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7. Editorial 8. Contributors
40. Blitz the Ambassador 45. Drum ‘69
SEX & RELATIONSHIPS
10. ‘You Know You’re in
52. Adventures from the
Bedrooms of African Women FLASH
11. Out There 13. Playlist 14. Over Here 16. Passing Through 20. Tech: Nandi Mobile 22. Pesewa: Living in Accra
on a Shoestring
54. Tobias Freytag
57. James Barnor
23. Health: Don’t Break
Your Heart SPORT
58. Go! 24. Cults & Colts
60. Win Tickets to
26. Writers Project of Ghana
Industries. What? Where?
Still taken from the documentary ‘African Rising’ by Paula Heredia
31. We the People 32. Lessons from Tokyo 34. Big Men, Small Girls 36. Progressive Planning 37. Ghana’s Creative
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Photography: Jahse Subject: Blitz the Ambassador Editor: Kobby Graham Thanks to... Ismael Abass, Jemima Agyare, Ama Amugu, Aba Ayensu, James Barnor, Michael Darkwa, Tobias Freytag, Ghanyobi, Stuart Gold, Bill Bedzrah, Joojo Graham, Toke Olagbaju, Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah, Nana Kofi Acquah, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Jason Nicco-Annan, Nyani Quarmyne, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Edward Tagoe, Eli Tetteh, Peter Van Der Wurff
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Hello my fellow Dusties.
Whether you’re holding a copy of DUST in your hands or looking at it on your phone or your PC, thank-you for your support. Here at DUST, we’re in the business of inspiring Ghana’s next generation of changemakers. No future is successfully faced without first absorbing the past, a fact demonstrated superbly by the man we have put on our fifth front cover: Blitz the Ambassador. On his new album, Native Sun, Blitz draws from musicians and sounds - past and present - all over the continent, creating an epic soundtrack to the struggle of Africa and her children, as well as a manifesto for her future. In a similar vein, DUST would like to doff its hat to editors & writers including Peter Akinti (of Untold Magazine), Sofia Foster (Concrete), Claude Gruzinitsky (Trace), Dominique Paravicini (Enjoy), Nkwaye Ansah (Canoe), Helen Jennings (Arise) and Phiona Okumu of Afripopmag.com, each of whom inspire DUST in different ways as we try to strike that balance between conscious and cool in every issue. We reserve a special salute this issue though to Drum: a magazine that was the first to do what DUST and many others try to do today. Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah shares with us his reflections on DRUM in 1969, while Nana Ofori-Atta Ayim pays tribute to iconic Ghanaian photographer, James Barnor, whose pictures helped make DRUM come alive. We also salute Deborah Ahenkorah, the founder of the Golden Baobab Award for African writing aimed at young children. Since we featured her in our last issue, Debbie has gone on to win an Echoing Green award as one of today’s boldest visionaries in social change. DUST is very proud to have recognized her before her success and we are also very proud - as fellow young Ghanaians - of her achievement. Tributes aside, we still showcase the best culture, commentary, art, and analysis that Accra has to offer. This includes insight into colt soccer, commentary on sexual economics in Accra, the importance of national planning, lessons from the Japanese earthquake and an interview with innovative and award-winning software collective, Nandimobile, who are showing what Ghana’s young can do when we put our minds to it. We also feature some lovely visuals courtesy of international contributor, Tobias Freytag, who shares his striking portraits of African artists in the Diaspora. So what are you waiting for? Kick back, dig in and enjoy.
r Cr yst al is t he publis h er o f D u st Maga zine. Sh e h b e en as a free lance write r for o ver 5 years an d s tudie C ap e d in Town , Oxfo an d D rd u nd e e . Sh e has w orked with nu mb a er ma gazin n ew s es, p ap e r s an d organ isatio ns. Sh a form e is er e m ploye of Glo e bal M edia Allian ce (C NN Af J o ur n rica alist o f Year Award s, Hap py FM, Y FM, a Nana D a nd E T Ghan V r k o a S ek a). yia
Nana O ur d Darko esign a is a er G h mo de do es anyob r n Gh not li i anaia mit h woma n to the imself Toke n. Wit confin Olagb h a st intere es of aju is rong graph poet, st in w a ic des desig o men ign bu rights ner, a rathe ’s arts e t and is nd r atte From nthus sues, mpts has b Ghan iast. to cre Nana the b roken a by As ate a way o rains the m r t o ut for G f Fran behin ould of de hanaia Heart ce an d ‘I sign, Engla n wom Accra d layou Sh e m nd, K ’, she photo en. t, great anage orant graph is a is a te netwo s Gha eng y an d first a chnolo na’s He is rker a the g more nd m o respo gist, nd omniv o-to p . st p o p nsible blog o ourou er s o n h ow D ular find o for n Afric s read to ust lo s ome ut wh an er, oks. F sexua time at’s h fresh.. penin lity, A un, write ap . an d music g in A dvent r an d from Ghan lover ccra. ures issue, the B aian. and is This writin edroo she in of Afr g two ms trodu our re ican W b o ok s ces of wh aders omen Posts at he . to inn vative are b calls o‘toli’. ased an d g p er s o o n th He is reen make nal ex e also o bag of DU rs, Tr perie ne of the ST’s f ashyb nces contr avour ags. blogg ibuto ite fall in e r s an r s an d line w d we proud ith Na are desire to fea na’s to pro ture h autho vide a is safe p ritativ lace f e com ment or wo to ex ar y o men press n DRU maga the m M - w he zine 1 selve t h er s s 969. exuall other y or wise.
contr ibutor s
UNLOCKING NEW IDEAS...
Ghan y ob
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K or an t en A ba
M an t s e
A vide o dire ctor, photo graph er, d o cu m entar y mak & inte er llectu al agitat or, Ma ntse is the found er of Accra [Dot] ALT & his m onthly Talk Partie s are popula with r Accra ’s creat ive th inker His ph s. otogr ap h e r eye s ’s ettled on co socce lt r this issue.
Ayensu Jemima A Nana g y ar e Oforia tta Ay is a w im riter, filmm an d c aker ultura l histo curre rian, ntly c omple Ph D a ting a t SOA S (Lon Sh e h don). a s wr itten for pu A rec blicat ent g ions includ radua of Ash te ing Th e si U n e Nat Ge o g iverional sity C raphic ollege an d A curat A ba A , Jaso rise; Nicco ed & yensu n -Anna lectu is a at ins caree n is a red one o titutio r stud lso f Accr ns lik ent o Oxfor hiatu a’s fin e n radio s, mo d Univ e st prese onligh ersity T he V on ra ntting & ers, c dio as &A M o-hos u s eu m the p Dr. Je had h sente ting ,& remima u n d er er film r of t groun Agyar he At s show the h sever Mornin d rad e is lantis ead o show, n at al int io g Driv f rese ernat ‘Farc at the e. She film f loves ach ional yde’ o XFM e J o hn estiva to ha n ver y S A. ls. He ng o u Kufuo sh e p artist aturd re t with r Fou where ays tr s an d ay, ndatio ibute h e sh creat for Le to ico in Acc n owca ives ade a dive nic G ra, es ses rse se hanaia pecia Develo rship, photo w hen lectio n lly of fre p men graph sh e c n sh mu t an d er, Ja an c a Gover Barno resea sic me s ll it nm unhea rch. H r. rd els er fav where ent in Accr rite t ew h e oua o n Gh sh e e hinke re anaia xamin r is Fr the in Fanon n rad es antz terse Here, io. an d s ction he fle betw he lov a go o xes h e en s writin es d d eb is cienc g skil ate o techn e, socia ls wit n any ology revie l issue ha w of t an d develo in Gh Here h e sh ana. film a p men sh e p or t ccom t. This os e s t issue, q u e st panyin he Blitz sh e p ion: “ g the A oints Ghan the im Creat mb a s out a’s dor’s p or t a ive In sa‘Nativ nce o d u str progr What f e Su n ies… essive ? W he ’. plann re?” ing.
M: +233 24. 3473161. M: +233 26. 6788246. e-mail: email@example.com
...committees of enquiry are more than the street lights
you know restaurant is called chop bar you are in Accra the phrase; “i’m coming” means the favourite fish is TILAPIA. ...the only boom you hear is from an ex military pilot when...
...a forest is actually a park
...a drain is called gorta
you see organized tour/excursion to a shopping mall.
...beauty pageants are the number one employers of young girls
almost everyone you talk to is aiming to travel
The airplane door opens and the humidity hits you in the nose People show so much support for English Premiership teams that you would think Manchester, Liverpool and Chelsea are located near Kumawu, Kpaga and Kojokrom. Grown men proudly listen to Westlife.
You can pay ‘big money’ to party at an exclusive nightclub but you will NEVER have as much fun as the people at Osu Container. The police ban tinted windows although they will shine a torch into your car whether you have a tinted window or not. You can get mobile phone operators to paint your house instead of painters. Overnight. But no one to fill a pothole. In months. Politicians face more problems from people within their party than without. Waakye is a breakfast meal, instead of something you creep into town for (illegally, if you’re in a Cape Coast secondary school) in the middle of the night. You may be directed to Alliance Francaise if you ask for an exclusive restaurant. Men just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
Swimming at the beach on Tuesdays is a no-no.
You can get the best streetfood the country has to offer without visiting the rest of the country.
Tetteh Quarshie probably never guessed that the cocoa seeds he brought over from Fernando Po (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea) would be the seeds of an industry that an entire nation would later benefit from. As beneficiaries and descendants of his vision, it’s perhaps natural that Ghanaians love chocolate. That said, we doubt Ghana would ever express that love by doing something as ‘out there’ as building a hotel out of the stuff. That is, however, exactly what acclaimed Chanel designer, Karl Lagerfeld has done, designing everything in this hotel room. His designs were then sculpted by French chocolatier Patrick Roger out of ten tonnes of chocolate. The project was commissioned to celebrate the launch of ‘Magnum Ghana’ and ‘Magnum Ecuador’: ice creams made with specially selected cocoa beans sourced from farms in Ecuador and right here in Ghana. Yummy.
07 10 13
08 11 14
09 12 15
Taxi drivers shamelessly charge you quadruple what they charge elsewhere in the country for the same distance. Bars play music so loud that a romantic date can quickly become a shouting contest. Churches preach prosperity but do little about poverty in the areas in which their churches are actually located. “Shashie wowo” songs are all the rage (which is not actually a good thing).
Everybody ‘club crawls’ so you end up seeing the same faces in spite of going to sixteen different places to party. The economic middle class think themselves upper class.
Pharmacies don’t stock contraception because the Pope says the pill kills babies.
Places are deemed ‘yawa’ after they have been discovered by foreigners, secondary school students and/or ladies of the night.
AT THE MOVIES
June - September
a snapshot of fresh local music, books & films being consumed at Dust HQ
The Chicken Thief by Fiona Leonard
African Gypsy (album) Wanlov the Kubolor Dunaquest in Budapest EP FOKN Bois Azingele (Chuck Wild Remix) Ruff N Smooth You Go Kill Me Sarkodie Native Sun (album) Blitz the Ambassador Serwa Akoto Jahwi
film / tv
Native Sun (Short Film) (Terrence Nance/Blitz the Ambassador) Africa Rising (Documentary) The Grassroots Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation (Paula Heredia; narrated by Efua Dorkenoo) Rhian Benson feat. Jonas (Music Video) Be (Baff Akoto) Ties That Band (Trailer) Leila Djansi Circuit City (Documentary) Life & Work in an E-waste Landfill (Mantse Aryeequaye)
Silverbird Cinema, Accra Mall, Spintex Road 0302 823270-5 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: www.twitter.com/SilverbirdGhana www.silverbirdghana.com
By Toke Olagbaju
This Trash Is
In my years in Accra one thing I’ve noticed is that there are no trash cans anywhere in public spaces. As a result we haven’t developed the habit of disposing of things properly and we end up just dropping them on the ground. There is a lot of plastic being used and hardly any of it is being recycled. I wondered about this for a long time and worried about what the country would look like in a few years if this practice continues. I love to explore and discover new things, places and people and this month I’ve been keeping myself very busy getting a little green in my wardrobe. In the process I made an awesome discovery of how some residents of Ghana are taking a hands on approach to curbing the waste menace. I was on a hunt to find a new handbag when I discovered ‘Trashy Bags’. Trashy Bags is located on a quiet residential street in Accra and apart from the few signs directing you to it you would never guess at the magic going on behind their gates. Early every morning people arrive there with bags of of plastic waste, which they weigh and exchange for money. The staff then begin the cleaning process. The bags are taken to the back where they are cleaned and disinfected thoroughly before being sorted and sun dried. After this, each bag is carefully and lovingly crafted by a dedicated team. A warm and friendly atmosphere permeates throughout the place. The staff are not just staff but see each other as a family and are very close and protective of one and other. I spoke to Stuart Gold, Trashy Bags’ Managing Director, after which I was given a full tour of the place ending in their showroom where the completed bags were on display. I was amused by some of the slogans and graphics that found their way onto the bags by virtue of having been printed on the pure water sachets by the manufacturers of the water companies.
So now I’ve found a cute pink purse to hook under my arm this weekend. I recommend that if you’re anything like me and like to show your individuality via your wardrobe you should get yours too.
Kimberly Elise & Omotola
In an impressive display of genuine, cross-continental acting talent, Hollywood actress, Kimberly Elise (Set It Off, Diary of a Mad Black Woman) and Nigerian superstar, Omotola Ekeinde were both in Ghana to shoot alongside our very own award-winning Ama K. Abebrese in (former Dust cover star) Leila Djansi’s latest drama, ‘Ties That Bind’. Having had a sneak preview of the script, DUST is quite excited about this one and looks forward to seeing the finished product. Go ladies...
Fabolous was the latest in a growing list of American artists who have visited Ghana to perform. Unlike many before him though, Loso put on a good show and did that very rare thing: gave Ghanaian fans good value for money. All stars planning on coming down, please take note.
California-based fashion designer and Hollywood fashion favourite, Rachel Roy touched down as part her work with OrphanAid Ghana, sponsoring the education of 21 orphans and vulnerable children.
Nigel De Jong
On Africa Day, Michael Essien brought down a star-studded list of football stars past and present to play a match billed ‘Africa XI vs. World XI’. Sadly, the African team lost but it was a good day for charity and a fun time was had by all.
him towards a career in construction: “I was so far away from computers by the time I got to university. My roommate was studying Computer Engineering though. He opened my eyes to web programming. I read manuals upon manuals and within two years, I had such a rich understanding it. I found myself doing a lot of web design work on the side. I realized it was something I always wanted to do. When you have something inherently pushing you, you just move in that direction.” Anne was not as sure as Michael. Her mother was a nurse and her parents wanted her to study medicine. She eventually found herself drawn first to Mathematics and then to Computer Engineering: “I realized I didn’t like reading and memorizing things I’d read. I rather liked thinking logically about things, so I wanted to do something that would allow me to think logically.” Edward wanted to study medicine too but could not qualify. After studying psychology, he discovered a serious interest in entrepeneurship: “I set up a small business selling phone credit. It got bigger and I eventually sold it to a friend. I had to do National Service so I worked with a financial institution and after a year, I said goodbye. I heard of the Meltwater course around then and applied. The course was entepreneurship and IT. I didn’t care about software side. I would have joined even if it was ‘Entrepeneurship and Fashion’.” The three met while studying at the Meltwater Entrepeneurial School of Technology (MEST) in East Legon. Established in 2007, the Meltwater idea is a simple one: train students in entepreneurship and IT. After two years, students are given the chancetoformteamsanddevelopacompletebusinessproposal. If successful, they join the Meltwater Incubator where they regularly answer to a Board of Directors (including Meltwater CEO Jorn Lysegge and other alumni) and are given seed money to help launch their idea and help them reach a point where they make revenue or attract investment. The trio says the Meltwater model has helped them to evade many of the challenges faced by startups, their biggest problem being the tardiness of third parties partners at times affecting their timelines. The Best Business Award they received from Launchpad was in honour of the trio’s very first product. GripeLine connects companies to customers, enabling them to interact more effectively with the people they provide products and services to. It can be used to track and respond to complaints and enquiries, as well as to register people or answer questions before or during events. Nandi Mobile has already scored a major client in the form of Tigo, who are already piloting it with their Tigo Cash service. It has also been used for participant support at events like Barcamp Ghana and TEDx, and the trio have plans to push it not just in Ghana, but to West Africa and beyond. Not resting on their laurels, they are also already working on their next product: “If [Gripeline] is customer service oriented, our new product will give companies control of what information they send to the end customer. It will create and measure buzz.” Michael feels that “there is positive change happening as far as software and technology is concerned. People are starting
to get it. Maybe it’s stories of the likes of Bill Gates around, but even older people see the potential, so ideas like ours are given a listening ear. One thing that keeps us positive is that people are expecting some change. There’s a certain drive. Google coming to Africa and trying to create a new way of doing things... It’s creating a buzz and helps us as developers. We are lucky in that our timing is perfect. If we succeed, we will be part of a first wave.” Edward concurs: “It’s time. With so many people starting blogs, movements like TED... It’s a movement. Ghana is catching up with countries like Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.” However, he points out that there is still some way to go: “Kenyans are taught software development at Senior High School. The same cannot be said for Ghana.” Michael adds, “We have potential. I am basing this on people I’ve met and the things they are doing. We need to have a lot more collaboration though. People keep good ideas to themselves and end up with shoddy execution. Ghana would have been on the map by now if people collaborated. We have a lot of creativity in this country. We need to move away from this “I want to be the one in the limelight” idea.” “If there’s something you see yourself doing well over and over again… don’t throw it away and go for anything else because chances are that a full circle will happen and you will wish you invested more time in it. Find what you can do with it. Give yourself the best education in it.” Anne expresses concern about how the education system in Ghana rarely nurtures talent and advises anyone following in their footsteps to follow their heart: “It’s not all about what you learn in school. Get to know what you love doing and develop it.” Inspired by women who are able to achieve that rare balance between finance and family, she also stresses the need for people to realize that life should be about more than just money: “Balance your life: you are more than just a financial person.”
There are many things people think of when they think about Accra. Alas, “hub of technological creativity and innovation” is rarely one of them. That may soon change though with several young sparks laying the foundations for a digital revolution. Earlier this year, three such individuals stepped out of the shadows to beat 100 Silicon Valley start-ups and win the “Best Business” Award at the LAUNCH Conference (a platform for new start-ups to showcase their products and services to potential early adopters) in San Francisco. Not one of three was above the age of 27. Edward Tagoe (Business Development), Anne Amuzu (Technical) and Michael Darkwa (Product Development) are Nandi Mobile. They derived their company name from the Bemba (Zambian) word “umunandi”, which means “my friend”: “Whatever we create is designed to extend the friendship between one party and another. That is why our motto is “empowering connections”. We don’t just teach it. It is something we practice,” Edward tells DUST. He adds that while tech giants like Steve Jobs and Marc Zuckerberg “have his attention”, he is not inspired by any particular personality. It is a sentiment shared by his colleagues. Rather, they draw inspiration from each other. As Michael puts it, “I like how they approach and confront their challenges and push me out of my comfort zone. It can be scary at first but in hindsight, I see where I would have been if I had stayed in the zone.” Michael believes in things coming full circle. He enjoyed drawing in primary school and wanted to study visual arts at secondary level. Like many creatives however, he was advised by his parents to study science. He ended up studying technical subjects. It lead
living in Accra on a shoestring
By Crystal Svanikier
A few years ago, CNNMoney.com voted Accra Africa’s most expensive city to live in. With the cost of living increasing by the year because of the number of people moving to the big city, we all need to be a little more strategic about the way we spend our money. The first thing to do is the clear all your debt. Once you are debt-free, then focus on saving your money. One trick to help you save some money is to divide every influx of cash you receive into 3 equal parts, and to save one part (i.e. a third) in a bank account that you never touch. Every adult has to have savings for unexpected expenses, especially for things like medical treatment. Entertainment is another major loss of revenue. Do you eat out more than once a week? Do you spend more than GH200 on entertainment and getting your hair done (we all know how much a good weave costs...) every month? Do you spend so much on entertainment, but have nothing in your savings? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you need to reevaluate your spending patterns. Experts say how much money you save has little to do with the income you receive. In fact, the amount of money you have in your savings account actually has more to do with how you spend your money. So here are some tips to make the most of living in this beautiful city, while saving money at the same time: • Have a movie night at home. Instead of spending money on going to the movies or spending time with your friends, why not invite your friends home? • Save money on fuel by keeping your engine in shape and your tires at the right pressure (tell the guy you want “32”). • Take lunch to work. You could save at least GH 100 a month (if you spend approximately GH5 a day on lunch). • Buy phone credit weekly and once its spent, wait until you reach the next week to purchase more. • List all your basic expenses and stick to it. Avoid trying to forecast your expenses too far into the future. Once you have listed everything, place the money for each expense in a clearly labeled envelope. This way you will easily be able to monitor your spending patterns. • Remember, above all you need self discipline. Every time you feel like spending money say to yourself: no one ever became rich by spending money.
Don’t Break Your Heart
By Crystal Svanikier Heart disease has always been a leading cause of death among Ghanaians. A number of things contribute to this, including the amount of cooking oil we use, the little exercise we partake in, and the level of stress we endure on a daily basis. Granted that we all need to do what is necessary to survive and to make all the ends meet, but we also have to recognize the effect that our fast-paced and stressful lifestyle is having on our bodies. Most people do not recognize signs of heart disease (or blame it on mystic causes), which allows the disease time to deteriorate until it’s too late. Family history is essential in analyzing one’s risk. If your father or brother were diagnosed or died from a cardio vascular disease under the age of 55, or if your mother or sister was under the age of 65 when they were diagnosed or died, then your own risk of developing cardio vascular disease is increased. You should also be suspicious if your parent mysteriously passed away around those ages: it may have been cardiovascular. Most heart disease (i.e. heart attack, stroke, etc) is caused by the narrowing of the arteries, which makes blood flow more difficult and increases the risk of blood clots causing blockages. So, the best way to ensure a healthy heart is to prevent the narrowing of your arteries. This can be done in four easy steps.
1. Eat ‘good’ fats
Too much cholesterol will increase your risk of heart problems. Cut down on the amount of margarine, meat and take-away food that you eat. Incorporate more fish (especially tuna, salmon and mackerel) into your diet, eating some at least once a week. Oily fish contain omega-3 fats which can prevent blood clots and regulate heart rhythms. Eating more fibre will help too. Kontomere is great for this.
Being overweight also puts you at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. This is because of the fatter you are, the more stress is placed on your heart to deliver blood to your organs. The heart also becomes encased in fat, which places further stress on it to do its job. Experts recommend that you do vigorous exercise (the kind that makes you sweat) for 20 minutes, 3 times a week to strengthen the heart muscle.
3. rEst and rElax
Prolonged stress may contribute to heart disease, particularly if you drink alcohol regularly. Sleeping 7-8 hours a night will help your body rest and will allow your heart.
As the warnings on the packets say, smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Why? Because it reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood - which makes cells age faster - and nicotine stimulates adrenaline, raising blood pressure and making the heart work harder. Stop smoking today.
4. stoP sMoKing
Words by Mantse Aryeequaye. Photography by Mantse Aryeequaye & Ismael Abass
Colt soccer matches are where to go when you are looking for talent and individuals with real dreams and tenacity.
I’m not what you would call a football fan. I don’t enjoy big club football, with its over-hyped workforces. There’s always a‘Jason and the Argonauts’ feel to the enterprise. So I won’t be making any sweeping statements about the game here, unless in reference to one game that I have left my house to see. Colt soccer matches are where to go when you are looking for talent and individuals with real dreams and tenacity. Most of these guys may never play professionally because of how football is structured in Ghana... how everything is structured in Ghana. Everything is wired through patronage on so many levels: sexual and romantic relations, access to material resources, education and even the games we play. You almost always have to ‘know’ someone to be able to access things that don’t even matter. Like paying money at a police check point just because... or paying to be assured of a place on the national team, even if it means warming the benches.
Colt teams on the other hand have a good many players whose careers are in transition or whose quality is debatable. I find these matters fun to think about. Here on this not-so-grassy mini-pitch, you may hear a cuss words that will remind you where you are in case you forgot. The conversations amongst onlookers are certainly not about a team’s bankruptcy woes or some useless managerial uncertainty. Money troubles are constant in these places too, but colt soccer in Latebiokorshi is different in interesting ways. One doesn’t have to be a football fan to understand the difference between the colt soccer fan base and that of the major leagues. Colt teams like Monday Stars have somewhat middle-class support, which must be confusing for them. These guys idolize European players to a fault. The word ‘local’ has some demeaning slant to it. It means forever orbiting nowhere land: a circuit that doesn’t lead anywhere profitable. These guys aspire to be anything but local. This says a lot about their confidence in a domestic league perceived to be plagued by corrupt behavior. The only way these young men will ever play in major games will be through some sort of recommendation, which only comes after said player agrees to be “managed” by a patron. The energy on the pitch is always high: it’s like giving everyone in Accra rabies and amphetamines, then dropping them into a borehole. One can only come away with a glorious respect for the athleticism of these guys. They play for the pure love and respect and entertainment too. If for nothing at all, they get to be ghetto superstars and some ghetto Gbemi while they are at it.
Mainstream soccer (what I call ‘cult’ soccer) reveals an unshakeable belief in lining the pockets of those in power at the expense of the lot who make the enterprise thrive: the players and fans.
We are our literature and WPG brings together writers and readers, engendering dialogue and interest in the nuances of our artistic landscape. This issue, we present a poem by the young Nana Korantemaa. Let her fill your imagination as she speaks from where she sits.
The Mad WoMan
Envy me as I desert your dangerous world of sanity Squeeze your fists in angry jealousy as I slip into the abyss of dreams Cover your eyes lest I spit into them with delirious laughter Turn your heads away as I relapse into childish giggles Covet my luck when the wild waters’ rages wail my name in endless tides Cry out in sorrow for I am free!
Oh, please, with my knees cut in stones, my body in the dust you kick off your feet, Do not destroy my peace My forehead on the ground, my lips at your toes Don’t tamper with my soul My hands scratched and bleeding, my spirit writhing in supplication Leave me be! For I am Free!
You cannot…forgive me. I am evil
My laughter alone resounds through memory It echoes in the caves of desperation It is as cool as mud walls encased in thatch As scorching as the fiery passions of steaming lava Stew in jealousy for my heart alone the gods cam hear Do not break the windows to my soul or blacken their purity and drive me from me Those windows…those delicate windows that threaten to break at the slightest touch… They break. I put each sweet shard to my lips to kiss away their pain And hug them to my chest The shattered pieces of glass pierce my breast in eternal gratitude I am a child of twisted conscience The seed of disappointment in the copulation of body and soul I can no longer feel nor recognize nor bond I am a cold, massless phantom that can seduce your spirits to iniquity
For I alone can be three persons I alone can look death in the eye and shake my fists for I am not afraid of the after-world I alone can divide the great sky of pain and serve it in seven clay pots Drink with relish…and be free! I dip my calabash to the gods of creation! I alone can see across the horizon of time and be guileless I alone can be possessed by the voices of my humanity I alone can dance with teasing sensuality to the intricate rhythms of unearthly sounds
For I am free!
Sweat, fume, as my breasts bounce to that mysterious drum only I can hear As I soar into worlds you can never reach
don’t! You can’t…forgive me! I am an evil seed!
May thunder and barking dogs seize your throat and choke you in your laughter! May your hidden smiles be cut off and stuck under your feet! Don’t touch me and corrupt me with your mad sanity! Prey upon your own souls and leave mine alone! Don’t destroy my peace!
don’t forgive me
Watch me fade away into emptiness See me cocoon in this vacuum and wither away into wishes And envy me…for I am free…
Tigo volunteers/2011 advertisement
Tigo is leading the way in Innovation.
Tigo Ghana has been at the forefront of innovation.
Tigo Ghana has been at the forefront of driving innovative solutions to subscribers in Ghana. Products such as Talk for Free, Tigo Number 1, Smartalk and Xtreme Value have built a value-for-money image for the Tigo brand and have over the years helped demonstrate to both subscribers and competition that the company is focused on continually delivering solution based innovative products and services that meet the expectations of subscribers. Tigo Facebook phone. It is in pursuit of this strategy that the company introduced the Tigo Face book phone which was the ﬁrst of its kind in Ghana. e Tigo facebook phone is a mobile handset with a dedicated facebook button for easy and immediate access to facebook, a QWERTY keypad for easy, faster text communication. Based on subscriber feedback for enhanced features, Tigo has gone a step further to introduce the new and improved facebook phone. e new facebook handset has a couple of fascinating features which are an improvement on the old facebook phones. e phone comes with camera, QWERTY keypad, Email access, Fm radio, Memory Card slot, Java, Big 2inch screen, 64 Midi Ringtone/ MP3, 2Ghc airtime and 1GB of data for 30days. is innovative handset will be retailing for only Ghc49.99 throughout the country. Tigo Ads. Tigo Ads, another ﬁrst from Tigo, is a mobile permission based marketing tool which informs subscribers of promos and o erings from their favorite brands. is innovative form of interactive advertising will take the form of SMS interactive messaging and is delivered to subscribers free of charge. To join the service, subscribers must text the key word ADS to 9000. For companies, we say whatever your target audience, whatever your product, Tigo Ads can help! Consumers are 100% proﬁled and 100% opted in. Only people, who want to receive your messages, get your messages. To celebrate the launch of this great new service, Tigo is o ering companies the chance to “Buy one, Get one free” in the months of July and August to try this fantastic medium of advertising your products and services. To ﬁnd out more about this service, call our sales representative on 0274808080. Tigo Ads is powered by Optism. From Industry leader Alcatel-Lucent.In keeping with this trend, Tigo has introduced a series of other innovative and solution based services such as the Tigo Voice SMS, facebook chat and the Tigo Sports fylla service. Tigo Voice SMS service. e Tigo voice SMS service will allow subscribers to send voice messages to friends and family on any network in Ghana. To record a message, simply dial * and the recipients number and follow the prompts. To retrieve a message Tigo users can dial *0* to retrieve new messages and *1* to retrieve old messages. Subscribers can retrieve messages by dialing 0277500213 and 0277500214 .
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CFC, MUFC, BFC, LFC, AC, etc) and send .sto o6070 dA giT elibom a si ,ogiT morf tsrﬁ rehtona ,sdA ogiT hcihw loot gnitekram desab noissimrep sgnire o dna somorp fo srebircsbus smrofni
Continues in page 05
50 egap ni seunitnoC
Supporting Communities and Improving Lives.
In keeping with the promise to support communities and improve lives of communities in which it operates, Tigo Ghana celebrated this year’s mother’s day with patients, mothers and workers of the Pediatrics and Burns Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Tapping Into mother’s day celebrations, Tigo treated workers of the unit to a bu et lunch and rewarded employees who have excelled in the performance of duties. Tigo’s mother’s day treat also took the opportunity to foot the bills of some patients at both the Burns and Pediatrics wards e Tigo Ghana CSR train together with the Peace and love hospital, Kumasi on the 13th of May stopped over at the Head o ce of the mobile operators to conduct a breast cancer awareness campaign to help demystify some myths about the disease. Ladies were encouraged to conduct regular screening to enhance early detection of the disease. e Health and wellbeing train on the 25th of May, 2011 joined the Peace and love hospital team, the Asantehene, the ‘Susan G. Komen Race for Cure’ campaign and other stakeholders to embark on a health walk to raise awareness about the disease and raise funds for further research into the disease. In the not too distant past, the Tigo health and wellbeing team took advantage of the recent Independence Day holiday to provide free health screening for over 2,000 head porters usually known as ‘Kayayei’. With the help of MedEx Insurance and some medical practitioners the beneﬁciaries were screened for general health related issues.
we the people
_Tigo volunteers at hospital.
dust magazine | june 2011
Lessons from Tokyo
On March 11 earlier this year, the world woke up to shocking images of a Japan devastated by the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Over the following days and weeks, Accra’s heart went out to Tokyo as we watched and admired the resilience of the Japanese people as they tried to reassemble the literally broken pieces of their lives. The word ‘Tsunami’ is actually a Japanese one. The Asian country is hit by hundreds of earthquakes and thousands of tremors every year, recorded from as far back as the 15th century. Most are too small to be detected while others like Tohoku this year, Kobe in 1995 and Kanto in 1923 - will never be forgotten. Knowing this, Japan has an advanced system in place to lessen its potential destruction at the hands of natural disasters. It goes beyond computers and satellites monitoring seismic tremors. As Ghanaians know, earthquakes do not send text messages ahead of their arrival. Buildings are made of particular materials, in particular places and in particular ways, and the people are taught – like cub scouts - to be prepared. Even then, Japan could not predict and prepare for Tohoku. That said, fewer lives were probably lost than might have been without preparation. Unlike Japan, Ghana actually knows when its seasonal natural disasters are coming. We don’t need an advanced prediction system: the rainy season is an old friend. Yet, year in and year out, we needlessly lose our lives and property to rainfall, everywhere from right here in Accra all the way up to the North. In one of his last shows on radio, you could hear the anger in veteran journalist Kwaku Sakyi-Addo’s voice as he explained how his first-ever Frontpage show was on flooding and ten years later, it was still an issue. The Accra authorities told him that they know what needs to be done, but they are hampered by a lack of political will to do it: move people (rich enough to pay bribes or poor enough to not have alternatives) from the waterways that they have built upon and blocked. The best kind of politician is not the one who gives the people what they want. It is the one who is savvy enough to know, do and say whatever it takes to give them what they need. Dust prays that Ghana’s politicians fall into the latter category. KG
That said, the ‘Big Man, Small Girl’ thing is not so shocking here. In the past few months, there has been more than one story of pastors, for example, being accused of abusing female members of their flock. One suspects that this sort of thing happens here more regularly than one might think. Barely below the surface of regular life. In the same way that most of Ghana’s sexual shenanigans occur just below the surface. There is so much that Ghanaians publicly disapprove of but privately revel in. I know too many girls with stories of unwanted attention, from anyone from the man on street to the family friend who developed less than family-like thoughts for them. If I had a Cedi for every female friend I have with such a story, I would be one of Ghana’s wealthiest men. Men often say it is women who have changed. “Poor man in wife o, be rich man in girl o / As you no get money, them go carry baby go” is the way one song puts it. Some men believe Ghana is already an equal society and feel that girls have just grown lazier over time, and more demanding of their money. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Usually money is given exchanged for sex or the promise of sex. Men have financial power while women wield another form of power within this sexual economy. Everyone struggles to send their little girls to school but where men have problems taking orders from women at work or won’t vote for a female presidential candidate on principle, how many of these girls do we really expect to grow to be completely financially independent? Educated or not, our girls are groomed to rely on men. In fact, they are insulted – not admired - by both men and women if they become too independent. This is in itself bad enough. The fact that these relations can turn violent is worse. Rape is more common than we think. Not every case of rape is reported, especially by those who do not think of the rape of a wife by her husband as rape. While they may not go as far as describing it as an act of love, they may still say it is about rights. Everyone has the right to say no though. Especially a hotel maid. KG
When the news broke that IMF president, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had been acccused of raping a hotel maid, it sounded like something out of a sleazy made-for-TV movie. Things took a more sordid turn once it emerged that the maid in question was West African. Rumour even had it she was Ghanaian... before some smart journalist realized the difference between Ghana and Guinea. Anyway. There is something deeply distasteful about the notion of the head of an organisation that many feel helps keep the developing world in a developing state taking advantage of a citizen of a developing country. In fact, the image conjures up other images. Of power taking advantage of powerlessness. Of the rape of Africa.
Picture this: You’re about to embark upon a long journey. You only have a vague idea of where you want to go. In fact, you’re not too sure of what mode of transport you should use so you try out a number of different ones, in a trial and error fashion, as you think it’ll take you closer to where you want to go. Despite the fact you’re rather unsure about your destination, you spend an inordinate amount of money and energy trying to find this vague place. To worsen the situation you are all the while travelling whilst blindfolded. What’s the likelihood you’ll reach your destination? The whole scenario seems rather absurd, right? However, this sad state of affairs is the situation Ghana is heading towards if it continues to neglect the need for a long term development plan. Our Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy requires that the government develops a long term national development plan. However, presently our country has no long term development plan and this is a fatal flaw. The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is mandated by the Constitution to engineer Ghana’s development strategy but, unfortunately this institution with so much potential, has been rendered a toothless dog. It has fallen victim to petty puerile party politics and this is detrimental to the country’s general progress. It is embarrassingly under-resourced, which further exacerbates its impotency. NDPC should be freed from polΩitical suppression and sufficiently resourced so that it can carry out its mandated duties. The national development of the country should transcend social and political boundaries therefore citizens and political parties of all persuasions should play an active role in its development. Without the ownership of all sections of society, any development plan is bound to fail. It is for this reason that the development of Ghana’s long term national development strategy necessarily needs to be inclusive and participatory. The citizens of Ghana must have the opportunity to participate in decision making processes on all matters concerning the development of the country. Citizens should be actively involved in the determination
By Dr. Jemima Agyare
of development priorities to which our resources are used. The absence of a long term development plan gives room to ad hoc and speculative spending which will not help in the development of our country. There is abundantevidencethatmostresourcerichcountries have failed to turn their wealth into lasting benefits for their citizens because they did not have longterm development plans and this should not be repeated in Ghana. All government spending should be done in adherence to a long term development plan, which not only states the long term vision for the country’s development but also practical, timebound, measureable targets in order to achieve this vision. This is important because any spending we do has different implications for the economy. For example, research shows that investment in agriculture has faster redistributive effect than investment in industrialization. On the other hand, investment in industrialization has a faster growth effect than agriculture. Therefore it is only a national development plan which can define our priorities and what interventions must be made to achieve the objectives of our development plan. Having the development plan is only one of the pre-requisites to achieving economic and social development. The critical ingredient is its implementation. It’s a sad fact that our ministries are full of beautifully crafted, elaborate and detailed policy documents that are poorly implemented (if at all) and are simply gathering dust. Implementation is the key and all the rhetoric/ good intentions should be turned into concrete action. Only then can Ghana’s development goals be fully realised. Now picture this: You’re about to embark upon a long journey. You know the exact location of your destination and you’re fully equipped for the journey with maps, satellite navigation etc. to ensure that you arrive there according to schedule. You are fully aware of the best mode of transport to use, the duration of the journey and its cost, therefore there’s a very high probability that you’ll get there. Isn’t this a much better way to reach your ultimate destination?
By Aba Ayensu We have in Ghana many artists and creatives who wonderfully express their emotions and feelings through a range of cultural mediums. A creative economy of ideas, images, symbols, design and cultural expression is formed through the production, consumption and exchange of these expressive outputs. Why then does Ghana not take the creative and cultural arts seriously? Simply put, because most of us see it as unproductive activity: we don’t believe it generates revenue. ‘Creative industry’ refers to the management of creativity and innovation; from the generation of original ideas, to their realisation and consumption. In Ghana, this includes advertising, architecture, crafts, design, designer fashion, visual arts, music, performing arts, publishing, software, TV and radio. Regrettably, much of what is produced in Ghana lacks originality. Besides that, too often, ideas don’t make it past generation to full realisation (much less consumption), especially when profit-making is the raison d’être of industry. Now, there are real reasons for this. (Real) creativity emerges from a depth of diversity of experience, perception or sensation; not easy to acquire in Ghana. There isn’t enough public support for art and culture; there are no art and design schools, decent museums nor well-resourced theatre or dance companies. Creativity is sparked by challenges to the status quo, but too many of us are afraid to embrace difference. Moreover, most Ghanaians - still struggling to meet their basic material needs - don’t have the luxury of satisfying their more complex emotional and psychological needs satisfied by culture and creativity. Money goes towards the basics, not towards the consumption of art. All is not lost though.
The increasing number of Ghanaians using the internet (including 1 million+ Facebook users) is a tribute to our desire to not only interact with the world, but to express ourselves creatively. Access to books, film, music and images are cheaper than ever, stimulating our demand and capacity to enjoy creative offerings. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to solve the problem: there are already business models for each creative industry that we can appropriate to commercialise our creative ideas. We should embrace the growing demand for (and - as such the commercial value in) non-traditional art forms, like digital photographyandcomicstrips. Newdistributionchannels–like YouTube, Bandcamp, & Topspin– join a diversity of outlets through which our products can be exhibited to potential consumers. Such digital distribution is cheaper than its traditional equivalents and the organisations and individuals who adapt to them quickest will reap the rewards. Building business to make profit from creative expression has its own challenges. I’ve only touched on the very tip of the anthill. Yet, it seems to me that if we think about it creatively, we can begin the process. This is what I think… for now.
Blitz is an artist at the crossing of several paths. America and Africa. Past and present. Hip-hop and highlife. He is not confused about where to turn though. He stands instead as a messenger between worlds, as fluent in one reality as he is in the other. The kid once called Bazaar on the streets of Accra has grown to become its ambassador. In his own words: “You have to be good at home first before becoming good elsewhere.” Samuel Bazawule discovered Rakim and Public Enemy while he was a student at Achimota. He was soon reciting their lines over beats banged out on school tables, and tasted early success recording with the likes of Deeba, Hammer & Obrafuor in hiplife’s early days. Along with Cy Lover and M3nsa (who he recalls was messing with pidgin even back then), Blitz was known for rhyming in English. In fact, ‘Native Sun’ is the first album on which Blitz rhymes in Twi: “If I rap in Twi, I have to make sure my Twi accent is on point. The same goes for pidgin. I would expect someone coming to Ghana to try to speak Twi authentically. If you speak Americanized Twi, it’s a problem.” To Blitz, those same principles of authenticity apply to the music he wished to make. Not hiplife: hip-hop: “[It] started in the Bronx. Others have influenced it but it started there. If it’s something I’m going to learn to do, I’m going to learn to do it to that standard. It’s the same as guys who play for Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak, and go on to play for AC Milan and Chelsea. Playing football barefoot? That’s authentic, but you are going to have to learn to play the game by international standards. There were limits to reaching a global audience from Ghana. We’re nominated for BET awards now but nothing like that existed at the time. If I was going to compete, I had to be where it was.” “Our culture in Ghana is no better or worse than anywhere else, but it doesn’t promote the artist. The [hiplifers] making money back in the day were those who had resources to travel to perform. Sales from tapes were not enough to allow you to live the life of an artist. However you can make a living doing music out here [in the US]. There are stages, venues, festivals... things that make culture appealing. It’s not that we lack the know-how. We don’t have the money. My success in America makes it easier for anyone else in Africa to get shine though, to get known. When Samini played New York for the first time, I was his musical director and put his band together. Everyone has a part to play.” When Blitz first arrived in America, things were not so easy: “It’s human to try to fit in. But after a while, you realize a piece of you is unfulfilled. You are not what you are supposed to be: a blend between where you’re from and where you’re at. It hits everyone at some point. It happened with Fela. It happened with Nkrumah.” By the time he released his first full album, ‘Soul Rebel’ in 2005 , Blitz was influenced by conscious MCs like Talib Kweli and Dead Prez. Yet consciousness was not enough to represent who he was. Everything changed with his work on the score of a documentary about a sassy American teenager’s journey to Ghana to reunite with her father, a chief: “It was a huge learning curve. The producers [of ‘Bronx Princess’] were looking for both hip-hop and afrobeat. I ended up making 20 tracks. It was the first time I had to do anything like that.” On 2009’s ‘Stereotype’, he began recording with a band he called ‘The Embassy’, replacing slick studio production with a more raw, live sound. The evolution went down well with critics and fans, and the album managed to top the international iTunes chart.
Blitz describes his new album – ‘Native Sun’- as the combination of the ambition he showed on ‘Stereotype’ and the African sound that he rediscovered while doing the score for Bronx Princes. On ‘Native Sun’, Blitz rhymes about displacement, consciousness, freedom, celebration and repatriation over horns and electric guitars straight out of 1970s Africa, complete with drums inspired by the funk that hip-hop used to sample so heavily in the 80s and 90s. Throw in older African instruments like the kora and djembe,
and you have an epic album that effortlessly traverses time and space: here and there, back then and right now. It’s a sound he rightly feels proud of: “Listen to the record. Not all the songs apply to everybody, but even if you don’t like the sound or the experimentation, you can hear the authenticity. From a musical standpoint, I hope [it] takes us to a point where we can have a pride in the aesthetics of who we are and where we’re from. There is nothing wrong with borrowing but at the end of the day you have to know where you are coming from.” On a continent that sometimes looks distrustfully at its children in the Diaspora, Blitz hopes to help connect the dots: “Our Diaspora is huge and it’s played an important role in Africa’s growth and development. Look at one of our most revered sons: Kwame Nkrumah. Without him linking with the ideas of George Padmore, WEB DuBois, Clarke... there would not be a free Ghana today. It takes ideologies coming together to move. This isn’t new. We are reliving Nkrumah’s time. We need to stop looking at things that separate us
You have to be good at home first before becoming good elsewhere... I moved when our industry was just beginning. There is no real need to move today... Like Chuck D says on the record “It ain’t where you’re from. Its where you’re at“
like geography and look at what brings us together. We have to work together to build this new Africa movement that we are so desperate to see.” To help promote the album, he returned to Ghana late last year to shoot a short film: “Seeing is believing. Native Sun needed to be seen. I’m extremely proud of what we were able to do. There can never be enough positive images coming out of Africa. Often, people with important messages forget about talent and quality. People may listen to you, but there is nothing else to draw them in. That’s why we went hard with making the film. We needed another outlet. When it starts doing the international film festival circuit, we hope people get the good vibe and universal message being pushed in both the music and the film.” Returning home to shoot the short gave Blitz the chance to reconnect with his hiplife roots: ”Yaa Pono is brilliant. Sarkodie too: I’ve been hearing about him in the Diaspora. Of course, Wanlov: he’s been doing his thing uniquely (and dope) for a long time. I like the Skillions crew too. The beautiful thing is the diversity. Everyone grows. Who knows what this may grow into.” He also paid tribute to one of his heroes: “Some people are so insecure about threats to their legendary status that they don’t want to give people shine. I salute and will always shoutout Reggie [Rockstone] because
ever since I’ve known him, he has always given up and coming artists their shine.” With plans to bring his band to Accra for a special concert at Alliance Française this October (alongside fellow Embassy MVMT artists, Les Nubians) Blitz has his eyes set firmly on home: “My real impact won’t begin until I return and settle, and people see what I have achieved. It’s not about returning home with a superiority complex. People from the Diaspora must humble themselves and recognize the people who stayed behind to struggle and build. You can’t just say you hate Ghana traffic. It’s Ghana traffic: you’re not in Ohio or London anymore.” “I have a three-year plan to come home. I moved when our industry was just beginning. There is no real need to move today. There was no internet back then. Now there is. It is not about travelling anymore. Like Chuck D [of Public Enemy] says on the record “it ain’t you’re from. It’s where you’re at.” It is about heart and soul and what you are about, wherever you are in the world. That’s why I salute DUST.” KG
FILM REVIEW : NATIVE SUN
3 out of 5
Directors : TERRENCE NANCE & BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR Starring : Edward Dankwa, Helena Yeboah, Marcus Quarshie, Blitz the Ambassador
We’ve seen our fair share of rappers veering into film to complement the release of their albums, with everyone from Kanye West to Rick Ross releasing rap blockbusters on the Internet. Whether its shameless selfpromotion or just plain extravagance, hip-hop on film only matters if its core - its plot and its characters - are rock solid, original and believable. It is for this very reason that Native Sun deserves gratification: it’s just as authentic as the album. Blitz and Terrence Nance’s short film tells the story of Mumin (Edward Dankwa), a young boy from a small village in Tamale who is in search of his long lost father after his mother’s untimely death. With only a picture of his father as his guide, he departs for Accra, where he encounters unlikely characters and situations beyond his imagination. As an artistic and creative output, Native Sun’s uniquely Ghanaian tale serves its purpose almost effortlessly. The capital’s vivid sights and sounds are an awesome backdrop, as well as cuts from the LP serving as a soundtrack. The film cleverly weaves cultural themes into pleasant visuals; the funeral procession of Mumin’s mother seems more triumphant than heartbreaking, reminding us of beliefs of the afterlife. The film’s narration in pidgin by Blitz himself also comes off as clever and witty without overshadowing the detail of the story. The overall impression of this short film is that of an exclusive, if not pioneering, visual that reignites the passion of storytelling and redefines the way Ghanaian movies are made; with a truthful and beautiful portrait of the country’s image. Just like his album, Native Sun is an immense achievement for such a talented artist and an undeniable inspiration for his peers.
By Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah As part of DUST magazine’s tribute to our seminal forebear, Drum, we feature here an adaptation of Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah’s brilliant blog post on his collection of Drum magazines from 1969. Besides being a striking snapshot of Ghana at the time, it also offers us all a chance to reflect on what has changed in our country and – even more significantly – what has remained almost exactly the same. I spent some time scanning images from a year’s worth of issues of the Ghana edition of Drum magazine. Truth be told, losing myself in the pages was a bit of escapism. I wanted a glimpse of my parents’ world, of their aspirations and of the culture from which I emerged. Those pages were a good source of any manner of cultural artefacts and goings-on in the country. Call it nostalgia, call it social anthropology, call it a poor man’s history, or perhaps I was simply fascinated by the advertisements. So. Drum Magazine. Ghana. 1969. Here goes. 1969 was an election year in Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah’s one-party regime had been overthrown and civilian rule loomed. But that was by the by - the magazine was typically focused on lighter issues. By way of background, Drum magazine is most known from its South African roots but it also had Ghanaian and Nigerian editions from the late sixties until the eighties. The equivalents would be Ebony, Jet or say Essence (alternatively think of Hello and Paris Match) ergo, none too weighty society papers.
By Jason Nico-Annan
On the perennial question of hair, the influence of Motown was felt with Supremes-styling presumably taking over from the corn roll of yore.
Star beer and Club lager had large budgets and blanketed much of the magazines. It was all about the good life. The culture and politics of alcohol have been much studied in Ghana. Schnapps was less in evidence but featured - it is used in libations and many of our ceremonies. My clear favourite is Pepsodent toothpaste with Irium. Be progressiveanddigtheproductionvaluesandthelightskin.
A yearlong series on sex education draws a big response from readers, dealing with everything from birth control and family planning, the pill and other contraceptives, midwives, child birth, relationships (pre-marital and otherwise), passion and even prostitution. Ghana Airways was continuing its expansion. By the mid 70s it would begin its inexorable decline. We could all dream in 1969.
SPORTS: Baba Yara, Ghana’s greatest footballer, the “King of Wingers of West Africa” would die on May 5, 1969 after sustaining a spinal injury in a lorry accident at Kpeve in 1963. Three months of treatment at Stoke Mandeville hospital had done nothing to improve his health. Nor had the local prophet healer. Thus his last six years of life were spent bedridden. Asante Kotoko, the Real Republikans and, of course, the national team, the Black Stars had suffered a grievous loss. The scenes commemorating his life leap off the page. Born in Kumasi on October 12, 1936, it was in 1955, his debut year for the national team that he wore the number 7 jersey of the Gold Coast team which massacred Nigeria by 7-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium. Yara scored two goals and was the architect of four of the seven. Decades later his legend as a fearsome attacker is as glowing as say that of the magic hands of goalkeeper Robert Mensah. Those who saw him play wax rhapsodic to this day, my uncle Emma has been known to go on for a good hour about that golden era and those stars. The Baba Yara sports stadium in Kumasi is a testament to his memory. Like any society magazine Drum was sometimes shallow, other times profound and even on occasion sublime. Consider this a profile of a country in transition, between military rule and democracy, full of hope and navigating between tradition and modernity. Ghana is headed to elections [soon] and, from the outside, much of the discourse is akin to that seen here in 1969: great promise amidst reminders of just how far we have to go. I can only hope that my fellow countrymen take heed of those who paved the way for them and remember the words of John Mensah Sarbah: think ahead of time. CRIME: In 1969, the Sukura neighbourhood of Accrawasgainingareputationforcrimeandsqualor even more lugubrious than Nima. Forty years on it is theaptlynamedSodomandGomorrahandtakesthe prize as Ghana’s school of hard knocks, the place you terrify your little kids about the prospect of leaving themthere.Ofcoursethisisallamatterofperception. The settlement of shantytowns always gives rise to dark hints of nefariousness by the establishment. Drum was firmly of the establishment and would editorialize about the problems of slums, runaway children and other social ills. TECHNOLOGY: Ghana was looking towards space, playing off Soviet achievements against the USA’s Apollo prowess (the moon landing was duly celebrated). Well, anyone could dream and there were even nuclear ambitions (since revived in 2008).
MUSIC: There was a vigourous music scene and perhaps a golden age of music in the country. E.T. Mensah and his Tempos competed with Jerry Hansen and The Ramblers band, who “brought back the boogaloo” from London and the States. The Professional Uhuru Dance Band & the GBC Band roughed it up with The Revellers, Railway Dance Band and the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Band. The Aliens Band, The Planets, the Black Santiagos rounded out the cast. The Sierra Leone Heartbeats, fronted by Geraldo Pino, set up shop in Ghana and found a receptive audience for their brand of soul music. Echoes of Motown were in the air. Paradoxically The Soul Messengers’ tour was judged a failure: the competition was too fierce. FUNERALS: Every issue featured the obligatory society puff pieces. The Ga chief, Nii Bonne (the so-called “Boycotthene”) who made a stand against inflation and organized a national boycott in 1948 against colonial rule, died and his funeral was a major marker. It was unusual for traditional rulers to feature in the independence or nationalist movements but Nii Bonne didn’t recoil. On funerals, the thinking was that “it costs too much to die”. As Millicent Adamafio in Sekondi put it: “‘grandiose and extravagant preparations must be condemned in the strongest terms. Some people have become full-time mourners, showing their faces at almost all wake-keeping services. Their explanation is that the more one attends such functions and registers his condolences, the more sympathisers one gets when he is bereaved. In fact there are voluntary organizations whose sole purpose is to give moral and financial support to members who are bereaved’. Others countered: “what is wrong with a nice colourful and impressive funeral for a loving relative whose face we will not see again. The dead are an important subject in our tradition and should be accorded the due ceremony and honour they deserve.” Skin lightening products were popular (at least they were heavily advertised). Fela would sing Yellow Fever a few years hence and bemoan the extremes of the practice. It’s not just Africa however and not simply old history, the same thing happens in India and China today. Head scarves abounded, the older, traditional duukuu that had given way to European headgear before independence was now reinvented as the lappa cover cloth.
EDUCATION: The obligatory photo of African school-children in morningprayer raises the issue of church or state. The big question was “whether the churches should continue to manage schools with local, urban and city councils or should the management of all educational institutions come under a unified system to be directed by the Ministry of Education”. It was noted that “the churches spearheaded the drive for education in Ghana... in 1737 the Danish chaplain attached to the Danish Castle at Christianborg in Accra sent two boys from the Castle school to be educated in Copenhagen. Again in 1828 the Danish governor at Osu, Accra invited the Basel Missionary Society in Switzerland to take up missionary and education work in Osu and its neighbouring districts.” UNIVERSITY LIFE: Siren, the journal of Mensah Sarbah Hall, University of Ghana, Legon did a satirical end of year issue featuring a cartoon strip that gave rise to the “Wankye Wankye Scandal”. The strip was denounced as ‘pornography’, students were duly suspended, campaigns were mounted to have them reinstated, demonstrations were started. Things got out of hand. Reading closely you realize how benign the commentary was, young male students frustrated at the lack of ‘internalists’: female students who dated fellow students. There were complaints about “the young lecturers who openly fish in the limited pool of Volta Hall - and in the female wing of the controversial Sarbah Hall”. Student militancy prevailed however. The riot police had to be called in to calm things down. Dig the uniforms.
THE CONSTITUTION: General Ankrah resigned and handed over to General Afrifa early on in the year. The die had been cast however, and the transition to civilian rule would account for much of the year’s manoeuvering. The Akuffo-Addo commision enjoined that “never again should there be any tyranny in Ghana...” A Constituent Assembly was sworn in to draw up a constitution taking into account its recommendations and those of the general public. Lt. Gen. Ankrah would state 3 principles to inform the new Constitution: • The freedom and liberty of the people and their enjoyment of fundamental human rights • To eliminate the possibility of the return of tyranny and dictatorship to the country • To prevent the abuse of the Constitution through frivolous and ill-conceived amendments to it. The last of these was a reaction to the deposed President Nkrumah and “his disrespect of the Constitution and the frequency of amendments which rendered it a simple tool in his hands for the perpetuation of his rule”. The worries about tyranny would prove prescient - Acheampong and his band of rogues would mount a coup in 1972. THE ECONOMY:There were complaints about smuggling - Ghana’s economy was still dislocated. There were many scapegoats: “we are asking them not to have a special liking for the Syrians, Lebanese, Indians and Nigerians who are mainly behind the illegal importation of cases of liquors, tobacco, used clothing and cotton prints”.These days, the additions to the list of convenient scapegoats in the Ghanaian discourse are the Liberians who arrived as refugees over the past 15 years. If you press a little harder, some might mention the Chinese.Mark Cofie, who started an empire of car garages, becoming an agent of Japanese car companies and dealing with repairing most of the American cars in the country, was given a glowing profile. A consummate entrepreneur, he had grand visions of a Ghanaian auto industry. In retrospect, it wasn’t to materialize but he at least made a go at it.The recently opened Akosombo dam was meant to enable a new era of power and support the development of fledgling industries. “Abundant power for Ghana’s new industries” read the headline. Manufacturing didn’t take off however, and these nascent efforts would falter in the decades to come. It is only forty years on that these same aspirations seem to be taking off in any sustainable fashion. Still there is much on the various factories that were sprouting up. Reports on the poor and often non-existent infrastructure in the Volta region make for depressing reading: no drainage systems, no street lighting, no water supply (only 8 percent with access to good drinking water), poor feeder roads, few doctors and so forth. The proximity of the Akosombo dam seemed to be of no consequence. A few gestures were being made to promote places like the Wii waterfalls and the mystery rock of Akosombo as tourist venues but the capacity wasn’t there yet - indeed it has taken decades for some of those ideas to come to fruition. Certain parts of the country were being left behind and some would exploit the resulting grievances for political gain. The environmental degradation of Keta and the anxiety of its harried inhabitants were a concern. Those who live between the sea and the lagoon will always find grievances. In any case, some of our best poetry has come out of their predicament, witness Kofi Awonoor’s wonderful poem, The Sea Eats The Land At Home. FOREIGN AFFAIRS: There are looks outward to the deadly costs of the Biafra war in nearby Nigeria. Nelson Ottah termed it a “descent to the abyss” and was shocked by what he saw in Ojukwu’s Biafra. A young Cameron Duodu takes a trip to America at the height of Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panthers’ confrontation with The Man. One gets the sense that he was really there to check out jazz groups like the Sonny Cox Trio or watch Le Roi Jones catching the spirit in live performances but he found that there was no escape from race in his travels in the United States. As he put it: “I see the beauty evaporate”. It is interesting to read about America’s civil rights trauma through the eyes of a Ghanaian journalist. He titled his pieces America the Beautiful with no little irony. PARTY POLITICS: There was lots of campaigning and electioneering and much of it would feature in Drum’s pages. The elections would be won handily by Busia’s Progress Party - the heavyweight brain-trust and shrewd electoral tactics proved overwhelming. AjaxBukana,theirascibletrickster,rabble-rouserandallaroundgeneralentertainer,launchedtheMosquitoes Protection Party during the 1969 election. His platform was thoroughly ludicrous but brought some very welcome levity. The minstrel tradition had reached Africa and found fertile ground.
Honeymoon / Anniversary Bliss Package-$600 • Champagne on Arrival • Bed, Breakfast & Dinner for the Couple (2 Nights) • Room Upgrade (subject to availability) • Complimentary Early Check (at 10am) • Complimentary Late Check-out (till 4pm) • Candles & Flowers • Afropolitan Hotspot Photo Moment • VIP Welcome • Chocolates • Bubble Bath (On Request) • 2 Complimentary Cinema Tickets •Couple’s Spa & Beauty Treat Wedding Night Forever Yours-$250 • Bed, Breakfast & Dinner for the couple (2 nights) • Room Upgrade (subject to availability) • Complimentary Early Check (at 10am) • Complimentary Late Check-out (Till 4pm) • Flowers • Afropolitan Hotspot Photo Moment
Wedding /Anniversary Packages
Honeymoon / Anniversary Enchanting Package-$500 • Bed, Breakfast (2 nights) • Room Upgrade (subject to availability) • Complimentary Early Check (at 10am) • Complimentary Late Check-out (Till 4pm) • Candles & Flowers • Afropolitan Hotspot Photo Moment • VIP Welcome • Chocolates • Bubble Bath (on request) • 2 Complimentary Cinema Tickets Call: (+233) 302 780 213 / 289 115 922 •Couple’s Spa & Beauty Treat
Email: email@example.com Website: www.african-regent-hotel.com africanregent.hotel 221A6151 http://gh.linkedin.com/pub/africanregent-hotel facebook/afropolitan ar
sex & relationships
SEX & RELATIONSHIPS
dventures from the bedrooms of african women
by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
Turn Me On
There’s more than one way to kill a cat and when it comes to arousal, many of them are in fact non-sexual. Here are my favourite few.
Does anyone need to ask why? I don’t even know if massages qualify as non-sexual because they are actually so darn sexy that you can find yourself getting turned on when you absolutely do not want to be turned on. One day I shall blog about this massage I had in Turkey. I swear the masseuse was aiming for a happy ending… The worst bit washewassoreplusivebutmybody didn’t think so. Anyway, moving right along to…
knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. The kind of person who can introduce me to new tools like digital applications that make my work easier or give me critical and honest feedback on my work. Smart people make me think ‘oh I can so have a baby with you’ (and if you read my blog regularly you will know what an achievement that is).
This is almost cliche but good chocolate is oh so hot! Chocolate gateaux, Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate, Golden Tree Chocolate, Chocolate ice-cream, Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut… chocolate does it for me almost every time.
People who can sing, rhyme, dance, sculpt, write…I am totally jealous of creative people. There is this energy around them that I just love. No wonder groupies exist.
BEACH WEEKENDS AWAY
iShare Hospitality Project is aimed at creating awareness to children about hospitality so that they can grow up knowing what it means and practicing it in the right way. The word hospitality alone means cordial reception, welcoming someone with kindness and courtesy. Hospitality has existed since the beginning of the human race; it has played an essential role in our social life. Today, hospitality is present everywhere, it’s like a spirit towards people. We however want to fuse this with creating awareness about hospitality as well as the hospitality industry in general. We will be organising various fun activities geared towards educating the child to understand, know and practice hospitality everywhere they go.
What a turn on! There is something just so sexy about smart people. Genuinely clever people who are
I love the ocean! In fact, my dream is to own a beach house. There is something about days away with virtually nothing but the ocean for company that brings out the naughtiness in me. Skinny dipping anyone?
Please support this worthy cause for a better & hospitable new generation
For more information on ways to partner and contribute, please contact Antonia on (+233) 302 765 180-2 / 289 115 922 firstname.lastname@example.org www.african-regent-hotel.com africanregent.hotel 221A6151 http://gh.linkedin.com/pub/african-regent-hotel facebook/afropolitan
Many people complemented DUST for the striking pictures of Ebo Taylor in our last issue. We caught up with the man whose eye was behind the lens of many of those shots. Here, Tobias Freytag shares with us some stunning shots of African musicians in the Diaspora. D: You are an architect as well as a photographer. Is photography just a hobby or something more? TF: Photography is as much a hobby to me as architecture. I am dedicated to both and do it from the heart and for the art. The difference is I studied architecture but I am just an autodidact in photography. I earn money from both though. Your job should never just be a job. The difference is that with photography you can see your outcome straight away, whereas in architecture it sometimes takes years from your first draft to the final building.
Ebo taylor (Ghana)
Metropolis of Foreign Beggars (Ghana/UK)
Yahzahrah of The Foreign Exchange (Ghana/US)
D: When (and how) did you get into photography? TF: I got into photography at the end of 2009. I get bored really quickly. I graduated as the 2nd best in my architecture class in 2006 and immediately found work with a well-known architect (Hans Kollhoff) in Rotterdam, with whom I won a big competiton for a new town centre in the Netherlands. After a year and a half, I left because I wanted to live in Cologne and I quickly found work with Ortner + Ortner (a well-known Austrian architecture duo). I started my own business at the same time to do joint projects with them, but after half a year I thought “this can’t be it”, and started thinking about doing another creative job.
Blitz the Ambassador (Ghana/US)
There was a photography exhibition in Cologne that anyone could enter. I submitted a picture of a staircase in Berlin that I took with a digital Canon Ixus camera. It was exhibited and a week afterwards I bought my first ‘real’ digital camera. My skills were quite limited in the beginning but I get better every day and my aims keep rising. Because I‘m an architect, my eyes are trained to see things and details others miss. I capture so many mentionable moments that are sometimes hard to describe to other people, so I make it a habbit to take a camera along everytime I’m outside. TF: Well, I try to capture the moment. I don‘t use flashlights or
Roy Ayers (US)
Lëk Sèn (Senegal/France)
When I first met eighty-two year old photographer James Barnor, we were both being interviewed for the celebrations of fifty years of Ghana’s independence. He as an older creative from Ghana, I as the younger. I looked through the paper photocopies of photographs that he had brought with him, mounted on large pieces of black card. I saw portraits from the 1940s of a Ghanaian ballroom dancing champion and of one of Ghana’s first female policewomen taken in his Ever Young Studios. I saw pictures of foreign dignitaries and of local market women that came to witness the handover of power to Africa’s first sub-Saharan country to gain its independence from colonial rule. I saw cover shots of young Africans who came to London to study in the 1960s, taken for Drum, the first magazine produced by Africans for an African audience. These pictures filled the gap between the stories my parents told me, and the portrayals to the world of Africans by a largely negative Western media. I told James Barnor I wanted to do an exhibition of his work and a few months later, the opportunity arose for us to do one at the Black Cultural Archives in London. Only this was somehow not enough. In the seeming absence of us presenting our own stories to the world, others had told them for us, often in ways that were incongruous. I decided I had to write a book on James Barnor and his pictures and through them trace the history of photography and the birth of our nation, to uncover what the images told us about how we have represented ourselves, and our own modernities. James Barnor’s photographs and negatives were under his bed in his apartment, so following the advice of David Adjaye, the Ghanaian architect, I approached
By Nana Oforiatta Ayim
studio setup. I take every picture with the help of natural light because I want it to be pure. I always use solid 50 or 85mm lenses because I think it‘s false to stand 200 metres away from the actual motive to get your picture. I am always “right in your face.” I’m probably not the only one who does this. There is no recipe: my eye tells me what to do. When I do concert photography, I always get in contact with the musician before the show. I like to get to know them and build up some kind of relation to get the best picture when they perform. They also get to know who the guy behind the camera is. D: Between TY, Shad, Blitz, etc, you’ve invariably shot a lot of artists of African origin. What kinds of artists interest you enough to photograph or listen to them? TF: They need to have character. I need to feel that their music is coming from their heart and of course, it needs to make your booty shake. I am interested in music by Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Mulatu Astatqe, Matata and of course Uncle Ebo [Taylor]. I am also a big fan of reggae/ dub music, which also has its origins in africa. In my teenager years, I listened a lot to hip-hop like KRD One, Wu Tang Clan, Biggie Smalls, Jungle Brothers... By
the end of the 90s, gangster rap became too popular and hip-hop parties became a meeting place for little wannabe gangster so it became quite unattractive! Through my many friends in the music business, I was introduced to Afrofunk and it was not just the music, but also the people who listened to it and came to the parties that made it more enjoyable. Everybody dances as soon as such sounds come on and everybody is in such a good mood. I noticed this on Uncle Ebo’s face when he played in Cologne in January. He received such good vibes from the Colognian crowd that he just kept on smiling and in the end he joined the crowd and started dancing with everybody! We all had smiles on our faces for days after that! D: So... any plans to come to Ghana? TF: At the moment I live in Andalusia/Spain. From here you can see the Atlas mountains of Morocco, so this year I’m planning a trip there. Next year, I will hopefully travel a bit further in and come to Ghana. I hope to make it to the next Asabaako Music Festival where I’m really looking forward to meeting nice people, having a blast, taking good pictures and getting to know the interesting characters in front of my lens. KG
Autograph ABP, who agreed to digitize his work and put on a major retrospective last year. A country is nothing without its history, and yet we do not always honour those that have told and created the stories of our becoming. James Barnor is one of our greatest storytellers and now, the time has come for him to have an exhibition at home in Accra to celebrate him and his work, accompanied by a documentary, and the book. The story has come full circle, James Barnor, as the older, I as the younger, will together try to tell a history of Ghana that will allow us as Ghanaians, to reflect on ourselves, our provenance and our direction, to reclaim the framing of our own representations, and so to stand stronger in our contribution to the world. If you want to support the project (e.g. invest, in-kind, technical expertise, broadcast, put on a concert, print a James Barnor T-shirt or kaba and slit, have photographic workshops for children, host a radio or TV discussion on, e.g., the question of historical representation or the importance of the photographic document or in any other way actively participate), please email: email@example.com dust
Like any metropolis, Accra always has a number of cool events and goings-on. You just have to know where to look.
The Talk Parti
Increasingly less of a Talk Party than an Action Party, these events - organized by filmmaker Mantse Aryeequaye & cultural commentator, Dr. Sionne Neeley - have already resulted in the Accra[Dot]Alt Festival and the upcoming Chalewote Street Art Festival. When? First Friday of every month Where? Passions Cafe (behind Pippa’s Gym), Osu How Much? Free Info: www.facebook.com/accradotalt
The Ehalakasa Talk Party
Poetry, performance and the power of the spoken word from and in the company of some of Accra’s most creative writers, artists, and musicians. When? Second & Fourth Sunday of every month, 5.309.00 pm Where? The Nubuke Foundation (near Mensvic Hotel), East Legon How Much? Free Info: 0246419861, 0271556786
The Chalewote Street Art Festival
Music, Motorcycle Stunts, Skateboarding, Spoken word, Caporeira, Crafts, Acrobats, Art Installations, Graffiti, Photography, Children’s Art, Dancing, Drumming, Drama and even tales by the fireside from a collective of over 20 Accra-based artists, activists, writers, students and musicians. What more could you possibly want? When? July 16th, 10 am-10 pm Where? Jamestown How Much? Free Info: www.facebook.com/accradotalt
The Adventurers in the Diaspora (AiD) Series
A forum for critical discussion on the role of creativity and design in Ghana’s development, hosted by a team lead by one of Ghana’s foremost creative minds, Joe Addo.
The Open Air Stock Exchange
Accra’s very first monthly flea market has quickly established itself as a fine place to find (or flog) home or handmade items, clothes, crafts and more. When? First Saturday of every month, 9.00 am-6.00 pm Where: Nyaniba Park Entry: Free Info: 0244 799 134
When? First Thursday of every month, 7.00 pm Where? The Branche Lounge at the Golden Tulip Hotel How Much? Free Info: http://adventurersinthediaspora.visualsociety.com
The AiD Film Series
A spin-off of the aforementioned AiD series, this film series fosters relationships between and creates awareness of the work of local filmmakers and their counterparts in the Diaspora. When? First Saturday of every month, 7.30 pm Where? The Golden Tulip Hotel Tennis Court How Much? Free Info: http://adventurersinthediaspora.visualsociety.com
Enjoy a movie date courtesy of DUST! We have five pairs of tickets to the Silverbird Cinema to give away. For a chance to win, just visit http://wwww.surveymonkey.com/s/dustaccra & answer our short survey.
Winners will be announced on our Twitter & Facebook pages on 20th July.
We look forward to hearing from you!
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