BIBLE

KORAN

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CONTENTS

7. Editorial 8. Contributors

COVER
40. Branding Ghana

FREESTYLE
10. You Know He or She Is Ghanaian When... 12. Over Here 15. Out There 16. Passing Through 18. Akasanoma: My African Food Map 20. Akasanoma: Share My Spot 22. Shada: Two Heads 23. Playlist 24. Visual: No Funny Business 29. Darkoa 31. We the People

OPINION
44. How Ghana Got Its Groove Back 46. Being Too Known

SOUL
48. A Healthy Skepticism

TRAVEL
50. From Ghana with Love

SHOT
56. Shot

POLITIK
Photo Credit: Amfo Connolly

ICON
58. Afro Moses Slippers

32. Ballots & Blue Sheets 36. When Brain Clouds Gather 38. The Melcom Collapse

DUST MAGAZINE
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Cover Image : Seton Nicholas Model: Phoebe Amoako Editor: Kobby Graham Thanks to... Adventure Junkies, Akosua, Afua Ankomah, Phoebe Amoako, Kwaku David, Deborah Frempong, Sharifah Issaka, Kankam, Dele Meiji, Atsu Numadzi, Frank Odoi, Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, Ohema Ohene, Victoria Okoye, Priscilla Owusua Opoku, Tuleka Prah, The Republic Bar & Grill, RQV Studio, Zapiro Dust Magazine is a publication of Chrysalis Publications, P.O. Box CT2838, Cantonments, Accra Corporate enquiries: enquiries@dustaccra.com Editorial enquiries: editorial@dustaccra.com Subscriptions: subscriptions@dustaccra.com The views expressed in this magazine are the views of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed by Buck Press All rights reserved. Copyright © Dust Magazine 2012

NoNstop to

New York
From AccrA

Hello People,

Election mode over... or maybe not quite. Either way, our country has not gone up in flames. While democracy is delicate and must never be taken for granted, Ghana really is past the point of having to worry about these things. The very fact that the word ‘peace’ is so overused during the election season reflects the mood of the people. Ghana is not going to burn: we simply have bigger, better things to do. Elections are inherently inward-looking affairs. Soon afterwards however, countries look outwards again. After selling into office, Presidents fly out on foreign tours to talk aid, trade and exchange. All of a sudden, what is going happening on the ground is less important than the perception of what is happening on the ground. Everything soon boils down to your brand. So what exactly is Ghana’s brand? Are we really the gateway to Africa? We claim to be friendly, but are we really that friendly? Is our brand carried by our beloved Black Stars? Maybe it exists somewhere in the politics, religion and soccer we so obsess about. Maybe Azonto is where it’s at, or is it in inanimate things like the cocoa and gold we are renowned for exporting? Young and old, rich or poor, we are all part of the fabric that forms Ghana. Without following the news, everyone understands the daily mechanics of the Ghanaian hustle. We know our country, but do we know what makes us different from everyone else? That right there is our brand. Someone once said, “It is not slickness, polish, uniqueness, or cleverness that makes a brand a brand. It is truth.” So what things are true of Ghana? What really sets us apart from everyone else in the global village? Is it the warm and welcoming nature we proudly portray? Or does that simply make us seem a gullible people, ripe for the taking and easy to exploit? Everything has positive and negative sides. It partly depends on spin, but it also depends on acknowledging (and then taking control of) the truth. The elections are over. We’ve looked within. Now, it is time to look without.

Kobby Graham

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contributors

contributors

Crystal Svanikier
Publisher
Crystal is the publisher of DUST. A freelance writer for over 6 years, she has studied in Cape Town, Oxford & Dundee. An expert on Energy Law & Policy, Crystal has also worked with a number of magazines, newspapers & organisations. She is a former employee of Global Media Alliance.

Columnist

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

Ghanyobi
Designer
If you have ever looked at DUST’s design and found yourself scraping your jaw from the floor, blame Ghanyobi. Breaking out of the confines of graphic design, he uses design, layout, photography & more to create art that is fun, fresh... & - above all - Ghanaian.

Sena Kpodo

International Relations Analyst

Joseph Oduro Frimpong

Afua Ankomah
Business Analyst
Besides being an analyst, Afua (who penned ‘Ballots & Blue Sheets’) is a mother, aspiring data journalist hobbyist, programmer, sustainable development junkie, self-appointed consumer rights advocate & the face behind www. lightoffgh.info. Follow her at www. aoa4eva.me (or @aoa4eva on Twitter).

Nana Darkoa is a modern woman in the business of breaking the mould. Starting this issue, she will infuse her new column - ‘Darkoa’ - with her strong interest in women’s rights & issues, as well as insights from running her ever-popular blog, Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women.

With a camera always in hand, Sena specialises in Ghana; retelling experiences, promoting brands and putting a spotlight on innovative development and pioneering people to discover our country. Here, she writes this issue’s cover article, ‘Branding Ghana’.

Cultural Anthropologist
Joseph Oduro-Frimpong teaches at Ashesi University College (AUC). His piece on ‘Too Known’ was inspired by a conversation with Ashesi’s Dean of Student Affairs, Ms. Ruth Kwakwa.

Seton Nicholas
Creative Director 08 . www.dustaccra.com
Seton is a photographer who uses the power of his lens to observe and reflect on all the intricacies of Ghanaian life. Responsible for most of the magazine’s original photography, Seton also gives DUST its creative direction.

Jason Nicco-Annan
Associate Editor
A graduate of Ashesi University College, Jason Nicco-Annan is a copywriter, designer, writer, photographer and all-round creative. As DUST’s Associate Editor, he brings to the table not just his penchant for good writing but also his nuanced observation of Ghanaian popular culture.

Sharifah Issaka
Interested in using new media for development, Sharifah was born in Ghana, but raised in Canada and Saudi Arabia. Her new column for DUST - ‘From Ghana With Love’ - is her way of instilling a love of domestic travel in those who are actually from Ghana.

Videographer / Journalist

Deborah Frimpong
Student
Deborah is a 20 year old Ghanaian currently studying at Pomona College in California. Fascinated by how Ghanaians make jokes out of the most serious issues, here she writes on the serious topic of faith in ‘A Healthy Skepticism’.

Michael Annor
Student
Michael Annor is a 19 year-old student of Ashesi University College. An internet junkie, he likes to keep up to date with things going on around the world, & expresses himself through his blog (kobby.tumblr.com) where he posts his thoughts on politics, news, music, religion & more. Here he writes, ‘When Brain Clouds Gather’.

Dele Meiji
Writer
The writer behind this issue’s “How Ghana Got It’s Groove Back”, Dele is a Nigerian writer based in London. He is currently working on his first short film, ‘When I Wake Up’ - a story about brotherhood and mental illness.

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freestyle

Anne Mazimhaka
Creative Director Illume Creative Studio Rwanda

… when within twenty minutes of hanging out with them, you start comfortably tossing around the word, “ chale” like you’ve been saying it all your life. Ghanaians have a way of taking something that is so unique to themselves and somehow making you feel a part of it.

... when they start doing Azonto to anything going!

... when they rock that authentic Kente cloth!

Breis
Rhymesmith/Teacher Nigeria

Kate Bomz
Curator of awesomeness Tanzania

… when being in a hurry only happens behind the wheel (cue honk sounds and a distant “AD3N!?!”)
Benjamin Lebrave
DJ/Musicologist AkwaabaMusic.com France/USA

Michael Morand
Yale Communication Officer USA

... when they open a conversation with “You are welcome...” or say (& show) “more vim” than New York, Lagos or London. A Ghanaian believes the future is bright. He crowds round very close. He also thinks only obronis go vegan.

Yemisrach Gebru
AU Youth Volunteer Ethiopia

... when he or she says “I’m comin’ eh!” while clearly walking away with your change, or when he or she asks “Are you sure?” to as definite a fact as your name,where you live or what you just ate (especially if it was fufu).

… when he tells you he loves you before he knows your name.

Sharon Benzoni
Pilgrim USA

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… when he thinks tuna salad is a vegetarian dish.

Zawadi Nyong’o
Afropolitan Feminist Social Media Consultant Kenya

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SLID INDUSTRIES Ltd., No 1 Ring Road, Industrial Area South, Accra-Ghana. Tel +233 302 246821 - 0234984272 - 0261222540

Over Here
All too often, you will hear people put down anything local. We assume the worst and instantly become critics; laughing, making unfavourable, oversimplified comparisons to foreign brands. Sometimes, we are justified. Often however, we fail to give credit where it is due. Since it opened, the African Regent Hotel has quietly strived to show that it is possible to marry African creativity with international standards. Taking this one step further, the hotel has recently opened its doors to support young Ghanaian fashion designers with a similar philosophy. The African Regent Pop Up Design Shop is boutique showcasing the clothes, shoes and accessories of two young Ghanaian designers for a fortnight at a time. It has already played host to the likes of Ohema Ohene, Aya Morrison, MAKSI, Heel the World and many more, and is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for an introduction to young African creativity.

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Over There

Started in 2008 by British-based Ghanaian designer, Abenaa Pokuaa, Ohema Ohene is a brand that combines Ghanaian prints and motifs with British styling to create unique, high quality, fashion-forward shoes, clothes and accessories for both men and women. Recently named by Okayafrica.com as one of its Top Ten African Menswear Brands, Oh! was recently on sale at the African Regent iPop Up Shop.
For more info, visit www.ohemaohene.com

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Passing Through

hugh masekela
Legendary South African jazz musician, Hugh Masekela, is one of the most humble, jovial people you will ever meet. In fact, he would probably protest our use of the word ‘legendary’ to describe him. Nevertheless, it is an apt description and one that was clearly in evidence when he visited Ghana for Kasapreko’s African Legends Night alongside Steve Bedi, Ben Brako, Lady May (BBA) and host, KSM.

ludacris
With increasing regularity, Ghana has played host to some major US acts. The biggest of the most recent crop was certainly Ludacris, who came down for Vodafone’s 020 Live Concert. Interestingly however, Ludacris Best International Act win. It’s a very cool to see Ghanaian musicians making power moves. Good call, Vodafone. was not the final act. That honour went to Sarkodie, fresh off his big BET

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Akasanoma
Ghanaians love good food and, in this social media age, it is common to find us sharing photos of what we are about to eat. Sadly however, our pictures rarely make our food look beautiful (much less edible) to anyone who has not seen or eaten the food before (Editor’s Note: this especially applies to photos of fufu and soup. Please stop: put the camera down and just eat it). My African Food Map is an internet series by the creative Tuleka Prah, aimed at making popular African cuisine more accessible. Putting to good use her experience with music, film and photography, Prah plans on uploading immaculate photographs and short films of local food enthusiasts from across the continent giving their special perspectives on how their favourite local foods are prepared and best enjoyed.
For more info, go to Facebook, Twitter or Youtube and run a search for ‘AfricanFoodMap’.

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Akasanoma

DUST is interested in things that bring Ghanaians together. One such thing is our love of good street food. Everybody has a spot they go to get waakye, hausa kooko & koose, ‘Kofi Brokeman’, kelewele, kebabs and all those great local foods that taste much better when they are made by someone outside of your kitchen on a roadside somewhere. If social media is about anything at all, it’s about sharing. This quarter, let’s build a map of the best food spots in Ghana. Forget those high-end restaurants that only a few of us can afford to visit: we’re talking about those spots where you will see market women and people in suits, shirts and ties queuing not-so-patiently behind school children morning after morning, night after night. The next time you go to your spot, take out your phone, take a picture (of the food or the spot serving it) and upload it to Twitter with it’s name, location, the best food they serve and the hashtag, #ShareYourSpot. Something like this will do: Auntie Muni’s. Labone (near Churchese). Best waakye in Accra. #ShareYourSpot Think your spot is better than Auntie Muni’s? Cool: tell us where it is! If you’re on Facebook, simply upload it to the DUST Facebook page (www.facebook. com/dustaccra). Better yet, go to Google Maps (maps.google.com.gh), upload the information and share the link on our Facebook page or send it to twitter.com/ dustaccra. Besides sharing information useful to everybody, you will be supporting a local business by helping to drive more people there. So what are you waiting for...

share your spot
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Shada

a snapshot of fresh local music, books & films being consumed at Dust HQ

Playlist

HEAR SEE
E.L feat. M.anifest Hallelujah Contract Lady Jay feat. Sewor Turn the Bass Up

Playlist
Starring Yvonne Okoro & Homla Dladla

GO

23rd FESPACO Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou
23rd February to 2nd March 2013
www.fespaco-bf.net

Two Heads
Martin Atsu Numadzi is an artist. Sure, he’s a fashion designer and we could go on at length about how beautiful his African print appliqué T-Shirts are. We could ramble on about how inspired his use of pattern is and how his tailoring is often worth pinging home (or at least your homie in the diaspora about). However we could talk just as much about his paintings: the mural that graces the walls of Pidgin Music HQ, for instance; the set he designed for Wanlov’s ‘Ververita’ music video. Or his pointillism-nspired use of tiny bits of paper in building a bigger picture. How about we say nothing and you check out his website www.numadzi.com (or drop him an email at numadzi2000@yahoo.com). SN

Adina Thembi Let Me Go Kofi Kinata Black Stars African Relaxation Techniques feat. Long John Build (Instrumental) Kankam Me Bibini Paapa Write for Me

Directed by Shirley Frimpong Manso Kweku Ananse
Starring Jojo Abot, Grace Omaboe & Koo Nimo

BlogCamp 2013 Kofi Annan Center of Excellence
29th March 2013
www.blogh.com

Directed by Akosua Adomah Owusu

Adventure Junkies ‘Love on Lake Volta’
16th Feb 2013

Little Acre, Aburi
8th March 2013
www.adventurejunkiesgh.com

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(from his new album, Songs for Kukua)

B

No

usiness

unny

Visual

The best political cartoonists need to have anall-round knowledge and interest incurrent affairs. But it’s more than just picking up a newspaper; it’s also about the relevance of a story and its impact on different parts of society. It’s also important for cartoonists to draw on their personal take on current events when fleshing out their work. Drawing on personal opinions, hopes and dreams – and injecting a dash of humour – is important for a popular cartoon.

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l
A lot has changed about newspapers in Ghana in the last fifteen years. For starters, there are way more pages and much more colour. One can’t help but notice the increase in advertising(and disclaimers!). Stan Lee’s Spider-Man strip has disappeared from The Daily Graphic, while Garth still fails to convince me that he’s as iconic a Brit as James Bond. Oh, and of course – the price. Ultimately the only pure thing about newspapers is the news. And every morning, a million Ghanaians are drawn to the front page of over 20 publications. But amidst the headlines, controversy, saturated advertising and political jargon, there is always one medium that distils all that noise and reaches out to the people. All over the world, cartoons are probably the most eye-catching and influential element of the press. With their wide outreach and incredible humour, cartoons give commentary on current events in a way that journalists can’t. “An image generally has a stronger, more direct impact on But what does it take to be a great cartoonist? The combination of controversy, intellect and art is a skill that most people undervalue. As an artist, I firmly hold the belief that art serves a much higher purpose than just looking good. Cartoonists like Frank Odoi, Zapiro, Akosua, Tayo Fatunla and Nadia Khiari are just a handful of the many African artists that reaffirm this belief by the creative and cultural impact of their work. In the wake of this past election, I‘d like to highlight the valuable commentary of cartooning and some tips on what I think makes a good editorial cartoonist. the brain than a sentence does,” said former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the “Unlearning Intolerance: Cartooning for Peace” Seminar back in 2006. “If you are flicking through a newspaper you have to make a conscious decision to stop and read an article, but it is hardly possible to stop yourself from looking at a cartoon.”

One other important aspect of cartooning is its caricature drawing style. The realm of illustrated humour thrives mainly on the artist capturing the essence of his subject. Artist Bright Acwerh,explains to mehow attention to detail is essential for getting across personality in his characters. “I think the joke is easily communicated through a character’s striking resemblance.” says the KNUST student, who counts Sarkodie, AyigbeEdem, and the late speaker of parliament P. A. Adjeteyamong justa few of his favouritepersonalities to draw. “Caricature art Ghana’s most popular cartoon strip right now appears every morning on The Daily Guide’s front page, courtesy of the elusive artist simply known as ‘Akosua’. In the twelve years since the strip has been published, Akosua has found a huge following and fan base. In his discourse analysis of Akosua cartoons, lecturer and researcher Kweku Rockson notes how the strip has enabled The Daily Guide to stand out. “Akosua’s cartoons have become not only an integral part of…The Daily Guide, but have now been institutionalized within the media turf in Ghana. Akosua is a must-see part of the newspaper, helping to provide a strong competitive edge for this mass medium.” Without a doubt, you could say that Akosua’scartoons aren’t just a mainstay of the news – they simply are news. The best cartoonists are the most informed. exaggerates some of our basic flaws and makes them laughable and sometimes even outrageous. When you become the subject of a caricature piece, it becomes a chance to criticisms get open-minded constructive on your attitudes.”

Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Prophet Muhammed, published in Denmark in September 2005, incited global outrage in the Islamic world. Also, in August 2011, renowned Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat was abducted by masked men in support of President Bashar Assad’s regime, which he criticizes Not every art piece has to be some sort of political assault,butifyou’reinterestedincartooningit’simportant to recognize your artistic right to be angrywith the government. South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, has been exercising his right for over 30 years. The political activist has been editorial cartoonist for South Africa’s Mail & Guardian since 1994 and became the first cartoonist to win a category prize in the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards In 2001. “In the apartheid era, the best thing about being a cartoonist was that you really knew who your enemy was,” he said in a video interview with The Video Journalism Movement. “We were all directed against this evil system of…racism [and] persecution.” Of course that changed with the surge of democracy that emerged when Nelson Mandela was made president of South Africa in 1994. Zapiro then became a huge supporter of Mandela and developmental plans for the country. “That made it very difficult to be a cartoonist; it’s not easy to do good, funny, biting satire when you’re supporting a project.” Of course, eighteen years down the line, you could say everything’s gone back to ‘normal’ for Zapiro. With the leadership and actions of key members of the ANC becoming more questionable, many South Africans – including Zapiro – have become more disillusioned. His criticisms now are mostly based on accountability of the system. Resulting from cartoons in 2006 and 2008 about President Jacob Zuma, he is currently being sued by Zuma for defamation in two cases amounting to R7 million. “The situation is clear,” he says. “It’s all about delivery and whether the ANC has fulfilled its mandate and promise to deliver to people. The answer unfortunately is a big fat ‘no’”. Great stories, hilarious jokes, and biting criticism all stem from enjoying what you do and having loads of fun along the way. Yeah,theStay-Positive-And-Smile-When-Drawingmessage sounds pretty basic, but thankfully Ghana has a prolific local hero to exemplify it. The late Ghanaian cartoonist Frank Odoi was one of Africa’s leading comic artists, and is one of Africa’s most celebrated cartoonists, with his fictional work and political commentary appearing in newspapers all over Africa. He was responsible for the popular Akokhan and Golgoti series, the most innovative and original comic book stories. Frank Odoi established a unique style of drawing that became instantly recognizable in local and global new publications, his distinctive visual style raw, powerful and vibrant. Odoi’s other trademark was his beaming smile and passion for drawing. Frank insisted in many interviews that he didn’t necessarily choose to be an artist, but only grew up loving art. With passion, the capacity to create is endless. And with the plethora of talent emerging from Ghana and beyond, inspiration for any budding artist or cartoonist right now is magical.The change and creativity that cartooning inspires is bound to stay relevant, years beyond any regime or government. In other words, cartoonists will always have the last laugh. For all its garnered giggles, cartoonists also attract their share of controversy. More often than not, it’s about challenging authority than merely poking fun at but targets for attack. In Ghana there have mainly been it. This rebellion may make artists not only rock stars, - JNA cartoons. They beat him viciously, and broke both his hands to stop drawing. The sixty-one year old, however, remains undeterred. His hands are healed and he’s back to drawing his cartoons. “My hope,” he said in a recent interview, “is that my drawings will be stronger than before. A million times stronger!” through his him from

Odoi

frank

legal risks. In November 2005, the Daily Guide was hit with a lawsuit by a member of parliament who claimed general damages for libel. But it’s nothing compared to what happens outside. One would recall how the

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I can count the number of happily married people I know on one hand. How many do you know? The kind of couple who enjoy spending time with each other; who still sleep in the same bed after twenty years of marriage; who are supportive of each other’s dreams, hopes and aspirations. Have you been able to identify five such couples yet? Yes? Good: introduce me to them. No? Then perhaps you will relate to my thoughts on marriage. I think marriage is overrated, at least the way it is practiced in Ghana, which is often about being married by a certain age, and staying married even when the relationship comes to its natural end because that’s just what one does. I was recently having lunch with a friend when the topic came up. She said, I don’t think anyone at the age of 25 should be saying I am going to live with this person till death do us part. What do you know at 25? As a young woman she had met and fallen in love with a handsome young man. He was completely taken with her. They spent all their time together. Her Dad - like many other Ghanaians - is conservative and didn’t approve of their undefined relationship. “What am I supposed to tell people? Are you engaged? Are you going to get married?” he asked. They got married and were happy for the first three years. She fell pregnant and that’s when the cracks started to show. He had no interest in accompanying her to the gynaecologist, and wasn’t excited about the addition to their family. His extended family visited frequently and he expected his Dad’s favourite meal of goat soup with meat, snails and crabs to be served whenever his Dad dropped by. His model of parenting was similar to what he had observed growing up: raising children was a woman’s responsibility and changing nappies, feeding children and waking up at night when the baby cried never crossed his mind. Ten years after the birth of her first child, and after twelve years of marriage Ama decided to separate. “I am happier now than I have ever been. The children are happy too. You should see them at home... chatting and playing. There isn’t that air of tension anymore. I think women who say they are staying in a marriage for the sake of their children are

lying to themselves. Children can tell when their parents are not happy and it has an effect on them. Or maybe the women cannot afford to leave. I was lucky, I could walk away from the marriage because we lived in my father’s house.” Ama’s words resonated with me. I too married at 25, and two years later ended the relationship when I realised I couldn’t do this till ‘death do us part’. In a sense I was lucky. We had no children, no major shared assets and - in spite of bruised emotions - could wish each other the best of luck and move on relatively easily with the rest of our lives. Many would say Ama and I are the exception rather than the rule. Most Ghanaian women do not choose to get divorced, probably for good reasons: married women receive higher social status than single women. Even doctors and Parliamentarians describe themselves as Dr (Mrs) X or Hon (Mrs) X. The sad reality is that many women are financially dependent on their husbands, and cannot afford to leave even if they want to. Some who can are advised by family and friends who say, “stay... work at it. Marriage dier, that’s how it is o.” I propose that we do away with marriage completely - at least in its current form. How about we have partnerships instead: renewable every few years. Every couple can decide how long their partnership contract lasts before being re-negotiated, maintained or torn up. They can agree on terms and conditions: how much income should be deposited in a joint account for family use; what parental responsibilities entail; how many times a week they will have sex... all important issues that become stumbling blocks to a happy partnership but are rarely talked about explicitly before marriage. In these partnerships ‘till death do us part’ can be replaced with ‘for as long as we are happy together’. Do you think this could work? Post your thoughts on facebook.com/dustaccra or tweet @DUSTAccra
By Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

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We The People

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ballots & blue sheets
By Afua Ankomah

Politik

At the polling station
Each party is (supposed to be) represented at each of the 26,015 polling stations in Ghana by an agent. This agent is responsible for making sure that the process during the day allowed everyone (regardless of party affiliation) to exercise their franchise, and that votes are correctly counted for his/ her party at the polling station level. This is arguably the most important part of the process. When the votes are counted, the agent is responsible for ensuring that the correct numbers are recorded on a blue (now pink) sheet, a copy of which is given to every agent, and a copy of which is kept by the presiding officer for transportation to the Constituency centre, where the results are collated for that constituency.

and entering the polling station’s numbers on the constituency sheet where the totals are calculated. From there, the results are sent to the Electoral Commission’s Regional Office for onward transmission to the Strong Room (at EC Headquarters). The presidential results are then finally collated and released as official by the Electoral Commissioner. A few questions arise from this:

The elections are over. Ghanaians have voted for their president, and the 275 representatives they want to see in the next Parliament. Nevertheless, there are some who are dissatisfied with the results that have been announced. Let me just put it out there – I’m a floating voter, and have been for the past three elections. But as a committed supporter of Ghana, I never fail to exercise my franchise. Since I have no interest in who wins the elections beyond a better republic for all, I listen carefully when there’s a political argument – so I can fall back on a memory bank of incidents to make up my mind the next time my thumb is required. This time, I heard things that made my ears perk up, especially about the way in which results are shipped off to the Strong Room (the Electoral Commission’s National Collation Centre) for the final collation and declaration of Presidential election results. If you’re not a floating voter, you have one view or another – either that your party was robbed, or that the other side is throwing toys out of the pram. I can’t state enough times that I don’t believe either, but I do see a reason for the figures to be looked at again – just because a valid point has been raised that needs to be addressed dispassionately. My question is, “Were the votes released at the constituency level the correct figures for election 2012?” To answer this, we need a bit of background information – about the electoral process and what happens after 5pm.

Which figures are sent to the Strong Room?
Only the approved constituency results are sent to the strong room. This means that the polling station results are left behind.

At the constituency level
The returning officer, who is responsible for accurately collating the results puts the results from each polling station together, recording the numbers (again) in the presence of party agents, who are responsible for ensuring that the right figures are recorded, and that the right totals are inputted. If the results from a polling station have been disputed after a recount, the returning officer is responsible for re-counting the ballots finally,

Where is there room for error?
At several points. The first is at the polling station, where all the ballots are counted individually. The potential for error is small, as the votes are counted in the presence of witnesses, and there are eyes and a lot of pressure on the presiding officer (employed by the Electoral Commission) to count correctly. The results could also be incorrectly recorded, but this is also highly

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unlikely as there are (supposed to be) vigilant polling agents representing each interested party, and making sure that every single number written down represents the votes that were cast in the election at the polling station level. The number of votes at the polling stations tend to be in the hundreds – which is why within an hour or so, the first polling station results start coming in. From the polling station, the results are transported to the Constituency centre, where they are tallied and totalled. It is in the transfer to the collation sheet (known in-house as EL 23 B) that the biggest disputes have arisen – where the results for hundreds of polling stations for each of the eight parties are manually entered, before being collated. Here, 826 could become 628, and without a vigilant party agent watching, he/she could easily miss out on the error. Remember, there are hundreds of polling stations per constituency. A returning officer in Hypothetical Constituency with 100 polling stations would have had to have made 800 separateentries to be collated for constituency results for the presidential results alone. For parliamentary candidates, each candidate would have 100 records – one per polling station. And the results were expected in 48 hours. Any one (or more) of those 800 entries could be subject to a transpositional error, an error of

omission, or a combination, where, for example, 16800 becomes 1608. Even worse, the wrong figures could be entered into one column, on behalf of the wrong party. With the amount of pressure each of these presiding officers is under, it’s not impossible for mistakes to happen, however I would personally draw the line at implying that this was done on purpose. But that is a personal opinion – as I was not there and have no proof either way.

So what’s the bottom line?
The blue sheets are the most accurate source of election results – the party agents have to have agreed to them, or made it very clear that there were results to be disputed at the polling station level. Most of time, the disputes can easily be resolved by a final count at the constituency centre, which puts the issue to rest. What that means for the broader results, though, is that to determine if there are any errors in the collation of results, the blue sheetshave to be re-tallied. Once the numbers have been taken from the 26,015 blue sheets all over again, and re-totalled, for each presidential candidate, the results are indeed undisputable. Till then, I will always wonder.

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Politik

Some months ago, there was a news story on President Mahama embezzling some amount of money. These keywords in a headline: “President”, “Swiss Bank”, “Billions” may be catchy, but the content was largely inconsistent and incoherent. Making matters worse, it took the World Bank to tell us the story was false. During the latter weeks of November, barely weeks to the elections, there was much heated talk on an aired section of a bygone sermon by Dr. Mensah Otabil that seemed to take a stance on the free education debate. I looked up and listened to the audio clip that had been circling the airwaves and was shocked how it had generated so much chatter; there really wasn’t much to it. I thought of it as a positive message, which even when taken out of the religious context, would still make sense. It didn’t at all sound partisan to me. In fact, it didn’t sound Ghanaian to me. It sounded like an address to the continent’s problems and his take on the way forward. Fee-free education was just one example he gave. But we find ourselves in a country where everything is politicized or “religiousized”. This takes things out of context and impedes our objectivity. It’s okay to have a belief and a party preference, but to allow this lens to blur your judgment of sound policies is damaging. The media is a very powerful tool and we really shouldn’t abuse it. If this continues, we may ward off people who have rational comments of social relevance and leave the airwaves for the noisemakers. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want that. I’ve heard rebuttals criticizing the pastor for making statements that sound too political. I doubt any of them

have heard or thought about the content of the Otabil voice clips. In my opinion it was a sound comment passed to a particular audience in a particular context and that’s fair. It’s not enough to accept a story or an opinion as fact because it makes your preferred political party look better. Cast your minds back a bit. The West told false narratives of Africans as being subhuman in order to justify their actions like the slave trade. But the stories didn’t change the facts; we’re human and it’s always been wrong to sell people as slaves. We have to be cautious with false propaganda. The damage caused is very often irrevocable. I recently read something interesting in the New African magazine that said, “Propagandists can get away with murder, as any potential punishment directed at them will be insignificant in relation to the harm they might have done”. In Rwanda, someone called a neighbor a cockroach, it caught on without reason, and next thing we knew, there was genocide. There’s a plus side though. There’s a conscious lot who are interested in the issues. All throughout the campaigns, debates, encounters and discussions, the social media front was not silent. The concerned, engaged, discerning Ghanaian community online is what I’d like to call the Brain Clouds. From the electricity situation to the Melcom building collapse, they provided sound commentary, opinions and solutions. Whenever brain clouds gather, we’ll find those defiant to progress- in this case our propagandists and unruly media personnel. But there’s hope. If these “brain cloud” forecasts are anything to go by, I can confidently say we’re closer now than ever.

By Michael Kobby Annor

“Propagandists can get away with murder, as any potential punishment directed at them will be insignificant in relation to the harm they might have done.” – Cameron Duodu
At the tail end of a famine, when the clouds start to gather and the people begin to realize there’s hope; when everyone is happy and… actually no, that’s not the case. The narrative isn’t that simple. I have no reason to assume all the people will be pleased. The truth is simple: not everyone appreciates progress. But all the same, the rain clouds are still forming. To the enlightened few, it’s an opportunity for change, and the rains will come. In the build up to the elections, our anti-progress friends in the media were quite active and there were several misleading publications that spurred on unnecessary arguments. They were either completely false or very badly distorted and, more often than not, with no hesitation, the public blindly accepted the information and passed immediate judgment. It’s problematic how just anything makes the news, and much more problematic how we’re not being discerning enough. Hundreds of hateful comments can be read on sites like myjoyonline and GhanaWeb all because of one journalist’s unsupported, unverified opinion on an issue. In the worst cases, these publications aren’t just distorted opinions, but completely fictional pieces. It’s puzzling how someone would sit down to cook up stories for public discourse.

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Politik

On November 7th, Melcom’s multi-storey department store in Achimota collapsed, less than a year after it had opened. Of the seventy or so people pulled out of the rubble, almost ten had died. Election campaigns were suspended and accusations started flying immediately. Melcom pointed out that they had rented the building. Their landlord alleged that they had put the building under undue stress by using an upper floor for heavy storage. One National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) official said structural weakness was to blame. Another from the Ghana Institution of Engineering pointed out that the debris showed that the concrete mix used was not up to the required standard. Even worse, it became clear that the building did not even have a permit. President John Mahama acknowledged the need for government to step up its enforcement of safety standards on high-rise buildings and for better

mechanisms to be put in place to check the safety and security of existing structures. An investigation was launched and those responsible for the negligence, we were told, “would pay a price”. Through it all, one voice of reason was Victoria Okoye who (after a brilliant summary of the whole affair) suggested (on her blog, ‘African Urbanism’) that everybody is to blame: “Those who pay bribes to get around government enforcement, those who accept bribes at the detriment of those impacts, those who cut corners to save costs. In the end, someone always pays… We live in a universe where each action has a reaction, and in this case, it’s not always a good one.” We couldn’t possibly put it any better.
To see more of Victoria’s musings, visit www.africanurbanism.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: www.akwaabaradio.com

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Cover

GHANA
By Sena Kpodo From the outside, its fair to say the eyes of the world are on Africa... With the rapid expansion of mobile communications, the internet and social media, in many ways its become easier for Africa to be seen and heard; to shape its own narrative beyond the stereotypes, and express itself. You’re likely to see a popular trend across social media and editorials seeking to ‘redefine’ Africa, rejecting dominant stereotypes of ‘famine’, ‘aid’ and ‘corruption’ to empowering slogans such as ‘Trade not Aid’ ‘Boom not Gloom’ and ‘Africa Rising’. Most notably, I find the concept of ‘Branding’ being questioned from both inside and outside of the continent, by both definer and defined. Over the last few years, the words ‘Africa’ and ‘Branding’ have almost inseparably been coupled together across a number of arenas; be it for Business, Arts or International Politics. Brands are built on what sets one apart from the next. Communicating the right messages and images can tip the balance to add value to a product, person or country; if done wrong, it can undervalue and leave room for exploitation and misrepresentation. Brand building is big business. For example, if you take the core product of Coca Cola, the world’s most valuable brand (worth a staggering $80b), its essentially water, caffeine, sugar and fizz! Likewise, if you’re looking to buy a new smartphone, there are those who will only consider an Apple product, even though Samsungs and Nokias all share the same basic functions - dial, call, camera, internet. The same consumer principles apply regarding a country’s ability to attract investment, trade and tourism. What comes to mind when I mention Brazil, India, or France? Whether it is samba, carnival or football; Bollywood or the Taj Mahal; art, food or the Eiffel Tower; I’m sure something strong and unique to that country comes to mind. Now, how and what do you identify with when you look at Ghana? Does it reflect the Ghana we see today? At present, seven of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa, the leader being Ghana. As the first Sub-Saharan country to gain independence, Ghana has also diplomatically maintained peaceful relations with its neighbours and international partners. Of course, there is also our Black Star football team. Basically, in the international arena Ghana’s country PR is sweet. You will hear, ‘Ghana is a peaceful country’, ‘Ghana has lovely beaches’, ‘Ghanaians dieh, they love football’. When you look at advertising you will subsequently see images with big smiles, colourful vibrant scenery, a welcoming mama Africa and I’m sure a football in the background. But what do we really know about Ghana beyond Accra, beyond the slogans? How does Ghana position itself to embrace and showcase its own potential? Branding Ghana is more than just

branding

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The power to Brand Ghana moves the question away from ‘what can be taken?’ to ‘what can be given?’...

Ghanaians (I being one) are proud of their country; the names tell a story, surnames geographically locate, education esteems, the history and the music draws people near.
I recently went to the World Travel Market in London (the largest travel exhibition in the world, where almost every country attends to promote their country on an international platform). You can imagine my disappointment to find Ghana was not present, much to the surprise of many other exhibitors and visitors. I walked around taking note of how other African countries were successfully branding themselves: Ghana’s tourism slogan? Hmm...

maintaining the old stereotypes, its about showcasing the new - and telling its own story from the inside out, not outside in. Without such, how can a country truly express its identity and therefore speak of a ‘brand’? Whenever I would visit, in Accra, visiting my family’s home regions (Volta and Cape Coast), or the typical landmarks- Slave Castles, the Mall (yes I know!), beaches... I was always left with this feeling that Ghana was hiding its greatest secrets from me. There was a phrase I picked up whilst in Ghana: ‘They say its good to travel and see’; and that’s what I decided to do, I travelled.

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I wanted to see Ghana through my own eyes, feel the roads the poor man walked on and stand in the places that our rich men built. I discovered places like Nzulezu a stilt village built on water, still inhabited and said to be over 600 years old. I visited Larabanga in the North - to see the oldest Mosque in West Africa. I discovered Boti falls, for the first time realising Ghana was home to numerous waterfalls, and I volunteered. Most of all, I met the people of Ghana, the fabric of Ghana, the voices of Ghana and what I call the Brand of Ghana. This is what identifies Ghana and this is what needs to be seen.

Collectively, Ghana means many things to many people, not just Ghanaians, but those with shared experiences and desire to explore. I’m working to see the best of Ghana on billboards in London and New York; I want to create an awareness of Ghana that empowers Ghanaians, Africans and Travellers. I want to be at the World Travel Market and identify with the Ghana I see. I • The Gambia, ‘The Smiling Coast of want Ghana to be there as ‘The Black Africa’ Star of Africa’ (now, that might be a • Ethiopia, ‘The Cradle of Humankind’ nice slogan...) • Malawi, ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’
• Uganda, ‘The Pearl of Africa’

Country Branding? I’m working to shape Ghana’s image.

Opinion

how GHANA got its groove back
By Dele Meiji

Ghana, first post-independence black republic, has always had a special place in the heart of Africans and Africanists the world over. Despite this, it’s never been quite cool. It’s always been a popular destination for AfricanAmericans, partly because of its historical associations with the upheavals of 17-19th century Africa more clearly marked in a place that has more reverence for history than some other countries, and partly because of its aforementioned vanguard position in the pan-Africanist movement. In fact, you could say Ghana was cool back then – when its president Nkrumah was calling

out before the ignominious finals – was the beginnings of a certain something. Admittedly, less to do with Ghanaians themselves, and more to do with the world switching on to Ghana’s cool. In music where the country has often seemed a poor cousin to the richer seam of music down in the Congo and up in Nigeria, Ghana has been making its mark in recent years. The dance and music craze of Azonto, so influential it’s managed to shake the British establishment to its knees and produce paroxysms of movement from the Prime Minister and the heir to the throne, is the prime example. But even before Azonto made its impact, Ghanaian musicians had it going on, notably the hip-hop artists Mensa, and Wanlov Kubolor – the duo known as FOKN BOIS. Wanlov was brave and brazen enough to let it all hang out on national television – and the duo stepped up to the bigger, brasher, pretender to the giant of Africa throne on the song “Thank God We’re Not a Nigerians”, a song about all the things you want to tell Nigerians but were too shy to say. [I mean, I guess, it’s racist – but Nigerians should know they’ve arrived when their stereotype is so well drawn you can make a song out of it. Still, the Naija response was weak. Actually, can someone do a better Nigerian riposte?] There are other musicians making their mark too, notably the singer, Efya, whose collaboration with the artist Oladipo is playful, sexy and elegant. [And she doesn’t seem to hold his Nigerianess against him]. And who switched us on to all these

artists and musicians, some of the most interesting bloggers on the four ends of the continent; one of these bloggers, Kobina Graham, started and now edits Dust, probably one of Africa’s coolest magazines, chronicling Accra life and style, in a nattily creative and critical way. The best of the blogs still has to be “Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women” started by Nana Darkoa – which reveals and explores the sex lives of African women [and men] in an open, honest, and funny fashion. To top it all, the country seems to be on a steady upward economic trajectory that it’s larger cousin and rival can only envy – and take advantage of for holidays, and homes away from home. The place is home to a university that actually has the objective of creating people who can think critically, and don’t just ‘sabi book’ – you have to admire a place with universities that are not just aiming to create ‘leaders’ but know what kind of leader they want to create.
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for a United States of Africa. The leaders of other countries that shall remain nameless till later on were tepidly arguing for less. It’s the place Fela fled when he was escaping the Nigerian state. It’s where W.B DuBois, Maya Angelou, and a host of other AfricanAmerican exiles went to rememorize Africa as the civil rights movement turned from its determined anger to the righteous rage of the black power movement. Yet, despite all that until recently, what can one say, there wasn’t that ineffable coolness that seems to rub off on the denizens of a country either through dint of history, achievement or sheer power. Now things seem to have changed. There is a certain savoir-faire that Ghanaians themselves now seem to possess that wasn’t there before. A degree of economic prosperity and stability has something to do with it – but having discussed this some with Ghanaian friends we all agree the first football tournament on African Soil in 2010, when the Black Stars carried the hopes of many as African team after African team was knocked

All in all, Ghanaian cool seems to be based on something slightly different from Nigerian cool – [which is the ultimate arbiter, isn’t it?] – which seems to emerge out of the manifestation of a thousand fragile egos puffing themselves against the wind; “Ghanaian cool” seems to have a certain louche reserve about it, less brazen more regal, as if all this orderliness is effortless. It’s very polite. The question is, my fellow West Africans, can you maintain it once you get oil money?

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Opinion

By Joseph Oduro-Frimpong

There is this story of a Ghanaian parent who sent his child to purchase peanuts from a particular seller under a dwarfed mango tree. When the child got to the location, he realized the seller was not ‘open for business.’ Perhaps thinking that all peanuts are the same, this kid got the item from a different vendor.

the home; to relations between so-called social superiors; and our entire educational system. Just visit a ‘traditional’ Ghanaian home, and observe how parents expect children to be ‘seen but not heard.’ Also spend some little time at any GPRTU* station and notice how local heads at these stations suppress inquiries as to how these leaders manage members’ When he got home and got financial welfare contributions. You queried whether he purchased the might also want to visit most of peanuts from the seller at that our higher educational institutions, mango tree, he answered in the and witness how many instructors negative. The parent became expect students to accept what livid and rhetorically yelled: ‘who they teach, without question; or told you to go and buy from that how such instructors rarely explore place?!’ The child misunderstood the possibility of asking students to the question, and attempted a relate their everyday experiences reply but was cut in mid-sentence: to academic concepts. Of course, I ‘hwe!, orebeyi m’ano! Wo ye too understand that it is not practical known paaaa’ [The nerve, you to elicit students’ viewpoints have, to give a reply! You are just and subsequent discussions on too known]. concepts in a class of over one hundred students. However, I still The use of ‘too known’ in Ghanaian do not think that our educational popular social discourse is system should educate students reserved, legitimately, for loud, who only parrot instructors’ conversation-dominating, known- (sometimes moribund) ideas. it-all folks, who do not countenance and clamp-down alternative view Perhaps, in past Ghanaian social points. life, raising children not to become ‘too known’ – to be docile and However, as in the above vignette, unassertive – worked. Maybe in most Ghanaians use the term to the past, continually devaluing convey the abhorrence of being children’s intellectual maturity assertive, taking initiative, and and killing their creativity and of possessing and exhibiting a curiosity by tagging their actions questioning attitude. This use of and questions as ‘too known’ was ‘too known’ which stifles critical appropriate. thinking and open articulation of divergent opinions, pervades However, in this present century, nearly all sectors of Ghanaian life: the evidently disturbing negative from how children are raised in effects of such socialization

practice in Ghanaian life are not acceptable and should be changed! Advocating for such a path is hinged on the evidence of some characters in our political circles who possess little to “no capacity to [critically] discuss issues of national importance . . . [and] shout hoarse on our airwaves, throwing abuse and insults and [present] shallow arguments that further misinform [Ghanaians] (Rawlings 2012: 10); ill-equipped graduates who cannot effectively communicate their skills in a competitive global job market; mothers who fear to report spousal abuse to established authorities; and members of various churches who dread to expose the abused trust of their Pastors/Elders/ Reverend Bishops and Chairmen. As might be clear from the above, I stand for an immediate nurturing of a culture of critical thinking and assertiveness that enable people to respectfully question received ideas, and eloquently articulate, novel options. This new attitude should not countenance any of the contemporary communicative practice of arrogant, loud and shallow arguments that discourages alternative perspectives. In heeding the above call, as a freshly-minted teacher, my goal is to contribute to educate “a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa” – as stated in Ashesi University College’s Mission Statement – to become ‘too known people’.

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a God. From the coat of religiosity and the general disapproval of skeptics and unbelievers, it is very easy to overlook the reality that there are people who may not necessarily believe in God the same way others do. We often suppress enquiry in Ghanaian society. Children are told what to do without asking questions: older people know better. This creates a situation where you either believe or don’t, with little room for questions. However, there is a distinct difference between an unbeliever and a skeptic. The former rejects all types of belief, while the latter seeks validity on aspects of a religion that they find contentious. It is difficult to find spaces that welcome questions about why we believe what we believe, contradictions in the Bible, and issues about our existence, etcetera. As a child, you are faced with the usual ‘You don’t question God!’ As you grow older, you may face the alienation of not being on the same page as most of the people you know. The church - a space that could be open to discussion and greater understanding - becomes a place of taught doctrine, where we go to learn and receive, rather than to deliberate and wrestle. Question belief and you are lead back to the Bible, and asked to read and find answers in the very things you are confused about. It feels like hitting several brick walls. You cannot engage with people without hearing about ‘fundamental truths’, being judged blasphemous or just plain ‘lost’. This is incredibly marginalizing for people who may genuinely want to believe. Tagging people who do not fit into the general status quo is not only unfair, but also hypocritical. Historically, the church has come a long way from what it once was. Strict Catholicism gave way to Protestantism because people questioned. More importantly, Charismaticism came out of

the African Initiated Churches, a movement that was born out of resistance to a solely western expression of God. African people were not allowed to use any of their instruments or sing in their local languages, because these things were tagged as evil. It took people who saw problems with this paradigm to reclaim Christianity as theirs, producing to a large extent, what we know today. In my humble opinion, there are problems with the way we interact with religion in Ghana. While it definitely has its merits, it has also been used as a justification for human right abuses, encouraging people to be silent and even in approval of mob action against homosexuals, for instance. Homogeneity of beliefs is impossible; people search for and find God in different ways. It is about time people realized that their fellow countrymen and women are not one-dimensional. There is value in examining what we believe, beyond what the Pastors say from the pulpits; they too, are only as human as the rest of us. It is a wonderful thing if you are secure enough in your beliefs to not question certain aspects of it, but it is important to give other people who are not the space to ask, to deliberate, and to search. Above all, it is also essential to respect whatever their answers may be and whatever decisions they take.

By Deborah Frempong

Play me some Don Moen or Ron Kenoly, and you will be playing the soundtrack to part of my childhood. Growing up in Ghana, almost everyone I knew was Christian. In primary school, everyone learned about the other major religions, but when your teacher got to Christianity, you would get excited because you already know about how God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh day. You knew about Abraham and Isaac, Noah, Jesus Christ. You recited the Lord’s Prayer religiously every morning; if you went to a Catholic school, the Creed was also a part of your routine. Enhance this experience with daily sermons on TV, signboards about breakthroughs and fasting, worship nights, praise nights; the loud church in that uncompleted building near your house that decides that it will start its allnight service just when you are about to go to bed; that Pastor who had a vision that you fell into a gutter, your President banning the use of libation at National Ceremonies… I think you get the picture.

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According to the Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism (conducted by WIN-Gallup International), Ghana is the most religious country out of 57 countries polled. It has no atheists. None. They don’t exist in the motherland. Hold up. Is that even possible? I don’t think that the statistic reflects as much issues of accuracy as it does the invisibility of the section of Ghanaians who do not believe in

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Travel

We set off from Accra early Saturday morning, leaving the city lights (and a few latecomers) behind as we headed towardstheportcityofTakoradi.Knowing we had a full day ahead of us, I slept through the ensuing 3-hour drive; but awoke for the 30-minute rest stop in Takoradi. As I bonded with my fellow travellers over the lack of toilet paper in the bathroom, I discovered that (for many of them) this was their first time on an Adventure Junkies trip. They had all wanted to attend previous ones, but their schedules had prevented them from doing so or the trips had filled up—they are becoming quite popular. One girl noted that this was not only her first Adventure Junkies trip, but also her first time in Takoradi (a sentiment that was echoed by a few others on the charter bus). Encouraging local tourism was actually one of the reasons Adventure Junkies was started. Kofi, Kweku, and Jason (the original Adventure Junkies) used to go on trips together once a month. Eventually they decided to get a bus

Words by Sharifah Isaka. Images by: Amfo Connoly & Edinam Awo Amewode

FROM GHANA WITH LOVE is a brand new Ghana-based travel series by Wiz Sharifah for DUST. For her first installment, she travelled to Cape Three Points with ‘Adventure Junkies’, a Ghanabased tour operator that offers young Ghanaians (and nonGhanaians alike) a customized, all-inclusive travel experience and a fun, hassle-free way to see more of the country.

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below and because of the winding trails and steep inclines (chale, I’m not as fit as I used to be). I thought Akwidaa was gorgeous until we reached this quiet cove down the coast called Ezile Bay. A pristine beach with rocks jutting from the ocean in a calm bay flanked by lush, green hills. I could have been in Southeast Asia. We continued on along the shoreline; traversing beaches, coastal rainforests, and villages, as we headed towards Cape 3 Points—the southernmost tip of Ghana. At one point, we even waded through a swamp (our Our bus ride from Takoradi to our beach lodge was local tour guide Edward was apologetic, but we had definitely an adventure. Our big green bus on the all signed up for an adventure so we didn’t mind). small, red clay roads made for a precarious journey at times, but eventually we arrived at the Safari After nearly two hours of hiking we finally reached Lodge: a well-appointed eco lodge near Cape 3 our destination (and it was definitely worth the Points. The décor was rustic, yet upscale “Africana” walk). Built in 1925, the lighthouse at Cape 3 Points with solar-powered rooms, self-composting toilets has been solar-powered since 2005. The remains (you use ash to neutralize the scent), and spacious, of an even older lighthouse (built in 1875) can be stone-laid outdoor showers. Framed vintage travel seen, as can an amazing view of the Atlantic and magazine posters added to the “safari chic” vibe. Ghana’s southwest coast. We set up a portable It was pretty swanky for an eco lodge. We got cooker and ate a picnic lunch of jollof rice while acquainted with our fellow Adventure Junkies relaxing under the palm trees and listening to the over breakfast in the lodge’s open-air restaurant waves crash against the rocks below. and were left to our own devices for the morning, with some braving the waves and others striking Worn out from our hike, we decided to return to Akwidaa by tro tro, but not before bestowing a up a game of beach football. donation of clothing and books to the local village of We departed the Safari Lodge at around noon, Cape 3 Points. We then headed back to Akwidaa taking our big green bus to the nearby village of to watch the sun set over the sleepy, seaside Akwidaa; where the Ezile River (dotted by colorful village. It was postcard-level pretty. As night fishing boats) meets the Atlantic. There we busted fell, we took our big green bus back to the Safari out the ice chests and commenced drinking—some Lodge where we freshened up and regrouped for Sprite, some stronger stuff. We attracted a large a barbeque and bonfire on the beach. crowd of locals (mainly children) and we shared our drinks (the non-alcoholic ones of course) in The next morning we bid farewell to our chic exchange for Azonto dance lessons. The kids in little eco lodge and headed to the beautiful Busua Beach Resort for a poolside brunch followed by Akwidaa can move. an afternoon of fun in the sun. I was legitimately From there we set off on foot to Cape Three depressed when we boarded the bus for Accra as I Points. The walk through the hills above Akwidaa not only had an amazing experience, but also met was breathtaking. Breathtaking because of the some awesome “Adventure Junkies”. Although I indescribably beautiful views of the fishing village was sad that the trip was over, I was consoled so that they could do so with a large group of friends. After the success of their first group trip to Mount Afadjato, they knew the interest was there so they followed it up with a trip to Wli Falls and have since led all-inclusive, prepackaged tours to Nzulezu, Cape Coast, and Mole National Park (among other places). Although they initially targeted the young, urban Ghanaian, the trips are open to all: foreigners, families, and anyone with sense of adventure.

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by the fact that I had filmed the whole thing. A video of my experience with Adventure Junkies can be found on the Dust Magazine YouTube page: www.youtube.com/DustMagazine. Alternatively, you can just come on the next Adventure Junkies trip. I’m going and you should too.

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Shot

While evangelical advertising is a mainstay of Accra’s skyline, we had not realized that its influence extended to its shore. It’s unclear whether or not this is available on the local market. Maybe Maame Water is trying to tell us something.
Photo Credit: Seton Nicholas

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Icon

There is a lot more in Ghana that is iconic than people who have done great things. Afro Moses slippers are as durable as the articulator truck tyres from which they are recycled, making them ideal for heavy duty walking on Ghana’s roads. Moreover, each slipper is bespoke. To wear a pair is to celebrate being Ghanaian.

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Photo Credit: Seton Nicholas

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the website
Don’t forget to check out the DUST website for the most compelling content on Accra, Ghana, and Africa!

www.dustaccra.com

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