Tag: West Africa


Germany supports e-waste disposal in Ghana

The German government has unveiled a plan to help Ghana deal with electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, a major dumping site outside of the capital, Accra. The project aims to protect both workers and the environment.

Young men busy themselves extracting copper from the dumped electronics and other scrap materials so they can resell what the collect. With bare hands, they burn the electronics, which causes a thick black smoke. Though this is a necessity for their business, the smoke makes it difficult for people nearby to breathe.

Agbogbloshie is the hub of electronic waste (e-waste) in West Africa and most of the electronics dumped

The processing of e-waste pollutes the environment and poisons workers

at the site are hazardous. The site is notorious for the dangerous manner in which electronic waste is collected and burned. The practice pollutes not only the atmosphere but also nearby bodies of water and is dangerous for the workers.

The German government announced a 20 million euro ($21.5 million) project it says will transform the electronic waste processing system in Accra. It calls for the building of an e-waste recycling facility where materials can be brought and sold and processed safely to the benefit of the local community. The plan was presented at a public event by the German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff.

“The second component of the plan is a health station in Agbogbloshie to support people living there,” he added.

Global and local problem

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported in 2015 that 60 to 90 percent of the world’s electronic waste is illegally dumped. In 2014, an estimated 42 million tons of e-waste were generated. But according to UNEP, 85 percent of the e-waste dumped in Ghana and other parts of West Africa is produced in Ghana and West Africa.

The local group City Waste Management is already excited about the initiative and is positioning itself to make the best out of the project.

“We are grateful that the German embassy here in Ghana has come on board to do this with the Ghanaian private sector. We are looking forward to working with them,” said Wendy Ahiayibor, a representative of the company.

New African Dance School launches children and adult classes in London

Adinkra Dance School (ADS), will be launching African dance classes for children and adults, this February 2016. Children and adults will be taught traditional dancing using the schools MAT strategy, which consists of Modern, Afrobeats dance and Traditional African dance techniques.

 

ADS Flyer (1)ADS is the brain child of Cilla Gyewu, Felix Lartey Cheetham and Mavis Osei. They spotted an opportunity to teach dances that they grew up learning and knowing.

Felix said “Our dance classes will be exceptional because of the mixes of dances from different parts of Africa from Traditional to Modern.”

The name Adinkra comes from the Akan language, of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana, West Africa and represents visual symbols that represent concepts or aphorisms.

Cilla and Mavis said “We are all of Ghanaian/African heritage, and really wanted to share some of the rich African culture off to both children and adults, dancing seemed like the best way to do that, seeing as we all love to dance one way or the other”.

ADS dance classes not only tap into cultural identity but also provides many health benefits. Dancing improves our body by strengthening it, making the body more flexible, giving great posture and balance. Dancing also keeps a child’s body and brains active, extremely vital for growing children.

Students will work individually and in pairs/groups and learn different traditional dance routines, mastering a routine before moving onto the next. Children will also have the opportunity to showcase their dance routines that they have learnt throughout the term. For more details or to book contact adschooluk@gmail.com 07704 347 045 or 07596 021776

 

Class details:

North London

Every Saturday commencing 20th February 2016

Location:  Woodhouse College Dance Studio, Woodhouse Road, Finchley N12 9EY.

Time: 2-3pm

 

West London

Every Friday from 19th February 2016

Location:  Oak Tree Community Centre, Osborne Road, Acton, W3 8SJ.

Time: 4-5pm.

Both classes are £6 or 10 sessions for £50. Email adschooluk@gmail.com or call 07704 347 045 or 07596 021776 for an application form

Pop-Art Kingmaker: Introducing Dennis Owusu-Ansah

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

 

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

 

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Dennis Owusu Ansah

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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