Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy birthday to me and closing Kasiebo

Yee, onwunu adwo, my people, yɛrebɔ dawuro, nti monyaa aso (2x); Yɛkyiakyia mo nyinaa, yɛde nkaseɛbɔ brɛbrɛ mo nyinaa (2x); La la la la la, mmiɛnsa, mmienu, baako, hwii dum; La la la la la, sɛ wɔapie, sɛ asa, afei, ka w'ano to mu;

This is the chorus of Obrafour’s Kasiebo hit single. Kasiebo means ‘news’. This is not exactly the nuz, but it’s just a little write-up of things that have been on my mind lately. Full blog posts will follow sometime in the New Year when I ‘boga’ again to my address in America. If you can't read Twi, ask a friend or learn some at

BarCamp Ghana 2009 went well. We had more than 300 attendees and great breakout sessions and panels. Patrick Awuah’s keynote speech was awesome too. The notes and feedback are rolling in. Look out for a comprehensive report soon. You can always google to find out what people are saying as well. Or hit up the #bcghana09 hashtag on Twitter. Shout out to our sponsors – GhanaThink Foundation, MEST, Google, Web4Africa, Ushahidi, CITI 97.3FM, Ashesi University, Fienipa, SKYY Digital and Studio 8.

I’ve been on radio twice, both times on CITI 97.3FM’s breakfast show with Bernard Avle. The Dec 18th discussion/interview had me, Patrick Awuah (of course I was dying in there), Paa Kwesi Imbeah (my role model) and Estelle Sowah (CEO of Google Ghana). I handled the stage fright well and the discussion on leadership, youth and the motives behind BarCamp Ghana 09 served for a nice interview. The post-BarCamp interview on the 23rd with myself, Eyram Tawia and Henry Addo (and George Minta-Jacobs) about youth entrepreneurship in Ghana went well too. Both audios shall be made available, as well video footage already broadcasted on Skyy TV’s Democracy channel.

Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s A sting in a Tale is a great movie. Some people believe it’s her best. It seems Shirley’s making her subsequent movies more local and more realistic for the average Ghanaian. The movie features more Twi and Pidgin lines. A full review will follow soon.

This movie featured my favorite Ghanaian song at the moment. Sarkodie’s Boga. Boga, boga, ɛna ɛyɛɛ dɛn. Super track. Obidi must make a video for this one.

Ghanaians must learn to be more honest and speak the truth. We dey lie too much. Sometimes we do it without even thinking about it. If you are at the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange in traffic, let me know. Don’t tell me you are at Madina Zongo Junction.

Mmaa no wɔ he? They still didn’t come to BarCamp Ghana 2009. I understand they are more interested in going to social functions. For real? Tell me, ɛnyɛ nokware. False propaganda.

I can tell you one place they are at. The Accra Mall. It’s still the new hang-out, meeting spot. I visited the SilverBird Lifestyle shop and was pleasantly surprised with what I found there. Children’s books written by Ghanaians, a whole aisle of books about Barack Obama, South African CDs (including Gang of Instrumentals, Lira and Malaika), my friend’s book Harmattan Rain, a book called ‘Bu me bE’ amongst others.

Shiee wow! The girl ebody body chaw. I don’t know why I never really realized this.

Na EhyEm!. Am writing in Naija movie, but before it's done, am gonna live it to make sure it will make a great story. It's gonna be the best Nigerian movie ever. It's called a tale of two sisters.

The new cool term is ‘Chill up’. If you haven’t heard about Capo Cheerz, you are missing out. Megyina me nan so 

The new mantra for Ghanaian politicians is “it’s in the pipeline”. Why isn’t this road done? “It’s in the pipeline”. Oh Ghana!

I attended Smiles for Christmas 2009 at the Labadi Beach Hotel. Mad props to the ladies who’ve been organizing this. Smiles for New Year in Kumasi is on this 3rd January (2pm prompt) at King Jesus Charity at Boadi. If you are near Oseikrom, join us.

Have you heard about Citizen Kofi? You have. Have you been there? You haven’t. Not to worry. Find your way there, it’s the hottest ticket in town. If you are part of Ghana’s elite, you may not even need one. More on this in the New Year.

Sra bi hwɛ herbal clinic. I also saw a signboard for African Institute of Technology, somewhere on the Kumasi-Obuasi road. How many AITs are there in Africa?

Speaking of Obuasi, I was there recently to watch Accra Hearts of Oak and AshGold. It was my first time watching a Ghanaian premier league match. It was the most entertaining goalless drawn game I’ve seen. Is Glo the only sponsor? They haven’t entered the telecom market in Ghana but they have no competition at the nation’s sports stadia.

Speaking of telecoms, they have taken over Ghana. Everywhere is painted Yello, Vodafone Red, or Zain multicolor. Quite impressive.

I have a checklist of food items and drinks I am trying before I leave Ghana again. I had one Chairman (Kyea me) the other day, and became the tipsiest I’ve ever been. Let’s just say I followed it with an Alvaro, which is the ‘truth’.

Anaa yɛse moakye no awe Auntie Muni waakye. I finally went to Auntie Muni to discover what her waakye was all about. Good stuff. Was there at the Facebook Waakye Party. I couldn’t find too many people I knew, which made me wonder which folks were attending this thing.

Fresh boy Chup Chop kɛ fresh girl Lollipop. So I hear Chupa-Chop is actually a toffee. Interesting.

For the first time, my parents and others have been hinting I should get married. Hmmm. my Mrs., I’m coming for you. I am going to SMS love to 1948. I hear they have 100,000 singles.

Happy birthday to me. I’m forever 21 26. Afei na merebɛyɛ no gidigidi. :-) While I am afraid of aging, my brother wishes he was retired. People keep on telling me I look more matured than my age, la la la la la. I don’t know why I don’t think that is not a good thing. Either way, there are mixed emotions about what I’ve done with my life so far and that warrants another entry. Da foforɔ, ma me mmerɛ na menkyerɛ m'adwen. So till then, thanks for all the lovely messages, calls, texts. I really appreciate it.

Thank you. Medaase. Oyiwaladonn. Akpe. Na gode. Ese. Imela. Asante. Tatenda. Ngiyabonga. Nkosi. Weebale nyo. Merci. Spasibo. Spasiba. Gracias. Obrigada. Arigato. Xixie. Shukria.

Friday, December 11, 2009

BarCamp Ghana 2009 - Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers (Press release)

I am very excited about this event. If you have a story of youth making/creating change and leading in Ghana, please come and share it here. Or get in touch.

On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. This summer, the conversations moved to Washington, DC on July 25, 2009 where BarCamp Diaspora '09 brought together the African Diaspora to exchange ideas on doing business in Africa.

This December 21st in Accra, the BarCamp Ghana team, made up of passionate young Ghanaians, presents BarCamp Ghana '09, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". The event will take place on December 21, 2009 from 8am - 6pm at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus at 20 Aluguntuguntu Street in East Legon, Accra.

A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering where attendees meet for discussions, demos and networking. Unlike a typical conference, at a BarCamp everyone is both a speaker and a participant. The content is provided by all attendees based on their interests, unified under the theme. This year, the focus is youth in leadership and how the youth can create and make change in various ways in various disciplines for the betterment of Ghana. The event would highlight different success stories involving change-making youth. Change makers and youth leaders are strongly encouraged to attend.

BarCamp Ghana ’09 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Africa. BarCamp Diaspora gave birth to a Ghana-focused healthcare NGO, REACH-Ghana, which will be presenting its story since its inception in July. BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses.

Panelists and speakers will include Patrick Awuah of Ashesi University, Estelle Sowah of Google Ghana, George Minta of Empretec, Hajo Birthelmer of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), amongst others. There will be sessions organized by Google representatives and as well as other breakout sessions on various topics and interests as put forth by the attendees. If you are creating or making change in your own small way in your community, consider sending the team a note about your project or business to info at barcampghana dot org. Some of these stories will be mentioned at the BarCamp and all the information will be on the BarCamp Ghana website.

Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Ghana website. Help spread the word about BarCamp Ghana '09 by grabbing badges and support by donating to help cover costs. You may also contact the BarCamp Ghana team through its website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Ghana 2009 is sponsored by the GhanaThink Foundation, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Ushahidi, Web4Africa, etc. Our media partner is CITI 97.3 FM.

See you there!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Introducing REACH-Ghana on the occasion of World AIDS day

I was notified about the website for REACH-Ghana today and I must say I am impressed with how far this organization has come in the last 4 months following BarCamp Diaspora at JHU-SAIS in Washington, DC. A few young passionate Ghanaians with interest in the health sector came together after a healthcare breakout session during July's BarCamp Diaspora and started investigating how they could contribute to Ghana's health sector. Their enthusiasm has given birth to Representatives for Equal Access to Community Health-care (Ghana).

I love the use of the Adinkra symbol in the REACH logo. After my previous experience with Kasahorow, Museke & GhanaThink, I am a big fan of incorporating Ghanaian symbols in every way. REACH's logo uses the Adinkra symbol "Boa Me Na Menboa Wo" (Help me to help you), which represents cooperation, interdependence and community. You can see the tenets of REACH's vision in this symbol and the name itself. The symbol embodies the organization's belief that local community involvement is
integral to the achievement of equal access to quality health-care. The organization believes that local community involvement is integral to its mission.

December 1 was World AIDS day and REACH-Ghana already has an AIDS themed project called the REACH HIV Intervention program. This project is scheduled to take place in summer 2010. Read more about REACH's goals and projects on their website. The REACH-Ghana team is made up of various Ghanaian students and professionals in the health sector. The team includes Maame Sampah, Aida Manu, Kofi Buaku-Atsina, Seyram Avle, Edo Bedzra, Aya Ghunney, Emmanuel Lamptey, Jonathan Hutchful and Bennie Osafo-Darko as coordinator of the HIV project. I know some of these people personally and strongly believe in their capability to make REACH-Ghana a meaningful contributor to addressing some of Ghana's health issues and concerns.

Become a Facebook Fan today. Follow REACH-Ghana on Twitter @REACHGhana. You can also become a member of REACH-Ghana and get opportunities to volunteer on REACH-Ghana projects, attend conferences, expand your network and get free access to REACH newsletters and publications. Also donate to help REACH-Ghana, an NGO, which is on track to gain 501c status.

You can also attend BarCamp Ghana 09 later this year on the 21st of December in Accra to hear more about REACH-Ghana. Here's to the birth of more forward-thinking organizations out of more BarCamps and roundtable discussions amongst young Ghanaians and Africans in the future. Yes, we can.


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