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Diaspora

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.


BarCamp Diaspora '09 - More work to follow, it's time to move

Posted by GhanaThink on Wed, 07/29/2009 - 04:57

After the success of BarCamp Ghana '08, I dreamt of a similar event in the US. It took a while to bring the planning and organization together and last weekend, the dream came true in the form of BarCamp Diaspora '09. The event, themed 'Investing our talent where it counts', took place at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins' University in Washington, DC on July 25. BarCamp Diaspora was a free event that brought together people interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Africa. The event went on smoothly and judging from the feedback of the attendees, I can call it a success as well.


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.


BarCamp Diaspora - Investing our talent where it counts

Posted by GhanaThink on Fri, 06/26/2009 - 07:47

On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchanged ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. This summer, the conversations move to Washington, DC to bring together the African Diaspora to exchange ideas on doing business in Africa.


Letta to Osagyefo - Power corrupts and power can overcome corruption as well

Posted by Nwia on Fri, 06/20/2008 - 07:02

Hey Osagyefo,

Please don't put me into your bad books due to this long silence. I have been thinking about you but I was preoccupied with thinking about my classes rather than dedicating time to preparing a letter to you. After all, no one is paying me to do this, but my classes are supposed to get me paid in the future. Eventually. So appreciate my efforts, Kwame, I am not being corrupted. I surely don't need any brown envelopes to share my thoughts on our beloved nation. Now think of those who are actually supposed to serve our nation. It's their job to do it. They are the ones whose jobs have been clouded in the controversy called corruption. It's a canker, but what can we do about it?


Letta to Osagyefo - Knowledge of what's going on at home

Posted by Nwia on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 23:50

Hey Osagyefo,

I've been back in Yankee for about two weeks now. I am sorry for not notifying you earlier, I wanted to settle in first. I am happier about being back now, a new quarter has started, I've spoken to a number of friends and loved ones, enjoyed fast internet for a while now, you know. I don't think I know much about what's going on in Ghana, even though there are countless media outlets to keep me informed. It just doesn't look the same you know. A discerning Ghanaian abroad may hear people making a big deal about one political party threatening fire and brimstone if an election goes a certain way on radio, but to the Ghanaian at home, there is nothing burning and no signs of smoke. but I never paid much attention to these popular news outlets online when I was home but I am stuck with them now. Where did the other sources of news and information go?


Heavy, heavy - weight and obesity in Ghana

Posted by abocco on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 18:22 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

I am one of Obrafour's biggest fans. I travelled a number of miles away to buy his latest album, Heavy. The title track dominated the Ghanaian charts in 2006 and rightly so. I hadn't paid much attention to what he meant by 'heavy, heavy', until my little cousin passed a comment about her fears in becoming fat if she eats too much. Then it dawned on me. Obrafour uses 'heavy' to mean 'great, nice', etc. But in today's 'watch your weight world', who wants to be 'heavy'?


Human being - ensuring, maintaining and relocating to peace

Posted by abocco on Tue, 01/08/2008 - 13:07 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

Home is where I find the most peace but all is not peaceful. News broadcasts in Ghana are as common as every top of the hour. I have known Ghanaian news broadcasts to provide good news; hospital building commissionings, speech and prize giving days, and price increases. Call it boring if yu may please but once in a while we have news to 'tickle' you. My friends in Bawku have some 'tickling' news to report, some of their friends have taken to the streets and have left in their wake some dead bodies. "If my brother dey struggle for Kenya, I be Kenyan oh" - Wanlov sang about it, but if my brother is suffering in Kenya, I feel the ripples, I feel the pain. It could happen in my backyard, Bawku is not exactly my backyard, but it is.


Letter to Osagyefo - the make-up of an African

Posted by Nwia on Thu, 06/07/2007 - 10:39

Yo Osagyefo,
I hope your summer has began a new season in your life and you are revising all the resolutions you made after the Bronya. Makes me wonder though. When you were a student in Yonkee, what did you do during your summers? Did you work at McDonalds or at Chase Manhattan? I am thinking that you were part and parcel of minority America and due to your brilliance you always found something profitable to do with your vacations. But could you really work at McDonalds? I don't know what you make of this - but the 'cool' food to buy these days in Ogyakrom, are burgers and pizza. How the mighty have fallen! Heck, I can't tell who is 'African' anymore! Why blame me? Can you?

Kwame, take for instance your name Kwame. Right off the bat, when I see the name Kwame, booyaka, I say he's Ghanaian. Until, I sacrificed academic work and hanging out with Akua Ataa to follow Kwame Jackson through countless episodes of the first season of Apprentice to find out he was not Ghanaian after all. Mind you, I know countless Ghanaians who have never left Ogyakrom that are called Jackson too, not because they like the guy who sang a song about black and white and cannot be put in either racial category but because that's their surname. Apparently, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kwame "I can't catch a ball to save my life" Brown have no relation to Ghana except that their parents liked the name Kwame. So next time you see an email from Ike Smith or Afia Bartels, don't think African, just don't think. Obviously, if I saw the name, Ikechukwu Okonkwo, I would know he is Nigerian. However, I have attended countless African student meetings and several African student gatherings, and never met Ikechukwu. Did his father read about some Okonkwo hero in one of Chinua Achebe's books? If Ikechukwu does not want to associate with his people, why hasn't he changed his name? Is Ms. Dike a Dee-kay or a dyke? Oops. I think she should have stayed in Nigeria.


Where I'm from - knowing and developing our hometowns

Posted by abocco on Fri, 05/04/2007 - 11:42 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
One of the first things I learnt in my Kiswahili class was how to say where I come from (kutoka). My American colleagues mentioned the cities and towns they live in as their hometowns but my situation is different. Like many Ghanaians, our hometowns are the towns where our families trace their roots, heritage, culture or language. Well, maybe some Ghanaians would disagree with me and say they come from Accra because that is all they can associate with. Heck, some may even say they are from the Bronx. Amidst this confusion, maybe the Oseikrom president, Reggie Rockstone could help us answer the hometown question with his "Where I'm from" song.


Africa unite - economic solidarity, Diasporean relations and Bob Nesta Marley

Posted by abocco on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 09:40 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

It's getting closer and closer to Ghana's 50th birthday and I am getting excited and excited. This kind of excitement makes me dedicate extra time to African events and one of those was a recent African open mic event on campus. I did a couple of spoken word pieces, and appreciated the talent of other students on campus. Two friends (not from the continent) performed Bob Marley's Africa Unite. In the midst of the hype and excitement about Ghana's golden anniversary, should we address the notion of African unity more seriously? And why is the most popular song about the topic by a non-African?


Jacket - what you come back for, the Diasporean Ghanaian

Posted by abocco on Sun, 01/21/2007 - 15:00 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

One of the songs my cousin used to sing frequently when I was in Ghana last Christmas was Jacket by Praye (wOama yEayi me jacket). I got hooked onto the song for a bit, but I only started listening to it a lot when I came back to the USA. There's this line that is now synonymous with the song, 'What you come back for'. A lot of my friends in Ghana constanly ask me when I would be returning to Ghana, for good. I have thought about this question many times but when I have to give a response, I am not articulate aout it. So really, why haven't I gone back to Ghana already and what's stopping me?


Letter to Ghana - looking from the outside in - Diaspora

Posted by abocco on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 10:41 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

One song I cannot get enough of lately is Nana Kwabena's Letter to Ghana. It reminds me of this particular opinion piece in the Daily Graphic that I really love, Letter to Jomo and its brother online, Letter to Osagyefo written by one Maximus Ojah. It's been awhile since I wrote a letter, email (and Facebook) have taken over as the mediums of communication but nothing beats the thought and preparation that goes into a letter. Nana Kwabena's letter is full of deep thought and when it is made into music, it's just that more attractive.