Showing posts from September, 2010

Quotes from South African movie, Tsotsi

I am in love with the South African movie, Tsotsi. People might say the real truth is that I am in love with Terry Pheto rather. Doesn't matter. Tsotsi did win an Oscar, and that tells what kind of movie it is. I fell in love the first time I watched it and all of the 27 times I've seen it. I know the movie so well, I watched a version with Spanish subtitles and was able to explain to my friend everything that the characters were saying. I'd know everything they were saying when I've been taking notes. So, here are some soundbites.

One of the things I love most about South Africa is that they have 11 official languages. Many South Africans I have met routinely speak more than 5 languages. I wish, I wish, I wish. There was a line in the South African crime-drama, Jerusalema: "This is the only country that we have to take shit in 11 languages". Classic. Tsotsi used many languages and it was very interesting to see when different languages were used. Tsotsi won …

McDonalds to enter Ghana? I won't be welcoming them

I love Twitter. That's where I get my news these days, alongside Facebook. Times have changed my people. My friend @Freegeneration tweeted of McDonalds opening up in Ghana and I was like.... in a nutshell. Hell, no! You can stop reading here but that was really the impulsive reaction. Well, here's my reaction to this news and my calculated response.

McDonalds, the world’s largest chain of restaurants serving more than 58 million customers daily is considering opening up branches in Ghana by early 2011. Seth El, a US-based Ghanaian businessman, who disclosed this to the Business Guide newspaper in an interview, stated that McDonalds would open its restaurant initially at some popular places in Accra such as the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Osu, Spintex road and the Accra Mall.

Of course, where else them go open other than Accra? I bet more people will move to Accra so they can partake in the McDonalds' experience. Can the government redraw its infrastructure improveme…

The first African Leadership Network gathering

Earlier this year, my friend Shirley shared some info with me about the African Leadership Network, specifically the ALN Gathering in Addis Ababa, November 3rd-6th, 2010. Turns out the African Leadership Network (ALN) is the premier network of Africa’s next-generation of leaders – those individuals who are poised to assume the most significant roles in African corporations, governments and society at large over the next 10-15 years. The aim of the network is to Power Africa’s Prosperity. This first gathering in Addis Ababa is invitation only. So, yeah, I am not going. Those going are at another level koraa compared to me. If you see some of the names, you'll understand.

African Leadership Network sounds like African Leadership Academy right? Yes, it involves the usual suspects. ALN was founded by Acha Leke (Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co.), and Fred Swaniker (Founder and CEO, African Leadership Academy), both of whom are recognized and established next-generation African leader…

BarCamp Kumasi #bcksi was a success!

Barcamp Kumasi came off successfully on September 18 at the College of Engineering auditorium at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The theme was Collaboration: the key for opportunity and development. Over 80 people attended, mostly students from KNUST. The program run smoothly and I followed all of it through the many tweets coming from some of the organizing team members and others there. Glad to call the first ever Barcamp in Kumasi a success.

The keynote speaker and moderator for the day's panel was Dr Douglas Adjepong, Founder and President of the Leadership and Mentorship Academy. The other panelists were Mr Stephen Agyepong - Lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Eugene Oduro Birikorang, Acting Regional Manager, Millicom Gh Ltd (Tigo) and Daisy Baffoe - Meltwater Entrepreneurial School Of Technology (MEST). The sponsors were Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), National Society of Black En…

Nigerian Biophysicist, John Dabiri wins prestigious $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship

One of my favourite websites,, reported that Nigerian-American Biophysicist, John Dabiri, recently won the prestigious $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship! It's a very prestiguous fellowship awarded to the dons and geniuses of our day. My former MIT lecturer, Amy Smith, won it as well as famous Nigerian writer (and one of my favorites) Chimamanda Adichie won the fellowship as well in 2008. Get inspired!

Watch the video below and read his bio.

Biophysicist John Dabiri was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. The Fellowship is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more. Learn more at

John Dabiri is presently an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California

He's only 30 :-)

Read more at Celebr…

Press Release: The kasahorow Fellowship

I love the folks at Kasahorow. They are working to bring African languages onto the web. You can get involved with this by taking on the fellowship below.

27 September 2010

Fellowship Description
The kasahorow Fellowship, now open for the first time to students across Africa, provides a US$500 award for the study, promotion and development of indigenous African languages.

The Fellowship can be applied to any project which uses written (African language) text. Examples include: writing a children’s book, developing localised software, starting an African language newspaper.

Any student in a tertiary institution in Africa. Applicants may be citizens of any country.

Deadline for submissions: 16 January 2011
Announcement of winner: 16 February 2011

For full details and to apply online, visit

Sponsoring Organisation: kasahorow Communication Group of Suuch Solutions
The kasahorow Communication Group is a p…

Run4education (One mile at a time!)

As part of running the 10 kilometre race last Friday, my group was also fundraising for Run4Edcuation. Together, we raised over a $1000. Shout out to Fanuel Muindi and Shantal Marshall (two Stanford students) for this great initiative. Fanuel's quite the runner, having run the San Francisco marathon amongst many other races. His goal is to run the Boston Marathon.

Fanuel got interested a couple of years ago and decided to run for a cause. This idea gave birth to the Run4Education group and he's been running to raise money to support students in East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. Apparently, 75% of East Palo Alto kids won't graduate from high school. Ghana and Africa, listen, nowhere cool. Small contributions can go very far, even in the expensive United States, to make children stay in school.

Here is some info about Run4Education

Run4Education is a group dedicated to filling the gaps in education so that every student gets the chance to reach his or her potential, regardle…

I run 10 kilometres!

Earlier this summer, a Tanzanian friend asked me to join him in running a local race. It was going to be the 10 kilometre (6 mile) race as part of the 26th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run & Walk. I was hesitant about participating in the 10K race. I never went running on my own or with colleagues. Eventually, I figured I would participate in the race just so I could finally say I'd run one and it was also for a good cause, I'd be supporting run4education. I finished the September 24 race in just over an hour. Thank you to everyone who donated, supported, prayed and urged me. #VIM! It was thrilling, tiring, fantastic and fun. It didn't happen without juicy events and stories though so here goes the narration :-)

I have never taken to running as a pastime because I knew I didn't have good stamina. I never bothered to do so. I almost didn't take part in the 10K race. You could say peer pressure 'barbed' me and spurred me to sign on. I nestled the ide…

Walking the walk (literally)

Completing this 10K run just made me realize how much I kind of like walking. I have walked long distances before though. Especially when I am in Ghana.

Back in the United States, I once participated in an AIDS walk in Boston while at MIT in 2005. The distance was 6 kilometres and we raised some money as well. It was also enjoyable because we were walking in a group and that collective energy drives you. 6 kilometres looked like a pretty long distance to me but it wasn't tiring upon completion.

In fact, recently, I ended up walking to a club because I didn't want to pay for a taxi fare and all my 'rides' were nowhere to be found. I remember praying for someone who knew me or a good samaritan to give me a lift to my destination. It was only a 2 mile walk though. And then the other day, when I was prepared to walk to yet another party, two dudes stopped and offered to give me a ride. I kid you not, I was actually scared that these people might go use me for 'sikaduro…

Ashifi Gogo at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

This weekend, a friend of mine who I really respect, Ashifi Gogo, sent me an email saying "President Clinton recently commented on the challenges of counterfeiting in front of several world leaders in business and politics attending the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting." Ashifi, the famous Kwabeef man, was being introduced by the former US president, Bill Clinton. Level! That was all I needed to see to do this blog entry. I am so proud of Ashifi, he's under 30 and he's doing big things. A revered! He is behind the website anyway :-)

Ashifi Gogo has been working on a start-up Sproxil, which is a service that fights counterfeit drugs. For his work, he is winning awards and going into high places. He was also the featured speaker at BarCamp Diaspora. He was also a panelist at BarCamp Ghana 08. I also blogged about his story earlier.

Bill had this to say about Ashifi's work. "This is a genuinely remarkable accomplishment...(it's) empowerin…

Diaspora Camp DC 2010 Event recap #diasporadc

Culled from
DiasporaCamp DC 2010, a Barcamp with a focus on the African Diaspora, took place on July 24th, 2010 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. The ‘unconference’ run from about from 9am to 6pm. The event brought together about 120 entrepreneurs, investors, students and professionals to find out the ways to access capital to start, fund and grow small and medium enterprises as well as other kinds of ventures. Attendees were excited to find out this diverse community of people interested in Africa and the Diaspora existed in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area. The theme was: Financial innovations for African small & medium-scale enterprises.

The event began with some opening remarks by members of the organizing team. Made up of Africans and non-Africans with a passion for the continent, the organizing team was backed by the GhanaThink Foundation which put it together. Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Clare Allenson, Nii Simmonds set the tone f…

Do it -soundtrack video for African movie Paparazzi -Eye in the Dark (Museke)

Ghana's Koby Maxwell and Liberia's Chris Deshield have collaborated on the soundtrack song for the upcoming Nollywood movie, Paparazzi - Eye in the Dark. I first heard them perform "Do it" during the Memorial Day weekend when both musicians were in the Bay Area for the first African Spring Bling organized by Deejay Burt and co. The song is very catchy and is bound to be a popular one amongst African music fans everywhere.

Koby Maxwell told me about this Paparazzi - Eye in the Dark movie project when I met him during the Memorial Day weekend. He mentioned that he was acting in the movie, in addition to his burgeoning music career, amongst other things. At a BBQ party at Deejay Burt's house, he and Chris Deshield sang along to their 'Do it' duet. And now, with direction from editor and cinematographer Black Magic Tim, we have the music video.

See the music video

Lyrics for the song coming here. Asking around, many peop…

Freshlyground sings about Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe in 'Chicken to Change' music video (Museke)

Thought this was a nice way to get Mugabe's attention. C'mon, Uncle Bob.

Afro-pop sensation group FRESHLYGROUND have teamed up with the internet satirical show ZA NEWS to make their second music video for their new album ‘Radio Africa’. The decision to hook up with the puppets from ZA NEWS was taken after His Excellency Comrade RG Mugabe declined a cordial invitation to participate in the video. His doppelganger, however, leapt at the opportunity! And brought along a couple of friends...

Check out the Chicken to change song

Zolani sings about what a noble supernova Mugabe was, a shiny star, but that somewhere along the line he lost his way. However, he still holds the key to the country’s future. Is it still possible to impress following generations? Is there room for change in his heart? There is still time! “An iridescent example of honour for the coming generation... You promised always to open the doors for us... Indeed it is you and only you who sleeps with the key... You a…