Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#WaakyeWednesday - Whither Waakye Wednesdays?

Waakye ooo waakye!
Where from this whole #WaakyeWednesday business?

I could eat waakye every day. In fact, I used to eat waakye every day for lunch at a point in time.
I like waakye so much that while in the US I had to learn to prepare & cook it just so I could have it whenever I wanted. I learnt how to do so from my friend and eventually learnt how to make shito too via my Mum. I once cooked a waakye meal for like 23 people at Stanford and they loved it. I will never forget one statement a friend made. She said "Ato, you've been single for too long, you should not know how to cook this good". Yes, I can cook. At least, I can make delicious waakye that you might mistake for that from Auntie Muni. Waakye is just so all around me in Accra and Ghana that I don't have to bother making it. I'm not complaining.

I will do a blog post about places to eat waakye in Accra later. Waakye is the fastest selling food in the whole wide world. There are many times where I've looked for waakye around 1pm someplace in Accra and had to go miles and miles to find some. One time, I left Roman Ridge and went all the way to Asylum Down to get waakye. This Asylum Down waakye must not be very good because if it was, it should have been sold out before 2:33pm.

Since I can't keep on eating waakye every day and risking emptying my bowels one two many times, I especially love to eat waakye on Wednesdays. Why? Because both words begin with W. That's how WaakyeWednesday was born. The idea is to especially eat Waakye on a Wednesday. Pretty simple idea.  Simple ideas sometimes catch on. Especially when people love the subject involved. So on Wednesday morning, folks like +Ali Bukari Maiga and +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor and +David Nikoi would remind us that #WaakyeWednesday is here. Folks like +Ela Asare +Nehemiah Attigah and +Nana Fynn Class-Peters would join in.

Apparently, there is a waakye spot that used to sell our favorite meal from about 4pm to as late as 3am. The spot is called "Waakye Extra-O". How appropriate eh? Sadly, since the N1 highway was built, it has caused the traffic coming into Waakye Extra-O because it's more difficult for patrons to access the spot. Really sad eh? That's one option that can make sure many people have a #WaakyeWednesday gone. I am yet to find many places that serve waakye in the evenings other than Nima. Yes, if you really love your waakye, you will go to Nima. Because that's where the best waakye comes from.

One thing I've started doing when I buy waakye is to make sure to have a sprinking of gari. So with some shito, waakye and gari, I get to eat my #waakye with SWAG. Thanks to a little social media discussion (big thanks to the likes of +Kwesi Acquah & +Akua Akyaa Nkrumah, I also ensure to get my waakye in not more than 2 plastic bags. This is to save the environment. Many more times, I buy it in a pack. One day, I shall just show up with a takeaway bowl :-) Let's be green. Or let's be greener. We all know the best waakye is the one had in a big green leaf. Can't get greener than that. Do it for the red, gold, green. Red, gold, grin :-)

So next Wednesday, try to have waakye. And if you are feeling like it, take a picture, post it on social media and tag it #WaakyeWednesday. The #waakyecrew will come appreciate you :-) Too bad Auntie Muni doesn't sell waakye on Wednesdays though.

PS: The picture is a huge bowl of waakye I had with Ali, +Donald Ward +Fiifi Baidoo +Jojoo Imbeah +Mac-Jordan Degadjor and +Kofi Ulzen-Appiah once when we were in Tamale for +Barcamp Tamale :-D

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Participate in Barcamp Tema 2013 #bctema

Below is the press release for Barcamp Tema 2013. Register to attend this august event at It will be happening at the Rotary Centre in Tema on Saturday, August 10. The hashtag for the event is #bctema.

BarCamp Tema 2013 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on August 10, 2013 at the Rotary Centre in Tema. The theme is “Building new industries for our communities”. This Barcamp will be the 21st organized by the GhanaThink Foundation as it builds a netowrk of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana. It's being organized in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Tema.
Tema is well known for its music and entertainment stars which is supporting a local music industry. This Barcamp would focus on how to grow more industries for various entreprising communities. The event will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well. This initiative hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.
The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Greater Accra Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Various Tema leaders will be on a panel that will center on the theme. Confirmed resource personnel include +Ali Bukari Maiga +Benjamin Gregory Aggrey +Ob Abenser +Pascaline Ed. Olympio +Nana Kofi Asihene +Gregory Rockson +Nana Asaase Philip Boakye Dua Oyinka +Doreen Andoh +Emeka Okoye, amongst others.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website ( or text "Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the +Barcamp Tema team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs. BarCamp Tema 2013 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.
Stay tuned via our social media.


Shaping what Barcamp Tema 2013 will be #bctema

The very first +Barcamp Tema happened on October 27, 2012 at the Central University College (CUC) campus, just outside Tema. Some students from CUC had attended Barcamp Ghana 2011 and were enthused about the event. So their wish to have a Barcamp at their school and the GhanaThink Foundation's want to have a Barcamp for Tema gave birth to this event. The Barcamp went well, we had over 150 attendees who networked and continue to build together. 31 students from Keta Secondary Technical School (Ketasco) attended the event and their experience led to us partnering on a mentoring event at their school and the start of the Junior Camp Ghana initiative. We wanted to do some work around Tema's communities but that never took off. I'm believing Barcamp Tema 2013 would ensure this starts after August.

It was very important to have Barcamp Tema happen in Tema proper this time. The Tema-based tertiary institutions are not big enough to host the numbers we want. Hotels are expensive venues and haven't traditionally worked for us in getting good numbers to an event. After looking through some venues, we've been able to strike a partnership with the Rotaract Club of Tema to use the Rotary Centre. I love that venue and am more excited about this Barcamp because of the venue. Hope it attracts a lot of Tema youth to the event. We didn't have a good number of Tema based residents at Barcamp Tema 2012 and I hope we change that this time. I'd not love for Accra to beat out Tema for this one.

The theme chosen is "Building new industries for our communities". Many people know Tema is home to many music stars in Ghana now - R2Bees, Sarkodie, EL, Chemphe, Stay Jay, Dr. Cryme, etc. Many Tema youth want to get into the entertainment industry as a result. Chemphe spoke at Barcamp Tema and due to his social conscious songs, he was a great choice for us. Is the Barcamp environment ready for musicians? It was born ready. It's important to create the same excitement and entreprises for new industries out of various communities. Not community 1, 2, and 3 per say, but communities of interest - engineering, fashion, agriculture, etc. Let's bring Tema as an industrial city into a new age of youth-led industry and entreprise.

Tema is an interesting town when it comes to youth. It doesn't have a standout university within its confines. Many young people in Tema work in Accra. Many teenagers go to secondary school elsewhere. The community spirit is breaking down with the years with less and less community-driven youth programs and events. Hence, it's tough to assemble Tema youth on a Saturday for programs like a Barcamp. Because of entertainment energy, it's not tough to assemble youth for a social event. Someone can correct me if I am wrong :-) So that's another challenge. Short of sending invitation letters to Tema-based high schools and colleges, tertiary institutions, youth and church groups, how else to get the attention of young Tema folks? Adom FM no dey anymore. Pravda FM is there. I am beginning to like YFM a lot more as I personally tune off all the 'ka bi ma menka bi' plenty talk on local radio. So them too. They do play music which is as synonymous with Tema these days too. They are also in the business of empowering youth more these days.

On Saturday, August 10, let's assemble at the Tema Rotary Centre to learn, share, network and discuss how to build new industries for our communities. Barcamp Tema 2013 is a totally free event. You must register to attend or sign-in upon attending. You could even see those who've already registered. And submitting to popular request, we'd be serving banku and tilapia as a lunch option. Register and indicate you want that :-) 
Would leave you with this great song from Chemphe

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How I wrote a 233 word poem on... not Ghana but... Zouk

I had not written a full poem in over 2 years. Every time I started to write one, I would stop at some point thinking it's not as good as the last few poems I had written. However, over the course of this year, I've had this idea of writing a poem to celebrate zouk. Over hiplife. Let's be real. I've been listening to zouk (and kizomba) music much more than Ghanaian music - hiplife, highlife, raglife, poplife, etc - recently. I still love Ghana, if you ever doubt it, study how much I use the number 233. If you can't figure out and understand the significance of the number 233 like that lady teller at UBA bank yesterday or the other GT bank teller in East Legon, then become aware. Everywhere.

So I went ahead to write a poem tonight. I intentionally put on a Zouk music playlist to get me in the mood. Not in the mood for 'you know what' but in the mood for inspiration to zouk the board by the keys and type up a Zouk poem. The idea was to write an ode to Zouk, while comparing it to hiplife and Ghanaian music. There is a deeper message in it but that's not be shared. Maybe you can decrypt it? Listening to the songs helped a great deal and made me more creative. So I even put in some of the song names in the poem - Don't change, One Love, Something Going On, On A Change, Deeper, Amor, Make Love on Tempo, Elles Demandent, and Cette Nuit.

I like to rhyme while writing poetry. My poem feels incomplete without some chaa (whaddup my Presec possies!), rhyming, pun or something of that sort. I've started to make sure the number of syllables remain the same in different parts of the poem. Music to my ears. Yeap, so I'd count the syllables to see if they sound off melodiously. Music to your ears.

After circulating the idea that we should write poems that have 23 lines (in honour of Ghana), my friend Irene tweeted at me saying I should rather write one of 233 words. So I checked to see how many words were in my original poem, and there were 205. Only 28 more to go. I added a couple of lines, kept an eye on Microsoft Word's word count and voi la, we had our poem of 233 words. Can U Say #233moments right there? :-) You can read the poem here. Is it too much to ask that my wife is a fan of Zouk too? "Tell me what you like".

A look into my zouk hook (poem)

I used to live life from the hip
And then something came and really zouked me
The familiar got different
The life on a change
The peculiar got consistent
The thing don't change
So I got into a relationship
By then, the something had already hooked me

Elles demandent attention to give, we know
L's provident affection to give, follow
Ma cherie as we demonstrate one love, that
Is telepathy of doves above, phat
Together, we are melodies that make music
With another, we’re diversities tryna sync
Danced to every cranny and nook
Still got the naivety of a rook
Lifes still contained in book after book
Versus high-fives as open as zouk

I stayed true to the homegrown beat
I swayed anew to the exotic rhythm
True, the outer enjoyment got hipper and livelier
But the inner excitement got deeper and deeper
The high life was all over amiss, true
The zouk made me say I miss you
I yearned for more
Amor amor amor

What I knew intoto was hip
What was new was at my hip
Something going on set them apart
Make love on tempo touched my heart
So I share my story cette nuit
Because the thoughts est sweet
Shouldn’t be a case of someone else took
For them to bring demaselves to book
The lifes shouldn't siddon and look
Or I might just get hooked on zouk

Monday, July 22, 2013

Inspiration coming from Lira and Nelson Mandela

Due to Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday falling on Thursday, July 18, I started listening to South African music a lot. I even changed my Twitter name to that of my South African alter-ego, Siyabonga Mthimkhulu. I listened to some house, kwaito, hip hop, jazz, R&B and gospel music from Mzansi. Heavy on the rotation was music from Lira. Yeap, the one I met in South Africa. She's simply the rockas. My father is also in town and he's been listening to me rock Lira in the car all the time. Yesterday, I made him watch Tsotsi, my favorite movie of all time. But these occurrences didn't drive me to write this blog post quite like what happened this morning. I was listening to Lira's Captured Tour CD along with my father on the way to work. And then the song started ---
"I have a dream, a dream that lives in me. A gift that is given to the uniqueness of me. There is a path, a path made just for me and I walk it faithfully, though not certain where it leads. But I keep pressing on, I keep moving on, a force within me keeps me going strong.".
This song is called "Valley of Darkness". When I listen to Lira's music, I constantly repeat Ngiyazifela, Hamba and Something Inside So Strong. The latter song was sung to honour Nelson Mandela. There's a YouTube clip around this. Today, I repeated Valley of Darkness 6 times, or how many ever times I needed to before I finally got to work. You can listen to the song on YouTube too.

The lyrics I posted above talks about "a force". Trying to figure what the force is is a whole discussion. I believe it's the vim. The lyrics sang by Lira after these lines are "Though I walk through the valley of darkness, I shall not fear, for I know you walk with me". This makes it seem like "you" or this force is religious, or God. But this force could very well be inside of you, your inner inspiring force. Your inner motivational power.

I believe Nelson Mandela had a lot of this. That's why he goes around striking poses like this in the picture. If he lived in Ghana and these times, he would be saying "more vim". I looked around for Nelson Mandela quotes on his 95th birthday and found this which I tweeted. I wanted to blog about Nelson Mandela's birthday on his birthday but I was busy doing various things. I did blog about on his birthday on his 92nd birthday. Too bad I couldn't find a picture of Lira and Madiba together. I did find one of my South African crush Terry Pheto with him though so that should suffice. :-) I'd leave you with that Madiba quote I discovered last week. It captures that inner force very well.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learning more about Lagos, the state of

I had gone to, or err... travelled to, Ikeja from VI and upon arrival, I was seeing all these "Welcome to Lagos" signboards. So I wondered and then it finally dawned on me that Lagos was actually a state. We know it as the biggest city in Africa, but Lagos is also the name of a state. Did you know Ikeja was the capital of Lagos State? I didn't know until this week, my fifth time in Lagos. I am beginning to know more about Lagos. Ayooluwaato Eze is becoming more comfortable with his true home.

While in Lagos, a friend took me on a small driveby tour of Ikeja. I had been to Ikeja a couple of times before, once to go chill and party when I had "point and kill" for the first time. The second time, I visited the Shrine. I need to go check out Computer Village the next time though. In Ikeja, we drove past the Ikeja mall which had a Shoprite and looked pretty big, bigger than the Accra Mall. We'd see what West Hills Mall does when it arrives. The Lagos mainland has places like Ikeja, Surulere, and Ebute Metta. Ebute Metta was popularized by Banky W's song but it also has 200 year old buildings.

I also learnt that Lagos doesn't really have a mayor but has a governor who is hugely famous now and very popular, Governor Babatunde Fashola. He's the kind of statesman we need leading many political spheres around the continent. He successfully banned okadas, and making major infrastructural improvements and setting Lagos to be better. He turned many spaces under bridges (which had previously been haven for armed robbers) into parks and green spaces and places where kids can play. Fashola was the chief of staff during Bola Tinobu's regime. He's done a great job.

Lagos (state) also has many islands. I would have called these places suburbs but with the realization that Lagos is technically bigger than a city, I'd have to call these towns. They are two places I know best in Lagos as of today. These two popular places are Victoria Island and Ikoyi. They are separated by the Lagos lagoon. I stayed at the Radission once in Lagos. I didn't enjoy it as much there - the lights went off more often than usual and the water was yellowish a couple of times. The Falomo bridge is one of the roadways connecting them. Getting used to it.

The previous time I was in Lagos, my friend Eki gave me a little tour of VI and Ikoyi. It was in the evening so I didn't see too much. We went by Bola's hous on Bourdillon road. Technically, Alexander and Gerard roads roll into Bourdillon, making up what is 'Bourdillon estate'.Turns out many of my Stanford Nigerian friends had homes there. Posh people. :-) But even in the times of Ikoyi and VI, there are islands and there are eye-lands. Take the estate called Banana island for instance. The richest ogas live there. Mike Adenuga, the man behind the success of GLO or Mr. Dantata, a well accomplished construction magnate. I know Dantata's kid. Yeah. Adenuga's house is like an estate. I learnt about the exclusive St. Saviours Primary school in Ikoyi. It's one of the hardest to get into.

I'm impressed with how street names are used well and widely in Lagos. Most taxi drivers could tell which streets are were. The signage is there to help them. They use a fair amount of landmarks as well. Even then, they know which streets these major landmarks are on. With the infrastructure that exists now and the development arisen from the growing population, it's tough to tell what a rural area looks like in Lagos. That's also why Lagos the state is Lagos the city. You can't really pinpoint the cities in the state. It's not like picking Port Harcourt out of River State. Lagos state is one big metropolitan and cosmopolitan landmass. It's like non other. It's Las Gidi!

Wa-zo-bia to Lagos!

I was in Lagos earlier this week for the third time this year. This time, I could clearly tell when I was on the 3rd mainland bridge, when I had gotten into VI versus Ikoyi, etc. Almost every single time I was going somewhere, I was not in heavy traffic. I planned it really well. NOT. It just happened. I didn't parade around as Ayooluwaato Eze but I was interested in the subjects I tweeted about and will talk through in this blog post.

The first night I had gone to Man of Steel in 3D which was a blog worthy experience. After spending some time at the Rancard office, I had to go to Ikeja for some meeting like that. After bargaining a price of 2000 Naira, we set off.
Did you hear about the Nigerian traffic app (Traffix) that's looking to get bought by Google? Got to love their vim. There's also GidiTraffic which retweeted my tweet above. Lagos traffic is legendary. Sometimes it looks like folks should just park and have roadside parties. Especially on the 3rd mainland bridge.

Since I couldn't get internet connection via my Airtel roaming not working, I had to resort to playing games with my phone. Since I was in Nigeria, I played the Nigerian game app on my Nexus 4. Ayo is a game like Oware. It's featured on the first #VimTechList post - 5 African Android game apps

I don't know too much about Nigerian radio and TV, whether it be the organizations or the people. Yeah, I expect to know much :-) Anyway, Cool and Beat FM have been on my radar for a bit. I am going to guess a lot of the top Naija media personalities online have made their way to radio at the very least. Different people from all walks of life like different radio stations. I was interested in listening to music but maybe I should have checked for talk shows. That would make me compare whether talk shows in Lagos are like those in Accra. After hearing Iyanya's "Ur Waist", I stuck with what was Wazobia FM.
Rumor has it that after Governor Fashola banned okadas, his wife imported a lot of bikes to start a dispatch rider business. Okada rides were a very important of the lifestyles of many Lagosians so the ban must be tough to swallow. I'm impressed with Fashola's work though. Okadas did cause some societal issues and the order that exists now without them is surely welcome.

I listened to Wazobia 95.1 FM some more on Wednesday as I was going to the airport. I love this station. Their presenters speak mostly in Pidgin and they even deliver news in Pidgin as well. It's interesting, hilarious, creative and commendable. Apparently, Wazobia comes from the word come. As in com, not cum. Come in #Yoruba is 'wa', in #Hausa is 'zo', and in #Igbo is 'bia'. That's awesome naming in itself. Talking about come, Lagos is a great place to visit. Forget Boko and Haram and kidnappings for a moment. Lagos has many sights to see, many scenes to be in, and many experiences to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#VimTechList: 11 young female African technology leaders to know about

It's a glaring fact that African women are not as much involved in the tech space as much as their male counterparts. In this #VimTechList, I'd like to recognize some African women who are doing a lot to drum up interest in technology locally and elsewhere on the continent. They are developers, content creators, and thought leaders. These are a few I know about. Let me say I am disappointed in myself that there's no one in this list from Lusophone Africa. I need that Angola trip. Anyway, on to the people who must be celebrated. Tech Needs Girls in Africa. And it's just because we want more women at tech events in Africa. We need to embrace & create more technological solutions on the continent. We need influential women across the board. Here are the bubbling +Ory Okollohs, +Estelle Akofio-Sowahs, and +Nnenna Nwakanmas.

Doris Anson-Yevu - Ghana: I've known +Doris Anson-Yevu for a long time, I am not sure I remember where and how I met her. She had joined Suuch Solutions which I had . Kafui has been at the forefront of building Fienipa (an African portal), and the growing +kasahorow which is enabling African languages on the web. Along with her work on Nyamfowa & Nyaseto, she's a localization cahmpion. She's been a leader locally in Accra for women in tech activities and is part of the GhanaThink Foundation team, working on +Barcamp Ghana. She's launched PhotoWalk Ghana and presently leads the GDG Women chapter in Ghana, cc +GDG Ghana. She's on Twitter as @kafuiday.

Rapelang Rabana - South Africa: Thinking about it now, I am shockprised I didn't know of Rapelang Rabana until I met her in Cape Town this year. Neither as a Global Shaper or as a tech industry guru. Together with others, she started Yeigo, which got into VoIP services very early on. She's been featured on countless websites, spoken at many places and shared platforms with various high profile people. She's been named one of the top African entrepreneurs under 30 as well, having worked on various successful ventures in Africa. She tweets at @rapelangrabana.

Nmachi Jidenma - Nigeria+Nmachi Jidenma is living in San Francisco now but she has one foot on the continent. Kinda like how I was for 10 years while in the US. I first connected with Nmachi via social media. When I realized she was working at Google, I was just a little prouder to be working for Google. She runs one of my favoritest websites It stands for Celebrating Progress Africa, what's not to like about this? She worked in outreach at Google too, working to build tech communities like me. She's presently at Yola. She tweets at @nmachijidenma 
Catherinerose Barreto - Tanzania: I met +Catherinerose Baretto in Dar Es Salaam in February 2013 at G-Tanzania. She'd been introduced to me by +Kathleen Bomani, another awesome African lady in this space. Catherinerose was part of the group building +KINU - Capacity Building, Co-creation & Innovation, an innovation hub for Tanzania. She's also part of the local Global Shapers. When I became a global shaper, I looked around for the other African global shapers. Seeing her as part of the Dar ones gave the program more credence for me. Follow her @@CRBarretto.

Edith Brou - Cote d'Ivoire: I've never met +edith yah brou but I first heard of her through Nnenna when I was looking for tech community leads in Ivory Coast. I became acquainted with Edith Brou when the first blogcamp was held in Lome and I was following on Twitter. She runs a popular Ivorian blog called Godivoire - L'Actu Web de Edith. You can always use Google Translate, so follow her @EdithBrou.

Florence Toffa: I got to work with +Florence Abena Toffa a lot while she was an active part of the +Barcamp Ghana team. She was a student at the +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. After graduating, she ended up leading a Web Foundation project in Ghana around mobile web technology. Today, it's known as Mobile Web Ghana and the organization has trained & churned out many mobile technology startups. MWG also is a big part of Mobile Mondays in Accra. She even finds time to organize Ghana Fashion Awards. Remarkable woman. She tweets at @florencetoffa.

Linet Kwamboka - Kenya: +Linet Kwamboka is a team member of AkiraChix as well. It aims (starting with Kenya) to develop a force of women in technology in Africa. It's providing a model which is being replicated around the country (especially by next two women). I first met her in Accra shortly after Makerfaire Africa 2012, introduced to me by +Mac-Jordan Degadjor & +Henry Barnor. I had communicated with her briefly while she was organizing Startup Weekend Nairobi earlier in the year. Her Twitter username is G33kmate, sounds like a follow to me :-)

Ethel Mbewe - Zambia: I met +Ella Ethel Mbewe at Pivot East in June 2012 in Nairobi. She had been introduced to me by Bongo Hive's +Lukonga Lindunda and I was to give her some Google schwag to take to +GDG Lusaka. I was impressed that she had come all the way to this "East African" event to observe, share and learn. Later on I realized she was birthing the Asikana Network (On Twitter), which seeks to build a community of women in tech in Lusaka, Zambia and beyond. Through her & others' efforts, women's tech organizations in Africa are being crowd mapped.

Binta de Coudy - Senegal: I first got to know of +Binta Coudy Dé when she was approaching Google Africa about sponsoring Barcamp Dakar. They were going to have a 2-day Barcamp. I hope to attend one of these days, and visit Senegal of course. #Niewthem! Binta's done well connecting the local tech 'Galsen' community. She also started +Jjiguene Tech Hub which is a community space encouraging more women in Dakar and elsewhere to embrace & create technology.

Theresa Karungi - Uganda+Terry Karungi just has Googley written all over her. See the Internship movie for what Googley means. I met Terry at G-Uganda 2011, while she was a Google student ambassador at Makerere University and a member of +GDG Kampala. She's smart, energetic, friendly; she has a presence about her. She's also a developer at Kola studios which has as its signature product, one of the most popular games on Android, +Matatu Game. She's an Anita Borg scholar and many Google enthusiasts might also remember her from this video. She tweets @Kashweeti.

Regina Agyare - Ghana+regina agyare was one of the first few +Ashesi University graduates. She was the only female software engineer at the bank she started working at. She moved on to her own firm which is doing some special things in Ghana, Soronko Solutions. They deliver a lot of services for SMEs and other institutions. I missed the chance to see her speak at +Barcamp Cape Coast, but saw her in action at the subsequent +Barcamp Ho. This year, Regina is working with another lady I'm likely to feature in another list soon, +Rasheeda Yehuza on Tech Needs Girls GH. They organized an intro to technology seminar for female senior high school students in Kumasi. Regina's now an Aspen Fellow. Follow her on @ragyare.

Teamwork and multiply. Here's a starting eleven. I'd be sure to feature more as the days go by. Please share names and info about other awesome young female technology and community leaders via the comments. 

A for Africa – Introducing the Tecno Phantom A

I first learnt about Tecno phones via my twin sisters. They had both gotten Tecno phones that run on the Symbian technology. They liked the sturdiness, easy to use and versatile nature of those phones. It could browse the internet and could take multiple chips. The phone was affordable with a very reasonable price. No wonder Tecno phones were and are still selling off the charts in Ghana. I was carrying a Nexus phone at the time and though my sisters liked their Tecno phones, they salivated over the cool Android device I had. After learning about the Tecno Phantom A and its price (wait for it), my sisters have to revisit using Tecno phones. I am already a new fan!

My sisters would especially love the DUAL SIM functionality. This was clearly built for Africa. The Phantom A is well packaged and there are a number of pluses straight away. I love how the Facebook page for Tecno in Africa is embossed on the box, sending the message that Tecno takes its African customers (which includes me) seriously. This was clearly packaged for Africa. The box and packaging stands arms akimbo with similar top of the line Android phones.  Hence, the Phantom A marries affordability with quality. This would clearly delight Africa.
A colleague at work saw me lift the phone and said “Nexus 4?” “No, Tecno”. “What!” Now, this is the kind of what that seems to say “I can’t believe it but that sounds really really good!”. The first thing I check on new phones is the settings. Android 4.1 operating system with standard relevant Android apps? Check. More than 10 GB memory? Check. The other settings acquitted themselves honourably. The Phantom A is sturdy but not too heavy. Thought it was a bit interesting to have the phone charger/connector jack on top of the phone and not at the bottom.

The package comes with cool ear phones, just like the ones popular with smart phone users everywhere. Coloured white, I could imagine myself looking cool and bouncing along with the earphones dangling from my pockets.  The phone charger unit is adaptable for connection to PC and to extension cords as well. The containing box came with a nice protective shield for the phone which can be carried and used handily. I was very excited about the inclusion of the power bank. Many Android phones are notorious for their average battery life so to have a charging unit that is handy is a great addition to the Tecno Phantom A at no extra price as well.

Tecno aims to disrupt the market with this phone. Disrupt it would. Because I asked a number of people to guess how much this phone might cost and they routinely quoted twice the price. So this is a deal that even makes the traditional top end Android phones jealous. Five hundred and forty Ghana cedis (540 GhC).  If you’re scoring at home, that would be about $270. Can’t beat that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Watching Man Of Steel in 3D in Las Gidi

While in Nairobi last month, I learnt about the opportunity to watch the Man of Steel movie in 3D. I had never seen a movie in 3D for almost 2 years, since I returned home from the US. The Man of Steel 3D experience was oversubscribed. A friend had gone to watch an earlier screening and the cinema area was packed. Turned out it wouldn't be that easy to get a ticket. Went bowling the next Nairobi day and then left for Accra. So being in Lagos with the same opportunity? I was leaving no stone unturned. Glad I did. I am blogging about it hehe. So aren't you too?

First, arriving in Lagos later than expected was not going to stop me from watching Man Of Steel the same night. I'd miss some minutes to get the 3D experience out of the way to clear the next night for other things :-)

I'd spent 1000 naira on the taxi to the mall. I had seen a movie ticket fee of N2000 for the upcoming Wolverine premiere so I would have never though this movie outing would cost more. Oh, it's a 3D movie and you have to get 3D glasses. N2500 don go. Now, I'd have only N500 to get me home. No problemo. God's time is the best. I had already seen a sign :-)

I know Kwesi Ameyaw was in the movie but am not reviewing Man Of Steel. Go read some other one online. It wasn't an African movie. Kwesi was even a Canadian airman. These days, I always wait and watch the credits at the end of Hollywood movies (if at the movie theatre). I only left the cinema room when I've seen an African name who's part of the cast or crew. If there is none, I still leave. But you knew that already. :-)

Okay. Now I needed to go back to the hotel to catch some beauty sleep. Except I didn't have enough money. No, I wasn't looking for more women so they would donate to my transport cause. I just wanted to see them. Sweetiti things. :-)

I really wanted to take one of those 3 wheeled cars (keke marua) as I knew no taxi would take N500 for that short distance at this time of night. It wasn't meant to be. I stopped a couple of cars at the Palms Mall gate asking for rides. The good karma I've been building in Accra didn't transfer to Lagos. I started walking to look for a reasonable taxi driver. I was half afraid someone might come rob me but I had just watched "Man Of Steel", so I no dey fear huu. Why couldn't I get more money? Well, I am not carrying ATM cards these days. Because... yeah, of this story.

I had walked more than 234 metres and then that was when I remembered I had a friend at the hotel who could lend me money to finish fending off my fare. So I bargained a good price with a taxi driver, convinced him to allow me to pay him N500 at a start and transport me. No, I wasn't going to do him 'saman', walk into the hotel and never come back. I returned with another N500 from my good Samaritan and the dealing was done. Took his number, came upstairs and wrote this. :-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Recounting ages of mass massages

I love massages. I love giving them and receiving them. When I used to play football aka soccer regularly at Stanford, I'd feel really tired and in some good amount of pain. I'd long for a massage but normally, I wouldn't get it. I should get massages more often like I got today in Ghana.

I believe the very first massage I got was delivered by my first girlfriend. Maybe this is a false but if there were any before that one in the summer of 2007 in Baltimore, they were not that memorable. That was the day I learnt about the art of drumming while giving massages. It was sweet roff. I took some tips from Phelele and administered them back. From then till I left the US in 2011, I gave and received massages, and sharpened and ironed my skills lol.

When I was in Addis Ababa for the first time, I asked some friends on Facebook what I should do or visit before I left Habesha land. Boston Day Spa was mentioned a couple of times. Hot Habesha hunnie applying spa treatment in a great atmosphere? You lie bad. A couple of days later, I was lying bad on a bed, half naked waiting for heaven on earth. It was such a great day. It was well worth all the $$$ I paid. The lady at the reception was beautiful, the lady who handled my time there was pretty, and the lady who did the massaging et al was konjo. Makes me think of 13 months of sunshine. I should try out these services around the continent, Angola & Senegal definitely. Give me more massages, less steam rooms and sauna things.

The best massages are personal ones. The lady in Addis did a good professional job but there was no oomph in it. No line crossing, no extra-time, no bonus points, no specials. Friends or girlfriends would go a step further for you. I've had a couple of such. The present one is ... amazing. Sorry, Thierry Henry just said this word on TV and snapped me out of a word to choose. Oh la la! She introduced me to massage pillows and recently, massage hammers. Chale! The massage hammer no be now!. That reminds me, I have to ask about renting or getting some affordable massage oil in Ghana. :-)

After receiving my first spa treatment in Ghana, with manicures and pedicures and all, I wrote a blog called Male Grooming in Ghana. I praised the Revelations Spa & Salon folks for their good work and great customer service and showed the blog post to the manager. She was very appreciative of this and told her staff. She offered for me to get a free massage. "We'd come to your house and do it". Ayayai! Ever since that pronouncement, I waited with baited breadth for the next available Sunday. It arrived today. If I had time and an opportunity, I would have gone to play football, made myself really tired so I could enjoy the massage even better. Didn't happen. Church wasn't going to make me tired unless I danced my behind off. Nah, not at Agape House New Testament Church. I no bore though.

The manager asked me if I wanted a guy or a girl. Erm, take a wild guess. 2 girls came. I mean, 2 girls came to do the job. While waiting for the water (they would use) to boil, I chit-chatted with them (both early 20's) and realized one was a JSS leaver. I remembered her from the manicure day too. They both didn't use Facebook. Crazy huh? Anyway, when they told me to lay down half-naked, I didn't get up from the bed until an hour later. It was sweet roff. I was going to continue the Facebook conversation, but I was too 'relaxed' to even take them back to the salon so I gave them some extra 'tip money'.

The cost of the massage is a cool 100 cedis. You already know I got this one for free. But for 1 hour of good relaxation, I think that's a great deal. Next time I talk about Revelations Spa, they'd have a website. Will help them at no cost. And it's not because I want another free massage. ɛfiri sɛ, nipa yɛ ade a, ɔsɛ ayeyi! Because, if someone does something great, they need to be appreciated and supported. In the meantime, in between time, I don't mind offering my massages services o. But for a few good ones in return.

Attending the Agape House Church in Ghana #agapehouse

I went to church today. I don't go any given Sunday by the way. My cousin, Efibah, was telling me, "I pass through your neighbourhood to go to church all the time, and I know you don't go to (any) church". So, she passed by again and I tagged along with her. To Agape House New Testament Church. 10:30am? No problemo. Even if I slept at 4am after a partycrewgh outing, I could make that. I need to renew my faith anyway. Let's just say that once I entered the church and looked around, it only took me 2.33 seconds to decide I'd be blogging about being at #AgapeHouse. So here goes.
I spent all the blog write up time tweeting. So I'm going to let the tweets speak for themselves. 
This pastor is more audible though. He didn't slang too much. He came to say hi after the service and introduced his PA to me. Figure I am gonna get some calls. I no bore. I'd love some sweet melodious voices though on the other end of the line :-)
Short of the song saying Akwaaba and Woezor, it was on point.
I was at an evening mass at Christ the King a few weeks ago and I was shocked by the number of folks dressed casually. I believe in bringing your best attire to God's house. Times have changed, tradition is being affected but I keep my best attires for being in the house of my Maker and Shaper.
I absolutely used to love this song when I was more religious. I should work it up the favorite list again. I have plenty Kirk Franklin albums. Thanks to Phelele Fakudze.
A better sermon message could not have been picked. I'd blog later about Ghanaian Christianity and (charismatic) churches. We need more teamwork in this country. Let's build institutions. Someone loved a particular part of this message though.
Reminds me of the churches I used to go to in the US. Full of young people. I am a Catholic, will likely always be. But I sure do love being around youth. Horizontal inspiration.
Great point here. We have to join the right teams. It makes multiplication much easier. We all work for the greater good. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are part of this. Plugging in that video I really love right now.
Agape House has a number of teams. Not sure I will become a regular member, see above comment. But I did sign up for a team. The 5 teams wore their T-shirts (that's why they wore them Ato) and campaigned. Yea, one group said they are at Aseɛ hɔ, another said to find them on a ballot. I chose the team that had anyone say anything in a Ghanaian language. Local. Community. Us.
Glad I went. I'd go again. I'm recommending this church too. They are not hype like I see in many other charismatic churches. Many people in the church are the right types of folks we need for our nation. The pastor preaches messages we need to hear, and not the ones he needs to build his business. Thank you, Agape. Divine love ampa.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The rings that got away spurred San Antonio on

I have been a fan of the San Antonio Spurs ever since I started watching basketball religiously in 2003. I liked the unassuming nature of Tim Duncan and the way about which the Spurs went about their business. I appreciate the nuances and tactics of sport, unlike many others, I don't follow sports mostly for the entertainment. I could literally succeed at coaching basketball teams. I've watched enough bball to do X's and O's to make my team earn multiple team hugs and several kisses from cheerleaders :-) The Spurs have been organizing basketball clinics on NBA courts for years now with super results. However, as much as they have won, they have also lost some big ones. They lost none bigger than this year's NBA Finals. It's just one of those that got away.

From about 1994 up until 2003, two men had been part of every single NBA championship team. Robert Horry & Steve Kerr.  Read about them here. After seeing Robert Horry's Lakers win three straight rings, the Spurs called on Steve Kerr, their winningmost player who had helped deliver its sole ring in 1999 and had 4 of his own. He came off the bench, dusted off his rust and hit 4 huge 3 pointers in the 2003 Western Conference Finals series vrs the Dallas Mavericks to help the Spurs win it. The Spurs were always going to beat the East's New Jersey Nets, so that victory over the Mavericks was the most important. So in 2004, with Steve Kerr gone and the urge to defend their championship, the San Antonio Spurs reloaded. They enlisted the services of who else? - Robert Horry!

The Los Angeles Lakers had just gotten Gary Payton, who was nicknamed the Glove and was one of the best defensive and offensive guards ever. They had also signed Karl Malone who was arguably the best power forward in the history of the game with the second most career points ever. He was called the Mailman but had never delivered a championship. Robert Horry would have been a bit player with LA, but in SA, he would have a major role. The Spurs would be able to defend their championship. The Spurs were on their way to doing just that. Tim Duncan had made a very difficult shot over Shaquille O'Neal with just a few ticks to go. It was worthy of a game-winner, and this would have given the Spurs a 3-2 series lead. The Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Karl and Gary on their team with 0.4 seconds left to save their season. That's where they used them all as decoys and got Derek Fisher a shot which he nailed. It was a whisker away from not counting. The Spurs would have won that NBA Finals versus the Pistons. Interestingly, Karl Malone got injured, Shaq and Kobe got in each other's way and the Detroit Pistons won the 2004 championship.

The Spurs came back in 2005 with virtually the same core. Robert Horry earned his Big Shot Rob moniker that year, making huge plays to help the Spurs get the 3rd ring and 2nd in 3 years. With Shaqobe over and Shaq-Wade a work in progress, Gregg Popovich's team were favorites to defend their championship. After fending off the challenge of the Sacramento Kings, they set up for a battle of Texas with the Dallas Mavericks. The rivalry brought a hard-fought series which culminated in a Game 7 in San Antonio. The Spurs were going to take this series until another freak incident happened. It wasn't fished out by the opponent like Derek of 2004, this time the bone of discontent was from within. After hitting a huge 3 to put his team up 3, Manu Ginobli committed a silly foul which allowed Dirk Nowitzki to get a 3-point play and a tie lead the Dallas Mavericks would make full use of. Interestingly, Mark Cuban's fledgings couldn't complete their run, losing to the Dwyane Wade led Miami Heat.

The Spurs came back in 2007 and won the championship, sweeping Lebron's Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. If not for Derek Fisher's 0.4 shot and that extra foul by Manu Ginobli, the Spurs could have very well won 5 straight championships from 2003-2007. Now tell me they are not a dynasty. The Spurs spent another 5 years without getting to the Finals. They suffered shock first round losses to the Memphis Grizzlies,as a Number 1 seed no less and another to the Dallas Mavericks. Better teams in the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder also seemed to end their reign in the Western Conference.

After a number of years on the periphery and disappointments, the Spurs got back to the Finals this year. I am one of a few people who saw this coming. I always believed in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli to have another good run. But like those 2 years of nearness, 2013 delivered probably the hardest loss. 5 up with 26 seconds to go leading 3-2 in the NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs dared Lebron James to make a 3 to save the Miami Heat's season. It fell. The man who had helped make sure Lebron would be taking more 3s than usual, Kawhi Leonard was at the line. He botched one free throw. 3 point game, Miami with the ball. Not sure how many people had the presence of the mind to remember that Ray Allen was playing for the team down 3. Lebron missed another 3, Duncan was nowhere to get the rebound and Bosh rebounded the ball, and shuttled it to the one in whose hands, 3 points was worth the most. Jesus! "It's Ray Allen!" BAM! Tie ball game, overtime! Like that scenario in 2006, the Spurs didn't survive the disappointment. The Heatles won their second straight ring.

We'd see how the Spurs bounce back after this. If you think the Spurs are too old to challenge and possibly win a championship, you have another thought coming. Because the Spurs just keep on coming.

Disqus for The Vim Views & Versions - Blogs of a MIghTy African