that idea a reality?

AA: We provide an easy & simple to understand step by step guide to turning your idea into reality, helping you to discover your business idea, doing your market research, developing a business plan and so on.  We run workshops & mentoring for budding entrepreneurs of all ages and help them to start up their own business.

 

Mefiri Ghana: What are your views on current business and entrepreneurial opportunities in Ghana?

AA: I think they are fantastic business opportunities in Ghana currently and many of our brothers & sisters in Ghana want to partner with us in the Diaspora to take up their opportunities. I believe it’s very vibrant, but will demand determination & hard work to be successful.

 

Mefiri Ghana: Is it important for Ghanaians in the Diaspora to go and invest back home or should they do that in the community they reside in?

AA: I believe it’s important on both accounts. Ghana needs people in the Diaspora with talents, skills & business ideas to go back and invest & build a better Ghana and in terms of business, and really aid in job creation and boost the economy. Likewise, we also need to develop ourselves in the Diaspora to ensure we achieve sustainable social & economic prosperity, which will aid the development of Ghana.

 

Mefiri Ghana: What has been the best experience for you so far since you set up Ghanaian Londoners?

AA: I have had so many great experiences & opportunities, but the top experience would be the opportunity I have had to transform lives, especially with our young entrepreneurs programme. That is priceless.

 

I’ll leave you with this quote:

“When you understand that your purpose in Life is connected to many lives and your success will unlock doors for many people now and the future, then you will understand who I am” – Adwoa Agyemang

 

Follow Adwoa Agyemang and Ghanaian Londoners on Twitter @Adwoa_Agyemang @GhLondoners

For more info about Ghanaian Londoners and their various initiatives visit:

http://www.ghanaianlondoners.org/

http://www.weawards.co.uk/

 

By Yaa Nyarko

Ghana Football News: Weekly Update

 World Football Update:

 

1. We salute Kwame Nkrumah for using football as a vessel for African Unity

2. Drogba hits the century mark

3. Sarpong saves the day!

4. Derek Asamoah nets in Asian Champions league

5. Tornado makes his Serbian league debut

6.  Oga Messi Hits 5 goals in a champions league game

 

1. I would like to thank Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for using football as positive weapon.

He said the beautiful game can be used to unite  all the states of Africa (like we saw in South Africa 2010)

 

2. S/O to Didier Drogba as the 1st African to score 100 Premier League goals,

The Ivorian netted in the 1-0 win over Stoke City to bring his tally to a century.

Happy Birthday! The player also turned 34 on Sunday…!

 

3. S/O to Ghanaian Forward, Charles Sarpong  who came in as a 2nd half substitute and smashed the game winner in injury time.

He scored via header as Sporting Kansas City beat DC United 1-0 in MLS League action Saturday night.

Charles Sarpong

“It was amazing, a dream come true,” he said. “To see all my friends and family in the stands cheering for me, to see people that are cheering for D.C. cheering for me, it’s an amazing feeling.” -Sarpong

Last year he was the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year.
The Ghanaian has been capped twice by the US national team.

 

4. S/O to Ghanaian Striker Derek Asamoah who scored for his club side, Pohang Steelers on Tuesday.

Asamoah beat his marker and buried the shot as his team beat Japanese side, Gamba Osaka 3-0. This win gives them the lead in group E in the Asian Champions League.

 

5. Former Ghana Captain, Stephen “Tornado” Appiah made his first appearance for Serbian top flight side, Vojvodina this week.

The Ghanaian midfielder played the full 90 minutes in 0-0 stalemate on Saturday vs. Radnicki. Appiah did not show signs of lacking any match fitness. Long Live Capito!

 

6. S/O to Oga Messi who scored 5 goals this week in a champion’s league game versus Bayern LeverkusenBarcelona ended up winning the game 7-1.

Former Ghanaian Footballer Rev. Osei Kofi scored 4 goals in one match back in the day when most where in diapers or unborn. (No one talks about that)

 

Here is Footage of US based, Ghanaian forward, and Charles Sarpong’s goal:

 

By Marfioso

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