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
Over 300 people interested in Ghana congregated on December 21st at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. BarCamp Ghana 09 was themed "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers" and the event was centered around youth creating and making change and setting up themselves to lead, be innovate and entrepreneurial now. The event run from 9am past 7pm and was free for all attendees. Breakfast, lunch, and drinks were all provided at no cost to attendees. A BarCamp Ghana 09 Tshirt made to show appreciation to our sponsors and provide a long-lasting souvenir from the event was sold to attendees at 5 Ghana Cedis.
On December 22, 2008, over a hundred young Ghanaians met in Accra for BarCamp Ghana '08 to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship, innovation and development for a rising Ghana. This summer, the conversations moved to Washington, DC on July 25, 2009 where BarCamp Diaspora '09 brought together the African Diaspora to exchange ideas on doing business in Africa.
This December 21st in Accra, the BarCamp Ghana team, made up of passionate young Ghanaians, presents BarCamp Ghana '09, under the theme "Leadership for our times - cultivating change makers". The event will take place on December 21, 2009 from 8am - 6pm at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus at 20 Aluguntuguntu Street in East Legon, Accra.
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.
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.
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.
The last time I wrote to you, your daughter, Samia, had become a Member of Parliament. Now, she is in the news again praising Ghana’s new president, Asomdwoe Hene Atta Mills for proposing a Founder’s Day to honour you. This national holiday would commemorate your 100th birthday, September 21, 2009 and would be a yearly affair just like Martin Luther King Day in the USA. I don’t know why this bit is not surprising, but the folks in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have opposed this proposal and getting this legislation to pass is going to be a battle in parliament. This opposition is being branded as a feature of the “Mate me ho” folk, which dates back as far as you emerged on the scene as Ghana’s leader. The National Democratic Congress’ majority will probably chalk another democratic victory so felicitations again, Osagyefo, it seems you are about to chalk another feat.
Forgive my insubordinate self for not keeping in touch. I know my letters have become occasional but it's not because you didn't send me that stimulus package. I will change. But as you can guess, there is an occasion. Coming up in two days is the election in Ghana. Ghana will be electing a new president as Traveller John steps down after two-terms. We know for sure there will be a change in who our first citizen is. Would there be a change in what our first citizen does? The world is looking at Ghana wondering if we'll pass another test in our democracy. We'll be praying for peace and a free and fair election.
Kwame, people are saying Ghanaians are too 'chill' for post-election violence in case some group of people feel there is a stolen verdict. Kenya and Zimbabwe cannot happen in Ghana they say. Some credit you for pushing unity amongst Ghanaians, overseeing the development of our education system which encouraged Ghanaians to leave their hometowns and settle in areas where their mother tongue was not spoken and children attending boarding schools all over the country. Kenya has done similar things so what is so different about Ghanaians? It's because we have seen what happened there and various campaigns have been waged to curtail any violence. I think the presidential candidates should have joined Junior Judas and Traveller John in a short video to preach peace as well. We haven't taken this thing too seriously.
It's been two weeks since my last post. I didn't see this silence coming when I started blogging. But what you should know is, I got stories, lots of stories. Last Thursday, I attended a meeting regarding a new NGO set-up to raise funds for students in one district in Kenya. One of the founders has been my Swahili tutor for two quarters. To show that I belonged, I started speaking the little Swahili I knew to whoever would listen. "Why are you studying Kiswahili?" This is the question other people at the meeting asked me. I responded "Marafiki zangu 'plenty' wanatoka Afrika Mashariki" which means 'a lot of my friends are from East Africa'. My Swahili tutor went on to say 'This guy is a Pan-Africanist'. That is a cool thing to hear given my love for Kwame Nkrumah, but is it really a cool description? How are Pan-Africanists seen today? People blamed Nkrumah for concentrating too much on other African countries and he eventually began to alienate his own people. Will being a Pan-Africanist thread me on the same path?
...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
There has been a lot of controversy in Ghana lately about the recent National Honours Awards and who deserves awards and who should be giving them out. Naturally, we would want 'Ghana' to give out these awards and not the president of the nation or a bunch of people with various interests. So what if Ghana was a person? What would Ghana have to say to its people? If Ghana was a monarchy, the king would be Ghana. We don't have that. My buddy, Okyeame Kwame personifies Ghana in his Kwame Ghana song and tells us what Ghana has to say to its people. 6th march 1957 was a Wednesday while July 1st, 1960 was a Friday. Maybe Kwame Ghana's message sums up the thoughts of Okyeame Kwame, who after all is a Ghanaian as well.
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?
In Ghana - talking about issues, ideas and not people
...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins
I can't tell you how happy I feel to be in Ghana. Yes, it is home, but it is where I find the most peace. When there is a boring moment, I am thinking. When there is a sad moment, I am thinking. When there is a happy moment, I am not thanking anyone, because it is just routine when I am in Ghana. I must be selling Ghana to you and it's no secret why I may be doing so at this particular time, with the African Cup of Nations underway in Ghana in just over two weeks, every inch of Ghana is being sold. On the back of Ghana's golden jubilee, Ghana wants as many people to be in Ghana. Wanlov is no different.
Wanlov aka One love aka Odo Baako aka Sumo ekome is a Ghanaian musician. The son of Ghanaian father and Romanian mother, he wouldn't strike you as Ghanaian on first glance. You will find it difficult to place him under one genre - he's that good. Wanlov had been stationed in the US for awhile now and just returned to Ghana late last year. He had spent the most of his time abroad making singles, touring the US and performing. I vividly remember him doing a show in a college in Connecticut and then performing in California the next weekend. 'In Ghana' is one of the tracks on his debut release, Green card' which is out now. 'In Ghana' gained popularity in late 2006 after Ghana's debut at the World Cup, it was one of the songs promoting Ghana. Read the lyrics and it's easy to see why, the Ministry of Tourism must hear this one.
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.
These days, it is fashionable to pluralize things that hitherto could only be understood in the singular sense. So, we can comfortably talk of journalisms, instead journalism, to distinguish between the kind of journalistic practice delivered by a Financial Times columnist and a budding reporter from an under-resourced ethnic minority bi-weekly in New York, USA. It is understandable that we would expect different levels of quality from them, as we would their earnings. Their use of language may also be dictated by their respective house styles and their standing in industry.