Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amy Smith named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine

This piece of news today made me really excited to blog. Amy Smith, a professor of mine at MIT who wrote a recommendation for me for grad school, has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine. It's funny because I was just talking about her International Design and Development Summit with a friend (Nii Simmonds), one that she had organized at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology the past two summers. I am really proud of her, she's an awesome and smart individual and I hope she garners more publicity for her efforts to bring development all around the world.

Coupling my passion for Africa with my interests in engineering, I became really interested in engineering solutions to various problems in Africa. Being at MIT helped shape this interest and knowledge as I got to learn about various technologies being built with developing country conditions. I enrolled in a popular class called D-Lab, taught by Amy Smith in my first senior year semester. D stood for Dissemination, Design, Development, amongst others.

There are currently eleven different academic offerings that make up the suite of D-Lab classes, falling into the broad categories of Development, Design and Dissemination. See more info about D-Lab here.

In the class I took, we learnt about the economics and economic conditions in various developing countries, and technlogy (especially appropriate technology). The idea of the class was to learn about some of these technologies in the fall and choose some to implement in a specific country in January during MIT's IAP period. With Ghana an option, I chose to go there with the added bonus of a free trip home. The trip was eye-opening for me, as I got to spend a week each in Cape Coast and a little village in the Brong Ahafo Region. We worked with local expertise to build a peanut (groundnut) sheller out of concrete, make charcoal out of sugarcane waste (bagasse) and corn husks, implemented irrigation systems, some GPS mapping, water filtration and also organized an entrepreneurship seminar at the Cape Coast Polytechnic. It was a wonderful experience.

Amy Smith was on that Ghana trip, her very first to the country. Amy would say that she would make sure she's travelled to more countries than her age. At the time, she was in her 40's and had travelled to more nations than the number of years she'd spent building such an impactful life. Our other team members were team leader, Chief Yaw Anku, Jules Walter, Danielle Wen and Deborah Watkins. We visited the Suame Magazine as part of our trip as I had ties to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. That introduction has led to more collaborations between Ghana's Tech and the USA's Tech as KNUST has hosted the IDDS summit, which brings together some of the cream of the crop in design technology.

Here's what Sandy Petland said about her on

It's fine to help the developing world, but first you have to know what it needs. Amy Smith does.

An engineer and the founder of MIT's innovative D-Lab, Smith, 47, is a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent parts of her childhood in India and Botswana. She's the creator of a hammer mill that converts grain to flour and an incubator that does not require electricity. Her design philosophy is elegant: create simple machines that meet particular needs and then build them locally.

Smith is also a teacher, taking kids to Haiti and Africa, where they design pumps, bicycle parts and other gear people need. Her machines are one of her gifts to the world; the students she trains will be an even more enduring one.

Congrats to Amy Smith and as we say in Ghana, "more garis to your elbow"

New video for K'Naan's Waving Flag featuring Will.I.Am & David Guetta (Museke)

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa (Mzansi Mundial) song has a new remix an the video premiered today, Thursday April 29 on MTV.

The third single from K'Naan sophomore album Troubadour, "Wavin' Flag" was chosen as the Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the Mzansi Mundial in June this year. The Waving Flag Coca Cola celebration mix is the theme song for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa and part of EA Sports FIFA 2010 World Cup soundtrack. Shakira and Freshlyground's Time for Africa seems to be the official World Cup anthem, a song which samples a very popular track from Cameroun called Zangelewa.

See the lyrics for the World Cup song here and that of the original Wavin' Flag here. Versions of the single have been recorded in English, Spanish and Chinese.

In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, the song also became a charity single featuring 50 other Canadian artists under the group banner Young Artists for Haiti. Looking to create an urban remake, K'Naan chose producers Will.I.Am and French dance-music hitmaker David Guetta to help fine-tune "Wavin' Flag" into a ditty with a more mainstream feel.

In the video, Will.I.Am and Guetta appear before a black backdrop, but mostly, we see K'Naan inspiring people. He climbs a mountain, sings arm-in-arm with children and performs a concert, all set to the chorus, "When I get older, I will be stronger/ They'll call me freedom/ Just like a wavin' flag."
New chorus - "When I get older, I will be stronger/ I'll make it better/ Struggle no longer/ - "When I get older, I will be stronger/ They'll call me freedom/ Just like a wavin' flag."

Watch the new video

Other info from
Label - A&M, Octone Records

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

World Cup anthems and fever!

I simply can't wait for the World Cup.

See this promo that I saw on ESPN earlier in the week. Simply the best advertisement for anything ever.

The theme song for the World Cup in South Africa has been released and a video montage is available as well. The Mzansi Mundial anthem features South African group/band Freshlyground and Colombian singer, Shakira. The video for 'Time for Africa' shows some footage of the 2009 World Cup in Germany.

Kelly Rowland is also in the World Cup song act and this new track, Everywhere you go, features a host of African musicians. Am loving this new track! It features 2Face Idibia of Nigeria, Awadi of Senegal, Chameleone of Uganda, Samini, Cameroun's Krotal, Lebanon's Rola, Jozi, Kwesta, Slikour and Zuluboy of South Africa.

Here is K'Naan's Waving Flag Coca Cola celebration mix

Also learn about the Diski dance
Polish your dancing shoes and get to work people here is the official dance of SUMMER 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) winners

The 2010 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) winners have been announced. I got to know about the winners through the AMAA's Facebook page while discussing it with another friend. How cute? Social networking all the way! Ghanaian movies did quite well but I think the Nigerian movie, Figurine, stole the show. Someone please get me that movie. You know I'll write a good review :-)
Ghanaian movies did well. Perfect Picture picked up a bunch of awards as well as I Sing Of a Well (ISOAW) which took home two. "A Sting In a Tale" (ASIAT) also won one.

Here is the full list of winners; and in bold is who I predicted would/should win since I haven't seen all the movies.

BEST DOCUMENTARY - 3. Bariga Boys(Nigeria)
Not sure what this is about but it's a must see.

BEST SHORT FILM - 2. The Abbys Boys -(South Africa)
I guess this makes up for the few South African nominations. Lekker.

BEST ANIMATION - 1. Hanayns Shoe (Egypt)
It's nice to see an Egyptian movie win something. Just saying. Bravo.

I picked this movie to win. Because it had Diaspora in the name. Easy

I saw the trailer for this movie and it looks like it will be goood. Can't you just hear th Idi-Amin voice saying Uganda oye? Uganda oye!

Easiest choice. Congrats Kunle. Figurine ends up being the big winner at the AMAAs. Have you been able to see this movie online? No, what does that tell you?

AMAA ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND - 4. I sing of a well
ISOAW picks up this one though I thought PP might have won. Congrats to the ISOAW crew. The movie is just so well-done. Period.

Haven't seen it but congrats to them.

Hmm, art direction and the word Fulani just seem to go.

Haven't seen it but congrats to them 2.0

Guessed this right too. ISOAW is a classic. I can't wait till the day it will premiere on GTV. Yes, GTV, because they can be found everywhere in the nation, unlike AfricaMagic. Congrats Leila and crew.

Well, from the trailer, this also makes sense how they'd win. Have to show the spirit in a good visual way. You know Africans are defensive about spirits/ghosts/angels/devils in their movies.

Best ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK - 3. A sting in a tale
I completely agree here. Shirley has done a remarkable job with the soundtrack for all her movies and it was nice to see ASIAT win here. Strange thing is I feel the Perfect Picture soundtrack was better, but it actually didn't get nominated.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD ACTOR - 1. Teddy Onyago and Bill Oloo- Togetherness Supreme
This Kenyan movie eh! Somebody please. Tafadhali! How do you say please in Luo?

MOST PROMISING ACTRESS - 2. Chelsea Eze - Silent Scandal & 5. Rahema Nanfuka - Imani
Chelsea is foine! I wanna meet her. I predicted correctly, she was awesome in her role. Funny thing is we were wondering why folks like Genevieve and Ini Edo weren't nominated. Genevieve played Chelsea's mother in Silent Scandal.

MOST PROMISING ACTOR - 1. Wilson Maina - Togetherness Supreme (Kenya)
I will be counting on my Kenyan friends to buy this movie. Yes, I want to buy it. It's winning awards, it deserves my money. Kenya makes movies my people, at least they haven't come up with some redonkulous name like Kollywood. If you hear Kollywood somewhere, don't blame me.

Exciting huh! I think Adjetey Anang, popularly called Pusher from his 'Things We do for love' days is one of the best actors in Ghana. He is grand in PP.

Malawi in the house! I need to see this movie too. Malawi is not all about William Kamkwamba. Kudos!

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE - Jackie Appiah, Lydia Forson and Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku - The Perfect Picture
So one of three leading ladies from PP won this. I thought they were all nominated together. Congrats Jackie. You shined in Perfect Picture. So Akofa didn't win. Nsem pii.

So we've all known Ramsey for ages and he's still going strong. When he, Genevieve, Omotola, and Nkem Owoh were banned from Nollywood around 2004 and the other three went to make music, he stuck to his acting roots. Yes, it's paid off. I really wanna see Figurine.

hasn't been announced yet but I hope 5. I sing of a well wins.

Actually, one of you has to know Kunle's facebook profile. Own it up and let's go.

BEST PICTURE - 4. The Figurine (Nigeria)
Now that you have it, post a comment with the link.

BEST DIRECTOR - 2. Shirley Frimpong-Manso - The Perfect Picture
I believed Shirley would win and she did. Congrats Madam. Easily one of the best Ghanaian movies ever. How can you not love this movie? It walks over all African home movies. Kind of. It birthed the soft-porn trailers for Ghanaian movies except they did it well and other movies didn't get the script. Congrats Shirley and all those involved in this production. I heard Checkmate is awesome and I hope you bring us another movie before the year ends. I can't wait to see Checkmate. Check.

Responses to an Accra resident who rambled some thoughts while watching the 2010 Ghana Music Awards

:-) The Mighty African likes to do some things differently every once in a while. So I started leaving a comment on Abena Serwaa's blog and realised my comment was more like a blog post. So here is one. To get the idea behind this post, you have to read this blog post about the Ghana Music Awards by Abena (Chardonas) of Ramblings of a Procrastinator in Accra. So, it's a direct response to Abena but I feel it's great reading for us all. So if anything is confusing, all you need to do is click here.

1. As for the 70% of the audience at the Ghana Music Awards being females in their 20's - your theories are probably true. the tickets cost a lot, and they probably got them for free. On the other hand, attend things like BarCamps or TEDx and you'll see the crowd is mostly men in their 20's. I won't give any analysis for that one.

Hmm, so Ghanaian women are spending a lot of money on weave-ons eh? Is that why there's this whole hair debate? Never knew what the fuss was about before.

2. Well, that's what I was talking to Ndinda about on the CapeTowntoCairo interview about the Museke Online Africa Music Awards (MOAMAs). Africans seem to listen to mostly music from their own country. Funny thing is, Jozi's videos actually are shown on MTVBase which some Ghanaians watch, albeit a small percentage. If the audience doesn't know you, you have to try extra hard to like them. It's not just Ghanaians. I go to concerts and sometimes feel the same way about artistes I don't know. We have to make a conscious effort to support African musicians, even if they are not from Ghana.

3. VIP is one of the best performing acts in Ghana. I've seen them perform live and they know how to work a crowd. It helps that they finally have a hit song after some quiet years starting circa 2007. You should all check out Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi's documentary about their story called Homegrown - the Hiplife movie.

4. Hehe, I hope you aren't saying Sarkodie should change his name. Like I told a cousin today, my favorite Ghanaian rapper is Obrafour but I think Okyeame Kwame is the best in Ghana. Sarkodie has all the hype now and I believe he is the hiplife artiste who can crossover successfully onto the whole African scene. With Akon and Konvict Music behind him, I believe it will happen. Sarkodie's been great but I am happy he didn't win too many awards. Oftentimes, the most popular artiste wins every award even if they didn't deserve it. It's funny how Tema is on the up. Hiplife used to be between Accra and Kumasi and now the Tema massive is taking the spotlight. Who'll be next? Ho? Tuabodom? Tain?

5. Hehe, yes, remember this name. Because after R2Bees makes a video for 'Kiss your hand remix' with Wande Coal, they'll be known all over the continent. That song's a massive hit. They refuse to be broke. And yes, they are from Tema. Did I hear that they have beef with Charterhouse, organizers of the Ghana Music Awards?

6. Asem was installed as Ambassador for Education? Why not, Ghana's youth listens to him. The funny thing is Asem is not the guy to be making socially conscious songs. I doubt he even made School dey be with that in mind but now look. "School dey be" is an interesting song, he talks about all the bad things he did in school, what he would have done different and encourages people to go to school. And it's a great song to boot. "School dey be, but class dey bore". Obviously, he has some really profane lyrics in "When I get u" but that doesn't make him any less an ambassador for education. At least his song can be a theme song.

7. Hehe, not many people had heard the Jon Germain song that was nominated. If you find the mp3 for Love Zone, let me know. Jon has some talent and has crossover appeal. The market is not Ghana anymore, you have to sell other places too. He says he does pop music. We'll see.

8. Lol, I didn't watch the awards but was at a Ghanaian party dancing to many Ghanaian and Nigerian hits. That remembers me, I thought Okomfo Kwaadee had been resurrected, no one's talking about him? Fresh from London eh? Is he a fake london boy? He should have just spoken Twi. He didn't try to use his locally acquired foreign accent? Who was the artiste by the way?

Becca rocks! Congrats to her for winning best African prospect at the Kora awards.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Museke Online Africa Music Awards (MOAMAs) Nominees 2010

Wande Coal, Lizha James, Barbara Kanam, AY, HHP, Bracket, Blu3, Radio & Weasel, Alikiba, Black Coffee, and Cheb Khaled lead the nominees for the Museke Online Africa Music Awards. The MOAMAs will award the best of African music over the last year and put the winners in the spotlight as Africa prepares to host the globe at the World Cup in South Africa. The awards are being organized by, home of the African music fan which seeks to unify Africa through its music.

The nominees were selected over a 3 month period by an academy made up of African music enthusiasts and fans.
Voting will take place on ( until 15 May, with winners being announced on 1 June. Users can vote once everyday.

Below is the full list of nominees (arranged by song/album, name & country)

African song of the year
Bumper to bumper – Wande Coal – Nigeria
Juju - Black Coffee - South Africa
Meme pas fatigue – Magic System/Cheb Khaled – Cote d’Ivoire/Algeria
Show ce soir – Bisso na Bisso - Congo Brazzaville
Sunshine - Nameless – Kenya
Where you are – Blu3 – Uganda
Yori yori – Bracket – Nigeria

Artiste of the Year
A-Y – Tanzania
Barbara Kanam - DR Congo
Darey – Nigeria
Fally Ipupa – DR Congo
HHP – South Africa
Lizha James – Mozambique
Wande Coal - Nigeria

Best Male Artist
A-Y – Tanzania
Alikiba – Tanzania
Darey – Nigeria
Fally Ipupa – DR Congo
HHP – South Africa
Ralph Anselmo – Angola
Wande Coal – Nigeria

Best Female Artist
Adiouza – Senegal
Amani – Kenya
Barbara Kanam – DR Congo
Dama do Bling – Mozambique
Lira – South Africa
Lizha James – Mozambique
Suzanna Lubrano – Cape Verde

Best Group
Blu3 - Uganda
Bracket – Nigeria
Gal Level – Namibia
Jozi – South Africa
Mowzey Radio & Weasel – Uganda
P-Square – Nigeria
Sauti Sol – Kenya

Best Album
Ali K 4 Real - Alikiba – Tanzania
Be free – Blu3 – Uganda
Dagaati – Samini – Ghana
Karibu – Barbara Kanam – DR Congo
Mushin 2 Mohits – Wande Coal – Nigeria
Mwanzo- Sauti Sol – Kenya
O Cupido – Ralph Anselmo – Angola

Best African Collaboration
Ca ne connait pas – Yeleen/Magic System – Burkina Faso/Cote d’Ivoire
Leo remix – A-Y/Avril/Wahu – Tanzania/Kenya
Malembe – Mokobe/Fally Ipupa – Mali/DR Congo
Meme pas fatigue – Magic System/Cheb Khaled – Cote d’Ivoire/Algeria
My type of guy – Buffalo Souljah/TayGrin/Gal Level – Zimbabwe/Malawi/Namibia
Put it down – Sasha P/Dama do Bling – Nigeria/Mozambique
Voodoo – Lizha James/Mandoza – Mozambique/South Africa

Best New Artist/Group
Adiouza – Senegal
Blick Bassy – Cameroun
Mowzey Radio & Weasel – Uganda
M.I – Nigeria
Sarkodie – Ghana
Sauti Sol – Kenya
STL – Kenya

Best Music Video
Breathe – D-Black & KwakuT – Ghana
Estilo Xaxhale - Lizha James – Mozambique
I want you back – XOD – Uganda
Juju - Black Coffee - South Africa
Mpitse – HHP - South Africa
Not the girl - Darey – Nigeria
Safe – M.I. – Nigeria

Best Video producer
Andinos Visuals – Angola
Boss Playa – Cote D’Ivoire
Clarence Peters - Nigeria
DJ Marcell - Mozambique
Gorilla Films – South Africa
Ogopa Video – Kenya
Phamous People – Ghana

Best Beat maker
Bue d beats – Angola
Culoe de Song - South Africa
Don Jazzy – Nigeria
Hermy B – Tanzania
Ogopa DJs – Kenya
Richie – Ghana
Swangz Ave – Uganda

Record of the year
Breadwinners – ProVerb – South Africa
Engongole - Movaizhaleine – Gabon
Go down there – 2Face Idibia – Nigeria
Usinibore - Just A Band – Kenya
Waving Flag – K'Naan – Somalia
We are Africans - JJC – Nigeria
Yesterday Betteh Pass Tiday - Emmerson - Sierra Leone

West Africa song of the year
Bumper to bumper – Wande Coal - Nigeria
Maadou – Adiouza – Senegal
Sans guebe – DJ Lewis – Cote d’Ivoire
Simple - Bradez –Ghana
Suddenly – D'Banj – Nigeria
Tchoucou Tchoucou - DJ Kedjevara – Cote d’Ivoire
Yori Yori – Bracket – Nigeria

North Africa song of the year
C’est chelou – Zaho – Algeria
Fel kam youm elli fato - Latifa – Tunisia
Habbeit - Sherine – Egypt
Ma tfakarnish - Hoda Saad – Morocco
Meme pas fatigue – Cheb Khaled – Algeria
Wayah – Amr Diab – Egypt
Zabana – Cheb Khaled – Algeria

Central Africa song of the year
C’est pas complique – Awilo Longomba – DR Congo
Chaise Electrique - Fally Ipupa – DR Congo
Djarabi – Barbara Kanam – DR Congo
Tout ca pour toi – Nadege Mbadou – Gabon
Show ce soir – Bisso na bisso - Congo Brazzaville
Yelele – X Maleya – Cameroun
Zoomer – Jumo Selesao – DR Congo

East Africa song of the year
Bread & Butter – Radio & Weasel – Uganda
Leo – A-Y – Tanzania
Pii pii – Marlaw – Tanzania
Sunshine – Nameless – Kenya
Tonight – Amani – Kenya
Where you are – Blu3 – Uganda
Yule Pale – Redsan – Kenya

Southern Africa song of the year
Can you feel it – The Dogg – Namibia
Estilo Xaxhale - Lizha James – Mozambique
Ingoma – Thandiswa – South Africa
Juju - Black Coffee - South Africa
Na sou ninguem ti – Ralph Anselmo – Angola
Presta Atencao – Perola – Angola
Umlilo - Big Nuz - South Africa

Best Artist based in Diaspora
K’Naan – Somalia
Kaysha – DR Congo
May7ven – Nigeria
Mimitah – DR Congo
Mokobe – Mali
STL – Kenya
Suzanna Lubrano – Cape Verde

Best Reggae song
Afralehu – Teddy Afro – Ethiopia
Agenze – Bebe Cool – Uganda
Africans – Nneka – Nigeria
Burning Desire – Wutah – Ghana
Carolina – Bobi Wine – Uganda
L’africain – Tiken Jah Fakoly
Uprising – Wyre – Kenya

Best Hip-hop song
Baby – Sarkodie – Ghana
Casamento – Dama do Bling – Mozamabique
Dreamer – STL – Kenya
Mpitse - HHP - South Africa
Leo - A-Y – Tanzania
Nekoleera gyange – Navio – Uganda
Safe - M.I – Nigeria

Best R&B/Soul song
Not the girl - Darey – Nigeria
Pii pii – Marlaw – Tanzania
Presta atencao – Perola – Angola
Sunshine - Nameless – Kenya
Wa mpaleha - Lira – South Africa
Where you are – Blu3 – Uganda
Yori yori – Bracket – Nigeria

Best Gospel/Religious song
Be my Lord - Noelie – Togo
Igwe - Midnight Crew – Nigeria
Kani - Wilson Bugembe – Uganda
Kokoroko – Kefee – Nigeria
My God is good - Joyous Celebration – South Africa
Nibebe - Rose Muhando – Tanzania
Nzambe alingi yo – Makoma – DR Congo

Best Pop song
Ce n’est pas la peine – La fuente – Gabon
Estilo Xaxhale - Lizha James – Mozambique
Heartbeat – Nneka – Nigeria
Preta Negra – Marllen – Mozambique
Leave me alone – Mimi – Ghana
Tonight – Amani – Kenya
Wayah – Amr Diab – Egypt

Best Afro-pop song
Bumper to bumper – Wande Coal – Nigeria
Gologolo – Echo – Ghana
In the music – Omawumi – Nigeria
Live my life - Winnie Khumalo – South Africa
Mmatswale – Malaika - South Africa
Msiniseme - Alikiba – Tanzania
Natamani kuwa malaika – Lady Jaydee – Tanzania

Best Dancehall song
Ayokyayokya – Cindy – Uganda
Bread & Butter – Radio & Weasel – Uganda
Free madness – Terry G – Nigeria
My type of guy – Buffalo Souljah – Zimbabwe
Shayo – Bigiano – Nigeria
Where my baby dey – Samini – Ghana
Yule pale – Redsan – Kenya

Best Alternative/Fusion/Rock song
Enter the Ninja - Die Antwoord - South Africa
Fairytales - 340ML – Mozambique
Fort Knox - Goldfish - South Africa
Rockstar - Jay N – Cameroun
Summerime - BLK JKS - South Africa
Tukuraka remix - Stewart Sukuma – Mozambique
Usinibore - Just A Band – Kenya

Best Dance song
Omo 2 Sexy - Justine – Nigeria
Juju - Black Coffee - South Africa
Solution - Abou Thioubalo – Senegal
Sans guebe - DJ Lewis - Cote D'Ivoire
Tchoucou Tchoucou - DJ Kedjevara – Cote d’Ivoire
Nka mo dira - Nutty Nys - South Africa
Zoomer - Jumo Selesao - DR Congo

Best Contemporary African song
Delestage - Meje 30 et Tshala Muana - DR Congo
Ingoma – Thandiswa – South Africa
Kuma kwa kie - Yuri da Cunha – Angola
Maria - Blick Bassy – Cameroun
Rebel woman - Chiwoniso – Zimbabwe
Seya - Oumou Sangare – Mali
Storia storia - Mayra Andrade - Cape Verde

Diaspora: +1 617 818 3102
Southern Africa: +277 9468 1310
East Africa: +254 722407717
West Africa: +233 21 230276


Wednesday, April 7, 2010 launches annual Museke Online Africa Music Awards (MOAMAs)

Online African music bible to honour African artists

Diaspora: +1 617 818 3102
Southern Africa: +277 9468 1310
East Africa: +254 722407717
West Africa: +233 21 230276

Online African music bible to honour African artists

After three-and-a-half years developing the online portal for information on African music, is honoured to announce the launch of the annual Museke Online Music Awards (MOAMA’s). started out in 2006 with the aim of becoming a one-stop-shop for everything related to African music in every genre. Since then, the website has grown from strength to strength, featuring lyrics, interviews, biographies, new music and videos of multitudes of African artists from the continent and the Diaspora across the board.

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup putting the entire African continent on the international map, it is only fitting that the continent’s deserving artists are put on a pedestal, and what better way to do that than with the first ever online music awards that caters to all music tastes on the continent? The continent is alive with different sounds, voices and rhythms, and the MOAMA’s seek to further promote this music through various platforms online. Through the annual MOAMA’s, Museke aims to encourage the unity of Africans through our music.

With a total of 130 nominations in 28 categories which will cover different genres and regions, the MOAMA’s prides itself in encompassing all African music, regardless of video submission, language, genre and country in recognition of excellence in music over the last year. The winners of these prestigious online awards will be rewarded through various avenues of online promotion, which will gain the artists global recognition on as well as various other media outlets. Nominees will be announced on 8 April and voting will take place on until 15 May, with winners being announced on 1 June.


Follow Museke on Twitter @Museke
Become a fan on Facebook
Become a friend on Myspace

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nana Kwabena Owusu, Justin Dakorah and Kofi Opuni Asiama leading the way for 233Tech

(Photo - Kobby & Justin at BarCamp Ghana 08) Today was the birthday of a very good friend of mine, Nana Kwabena Owusu. I had been meaning to do a post on him and his work on 233Tech, and this seems like an opportune time to do it. Kobby, as we know him, works on 233Tech with Justin Dakorah, another good friend of mine and we all grew up in the same KNUST campus neighbourhood. 233tech is primed to become the premier Ghanaian technology oriented content website for news, feature articles and blogs. Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend who was battling getting Tech news related and relevant for Ghana, and when I decided to check out the work of Kobby and Justin at 233Tech, I was pleasantly surprised.

The twosome set out to build a technology company. Their main desire was to prove web solutions tech start ups can suceed in Ghana. Suceed here is defined not as barely surviving but flourishing. There are many web startups in Ghana but not many of them have flourished and taken up big market shares. Ghana has become a contract country, these startups survive by doing contracts and jobs for the government or big companies and the criteria for getting most of these jobs is about 'who you know'.

The technology company is Ignite Systems Ltd with Kobby as the only fulltime employee and Justin and Kofi Opuni Asiama, another childhood friend of mine as part-time. Justin and Opuni are actually training to be doctors but have a strong interest in IT. Kofi Opuni Asiama has a similar story to Justin as he's also training to be a doctor and has been programming in different languages since high school.

The interesting thing is that I know a lot of young Ghanaians who are self-taught programmers or learnt it on the side aside their pursuit of regular careers. Kobby himself is a trained civil engineer. He used to queue at the EMS Center in Kumasi when he was like 12 and it was only one of the public cafes in Kumasi. At that time, Netscape was still a competitor to IE and hotmail was the kind of email. His desire was born at a very young age and he's managed to turn every member of his family into a mini tech head.

233Tech is not the first project Kobby and Justin have worked on. They worked on, which was a direct result of this goal. Klustrs was to be an opt in advertising network (influenced by Blyk Media, an european start up executing this concept well with teens). This is why they chose students as our target audience. Kobby and Justin were on the social media panel for the first BarCamp Ghana in Accra on December 22, talking about social networks in Ghana for Ghanaians and the Klustrs model.

Klustrs involved the ability of getting free group SMS for communicating (social: invite a 100 people to a party or academic: inform the class of a change in a lecture schedule) while providing a sales, marketing and e-commerce (KlustrMart:online shops) avenue for businesses. Businesses and students could further use SMS Alerts to intereact (MTN music awards voting, subscribe to all events happening at the KNUST Pool side or Timeout; Alert me when a laptop I want on KlustrsMart drops in price). Klustrs is currently offline and shelved because of escalating costs of SMS and generally a lack of a really strong, scalable framework for the social networking aspect which wasn't above our initial funding. The team used this as a learning experience and Klustrs had a 1,000 members in two months before going offline.

Demands at work as a training doctor have reduced Justin to mainly help refine Kobby's thoughts and a little research. There are plans for him to start full time contribution as he frees up more time at work. Justin claims all of his interest in PC and technology is owed to Kobby, who showed him QBasic. The next time they got together, Justin was at 'full speed' and has never stopped since. He has worked with Kofi Opuni Asiama and Eyram Tawia (who we featured recently) on the Topssoft, Blacksoft companies which churned out many different kinds of technology tools that are still being used by clients today. He once considered Computer Engineering, but he felt he knew more, dropped the idea and pursued medicine. Justin enjoys programing because of the ability to "control" what the PC does. Being a Doctor and combining 'this' is not as easy as when he was a student, but he has an understanding partner. (Photo - Justin and Opuni)

It's easy to understand the importance of 233Tech. 233 is Ghana's telephone country code. Anytime I see this number, I think of Ghana. The 233Tech team wants to cover topics as serious as broadband policy, as emotional as Mac versus PC or as fun as the best color for a mobile phone.

Curently mainstream news and content portals usually rehash tech stories from BBC, CNN wholesale without any context or angle to Ghana or Africa. Worse still the REAL Ghanaian (and African stories) sometimes never get reported because BBC or CNN did not report on it. Ignite Systems wants 233 Tech to provide a single place for interaction between the tech community (developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers ), technology consumers (aka ‘non-techies’ and tech and gadget crazy people in general) and hopefully policy makers (fingers crossed). They believe opening up avenues for sharing and discussing ideas will strengthen the Ghanaian tech industry.

233Tech plans to initially attract professionals, bloggers, free lance content producers, comic strip artists who would love to showcase their writing skills, talent or be recognized in their industry (for a pittance or for free, ) and then gradually bring on board paid contributors. See The next Steps for 233 Tech include making the website more of dialogue oriented format by encouraging more interaction and discussions about our content on Twitter and Facebook and through our own comments system. The team also plans to increase the categories of content we cover by finding additional content contributors and/or syndicating content from third party websites (like Museke, et cetera).

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