Better Than YouTube (Film time again)

I was recently pointed to this collection of videos on the web that are not just entertaining, but also INSPIRATIONAL. There is so much to be done in the world, so many problems, so many suffering - but there is also people who make a difference in their communities and who were invited to TED to share their experiences.

TED is an annual forum bringing together the best speakers in the world to speak for 18 minutes each, charging a shitload for those who go there and use the money to broadcast what has been said online.

For you, I have posted two of my favorite (Ghanarelated) speeches below.

The first talk is the Swedish professor in Public Health Hans Rosling talking about what statistics can tell us about development, health and change (I earlier wrote about his initiative Gapminder here) Prof shows that Sweden 1891 had the development of Ghana today and that development is a possibility for Africa.

The second speaker is Ghanaian Patric Awuah who left a comfortable life in the US working for Microsoft to go back to Ghana to start up Ashesi University, a liberal arts college to educate future leaders. Mid speech he talks about the empowering effects of being able to create, something wich tangents the WORLDwrite documentary from yesterday.

Both these speakers have recieved a lot of attention and praise on the net - and that is no coincidence, they are simply great. So leave the laughs at YouTube behind and invite some friends over to together be entertained AND inspired.

The Other Africa (Film time)

Here's an interesting short documentary about visionary people in Ghana with plans on how to advance their country without foreign aid. The eight minute producation was made by WORLDwrite a charity who through film, exchanges and education of young people seeks to "challenge prejudices and stereotypes". This film does just that, showing an Africa that is expanding by its own force contrary to images of despair.

Their other short films from Ghana all succed with asking important questions (like are the NGO's in Africa just modern missionaries telling poor people what to do? and why is Africa urbanizing with such a speed? ) as well as showing very true footage of Ghanaian everyday life.

I highly recommend a half an hour with these snippets from Ghana.

December in Dakar

An event I really wish I hadn't missed was the African Gender Awards 2007, held this past December in Dakar, Senegal. The award is organized by the organization Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) and was this year given to Rwanda and its president Paul Kagame for the efforts of bringing women into national desicion making. Rwanda has currently 48% women in its parliament.

The forum attatched to the award ceremony had the theme "African Women for African Development: Building Partnerships with the Diaspora" and the issues discussed were very close to issues I'd like to include in my research like "Migration and the changing genderroles" and "Curbing emigration: What steps can Africa take to better train and retain its human resources?"

Now I just have to console myself with that some of the documents used for discussion are available online, and that maybe in 2009 I can join the Femmes Africa Solidarité somewhere else on this beautiful continent.

In the picture the statuette of the Award inspired by the African woman Nandi. A film on her talking to her daughter about the future of the continent can be seen here.

Drip, drip

It rained today. The rain came down so heavily I could not hear the music that was playing at the neighbours'. It rained so much I had to scoop out water from my flower boxes. It rained so much that the evening now still seems cool.

It also rained in my commentry box, and a new friend was nice enough to give me the URLs for a bunch of Ghana blogs. i'll go through them and link to the ones I like.

In the pic, I am on the computer in my study. Its raining outside.

Independent Celebration

Today is Ghana's Independence Day. It is a public holiday and there is a huge parade in Accra which I had planned to attend. But then a Ghanaian friend of mine told me that these parades consists mainly of
school children standing in the scolding sun and big men enjoying themselves
I thought that I can see every day and changed my mind. Today I will be celebrating Ghana's 51 years as a sovereign state by smelling the flowers in my garden.

In the slideshow: Ginger, Bourgainvillea, Marigold, Lilly, Hibiscus, Papaya and Green Peas. All in bloom right now!

Update: Also Nwia feels the same about the Independence Day parade (Mr. Sexy being Ghana's president John Kuffuor):
I haven't celebrated this huge day in Ghana for a long while. I don't even know how I am going to celebrate it. As you guessed, it's a holiday so most of us are staying at home. Not me. What will I do if I stay at home? Watch the 8th and final independence parade under Mr. Sexy Eyes' watch? Not enough. The man would not find the faces of the hundreds of children who'll have to stand under the scorching sun for hours at the Independence Square sexy.

Ghana Blogs Gone Fishing

Today, I thought I'd add a long and interesting list of all blogs currently written in Ghana. But I found only three active ones (Teaching in Ghana is so well written and still relatively current), see the right hand side bar bwlow. I know there must be more bloggers in Ghana, where are you?

The Afro'Lick Trick

I was at a thing for professionals in Ghana last week. It was a network meeting including the beautiful people of Accra and the businesses who want to brand themselves to this group.

Among other things a magazine called Canoe was distributed. The background to the name is according to the editorial:
Canoe is simply Canoe; one of Ghana's main modes of transport some golden years back. The carted everything; luxury items, alcohol, grocery, livestock, waxprint, tradestock, weapons and ferried people across seas and villages linked with rivers.

And fair enough, the mag Canoe brings to us articles on luxury items like cars and technology, imagery containing alcohol and fashion and ads for expensive hotels and boutiques. But also, and more interestingly, the magazine uses a positive language when speaking of African things. When I flipped though the glossy pages these words really popped out, probably because "African-ness" is rarely spoken about in such a way. Some examples:
InnoNative Housing (on environmentally friendly Ghanaian architecture), Afro'Lick (about latest trends), Afroluxe (about latest gadgets), African Values (in an ad also stating "proudly Ghanaian") and Afrosexual (in a fashion reportage to describe the black models sexual orientation as preferring African partners? Usage not entirely clear).

So will a publication showing that Africans also like to indulge in champagne and fast cars change the image of Africa? Surely not, the focus on consuming luxury items to display success isn't new, constructive or even interesting (yawn!)at all. But I find that the use of Afri-positive language gives a juicy Afro'Lick on InnoNative Afrique-futures.

In the pic some beautiful people at the launch of above described magazine borrowed from, Ghanas only model agency - seemingly highly involved in the CanoeQuarterly.
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