Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Football: Why not watch The Black Stars at Smoothys [Accra, Ghana] this Friday……

“You are invited to Smoothys the NourishLab –the official viewing center for the Black Stars matches] this Friday [our heroes meets Uruguay]. Come watch the match on our HD plasma screens; we also have -free internet wifi and lots of give-aways [for those who can predict the score and win the competition]. After the match you can party with Xquisite Sounds and as usual -enjoy your favourite smoothies. This event is brought to u by Xquisite Solution and supported by Smoothys GH. The venue is: Smoothys, Opposite Compu Gh. N beside ADB Bank, Upper Oxford Street Osu Accra.”  Nana Kofi Baiden [Via Facebook]

Smoothys [Black Stars 4 Gold]

Friday, July 2, 2010
Time: 6:00pm - 11:30pm
Location: Smoothys Opposite Compu Ghana, Beside ADB Bank, Upper Oxford Street Osu

Urgent Missing Child: Erica Duah [Aged 9] has been missing from Hackney since 12 March 2010....Please help..

Age at disappearance: 9

Erica has been missing from Hackney since 12 March 2010. It is thought that she may be either in East London or in the Humberside/East Yorkshire area.

There is great concern for her safety and wellbeing and she, or anyone who knows her whereabouts, is urged to call our confidential service Runaway Helpline on Freefone 0808 800 7070 for advice and support.

Erica has brown eyes and long dark brown hair. When she went missing she was dressed in her school uniform

***IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT 24HR CONFIDENTIAL WWW.MISSINGPEOPLE.ORG.UK on Freefone 0500 700 700 Please Visit: http://www.missingpeople.org.uk/areyoumissing/missing/detail.asp?dsid=3078

OR You can also contact: ‘Help Find My Child’ -a confidential service Runaway Helpline on Freefone 0808 800 7070. Please Visit:  http://www.helpfindmychild.net/erica-duah

Monday, 28 June 2010

Socially Responsible Stylish Clothing -Osei Duro’s Spring/Summer 2010 Collection is a must...

I find a lot of Afro-inspired designs lacklustre and heavy; –with many not bothering to pay attention to the seasons, trends or the zeitgeist of the ‘here-and-now’. Osei Duro [I’m crazy about this label] is different! Light, fresh and seriously on trend, -it’s a must buy collection for the fashion savvy gal-about-town! Founded by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh –to create socially responsible and sustainable clothing that encourages international/intercultural cooperation, -Osei Duro integrate Ghanaian textiles [mainly natural (non-petroleum-based) materials such as hand-spun cotton and fabrics that have been grown, spun, woven and printed by the local print houses, Akosombo Textiles Limited and Ghana Textile Products in Ghana] -with contemporary Western clothing design. Mathias and Keogh work directly with the Dzidefo Women’s Cooperative [in the Volta Region of Ghana] - who produce the clothing. This allows Mathias and Keogh to pay their employees an equitable wage and observe high quality standards. An equitable wage means the garment workers of the Dzidefo Women’s Cooperative are able to send their children to school, see a doctor when they need, and have something left over to spend as they choose -once ends have been met. Note, Osei Duro’s now firmly on Ghana Rising’s radar! To order or to find out more information about Osei-Duro visit: http://www.oseiduro.com/

A Must Read: Where Ghana Went Right -How one African country emerged intact from its post-colonial struggles by John Schram

Title: Where Ghana Went Right -How one African country emerged intact from its post-colonial struggles   /  By:  John Schram  / Dated: July/August 2010 Issue of The Walrus

President Kwame Nkrumah at a meeting of chiefs, Berekum, Ghana, September 1960

Early one December morning in 1965, a few months after my arrival in Ghana, I was jolted out of a tropical sleep by a pile of Daily Graphic newspapers whumping onto the concrete floor of my small room.

“What are those for, Atinga?” I called out groggily to Atinga Naga, the residence cleaner, as he stood at the door, several more such loads balanced in his arms.

“You’ll see!”

And indeed I did. Within minutes came an eruption of shouts, rubber flip-flopped footsteps, and slamming screen doors — unusual noises amid the staid gentlemanliness of Legon Hall, my University of Ghana residence. I leaped up and joined the swarm now flying from bathroom to bathroom, where we found our worst fears realized: the country, in its ninth year of independence, had run out of toilet paper. The new Ghana on which I had staked my future was in crisis.

Not many weeks later, in the dark early morning of February 24, 1966, we heard the sound of distant guns and knew instantly there had been a coup d’état. The campus — and the capital, Accra — erupted as cheering crowds danced in euphoric and spontaneous celebration.

The sudden dearth of toilet paper was far from the only warning sign. Many of my new university friends had claimed for some time that Kwame Nkrumah, the nation’s first president, had lost his way. At the end of October, Nkrumah had hosted a summit of the Organization of African Unity, founded in 1963 in the wake of a continent-wide flood of successful independence movements. He saw the Accra meeting as his chance to win support for his vision of a united Africa, and to show what his brand of socialism had wrought in Ghana’s own eight years of freedom. To him, all Africa was embarked on an irreversible wave toward political and economic independence. And he and Ghana should lead the way.

As it turned out, he was disappointed. Armed with his engaging smile, Nkrumah took centre stage at the oau summit, but soon found that most of the continent’s new leaders shared the British and American suspicion of his obsession with a united continent, and distrusted his motives for and commitment to “scientific socialism.” Only thirteen of thirty-six African heads of state actually came to Accra, and the conference ended with neither continental commitment nor popular enthusiasm at home.

In the Legon Hall residence, the excitement of the event was quickly forgotten. International journalists billeted with us had eaten up our entire year’s allotment of rice and meat. As a result, we suffered an unpopular Yam Festival, consisting of two meals a day of yam: boiled, fried, roasted, and mashed. No rice, no meat. Just yam.

More seriously, disenchanted Legonites accused Nkrumah of fixating on grandiose infrastructure projects: the new seaport and planned city at Tema were a waste of hard-won cocoa earnings; likewise the vast hydroelectric dam, the man-made Volta Lake and its aluminum smelter, the new airport, and the four-lane highway connecting Accra to the port at Tema. Most vociferously, they condemned Job 600, the huge luxury-lodging project designed to impress upon visiting oau leaders the suitability of Accra as the future capital of the United States of Africa.

For a small-town boy from Ontario, this was confusing stuff. I was reminded daily that the African independence wave had moved with proud visibility and relative order to sever the colonial bonds with Britain or France. But I could sense that for new African countries like Ghana there was a hidden cost: Ghanaians, like so many other Africans, were becoming irreconcilably divided between the traditional elites who had expected to take over from the colonialists, and the popular “masses” who had in fact led the struggle, and whom Nkrumah represented. I was surrounded at the university by both the disaffected and the Nkrumah loyalists. Within days of my arrival, three hall mates, suspecting that I might be an American cia plant, had climbed over my balcony, intent on converting me into a solid Nkrumahist.

Their altruism was buttressed by a growing horde of professors from Eastern Europe, Fabian socialists from the London School of Economics, American communists, and hopeful African-American academics, all of whom wanted to help build in now-independent Africa the socialist utopia denied them at home. None of them seemed overly concerned by the increasing security presence, arrests (Ghana had some 1,200 political prisoners in 1965), or disingenuous propaganda issuing forth from the leader’s ubiquitous Convention People’s Party media. To the contrary, Nkrumah’s message sounded to them quite credible: if Ghana and its African neighbours were to be truly independent, they had to outwit the neo-colonialists, control the market, produce centralized five-year economic plans, and borrow however much it took to manufacture anything and everything then being imported from the former colonial powers. If this meant collectivized farming and tight bureaucratic control of prices, wages, imports, foreign travel, and currency — or a few years in James Fort Prison for members of the country’s traditional elite — so be it. The end, the Nkrumahists believed, really did justify the means.

I was all for this, too. Ghana had paid for my Commonwealth Scholarship. Now, here, I had found everything a young man could want: Oxbridge on a tropical hill just beyond Accra; luxurious residence halls, gardens, courtyards, and fountains; an Institute of African Studies with a roster of remarkable international experts; all the Star beer one could drink; good friends; and lively dances under the palms to Ghana’s infectious highlife music. I was impressed, too, with the country’s free health care, and with its free post-secondary education, which my hard-working Ghanaian colleagues seemed to regard as a serious responsibility (not for them the nightclubs of Accra). Though a law school graduate from Toronto, I was no match for their broad classical educations, their debating skills, and the sheer elegance of their written and spoken English.

These Ghanaians were confident, assured, and welcoming. They were in at the start of the new Africa then, and they are very much part of a new Africa now. Today their names are quite recognizable: John Atta Mills, then a field hockey star and law student, now president of Ghana; Nana Akufo-Addo, in 1965 a dedicated Nkrumahist, now the converted free market presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party; Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, then a high-achieving student, now the internationally respected head of the Electoral Commission of Ghana; Kwesi Botchwey, then an undeniably smart man about campus, now a professor at Tufts, and, until he quit in frustration, the architect of Ghana’s eventual transition to liberal market policies.

They were a seemingly random group at the time, but their lives have come to reflect both the evolution of much of Africa over a half century of independence, and the changing relationship between Africa and Canada. They illustrate, too, what has happened to disappoint and then encourage in Ghana, neatly mirroring the good times and the bad across much of Africa. Their stories have been repeated in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Mali, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria. If they have now become the bedrock of Ghana, they are equally a portent of Africa’s future. Encouragingly, their lives prove the exception to the sense of drift and malevolent change that descended on all newly independent African countries in the decades following that initial burst of pride and hope.

The first frenzy of rejoicing at Nkrumah’s demise soon wore off. Ghana’s coffers were bare. Where Nkrumah was said to have wept upon hearing there was no money left to finish the Volta River project, we at the university cried as our hall residence tables were cleared of Milo, Ovaltine, and Maggi sauce. We were being forced to join the masses in losing the small luxuries most Ghanaians now saw as the stuff of life: Norwegian sardines, Argentine corned beef, American Uncle Ben’s rice.

I, too, found the new situation disconcerting. I had lost both the subject of my master’s thesis — the Convention People’s Party — and a good deal of my naïveté. I had come to Ghana expecting to be part of a new vision for an independent Africa. Then, overnight on February 24, 1966, the coup rendered Nkrumah and all that he stood for unmentionable.

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Opposition leader Kofi Busia speaking at a rally in Ghana, ca. 1959

I was far from the only Canadian who had arrived hoping to take part in Ghana’s bright future. During my first year there, a friend named John Bentum-Williams, recently returned with a degree from the University of Western Ontario, whisked me away for a holiday in a small northern town. Surrounded by Ghanaian friends and cooled by big, cheap bottles of beer, I thought myself a modern-day explorer. This happy delusion fell apart when I spotted, on the opposite side of the bar, another white face, a woman’s. For most of the night, we managed to avoid each other, but in the end pressure from Ghanaians baffled by such jealousy resulted in an introduction: she was Lynn Taylor and, like me, from London, Ontario. She was in Ghana for two years as part of an enthusiastic contingent of volunteer secondary school teachers fielded by Canadian University Students Overseas and the World University Service of Canada. Adventurous and committed young people like her were scattered in villages throughout Ghana and, for that matter, all over Africa.

The traffic between Africa and Canada during the 1960s — sponsored by governments, churches, service clubs, and universities — spoke of an infectious desire to be involved in the changes sweeping the continent. And it went both ways. Those bringing the best of African youth to Canada hoped to help train the next presidents, senior civil servants, doctors, lawyers, etymologists, and engineers of post-independence African nations. Some, like John Bentum-Williams, returned home to bolster the leadership pool. As the continent struggled, however, many other African elites began to stay abroad, the start of a problematic but ongoing bonanza for Canada. What persuaded growing numbers to leave their homes, friends, and families? How did Africa get from the heady days of independence to a continent that many in Canada perceive only as a place of despair? In the bad, as eventually in the good, Ghana showed the way.

After the coup, the military government initially set about putting the country on a democratic foundation, promoting the candidacy of Kofi Busia, a diminutive, scholarly sociology professor, representative of the right-of-centre elite, who had fled the country under Nkrumah’s rule. He was elected prime minister, and the Western world rejoiced. Canada quickly invited him to pay a state visit, which he did in November 1970. By this point, I had returned to Canada, and the first task of my first real job in what was then the Department of External Affairs was to hold Busia’s briefcase as he was rushed from Rideau Hall to the Office of the Prime Minister, from parliamentary question period to talks with top Canadian International Development Agency officials about more Canadian aid. Though continued Canadian funding for Ghana was certainly forthcoming, the trip was not entirely successful. Busia and his entourage looked askance at having to brave a cold winter rain to plant a commemorative tree in the gardens of Rideau Hall. They rushed away from Canada early to attend French president Charles de Gaulle’s funeral, as much impressed by the dreariness of Ottawa in November as by the generosity of Canadian hospitality and our support for African development.

Back home in Ghana, Busia didn’t last long. His promises of good government went unfulfilled, the economy continued to decline, and he acquired many of the habits that had been Nkrumah’s undoing. Ghanaians quickly grew disillusioned with his inability to put more money in their pockets, and suspicious of his apparent ties to the United States and Britain. They were incensed when he sharply devalued Ghana’s currency; they were irritated by his flashy motorcades and ostentatious security. For most Ghanaians, life in Busia’s “Western” democracy was no better than it had been during Nkrumah’s socialism.

Like so many other Africans, Ghanaians had become ensnared in the Cold War trap, pulled in opposite directions by the ideological proxy battles being waged across the continent by the Soviet Union and the United States. Newly independent nations like Ghana found themselves playing one side against the other to win more aid; imposing trade and business controls; and silencing opposition instead of developing a capacity for independent policy formulation and effective government. The heroes of freedom struggles across Africa eventually became all too proficient at this game, winning Soviet or Western military support and often-self-serving aid, but sacrificing much of the independence they had fought for. To maintain their hold on power, they exploited the pull of petty local nationalism and maintained an enveloping government media. And so Africa sank into an abyss of inflation, corruption, one-party states, dictatorships, conflict, and coups. When Busia was tossed out in another military putsch, in 1972, it was no surprise to my friends from the University of Ghana — or to me, in my new post as a junior officer with the Canadian High Commission in nearby Lagos, Nigeria.

As always with the military governments that drove out so many of Africa’s early leaders, the new Ghanaian regime only accelerated the state of decline. Much the same had happened in Nigeria. We had arrived in Lagos as a newly minted embassy family in 1971, with the country still reverberating from the bloody civil war that had pitted the central government and much of the country against a doughty but soon all-but-destroyed Biafra (Nigeria’s former Eastern Region). We drove frequently over the next few years from Lagos to Accra, relying on our two small children to win the hearts of the customs and police officers who manned the countless roadblocks and border crossings. Amid near-universal economic collapse, these petty officials were bent mainly on collecting a “dash” from defenceless travellers making their already unpleasant journey from Nigeria through Dahomey (now Benin), across Togo, and into Ghana.

Once in Accra, the financial straits were no less distressing. Looking for a way to take their minds off the seeming dead end of life in Accra, some of my friends from Legon had opened up rudimentary disco bars to replace the traditional under-the-palms clubs of earlier, more prosperous years. But even the most lively music and dancing could not disguise the decline of life in Ghana. The military government was stumbling toward seven years of continued economic strife. Inflation climbed; professionals and students went on strike. Rural Ghanaians in particular grew poorer as the country’s farmers, faced with shortages of fertilizers and pesticides, and forced to sell their crops at well below market value, smuggled their cocoa across the border to Togo and Côte d’Ivoire. Another military leader replaced the old one. As far as my Ghanaian mates were concerned, life in those years was truly a descent into hell. They had been betrayed by greedy politicians, a dissipated civil service, and corrupt business leaders. Post-colonial pride and rhetoric had transmogrified into bitter disillusionment.

My family left Nigeria in the midst of this, in 1974, sailing from Lagos via Ghana. We were among a faded, rather colonial group sharing one of the final voyages of the Elder Dempster passenger liner Aureol. It was a sad trip: the days of ship travel were over, and as we called at Tema in Ghana and then at Freetown in Sierra Leone, we were bluntly reminded that we were leaving West Africa in worse trouble than we had found it. Our own high hopes at independence had turned to despair. I was on my way to a legal job in Ottawa, and then, in one of those quirks of the foreign service, to a three-year posting in the Philippines.

While I was still in the Philippines, in June of 1979, a young, impetuous Ghana Air Force flight lieutenant named Jerry John Rawlings led a coup d’état against his own officers, installing himself as head of a self-styled “revolutionary council.” His first acts were to establish a people’s court, destroy the main market in Accra, order men and women publicly flogged for alleged corruption, and execute the generals who had led Ghana’s earlier, abrupt changes in government. Then, rare among coup leaders, he did as he had promised: in September 1979, he handed the government back to elected politicians.

It took no time for them to outstay their welcome, however, and, frustrated with the newly elected government’s inability to resolve the country’s economic drift, Rawlings pounced again. On the last day of 1981, he staged a comeback. He had lost none of his fervour, praising Castro and Gadhafi, abjuring the West, and denouncing politicians and business leaders alike.

In 1982, I was assigned to the Canadian High Commission in London, once again to be in close contact with African issues, and with many of our friends, now either in self-exile in London, or, like a fortunate few from Nigeria, recently wealthy enough to afford substantial homes in Chelsea or The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead. For the rest at home — both my Legon mates and the working-class Atingas of the country — life during the ’80s was to be at best a challenge, and at worst a constant fight.

Many of my friends were dismayed that their country was once again controlled by an unelected military junta, but they were more optimistic than most Ghanaians, who were fed up with government of any sort. Instead of the proud “Black Star of Africa” Nkrumah had promised, Ghana had descended into a country where nothing worked: health and education had fallen from among the best in Africa at independence to among the most neglected; food supplies were unreliable; and production of cocoa, timber, and gold had fallen disastrously, destroying Ghana’s ability to earn foreign exchange for imports. Rawlings seemed unlikely to provide the leadership Ghana needed. But then, to everyone’s surprise, he did.

During all of Ghana’s strife, donors had not given up on the country. It remained the site of one of Canada’s biggest and longest-standing aid programs in Africa and the Middle East; we worked there hopefully, in tandem with the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. Still involved, too, were the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Throughout the early years of Rawlings’ rule and into the 1990s, the two global finance institutions attempted to rescue a number of all-but-bankrupt African nations.

To be eligible for this essential financial help, governments had to agree to implement a demanding “structural adjustment program,” which sought to eliminate tariff and exchange controls; cut civil service, health, and education expenditures; and emphasize free market over government-led economic policies. These saps were politically dangerous: they offended notions of African sovereignty, appearing to some to be a new manifestation of Western imperialism; they went against the inclinations of those who had cut their political teeth on socialist economics; they were untried; and, as some prescient leaders and finance ministers noted, they carried with them the risk of social upheaval. But to Western aid experts at the World Bank — and at the Canadian International Development Agency — social and political concerns were less immediate than the need to save Africa from bankruptcy by restraining government spending and opening up markets.

Selling the concept was no easier in Ghana than in most other African countries, in particular because of Rawlings. Like many of Africa’s military leaders and “big men,” he was accustomed to getting his way. Even as a junior officer in the military, he had established himself as a formidable personality. When I first met him, back in the mid-1970s, he was still in the barracks at Burma Camp in Accra. It was fashionable then to be radical, to admire strong socialist leaders, to drink whisky, and to talk tough. Rawlings was frighteningly good at all of these. He prided himself on speaking forcefully and directly, and on taking fast action to right perceived wrongs. Once at the head of Ghana’s government, he paid little attention to most of his ministers, and even less to government bureaucrats. He was also suspicious of his country’s increasingly affluent middle class, which was building huge gated houses on land around the university that had traditionally been the preserve of poor migrants from Ghana’s neglected north. He was more comfortable leading teams to clean out Accra’s gutters than fraternizing with the country’s rising bankers, industrialists, and importers.

Nor was Rawlings given to policy subtleties. His decisions, demands, and actions often appeared bizarre, even embarrassing. At one well-attended commemoration in Black Star Square — speaking before the full diplomatic corps, his ministers, the international media, and a huge crowd of supporters — he called his vice-president a traitor. At a university convocation, after delivering a few appreciative, scripted words thanking the university’s largest private donor, he suddenly turned against the honouree, shouting, “The man’s a crook! Everything he has given the university has come straight from the taxpayers’ pockets!”

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President Jerry Rawlings, Accra, Ghana, 1985

Thus, when the World Bank and the imf arrived, preaching structural adjustment, Rawlings was ill disposed toward them. He saw them as an imposition from abroad — one that would weaken his control over patronage and make the economy the fiefdom of Western politicians and businessmen. Only when the economy continued to deteriorate toward complete collapse in 1983 was he persuaded to move, reluctantly, from his populist radicalism to something closer to liberal realism.

Much of the credit for this conversion must go to Rawlings’ reticent finance minister, Kwesi Botchwey. A Legon Hall graduate, once known as much for his charm and love of the good life as for his wisdom, he had matured into a dab hand at economics and political strategy. He, often alone among government ministers, was willing to take Rawlings on, working deftly and against considerable odds to persuade a skeptical president with little background in economics that Ghana had to enter into a devil’s pact with the imf.

Rawlings himself attributes some of his change of heart to Fred Livingston, then the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana. Like Rawlings, he was an air force man who swore freely and liked to drink Scotch into the wee hours of the night. Back in Ottawa at External Affairs, I was incredulous to hear Livingston’s reports of these late-night chats with the head of a foreign government — yet also unsurprised, after my three years in Manila and four in London, to see what could be accomplished in diplomacy through good personal relationships.

Much later, after I returned to Ghana in August of 1994 as Canada’s High Commissioner, Rawlings confirmed to me that Livingston’s accounts were true. Like many African leaders, he had a soft spot for Canada. He and his ministers attributed to Canadians an integrity, altruism, and commitment that now may seem naive, but which was then not entirely misplaced. Connections and friendships that had grown between leaders of developing countries in the Commonwealth and la Francophonie and Canadian prime ministers — especially Trudeau and Mulroney, and later Chrétien — convinced Africans of Canada’s bona fides.

The feeling was mutual. By 1994, Canada, in concert with other donors and the World Bank, regarded Ghana as an all-too-rare success story. Many African governments had rejected World Bank sap aid and strictures altogether; others had taken them on only half-heartedly. Ghana had not only embraced structural adjustment, it had shown strong evidence of the improvement in economic growth and stability the saps were intended to bring. It had also seen one very large residual benefit: under Rawlings, Ghana grew into a mature democracy — here, too, an example for the continent.

After twelve years of rule, in 1992, Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress had submitted to national elections. These votes, and the ones held four years later, were judged by the donor community to represent the will of the Ghanaian people — a feat duplicated by few other African leaders. Each time, Rawlings and his National Democratic Congress party won, admittedly. But a larger victory was being won by my Legon mate Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and his electoral commission, which ran the votes with an impartiality, a transparency, and a professionalism unknown in much of the rest of Africa. The elections represented a victory for free speech and the media: the Rawlings era had spawned a flourishing opposition press and several private FM radio stations. These provided a constant flow of comment on popular call-in talk shows, ensuring that every step of the election process became instant public knowledge. And, of course, the elections were a triumph for those Ghanaians who had learned to bide their time in parliamentary opposition, confident their turn would come.

Which it did. In 2000, Rawlings stepped down at the end of his second term as elected president, as mandated by Ghana’s constitution. Perhaps he was drawn in by an immensely successful visit in 1998 from US president Bill Clinton; perhaps he was determined to be one of what was then being referred to as Africa’s “new generation” of leaders. But Rawlings did what so few of his counterparts elsewhere in Africa had done: he agreed to leave the fate of the ndc government in the hands of his chosen successor, the highly respected law professor, senior civil servant, and Legon Hall alumnus John Atta Mills.

By a small margin, Mills lost. Rawlings is said to have been deeply unhappy with Mills for conceding, but his successor held firm, and Rawlings was persuaded to accept his party’s move into opposition. John Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party took over. Kufuor won re-election in 2004, but now he, too, is a past president, and his party is once again in opposition. The story of how that happened is perhaps the single most remarkable proof of success in governance on the African continent since the independence wave.

When John Kufuor came to the end of his second constitutional term as president in 2008, he, like Rawlings, stepped aside, making way for yet another Legon Hall alum, his long-time rival and cabinet minister Nana Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo lost the 2008 presidential election by less than one percent — a difference of 40,500 votes out of nine million. For several hours, it seemed that Ghana could go the way of Kenya in 2007. Akufo-Addo was under party pressure to refuse to accept the tally, a move that would have inflamed ethnic loyalties.

But it didn’t happen. Akufo-Addo was persuaded by his old Legon mate Afari-Gyan — and, some say, by his countryman and friend, the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan — to follow his own good inclinations and accept that he had lost. For the second time in a decade, Ghana changed presidents and governing parties with less ado than the United States did when George W. Bush was declared president over Al Gore. And John Atta Mills became president.

Today the maturing democracy in Ghana is the envy of much of the continent. Freedom House, an American think tank, rates it as one of only nine African countries that are truly “free”: twenty-three others, including some with post-colonial histories rather like Ghana’s, such as Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya, are only “partly free.” The remaining sixteen are not free at all. Atta Mills, Akufo-Addo, and Afari-Gyan could show them a thing or two about how to run a democracy.

Since i moved on in 1998 from Ghana to Ethiopia, then in 2002 to Zimbabwe, I have dealt with many countries where the prognosis for Africa seems far from hopeful. There is little in Eritrea, Sudan, Angola, or Zimbabwe to suggest that the next decade will be better than the initial post-independence era. But flying into Accra each of these past twelve years — whether from the problems of Addis Ababa and Harare or, more recently, from the satisfied security of Queen’s and Carleton universities in Canada — has always brought me a blood rush of hope, not just for Ghana but for much of the continent.

Last June, I found myself being ushered into Atta Mills’s office, acting for a change not as Canadian High Commissioner seeking out the president, but as one aging university friend seeking out another. There was no Star beer on hand, but there was plenty of reflection. We concluded that we, our other Legon friends, Ghana, and Africa had come a long way over the years.

After our talk, I drove out to Legon Hall to speak with Atinga Naga, the man who had thumped those Daily Graphic newspapers into my room forty-five years ago. He had recently retired. Once a poor man from a northern village, a member of Ghana’s marginalized majority, he had achieved relative prosperity and secured a future for his children in Accra as part owner of a small shop in nearby Achimota, where he owns land and a house. My mates may have built castles in East Legon, but perhaps the best story for Ghana and for Africa belongs to Naga. Fifty years on from Africa’s great wave of independence, his is the dream most Africans still seek for themselves. THE END

[Credit: http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2010.07-international-affairs-where-ghana-went-right/1/]

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Music: Pioneering musician and actor Harry E Quashie ["Anadwofa"], Nicholas De Heer ["Edna Buchaiku"], Kumasi Trio ["Asin Asin" (part 2)], The Ga Quartet ["Abowe Dsane Nmaka Tso"], George Williams Aingo ["Agur Bi Dzi Mansu Aba”] and many more on ‘VARIOUS - Living Is Hard: West African Music In Britain 1927-1929’

“Made in London, these recordings were issued originally by the Zonophone record label over three years from late 1927.... -recorded in almost all its major languages. Included here are Wolof, Temni, Yoruba, Vai, Fanti, Hausa, Ga and Twi. The records were recorded and manufactured in London: all of them were sent to West Africa, where few have survived...... not much is known about the artists behind these recordings. We can dig up scraps from Zonophone catalogues, public records, the internet: ....we know the fine lead guitarist with the Kumasi Trio, Kwame Asare (like Ben Simmons) hailed from the town of Saltpond, in Ghana, and later, in the 1940s, he recorded again under the name Jacob Sam for HMV in Ghana — just as Harry Quashie made two records for the company in London the following decade, with Awotwi Paynin And His Ghana Rockers.

And we can speculate about names, and references in the lyrics. With his Portuguese name (like Justus), perhaps Douglas Papafio was a West African slave returning from Brazil, after emancipation; or maybe a descendant of the Portuguese and Brazilian slave traders on the West African coast. His song praises and defends a resident — named Sakyi — of Mampong, in Ghana. Presumably the name de Heer is a legacy of the Dutch colonial presence on the Gold Coast. His song Edna Buchaiku relates a regional dispute between the towns Tarkwa and Elmina (which he appears to praise at the start). Elmina was held by the Dutch from the 1630s till 1872, and another de Heer was the Dutch representative there at the turn of the 1850s — so is it Nicholas de Heer’s hometown?

More concretely, with the exception of the Ga and Kumasi groups (which found local sponsors for the voyage from Ghana to the London studio), it is probable that most of the musicians were more or less resident in Britain at the time of these recordings. Students in their number were likely domiciled in such cities as London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Durham; the rest in amongst West African populations, which were concentrated in the working class districts of port towns.

For sure, the only address entered on the recording contracts is that of Daniel Acquaah (from Ben Simmons’ ensemble), in Liverpool — Caryl Street, Toxteth, hard by the docks. There is no trace of these artists in contemporary mainstream musical publications, so presumably performances too were restricted to these communities. And it seems only the Kumasi Trio went on post-Zonophone to successful recording careers back in West Africa: when HMV arrived on the Gold Coast in the mid-30s, it was only Kwame Asare of the artists here who recorded for them, suggesting that the others — at least most of them — had remained abroad.” www.honestjons.com www.honestjons.com

***To download /listen to these pioneers visit: http://www.juno.co.uk/ppps/products/316884-01.htm

Monday, 21 June 2010

Music: ‘Go Hard’ by Lethal Bizzle [feat. Donaeo on iTunes]

"Lethal Bizzle (also known as Lethal B) (born Maxwell Ansah, 14 September 1982, Walthamstow, east London, England) is a British rapper of Ghanaian descent."  [wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethal_Bizzle]

You can download ‘Go Hard’ by Lethal Bizzle at: http://itunes.apple.com/album/go-hard/id333001426
For more information about Lethal Bizzle visit: http://www.myspace.com/Lethalbizzlemusic

The Next Big Thing: Surfing in Ghana

**I love the following piece about surfing in Ghana. Why Ghana’s many tourist websites are not packed full of fabulously yummy features like this one about ‘Surf Camp Ghana’ –I’ll never know; –but it’s so important for us to start now! [Because] if we as a nation are ever to prosper –then it will be in manufacturing or tourism –and not from relying on the land, -as subsistent farmers –or whatever, with our populace at the desperate mercy of the land and dependant on nature to behave its self. And I feel that tourism is most definitely something that we should be bigging-up right now. The following is from www.wayfaring.info and celebrates one of Ghana’s many gorgeous beaches [off the coast of Busua, a fishing village] –and surfing.

The Ghanaian landscape is combination of beaches and reefs which makes Ghana a wonderful place for surfers. Set on the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana has a tropical climate, with the combination of perfect waves, warm water and no crowds creates the ideal place for learning how to surf. Surf camp Ghana lies on a 2 km beach in the fishing village of Busua. It is a traditional Ghanaian coastal village, 3-4 hour driving from Accra (the capital city). This tourist destination is providing you with many entertainment options boast some of the nicest beaches in Ghana. Surfing is relatively new to Ghana, but the surf instructors will guide and help you improve your surfing skills. [Credit: http://www.wayfaring.info/search/Africa/page/10/]

*For other beaches in Ghana visit: http://www.touringghana.com/recreation.asp
*You can visit the Black Star Surf Shop at: www.blackstarsurfshop.com/

Black Star Surf Shop -Get Surfing.....

Black Star Surf Shop
PO Box 84
Agona Junction
Ahanta West District
West Africa +233 207412398

Company Magazine’s ‘The Most Eligible Men in Britain’

Four of our gorgeous boys were voted ‘The Most Eligible Men in Britain’ by Company Magazine [July Issue 2010] They include Melvin Odoom (aged 30) at number 21, Idris Elba (aged 37) at number 34, Tinchy Stryder (aged 23) at number 35 and Dizzee Rascal (aged 24) at number 46…..fabulous..x

Random Fabulousness: Ghanaian Glitterati –part one…

Rita Nimako [Kokofu, Ghana] for Divine Chocolate...
Joe Casely-Hayford at Gieves & Hawkes [in the Evening Standard Magazine]...

Hairdressing guru, Johnny Sapong for Paul Smith....
As you all know by now I have a pile of editorials, bits-and-bobs –and loads of tears I’ve torn-out and filed over the years of the Ghanaian Glitterati and I am –slowly but surely getting round to scanning –and putting them up. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do……x

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Adinkra Carpet by Malene B

“Adinkra / Hand stamped Adinkra cloth from Ghana is the inspiration for this classic graphic design. The symbols mean greatness and humility.” www.maleneb.com

**I was lost for words when I stumbled across Malene B’s luxuriously on-trend carpets [as I’m also working on something similar]. I love her Adinkra Carpet [I can’t quiet believe she has hers out already –heheehe] and wanted to share it with you. Malene B’s an incredibly talented woman and can be commissioned to create the carpet-of-your-dreams at: http://www.maleneb.com/

Friday, 18 June 2010

Celebrating Alhaji K.Frimpong's 'KyenKyen Bi Adi Mawu' (1998) Original

I just wanted to celebrate the wonderful late Alhaji K.Frimpong and his 'KyenKyen Bi Adi Mawu' -probably the best piece of music ever produced on this earth! Its still fabulous and fresh after all this time and inspiring a new generation of talented musicians.....I just don't want this incredible piece of music -hijacked again; ...leave it alone people -unless you can top it [and that’s impossible –in my books]......x

Omanhene feat. Alhaji K. Frimpong

Gouda perform 'Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu'

This is Gouda Traditional Music playing a percussion version of ‘'KyenKyen Bi Adi Mawu' Highlife artists Alhaji K. Frimpong.

**One brothers interpretation of this wonderful piece of music in a form errrrm...dance

**Check out Reggie Rockstone’s ‘Keep your eyes on the road’ visit: http://www.ilovehiplife.com/player.php?mid=20

One To Watch: Antoinette Tiffany Owusu aka Tiffany

Tiffany on stage...

Talented, stylish and about to blow-up, Ghana’s very own Keri Hilson, -Antoinette Tiffany Owusu aka Tiffany is the one to watch...We are loving her ‘Fake London Boy’ –right now...Go Tiffany

Monday, 14 June 2010

Words of Wisdom: Reverend Dr Mensa Otabil Men

“Labour precedes birth. Just before a baby is born the mother experiences labour pains. Similarly, the toughest tests you face occur just before you experience a turn around. When the warfare gets severe, keep fighting…victory is near! Weeping endures for a night; joy comes in the morning. Your labour is not in vain. Your breakthrough will be born! DON’T GIVE UP THE FIGHT. Push hard! Trust God! YOUR MIRACLE IS NEAR!”  Reverend Dr Mensa Otabil

Congratulations Black Stars......

I now understand why they call Football, ‘The beautiful Game’ –because it’s truly beautiful. What a rollercoaster ride of emotion? We thank God, we beat Serbia 1-0 in Pretoria [the first victory by an African team in the first World Cup on African soil] -and our boys are playing very well [like the kings that they are -Amen]. A ‘Big-up’ to the magnificent Asamoah Gyan [he scored]; Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng and Arles-Avignon’s Andre Dede Ayew [who are fearless and play like a dream], a very ‘Happy Birthday’ to Richard Kingson [our goalkeeper turned 32 yesterday –a double celebration] and the whole of the Ghanaian Football team/squad, -God Bless you all. Ghana and Ghana Rising –believe in you and are praying for you –God will do it and you will bring the cup home! Go Black Stars..........................x

P.s Where is Samuel Inkoom and what’s going on with our [Serbian] coach...I hope he is back to his ok-self before our next game –we need him to celebrate when Ghana wins –regardless of whom we are playing.....

Our next games in group D are:

Ghana vs. Australia - 19 Jun 3:00pm (United Kingdom Time) on BBC1
Ghana vs. Germany - 23 Jun 7:30pm (United Kingdom Time) on ITV1

Dizzee Rascal and James Corden score World Cup hit

Rapper Dizzee Rascal and comedian James Corden have gone to the top of the UK singles chart with their unofficial World Cup anthem, Shout. The track is a reworking of the Tears For Fears hit, backed by Simon Cowell.

It is one of a handful of football songs to make the top 40, prompted largely by there being no official England World Cup song. They include the re-release of Three Lions by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds. Three Lions, which was a big hit during the 1996 European Championship, came in at number 10 - up from 53. New Order's World in Motion was in at number 22, with former England manager Terry Venables' If I Can Dream at 23. A re-recording of the Three Lions track featuring Russell Brand and Robbie Williams climbed to 28.

The royalties from the Dizzee Rascal and James Corden song will be donated to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. In the album chart, Christina Aguilera went straight in at number one with Bionic, her first album since Back To Basics in 2006 and since the birth of her son.

The Royal Air Force Squadronaires went up to number seven from nine in the album chart with In The Mood: A Glenn Miller Celebration.

The chart position is the highest for a military band, it was claimed by record company Decca. Sgt Kev Miles, leader of the RAF Squadronaires, said: "It just keeps getting better.

"I'm delighted that the music we're so passionate about has as big a fanbase today as 70 years ago when it was written."

Meanwhile, Alicia Keys climbed to number two with The Element of Freedom and Michael Buble dropped one position to number three with Crazy Love. Last week's number one, Jack Johnson's To The Sea, fell to number six, behind Lady Gaga.
[Credit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment_and_arts/10305373.stm]

Friday, 11 June 2010

An Exclusive Interview With Uber Model -Soraya Khalil

*I first stumbled across Soraya Khalil via the Benetton competition blog and thought she was beautiful  –and a potential winner. A few days later –one of my friends at a big fashion glossy rang me -to check out a fabulous new black model –and low-and-behold; that beautiful model turned out to be Soraya! I was so pleased when I found out [later] that she was of Ghanaian and Jamaican heritage. The following's an insight into the fabulous life of one of the most beautiful women of Ghanaian origin [http://ghanarising.blogspot.com/2010/04/most-beautiful-women-of-ghanaian-origin.html]  and also, -one of my favourite interviews on Ghana Rising. Enjoy.....x

GR: Hi Soraya how are you?
SK: Asides the fact that I'm living in the library these days with my exams round the corner, I'd say I'm fab, thanks.

GR: Thanks for the interview –what are you up to right now?
SK: Well I graduated from Durham University last year with a business finance degree and since October last year I've been studying towards my ACCA (chartered accountant) qualification, while working part-time as a model. So yes, I kind of feel like I'm living two lives at the moment, juggling accounting and finance lectures and castings, but its what I love to do, keeps me active and going because I hate being idle. In between, when I can I do a bit of dance and I'd say I love a bit of the London party scene.

GR: Soraya can you tell us about your ethnic origin –and how it’s shaped you –culturally?
SK: Well I was born in London but moved to Ghana at a very young age and spent most of my life there. My mums from Ghana and currently lives there, while my dad is Jamaican but currently lives in Dubai. Living in such a multicultural city like London, studying in Durham and being raised in Ghana has had a great impact on my life, right down from the way I even speak and relate to people; I can generally interact with anyone. My dress sense I'd say is at the moment very retro, chic, a little but bohemian but I still do rock my African jewellery and fabrics all the time. I currently have afro hair, it’s my signature look, maybe influenced by my Jamaican background, but I love being natural- its different. I listen to Ghanaian hip-life and highlife all the time but you will still find me busting a move or two to a rock tune, drum and base, funky house or dancehall. I think my Ghanaian upbringing in general (attending a catholic school and church, boarding school life in Ghana, etc) has been beneficial in the sense that its made me content with myself, able to appreciate the good things in life, know myself and values enough to stand my ground when faced with difficult or compromising situations and act responsible in my best interest as opposed to following the crowd. I am grateful for that.

GR: Congratulations –you were chosen as one of the winners for the Face of Benetton Competition?
SK: The Benetton competition was a global casting in search of real people to represent the brand. There were over 65000 applicants and a lot of them were amazing in they're own way. The first 100 selected had the highest public votes and out of that -the Benetton team and judges chose the final 20 to be the faces of the autumn/winter campaign in NY. It was an amazing opportunity, especially the chance to shoot with famous photographer Josh Olins. It was a 4 day trip and my best friend got to come along as my plus one. It involved a lot of touring, parties, reception, celeb events, -and a 2 day shoot where we got to do a lot of interviews and meet with a lot of members of the press. The entire trip was also recorded for a documentary, Benetton intends on doing -on the lives of the models. It was excellent exposure and I managed to get some interesting jobs after that, a possible one with Uniqlo in Tokyo this summer. Since I've been back I'm signed with Bookings agency and I'm enjoying working with them - an excellent team.

GR: Yes, I saw you on the ‘New Faces’ Board at Bookings Agency –they are a big agency with big names on their books –and I love your portfolio. Can you tell us about the first shoot you did through Bookings –and what your dream job would be [right now]?
SK: My first shoot was actually pretty cool, the idea behind the shoot was using household appliances on the streets. For example; blow-drying my hair at a traffic light, -hoovering at a zebra-crossing, drying your laundry in a telephone box, etc. The team I worked with were amazing and I loved every bit of it, even the embarrassing moments, giving that we shooting right in the centre of Liverpool Street. I'd say my ideal job would be where I can combine my passion for fashion and finance background, especially since I've been studying finance for the last 4 years, possibly a job in the management side of a fashion firm maybe.

GR: Is there a photographer you would love to work with?
SK: Working with Josh Olins was an honour, he is extremely talented. Nigel Barker (America's next top model) is one photographer I would love to work with.

GR: You’re based in London right now -can you share some of your favourite London haunts with us:
GR: Restaurant?
SK: Depends on what type of cuisine you prefer, Nobu and Cocoon are great oriental restaurants; Pasha is a great mediterranean restaurant and Cipriani's for continental.

GR: Nightclub/Bar?
SK: Maddox club is great, music is good, diverse crowd, very sophisticated, great atmosphere and in a central location. The roof top balcony of Aqua bar (especially in the summer) as well as Sketch bar is also definitely in my top ten.

GR: Best place to chill out?
SK: Baglioni hotel bar or Hyde Park.

GR: Best place to buy make-up?
SK: Bobbi Brown!!!!

GR: The most stylish Londoner is?
SK: Victoria Beckham!!!

GR: The best place to buy Ghanaian food [in London]?
SK: hmmmm, Gold Coast!!

      *Soraya loves the food at Gold Coast http://www.thegoldcoastbar.com/

GR: And now to Ghana.... You was born in London but moved to Ghana at a very young age and was raised there. Do you go back often?
SK: Yes certainly, I usually go back every Christmas, a good excuse to escape from the snow, hehe.

GR: So do you miss Ghana when your not there?
SK: Of course, there's no place like home. I miss my family, the food, the beaches, the atmosphere, the inside jokes we have, even the funny advertisements on TV that crack me up.

GR: Can you share some of your favorite Ghanaian destinations/sites/clubs/boutiques with us?
SK: Melting Moments -is a really cosy cafe. Magellan and Tante Marie (Labone) -are great restaurnats. Monsoon -is a really cool bar I like to hang out on a night out, they do some really good calamari - yummm!!! There's a really great local spot where they make the most amazing jerk chicken/pork with kenkey or friend yam, its called Chums Jerk in Osu, when I discovered it last Christmas, I practically lived there!. Obviously we all know Epo Spot, the 24-hour spot where you can get Ghanaian-made Chinese meals after a late night out. Clubbing wise I prefer Exclusive (also known as XL) night club, -it’s got a mature crowd, really chilled out, and just as the name suggests, -it’s very exclusive too. When it comes to clothes, I mean the best thing about Ghana is that there are a lot of designers so as opposed to going to an actual boutique I usually have my clothes made, that way I can choose my design, style, fabric and have it fitted too for perfection!!!!

*Moonsoon is loved by Soraya –and is located above the Osu Food Court in Oxford Street Osu, Accra –and is famed for it’s [Mojito] cocktails. Tel: +233 21 782307

GR: We know you love hip-life, which artists are you listening to -right now?
SK: Lets see, my fav hip-life is 'I think I like am' by VIP; Wengeze by Eazzy is actually a cool track, sort of like a Ghana funky-house track, and the popular track 'Swagger' by Ruff and Smooth is awesome.

*Soraya’s loving ‘Wengeze’ by Eazzy –right now.....

GR: Have you ever modelled in Ghana, if not will you like to?
SK: No, I haven't actually, probably because I'm not currently based there and when I'm there it’s only for a short period but I would love to in the future.

GR: London so hot, so important in terms of fashion- can you ever see this for Ghana?
SK: Certainly! Ghana obviously does not have the exposure or recognition as a fashion city but with the emerging designers these days, the people's eye for fashion and Western influence, I definitely think Ghana has got a lot of potential. Some of the collections I have seen from Ghana are mind-blowing, unique and could definitely dominate the catwalk one day.

GR: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
SK: Boy, does this question make you think a lot!! Hmmm, to be honest, I’m not sure. I mean the Benetton opportunity itself was unexpected. For now, I do hope that the exposure I've got from the Benetton campaign is good enough to kick-start a career in modelling but at the same time I’m currently studying towards my ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualification which I hope to finish a year from now. So in any case I guess I do have accounting and finance to fall back on, possibly secure a job with a solid salary, and who knows, maybe even put down a deposit on a nice little house in London. I'm an all-round person so I try my hands on everything. I love dancing, I've done ballet, tap, jazz and street dance. I was actually part of a street dance crew called Phoenix up until last year. I've got into riding and I am eager to learn to play polo. I think it'll be challenging though. I love languages. Unfortunately I only speak or understand two other Ghanaian languages besides English but I am teaching myself French because I already know the basics. I am hoping to be able to speak up to four languages by the time I am 27 - there is a geeky side to me. I enjoy learning and reading about trading because its something I've always wanted to get into. When I was younger I never really understood how the stock market operated and I always had a desire to figure out how it worked. A year ago I read the book "the Naked Trader" by Robbie Burns and I've found trading fascinating ever since. After my ACCA I am hoping to start of with a career in that field, possibly as a stockbroker for the next five years, hopefully earn enough to start a business venture of my own, as I can't see myself working for someone for too long. Modelling is usually a short-term career for most people so while I'm young, I might as well enjoy it. What I do know is that I aim to be a millionaire before 30 :)

GR: And finally -what are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
SK: I am a proud Ghanaian!! Having watched Ghana progress over the years, I can honestly say the Ghana I knew 10 years ago is completely different from what we see today. We, as a nation, as people, have so much to offer, we are more united than before, we recognise the potential in the economy today, and I do have faith in the economy getting even better because unlike before, I see young people making plans of moving back and settling there because they share this same vision; and for those of us that do, -we can take that first step ourselves and also encourage others around us to do so. As opposed to sitting back and letting one person try and build our nation, we must all make a conscious effort in our own small way to bring something back, no matter how little. Little drops of water,.......!

GR: Thanks for the interview Soraya, –stay beautiful and God bless all your dreams...x

THE END.....

Me FiRi GHANA Clothing –how do you wear yours?

"Me FiRi GHANA presents Ghana Clothing from London to Ghana. Whether you are a Black Star or not express yourself with the new GHANA Clothing. This is African Clothing mixing modern day fashion. Me FiRi GHANA t...he vibrant new clothing line providing Ghana T-Shirt's, Jumper's, hooded tops and more. Stand out from the crowd with the Hotests African Clothing. Some of Ghana's Black Stars have their's." www.mefirighana.com

 For more information about Me FiRi GHANA Clothing visit: http://www.mefirighana.com/

RenéeQ –Ghana’s go to beauty guru……………

"British trained RenéeQ is a professional who uses the art of make up to create natural but stunning looks. Her forte is accentuating one’s inner beauty with an outer glow. She works her magic at RenéeQ in our purpose-built Beauty Room or on location when it is required. Her make up abilities extend into the world of eyebrow grooming and eyelash extensions. Your beauty will be unrivalled!" www.reneeq.com

**There are times in every woman’s life, when you need to turn it on –and I’m not just talking about your wedding day –but those events that can also be life changing; like an important luncheon, a charity event or that meal [when you know he’s going to propose]! In Ghana, the go to person is RenéeQ, and she will do your makeup, eyebrows, eyelashes etc –and turn you into the queen that you are!

Please note; RenéeQ's also a fashion and accessories designer -and you can see her fabulous eclectic collection via her website at: http://www.reneeq.com/makeup.html

Osei - Kwakye Obstetrics and Gynecology [Brooklyn, NYC]

"We are especially interested in making all our patients feel right at home! We put your needs first to achieve efficient and comprehensive treatment. Our staff is trained and skilled, and we strive to provide energetic and fun-loving service to each patient. We strive to stay abreast of the very latest in technology and advances by regularly attending continuing education courses and seminars." www.oseikwakyeobgyn.com

*Wow, another incredible business/services provide by Ghanaians in the USA is 'Osei - Kwakye Obstetrics and Gynecology'. Founded by Solomon A. Osei, MD, FACOG and Frank K. Kwakye-Berko, MD, PHD, FACOG [they are licensed gynecologist/obstetrician] - they specialize in Women's Health Care [gynecologic surgery, contraception, family planning, infertility, high risk pregnancies etc] and can be contacted via their practice in Brooklyn, NYC [details below

Osei - Kwakye Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC249 Empire Blvd.
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Phone: (718) 940-BABY (2229)
Fax: (718) 940-2220
E-mail: info@oseikwakyeobgyn.com

For more information visit: http://www.oseikwakyeobgyn.com/default.asp

Ghana Rising Hearts Charlie Casely-Hayford

Designer, stylist, model and 'London It boy' -the ever dapper Charlie Casely-Hayford is one of the most stylish men on earth! Model perfect and gorgeous, -Charlie can get away with wearing anything but thankfully –doesn’t. A fabulous walking advertisement for his fashion label, ‘Casely-Hayford’ [a collaboration with his father, uber tailor -Joe Casely-Hayford] –Charlie can be ‘lord-of-the-manor’ in traditional tweed and brogues one day –and ‘a-young-dandy-about-town’ in a black suit, yellow cardigan and white shirt combo, –the next. The boy’s got style………….

For more information about Charlie visit: http://www.casely-hayford.com/profile

Meet Charlie

Meet Charlie

Zita Okaikoi comes under attack as she flies to the States to give birth.....

**I love Zita Okaikoi [Ghana’s Tourism Minister], -she has incredible style and verve but it might be time for her and the Ghanaian government -to look into the state-of-our hospitals -right now! The following piece is from Ghananation.com:

Title: Zita Flies To USA For Baby  / By: Halifax Ansah-Addo 04/06/2010 09:30:00
Ghana’s Tourism Minister, Zita Sabah Okaikoi, is residing with her maid-servant and bodyguard in a government of Ghana facility while on a private visit to New York to seek maternal care, information reaching DAILY GUIDE from the United States indicates.

Reports say the pregnant Minister and the two are cooling off on the 14th floor of 19 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017, a residential facility at the New York Consulate of the Ghana Mission in the United States.

The facility, DAILY GUIDE learnt, is exclusively reserved for Ghanaian officials on official working trips to the US, and is not to be used by persons on private visits. The female Minister, together with her bodyguard and servant, are incurring extra cost for the Ghana Mission at a time a number of workers there have not been paid for months.

Apart from staying at the residential facility at the Consulate, reports say Zita and her private maid are chauffeur-driven in government of Ghana vehicles on their private rounds.

The vehicles are fueled and maintained by the Ghanaian tax payer, sources say. Amazingly, all telephone numbers to the office of the consulate went unanswered and were directed to voice mails when DAILY GUIDE called.

Zita herself could also not be reached on phone and when DAILY GUIDE asked Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, what the Tourism Minister was doing outside the country, he seemed not to be in the know and suggested that Zita herself speaks to the issue.

Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni could also not be reached on phone and two text messages sent to his phone for a reaction were not answered. The 15-floor consulate was purchased for Ghana by ex-head of state General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. A source who spoke on anonymity explained: “The building is very big and there are some parts that are scarcely used.

It was restructured and rebuilt into two residential facilities by the Kufuor government and the minister is staying with her house-girl in one of them.”

When news broke in Ghana that Zita had travelled outside the country, ostensibly to seek maternal care, she had a lot of public bashing from persons who expressed surprise that a Minister for Tourism under the Mills administration did not find any hospital in Ghana worthy of her status, but had to travel to US just for maternal care.

It is believed that children born in the United States are automatic American citizens. The minister, who first served as Minister for Information, already has two children.

However, Zita is not the only Minister seeking maternal care in an American hospital, as the deputy Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Omane Boamah, a medical doctor, was said to have equally sent his wife to deliver in the United States, even though the woman had previously delivered her babies at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. [Credit: http://news1.ghananation.com/latest-news/4750-zita-flies-to-usa-for-baby.html]

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Must: Elaine Mensah invites you to the 'Fashion AND Technology' Panel during Digital Capital Week in Washington, DC on Saturday June 19 at 2:15PM at UMC Conference Facility 900 Massachusetts Ave NW

I’m a big fan of Elaine Mensah, the Founder & Fashion Director of SVELTE, LLC –she’s at the very top of her fashion game and continues to inspire me. Elaine has put together a panel to look at fashion and technology, -and the impact of social & new media on the industry, -and DC's blossoming fashion industry; and I feel that this free event is a ‘must’. Unfortunately, I’m based in London and will not be there in person but will be watching the panel live at:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dcweekfatpanel and the discussion via Twitter - #FATDCWEEK LIVE so tell everyone and let’s support Elaine and learn more about this billion dollar industry. For more information about the 'Fashion AND Technology' Panel visit: http://dcweekfatpanel.eventbrite.com/

For more information about Elaine Mensah visit:http://www.svelte-emc.com/

Adjoa Andoh, Leah Ocran and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith star in Joe Turner’s ‘Come and Gone’ at the Young Vic, London -until 3 July

**If the latest reviews about Joe Turner’s ‘Come and Gone’ are correct –then this play’s the hottest ticket in town.

“It's instructive to see, a full century before the advent of Barack Obama, how the black migrant community was adjusting to new opportunities while still shackled in the past. The strange travelling couple of Herald and his daughter, frozen in their overcoats, it seems, are beautifully played by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Leah Ocran, and Lan's company includes good work, too, from Danny Sapani and Adjoa Andoh as the hosts, Daniel Cerqueira as a local pedlar (the one white character) and Petra Letang as a girl with two suitcases and a penchant for "company". Michael Coveney [The Independent]

"Winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play

After seven long years, Herald Loomis has been released from Joe Turner’s slave gang. Now he is scouring Pittsburgh for the wife he left behind. And for the road that will lead him to freedom and his rightful place in a new world.

David Lan directs an extraordinary cast featuring Delroy Lindo, star of many hit films including The Cider House Rules, A Life Less Ordinary, Get Shorty and Malcolm X. He appears alongside Adjoa Andoh star of the Oscar-nominated Invictus and Danny Sapani, star of E4's Misfits. The ensemble also features acclaimed TV and theatre actors Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Petra Letang (Naomi in EastEnders) as well as rising stars Nathaniel Martello-White, Demi Oyediran and Riann Steele."  www.youngvic.org

Young Vic
66 The Cut
020 7922 2922
For more information visit: http://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/joe-turners-come-and-gone

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A Must: Hemma’s Trunk Show this Friday in Soho NYC…

As you all know, -I love, love Hemma’s elegant designs –and since writing about them last year, -have watched them go from strength-to-strength; featured in Essence and LUCKY magazine and BET. And in a warm appreciation to all their lovely customers -are having a Trunk Show this Friday in Soho showcasing the collection and celebrating Hemma's meteoric success. For more information visit: http://www.thehemmacollection.com/

Feast your eyes on the latest designs from Vlisco’s new ‘Sparkling Grace’ Collection…..

"All your senses will celebrate the colourful new fabric collection ‘Sparkling Grace’ by Vlisco. Go up the stairs and feel the sensation of melodious pulsations leading to a spectacle of bright colours. The designs coordinate the rhythm of movement. Clear graphic lines give a feeling of the beat while numerous floral designs make up the melody, blossoming into a range of vibrant fabrics. ‘Sparkling Grace’ pays homage to elegance and femininity, magnifying both your inner and outer beauty. So take the stage and shine like a star." http://www.vlisco.com/

**For more information or to place an order visit: http://www.vlisco.com/

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Media: Terry Baddoo

**I’ve enjoyed listening to Terry Baddoo since his 'Newsround' days and just wanted to celebrate him. Over the years this proficient: journalist, presenter and News reader -has inspired me to want to be the best I can be and I’m so proud that he’s of Ghanaian heritage …The following is more information about Mr Baddoo:

Terry Baddoo is a television sports presenter. He is half English and half Ghanaian, and comes from a theatrical family. His maternal grandmother appeared in the first ever television broadcast from London's Alexandra Palace. His father was an actor. His sister is a well known choreographer and arts director. And his brother-in-law is the Grammy-nominated producer, John Saxon.

Baddoo was born in London, England, and earned a Bachelors degree in Education from London University. After a brief period teaching in London and Los Angeles, he began his journalistic career as a features writer with Custom Car magazine in England, and later worked for IPC magazines and on the historic launch of Britain's first color newspaper, Today.

In the mid-1980's he worked in BBC Schools television, then hosted the news and current affairs show, Black Londoners, on Radio London. Later, he joined BBC TV as a reporter and occasional presenter of the BBC children's news programme, Newsround,for which he reported from numerous global events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall; the end of apartheid in South Africa; and the Barcelona Olympics. He subsequently worked for BBC News as a sports reporter and presenter on BBC Breakfast News and BBC World. He also freelanced for the satellite TV channel, Sky, as a football reporter and rugby features producer.

Since 1995, he has been the main U.S based sports anchor for CNN International's World Sport, writing and presenting a twice daily live show of news and features on the day's top sports stories from CNN Center in Atlanta, and reporting from the field at many major sporting events. He also provides sports bulletins and commentary for all the CNN International News shows,and is a regular columnist on the CNN World Sport website.

Prior to worklng in the media, Baddoo, a teenage triallist with Crystal Palace and Chelsea, played semi-professional football, and is a qualified referee. He supports Arsenal, but has confessed on-air that he doesn't "hate Spurs either", as they were both his local teams growing up. [Credit: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Terry_Baddoo?qsrc=3044]

Terry Baddoo is a sports anchor for CNN International (CNNI), based in the network's world headquarters in Atlanta. He is one of the presenters of the network's global sport highlight and news show World Sport.

Baddoo joined CNNI in October 1995. Bringing a wealth of international sports experience, he previously served as a sports anchor and reporter for BBC World, BBC Breakfast News, BBC Sport, BBC TV News, Sky Sports, BBC Newsround, BBC On The Line and BBC Schools. Before working in television, Baddoo worked extensively in print journalism. He was a reporter at several publications, including Today Newspaper, IPC Magazines, Link House Publications, Sunday Express Magazine, Carlton Magazine and Tennis Magazine.

Throughout his career, Baddoo has covered essentially every major international sporting event of recent times from World Cup football matches to the past three summer Olympics to Grand Slam tennis tournaments to World Championship boxing matches. He has interviewed numerous sports stars including football's David Beckham and Pele; gold medal Olympians Michael Johnson, Marion Jones and Carl Lewis; cricket players Steve Waugh and Wasim Akram; tennis superstars Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Venus and Serena Williams as well as Michael Schumacher from Formula One racing and Lennox Lewis from the world of boxing. Baddoo received a degree from the University of London. Credit: http://edition.cnn.com/CNN/anchors_reporters/baddoo.terry.html]