Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top websites in Ghana and top Ghanaian websites (according to Alexa)

Got an email from a friend recently which prompted me to look at the top rated sites on for Ghana. There were a few interesting discoveries so wanted to share.

Top sites 1-10

1. Pretty easy to decipher. Facebook has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years, making hi5 extinct and leaving myspace in its wake. Hey, they have Facebook parites in Ghana now. Facebook was probably the number one for advertising and marketing BarCamp Ghana last year.

2. People still use Yahoo regularly? For what? Email? I stopped using yahoo in 2006. I check my yahoo address once every 3 weeks. I probably use the Flickr service more than Yahoo Mail. Did I hear YahooMail has unlimited storage?

3. Maybe the only reason isn't top in Ghana is the fact that it shares 'time' with The Ghana google site has only been around maybe 4 years but it's sweet to have a country-specific google site for GH. Does Yahoo or MSN have one? In fact, you can use Ghana's Google in Hausa or Akan. Try it today :-)

4. See number 4. Yes, Ghanaians are beginning to replace the word search with Google too. And now with the Google Ghana office starting up, watch out.

5. Yahoo doesn't get much love from me and MSN never really has. Live? Isn't that a relatively new thing? Do some of you even know about this website? It's

6. The joke in Ghana is, you open a Youtube video page, pause the video, leave the page and go do something else for 30 minutes, come back and watch the video. Can't wait for the day those fibre optic cables will be laid so we can have decent internet connections. Apparently, slow internet hasn't stopped Ghanaians from joining the Youtube revolution.

7. My hotmail address has traditionally been used for MSN messenger only. Those good old days! I don't use it anymore but hey, GH folks seem to be using their hotmail addresses like crazy. I suppose they have 'conversation threads' too.

8. Ha! First Ghanaian site in the Top 10. No surprise here. People still criticize them for their 'terrible' website but Ghanaweb is a name edged into the psyche of Ghanaians. It would only take a huge effort to knock them off their perch.

9. Kinda nice Wikipedia is in here. Ghanaians use it a whole lot but we don't create a lot of pages. Let's get on that. Check out Akan Wikipedia

10. Ghana is a former British colony. Komla Dumor works there. They have "Africa Have Your Say". Enuff said.

Let's dig into the top "Ghanaian sites".

1. Ghanaweb: See above.

2. JOY FM has really done well with their website. They seem to do much less than Ghanaweb, but have almost the same internet pull.

3. Kind of interesting how a Ghanaian-language radio station can have a super and popular website that is in English. I am looking forward to the day we have a site with major Ghanaian language content ranked this high.

4. I had never heard of this website until they decided to sponsor BarCamp Ghana last December. I was quite surprised to see them up here. They register domains and design websites. Good stuff.

5. Yes, I am also like WednesdayThursdayFriday? I just want to ask the guys behind this website how they do it.

6. Did these guys go on some marketing or advertising blitz in Ghana? Strange.

7. I remember when this website came out. It looked a complete copycat of Ghanaweb. Either Ghanaweb was running that site or Ghanaweb had to seriously sue them, because they had the 'same' content. ModernGhana has continued to grow and I rate it more highly now. Should be higher up this list.

8. Legon's site is in here? :-D I like to make fun of Legon, TECH aka KNUST is so much better. I have first-hand experience. Can't the hackers coming out of TECH make KNUST enter the top 10 and relegate Legon's site to anonymity? MUAHAHA. *Evil smile*

9. No, it's not Wa trade hub, it's West Africa Trade Hub. All I wanna is, "How much did they pay?"

10. Now, this placement corrects all the wrongs about the lists. Fienipa is a top 1o site in Ghana. Visit it today! You'll see that you are missing out! It has a lyrics.fienipa section (a mirror site for - home of the African music fan), words.fienipa (African language dictionaries), food.fienipa (a mirror site of - African food recipes), greetings.fienipa (African language greeting cards), market.fienipa (an African marketplace), etc. Go on, click it

Any thoughts about the lists? These lists are subject to change, easily. See the top 100 sites in Ghana here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

An unforgettable February weekend!

It's been a while since I shared a 'diary' entry. This last weekend presented the perfect opportunity to do so. It wasn't setting up to be that special a weekend. The Harvard African Business Conference was going on, but I did not attend. While I was there last year, I decided to forgo the HBS ABC this year. I was bent on seeing this through and if I had the littlest inkling about changing my mind, my empty-full-of-potholes pocket hammered the final nail in the 'dont-go-to-the-HBS_ABC coffin. So, I was stuck in the Bay but the Bay interestingly had a few good things to offer. It ended up offering an unforgettable weekend. So I missed out on Naeto C? Kini Big Deal. Missed out on the biggest, brightest, most reputable face-to-face tete-a-tete networking potential African marriage-partner finding event? "Duro", didn't drive me crazy because you should know my P. This weekend's Mighty African adventures were not to be missed. Here's the story.

Friday was the day Vusi Mahlasela was coming to perform at Stanford. Yes, he had been invited by 'Stanford Arts', and not the African Students Association or his niece who's studying Aero-Astro engineering. Just joking about the latter. Vusi's concert was going to cost Stanford students $10 and other adults (over 18+) would pay $35. Gone are the days when I used to hang with 18 year olds who didn't attend my school. My 'adult' friends would not come see Vusi for $35. So if my friend who was visiting had to pay $35 to hang with me for a couple of hours, then I would also not pay $10. I am not a big fan of Vusi's music anyway. Give me some Kwaito, give me some Lira, give me some House. Give me some of this. I'd normally support my Africans, no matter what but this was quite a price to pay. So I skipped the concert, entertained my visitor and looked forward to catching Vusi at the reception being thrown for him later.

I went to the reception as planned, though it started later than advertised. Kai, even Stanford can operate at African time sometimes. Feels good, neh? :-D Stanford's favorite accapella group, Talisman, performed some beautiful South African songs at the reception. Even after performing for two hours, Vusi still found the energy to join them in singing "Ahuna Ya Tswanang Le Jesu". They also sang 'Shosholoza' and another I forget right now. Hey, it's about the only thing I forgot from this weekend ;-) Spoke with Vusi eventually and told him about Museke, etc. No, no time for interviews this time. I've decided to listen to his music more. Check out his songs, River Jordan and Jabula, good stuff. Local is lekker. Had a lot of interesting conversations with a Berkeley student and her German boyfriend. Ended up being one of the last people to leave the reception venue as a result. This always happens. I don't know why I always manage to stay till the very end. Sigh.

My Saturday 'began' when I saw two missed calls from my Nigerian buddy (5:30 & 5:45pm). So I decided to call him back (6:30pm). "Chale, the Angelique Kidjo concert is at 8pm at Berkeley, we are leaving at 7pm". Yikes! I had a little under 30 minutes to transition into Saturday, shower, get dressed UP and go. Funny thing is, I wasn't prepared for this Kidjo show. My Nigerian buddy hadn't mentioned it when I saw him Friday night and no one had talked about it all week. Naww, Impossible. Possible, Africans @ Stanford weren't that giddy about seeing one of Africa's best performers, especially when it was an hour's drive away. Me, I had just missed Vusi's concert, missed Kidjo when she performed in Boston and was made to endure 'taunts' from my friends who went about how they danced with her on stage and how magnificent she was. Wasn't going to miss this one. Eventually, joined my Nigerian buddy on the journey and after we picked up our Ethiopian 'sister', we were concert-bound (7:30).

8:40pm. We've just paid for parking after circling the concert venue in Berkeley and are looking for directions to ZellerBach Hall. We get there and we are greeted by a white lady who tells us they stopped selling tickets for the show 30 minutes after it started. For those of you keeping score at home, that means we are 10 minutes late. We can't even go buy online tix and come back. #AreYouKiddingMe???!!! We drove all the way to Berkeley to see Kidjo 'shekete' and we can't get tickets? The show is at least 2 hours long and we still have 80 minutes to go. I turn around and shout "CAL SUCKS!" Some white dude outside remarked, "the place is probably half-full". And I'm pretty darn sure it was! Seriously, why be so prim and proper? Couldn't they just sell us tickets? What do they lose? I blame Angelique Kidjo. She's so big these days, she's on some 'international record label', we don't have access to her, we have to pay top dollar to see her and there's no flexibility. Imagine if it was some African promoter who had brought 'Samini' to perform at some local spot in Berkeley. Samini would come on stage 2 hours late, so there's no way in 'Sodom and Gomorrah' that we're missing him, tickets would be sold from 'krainkrain' to 'krankran' till the show ends and the price would probably remain the same. I'm done with Angelique Kidjo concerts.

9:15pm. My Ethiopian friend and I are both hungry. She and my Naija paddy want chicken and waffles. I'm like, "We've come all the way to Berkeley, we have to eat at an African restaurant". We've paid for 3 hours of parking so we're not getting the car, we're walking to find this food. Eventually, we realise the African restaurants are not that ubiquitous and we can't spend too much time reaching them. We settle for some 'black' food at 'Louisiana Kitchen'. This is after we've decided to remedy the evening with watching 'Up in the Air' starring George Clooney. Movie shows at 10pm, counting previews, we should be seated by 10:20 at the latest. American restaurants don't operate like chop bars, so we have to wait in line, declare our order, eventually get seated, continue chit-chatting, and wait for the food. This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. So, by the time the food arrives, it's maybe 9:55.

So I order some chicken fresh from ze kitchen, my Ethiopian friend orders some crawfish dish, and my Nigerian guy orders some Jambalaya from this black buka. Normally, I'd ask to taste some of what my friends ordered, and share some of mine. Sharing is caring. I couldn't eat the Jambalaya because I've given up eating pork and beef for Lent. No lie. So if you thought this was going to be easy, it ain't. I was refusing food (a whole me) because it had some kind of meat. "Asumasi mmɛ hwɛ n'adamfo. Joseph mpo, y'awe!"

We finish eating, get to the cinema to get our 'Up in the Air' tix and the ticket sellers no dey. I look to my Naija friend and we figure we'll just open the doors and go watch the movie anyway. "Syke" The doors are locked. A concessionary seller in the cinema tells us the theater is closed. We see him. We stand there. He sees fit to come toward us and open the doors. He pokes his head out and tells us "the theatre is closed". @#&%^E@I We heard you the first time! Luckily enough, there was a theater right down the road. Berkeley is good for a few things. The ticket seller waits for 10 minutes as the three of us debate what movie to see. My Ethiopian friend doesn't want to see Avatar, and I haven't seen it (#FAIL). She's seen Sherlock Holmes and we haven't. The guys don't want see It's complicated. We end up choosing Denzel Washington in 'Book of Eli', and it's just starting. After watching 3 minutes of Book of Eli, we decide the movie is too slow, nothing is happening and it's not worth watching. Upon reaching the room where AVATAR 3D is showing, we realise the boxes for recycling 3D glasses are empty. WTF? People take the 3D glasses to show off to their friends? They keep them so they can bring them back to watch more 3D movies? The ticket seller won't give us 3D glasses unless we buy tickets to AVATAR 3D, too. We end up watching Sherlock Holmes, at least, it was a good movie.

Going home to Stanford wasn't even easy. We drove a while looking for highway signs. We ended up circling one particular block on Telegraph Avenue (in Oakland now) three times. On one side of the block, a police car was parked. I mentioned, "hmmm, this policeman may think we are picking up drugs or doing a drive-by the way we keep on coming around here". I run into a Nigerian friend who was frolicking with her other girlfriends and thanks to her directions, we headed home.

I woke up on Sunday just in time to go play with FC Palo Alto in our first game this year. Manchester United had lost badly to Everton the day before (Thank God I didn't watch the game) and I was in no mood to wake up early to watch football. I get to the field and it's raining. Nice! I end up not starting the game in defence like I usually do. I had sucked a bit in practices so I understood my coach and captain's decisions. Hey, have to support the team no matter what. Allen Iverson, that's for you! We concede a goal in the 3rd minute and after 10 minutes, we're two down. By the time, I get to play, we have taken three unanswered goals and it's still raining. Horrible football weekend. The Stanford Athletics monster comes to close down the field and put my team out of our misery. We agree to play the second-half at a later date and my captain decides our team should go practice for an hour. It's still raining! I saw this as a punishment. "This team sucks so bad, we're not going home, let's go practice even if it's raining". 1, 2, 3, FCPA!!!!

Fast forward to 6:30pm. I am preparing to go a potluck empty-handed. For whatever reason, I felt I didn't need to cook for this one because the email looked like it was being organized by three namesakes. Feel no more. It may just happen to me next time. I cut a phone conversation with one of my favorite people short to go join my Zimbabwean friend to go to this potluck. We have a little trouble finding my Ghanaian host's place, a place that is on campus. Tscheeeww. I request for some Golden Tree Chocolate to finally celebrate Valentine's Ghanaian Chocolate Day and have a couple glasses of Sangria. I am trying my best not to get drunk or tipsy on a Sunday. My other Ghanaian friend walks in with Naija roommate and asks, "where's the waakye?". Uh huh, here's a potluck, Mighty African is here and there's no waakye. That means, chale didn't cook. Should not happen again.

Anyway, here's the menu. Chicken dish, peanut groundnut soup, grapes, brownies, rice, chocolate, jollof rice, and a cake with blueberries, strawberries and kiwis. I find out the jollof rice is cooked with beef. Taflastse! Why? I have to forgo this jollof too, I am getting more than I bargained for for this Lent thing. After boxing with my conscience, I take out the beef pieces and eat the jollof. Here's our guestlist, Ghanaian PhD in education, his girlfriend from El Salvador, his Aero-Astro roommate from Germany, Zimbabwean PhD in education, Ghanaian PhD in engineering, Nigerian PhD in engineering, and then two Nigerian and Ghanaian law school students. We had some really enjoyable conversations, but the highlight of the night was probably the new information I found out about 'dimples'. See me in chambers if you want to know.

So that was the weekend. I hope I was able to tell you about in an exciting way as it happened. Very memorable. And that's even half of it. Of course I can't tell you everything that happened. I have to stop telling and you have to stop reading at some point ;-)

The letters we write to impress girls

In fact, sometimes I can't believe how ridiculous I get. Some might say I have a way with words. Actually, I am considering doing stand-up comedy. I have always been writing poems, used to write a lot of short stories (maybe I'll get into those again soon) and most recently, I have been doing spoken word. But at the time I found my love of writing in Presec through short stories, funny articles and poems, I employed 'these styles' in 'letters'. These styles included various figures of speech and what is known to Presec enthusiasts as "Chaa". In my youthful exuberance, I'd write letters to various girls and I don't know why we 'did' this, but we felt our letters had to be special, funny, witty, and 'chaaristic'.

I don't have the letters I wrote in Presec with me but I was browsing through my Facebook messages and realised I never 'lost' my touch. I found a long-lost friend from those jolly old Presec times and felt I start my 'communication' with her the same way I'd do so while in high school.
I have taken out some parts to protect the identity of the lady. The message is otherwise unedited. The lady, in fact, at this very moment, is 'taken', 'attached', 'wifed', you know. Kpayor. Bummer.

Ah well, here goes the message :-)

*************, so this is u?

I have searched for you far and wide, from sea to shining sea, from Paga to Cape Three Points, from Ghanaian party to Boomerang, from churches to major state funerals, from Timeout in Legon to Queens hall in Tech back to Legon On da run, from photo album to friend lists, in fact this day is a great day.

Love of my days, I miss you intoto.

Out of touch, out of sight, still in mind.

How I used to feel you paa? I couldn't stop talking about u. When I came to Ghana, I will look out for u, but for all I know, you may have grown different and I wouldn't be able to recognise u again.

Why did you disappear from my life and make my soul go heart searching and my heart go soul searching?

You have to let me know what you've done with your life since that 2001 day when I met you and through the countless letters you didn't reply.

Oh, sorry I was so excited, I didn't even introduce myself. I forgive you already if you don't remember me. I went to Presec and met you on a nice Ghanaian day *********. I was parading as a ********* and you were *********. See, I remember. :-)

We hooked up. Well, we did not, we just met and talked small. The rest they say is history.

So *************, grant me my heart's desire and come back into my life.

Your long lost number one fan.

What were some of the lines you guys used to use? or still use. or will use. cha, get creative ;-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I would like (poem)

This is my second post this Valentine's National Chocolate Day. I was going to combine both posts but had too much to say in the first one. I have a poem to share with you all in the spirit of this weekend. It's a very special poem to me, because it is a love poem. Uuh. It's titled 'I would like'.

I have debated well over a year whether to make it public and finally I have decided to let you all enjoy it. Well, I've performed it a couple times (spoken word) so it's not a huge secret and I've shared it with some friends as well. I wanted to keep the poem safe till I released it in my anthology or maybe, used it at a very very very special time. But hey, since I am unable to write poems these days for stupid reasons like "this poem better be better than the last poem", I figure I'll share the poem with y'all so I could be forced to write some new ones. It's easy to see why I chose this day, it's Valentine's Day, love is in the ayer. Also, it's a special day for a very special friend. So, here goes. Hope you enjoy it. "I would like"

I would like to love you
Because you sing my feelings
Because you house my affections
Because you play out my scripts
Because you solder my connections
Because you understand my passions
Because you educate my emotions
Because you love my love

I would like to need you
You find my searches
You see my dreams
You cook my fantasies
You tidy my ecstasies
You wash my bleeds
You befriend my deeds
You fulfill my needs

I would like to want you
To expand my reach
To contract my speech
To fulfill my desires
To predict my destiny
To discipline my inputs
To encourage my outputs
To have the next generation of me

I would like to have you
Beside me, because the trust warms me
Behind me, because the faith calms me
Before me, because the hope drives me
Beyond me, because the space focuses me
Above and beneath me, because the beauty floors me
Within me, because the emotion makes me
Make me want to be me

I would like to be with you
You take onlookers' breaths away
You must be a flawless capture
You take onlookers' breaths away
I must be lucky to be in the picture
You take onlookers' breaths away
As they look, see and experience
I cherish being in the experience

I would like to complete you
Because this joint will make and break
And make again
Because this road allows for going back and moving forward
And standing still
Because this building experiences tear and repair
And needs utmost care
The bridge that attaches you to your destiny is me

I would like to be intimate with you
Intimacy that unites
Unity that ignites
Ignitions that spark
Sparks that result
Results that birth
Births that provide
Provisions that love

I would like to
Show that I would like to
Because I am on a cause
I would like to
Have you like to, too
Because I keep on saying because
I would like to love, need, want, have, be with, complete, be intimate with you
Because you be the cause

Happy Chocolate and Valentine's Day!

So it's Valentine's Day all over the world, so let me start by wishing you all Happy Valentine's! Like the Good Book says, Love is the greatest commandment. Love your neighbour as yourself. Pretty golden quote to live by.

Where I'm from, aka Ghana, February 14th is National Chocolate Day. It was adopted by the Kuffour government in 2007 to boost the consumption and sale of cocoa. Ghanaians like to claim the best cocoa (or even chocolate) comes from Ghana. February 14th is a day cast in stone for high consumption of chocolate and cocoa products in Ghana. I know when I was in Ghana for February 14th in 2008, I bought my family a big pack of Golden Tree Chocolate. I shared my story on GhanaConscious too. So yes, we must buy made in Ghana-products all the time, but if you needed any reminders, we have National Chocolate Day. Too bad, I don't have any here to give us gifts. In fact, I am wondering where I could get some. I MUST get some Golden Tree Akuafo Bars today!

I don't know if Valentine's Day is celebrated more in Ghana than the US or vice versa. I don't listen to the radio in the US and hardly watch TV here (unless it's basketball or sports) so I can't make an educated decision. The Valentine's Day movie that just came out looks good, want to see it. In Ghana, Valentine's Day is synonymous with the colour RED. Just like World AIDS day. So now think about that for a second. The two reddest days couldn't be more connected. Remember, it's as easy as ABC. Abstinence, Be faithful to your partner, wear a Condom. If it's not on, it's not in. The whole point of this paragraph was to get this sentence "If it's not on, it's not in" into the blog entry. :-D

People claim Valentine's Day has become so commercialized that people have been missing the point. Well, what is the point? Well, that's we love Wikipedia. Wikipedia says "Saint Valentine's Day" (kai, the day is even meant to be holy) is a holiday celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. Ahem, intimate companions. So if people go get busy as a result, let them get busy. Ghanaians shouldn't complain if condoms all of a sudden become in short supply. :-) The Wikipedia entry also says it's a holiday where lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). In the US, the only time when more greeting cards are sent than during Valentine's is during Christmas.

How am I spending my Valentine's day weekend? Well, it's also NBA All-Star weekend, folks. It's a long weekend too, I wish I could have gone somewhere. I know where I would have gone, had some things fallen into place, but that's a secret. No, it's not the All-Star game in Dallas. And it's not Sin City either. So, I will be watching basketball most of the time. I'll call or communicate with a few loved ones too. I already sent one card and a few more will go out today. Oh, did I mention that men spend twice as much as women during Valentine's? Like we didn't know that already. Oya, me, I am doing my part to make sure the ratio decreases.

Since I'm a big African music person, I have to share with you this African love songs playlist on I'm a fan and I'm sure if you listened, you'll become a fan too.
Listen here

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kasahorow says Try Firefox in Akan Twi today!

I have blogged about Kasahorow & Fienipa creating a home for African languages on the web and the former's project for translating between some African languages and English. Through a recent Gmail conversation that I was privy too, I discovered a few great things my friend at Kasahorow have been up to. A few apps here and there are in the works and I'll broadcast them once they're 'ready for primetime', in the words of Paa Kwesi Imbeah. One recent feature I found very exciting was the opportunity to use my favorite web browser, Mozilla Firefox, in Twi. Yes, the file menus, download windows, everything. In Akan Twi! Isn't that just awesome? I am using it right now and you can too, just read on.

* Download and install language pack for Firefox 3.5 or
* Navigate to about:config from your address bar and promise to be good. :-D Look for the variable called general.useragent.locale. Change the en-US value to ak-GH
* Restart Firefox and test away!
* Send them an email to let them know what you think.

So now I have the following menu - Fael, Sesa, Hwε, Abakɔsεm, Bookmarks, Mfidie, Mboa, etc. I have notified them about 'Bookmarks', hope that gets changed at some point. Any takers for the Twi word for Bookmarks?

Here's a screenshot.

In fact, even the error messages are in Twi. Are you not curious to try this out? Challenge yourself today!

You should also try the other Firefox "Nkaho" from the stable of Kasahorow.
Akan Nsɛmfuaasekyerɛ - Dictionary
Eʋegbe Spelling Dictionary 0.1
Kinyarwanda Spelling Dictionary 0.2

You can always check out Kasahorow's blog for updates. Follow them on Twitter @Kasahorow.

You can also add this gadget - fienipa - to your iGoogle. It will allow you to translate between languages on your iGoogle homepage.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview: Leila Djansi (I Sing of A Well director)

I Sing Of A Well is one of the best Ghanaian movies I've seen and I made that clear in my review here. After watching "I Sing Of A Well", a few questions lingered in my mind. So I decided to ask Leila Djansi, the director, a few questions about the movie, and herself. She is the founder of the Los Angeles based production house Turning Point Pictures. Her critically acclaimed screenplay for Movie Africa "Subcity" won the best screenplay award at FESPACO in 2007 and WorldFest platinum award winning film "Grass between my Lips". Normally, I would use the answers to make my blog entry but I thought I'll try something new this time. So here goes.

Mighty African: What was the motivation behind doing this movie and choosing this time (circa 12th century, etc)?
Leila: I love period pieces. And doing a movie on slavery has always been my ambition.

Mighty African: What are some of the projects you worked on before you travelled abroad?
Leila: Oh my. I worked for Movie Africa, I was a writer there, and I wrote a whole bunch of his movies; some really successful ones are “2gether Forever,” “The Sisterhood,” “Jezebel,” and the FESPACO Official selection “Subcity.” I also did some work for “GAMA,” notably “Legacy of Love.”

Mighty African: What are some of the projects you worked on since you travelled abroad?
Leila: I am a lover of documentaries. Almost everything I have done since I left have been documentaries for the Travel Channel, Sci-Fi Channel, some private schools and organizations, and my own private documentaries. My narratives, which are not works for hire but my own festival piece works, include “Grass Between My Lips,” “Revelations,” “Love Letters,” and a couple of others. All the others have been crew positions for other production houses.

Mighty African: How was the audition process for ISOAW?
Leila: There was no audition process. We handpicked the cast.

Mighty African: How long it take to write the movie and then shoot it?
Leila: The script I wrote back in school in 2007 as a short animated film. It took about 3 months I think, to get it to a feature, and then we started to develop and prep. Thus the entire production process took about 8 months.

Mighty African: I haven't seen many Ghanaian movies with Ewe lines. Why was Ewe chosen and how did the cast receive it?
Leila: I am Ewe. I don't speak any other Ghanaian language with authority like I do Ewe so I chose a language I could control. The cast liked it. Seventy percent of them spoke Ewe, really. Luckie especially has this interesting Togolese accent.

Mighty African: Slavery is a touchy topic. We hear mentions of it in the movie but no scenes of slavery. How does this time of slavery affect the characters?
Leila: We shot scenes of slavery. I choose not to add them to the cut available because of certain technical concerns at the time we were ready to export the cut. This first part simply sets the tone. The real deal slavery makes its debut in the 2nd and 3rd installments. The characters were denied a certain amount of freedom, you know. Living in unpredictable days. But, each individual also realizes that life must go on regardless and, it did.

Mighty African: You are credited with part of the soundtrack. Do you have training as a singer too?
Leila: I had a type of non-formal training as a singer and as a songwriter. My Aunt, Mary Mc-Palm, is a Doctor of music, and for whatever reason since I was little, she has engaged me in music making. I’ve been told I have a passable voice. I had a band when I was in junior high. We performed at school functions and all. I had so much fun with it. Good old days.

Mighty African: You are one of few Ghanaian film makers based outside, what advantages does that give you over those based on the continent?
Leila: Oh my…advantages. Exposure; proximity to a world of film technology, techniques and theories. But, it depends on what you are doing as a filmmaker outside or inside. With the Internet so accessible right now, even techniques can be learned online, somewhat. You won't be exposed to them here either if you are not involved. I edit on AVID and half the time you get trouble shooting help by logging into the AVID forum. Hollywood is
very do it yourself, go get it yourself type of industry.

Mighty African: Are there any disadvantages?
Leila: I miss home. That's my disadvantage. I have been blessed. Someone grabbed my hand from school and got me where I am now doing what I do, so I can't remember disadvantages here. Then again, I am only 3 years in it as a working professional so…. I still have a lot to learn. The disadvantages I have experienced came from working in Ghana. Thus, let's say the whole Hollywood Industry thing is better structured whereas the whole Ghana thing is not. In that regard, in Ghana, there is room for a lot of errors, people taking advantage of you, and getting away with it too.

Mighty African: One Ghanaian movie producer called 'movie premieres' a waste of time, energy and money. How did premieres for ISOAW in Ghana go?
Leila: The premieres for ISOAW could have been better. It’s safe to say it was Safo who made this statement. For him this maybe true, but from my professional point of view there are a lot of variables that decide to do or not to do a movie premiere, such as the script, cast and budget. The decision should be based on single projects, not collectively.

Mighty African: When will the movie, ISOAW, be out on DVD or VCD?
Leila: I have no idea yet.

Mighty African: Thanks for your time.
Leila: I thought you were taking me to dinner for my time? Just kidding. You are welcome Hon.

Mighty African: How about dinner when I visit LA? :-)

Check out more of Leila's work at IMDB.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Heroes Productions' Sin of the Soul - a review

One time as I was minding my business at Suuch Solutions' offices at Avenida Hotel, a couple of young boys came by to sell some Ghanaian and Nigerian movies (VCDs). They had a bunch, and the only ones I had seen were 'A Sting In A Tale', 'Perfect Picture', 'Heart of Men' and 'Silent Scandals'. I wanted to buy a couple new movies to watch but was unsure what to choose. These days, I only watch Ghanaian or Nigerian movies that are recommended. Since I didn't have too much money, I was only going to purchase a Ghanaian film. I settled on 'Sin of the Soul' because the movie looked awfully familiar. I explained to the guy selling the films that was all I will buy though he tried to suggest many other titles. Upon seeing 'Sin of the Soul', I must say it was worth the money I paid for it and it's one of the best performances by Majid Michel and Nadia Buari.

Sin of the Soul (SOTS) is directed by Frank Rajah Arase and produced by Heroes Production, the same house that did 'Heart of Men'. Heart of Men turned out to be an okay movie after that trashy trailer they put together but upon seeing that movie a second time, I didn't like it as much. SOTS is not unlike many other Accra/Takoradi/English movies made in Ghana. What set it apart for me was the story/plot and the acting. The movie had depth and many characters who all stood out in the film.

Majid is one of Ghana's best actors and he executed his character very well. I have not really been a fan of Nadia's acting but she did well in this movie. Kofi Adjorlolo shined as well. Majid and David Osei's characters were friends in this movie, just like in 'Heart of Men' and I think the on-screen chemistry between the two is great. Nadia plays a bunch of characters in different movies but I think she excels at playing sad scenes.

SOTS is set around a murder case involving a powerful politician's son. The deceased is the younger sister of this son's maid and a battle ensues between the two for justice to be done. The cast includes Majid Michel, Nadia Buari, Prince David Osei, Kofi Adjorlolo, Ekow Smith Asante, Kalsoum Sinare, Roger Quartey, Eve Asare, Martha Ankomah, Rose Ntrissah, Helen Ashanti, etc. I almost didn't recognise Kalsoum Sinare in the movie, she's grown big papa.

The movie throws a light on corruption and how people in power can work the justice system to their favour. "Even the Monks in Tibet have a price. Find his". It also shows an uncorruptible lawyer who is prepared to do whatever it takes so that justice prevails and the right things are done. I loved how the police system was used in this movie. The movie also centers around crime, strained relationships, and politics. It's a marked departure from various Ghanaian movies where the main characters are involved in some romantic relationship.

The dialogue was great too, there were a few times when the 'big English' tendencies of Ghanaian English movies came to bear. Cosmic stupidity! That was a nice one. Debased frivolities? "I'm a trained police officer... this is my life, my job and the very essence of my existence." Imagine a Ghanaian police officer saying this. Pretty neat. I really loved the police and lawyer characters, they offered some insight into how that worked in Ghana. A few other selected lines - "A for apple, B for bitch, G for goat!" "I really wish that was the script, but there has been an addendum" "I have no patience for this hunky-punky". The court scenes were done well and had some interesting dialogue as well. Why do lawyers always say "I put it to you"? "You sold your soul for 3000 Ghana cedis". The movie tells us that cheap girls are always cheap and don't seem to have expensive prices.

Like many movies directed by Frank Rajah Arase, the movie has a main song which was composed specially for the film. Why do they play this song throughout the movie, across scenes where different emotions are involved? The same song serves as the soundtrack for sad scenes, etc.
There were a few club scenes where P-Square songs were played. I know Nigerian music is popular in Ghana and frequently played in clubs there but surely, some Ghanaian songs could have done the job?

In fact, this review was tough to write. There aren't too many memorable scenes except for the exchanges between Majid and Nadia, the court and police scenes. SOTS was a good movie, but only better than the other 'Gollywood' movies I've seen, judging by the plot, acting/casting and . If you are looking for a Ghanaian movie to watch, let this be part of your collection. I must warn you though, the movie ends with "The Saga begins". Judging by the story, the movie had better not ended that way. We'll see what comes next. What do you know? Someone already reviewed the movie here. You should also check out Nollywood Forever, who also reviews Nigerian and Ghanaian movies.

Photo from Myafricanmoviereviews @Blogspot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Smiles for New Year - feting Ghanaian kids in the festive season

Here's another one. Just like the other one. I had approached Ronke about doing a similar "Smiles for Christmas (SFC) event in Kumasi. She loved the idea and wanted to support. I couldn't get my act together early enough to get her to publicize it through SFC but the event came off eventually. In the New Year of 2010. Together with some friends, we were able to present some provisions and cash to the King Jesus Charity in Boadi, Kumasi. Smiles for New Year was born in Kumasi to join its sister in Accra called SFC. You see, folks, it's not very difficult. You could also start one in Little London Obo Kwahu, Tuabodom or Tain.

I sought support from Facebook friends who lived in Kumasi to help carry this out. Some people responded and we had a core to work with. It took a while to choose an orphanage or charity and Sandra Agyapong came up with King Jesus Charity. We skirted around the subject (ever since I saw this expression, I've always loved to use it) for days and finally settled on the 3rd of January as our date. We approached the pastor in charge at King Jesus Charity and set the date in stone. The interesting thing is this orphanage happened to be right near Sandra's house and turned out to be in the same suburb I lived in. No wonder, she and myself were the only members of the organizing core who were able to go to KJC that day.

I dragged my siblings to KJC on this Sunday after church and Sandra joined us later. Nana Akosua Darko was on her way to Kumasi from Accra, and Edward Antwi was out of coverage area. They both contributed immensely. Big shout out to my neighbour Aku Ackumey who contributed a lot too. We were welcomed by the pastor who told us the KJC story. He had started out as a child evangelist, preaching the gospel to young kids and winning them for Christ. When he realised some of these had nowhere to lay their heads, he put them in his shelter and as the number grew, built a charity. He's been able to educate a lot of them through basic school he registered and now they attend local Boadi schools. He's also sponsored the kids through their education to the point where some have completed university and since gotten married. He's been doing this since 1995.

When we were at KJC, I had been thinking of how to address the kids there. The plan was to go, present the items to the charity, interact with the kids for a while and leave. The items included Obama biscuits (which I bought on the way from my house to KJC), cartons of Ideal Milk, toilet roll, Milo, other provisions and cash. I borrowed a page from the Pastor's speech to the kids. I shouted "King Jesus Charity" and the kids chorused, "Yeahhhhh Yeah". Cute. I tried to do a little ice-breaker by asking those who were born on the various days of the week to raise their hands. I advised them to work hard, and be well-behaved. I told them if they worked real hard they could become like my siblings who were working or in medical school. When I was buying those Obama biscuits at that kiosk, I thought 'Eureka'. I signed off my message saying, "You know Obama right? If we all work hard, we can be famous like Obama. Yes, we can!" Booyaka! Sandra, who the pastor had affectionately called Okyeame, also spoke so eloquently and brought the event to a close. We took a bunch of group pictures afterwards.

Since we were Smiles for Christmas' sibling, we wanted a name that would mantain Smiles. I came up with Save Our Smiles, which I thought was genius. My medical school sister knew better. She mentioned that Save Our Smiles sounded like the motto for organizations that wanted to fix people with better smiles. :-) I sided with her and we settled on "Smiles for New Year". So every new year, we hope to choose one orphanage or charity in Kumasi for which we can fete the kids and present some gifts to. For 2009, it was "King Jesus Charity! Yeahhh Yeah!".

So this is what happened. And you can do it too. Ghanaians will support good deeds, we just need people to take those action steps. Ghanaians will support good deeds, we just need people to take those action steps. These orphanages are NGOs and many a time don't receive support from the government. Can you imagine the KJC school wasn't eligible for FCUBE etc? We have to support volunteerism in Ghana and be part of the movement ourselves. You can find more info about King Jesus Charity at this website. Anything is Obamable!

Smiles for Christmas - feting Ghanaian kids in the festive seasons -

One day in 2006, one young Ghanaian lady had an idea. What if I got my friends to contribute gifts, provisions, money to put a smile on the faces of kids in a Ghanaian orphanage this Christmas? Like every good idea, she got some support and a few people to help her carry out her plan. This gave birth to "Smiles for Christmas", an initiative aimed at providing less fortunate children in Ghana gifts during the festive season of Christmas. Using the power of Facebook and various friend connections, she led a group of young Ghanaians to Orphanage Africa in Dodowa one of those days just before Christmas 2006 to present gifts, toys, provisions and money to the kids there. I was one of them and very proud of that effort. That effort has grown and it's become even bigger and better each year.

As that day in 2006 approached, I didn't have any gifts to present. I really wanted to go to the orphanage. I had never been to any. I debated what might be the best thing to give. Water guns? Barbie dolls? Malt-n-milk biscuits? Kawukudi? Buy some kofi-brokeman on the way to Dodowa? OK soap? Ananse story books? I sought advice from my aunt with whom I was staying with in Adenta. She's a member of a Catholic church in Accra and she's always been involved in charitable causes through the church. She went shopping one day and took care of my problem. In fact, my contribution was so unmemorable, I even forget what it is. Of course, if I had bought 'nkatie burger' for every kid there, I wouldn't have forgotten. My contribution included some provisions and food.

Other people brought toys and gifts. Ronke Ampiah, the founder I talked about earlier, was there. My cousin, Adwoa Darko, who also went to Christ the King school with Ronke, repped. My good friend, Kofi Tandoh, attended too. Ronke and Farida Alabo, her co-founder, had collected some items the day before to be presented at Orphanage Africa. After presenting the items to the caretakers at the orphanage, we spent some time interacting with the kids. I found myself addressing these kids and not knowing what to say. I think I said stuff like, 'learn hard', dash, dash, dash. The caretaker there was a better public speaker, he cracked jokes and kept the kids entertained. I really wish I could learn to do that. All those Basketmouth and Chris Rock clips haven't helped too much. Maybe I need to sit some of my friends down and try. :-)

I don't remember attending the Smiles for Christmas events in 2007. In 2008, there was a little event/fundraiser held at Twist/Headlines in Accra. I remember it being a day after BarCamp Ghana. The Smiles for Christmas organizers were there collecting gifts, money and other items for the kids. Many young Ghanaians who were living or schooling abroad and were home for the holidays attended. It looked more like a social event than a fundraiser to me. The goal was met and Smiles for Christmas delivered more goodies to another orphanage later that month.

This past Christmas, the Smiles for Christmas crew bused in the children from Royal Seed Orphanage to the Labadi Beach Hotel on the 22nd December for a fun day of games and laughter. My first experience with 4-Star Labadi Beach Hotel was in the summer of 2004 when "I pEE me ho asEm go biz about one-night stay at the hotel" and was told $125. I had never set foot at their reception again until this Smiles for Christmas (SFC) event. This event had grown from strength to strength that it had the hotel hosting it for free! Kudos to the crew. They also had Koala provide bouncy castles for the kids to play in. There was free food and free drinks. What a pleasant surprise! How many free food events will you find in Ghana? :-) The event run from about 11am past 3pm (which was when I left the venue).

The lucky orphanage was Royal Seed Home/School. It's located at Odupong along the Kasoa-Bawjiase Road in Ghana's Central Region. It has about 80 children, more than half of which were brought to the Labadi beach hotel. They were there with the founder, the pleasant Naomi Esi Amoah. She was all smiles all day, it was so beautiful to watch. I spoke her to about the orphanage and a few challenges they've been facing. It's very tough to run orphanages in Ghana. It's sad the government would make them 'suffer' in spite of the good work they are doing. Granted, some orphanage owners may use this effort to enrich themselves but they must be given the benefit of the doubt concerning how they are run. The kids treated 'us' to some energetic and excellent African dances. Not knowing the names of these dances saddened my heart. Ronke couldn't make it since she was 'stuck' in the UK, but Farida, Felicia Hanson and Frances Gardner, the other members of the SFC team were present. A white dude in attendance acted as Santa Claus for the day. Miss Ghana 2009 showed up at the event. I had never met a Miss Ghana in my life, ever, and this one was even wearing her crown. So, I had to ahush and steal a photo moment with her. Here, you can see her with Naomi.

Back to SFC, the team has been doing an awesome job! Kudos to Ronke, Farida, Felicia and Frances. You should check the website for Royal Seed Home. We should support the needy and disadvantaged in Ghana in every little way that we can. Like they say at Royal Seed Home, "Every child deserves a future". SFC is a volunteer effort, and we need more of such in Ghana. Ghanaians will support good deeds, we just need people to take those action steps. Join the Smiles for Christmas Facebook group.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Senior High School in Ghana duration debate - 3 or 4 years?

I am a very proud Odadee. My alma mater, Presec and its current and old students, have given me reason to. When I was in Ghana earlier in this year, I visited Presec to see what was new. A lot has changed since I left Presec more than 8 years ago. My favorite teacher, Mrs. Akyeampong has retired, there's been a new headmaster, the bursar who refused to give us funds to publish the school magazine embezzled money and got sacked, the buildings have been painted, we've won 4 National Science and Maths quizzes and the name has been changed from Presby Boys' Secondary School to Presby Boys' Senior High School. Presecans were going to stay in 'blue magic' for 4 years. But in the 'politics democrazy' country that is Ghana, anything can happen. Senior High School is now 3 years again and as a result, senior secondary or senior high school students will not write the WASSCE this year. Crazy eh? There's been a big debate about the number of years senior high school should be. Let's study some of the arguments for and against, debate style.

I debated for Presec while I was there and I loved doing so. I learnt a few good tactics and tricks from Mrs. Akyeampong, Mr. Fercundity and my childhood friend, who was debating for Opoku Ware Secondary School from day one. I used to be the main speaker for the senior high school duration debate. I was very disappointed when I heard Mr. Sexy Eyes aka Travelling John aka Gentle Giant's government was going to increase the duration of SSS from 3 to 4 years. Asomdwoe Mills came into power and has since changed it back to 3 years. I agreed with Obenfo Atta Mills but let's take the arguments one by one; debate style ;-)

The chief gong-gong beater from Kufuor's government would offer the following.
Mr. Chairman, our kids are not adequately prepared for university life/education with those three years in senior high school. In fact, if you did the core math, you'll realise they'll stay in Presec only 2.5 years. Presec won't get enough of out the students and the students wouldn't get enough out of Presec. If Presec mpo ni, then what about Odododiodo Senior High (OSH)? Students at OSH will be weaker academically than those at Presec and if you make students from both schools train for 2.5 years to take a major national exam that will define their destinies, that is very unfair. By giving all students an extra year, OSH students could catch up a little more.

I am stuck defending Mr. Ecomini's Team B government here
Mr. Chairman, we the opposition oppose and debunk this assertion by the proposition. 10 years ago, I remember how difficult paying school fees was for many students, and now parents were going to be burdened with another year? Cost of living in Ghana has only gotten worse. Four batches of Presec students would stretch the inadequate facilities that existed at Presec. Presec's grass was so stubborn, adding another 'labour force' would not solve the weed problem. Not wee, I said weed, as in weeds. Funny lines like those often won debates. What we need is more efficient teaching, student discipline and adequate resources to make those 2.5 years worth every pesewa spent.

Nanaa shock with his British accent takes the poduim
You see, this is where the opposition doesn't get it. Cost of living may be worse, but the standard is higher. The minimum wage is higher and Ghanaians can afford more today. Especially in Accra, sales are up. Let the parents who can pay pay, and let those who can't, receive support. Besides, after the kids fail the SSCE, they spend almost that 2.5 year SHS budget on extra or remedial classes. The remedial school business is one of the most profitable businesses in Ghana today. The state is beginning to bear more education cost. Let it stay this way and let's take our time with our students. Some students are really smart and can excel no matter what. We need to give the 'slower' students more time to be trained/educated so they can be better placed to contribute to Ghana's development or seek higher education when they graduate.

So I come in again
Madam Chairperson, if it is a matter of time, the opposition will suggest we start early. Catch them young and they shall be yours forever. Why not move some of the SHS curriculum to JHS curriculum? Most of what we studied in JSS is similar to what we were taught in primary school. Start introducing concepts earlier, by the time the kids get to SHS, they know a lot and even if they don't continue, know a good amount to do the things the proposition just mentioned. The remedial classes business is not anymore profitable than the extra classes business. Let them dedicate their efforts to conduct more extra classes for the kids who can afford them and let's save the extra year they'll spend remedying the mistakes they could have prevented.

Proposition comes in to offer their knockout blow.
All work and no play makes Asumasi a 'dolu' boy. We can't afford to have our children studying 12 hours a day. We must be patient with them. Preparing them more in JHS/JSS won't solve the problem. When they get to SHS/SSS, those students who had decided to do Science and are struggling will continue to struggle. It's better for the senior high schools to take the students, test them for a year and judge where the student's strengths are. If they are strong in Physics, they are encouraged to do Science. If they show more interest in the Arts, they are enrolled into that program. This one year will solve a lot of problems. And then, they'll have 3 years of preparation, before they have to face the monster that is the WASSCE. They'll also be equipped with a solid ICT training. With 3 solid years of training, they may not even need extra classes. University lecturers complain every day that their students are inadequately prepared. Increasing SHS to 4 years will ensure adequate preparation of tomorrow's leaders.

It's always nice to have the last word.
Madam Chairperson, the new government wanted to be remembered so they organized another education referendum. Take the pulse of Ghanaians today, and you will see that many did not like this change. We've shouted ICT from Afadjato for a long time now but where are the computers to implement this ICT education? If we are going to take on something, we must do proper planning. We increased SHS duration on impulse. We increased the costs of education. Even Obama's country has 12 years of education before university. Why add Item 13? We can change this 4 year thing. Yes, we can.

I argued for the opposition to SHS being 4 years but after talking with my parents who are university lecturers, Mrs. Akyeampong, the present Presec headmaster (Africanus), I propose that we go back to SHS being 4 years. I know the NDC changed it to 3, but they should do us a favour and switch it back. It's not too late. Sometimes, we Ghanaians point to politics whenever there is a change. But some changes are good. This was one change that I didn't understand before but now I do. The judges called it for the proposition. I lost the debate. I wouldn't go away quietly, how about if we made JSS/JHS 2 years just like middle school in the US? Most people go to the same primary and junior secondary school anyway. But seriously, what are your own thoughts on this debate? Are you for the 3 years or the 4 years duration of Senior High School in Ghana?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The music maestro Kojo Antwi in concert (Museke)

I've always wanted to attend a Kojo Antwi concert. Every time he had one of those 24th night shows in Accra, I was in Kumasi with my family for Christmas. So when I saw the poster for his 2009 festive season concerts, I wished he'd be in Kumasi as well. My brother pointed out to me that he'll be live at Golden Tulip Kumasi City Hotel on the 26th of December. I was not going to miss out. Yes, I wasn't going to attend the concert with my girlfriend like I always planned but I was going to be there to sing along to all of Kojo Antwi's songs. Kojo Antwi is arguably the biggest Ghanaian musician ever. He's the music maestro, Mr. Music Man. He's awesome, his rasta is evermore and his music is timeless.

I had heard from an aunt that Kojo Antwi never showed up early for his concerts. It's not his fault, African musicians never show up on time. It's almost an accepted practice. Have some opening acts clear the way, have your fans wait and anticipate your grand entry and then come send them into delirium for a short but frolicking time. I decided I'll arrive at the venue at 10:30 instead of the 8pm advertised. I had heard the ticket cost 30GhC so you can imagine my happiness when I arrived and the ticket master said VIP cost 30 and regular cost 20. I bought 3 20GhC tix for me, my brother and cousin. We paid, entered and sat at places reserved for VIPs anyway. Why? I was going to blog about this awesome event that I had to be given a break. So that was it, saving 30 Ghanaian cedis, approx $21.

At 10:30pm, no one was performing or had performed. The promoters had a projector screen showing some reggae band performance, and these reggae raggamuffins didn't look familiar. The seats were all filled and we waited and waited. One person got up and shouted 'Tsooboi', as if to rally the attendees to force some musicians to come unto stage. Advertised opening acts were Wutah, Flavour, Okomfo Kwaadee, etc. Kwaadee is very popular in Kumasi, Flavour's Ashawo has been one of the most played songs in Ghana recently and Wutah (one of my favorite Ghanaian groups) had returned from obscurity in a big way with the chart-topping Kotosa, which still doesn't have a video. If you are counting/scoring/recording at home, Wutah hasn't made music videos for Goosy Gander, Esikyire (Change your style), Big Dreams or Kotosa. And these are their four biggest hits in their entire career. Wutah came to perform around 11:30 and were the only group to perform before Kwadjo Antwi. The audience was too pissed to give Wutah the support they needed. They gave a good account of themselves and the audience danced and sang along.

By the time Kojo Antwi appeared, the audience had warmed up and warmed up to giving the musicians their support. The maestro started with some old school hits, Akonoba, Menya ntaban, Dadie anoma, Meto nko, Afofanto, Me dofo pa, Tom and Jerry Aware, etc. Kojo Antwi is a great singer and performer. He was backed a full band and one of her back-up singers was Dela (one-time Mentor contestant and singer of Fever, Odo and the soundtrack to the Heart of Men movie). The audience sang along, they knew most of the lyrics. We must thank for that and Kojo himself for putting lyrics to many of his songs in his CD packets.

I loved it when he had some people in the audience come up stage to sing Amirika. He was organizing a singing competition in front of people who had paid to come see him sing. No one was complaining. Some people in Kumasi can sing though. But wait, the women! Shiee wow. The ladies were dressed to kill and there were some fine fine ladies at the concert. Ghana mmaa hoɔ fɛ na wɔn ho nso twa ampa!

Sonti Ndebele, a South African singer who featured on Menya Ntaban, performed a tribute to Mama Africa Miriam Makeba. After the concert, I greeted her saying 'Sawubona'. Nana Yaa (Pat Thomas' daughter), who has done a lot of duets with Kojo Antwi on his later albums came on stage too. She's such an awesome singer! I asked her when her solo debut would be out, and she said 'February'. We'll see. Together with Kojo, they sang Amirika, Do me wu, Odo a medo wo, Densu, etc.

Kojo Antwi has a new album out called Mwaaah. I've bought the CD and it's super, just like all Kojo Antwi albums. He performed some songs from Mwaah, including Happy anniversary, Adiepena, Sho' naa (features Meiway), Ice Cold, etc. I can't stop listening to Adiepena, it's magnificent. Happy Anniversary is supposed to a song for married couples to celebrate wedding anniversaries. Kojo may have come late but he performed for more than 2 hours!

Kojo Antwi was recently adjudged Artist of the Decade at the Ghana Music Awards. He deserves it and may challenge for the title of Ghana's best musician ever. I managed to get a picture with him even though my camera was indisposed at that time. I had to get a moment with the Maestro. I also met Kojo Antwi's wife, Rocklynn. Yes, he composed a song with her name. How sweet! Kojo Antwi, kudos to you! Keep on making great music and lifting the flag of Ghana high! You're the best. Thanks for a magnificent concert!

Blog originally written on

Discussing Akon's charity single 'Oh Africa'

When I was notified of Akon's new video, Oh Africa, I was intrigued by the song's name. Oh Africa? What did Africa do again? Is Akon going to lambast us? Shouldn't he be on our side, praising the motherland? Is it a public service announcement? I hope it's a song from his upcoming album. Well, it turns it is a 'charity single' and he does praise Africa in this video. This new video is geared towards the upcoming World Cup in South Africa and he sings "This is our time to shine, our time to fly". It surely is. I don't know why he's hiding the music video he made for Mama Africa. Trust me, I know the video has been shot. I know people who have the video on their computers. I hope the Mama Africa video is finally released this year. Kudos to Akon for 'Oh Africa' and continuing to rep the motherland big!

The video features Akon and Keri Hilson singing 'Oh Africa' with a host of other people. We see a choir dressed in 'some South African apparel', which clearly notes that this video is about South Africa as much as it is about Africa. Later on, we see Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres shooting soccer balls. We surely can't wait for the World Cup, it's going to be a spectacle. We see soccer fans with their faces painted with colours of different nations. The only African countries I remember seeing were Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt (huh! Egypt? angry smile). At the end of the video, we see a painting showing many world soccer stars. The only African amongst them is Didier Drogba. Ivory Coast is tipped as one of the favorites so this makes sense but I wonder if space couldn't be created for Samuel Eto'o and Michael Essien. We shall see :-)

Watch the video here

So the video is a charity single and is recorded for a new Pepsi football TV commercial for the brand's worldwide campaign "Refresh Your World," which is based on enabling youth to make a positive change in the world. 9ice! The song was premiered just before the Grammy's and the proceeds will benefit underprivileged African youth, including Akon’s Konfidence Foundation. It features the Soweto Gospel Choir and 16 young singers from around the world as well. The video is directed by Gil Green, who also directed the 'Mama Africa' video.

My biggest issue with the video/song is - why is Keri Hilson the other singer? I know MissKeriBaby was in South Africa recently and she loved it so she must be 'in love with Africa' now. Still, Akon, this was a chance to showcase Africa and you choose Keri Hilson? Not even say, Estelle, who's also from Senegal? How about Asa, Ayo, Lira, Zamajobe, Becca? They are all from countries going to the World Cup abi? Akon, you no try. Now out of konviction, do a remix, quick. I want the following people in the video - Samini, Lira, Asa, Blick Bassy, Cheb Khaled and Teeyah. In fact, Akon, how about you do an album with a bunch of African artists? Shouldn't be that hard. Just take your collabos with Senegal's Viviane, Nigeria's Shank, Ghana's Sway, do a few more and compile into an EP.

More props to Akon for doing this though. Keep on repping Africa!

Here are the lyrics for Oh Africa by Adel Ali.
I know that we have to take it to the goal ’cause everyone is depending on we
see we ain’t got nowhere to go but, it’s our destiny
we’re choosing nowhere, we’ll do what it takes to get to the top of the highest mountain
we’ll do anything, we got to prove ourselves ’cause we know


see we’ll never be able to forget this day ’cause it’s the greatest day of our life
see no matter what happens at least we can say “we came, we saw, we tried”
we’re choosing nowhere, we’ll do what it takes to get to the top of the highest mountain
we’ll do anything, we got to prove ourselves ’cause we know


This our time to show, our time to fly, our time to be inside the sky
our time to so, our time of song
the last one in football

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