Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Naija state of mind - Naija Boyz remix the late Da-Grin's Pon Pon (Museke)

My alter ago, Ayooluwaato Eze is back again. This time talking about Nigeria :-)
The African Remix boys from Nigeria are back again! After remixing Soulja Boy's Crank that Soulja boy, Chris Brown's Kiss Kiss, Lil Wayne's Lollipop, and Beyonce's Single Ladies, they are remixing a Nigerian hip-hop classic, Pon pon pon by the famous Yoruba rapper, Da-Grin. Da-Grin passed away on Thursday, April 22. Many tributes poured his way from various Nigerian artistes, including this one called My pain which featured multiple Nigerian all-stars.

Check out the lyrics for song coming soon here. As usual, the Naija Boyz are at their funniest best. They mention that they still have the Naija swagger. They make fun of children born to Nigerian parents in the US who have 'forgotten their upbringing'. The video featured a Nigerian-American kid insulting his mum and who is going to call 911. Nigerian mothers won't take that nonsense and 'go remind you why we come here'.

Watch the Naija State of Mind video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-KHEqJD-Lo


The Naija Boyz also disassociate themselves from the Nigerian underwear suicide bomber (Mutaala) whose crime caused Nigeria to be seen in a bad light. O & Teju claim Nigeria didn't train him (because he had a lot of his upbringing in the UK) and also claiming that Nigerians would never love to die as they like 'enjoyment'. The video shows a white newscaster saying that 'kind of lifestyle' is the root of all evil and then he goes to rave about (Nigerian) booty, saying it is a problem as bad as Yahooze.

The Boyz also make fun of Nigerian girls who take 'cool' American names and claiming they are African-Americans born to Nigerian parents while their name is actually 'Mgbeke Okoronkwo Apkode'. They say they never embarass and they are proud and how they have a say even in America. Can't hate their shine, all their music video parodies have a million views each and the new one is on its way there.

The song celebrates Nigeria's golden jubilee. We see the music video being shown on Youtube's Golden Jubilee channel and the Youtube theme changed with a dominant green to match Nigeria's national colours. We also see pictures and videos from the Nigerian Independence Parade Party. We see a cameo from another famous Nigerian Youtube sensation, T-Boy from Don't Jealous Me.

They released the song on Da-Grin's birthday as a tribute to him. Da-Grin's first verse from Pon Pon is used in the video. This Naija State of Mind video will help a lot of the CEO's fans nostalgic.

I love these boys. Their Lollipop remix aka "Lick my fingers (Lollipop remix)" is my favorite and I definitely love it more than Lil Wayne's original. I am a huge African food lover. Many people have loved O & Teju since they released Crank dat Naija boy. I hope to see more remixes from them. They are too gbaski!

Download free mp3s of our remixes at http://www.AfricanRemix.com/

Culled from alter ego Chale's post on Museke.com - home of the African music fan

Asem gives the 2010 Ghana show business fylla (news) (Museke)

Ghanaian rapper Asem is now a Journalist, and his latest single describes all the events and occurances in the Ghana Showbiz Industry during 2010.

Okay, fylla, fylla o fylla!; A S E M with the fylla; This be the 2010 fylla; Ghana showbizness, 2010 I dey come summarize from beginning to the end


He mentioned Obrafour (Rastaman) bouncing back on Okyeame Kwame's (Jerry Curls) back and how the song's hype didn't last long because the guy Obrafour featured, Guru, slacked. You'll remember Obrafour's Kasiebo track was a response to Okyeame Kwame and Obour's Killing the game. He also takes a shot at Kwaw Kese saying he's become his PRO, mentioning his name everywhere he goes. Kwaw Kese recently released his Killa bewu last show which dissed Asem, KOD and Jon Germain.

He acknowledges that Tema is the home of great rap fever but stipulates that the money is still in Accra. He says even Tema boys stole the show at the Ghana Music Awards, it's he Asem whose School Dey Be song that got the World Bank dough (money). According to Asem, Appietus claims that Charterhouse stole the producer of the year award for Richie. According to the No more kpayor hit man, Appietus was so angry that Richie the Yaaro won that he started singing.

He rapped about Nana Boroo borrowing the SK Blinks song which became a hit. Apparently, SK Blinks was going to make a remix with Freddy Meiway. Did anyone hear it? He also mentioned Guru, Iwan, Stonebwoy and Trigmatic as rappers Ghana is digging today, most of whom remixed Gyptian's Hold Yuh.

He had a funny comment about Asamoah Gyan aka Baby Jet not scoring the important penalty but instead he was using his buttocks to do the famous dance that helped make Castro Destroyer's African girls track a hit. He mentioned the BET Cypher video, but mentioned that many Ghanaians could not watch on DSTV. Though, they could watch on Youtube. The video has become a viral video sensation.

He closes the song by saying his new album is coming out and acknowledges that his fans miss him. He concludes "get ready for the album, I am back next year". As always, it's Richie on the beat! You know the name right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgX48kWpmqQ


Culled from alter ego Chale's post on Museke.com - home of the African music fan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's meet at Google's Baraza and answer Africa's questions

I received some invites from a couple of people to test out Google's Baraza earlier. Just recently, Google Baraza was launched in different places in Africa. Baraza, which means ‘taskforce’ or ‘council’ in Swahili, is a newly launched question and answer service that will also be integrated into search results on Google Search.

From the earlier notice
One of Google’s goals in Africa is to make the internet more locally relevant and bring more people online. One of the challenges of the internet in Africa is that there is a lack of local content online. At Google, we find that users search for information about local businesses, entertainment, health, etc but often don’t find it because the information is not yet available online. In order to help bring more local content online, Google engineers have created Baraza to allow people in countries across Africa to ask questions and post answers to questions from others.


If you have any questions about Africa, go and ask it through Baraza. If you've been wondering something go find the answer there as well.

To celebrate the launch in Ghana, Joy FM's Wednesday’s Drive Time would feature Executive Director of Databank, Yofi Grant and Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Country Manager of Google Ghana. They'd be in the studio with presenter Bola Ray between 3.30pm and 5pm to share their expertise with the public. Interestingly enough, they were both at Barcamp Accra 2010, an event where many of Google Baraza users were at. Busy Internet is also being reported as going to offer free internet to Baraza users on Wednesday. They provided free internet at Barcamp Accra #bcaccra too. In this effort to increase online local African knowledge, BusyInternet, with three branches in Accra and Tema is opening its doors to Baraza users for free during Drive Time on Joy on Wednesday between 3pm and 6pm.

In the meantime, you can always access www.google.com.gh/baraza from today to start asking questions and receive answers from the public. Local domains of the forum will also be made available in 40 African countries, including Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal.

Google is also hosting an exclusive networking event for Ghana’s active blogger community together with the GhanaBlogging group at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on Thursday evening.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

African Leadership Network gathering press release

Last month, I blogged about the upcoming The first African Leadership Network gathering. My thoughts dey there. This week, I received a press release from one of the organizers and wanted to share with you. It's in about two weeks. How times flies. I am personally excited about this though.

Africa’s Top Emerging Leaders Gather in Ethiopia for Invitation-Only Meeting of the African Leadership Network

Johannesburg, South Africa – October 15, 2010 – The African Leadership Network (ALN),
today announced a first-of-its kind, invitation-only gathering of Africa’s top emerging leaders. Chosen from across Africa for their distinguished leadership in the business, government, and non-profit sectors, these young leaders will come together in the spirit of problem solving and action, focusing their combined passion and expertise on addressing the opportunities and challenges facing Africa.

“We will rise beyond our challenges and capture our opportunities only if our continent’s top young leaders come together for the common good of Africa. Not the usual suspects, but the continent’s new generation of young, dynamic leaders who will shape Africa’s next 25 years,” said Fred Swaniker, African Leadership Network co-founder. “It is urgent that Africa’s emerging leaders actively collaborate, create, and take action. ALN will provide the first-ever platform for these emerging leaders to do just that – with a vision no less than the transformation of Africa.”

“The key aim of the Network is to collaborate towards addressing the big challenge of our time, which we believe, is the challenge of creating prosperity for Africa’s masses” said Acha Leke, McKinsey Director and ALN co-founder. “Prior generations of African leaders brought us political independence. But we are far from being economically independent. This emerging generation of leaders must be the one that brings prosperity to the continent”.

The historic city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will be host to the inaugural gathering and initiation of this premier leadership network, which will run from November 3-6, 2010. This year’s gathering is co-chaired by Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank South Africa; Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange; and Bill Egbe, President of Coca-Cola South Africa.

Approximately 200 attendees will meet in Addis Ababa to share ideas aimed at answering one central question: “how does Africa become prosperous?” In addition to sharing ideas, members are expected to build concrete partnerships between their countries, companies and organizations, and to further the aim of creating prosperity for Africa.

Some of the network’s distinguished members include Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Khumo Shuenyane, Head of M&A for African cellular giant MTN; Ngozi Edozien, Head of West Africa at Actis, one of the largest Private Equity firms in Africa; Amara Konneh, Liberian Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs; Alex Okosi, Head of MTV Africa; Titus Gitau, Director of MEA Fertilizers (which controls 43% of the Fertilizer market in Kenya); and award-winning South-African musician Lira.

Sessions will focus on understanding the current landscape of prosperity in Africa, crafting a vision for Africa’s prosperity, outlining practical steps towards prosperity, and how a prosperous Africa can be better managed. Delegates are expected to walk away with practical solutions to be implemented well after the conference. One prominent speaker on the agenda is Paul Romer, a world-famous economist who will share his ideas of creating “Charter Cities” in Africa as a way of kick-starting development, similar to how China used Hong-Kong to kick-start its development. The annual three-day gathering will be supplemented by regional gatherings throughout the year, providing continued momentum for collaboration, problem solving and action.

Key sponsors of the inaugural gathering include the MTN Group, Goldman Sachs, the World Bank, TBWA, and Ethiopian Airlines. McKinsey & Company and Insead Business School are serving as Knowledge Partners for the Network, providing research and knowledge for the members.

About the African Leadership Network
The African Leadership Network (ALN) is an invitation-only network of influential and
dynamic leaders who are poised to shape the future of Africa over the next 50 years. The ALN aims to bring leaders together as a catalyst for development and change across the private and public sectors throughout Africa.

In addition to research and publications on key topics, members will receive two books each quarter about creating prosperity in Africa. Members will also be invited to participate in ‘Learning Missions’ to countries outside of Africa, where participants will observe business models, meet officials and develop partnerships in countries like Malaysia, China and Brazil in 2010-2011. Partnerships will be cultivated through periodic gatherings and practical tools for connecting members such as a members-only online portal known as ALN Connect®

For more information about the - www.africanleadershipnetwork.com.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Nigerian alter-ego

At different times in my life, people meet me and say I look Nigerian. They say I look Igbo, sorry my Yoruba brethren and Hausa sistren. I didn't choose that and personally I don't like Igbos more than other Naija tribes. So, I play along and claim that I am actually Nigerian. Of course, you all know I am a Ghanaian. If you didn't, now you know. Especially when I meet some new Nigerians, I 'lie' and say I am Nigerian and my name is ..... I used to say Oluwadeyoato. Apparently, it doesn't make much sense, so I consulted with some Nigerian friends to come up with a new one. This is what we settled on - Ayooluwaato Eze. Yes, my Naija alter ego has a last name too. And I am from Kwara State. :-)

Before I tell you about me, let me tell you a funny story. When attending the local Nigeriaat50 party, I was with a Naija girl and we met some of her friends. I introduced myself as Oluwadeyoato to them. I said I was from Kwara state. I was wearing green. Gotto rep my country now. You know o! They almost believed me o. In fact, everyone else I try this thing on believe me. I don jazz them easy. But sometimes edey make hard o. Wetin I fit tell them o? So I decide say I go make some tori o. You want hear am? Let's go dier. :-)

I am called Ayooluwaato, Ato for short. You see, now I can easily switch from my Naija identity to my real one when things are getting tough. I always took issue with my Nigerian friends shortening their names so some foreigner could call them easily. Why buckle to outside pressure? Let your name be long and strong. Loud and proud. Cumbersome and awesome. 12 letters. Three different words. Yes boss! 'Eze' in Igbo means kings. You see, am royalty and blessed by the most High in addition. And this fine Naija chic called Chelsea Eze is my cousin. We rule. Actually, I think she's really hot (from when I saw her in Silent Scandals) and wanted to take her last name. No, we are not married. And my Naija alter ego can't marry, "I" am the only who can, lol. Ayooluwaato Eze doesn't have an English name. I'd rather take a Hausa name. I'm taking suggestions :-). Back to my first name, Ayooluwato means "The joy of the Lord is enough". Cute huh? I was named right. In fact, I gbadun that name. I just have to figure out how to pronounce it right and be on point every single time.

Because if I don't pronounce it right, I'll be 'found out' by the real Nigerians or Yorubas (if you may). But I have a counter --- I just have a Yoruba name but I am fully Naija. My father is Igbo from Abia state and my mother is Yoruba from Kwara State. Have you heard the Abia State anthem? Yes, I rep them! I'm that, nigga, raw! We folks from Abia are so rugged, man, we'll give you 2shotz! Don't joke with us, onu. We like to make that money. But I rep Kwara state more because of my mum. I was so honoured when we brought Akon to Nigeria for the 10/10 concert for Naija's 50th anniversary of independence. Major props to my friends at Storm (360) Records, with a special shout out to my sister, Sasha P. Like my Naija alter ego, they also rep Naija all day!



You see, I don't bother too much with Yoruba - Igbo issues, because I come from both places. We also lived for a short while in Kano. And I'd rather have a Hausa name. So you see, I am a "united Nigerian", and love the South as much as I love the North. When you think of next year's Naija elections, think of me. Cos Naija dey bam. And vote wisely cos One day, one day e go better. And I support Nuhu Ribadu. It's not just only me. We have Team Ribadu. We should all be a united Naija. We shouldn't do nigeria jaga jaga because Naija na our area and motherland. This is 2010, we are 50 years old, we gots to #lightupNigeria. I implore all my fellow Nigerians to listen to this Tubaba song though as we are in election season, Ebe like say. Me, I go yarn.

So why don't I know much about Nigeria or even Lagos (las gidi)? Because I also lived in Yankee and Jand. Yes, Jand, as in Longdon. My parents are diplomats so we've lived everywhere. I was born in Yankee, right in the heart of Nigeriacity. "Houston, we have a problem. Too many Nigerians, can't be a good thing for us." Of course, I am kidding, you know I like to make fun of my people. Sometimes, we get so jealous of others that we turn "green-white-green". But we know and you know that the greenest pastures are in Naija. Super Eagles all day! Because everything is bigger in Texas, that why we then my Naija family dey there. I also lived in Jand a bit, some in South Africa, some in Kenya, some in Angola and most of my teenage life in Ghana. It was cool living in Ghana, it's almost like Nigeria. My parents loved it there so we remained there for a long time. So you see, I didn't really live that much in Lagos or Abuja or Kano or Port Hartcourt to remember what happens there. I do love Warri though. My pops always said I'd get gidi when we were going there. Since high school in Ghana (I went to Presec by the way) I've been in Yankee. Odadee! In lumine tuo..... videbimus lumen.

What kind of Nigerian am I? What a question! What kind of Nigerian are you? I am not a yahoo-yahoo boy. I am just me. I am a true Naija boy. I love eba and egusi stew and moimoi. I don't watch Nollywood movies unless they are recommended. I pick Genevieve Nnaji over Omotola. I celebrate people like Chimamanda Adichie, John Dabiri, and Jay Jay Okocha. I think Nwankwo Kanu should retire and Mikel Obi should leave Chelsea so he can score some goals. I know a lot about Nigerian girls, so if you wanna date one of my flygerian sisters, holla at your boss.

Yes, I hate the underwear bomber. I am 50-50 about yahoo-yahoo boys, I think they have shown we can use our ingenuity to get back at our 'oppresors'. Because For One Nine to become ten, you have to make an effort. Like all Nigerians, I hope we can channel those energies to make Naija better. Arise, o compatriots, Nigeria's call obey. Ebenezer Obey might have sung 'Africa is my home' but this is 'operation feed the nation'. The nation comes first before everything. We are Nigerians! 1 in 5 of all black people. You can't escape from us. We are unique and there's no one like us.

And there's no one like me. So next time you meet Ayooluwaato Eze, that will be me. And I'm not on Facebook. I normally check some other guy's facebook to stalk all the pretty Naija girls from time to time. I am considering joining Twitter though. Tweeps, I am taking Twitter username suggestions. In fact, I am so cool, I will get more twollowers than Patrick Obahiagbon @HonPatrickO. If you don't know him, check him out here. In the meantime, you can catch me here on this blog. Because khaki no be leather. Ayooluwaato Eze says "Naija, until I die".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good water in Ghana

Earlier this month, fellow blogger and Ghanaian, Jemila of Cicrumspecte.com informed me about Blog Action Day on October 15. I looked forward to this day and earlier, realised that Edward of Tagoe Blogger had blogged about MoneyGram quenching Asuboi's thirst. Blog action Day 2010 (BAD2010) tackles 'water' with the premise "Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us." Let's spread the word about providing cleaner and safer water, especially in Africa where water-borne diseases are a menace still.

I've had some battles with unsafe water. In the final year in Presec, I had some 'traces' of Typhoid fever which drove me to the hospital for a couple of check-ups. I was given some medication and told to check the water I used. There had been a typhoid outbreak in Accra and a few people had died. So I wasn't going to joke around. Accra has a lot of documented water problems. I was speaking a Ghanaian friend, who spent most of the life in the US, and is now in Accra working. She complained about there being no water in East Legon. A whole East Legon! In Adenta, where my aunt lives, there's no water. We buy water from different sources and even if the water is clean, you can't 100% trust the water to travel safely as well. So the metropolitan areas of Ghana need some water work done.

Kumasi on the other hand is great. People in Accra routinely boil their tap water before drinking, just because. In Kumasi, such worries don't exist. I can't tell why but it seems the Barekese dam is a better service provider than whatever is nearest Accra. Many people buy 'mineral water' in plastic bags which are not very trustworthy these days either. The surest source is the Voltic bottles, because Voltic is a trustworthy brand with a Western name. :-) You see the mentality? Even the 'careless' me has bought into it as well. Because you definitely do not want to mess with unclean and unsafe water.

Unless you live in a random village in the Brong Ahafo Region near New Longoro (where?) and you have no access to pipe-borne water then you have no choice but to mess with unsafe water. People do this everyday in parts of Africa. They drink from pitch-brown rivers and don't fall 'sick'. They've developed anti-bodies to fight the unsafe water that this water is 'safe' for them. Strangers and guests don't get that luxury though, not that it's one they want to have. There are many ways to get safe drinking water if pipe infrastructure is not laid. I stayed in this village for a week and me and my MIT friends survived on bore-hole water.

We had filters. We had gone to these villages to preach the dangers of dirty infiltration and the cures of clean filtration. We provided cheap and ingenious ways to ensure water was safe. We need to see more of this. We need individual and little efforts like these that can empower those affected by unsafe water to fend for themselves. Because the millenium development goals are some years' away and cost a lot of money. Someone tell me it's not true. It's not? Great news. Problems solved. But here's to all the volunteers, engineers and civil servants who are striving to solve the problems facing clean, safe, drinking water in their own way. We salute you. This blog is to announce and celebrate that you exist and that help is on the way. #VIM!

And if you want to keep up on all the BAD2010 happenings, you can follow us at www.twitter.com/blogactionday.

Here's a flickr slideshow of water related photos
Change.org|Start Petition


see a vimeo video and join the global conversation around water today.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

South Africa TV show Hopeville featuring @TerryPheto nominated for International Emmy

I found some exciting news from @TerryPheto's twitter yesterday. She tweeted on October 6th - Great News... HOPEVILLE has been nominated for an EMMY AWARD. Best TV Movie/Mini-Series. I had already blogged about the HOPEVILLE movie, which was released in South African theatres September 3rd. I am waiting patiently for it to be on DVD, which will take a while. The movie's trailer speaks volumes and am personally not surprised that the television show has been nominated for an International Emmy in the TV Movie/Mini-Series category. I have never heard of any African television show being nominated for an International Emmy. This is big! Local is lekker!

Hopeville has already won an international award, it won for best drama and mini-series at the Rose d’Or Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland on 22 September, where it beat 85 other TV dramas. In the International Emmy competition Hopeville is competing against three other nominees: Germany’s The Author of Himself, the UK’s Small Island and Brazil’s Sound & Fury. The 38th International Emmys take place on 22 November at the Hilton Hotel in New York.

Terry Pheto already has an Oscar to her name for Tsotsi. That alone guarantees that Hopeville will win. She has a smaller role in Hopeville though but the other actors in the show are excellent as well. You can find out about other movies she's been in on IMDB.

Hopeville is produced by Johannesburg-based Curious Pictures for the Heartlines NGO and SABC Education. It was broadcast on South Africa's SABC2. Hopefully like other South African dramas, the rest of Africa could see the series on MNET at some point soon. Hopeville tells the story of an alcoholic father played by Themba Ndaba who tries to win the love of his son (Junior Singo) by fixing the local swimming pool. It's a feel good story. It highlights a community leader and how he stops at nothing to accomplish his goals.

The Hopeville series was directed by John Trengrove. It features Terry Pheto (of course), Desmond Dube, Fana Mokoena, Terry Pheto, Mary Twala, Jonathan Pienaar and Wilmien Roussouw. Credits include co-producers Harriet Gavshon and Mariki van der Walt; cinematographer Willie Nel; art director Karel Flint; and line producer Daphne Williams. Hopeville is based on a story by Roger Smith and Michele Rowe.


You can watch the trailer for the movie here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Hxxi13jmc

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Madiba book - Conversations with Myself

One of my Presec mates (Odadee) posted on my wall this week "I hope I'm not the only one getting Conversations With Myself". Then I conf pass corn flakes dem conference for corn inside. After I asked him about it, he said "New Madiba book...heard about it on 60 minutes...I get chills whenever i hear about this man...same feeling i had when i watched Invictus i had today". Yep, same feeling I also had when I watched Invictus with a dear one last December. I can't even begin to describe Nelson Mandela in one blog post. That makes me think, why didn't I even blog about Invictus? I think I should. Then again, I am a bigger fan of movies than books. Dont judge me. I'll read this one. Because a book called "Conversations with Myself" is too good to pass up. Ayoba.

I stumbled upon the story again on one of my favorite websites, Africagoodnews.com. Seriously, follow them on Twitter @sagoodnews. Yes, it started as sagoodnews.co.za and now they have an African version. A new book by Nelson Mandela is surely good news. It's kind of sad I learnt a more about Nelson Mandela from Invictus. Thank you Hollywood. This new book is an 'autobiography' though so it will be from the horses' own mouth. Ayibo! That information makes me want to say 'Ayobaness'.

Africagoodnews.com- New Mandela book released worldwide reads

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has announced that a new book by former South Africa President and global icon Nelson Mandela, "Conversations with Myself", will be released in 22 editions and 20 languages. "Conversations with Myself" is a new book by former South Africa President and global icon Nelson Mandela. According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation the book, released today, "is an intimate journey from the first stirrings of Mr Mandela's political consciousness to his galvanising role on the world stage. It is a rare chance to spend time with Nelson Mandela the man, in his own voice: direct, clear and private".

United States President Barack Obama wrote in the foreword that Mandela, who largely retired from public life in 2004, is inspiring even if he is no saint. "Underneath the history that has been made, there is a human being who chose hope over fear - progress over the prisons of the past," Obama wrote. "And I am reminded that even as he has become a legend, to know the man ... is to respect him even more."

"Conversations" is best read as a companion to Mandela's autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," which was in part calculated by Mandela and other members of his African National Congress party to stir support for anti-apartheid activists as they stepped into new roles as leaders trying to heal and develop a divided, impoverished nation.


Wait, Barack Obama wrote the foreword? A Black President writing it for another Black President? Say it ain't so. I haven't even read "Long Walk to Freedom". I still want to meet you, Madiba. You are a great inspiration. If only 50% of Africa's leaders were like you. Is it really difficult to be like Madiba? Really? Someone tell me.

Either way, go get the book. There's even an audio CD. Lekker. Can someone buy it for me as my Christmas present? Edey Amazon. Amandla!

CNN video about the book

Apostle Kwadwo Safo's website!

My favorite African re-engineer/inventor/ingenious maker/technologist Apostle Kwadwo Safo has a website. Kantanka DOT COM! Check it out today.

Sorry, I was too excited that I wouldn't even bother telling you more. Everything is on the website anyway. This information is too much for a tweet so we blogged it. Yes, me, myself and I. Well, maybe' we'll update this post later.

Thanks to Esi Ansah, Barcamp Accra for the link. She is planning to go visit Apostle's site with her Ashesi students.

#VIM!

New Rwandan movie, Africa United


My friend, @Skyllie of Afroziky sent me this movie trailer today. It was for a movie called Africa United. We saw a lot of 'AfricaUnited' around the Mzansi Mundial aka FIFA World Cup in South Africa in June-July 2010. There was even some images that many people used as profile pictures on Facebook. It seemed that Ghana's Black Stars, Nigeria's Super Eagles, Cote D'Ivoire Les Elephants, Cameroun's Indomitable Lions, Algeria's Desert Warriors and South Africa's Bafana Bafana were all playing for Africa. So once the Black Stars of Ghana were left standing, it was still Africa United. Or BaGhana BaGhana if you like. So a movie about football called Africa United is easily a must-promote, must-buy and must-watch for me.

Africa United is an adventure drama from first-time feature director Debs Gardner-Paterson. Young Rwandan Dudu (Eriya Ndayambaje) heads to the football World Cup in Johannesburg with his sister, Beatrice (Sanyu Joanita Kintu), and his friend, Fabrice (Roger Nsengiyumva). To get there, they must go on a monumental journey through seven countries in the African continent. On their travels they witness crime, make new friends and deal with issues such as Aids and child prostitution.


From IMDB.
The extraordinary story of three Rwandan kids who walk 3000 miles to the Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Using a sack load of ingenuity and sass (and a World Cup wall chart for a map), our pint-sized protagonists set off through the endless horizons of Africa in pursuit of an unlikely dream. And as they walk they gather a tribe - a ragamuffin team - of broken and brilliant characters who help them negotiate a way through a series of glorious, dangerous, hilarious and often bizarre situations. Through these kids, we will encounter an Africa few people ever get to see; experience the hard reality of an epic walk through seven countries; as well as the joy, laughter and hope - 'the ubuntu' - that comes from making an incredible journey together. Written by Rhidian Brook


There's a lady in there who looks like Jackie Appiah. I was just about to say this will be the best movie she's been in, but it's not her. That title still remains with Sparrow Productions' Perfect Picture. The movie features a lot of kids, which always helps 'sell' a movie. We've seen a lot of football themed movies coming out of Africa these days. Sorry, Ghanaians, Agya Koo's Black Stars doesn't count. I am talking about movies like Themba :-) By the way, we really need an IMDB for African movies. Fienipa has started it, contribute today.

Debra in a Guardian article wrote:
I am so proud to have been part of Africa United – whose heroes are African kids, but whose themes are the universal ones of friendship, fun, hope, creativity and determination. These kids are heroes, and we mustn't let them forget that. We are all Rwandans. We are capable of anything. And, yes, we can.


"It's not about you, it's not about me, it's about us. We are a team, Africa United!" Lovely. I can't wait to see this movie. Movie opens in UK theatres October 22, 2010.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLfqw3WL5y4

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Help support our cause and the making of M3nsa's No one knows music video


Sankofa Pictures sent me info about their shooting Mensa's new music video, No One Knows. Check this story out and visit this site to support the production of this music video.

M3NSA recorded his 2nd Album ‘No. 1 MANGO STREET’ (which launches October 2, 2010), as a yearning shout out to the land of his birth. He pays homage and takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane, vividly depicting the rich, varied nuances of Ghanaian life from an adult, almost outsider perspective. This album, mixed and mastered by GRAMMY AWARD WINNING engineer Ed Reed, features a perfect blend of well-known and upcoming gifted artists with an authentic feel of West African high-life, beautifully fused with an organic hip-hop sound. This unique 14 track collection is excitingly new yet strangely familiar. From No. 1 Mango Street, we introduce to you, his 1st international single, ‘No One Knows'.

Our Cause
"I believe it is impossible to make sense of life in this world except through art."- Daniel Pinkwater

In the spirit of the world of fantasy and storytelling, we are committed to help making as many fantasies, dreams and hopes come true for children. Through the magically work of art, (video and music) we will aim to donate a portion the proceeds from our video projects’ profits to a cause that enhances a child’s life, like arts education. Ghana is a creative and vibrant nation and it's time for us to let our presence through our art be seen and heard. 

We hope through our commitment, we can help impact the less fortunate and less encouraged in some way through building arts education awareness.


Making of the Video
The message of this song is pretty simple; not to worry too much about tomorrow and precisely what it’s going to bring, but living in TODAY, to the fullest. Doing what is right for yourself, for humanity, and fulfilling your soul’s purest purpose will almost always ensure a tomorrow worth looking forward to!
The amazing crew and talent on this project are donating their time, energy and experience to this video and for this we thank and appreciate them sincerely.
This is where your help comes in.

Our music video budget of $2,500 is to cover costs of some equipment rental, locations, production insurance, post production and food for the crew, as well as odds and ends that tend to come up during production.
We really appreciate any support at all. If you can’t help monetarily, please help by passing this along to others, as we would like to spread the message and our cause to as many people as possible.
We hope this video will help lead the way in pushing these independent African artists into the mainstream.

No One Knows
NO ONE KNOWS by M3NSA

To follow the Making of the video No One Knows
http://www.sankofamangoes.blogspot.com

Words from M3NSA(Artist)
I heard a song by Asa called “No One Knows Tomorrow’’ and I felt that statement was so true! No one ever really knows what the future will bring; things can always take a turn for the better, or be disastrous. The idea is to enjoy the present to the fullest and be prepared for what the future may bring.
Looking back at my life, I would have never believed it if someone told me ten years ago that this is where I would be. Life has been good to me, not with material things like physical wealth, but rich experiences, great opportunities to work with talented people, travel to places I’d never dreamt of seeing, and a wealth of knowledge from interacting with people from all walks of life. All this happened by me just deciding to follow my heart and my true passion! But I never anticipated this.
Hearing Asa sing lyrics along those lines made me want to bring myself to it and be a part of that energy. So I used her vocals for the chorus because she sang so beautifully and it always hit me in the right spot every time I heard the song.
The powerful message in this song couldn’t be complete without a video. Visuals can always help tell a story more vibrantly, with pictures, colors, scenery and action, to fulfill all the things missed out sonically. Not only does a video enhance sound or music for that matter, we’re in an age where people always what to connect music with images. The video tells the story of a man looking to find what exactly the future will bring, by consulting soothsayers, fortune tellers etc. However, what they predict is often inaccurate and he has to alter the future himself. For instance he sees a weatherman, on TV, predicting the weather in the future, and it seems gloomy, so he hits the side of the television and the weatherman switches his forecast to something more positive. This is to signify that sometimes we have to take action to alter the future!

Words from Sankofa Pictures LLC
The youth these days listen to a lot of music and having creative videos that send a great message as well as a powerful image, I believe is a way that can bring about initial change to my country as well as Africa as a whole and even the world.
As a child, I got to see many positive music videos that had very strong messages and these have influenced me and made me a better person. I have steadily seen a decline in this amongst our youth in Ghana, especially with some of the types of materialistic videos being produced.
‘No One Know’ gives me a unique opportunity to send a strong, positive and fun message to people about determination, faith, and comfort knowing that life as we know is unknown for tomorrow but living today to the fullest because no one ever knows what the future holds for us. We can work towards what we want for our future today and be great at it.
I am believer in creating your own future. Take the words from this song, and hopefully very soon the visual will be able to enhance what this beautiful message has to say. One of my favorite parts of this song is such a beautiful simple summation of how and what many of us wait and hope for.
I won’t stop to live my life to wait for better days

And if you think its wrong then show me a better way

Life is hard! We’re not happy, we’re trying to get away

We keep on waiting for tomorrow

But it seems it never comes

Procrastinate, we wait…

So the job… is never done


Remember, you can shape your own tomorrow.


Thank you,
Sankofa Pictures LLC and M3NSA

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ghana Global Students Entrepreneur Awardee, Cecil Nutakor & Barcamp Takoradi

A friend posted as @Barcamp Takoradi's Facebook status update: "#Takoradi Born; Cecil Nutakor is the Winner of the Global Students Entrepreneur Awards 2010. http://is.gd/fNLIB/ We want him at BarCamp Takoradi. #BCTdi" Congrats to Cecil.

Here is the story from the GSEA website
Winner Announced! The GSEA has confirmed student entrepreneur Cecil S. Nutakor of Ghana, student at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Greenhill College, and owner of Equinox Intercom Limitied, to compete at the 2010 GSEA Global Finals in Kansas City, MO, USA. Equinox Intercom Limited is an electronic learning and electronic business application service provider with the aim of developing and providing products and services to the next generation of mobile empowered students and entrepreneurs in Ghana and West Africa.


Check Cecil Senna Nutakor out on Facebook. On his Facebook profile, he lists himself as the Founder & CEO of Equinox Intercom Limited since August 2006 in Accra. He'd like to meet Young Entrepreneurs, Young Politicians, Business Leaders, Pan-Africans, Philanthropists. Where else to do so than a Barcamp in Ghana? Or even better, at home in Takoradi? :-)

Planning for Barcamp Takoradi is on. It is being scheduled for late November at the Takoradi polytechnic. Follow it on Twitter @barcamptakoradi or on the Facebook page. The website will be coming soon. The working theme for the Barcamp is "Leading & Entreprising in an Oil & Technology Fuelled Economy". After the success of Barcamp Kumasi and Barcamp Accra, we are all excited for Barcamp Takoradi.

We hope to attract as many stakeholders in Takoradi to this event, especially the youth and entrepreneurs in general. And youth like Cecil Nutakor who are blazing trails for their colleagues to follow. VIM! Tsooboi! It's time to move.

Amazing Race episode in Ghana - Welcome to Accra :-)

On Sunday evening, a number of Facebook friends asked their friends to turn to CBS and watch the second episode of Amazing Race (TAR17) taking place in Ghana. I thought it was cool but I didn't really bother watching the show. I don't own a television or watch TV anyway. A couple of friends who watched the episode seemed proud of Ghana and even homesick by the images. So today, when I was doing my 'once in awhile check-up on Ghanaweb news' and found video links to the Amazing Race Ghana episode, I had to watch. And I am really glad I did.

After waking up to a bright sunny day in Eastnor Castle in the UK, our amazing racers are told their next stop will be Accra, Ghana. Yay! They leave London with about $137. Some of the racers are quite excited to go to Ghana. No one mentions that Ghana is a great footballing nation though. I was saddened by that but anyway, #VIM! One guy mentions "Accra is in Africa, so pretty sweet". One lady says "We're going to Ghana, *smile*. Aww. One lady sings "Ghana, Ghana, here we come!". Another says "Africa, so cool" Someone's more excited - "Yay, let's go". How sweet! We love you all, our visitors. Ghanaian hospitality awaits you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiYo4J43_UY


The contestants make the short Virgin Atlantic flight from London (Heathrow) to Accra, a 3100 mile trip. The first images of Accra include the flying flag. 233 reasons to remember the flag! :-D On arrival at the Kotoka Airport, we see them running out - race style. It's interesting seeing them demand taxis at the airport. We don't see any footage of them bargaining the taxi fares (dropping). I guess some taxi drivers got extremely lucky that day. If they had bargained, that skill would have come in handy later in the episode (day).

The first stop is the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum or Kwame Memorial Park. This popular tourist destination is the final resting place of Ghana's founding father and first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Our contestants mention how Ghana is unbelievable and that they "could never imagine this". Obviously, what images of Ghana have they seen on their TVs? Take an educated guess. They also notice how everyone has something on their heads. They ain't problems tho, they are just things. Once they arrive at the Mausolem, they discover clues for the next stop in the race. They are ordered to go to Makola market, to sell sun glasses. These two places are not too far from each other but the sheer number of people on Accra's streets can make getting to each place 'a pain'. It's what we call human traffic. :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl5-qGwoJps


The scenes at Makola market are funny. We have complete strangers in Ghana trying to sell sunglasses to unsuspecting Ghanaians, competing in a 'sea of local vendors'. "Anybody want sunglasses?" Do Makola market sellers shout their wares in English? "OmiGod, this is impossible". They kept on calling their 'selling' shady dealings. There's nothing shady about selling sunglasses in Makola. Fire burn you! The Ghanaians at the Makola market start making fun of these sellers. They were getting a great kick out of this 'experience'. The sellers have to make 15 Ghana cedis before they can progress. Some customers threaten to not give them any money, some ridicule them by asking to buy all the sunglasses, etc. Ghanaians have a sense of humour hehe.

The TAR17 announcer mentions the ingenuity of Ghana and makes reference to the different designs coffins that Ghana has become famous for. These coffins are created to represent the lifestyle of their eventual occupants. Teams must choose a coffin and transport it to a showroom. Instead of this, they can also go to Adom Electricals or Peace Motor Parts (in Teshie), get a TV antenna and tune it for a local resident. Adom in Twi means Grace. Many small stores and business in Ghana are named after religious terms. Ghana is a very very very religious country. Tuning an antenna or carrying a heavy coffin? Your choice.
"Have you ever had an antenna before?" "No". "Glad, I could bring you this service, I should do it with a smile." "Okay" "Cos, that's customer service".
Ghanaians, watch and learn! Some of coffins carried included some designed like a camera, a fish, a piano, etc.

As the racers proceed to the last stop at Kaneshie market, they are greeted with the one thing most Ghanaians in the Diaspora who go back home to Ghana detest the most - traffic. One of the contestants quibs "Traffic is insane, it is bumper to bumper, all the way down". Lol, she must have heard Wande Coal's famous Bumper to Bumper song on the radio or heard the line on Ruff & Smooth's Swagger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvBf5tppx4Y


And then we see the contestants encouraging indiscipline on the roads. You'll figure non-Ghanaians and especially Westerners will respect traffic rules, but when there's money and a race involved, those rules fly out the open car window. Car chase in Ghana lol! One contestant sounds surprised when he says "The taxi drivers ahead of us have just invented a third lane". Welcome to Ghana. :-)

After the Detour challenge and a dizzying cab race, Brook and Claire maintained their early lead and were the first team to arrive at the second pit stop, winning a 10-day trip to Hawaii. At the pit stop, a young Ghanaian lady greets the racers with "Welcome to Accra, Ghana". She holds 'something' on her head the whole time. Pretty beautiful. Beach volleyball players Katie and Rachel come in second, followed by Mike and Kevin. All in all, I thought it was a great advertisement for Ghana. It showed regular people on the streets, interacting with other people. It showed our funny sides as well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sparrow Productions' 6th movie is "6 Hours to Christmas"

Which new actor/actress would debut to Ghanaians in Shirley Frimpong-Manso's latest movie? Damilola Adegbite. Yes, a Nigerian. Actually, the last name is familiar, I may know one of her in-laws. '6 Hours to Christmas' is the latest movie from the Sparrow Productions stable.

'6 Hours to Christmas' will premiere new movie on 29th October,2010 at the Natioanl Theatre. It follows Life and Living it, Scorned, The Perfect Picture, A Sting in a Tale (ASIAT), and Check mate.

What's the worst that could happen 6 Hours to Christmas? It's going to be interesting how Christmas in Ghana is portrayed in the movie. Shirley's movies have tended to show Ghana's middle to upper class and the belief would be that this movie would do the same. We'll see what Sparrow has up their sleeves.

Here's the story/synopsis
It looks like it's going to be a typical 24th December day for suave creative director, Reggie and perhaps a slightly more memorable one as his girlfriend promises him dinner and fireworks before the stroke of midnight.
Things however take an exciting turn for him when his office colleague and the girl he's lusted after for a long time gives him a Christmas present he finds impossible to refuse.
As Reggie's mind goes into overdrive, events unfold into very hilarious and yet bizarre circumstances and it seems a day that started with the promise of Christmas may just end in heartbreak and a gun to Reggie's head.


Watch the trailer here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydhy1TAVNo


The movie will also star Nii Odoi Mensah, Sena Tsikata and a few names I am familiar with Marian Lempogo, Victoria Johnson, Benny Ashun, Charles Cuammy, and Asamani Boateng. Frankly, the movie's trailer didn't do too much for me. I am not too excited about the cast either. No, it's not because Damilola is a Nigerian. It didn't give me that oomph. However, I trust Shirley's work and she hasn't really let me down. So, I'm excited for this movie. I will probably watch this in local theatres this holiday season. Tres exciting! VIM!

Get the Ghanaian movie 'I Sing Of A Well' today!

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll know how much I love the Ghanaian movie 'I sing of A well' (ISOAW). I interviewed the director, Leila Djansi, about it. I went through thick and thin to be able to watch a preview of the movie when it wasn't available anywhere. I then reviewed it, calling it one of the best African movies of all time. Now, it is available for you to buy and watch. At this link, it costs under $5. Get it today!

The movie won multiple awards at the African Movie Academy Awards earlier this year.

In a February 8, 2010 interview with yours truly, Leila Djansi answered "I have no idea yet" to the "When will the movie, ISOAW, be out on DVD or VCD?" question. She then told me it was in the hands of the distributor. The movie is finally able for purchase. It's been a long time coming, but it will be worth it. I will rather have great African movies be premiered, do the rouns at film festivals for a while before they are made available for purchase on DVD or VCD. The entire production for the movie took about 8 months.

We should support good and great African movies. I keep on asking my friends who go home to Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and other places to buy me the latest good movies with the assurance that I'll pay them for the films. Excellent African movies are collectibles. They tell the African story and especially for Africans sojourned in foreign lands, they can render great memories of home. 'I sing of a well' doesn't exactly render those memories since it was set in a time (time of the Mali empire) when most of us were not born. However, it tells a good story and sheds light on our history. It's definitely a movie to own.

Here's the trailer, it's as good as new.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67eVQijlbx4

Monday, October 4, 2010

Helen Paul is the fine girl (naija comedy)

So I learnt a lot about weaves when I recently watched Chris Rock's Good Hair. I had wanted to see the movie in theatres but it was only in a select few. So I watched the movie online. The movie blew me away. My Nigerian friend showed me this clip that blew me away as well. It's about hair and almost as funny as Chris Rock's documentary. I did a little search and found out the lady in this video is a Nigerian comedian called Helen Paul.

Here is the video that's going viral.

The hair video


Good hair blog entry coming soon

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