Monday, March 28, 2011

Nollywood's Blackberry Babes documents the Sub-Saharan African BBM craze

By now you should have heard there is a Blackberry Craze sweeping West Africa. Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is all the rage. BBM is the new sms and guess what, if you have a Blackberry, it's free. BBM and smart phones may spell the death of sms messaging in Africa. Just watch. What better way to document the Blackberry craze than to do a Nollywood movie about it? Yup, get ready for some cultural education. With many laughs to boot. If dull moments do not exist in Ghana, the word dull is a Tagalog word to Nigerians.

I just got a Blackberry for my brother last weekend. With it, he can communicate with his friends for free, at anytime. All he needs is 'data' and BBM. After getting to Ghana last December, I realised I may have faulted in buying an Android phone instead of a Blackberry. I thought hard and long about it, but really went for the Android cos the phone was cooler and it runs on Google technology. Uh huh. Another friend of mine who lives in Boston has been encouraging all her Ghana-based friends to get Blackberries so they can BBM because Stanacard and Kasamore have chopped so much of her money on international phone calls.

You know the biggest and most important reason why you should get a Blackberry if you are in Africa and have many African friends? BBM is the new email. Yes. These days, folks list their emails, phone numbers, Twitter & Facebook info and then their BBM pin. If trends are anything to go by, coupled with news BBM will be opened up to other smart phones, BBM will overtake all these communication modes. Hey, even musicians, brands and companies are listing their BBM pins publicly.

So that's why the movie Blackberry Babes is so important. From the title, you could tell that the movie is about a clique of babes who have Blackberries. If you ain't a part, you are a non-entity. If you can't get your girlfriend a Blackberry, you are useless. If you own a Blackberry, you are more eligible as a bachelor than if you had a 12-pack or a Mercedes Benz or a great education. You think I lie? Watch the movie. Like all mainstream Nollywood movies, they have Part 1 and 2. Note to movie directors, African movies with Parts 1, 2, etc, hardly win awards or get into film festivals.

You can watch the whole thing for free on Youtube. Actually, you watch the whole Blackberry movie series right here on MightyAfrican.blogspot.com. Say Thank you to Google, Youtube and Nollywood Love.

BlackBerry Babes Part 1


BlackBerry Babes Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO78bTNScCY

DR Congo's Viva Riva and Ghana's Sinking Sands win big at Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)

It's an open secret that I pay more attention to African movies that are gunning for awards and film festivals. I did watch Blackberry Babes 1 & 2 recently because I was in an email conversation about the movie and decided to pique my interest. Blackberry Babes probably can't hold a candle to the movies I will be talking about in this blog post. However, if you know about the Blackberry craze sweeping Sub-Saharan Africa, then you should watch it. It's there on Youtube. But this post is really about the 2011 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), fast becoming Africa's Oscars as FESPACO goes through some soul searching.

Viva Riva, a film from the Democratic Republic of Congo (yes, they make films there too and they ain't always about rape) was the big winner at the Africa Movie Academy Awards held last weekend in Bayelsa State. It was directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga. Set in Congo (DRC) and Angola, it tells the story of Riva (played by Patsha Bay) who has ruthless criminals pursuing him in Kinshasa because he has stolen from then. This film brings a new cinematic verve as it illuminates the contradictions, pain, loss, heroism, and hopes of 21st Century Africa. It won 6 awards - Best Supporting Actress (Marlene Longage), Best Supporting Actor (Hoji Fortuna), Best Director, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, & Best Film.

My friend Leila Djansi was not left out. Sinking Sands picked up awards for Best Actress for her role in the movie. This was a first major acting role. What a way to join the movie industry! Sinking Sands is a movie about a marriage gone sour and touches on domestic abuse. The South African movie, Hopeville, which features my future wife, Terry Pheto, also won. Her cast mate, Themba Ndaba, won Best Actor. Hopeville tells the story of Amos, who ends up restoring the swimming pool in the dusty town of Hopeville, inspiring others to take action and to do what they know is right.

Full list of nominees

FULL LIST OF THE AMAA 2011 WINNERS - Info from GhanaCelebrities
Best Short Film:
Dina – Mickey Fonseca (Mozambique)

Best Short Documentary: After The Mine – Diendo Hamadi & Dinta Wa Lusula (DRC)

Best Documentary: Kondi Et Le Jeudi Nationale – Ariana Astrid Atodji (Cameroun)

Best Diaspora Feature: Suicide Dolls – Keith Shaw (USA)

Best Diaspora Documentary: Stubborn As A Mule – Miller Bargeron Jr & Arcelous Deiels (USA)

Best Diaspora Short Film: Precipice – Julius Amedume (UK)

Best Film For African Abroad: In America: The Story Of The Soul Sisters- Rahman Oladigbolu (Nigeria/USA)

Best Achievement In Sound: Shirley Adams (South Africa)

Best Achievement In Editing: Soul Boy (Kenya)

Best Production Design: Viva Riva (Congo)

Best Achievement In Makeup: Sinking Sands (Ghana)

Best Costume Design: Aramotu (Nigeria)

Best Nigeria Film: Aramotu by Niji Akanni

Best Child Actor: Sobahle Mkhabase (Thembi), Tschepang Mohlomi (Chili-Bite) And Sibonelo Malinga (Khwezi) – Izulu Lami (South Africa)

Best Soundtrack: Inale (Nigeria)

Best Actor In Supporting Role: Hoji Fortuna from Viva Riva (Congo)

Best Actress In Supporting Role: Marlene Longage- Viva Riva (Congo)

Best Visual Effects: A Small Town Called Descent (South Africa)

Best Young Actor: Edward Kagutuzi – Mirror Boy

Best Actress In Leading Role: Ama K. Abebrese In Sinking Sands (Ghana)

Best Actor In Leading Role: Themba Ndaba – Hopeville (South Africa)

Best Cinematography: Viva Riva (Congo)

Best Screenplay: Sinking Sands (Ghana)

Best Film In African Language: Izulu Lami – Madoda Ncayiyana (South Africa)

Jury Special Award: Shirley Adams (South Africa)

Best Director: Viva Riva – Djo Tunda Wa Munga (Congo)

Best Film: Viva Riva – Djo Tunda Wa Munga (Congo)

Just a regular newsletter from the African Leadership Academy @ALAcademy

Received the latest newsletter from the African Leadership Academy and it was full of news that made me shout #vim!. I started tweeting some of them and then I was like ermm, I need a link to share all of it. Was finding trouble finding some so decided to create a link. Going to find a link for you to subscribe to their newsletter so you hear the next round of news at the same time I do. :-)

Preparing Leaders for Changing Times ~ March 2011
In This Issue
Announcing the Anzisha Prize
ALA Students Learn from Global Luminaries
ALA Alumni Invited to World Economic and Skoll Forums
ALA Students Give Bono Hope
Record Number of Applications for Admission
Global Scholars Program Launches in July
Support Africa's Future
Quick Links
ALA Website

LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS


Dear Friend,

The past several months have served as a powerful reminder of the importance of leadership on the African continent. The year began with a crisis of leadership in Ivory Coast that remains unresolved, and a referendum that will soon create a newly independent state in South Sudan. In the weeks since, the world has watched Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya struggle to define their future.

Our mission at ALA is as urgent as ever. The 21st century will be won by ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who work together - across ethnic groups, nations, and sectors - to power Africa's prosperity. Witnessing the conversations among young leaders on our campus about the events unfolding in their home countries gives us hope and confidence that the future will be bright indeed.

The events of the past few months have reminded us of the importance of developing leaders who are able to collaborate and operate on the global stage. This week, ALA students and alumni are joining other groups of young leaders from around the world to discuss environmental issues in the Bahamas and health care in the USA. Others are on student exchanges in Boston and San Francisco, or preparing for the TiltShift Symposium in Singapore. Our alumni are being brought to events like the World Economic Forum on Africa and the Skoll Forum. And in the articles below, you will learn about some of the global leaders who have shared their experiences on our campus this term - from a preeminent scientist, to an award-winning central banker, to a leading human rights activist.

And as we grow and develop, we must also find avenues that extend our impact beyond those few young leaders who find a place on our campus. This year, for example, almost 3,000 worthy applicants are competing for only about 100 slots in our fourth class. To help recognize, promote, and encourage positive change throughout the continent, we are thrilled to announce, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, the Anzisha Prize: a new award that will celebrate young entrepreneurial leaders who are creating change in their African communities and the continent at large. We hope you will read more about this exciting initiative below, and spread the word!

With gratitude and enthusiasm for the future,

Fred Swaniker, Chris Bradford, Peter Mombaur, and Acha Leke
Founders, African Leadership Academy
Announcing the Anzisha Prize

Anzisha Prize Logo


African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation are proud to announce the Anzisha Prize, the premier award for Africa's young entrepreneurial leaders.

This annual Prize - the first of its kind for youth in Africa - seeks to celebrate young innovators, ages 15-20, who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to challenges facing their communities. $70,000 USD in Prize money will be awarded to Prize winners from across Africa, and ALA will collaborate with its vast network of partners across Africa to help identify young leaders whose passion for Africa drives them to design and develop innovative projects that transform their communities and continent.

Anzisha Prize applications are available at www.anzishaprize.org. Both for-profit and non-profit efforts are eligible for the Anzisha Prize, and applicants will be judged on the impact, ingenuity, and scalability of their entrepreneurial efforts. Click here to download the complete press release from African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation announcing this exciting initiative!
ALA Students Learn from Global Luminaries
The past term saw global leaders in a wide range of fields share their wisdom with the young leaders on our campus:

Senusi Lamido SenusiSanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, dropped in on the Academy. Sanusi, who was on his way to London to receive the 'Global Central Bank Governor of the Year 2011' award
from The Banker magazine, came to ALA to discuss ethical leadership and the responsibility of making hard choices in difficult times. Mr Sanusi has been widely lauded for following through on tough decisions - including jailing corrupt bankers - despite threats to his life. (Read more here)

Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, spent an afternoon at ALA with his Foundation. Five ALA students worked with the Foundation's members on various plans, strategies, and objectives. (Read more here)

Dr Francis CollinsDr Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project, and current head of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) spoke to our students on issues ranging from ethical science to privacy, scientific rivalries and the need to reach for things just outside your grasp. (Read more here)

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, spoke at our weekly assembly about the hurdles of a start-up, and about the commitment and expectations needed to make your venture come to life. A powerful role model for our social entrepreneurs, Ms. Kopp reminded us that the 'idea' is the easiest part of bringing a dream to life - it is execution and commitment that make a dream become reality.

Wu Qing, a widely regarded champion of human rights in the People's Democratic Republic of China, paid multiple visits to ALA over the course of a week, leading seminars and workshops. Wu's advocacy of government transparency and citizen involvement found a receptive audience at the Academy.
ALA Alumni Invited to World Economic
Forum and Skoll Forum
ALA alumni are already having a powerful impact across the continent, and their contributions have not gone unrecognized. Three ALA alumni who chose to spend a year hard at work between ALA and university have been invited to share their perspectives at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town and the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford.

Joseph Munyambanza founded COBURWAS, an organization dedicated to improving life in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp in Uganda, as a youth. During his time at ALA, Joseph led an effort to finance construction of a primary school to serve the young people in the camp and a secondary school scholarship program. He has since added other social services aimed at bettering the lives of his refugee community. Joseph has been invited to the World Economic Forum on Africa, to be held in early May in Cape Town.

Julius Shirima founded DARECHA during the summer between his first and second years at ALA, with the goal of stimulating entrepreneurship in his native Tanzania. Julius has taken his summer project and turned it into a full-time venture, helping locals create businesses and jobs at what could be considered the micro-finance level. Julius will also attend the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Tabitha Tongoi has spent the year working for TEDxKibera, and has been invited to the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, at Oxford University, where she will participate in a panel discussion entitled "From Poverty to Prosperity: Engaging the Next Generation." Before ALA, Tabitha started a program that saw over 6,000 textbooks distributed to some of the poorest schools in Kenya. With TEDxKibera she has helped bring a TED conference, with all of its educational benefits and public awareness, to the largest informal settlement in her home country.
ALA Students Give Bono Hope

Hind Ourahou

ONE, an organization created by U2 front man Bono, invited ALA to participate in their inaugural African symposium in February. Two ALA students, Edwin Warsanga and Hind Ourahou, spoke at the event and impressed organizers and media alike. Bono singled out Hind's speech in his closing remarks, and the next day, he referred to our students again on local radio, saying, "I think these next generations have big challenges but I think they are up to it. They are taking it (a leading role in defining Africa's future) ... I've never felt so good to feel so useless." The Mail & Guardian called the ALA students the highlight of the event. (Read more here, including full transcripts of Edwin and Hind's speeches)
Record Number of Applications for Admission
With only the South Africa and Zimbabwe application deadlines still pending, ALA has already seen a record number of applications this year. Almost 3,000 young leaders have applied to ALA, including first-time applicants from Madagascar, Sao Tome & Principe, and Libya. Compare this to last year's 2,200 applications, and the inaugural year's 1,700 applications. The deadline for applications from South Africa is May 31, and from Zimbabwe is April 30, 2011. Applications can be downloaded here.
ALA Launches Summer Global Scholars Program

GSP

In its effort to offer life-changing leadership development opportunities to more young leaders, ALA is launching the Global Scholars Program this July and August. The Global Scholars Program is a 3-week intensive "summer program" that will bring together a select group of ALA students and other young leaders from across Africa and around the world. Global Scholars will experience ALA's unique programs in leadership and entrepreneurship: they will discover how to transform passion and vision into deliberate action; explore leadership in practice at some of Africa's most impactful social ventures; and lead an initiative designed to help a community in need.

The inaugural session of the GSP will run from July 17 to August 5, 2011. More information, including application forms, can be found here. If you have a child or know of a young leader between the ages of 14 and 18 who would benefit from this leadership development opportunity during their term break, please refer them to this exciting new program!

And should you know someone interested in spending a longer period of time at ALA, we are now accepting applications for our next cohort of gap year and term abroad students! Interested students and parents may learn more at www.alagapyear.org.
Support Africa's Future
With your help, African Leadership Academy will continue to develop thousands of leaders for Africa over the next 50 years - and in the process, will change the face of the continent.

As always, there are many ways that you can get involved with our work:
· donate
· refer a guest speaker
· offer a young leader an internship
· join or help launch an ALA chapter
· or nominate a student

In any and every way, your support can - and does - make a difference for ALA and the future of Africa.
...developing the next generation of African leaders

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The future is here! More vim to the young African leaders and change makers out there!

After a recent discussion with @MacJordan and Henry of @disterics, I started thinking about Africa's shining stars and the young African change makers and real leaders. I have featured some on my blog and in due time, more shall be blogged about. I can say a whole lot in this blog post but I'll allow Nigeria's Ty Bello to sing my thoughts to you.

Listen to 'The Future' by Ty Bello. Props to CPAfrica.com and Museke.com for the info.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUtSmvldkZ4


Lyrics below
We are the Future, we are the dream
We are the nation, we are part of this
Yes we are so amazing, that’s the least we shall be
At the heart of the nation changing history

How can they say that we are finished, we have just begun
When we have nowhere else to run to, when we have nowhere else to go
So get out of the way, out of the way of the land of our dreams
We are the nation, we are part of this
We are the nation, we are part of this

(Chorus) Carry the song, carry the sound
The future is here, the future is here
Goodbye yesterday, tomorrow is now for the taking
The future is here, the future is here

I am the future, I am the dream
I am the nation, I am part of this
Yes I am so amazing, that is the least I shall be
At the heart of the nation, changing history
How can they say that we are finished, we have just begun
When we have nowhere else to run to, when we have nowhere else to go
So get out of the way, out of the way of the land of my dreams
I am the nation, I am part of this
So get out of the way, out of the way of the land of my dreams
I am the nation, I am part of this

(Chorus) Carry the song, carry the sound
The future is here, the future is here
Goodbye yesterday, tomorrow is now for the taking
The future is here, the future is here

Raise your hand in the air if you believe the future has come now
The future is here, the future is here
This is our, this is our…
This is our country
The future is here, the future is here

The future, the future has…
The future has come…

© Ty Bello


Now, I can go to bed happy! More #vim!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Disability is not inability - the inspiration that is Farida Bedwei

I first heard about Farida Bedwei when Edward Tagoe emailed our Barcamp team asking for her contacts and encouraging us to bring her to Barcamp Ghana 2010 at Ashesi. This is the news story he read. It was about the inspiring story of Farida Bedwei, overcoming the challenges of having cerebral palsy to become one of the top software engineers in Ghana and writing her own book 'Definition of a Miracle'. Cerebral palsy refers to a family of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement, posture and muscle coordination.

Speaking on Joy FM’s religious programme A Walk with Jesus, Farida said she has never allowed her disability to limit her ability. “All my life I’ve been told by my mom to remove the word ‘I can’t’ from my vocabulary and replace it with ‘I’ll try’ and so whatever I’ve done my entire life, I’ve tried and by the grace of God everything that I’ve tried, I’ve been successful at,” she said.


Farida entered mainstream school for the first time when she was 12 years old. While at Barcamp Ghana during a breakout session organized by Charles Odonkor who's at Yale Medical School, I was able to learn more about Farida. She was a participant in the session on brain power called “Declaring the decade of the brain”. She talked about how her mother did not let her condition become a limiting factor and took the time and pains to research how she could get her daughter to achieve every single dream she had. Who knows how Farida would have turned out if her mother hadn't pushed her to be special? If she hadn't forced ideas of "vim" into her head when she may not have had the "capa"?

We see a lot of disabled people in Ghana, as well as folks with mental problems. Too often, we write them off as 'mad' and don't give them the necessary care so that they can still make the best out of their situations. Disability is not inability. Farida's mother knew that. In the breakout session, we discussed how we tend to think that 'mad' people or folks with mental disorders should be prayed for so demons will cast out. These people need medical help and emotional support. Look at the stigma attached to Pantang and other psychiatric hospitals. I am so happy we have people like Farida Bedwei who can help us destroy some of these stereotypes we have of disabled people and how they can also be great achievers.

Farida recently launched her first book 'Definition of a Miracle'. She obviously is a big believer like we are in Africans telling our own stories by saying "most books about Africa are written by people who are not Africans and they give a wrong perception of this part of the world". Edward interviewed her about the book on his blog, honouring her on International Women's Day.

Edward: What is your book about and what motivated you to write it?
Farida: The book is about contemporary Ghanaian society through the eyes of a disabled little girl. I wrote this book to change perceptions; perceptions about those of us in Ghana, Africa and other third world developing countries and, perceptions about persons with disabilities. We are much more than AIDS, Child-Soldiers, Hunger and Corruption and it is about time we made this known to all. It is time we told our own stories and changed the image the rest of the world has of our beautiful continent.

There are many who equate physical disabilities with mental disabilities, and mental disabilities with lack of intelligence. Both perceptions are wrong and must be erased from the mindset of society. I always say the reason people with physical disabilities are treated differently is because majority rules. If we were the majority, the able-bodied folks would be the ‘disabled’ ones because the world would be engineered to fit our needs instead of yours.
Farida works with G-Life Financial Services. Read a review of the book on Myweku.com. Buy the book on Amazon. Stay up to date on the book and all things Farida Bedwei through her Facebook page. She is well on her way to be honoured like the many great Ghanaian women who were honoured recently as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Google launches tech incubator called Umbono in South Africa

I love incubators and the many other programs out there geared towards launching small to medium scale enterprises. There are bunch in Africa, including the MEST incubator I've blogged about and the BusyLabs one I will blog about at some point. They are both in Accra. Saw info about Google launching a Tech incubator in South Africa called Umbono. Learn more about at this website.

Their website says ---

Have a great tech idea?

The Umbono program will help transform your vision into a business. Your idea – probably web or mobile deployed – is exciting on many levels: for your future users, potential investors, and for the people on your team building it.

  • Funding

    Funding

    $25k to $50k seed capital, so that your team can focus on developing your idea.
  • Space

    Space

    Free collaborative work space and bandwidth in Cape Town.
  • Business 101

    Business 101

    A full curriculum to help with business strategy and planning. You decide which skills you'd like to hone.
  • Mentor Base

    Mentor Base

    Our deep bench of mentors includes Googlers, VCs, and Angels. Tap into business and product development expertise unlike any other.
  • Visibility

    Visibility

    Our networking and pitch events will provide you with a platform for growth.

Some African movies I still want to see

I have become a big fan of African cinema - well, not all the movies, but the really good ones. I have bought a bunch of Ghanaian and South African movies in the last couple of years. You can also search for many African movies at the Fienipa site.

Here are some others I wanna buy and watch.

Movie: Africa United
Country: Rwanda

Movie: Figurine
Country: South Africa

Movie: From a Whisper
Country: Kenya

Togetherness Supreme
Country: Kenya

Seasons of a Life
Country: Malawi

Teza
Country: Ethiopia

Movie: Rwanda, Le Jour Où Dieu est Parti en Voyage (Rwanda, the Day God Went on a Trip)
Country: Rwanda

Movie: Beat the drum
Country: South Africa

Movie: Mafrika
Country: South Africa/Netherlands

Movie: Relentless
Country: Nigeria


Friday, March 18, 2011

Vodafone Ghana says "Power to you"

So the last time I was in Ghana, I succeeded in not using an MTN chip. Good riddance. With number portability coming to GH this summer, perfect timing. I switched to Vodafone. I won't lie. I chose Vodafone for two reasons. 1: They sponsored Barcamp Ghana. 2: They bought Ghana Telecom and my mother used Vodafone too. I enjoyed their services for the most part and moving forward, I think I'll be sticking with them. Besides, their marketing tagline is 'Power to You'. Doesn't that shout VIM to you?

I was encouraged by how Vodafone was marketing itself while I was in Ghana. It seemed they had realised they needed to push the envelope with reaching the Blackberry and texting-crazy Ghanaian youth in order to increase their market share. I saw a friend get a Vodafone Blackberry phone locally for an affordable price. By the way, have you seen their new ultra modern headquarters located in Airport City?

See some ads - Power to You
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g-ZgmJxDbY


Whispers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xEVSSeULww


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DY1clgXqBE


For some weird reason, my Dell computer would not turn on when I got to Accra last December, and neither would it work in Kumasi either. Since I had gotten an Android phone, seemed like I was going to stuck on the mobile web. Stuck on it I was. A lot of my expenditure while I'm in Ghana goes towards communication and transportation. Thank heavens. Nah, I ain't spending my money at Citizen Kofi, Rhapsody's and Frankie's. I routinely spent over 40 GhC, approx $26 on phone card units each week. I browsed a whole lot and made many calls on this amount and felt I was getting my money's worth. The internet speed was bearable and I wasn't worried about the 'units' getting finished. Now this is a marked departure from my experience with AT&T's internet. In fact, I hardly use AT&T wi-fi on my phone, thank goodness I have free wireless in most places I find myself.

This is no promotion for Vodafone's service. But "power to you" does sound like "vim" to me. So, go Vodafone, go.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Google and Ghana is a match-made in vim-heaven

Hopefully, you know this already, but Google is doing stuff in Ghana. Last year, they organized their first conference there called G-Ghana. If you missed it, not to worry, I blogged about it. Click here. I wasn't even there, but with Twitter and hashtags like #gghana, who said I needed to be? 2011's G-Ghana is coming up soon. Before I give you details, let me give you a few reasons why you should attend it.

At least you know that there is www.google.com.gh. Yeap, Google's Ghana version. Tired of Ghanaweb? Try out http://news.google.com.gh. Google's Ghana homepage also offers search in Twi, Ewe, Ga and Hausa. And on March 6th, it celebrated Ghana's 54th by adorning the google.com doodle in Kente



Looking for directions from Auntie Muni Waakye in Labone to Katawodieso in Osu because the former run out of waakye? Map it in Google. I be fienipa like that, I dey love nududu.

For those in Ghana who use GMAIL, you can use it to text messages to local phone numbers in Ghana. A friend who lives in Accra told me he hardly sends text messages anymore because he can just gchat with all those in Ghana he wants to text. Yes boss! 233Tech, one of the best Tech sites in Ghana, will tell you all about this awesome move by Google Ghana.

Baraza, which means ‘taskforce’ or ‘council’ in Swahili, is a question and answer service that will also be integrated into search results on Google Search. 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. Access it through www.google.com.gh/baraza. More info here

Google Trader launched in Ghana on Thursday December 2nd, 2010 with 5 flash mobs of 100 dancers performing across Accra. Google Trader is a classifieds service that allows people to buy and sell products and services, on Web, Mobile Web and SMS. Have you seen the flash mobs video? One of the best made-in-Ghana videos on Youtube. Google goes hard and local.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUtsguaGjbY

Read this post about it by one of Ghana's best bloggers, Maameous.
Sebi you want buy, abi you want sell eh? Google Trader!

And then of course, they've been sponsorsing Barcamps and many forward-thinking events in Ghana. Google, we salute you. More VIM!

Oh wait, yea, G-Ghana. Them say Edey happen April 28-29 at Alisa Hotel. Them say register for http://sitescontent.google.com/gghana2011/. Them also say
We at Google are excited to meet with Ghana's software developers, tech businesses and digital marketeers. With a successful G-Ghana 2010, we look forward to demonstrating the Google web and mobile tools that are driving technological and business innovation here in Africa and across the globe.

TransTales animates African characters and tales

Info about this arrived in my Facebook inbox and I said 'vim!'. TransTales Entertainment is a company devoted to telling great and interesting stories using inspiring visuals. Check them out at http://transtales.com/ Think of them as bringing African tales, or tales with African characters to life with animation.

Read a press release about Trans Tales from where else "Africagoodnews.com"

An African film company is gaining global attention by producing award-winning 3D animation titles made from an African perspective. TransTales Entertainment was started in 2005 on a budget of less than 5 000 dollars by Segun Williams and Obinna Onwuekwe, and is the first film company to produce African themed 3D animation films to fill the void in animation with myriads of authentic African stories.

The titles produced by TransTales are widely acclaimed by industry experts and the animated series "Mark of Uru" recently won the United Nations World Summit Award for the use of technology to promote African culture. According to the UN World Summit Awards website, "Mark of Uru" is an exciting web-based animation series combining digital expertise with local folk story, imagery and culture.

"Mark of Uru" is written and directed by Obinna Owuekwe and produced by Segun Williams. Owuekwe also lends his voice to two of the characters: The Warrior and Isi Agu. The costumes and makeup are authentically African and the series has a woman empowerment theme embedded in it. The voices also feature varied accents, mostly Igbo and Efik from West Africa.


Teaser for Mark of Uru
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdNAJvQSyTc


Business and Pleasure Teaser
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7BdXeiOJiY

Enemy of Rising Sun Teaser
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e-J8px0htc

Buy African Tales at Amazon.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First ever Ghana Women of Excellence Awards 2011

While busily following proceedings of a Champions League match in which Barcelona ended Arsenal's interest, a friend on Twitter @nnenna was at the Accra International Conference Center for Ghana Women of Excellence Awards on the occasion of the International Women's day. This first edition was a major success. Through her tweets, several of them which I retweeted @Abocco - I present you the awardees of the First ever Ghana Women of ExcellenceAwards.

From the Facebook event - In Ghana, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs has mandated that the Day should be commemorated with the Ghana Women of Excellence Awards Scheme. The theme for the Awards Scheme is “Empowering the Ghanaian Woman for National Development”, the primary objective of the Scheme is “to motivate Ghanaian women to strive for excellence in their various walks of life ...and to take their rightful places in the national development process”. The Awards Scheme will form part of the celebration in Ghana of International Women's Day.


Mrs Sohne, the mother of late Guido Sohne, attended the event along with the High Commissioner of Zimbabwe (a lady), and Indian Ambassador. It is in her honour that FOSSFA awards the Guido Sohne Fellowship. Nnenna is a FOSSFA member. The ceremony started with a prayer by a Lady reverend at 8pm. She began with "This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it". Nnenna commented "Ghana begins everything with prayer". Reverend Amah Blay didn't mince words, sticking with the issue at hand by saying "Christ first liberated the woman". The Chair of the occasion was a man though - Hon Sampson Ahi, Chair of Parliament Committee on Gender and Children's Affairs. Top Brass Ghana (Isaac Darkwah & co) organised this for the Ministry of Women and Children's affairs. As per many of these events, a African traditional group performed wonderful traditional drumming and dancing- they're based at the Arts Centre. The event was graced by the First lady, Her Excellency Ernestina Naadu Mills.

As the first awardee was unable to come in person, the Minister of Women's and Children's Affairs, Honourable Juliana Azumah-Mensah proceeded to give her official speech. In Ghana, the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, and the Speaker of the House are all women. The First Lady paid homage to great women who have contributed in nation building. On behalf of members of FOSSFA, Nnenna cngratulated Dorothy Gordon, the first and only Ghanaian lady to be honored in ICT and added "Open Source tops is all". She added Trail blazing is not easy. Congratulations. See Dorothy below holding her award.



Elizabeth Adjei is the first Ghana Immigration Service chief. A group of Ghana Immigration Service accompanied their boss. Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie was the first lady President of the Ghana Journalists Association. Lady journalists are upstanding while her citation was read. Professor Ama Atta-Aidoo is one of the earliest playwrights in Ghana and was honoured for culture and Literature. She is a playwright, dramaturge, poet, and professor. She wrote "The Girl who Can", amongst other books.

Josephine Amoah and Dr Mrs Stephanie Ansah were honoured in Insurance & Banking respectively. Grace Aryee is the only woman to be on the board of the Chamber of Mines in Africa. She is also very involved in ministry, routinely writing articles and pieces about it in Ghana's newspapers. Many of the women honored have strong society engagements and most have some form of Christian Ministry. Dr Joyce Asibey was the first female to sit for Cambridge Higher School Certificate Exam in West Africa and was honoured in Education. Dinah Ameley Ayensu, who also attended Wesley Girls High School, was honoured in Tourism. Wey Gey Hey, like it's affectionately called, has produced many important women in Ghana. Dinah started Fredina Tours, wrote an African cookbook and put Ghana tourism on the world map.

Charlotte Erekaar Azurago, the youngest awardee, is one of the best teachers in Ghana. Dr Grace Bediako is Ghana's Chief Statistician. Very Reverend Ama Afo Blay was the first female to be appointed Director General of the Ghana Education Service and doubles as Chair of Ghana Women for Peace. Anna Bossman, Deputy Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) was honoured in Law and Order. Carlien Dorcas Bou-Chedid is one of the finest structural engineers in Ghana, as well as a software developer. Dr Eunice Brookman-Amissah, an Achimota School alum, was honoured in Health.

Mary Chinery-Heese was the first woman to head the UN ILO. Florence Abena Dolphyne, the original face of the National Science and Maths Quiz for secondary schools in Ghana, received an award in Education. She is Ghana's first female to have held almost all positions in university education. Elizabeth Dugble was honoured in Insurance. Efua Frimpomaa, who is still farming at 81!, was honoured in Agriculture. Nnenna added Farmers will never go out of style! Go mama!

Rose Aba Hart is Ghana's greatest all-round female athlete, winning many international medals and can still run at almost 70! The La Mantse, traditional ruler of the La area of Accra, conferred many awards. Nnenna tweeted "The greatest number of awards have been given to women in the domain of education. I am happy about that". Veronica Ayikwei Kofie received an award for contributing to the Labour Union development in Ghana. "Human Rights activist to the bone!". Judge Akua Kuenyehia is being honored for her role in Law and Order. She was represented by her children. Helena Lokko is one of Ghana's most foremost bankers.

From a couple of Nnenna's tweets, it seemed most of the women attended Aburi Girls, Wesley Girls, Achimota Girls, as well as Holy Child School, my mother's Alma Mater. Bepow so hann! Presec's sister/wife school is as great as Presec itself. :-) Gey Hey alum, Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, is Ghana's High Commissioner in Sierra Leone and was honoured in Law and Order. The first Ghanaian Zoologist, Dr Letitia Eva Takyibea Obeng, born in 1925, was honoured too. She is on a postage stamp! "Now, that is tres cool".

The only female Vice Chancellor (University of Cape Coast) in Ghana, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was honoured in education. Theresa Oppong-Berko of Manet was honoured. She built the house Nnenna lives in in Ghana. My friend, Sophia Ashiokai Quashie-Sam, the only female University Registrar (KNUST), was honoured for education. A lifelong learner, Augustine Quashigah, has been in business for almost 50 years. She dedicated her award to all grassroots traders. The first Ghanaian woman to qualify as a Computer Programmer and founder of Camelot, Elizabeth Joyce Villars, was honoured too. A foremost Architect, Theresa Afua Yankah, received an award too. That brought the awardees to 33 done. The last but not certainly not the least awardee was ..... "21-gun salute!" ... the first lady to achieve full Colonel rank in the Ghana military - The Rtd Colonel Faustina Cecilia Yeboah!

The full list of awardees were: Elizabeth Adjei - National Security. Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie - Media. Ama Ata Aidoo - Literature. Josephine Jennifer Amoah - Insurance. Stephanie Baeta Ansah - Banking. Rosalind Aryee - Mining. Joyce Assibey - Education. Dinah Naa Ayensu - Tourism. Florence Abena Dolphyne - Education. Elizabeth Dugble - Insurance. Matilda Esi - Land. Eunice Brookman Amissah - Health. Mary Chinery-Heese - Public/International Service. Ama Afo Blay - Education. Anna Bossman - Law and Order. Carlien Chedid - Building. Charlotte Erekaar Azurago - Education. Grace Afua Bediako - Statistics.

Others were: Elizabeth Mills-Robertson - Law and Order. Letitia Takyibea Oben - Science + Tech. Veronica Ayikwei Kofie - Labour. Akua Kuenyehia - Law and Order. Helen Lokko - Banking. Efua Frompomaa - Agriculture. Dorothy Gordon - ICT. Rose Aba Hart - Sports. Melanie Kasise - Tourism. Jane Opoku-Agyemang - Education. Theresa Oppong-Beeko - Estate development. Sophia Ashiokai Quarshie-Sam - Education. Augustine Quashigah - Commerce. Joyce Villars - Manufacturing. Theresa A Yankah - Building. Faustina Cecilia Yeboah - Health.

Nnenna also tweeted during the ceremony :-) OMG, Arsenal is getting a lashing... no wonder I am no longer being personally updated. Aie aie aie. Guess she had an interest in the football game like we did. We didn't need her to be updated, we needed her to share the spectacular news coming out of the Accra International Conference Centre. Now waiting for the Ghanaian and international media to follow Nnenna's lead. Check out pictures from the event

Kudos to all these women and more #VIM to all Ghanaian women excelling everywhere! Major shoutouts to Estelle Sowah (Country Director of Google Ghana), Leila Djansi (movie director), and Farida Bedwei, who my friend @ttaaggooee blogged about today.

Celebrating Internatonal women's day with some African music (Museke) #internationalwomensday

Today is International Women's Day. Happy Women's Day! Last year, I blogged about this too. Check it out here - I had a lot to say. This year, I am going to do something different. I am going to share some good and great African songs about women. The music says a lot of what I, and hopefully many people want to say to African women and women all over.

Ghana's Becca recently released her newest music video and it celebrates the African woman. Only one word describes the video and song. "And every time I look at my mama, I see that woman". We can't talk about women without mentioning our mothers and how awesome they are. I love how she pays tribute to the late Miriam Makeba.

Watch the music video here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FY1N68qPmc

"I am a strong woman (strong woman); Bold woman; I am a wise woman; Ima let everybody get to know that". 3 Black Ladies from Uganda (Blu3) sing about strong women. Mya, Lilian and Jackie are successful women in the music industry and empowered women and this song should empower women too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5N00Wz1Vs8

Zambia's Judy also sings about women in Supernatural. "I'm a super woman; I'm a super natural woman; I'm a super African woman; I'm a super Zambian woman"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldk72v_VHvA

Nigeria's Kefee Obareki celebrates the African woman too. She even thanks the man too :-) "Mama, this song is for you; Papa, this song is for you too; Even though we didn't have much; You still gave my life a special touch; You made me learn how to sing; And now I'm gonna let your praises ring"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b_u3lxZiwo

This song came out a while ago but still rings true today. Ghana's Chemphe asks why you dey treat am bad? There are many cases of domestic violence and Chemphe's song waged a campaign against it. "If you saw your grand daddy doing it; If you saw your daddy doing it; You don’t have to repeat the same".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bxQeMTVSGM

Nigeria's Obiwon sings about a Nigerian girl. "Love the sound of your name; Exotic African gorgeous untamed yeah; And when I look at your frame; So beautiful life’s painting; I respect you from the heart; My treasure, wonderfully made; Heaven’s priceless work of art".

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

Where the Liberian girls @? Jody sings about a girl from Liberia. "I've been thinkin 'bout you; So I wrote this song to let you know; You're my Liberian queen; I've been thinkin 'bout you; So I wrote this song for you my Liberian girl"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6crmyKBrwg

Uganda's Mega Dee sings about a Ugandan woman. "Ugandan woman, you are the African mama; Oh Uganda, oh Uganda, this is the land of beauties in the world; You are the Nile like the Pearl of Africa; Mama, you are so inspirational"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MCzVpF79lE

"And you are my African Queen, the girl of my dreams; You take me where I've never been; You make my heart go ting-a-ling-a-ling, oh ahh; You are my African Queen, the girl of my dreams; And you remind me of a thing; And that is the African beauty yeah;
Yeah, oooh, you are my African queen; Oh Lord, ooh Lord hmm"
Timeless song by Tuface.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaSzkq4BlH8

I wasn't a little unsure if I should have added Lady by Fela Kuti. Let's deliberate on these lyrics though. "If you call a woman; African woman no go 'gree; She go say; She go say "I be lady o". The African woman is a lady. So says Fela. I'm sure you can find the song somewhere :-)

I also wrote this blog entry - 10 songs dedicated to African women . Are there any other splendid songs about women by African musicians? Please share them with us.

I will end the same way I ended last year's post.
In fact, when you think about some of the reasons behind IWD, it's a little tough to go around saying Happy Women's Day. We must start doing our little contributions to stop the injustices that women and girls face all around the world and encourage the celebration of more achievements. But when you think about women do well, and how they make our families tick, our communities build, our societies flourish and our world prosper, we must join in a single voice and chorus, "Happy Women's Day".


"Happy Women's Day".

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ghana's 54th birthday weekend - #6thMarch

Ghana's 54th birthday happened this past weekend. As expected, it didn't have as much fanfare as four years ago. President Atta Mills gave a speech. The nation's teachers threatened to remove any single spines of any celebrations. Ghanaians all over the world found an excuse to party. Folks wore Ghanaian colours when they normally wouldn't. Others learnt how to recite the Ghanaian pledge and sing the national anthem again. Many things happened. How did I spend/celebrate/reflect upon the 54th anniversary of Ghana's independence's weekend? Let's find out.

I woke up late on 6th March, Sunday, to watch my team, Manchester United, versus Liverpool. I was over 30 minutes late and I was greeted with the punishment of a two goal deficit. Ah, if I had woken up early! Like all of Red Devil nation, we all believed MANUtd will make a comeback but it was not meant to be. So I congratulated Liverpool on their win and because the heavens were impressed with my honesty/humility/objectivity, they blessed me with a Top Tweet on Twitter. No lie. Read about the whole story here. Later on, I watched the Miami Heat lose yet another big game to the Chicago Bulls courtesy of our Sudanese friend, Luol Deng. Later in the day, the Lakers arrived at the Alamodome and this time the Spurs watched them play basketball as the latter's 22 game home winning streak was snapped.

A friend texted me asking about Ghanaian churches in Oakland. I had just been to the Lighthouse Chapel International local branch the weekend before and I should have really gone to a Ghanaian church this Independence day. Hadn't thought about it :-( I told these sisters about LCI and the Church of Pentecost in Oakland and how they differed and left them to make a choice. A friend of a friend happened to be stranded at Stanford bcos her move wouldn't start. I tried to get her some help but Sunday morning just wasn't a good time. She ended up getting a tow truck to bail her out.

A friend, Koby Maxwell, was in town premiering a movie he produced called 'Paparazzi - Eye in the Dark'. I interviewed him about it here and publicized it here. I was extremely excited to finally see the movie in San Jose Sunday night. The movie features "Ghanaian actor and fine boy" Van Vicker who was going to make the movie a lot of money and make sure many young 'insert adjective of your pleasing here' African women came to the premieres. I arrived there to see a near-empty screening room, a sullen look on Koby Maxwell's face and Van Vicker marked absent. I convinced Koby Maxwell to wait till 8pm and show the movie bcos I wasn't going to come all the way to San Jose and watch half of a movie I really wanted to watch and was willing/going to pay $20 for.

I realised that there were a lot of Africans next door so I decided to go scope what was going on. Citizen journalism, I tell you. There were many Africans - young and old - dressed in African attires - having a jolly good time, eating, chatting, dancing, taking pictures. It was a party and no one was charging money. Ah, free food, I shouted in my mind. Before I joined the food line, I tried to see if I knew anyone at this event I was not invited to. I couldn't find a single soul I knew. Finally, I saw my friend Dzifa who told me this event was a Sierra Leonian outdooring party. And then I thought, I hardly know any Sierra Leonians in the Bay Area. I know three; Dzifa's wife, one girl I met who I sold a ticket to at the Awilo Longomba concert and my buddy Gordon. Only Dzifa's wife was here tonight. I said to myself, I must make some Sierra Leonian friends tonight. The only person Dzifa introduced me to was one of the ladies serving the food. Good start. I fixed myself a plate of rice, bofrots, chicken and beef stew, plantains, etc. Of course, I wanted to make Sa Leone friends but like they say back home, "Chop time, no friend".

Sierra Leonians aren't very different from West Africans. I could easily have mistaken them for Nigerians. I know enough Ghanaians not to make that mistake. At the party, the DJ played 'Yori Yori', 'Rakia', 'Yesterday betteh pass tiday' and 'Juliana'. "Bottom power, shege, bottom power, shege". "The walkings wey etake come". No, I didn't ask her name or call any of the girls. I wanted Dzifa to introduce me. But, shiee wow! Bottom power paa nie! I spoke to one lady briefly when they were playing Rakia, and told her "that song is from my country". Moments later, she has hitting the dance floor, without me, and singing along to Rakia. A Sierra Leonian woman! She knew the words to the song! Erm, I was going to ask her if she learnt how to sing along through Museke.com but I didn't get the chance. I didn't really see her the rest of the night.

8 knocked and when I was assured I had eaten enough, I proceeded to the movie premiere. A couple more people had arrived and the movie was rolled. I was impressed with the film. When you see a lot of African movies shot in the US, they don't ooze the quality, are low-budget and worse than those made back home. Not this one - Paparazzi: Eye in the Dark. The sound and production quality was on point! I loved the soundtrack too and the story. I will write a full post about my impressions of the movie, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Go catch the premiere soon if it's coming to your city.

After the movie, I happened to get into a discussion with a Sierra Leonian who happened to have purchased a ticket for the premiere but didn't watch the movie. He started talking about Africans don't support each other, how he goes to Ghanaian and Nigerian events, but Ghanaians and Nigerians don't come to Sierra Leonian events. I told him he missed a great movie. And there were Sierra Leonians in the movie too, in fact the producers did a remarkable job in ensuring it has an all-African cast. He told me, he doesn't watch African movies because he can't learn anything from them but he'll rather watch Johnny Depp. Erm, I am getting a beating right now wondering what is to learn by watching movies with Johnny Depp. The last Deep, ahem sorry Depp, movie I watched had one female character, Angelina Jolie. Learn something from that lol. I couldn't believe this guy and started smiling and laughing about what he was saying which drove him away.

Hmm, and then I was like, but I haven't made any new Sierra Leonian friends. So I followed "my brother" to the restroom, continued our conversation and ended up taking his number and his fiancee's number too. I wanted to be in touch so he could tell about all the Sierra Leonian events in the Bay Area. No, I didn't do this because of 'bottom power' :-). I like to know what's happening with my African peoples. The name's Mighty African. I spoke to a couple more Sierra Leonian ladies, including one who had added me on Facebook and I recognized. Most of the ladies were busily lining up to pay money to take pictures with Van Vicker. Yea, the crowd that came to take the pictures outnumbered the crowd interested in seeing the movie. No comment. I congratulated Koby Maxwell and his co-producer, Clarice Kulah. I told Van Vicker, "this is the best movie you've been in". And then I returned home.

And then I woke up to Monday and said #VIM!

Ghana's 54th birthday weekend - pre 6th March

Ghana's 54th birthday happened this past weekend. As expected, it didn't have as much fanfare as four years ago. President Atta Mills gave a speech. The nation's teachers threatened to remove any single spines of any celebrations. Ghanaians all over the world found an excuse to party. Folks wore Ghanaian colours when they normally wouldn't. Others learnt how to recite the Ghanaian pledge and sing the national anthem again. Many things happened. How did I spend/celebrate/reflect upon the 54th anniversary of Ghana's independence's weekend? Let's find out.

On Friday March 4th, like everyone other Friday, I wore an African shirt. After finishing school work, etc, I watched some of the Chicago Bulls-Orlando Magic game. Y'all know Dwight Howard aka Superman aka Chocolate Shoulders is Ghanaian right? Yes, because people say we look alike. I left the game to the Black Grad Students Association meeting with a couple of things on mind but the primary one being food. In the short time I was there, the guest speaker led the students in a short meditation session. Problem then was, I had just started eating. No, can't be munching in a time of meditation, so I excused myself. "While others are mediating at the black students meeting, I am eating".

After staying at the BGSA meeting for a minute, I went to watch the last film in the Stanford African film series - "Welcome to Nollywood". Will blog about that in detail later, good documentary. I facilitated a discussion afterwards and we managed to talk about Nollywood without a single Nigerian being there. Shame! I learnt that Nollywood produces 2400 movies per year. It was non-existent in 1990 and is now the 2nd biggest movie industry in the world. It akes $286 million each year for the Nigerian economy. There's an action film academy in Nigeria where people learn head snaps, firearm safety, brave falls, etc. The documentary talked about a Nollywood film called Laviva which reproduces war times in Liberia. Will love to see it.

I caught the tail end of the Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs game. The Heatles were not on the floor. Why? They were not needed. It was a blowout in the Alamodome. Lebron, Wade and Bosh joined the rest of the Miami team and all the spectators to watch Los Suprs play basketball for 48 minutes. Meanwhile, my Celtics were winning, the atrocious Cleveland Cavaliers were winning their straight against the Knicks, and the Lakers and Mavericks were winning too. I returned home, and wondered how I was going to spend my night and ended up chillaxing at home. All this while, I had forgotten I had rsvped to attend a good friend's birthday dinner. Sadness.

I woke up on Saturday not so sad though. It was only a day to March 6th. I watched three Black Stars - Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah join the Black Stars, ahem Cats of Sunderland to frustrate Arsenal to a goalless draw, a result that had Manchester United fans feeling tres bien. I spent the next few hours working, browsing, making phone calls, and sleeping. Oh, my good friend, Nii, sent me a text saying there was free breakfast in my neighbourhood. So I majestically made it there. I ate till I was as satisfied as Saturday and could say "mamen te sɛ Memeneda". Nii and I, like true grad students, took some food away.

I really wanted to eat fufu or some Ghanaian food this weekend. But I don't have any pots and pans in my possession now. Still I hoped. Later, a friend called me saying he was going to throw a little party at his house in honour of Ghana's 54th. So I went. It was a chillaxed party, and there was food! Fried plantain along with rice and stew. Yup, it's Ghanaian enough. My friend Fiifi played the sounds of Ghana through the years, from the 70's and up. It was extremely nostalgic and made me think about my father, and how superb true Ghanaian highlife is. We also listened to Kwame Nkrumah's Independence speech when it hit midnight. Download the speech here.

More VIM to all Ghanaians and lovers of Ghana!

A mwananchi from Kenya, Gabriel Nderitu, builds plane in his front yard

I once shared a story of Morris Mbetsa - an 18 year old African self-taught electronics genius. Well, another Kenyan makes an appearance here. I saw my friend Henry @disterics share this info - "Kenyan builds plane in front yard" on Google Buzz and I didn't waste any time in killing my curiosity. Mwananchi is a Swahili word meaning the common man.

A Kenyan man has used the internet and some books on engineering to build his own aircraft. Gabriel Nderitu has dreamt of flying since he was a child and has spent a huge amount of money building the plane in his front yard. But his dream may be grounded as the authorities say it is not airworthy.


Click the link to watch the video

I think it is really sad I could not embed the video from the BBC link to this blogpost. I already am not a fan of the BBC Africa site and not allowing folks to embed such a great vimacious video is sad. So I went to Youtube to see if I'd have any luck. And I found these videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujU1DjaYfs4

An innovative Kenyan is just about to test the results of his brainchild. Gabriel Nderitu, an I.T specialist is putting final touches to an aeroplane he has been assembling for the last one year ahead of a test run in Kitengela next week. If indeed Nderitu's two seater plane takes off, and more importantly, lands successfully, then it will be a first for Kenya. Sylvia Chebet tells us more about the budding innovator and how close he is to becoming Kenya's pioneer in aircraft manufacturing.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRsUT5OisoA


These videos are from Kenya's KenyaCitizenTv and PositiveBlackStories and got onto Youtube 4 months before the story appeared on the BBC. I will give BBC credit for making sure the story got to a bigger audience though, after all, that's how Henry found the story and then myself.

Nderitu says the point is to inspire and build confidence in the youth.

#Twende!

PS: Killing one's curiosity that quickly can be problematic especially when you need the same curiosity to kill the cat ;-)

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