All Articles Tagged "ghana"
While we Americans have been infatuated with the Gangnam Style and most recently the “Harlem Shake,” Ghana was on some other stuff. As early as 2011, there was a much more complicated and intricate dance craze called the Azonto.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m bringing your attention to an international dance craze that’s years old. Well just stay tuned. I’m explaining the dance craze so I can introduce you to this absolutely adorable Ghanaian girl dancing like it’s her full time job on a beach.
If you get a chance watch the concentration on this girl’s face. She is not smiling. She is not distracted by the people placing stickers on her forehead or “spraying” her with money. Instead, she is focused on gettin’ it. And we love it.
Watch her work. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.
If you’re interested in learning the dance for yourself, watch how the big kids do it in the video below.
Speaking of diversity in the realm of black romantic comedies, Shadow & Act is reporting on Contract, a highly anticipated Ghanaian film starring Ghanaian actress Yvonne Okoro, South African actor Hlomla Dandala, and Nigerien actor Joseph Benjamins, which is scheduled to open in Nigerian cinema this Friday.
According to Shadow & Act, expect this to happen in the plot:
“Successful Businessman Peter Popolampo is the ultimate alpha male. He is 40 years old, rich, and a staunch bachelor. Despite his mother’s persistent attempt to find him a woman, Peter sticks to his rule of non-committal casual dates, freedom and controlling his life until a yearning to have a child arises. In his quest to find the woman who will take his money, have his child and disappear, Peter begins a roller coaster, contracted relationship with Abena Boateng, a crude but clever local girl who is anything but impressed with Peter’s affluence.”
Check out the trailer below:
Based on the trailer alone, the film looks very promising; definitely a visual and stylistic upgrade from films, which we normally associate with this region. Also, how cool is it that in addition to Nollywood, we now have Ghollywood to look forward to? Well almost. According to Shadow & Act while the film has already debuted in both native Accra, Ghana and London to “impressive audiences,”the prospects of seeing this film stateside are largely doubtful. So why are we talking about a film, you will most likely never get a chance to see? Glad you asked…
The plot. More specifically, when was the last time – if ever – you heard of a film centered around a black man, grappling with the urges from his biological clock (who knew men even had biological clocks?), on the intentional search to become a single parent? This is some ground-breaking black filmmaking right here; it’s a shame we have to go all the way back to the motherland just to see it. Nevertheless, a film, which takes an interesting angle on the successful single woman meme is worth noting and exploring.
In most films of similar plots, it is women, who are mostly choosing to go into parenthood alone. Of course, that plot has been reconfigured as of late to include the gay, white man or men; but traditionally speaking, single parenthood is mostly viewed through the lens of the fairer sex. Of course, there are some variations in this single mother movie troupe, most visible when race is injected into the character. For the single white mother, the setup usually goes like this: She usually hails from an upper middle class; is currently established professional; with oodles of disposable income but can’t seem to find that perfect partner to conceive with. Therefore she decides to head on down to the nearest fertility clinic for a little turkey baster potion or pays someone to be knocked up for her. The joke isn’t that the decision to get pregnant is always a choice and always her choice. The jokes, instead, revolve around the pregnancy itself – because as we all already know, morning sickness, dating (because they still are allowed to be seen as beautiful and datable) and finally labor is chocked full of slapstick and drollery. While the premise of these films still rely on sexist sentiments, our white single mom is still able to overcome her situation and in most of the times, our single woman heroine meets and marries a man, who ultimately provides her – and most importantly her child – legitimacy.
On the flip side of that, let’s take a similar plot setup but instead of a single white woman, let’s add a single successful black woman. Like her white counterpart, she is and established professional who mostly maintains an middle to upper middle class lifestyle. Also like her white counterpart, despite having education and oodles of income at her disposable, she too has a trouble finding a suitable suitor. But despite their matching profiles, unlike her white counterpart, our black single woman is not anticipating pregnancy. In most of the films revolving around single black woman parenthood, more than likely, her pregnancy is unplanned. The result of some late night bumping and grinding with some lame dude, who will either abandon her for the streets, prison or another woman (another man if you are Tyler Perry). We spend the next half of the film, pondering whether she should keep it [also known as the baby] or not; all the social implications this illegitimate spawn will have on society; and how she is destined to a life of poverty, bitterness and singlehood. Basically, the struggle. Nothing about this character is inspiring or aspirational. Instead the single black mother troupe is usually treated as a cautionary tale, meant to be fixed and empowered.
Like his black woman counterpart, single parenthood is usually hoisted upon our typical black male character, however what appears to be different here, at least in terms of movie setup, is that Contract looks as if it might give our black male character the redemption of legitimacy, which is rarely offered to black women in film or even in television. Although I am also curious of this spin on the “no available” suitor idea. That too would make an interesting topic for discussion. Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure until I see the film. And that’s why I’m hoping that one of our West African readers might actually have the hookup. Wink.
Akua Soadwa And Her Sister To Sister Summit Seek to Combat Negative Images Of Women By Asking, “Am I My Sister’s Keeper?”
In order to foster change, we have to first change the conversations we have within ourselves and with each other. That’s the mantra of Akua Soadwa, founder and director of Gye Nyame (pronounced: “jean-yuh-me”) Empowerment Project, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization dedicated to affirming positive life outcomes for Pan-African people and communities. Soadwa believes that this is particularly true for young people, navigating the rough media terrains of violent reality television and viral beat-down videos, as seen on websites such as WorldStarHipHop. Looking to combat these images, the Gye Nyame Empowerment Project is sponsoring its sixth annual Sister to Sister Summit, to be held on Saturday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, which will challenge young women to embrace being My Sister’s Keeper.
Read below as Soadwa speaks about this upcoming day of bonding, healing and most importantly conversation shifting among young women as well as how Gye Nyame works every day to empower all people within the Pan-African community.
So the Sister to Sister summit takes place this Saturday and the Theme is “My Sister’s Keeper.” I understand that you are looking at this year’s event to start a campaign to get young women to address violence and just all around ugliness, which seems to be the thing now thanks to reality television and the popularity of WorldStarHipHop.com. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Soadwa: Yeah absolutely. The intention of this year’s Summit is to foster sisterhood. As we know, there are a lot of people being beat-up and bullied and it’s almost like this idea of sisterhood, supporting each other, and loving each other has gone completely out the door. My commitment is to creating a space for the young women to see how powerful we can be when we are actually connected and supporting each other with whatever it is that we are up to. [The sisterhood campaign] we are kicking off at the Summit happens inside of a conversation – and actually we kicked it off before the Summit. Yesterday we had what we call our digital panel and we had about nine of us on a call and we did a Google Hangout and broadcasted it live – it’s on our website now – it was inter-generational. We had a young person; an older woman, and women in-between, having a conversation about sisterhood and what it means to us. And continuing on, we will have the Summit with over 125 girls present, having a conversation about sisterhood. They will be partaking in a workshop together; all of the women and all of the girls will be challenged with taking on specific actions and making sure that nobody is left behind. And after the Summit, the intention is to keep the conversation going; continuing to have these digital panels via Google Hangout; inviting some of the girls to join us on the calls and really keeping the conversation going through email, through Facebook, through Twitter; asking them how they are maintaining their level of sisterhood based on the information they got from the Summit.
Famed black ballerina Misty Copeland will be the guest speaker at this event, why was her presence important?
Soadwa: One, it is really important for Misty to be there because she represents what others might see as impossible. She is third African American female soloist ever at the American Ballet Theater in 20 years, which is crazy. It was important for us to have the young women see that anything is possible. And here is a living breathing form of it. And the fact that Misty is, you know, her art form is something you don’t see a lot of people that look like us in and you definitely don’t see us rising to the top the way that Misty has. So for us it is just really important that the young girls see the power inside of fulfilling and pursuing something that your heart is calling you to do.
What is the agenda for the Summit?
Soadwa: The day’s event kicks off with a sisterhood bonding session. The girls are broken up into six different groups, they go to their classroom and are actually in charge with designing their room using a box of art supplies. After that, the first workshop is on forgiveness and it is called “Waiting to Exhale.” This is a workshop we do every year. We start to forgive ourselves and forgive others for hurting us; forgive ourselves for choices we made. So the forgiveness workshop is an opportunity for the young women to think of what things they have not let go of; what things they are still holding on to, that isn’t really serving them. And all of them get a piece of fabric in this workshop where they write either a person, or an experience, or a thing that they are working on forgiving over the next year. A company called BORN, takes all these pieces of fabric and creates a forgiveness dress because what we want to show is that when we all collectively work together at forgiving people or things or ourselves, it can manifest into something beautiful. And we gift that to an organization that we believe supports young women with forgiving themselves with past experiences as they surge on.
And we also have a Shine Bright like A Diamond workshop, which is specifically to create a space for the young women to find what is their inner light. We all have it and sometimes it is blocked because of outside circumstances; sometimes because of in-the-house circumstances. So for them to really define what their inner light is and identify the obstacles or barriers that prevent them from really shining. And the last workshop they are going to engage in is power of sisterhood. It is a really interactive, engaging workshop where all of the women that are there are given a checklist of items that each and everyone of them have to accomplish and they leave the room until each and everyone of them accomplish that list. And the intention is: do not leave any sister behind. What kind of conversation do you have to have with a sister to empower them to get what’s on the list checked off? And it’s really encouraging everybody to support each other. We end it [the Summit] with an entertainment showcase where there will be Black Girls Rock, Rhyme like a Girl and a whole bunch of fun stuff.
So tell me about Gye Nyame Empowerment Project? What’s behind the name?
Soadwa: The Gye Nyame symbol is always represented, always connected to Ghana, which is where my parents are from; where I am from by way of them. I wasn’t born and raised there and even though they didn’t raise us in Ghana, they sure enough brought Ghana to the household. So I always had a strong affinity for the Adrinka symbols, specifically Gye Nyame as it was something about that symbol that spoke to me. There are lots of definitions of Gye Nyame but really “The Power of God.” Although this organization is not religious or faith-based, I do believe that there is something higher than me and that there was something higher within me that choose to create an organization and so I wanted to honor that.
Meet Peace Baku, chief executive officer of ENEDAS Farms, an organic red rice producing company located in the hillsides of the Volta region of Ghana, an area of high altitude known for this crop.
Founded in 2004, ENEDAS Farms distributes and markets the MOUNTAIN Organic Unpolished brand, which sells brown rice in addition to the other rice flour-based products such as infant formula and spiced and roasted rice flour. Working cooperatively with out-growers from the Avatime Women’s Association, ENEDAS Farms has been able to generate sales in excess of $650,000 annually and expand to markets not only throughout their native Ghana but into retailers throughout the United Kingdom and the United States.
Recently, I had a chance to meet Baku in her native Ghana, who was more than happy to share how her work through ENEDAS Farms has helped to improve the economic status of women growers of the Avatime region.
Madame Noire: I understand that Enedas Farms is mostly run by a cooperative of women farmers. Why was it important to support these women growers?
Peace Baku: Being an assembly member of the local governance system, Enedas Farms was registered to empower the women who are already rice farmers to increase their acreages to meet the high demand. Enedas Farms then buys the rice from these out-growers for packaging and marketing. It is very important to support these women because some of them are the breadwinners of the family. This farming work is their main occupation.
MN: Where is this cooperative located? Tell me about the name Enedas.
PB: The cooperative is located in Vane-Avatime in Volta region.
ENEDAS is the name for a maternal aunt in the local dialect and this name was given to me because I pay [the] school and medical expenses of the women and their dependents, solve social problems and provide them with clothing. I am everybody’s aunt. Enedas is my company to honor the women.
MN: How many women are involved in the cooperative and what kind of impact financially has it made in their lives?
PB: There are 150 members, 50 in rice growing and the rest are involved in cassava, Irish apples, plantain, groundnuts,
MN: Why red rice? Is there some significance or is this purely marketing?
PB: Red rice is naturally red unpolished variety and is the traditional meal for the people of Avatime during birth, marriage ceremonies, funerals and festivals. The red color on the rice is actually the fiber, and its nutritional value is twice and sometimes even four times richer than that of the white rice. It has by-products like baby food, or infant formula, spiced rice flour for porridge, pudding, [and] roasted rice flour. We also bake bread and cakes from the raw rice flour. We celebrate an annual rice (AMU) Festival in November.
MN: How did you get involved with cooperative?
PB: My love for advocacy for women’s rights, to live dignified lives through their labor, got me involved to help those who want to earn a living working with their hands. To get financial help,they have to belong to groups or cooperatives. And my women were given microfinance support on two occasions by the local rural bank. This has since been paid off successfully. I am a rice grower. Leadership by example: I have the largest farm of 15 acres.
MN: What does the future hold for ENEDAS Farms?
PB: The future is very demanding for export and this means an increase in finances to produce more rice, even for the local market since this rice is a health food and is known worldwide as such. I wish to expand into new markets by His grace.
Currently, ENEDAS does not have a website, however the company can be reached by email at email@example.com.
When we heard Vogue Italia was sponsoring Ghana Fashion and Design Week, we couldn’t have been more geeked. Scheduled directly after the Paris collections in October, fashion’s most important season will end in West Africa for the first time! Whether you decide to start hunting for a cheap ticket that’ll get you to Accra in time for GFDW’s opening day (tickets start at $1,300), or plan to put Ghana on your winter escape shortlist, we’ve put together a travel guide to Black Star country. Make sure to post pics to our Facebook page when you go!
ACCRA, GHANA – This October 5 through 7, Vogue Italia is co-sponsoring the first ever Ghana Fashion and Design Week. Timed right after the Paris shows, fashion’s most important season will close in West Africa, daring fashion editors to pack their Prada for the extended month of international fashion show fun. Expected to be a major coup in terms of exposure for Continent-based labels, the Vogue-anointed event will also open the African market to international fashion labels eager to find new takers even as the recession and general saturation of the American and European markets have resulted in eroding bottom lines.
“There are growing numbers of moneyed, stylish, well-travelled consumers living on the Continent,” noted Helen Jennings, editor-in-chief of lush African style glossy Arise Magazine and author of coffee table tome New African Fashion. “Thanks to improved infrastructure and political stability, retail environments are expanding fast with international and African brands alike taking advantage… all fashion eyes are on Africa as the next creative and lucrative frontier.”
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Aw Hecky Naw: Man Steals Doctor’s ID, Writes Prescriptions And Treats More Than 500 Patients In a Year
Next time you’re looking to see a new physician to get your body together, you might want to do some research on that person. Because based on the story I’m about to tell you, that so-called doctor could be a random man or woman perpetrating as a physician, and the same way you wouldn’t want a random man on the street to “check your pulse” (aka, have an excuse to be all on your chest), you wouldn’t want a fake doctor to do the same.
In this real-life scenario, Ernest Addo of Austell, South Carolina. is accused of stealing the ID of a colleague and using it in order to get work at clinics in the state. Addo, a Ghanaian man, did have a little bit of medical training, but he clearly didn’t have enough to become a licensed physician in the United States. So, when his friend, a doctor by the name of Arthur Kennedy, teamed up with Addo in the hopes that they could work together to open a clinic in the near future, Addo pounced. Paperwork necessary to do so was filled out by Kennedy and Addo stole all of the papers, got himself an ID, and went ahead, assuming Kennedy’s identity. With Dr. Kennedy’s good reputation, credentials and recommendations, Addo was hired at a few senior centers and rehabilitation clinics in the state.
Addo seemed smooth enough with patients to keep most people from becoming suspicious, but the jig was up when a nurse began to worry after she found that he had used Ask.com to figure out how to treat a patient. Yeah, you read that right. And the last straw came when he made a mistake on a death certificate. When the REAL Dr. Kennedy was contacted by medical officials about it, he was highly confused. Why? Well, because he said he hadn’t practiced in the States in a year because since had been in Ghana teaching at medical school. According to the AP, Addo could face about 10 years in prison for his bad deeds, and authorities are looking into whether his work, or lack thereof with patients, could have caused them any harm. He had seen more than 500 in the time the real Dr. Kennedy was out of the country, and according to investigators, a few of the patients had passed.
If you were wondering, Addo wasn’t operating on anyone, but instead, he just did regular family doctor-esque exams on patients. However, he also had the chance to write up prescriptions, and some of them were written out for himself. Some of the clinics he worked at have come forward to say that their patients are fine, including the Agape Senior Primary Care Center:
“We have found no inappropriate diagnosis or plan of treatment. We are convinced that all of our patients are safe and receiving proper care.”
According to AP, Dr. Kennedy says his former friend not only tarnished his reputation and put people’s lives at risk, but he also opened credit cards in his name. Addo has been charged with unlawful practice of medicine and obtaining goods under false pretense. The man has a history of money troubles, even declaring bankruptcy twice. If anything, it’s clear that Addo did all of this in the hopes of getting some money in his pockets (and the chance to drive a Benz which was provided through one of the clinics). Either way, the fact that he was able to see more than 500 people and utilize weak websites like Ask.com (no disrespect to them) to work on and with them, now that’s a scary thing…
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By Makula Dunbar
It’s Friday night in Maryland. Instead of getting ready to attend a party of some sort, Nina Baksmaty, 30, is packing to attend what will be one of her most eventful shindigs yet. Invited by the guest of honor and editor-in-chief of VOGUE Italia, Franca Sozzani — Baksmaty will showcase her line, Koshie O to the Italian Ambassador in New York.
Even before the official 2011 launch of Koshie O, Baksmaty began gaining unexpected attention. Aside from Italy’s fashion leaders, Koshie O was and is most appreciated in Ghana, the place where it all started.
“I went to a market and picked up this beautiful fabric. I made an easy-flow outfit; ready to wear. I was only in Ghana for 30 days so I wanted to make something where the fitting wouldn’t be difficult,” said Baksmaty recalling the first Koshie O item she ever created.
While in school, Baksmaty often wore clothes that she made — as well as designs made and sent by her mother from Ghana. Already a world traveler, she knew at 20 years old that pursuing an education in the United States would be the best way for her to excel professionally. In 2002, she came to the U.S. permanently, and now only visits Ghana during the holidays.
After graduating from Missouri’s Westminster College with a degree in Biology, Baksmaty discovered — through an unfulfilling pharmaceutical internship — that she wanted to pursue fashion seriously. Originally born in Ghana, where her mother was a designer who participated in runway shows, Baksmaty says just recently she realized she was destined to be a designer.
“I’ve always liked fashion, this was one of those things that I feel was meant to be when I look back at my history and background. My grandfather was a prominent tailor who migrated from Lebanon to Africa. My mother was a top-notch seamstress and designer and recently I found out I was named after Nina Ricci the Italian designer,” Baksmaty said.
With two brothers living on the East coast, Baksmaty traveled between New York and Missouri while at Westminster. Around 2008, she began making sales — the first to a woman in Maryland. Ever since, Koshie O has continued to blossom.
“I started to trade and that’s when I realized how good I was at marketing and branding. It was a turning point in my life, because before I wanted to go to Pharmacy school,” she said.
Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia recently told the Huffington Post that her proudest professional moment was publishing the magazine’s “Black Issue.” Not only did the issue receive international acclaim, it also opened the doors to designers of various backgrounds.
After the issue was published, Sozzani made a trip to Ghana where she worked with some up and coming designers from the WEB- Young Designers Hub.
She encouraged the group by saying:
You have lots of potential in this country. During my stay in Africa, I visited Togo and Nigeria but it was only here in Ghana I noted an authentic sense of fashion.
Although I’m sure there’s an authentic sense of fashion in these other countries, this is encouraging for the Ghanians.
See what pieces of advice she had for the budding designers and look at pictures and video of her visit at Black Voices.com.
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Turns out that a Swiss bank may not be the place you want to hide your money. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, revealed on Thursday that the bank lost about $2 billion at the hands of a rogue trader. According to Forbes, the banking giant cautioned that this loss could result in a huge setback for the entire third quarter.
“From the scale of this case you can be sure that it’s the biggest we’ve ever seen for a Swiss bank,” Tobias Lux, a spokesman from the Swiss banking regulator told the Associated Press.
Shortly after the bank revealed the large-scale loss, UBS AG shares dropped 8.7 percent to 9.98 francs. The case is a shock for the global financial industry. Banks across the world have begun to tighten their oversight rules in an attempt to catch any future trading schemes.
In London police arrested 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli, the UBS trader allegedly behind the fraud.
Much of the information about Adoboli was gathered through social networking sites. He was a British man of Ghanaian decent. His Facebook page showed he was interested in photography, cycling and boutique wines. The page became unavailable a few hours after his arrest.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he worked on Delta One, an equities desk at UBS. In his position he traded in Exchange Traded Funds. These are cheaper mutual funds that track underlying assets such as the stock exchange or commodities such as gold. They provide easy access to products for retail investors.
Adoboli’s landlord reportedly said that he was a “well-dressed quiet man,” who rarely partied or caused problems. Although he fell behind on his $1600/month rent twice, he always managed to pay.
Before the recent financial mishap UBS had already been struggling to rebuild its name. According to the Wall Street Journal, after the financial crisis the bank was forced to “write down more than $50 billion in securities and shut some trading units.” It had been attempting to regain its strength when it was hit with a US tax probe and new global and Swiss regulations that forced it to slow its growth once again.
“UBS was seen to have recovered significantly from the credit crisis and to have improved its risk management in the investment bank in spite of its struggle to improve returns,” Fionna Swaffield, a banks analyst at RBC Capital Markets told Forbes. “This obviously brings this very much into question.”
UBS had already announced last month that it would be cutting 3,500 jobs over the next two years, but this new $2 billion loss, which does not affect clients, is sure to force a new deeper direction in cost savings and restructuring.