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abocco's blog

TEDxYouthInspire 2010 Press Release

Posted by abocco on Wed, 03/17/2010 - 04:58 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Am excited about this event though I won't be in Ghana to attend. Will try and follow it on Twitter and through live streaming. You should also follow it on April 10. Ever heard of TED conferences? Now think of African youth. Bulls eye! :-)

Here's a press release from the organising team of TEDxYouthInspire 2010. Take time to read and enjoy, as you brace yourselves for this exciting African youth-focused conference

YOUNG SPEAKERS TAKE CENTER STAGE AT FIRST TEDx CONFERENCE EXCLUSIVELY FOR AFRICAN YOUTH

Inaugural TEDxYouthInspire will bring together those with "A Good Head & a Good Heart"

Accra, Ghana, March 15, 2010 – On Saturday, April 10, 2010, from 8:00AM – 6PM GMT, the inaugural TEDxYouthInspire conference will be held at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of


African language translations gadget for iGoogle

Posted by abocco on Tue, 03/09/2010 - 04:59 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Recently, a friend asked me how to say Independence in Akan Twi. I didn't know the word so I sought my favorite source for such matters Kasahorow's Akan dictionary on Fienipa.com. Found out the word was 'Ahofadi'. A friend on Facebook mentioned it may have been 'fawohodi' instead. Ahofadi is a noun, fawohodi or 'fa wo ho di' is more like a sentence, as so nicely put by one of the Kasahorow gurus. It's great to know this translation service is around. That's why you should help publicize it.

Publish this widget on your homepage or blog that allows people to translate amongst English, Akan, Ewegbe, Hausa, Yoruba, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda.

Brought to you by the awesome folks at Fienipa.com and Kasahorow.com


The Senior High School in Ghana duration debate - 3 or 4 years?

Posted by abocco on Wed, 02/03/2010 - 03:03 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Blog culled from Mighty African's blog

I am a very proud Odadee. My alma mater, Presec and its current and old students, have given me reason to. When I was in Ghana earlier in this year, I visited Presec to see what was new. A lot has changed since I left Presec more than 8 years ago. My favorite teacher, Mrs. Akyeampong has retired, there's been a new headmaster, the bursar who refused to give us funds to publish the school magazine embezzled money and got sacked, the buildings have been painted, we've won 4 National Science and Maths quizzes and the name has been changed from Presby Boys' Secondary School to Presby Boys' Senior High School. Presecans were going to stay in 'blue magic' for 4 years. But in the 'politics democrazy' country that is Ghana, anything can happen. Senior High School is now 3 years again and as a result, senior secondary or senior high school students will not write the WASSCE this year. Crazy eh? There's been a big debate about the number of years senior high school should be. Let's study some of the arguments for and against, debate style.


The booming Ghanaian movie industry and its challenges

Posted by abocco on Sun, 01/31/2010 - 06:20 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Blog culled from Mightyafrican.blogspot.com

Ever since my brother sent me that text saying 'A Sting In a Tale' was a bomb, I had been waiting to see it myself. On the second day of my latest Ghana trip, I saw the movie being sold on the streets of Accra. I was caught in two minds. The movie was premiered in November and VCD copies are already being sold? Well, I really want to see this movie, so it's great that now I could buy a copy. A lot of movies were being sold by different hawkers, in fact those selling ASIAT were everywhere. A few other interesting movies were being sold too. If you doubted whether making movies in Ghana was a 'bad' business, doubt no more. It still may be a home video business, but it pays. For some, it pays handsomely. There are a few things that have to be checked to sustain the industry so it doesn't enter the doldrums again in the near future.

Take Agya Koo for instance. He appeared on the scene a few years ago and is one of the biggest movie stars in Ghana. Do a quick search of Agya Koo on Youtube and you'll see how popular he is. Ghanaian movies have proliferated through different websites and have developed strong followings amongst Ghanaian communities abroad. I hear that before Agya Koo signs on to do any movie, he's paid 3000 Ghanaian Cedis (GhC) upfront, which is about $2100. Sounds like a small amount, but he's only on set for about 3-4 days. Yes, $2100 for 4 days of work. In Ogyakrom (or sikakrom). In Ghana. After the movie is done, he pockets another 1000 GhC. Agya Koo (Kofi Adu) probably appears in one or two movies per month, if you follow Ghanaian movies closely enough, you'll know it's true. Do the math.


Borga - matters arising in Diasporean living and returning home

Posted by abocco on Tue, 01/26/2010 - 05:05 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Yes, I'm back. Like they'll say in Ghana, wɔabɔga bio. Well, I've been back to Yankee for more than two weeks but this is my first post of the new decade. Had too much fun chillaxing and chilluping in Ghana to blog, so I saved most of my thoughts as texts on my Nokia phone. In fact, na Borga nso ayɛ loose to afford the costs of slow Ghanaian internet. It's not always easy for us Borgas. Even when we have 'returned' to Ghana on holidays to visit families and do other things, we find the costs of living not much different from 'Aburokyire'. Ghana's fastest and hottest rapper at the moment, Sarkodie knows this too. He composed a song about Ghanaians in the Diaspora and it is quickly becoming a cult classic. In fact, in the years to come, we shall all remember Sarkodie's Borga as one of the legendary hiplife songs. Let me tell you why.

Michael Owusu, known to many fans as Sarkodie, is a hiplife artist. He had spent the last few years freestyling and engaging in rap battles in Tema. Rumour has it that he never lost one. If you've watched Eminem's 8 Mile, Sarkodie has a similar story. He recorded various underground mixtapes and then eventually became widely known after featuring on Ayigbe Edem's Bougez (Ke va) song. His first music video, Babe (baby), featuring Mugeez of R2Bees catapulted him into the national spotlight. He's still been churning mixtapes, his 'Politics' track surfaced around the 2008 elections and quickly went viral. Today, he has been signed to Konvict SA, Akon's record label in Africa. Hiplife legend, Obrafour, featured him on one of his latest singles, Hiplife, as if to say, Sarkodie was to bear the torch for the genre in these times and beyond. With songs like Lay Away (ft Sway), Edey be (ft Paedae), Altar, and a monumental song like Borga, the sky is the limit for Sarkodie.


Introducing REACH-Ghana on the occasion of World AIDS day

Posted by abocco on Wed, 12/02/2009 - 20:20 GhanaThink Managing Executive

I was notified about the website for REACH-Ghana today and I must say I am impressed with how far this organization has come in the last 4 months following BarCamp Diaspora at JHU-SAIS in Washington, DC. A few young passionate Ghanaians with interest in the health sector came together after a healthcare breakout session during July's BarCamp Diaspora and started investigating how they could contribute to Ghana's health sector. Their enthusiasm has given birth to Representatives for Equal Access to Community Health-care (Ghana).


I ask for more Patrick Awuahs and more Ashesis in this life

Posted by abocco on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 10:42 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Earlier tonight, I met Patrick Awuah. Again. Up close. This is the second time I am dedicating a blog entry to him. Why not? He's awesome. He gives me goosebumps when I meet him. Yes. Sounds weird. I told my roommates I had a crush on him. Oui. Of course, I am straight and straight up drumming home the point that we need more Patrick Awuahs in this world. If you didn't know already. But the focus of this entry is really about what he talked about tonight. What brought him to this area so I could be in the same room as him is not important. His words, actions, character are. Let's dig into what he said.

As some of you may know, Patrick and Ashesi University just won the Aspen Institute's McNulty Prize for 2009. Doesn't matter to me how relevant or prestiguous the prize is, but the fact that Patrick has yet another honour. Judges choosing the McNulty Prize included Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates, and Olara Otunnu; go figure. He won $100,000, a nice sum of money that will go a long way. It felt quite good to congratulate him in person, just a week after I had heard of his award from an Ashesi mailing list. The prize was in the conscience of most of the 30 or so students who gathered earlier tonight to have an evening with Patrick and Patrick started the night off with a short film prepared about Ashesi University which won him the prize. The film told a few stories Patrick had mentioned when I met him earlier this year and this is a time to share.


September 21, 2009 - Kwame Nkrumah's 100th birthday - blog roundup

Posted by abocco on Sat, 09/26/2009 - 11:03 GhanaThink Managing Executive

This is a little late but September 21 was the 100th birthday of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He's being honoured in Ghana with September 21 instituted as Founder's Day, a national holiday. Many people travelled to Ghana to celebrate his centenary. I wanted to take this opportunity to honour Ghana's founding father and remember him once again. I don't really have much to say about Nkrumah today, but I will talk about him later on. So I'll use this blog to recap a bunch of recent Nkrumah related blog posts.


Before we call it Gollywood, Ghallywood, Sinikrom, etc - let's get our house in order

Posted by abocco on Mon, 08/17/2009 - 07:48 GhanaThink Managing Executive

I can't wait for Shirley Frimpong-Manso's next movie. It's been almost 5 months since Perfect Picture came out. She's not the only one making Ghanaian movies though, some of the other movie houses churn out movies as frequently as once a month. I'll like to touch on a few issues in Ghanaian movies and offer some thoughts and advice. See my previous post about the emergence of Ghanaian movies and some thoughts on working towards more excellence. I know some people don't like the idea of calling Ghana's movie industry Ghallywood or Gollywood and they have a point. Let's do something different. How about we call it Sinikrom? Oh wait, Phamous People has the 'Cinekrom' show. I am a huge fan of Phamous People, will love to see them get involved in the movie industry.


Celebrating the emergence of Ghanaian movies and working towards more excellence

Posted by abocco on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 03:59 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Blog culled from the MIghTy African

Last September, I wrote an article on the story of the Ghanaian movie industry which talked about its recent history as well. Since then, there have been many Ghanaian movies that have come out, some of which I've seen and the industry continues to grow. I've been in a number of good discussions about Ghanaian movies, the latest of which transpired at BarCamp Diaspora. The conversations haven't changed much but the ideas for improvements have been refined and I will be touching on a few in this entry.


Dissecting Barack Obama's speeches in Ghana

Posted by abocco on Wed, 07/22/2009 - 08:31 GhanaThink Managing Executive

On July 11, around 12:40pm GMT, I was rounding off a night of partying in Las Vegas. To me, life was good. What was I missing? Barack Obama's address to the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra. Obama is building a legacy of great speeches and this was also bound to be a historic one. Hussein did not disappoint. He was speaking the capacity as the 'leader of the free world' and president of the great US of A. As I read the speech more carefully today, I felt America's first Black president seemed to be speaking for Africans and Africa, even more than for America. He did show a lot of tough love to Africa in there but his tone was one of - this is what Africa needs and desires, this is the way 'we can do it', and this is the way the rest of the world (America, etc) should help. Obama has some Africa in him and for those of us Africans who wondered how much help he'll be to us, I believe we should sleep well at night because he does mean business.


Writing African stories, young African writers and the Baobab prize

Posted by abocco on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 09:02 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Deborah Ahenkorah sent some info about Baobab Prize 2009 out recently and it has inspired me to write about African writers and African stories. Growing up, my favorite novels to read were the JAWS (Junior African Writers Series) books as well as those from AWS (African Writers Series). I used to be really intrigued by them and this followed into my love for books like Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe), Half of a Yellow Sun (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) and Our Sister Killjoy (Ama Ata Aidoo). Many of the famous African novelists are still writing but a whole new generation of writers are starting to join the gang and the Baobab Prize is encouraging that. Maybe, I'll also write a novel soon, who knows.


Obama in Ghana - A round-up of blog posts by Ghanaian bloggers

Posted by abocco on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 00:31 GhanaThink Managing Executive

This past weekend marked the visit of Barack Obama to Ghana. A lot has been said about the significance of this visit, this being the first trip to a sub-Saharan African nation by the first Black American president. I missed most of the speeches and festivities since I had 'gotten away' for the weekend and have been reading up on some blogs written by various Ghanaians on the Obama trip. I will like to share some thoughts from these awesome people.

GhanaConscious' own Omanba critiqued Barack's speech. She broke it down into four major parts - democracy, health care, conflict resolution and doing it yourself. I personally think too much mention is made of democracy but Omanba spells it out nicely - "An era of tyranny, gagging, misuse of power and governing with impunity sprinkled with a dash of Elections every so often, does not constitute democracy. Africa must take note!" She stresses the fight against HIV-AIDS and Malaria and also mentions drug counterfeiting which leads to a shameless plug about the fantastic work of Mpedigree.


Obama talks to AllAfrica.com about visit to Ghana, etc

Posted by abocco on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 20:39 GhanaThink Managing Executive

I haven't followed Barack Obama much since he became the US president but ever since news broke of his impending visit to Ghana July 10-11, I've become a little more attentive. I hear he will be giving a speech at the Independence Square for which Ghanaians from all walks of lie could go see him speak. Obama is noted for great speeches and I believe we have another one coming up, after his stirring speech at the American University of Cairo earlier this year.

Recently, he sat down with journalists from AllAfrica.com to talk about his visit to Ghana. Ghana is seen as one of the shining stars on the continent and it's easy to see why it would be chosen. It is also a leader in the Pan-African movement, with events like Panafest. President Kuffour also built great ties with Bush's America and the ties will continue with Obama-Mills. Barack Obama is believed to be visiting the Central Region during his short stay in Ghana, probably touring the slave castles there and learning about some more Black history.


President Obour - Having the youth lead now, case study Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Posted by abocco on Sat, 06/27/2009 - 00:28 GhanaThink Managing Executive

Sometime last year, news broke of Obour, a Ghanaian rap artiste, wanting to run for president. It turned out he wasn’t serious about it, but he wondered why ‘young people’ couldn’t run for the highest office in the land. He wanted the minimum age for seeking for the presidency to be reduced from 40. He started a Youth for Presidency campaign saying the constitution was not fair to the youth. Kufuor was more than 60 when he became president and Atta Mills is 64 at the moment. Is the presidency of Ghana for retirees? Maybe it is. We are seeing a youth movement in the present NDC government though, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, an Odadee, is the present deputy minister of information and he is under 30. His age mate, Obour tells us what he would do if he were president in his ‘President Obour’ song. How will the youth handle such responsibility? Do we need more young leaders like Samuel? If we have to pay our dues before we get that type of responsibily, what are those dues?

Bice Osei Kuffour, popularly known as Obour, is one of Ghana’s foremost musicians. He emerged onto the scene with interesting lyrics in his ‘Atenteben’ hit and has continued to remain one of Ghana’s top rappers. He is one of the few hiplife artistes who has a university degree, from the University of Ghana no less. He started his own sports’ bar in the heart of Accra and has other enterprises. He organized one of the best tours ever seen in Ghana, taking his Project Obour.com/Atumpan concert tour to over 35 towns in Ghana. He is also known for his various public campaigns; Road Safety campaign (Okoaba), Peace in Ghana campaign (For Election 2008) and the ABC Ghana Reads campaign. He understands the influence he has as a celebrity and entertainer and is using his fame for socio-economic development and for socially conscious programs.