Sibling Blogs

My siblings Freja and Aron have finally

1. moved abroad and
2. started to blog

What took you so long?

I think your blogs are the funniest around (unfortunately only in Swedish with few additions in German (Freja) and French (Aron)). Could it be because we grew up together?

Or because one of you is a stand-up comedian/culture producer/actor and one a professional juggler/male nanny?

In the pic: Aron and Freja during a happy moment 2007.

Ghana, Women and ICT

Today, I attended an interesting meeting at the AITI-KACE in Accra on Women and ICT in Ghana.

In a country where general access to computers and Internet is low, women tend to be underrepresented in ICT professions (except when it comes to data entry). However in Nigeria, AITI-KACE's Director General Dorothy Gordon informed us, many ICT classes are totally made up of women and many women in our neighboring country have their own IT companies. Some have even set up IT companies in Ghana!

How can Ghanaian women catch up?

The young educated women in the crowd shared with us that they mostly use computers, many had them in their homes, for checking email and social networking, like facebook.

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to on the spot present, the aggregator - or list - of Ghanaian blogs I started with a friend back in 2008. I also mentioned two Ghanaian blogs that could serve as inspiration for women who were interested in creating content on the web, rather than just consuming it:
Esi's blog Wo Se Ekyir and
Nana Darkoa and Co's blog Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women.

The response was great, people wanted to know more about and how to start their own blog, so now I am invited to AITI-KACE's Inspiration days 7-8 Oct to talk more about blogging.

Anyone out there who wants to join me in spreading the gospel of blogging?

In the pic some of the participants at the meeting and Dorothy Gordon, Director for the AITI-KACE.

Forward Ever, Backwards Never

Exhausted by the Nkrumah celebrations, I return to the blog with some less than monolithic notes about my daily life, hope thats ok...

Thursday and Friday are my days for research (Mon-Wed I teach and prepare for class or grade stuff) but so far very little research has been done since University of Ghana has not yet gotten back to me on my PhD application. I note my own naiveté in this post from 2007, when I thought the application process would be swift. Ha.

Here is the full story (well, minus all the trips I've taken to "check on my application"): I submitted in March. The university then extended the application period with a month. Sigh. Then the Graduate School went on vacation, then they had to check if my application was complete (it was), then it was sent to the department I wish to study at - Institute of African Studies. The semester started. Then their board met to discuss the graduate proposals, I believe that was on the 2nd of September, so now I don't know what they are waiting for.

I intend to go there today to find out and push my fate. Forward ever, backwards never.

Then I'm having lunch with a very interesting friend and maybe a meeting with Gordon of Aedhotep Developments that I wrote on here.

Later in the afternoon, 3-5 PM there is a meeting on Women and ICT at Kofi Annan Center for Excellence (AITI-KACE). Lets see if I make it there, it does sound interesting.

In the pic, me at University of Ghana in March of last year after starting my application by beginning on my proposal...

Kwame Nkrumah: Known by Many Names

This collection of Nkrumah's (positive) nicknames is being showed at Nubuke Foundation, more details on the exhibit here.

The Messiah
The Saviour
Fountain of Honour
The Infallible
The Ideological Mentor
Show Boy (Which Maya Maame blogged on here)
Osagyefo (Redeemer in Twi)
Asomdwehene (King of Peace)
Oyeadieeyie (Repairman, someone who puts things right)
Kasapreko (Someone who speaks her/his mind)
Blogger AntiRhythm adds two historically interesting names to the list. His christian name "Francis" - and the confused misspelled name that FBI used in their file "Ukrumah", read the stories here and here.

Time Magazine, in August 1962, added "Africa's biggest ego" to the list.

Kwame Nkrumah: The City of Tema (Part 2)

Landmarks in concrete.

The Cocoa Silos

The Kwame Nkrumah Motorway

One of these monolithic structures were never used. The other is the backbone of the Greater Accra economy.

I amuse myself with thinking about if the two had been used - and developed - since the 1960s.

What do you think, does it matter?

Kwame Nkrumah: The City of Tema (Part 1)

Over this week, we have a Kwame Nkrumah theme at Ghanablogging.

I thought I'd write about an important aspect of Nkrumah's legacy. The industrial harbor town of Tema. My new hometown. (I know its beside the point, but also there is almost nothing about Tema, GH, online!)

Let's start my exposé on Tema with Nkrumah's own words. We go back to February 10th, 1962 and the Official Opening of the Tema Harbor. Kwame Nkrumah walks up to a podium and gives his speech.
"By taking advantage of the river systems of West Africa, it should be possible - again, by concerted action - to connect the hinterland, far outside the boarders of Ghana, with this great port of Tema. Thus, in this harbour of Tema, we see a unifying force and an essential requirement in the progress towards African Unity"
Hence, Tema was just one part of the grandiose plan of Africa rising. Tema should be a harbor not just for Ghana, but for Africa. Still today, Burkina Faso, Mali and other landlocked countries are highly dependent on the Tema harbor. What whould they be today without this sea port?

Nkrumah continued his speech with comparing the existing Takoradi harbor "designed by the colonialists to facilitate the exportation of the wealth of the country" to this new sea port. He said:
"Tema is the sign post of the future. It represents the purposeful beginning of the industrialisation of Ghana. It is the signal for industrial expansion, a challenge to our industry and intelligence and a hope for the future."
Tema and its connection to a bright Pan-African future will be my starting point for future deliberations on Tema.

Pic: My first view of the Tema harbor, Xmas 2004.

Kwame Nkrumah: Events in Commemoration

There have been complaints about that Ghana has not managed to plan the centennial of Kwame Nkrumah's birth very successfully. See for instance popular journalist Ato Kwamina Dadzie discuss it here.

It might be true, but let me in the interest in what actually has been planned not go into it further, but instead kick off the KWAME NKRUMAH WEEK with the following Nkrumah celebratory events.

1. Sunday 13th September (today!), Nubuke Foundation opens its photo exhibit of Kwmae Nkrumah's life. In addition to the enlarged photos, a document called a "lexicon" will be presented chronicling Nkrumah's life and deeds. Time: 3.30PM. The exhibit can be viewed until 10th of October. (see picture)

2. Monday-Tuesday 14-15th September, The Dubois Center in collaboration with some other groups organize a symposium. Monday it will be situated at University of Ghana, Tuesday at the center in Labone, Accra. Time: 9AM-5 PM both days.

3. Thursday-Sunday 17-20 September, festivities in Nkrumah's hometown Nkroful organized by the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Planning Committee announced on Peace FM and referred here.

Hope to see you at some of these events!

Next week: Blogs on Kwame Nkrumah

All of next week, a group of Ghanaian bloggers including myself has decided to dedicate to Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah.

The week leads up to Nkrumah's 100th Birthday, celebrated on the 21st of September.

As Kwame Nkrumah had enormous impact on Ghana and all of Africa, I hope you will read some of the other Ghanaian blogs this upcoming week. They can be found on or Ghanablogging aggregator here.

Pic: One of the most used photos of Nkrumah, tinted purple by me. Who was the photographer?

Shirley Frimpong-Manso's New Movie

For you who, like me, LOVED The Perfect Picture (I posted on it here ) - I have some good news.

According to the blogger Ameyaw Debrah, Writer/producer/director Frimpong-Manso's new film will be called A Sting in A Tale and can best be defined as an "adventure comedy". And it's coming in November!

What ever it is, I'll go see it.

Also, I wonder who would know how much her previous film made at the box office in Ghana and around the globe?

Ps. There is no decent picture of this superwoman online, please NKA, do something!

No Rain in Africa? Few Reports on Flooding in West Africa

One might almost think that there is no Rain in Africa, judging from the extremely sparse Ghanaian journalistic reporting about the flooding that has misplaced 600 000 people in Northern Ghana and other West African countries. According to some reports 25 Ghanaians have already died in the floods.

While BBC had this flooding among its top news yesterday, see for instance here, the issue was glaringly absent from the Daily Graphic front page, the most read newspaperin Ghana on the same day.

On popular news site Ghanaweb, I find only this article on the floods, source CNN (!)

Also reliable radio channel Joy FM, do not place any significance on the flooding in the country. The same CNN article (!!) is what they have listed under Africa/International on their webpage here.

One would think since Ghanaians are dying and we live relatively close to the scene, Ghanaian journalists would be the first to report on this horrible situation to the surrounding world. But sadly, the situation has not improved at all since I blogged about the flooding in 2007 here . What I said then was
people write me about the floods in Ghana - note the irony of that I write a comment on it on my blog “Rain in Africa”. Anyways apparently these floods make it to the news in Sweden, Spain and the US.

Is this news not relevant to Ghana? Do we not care?

Map borrowed from

Website on Ghanaian Food

Through Gayle Pescud's post on Global Voices on Ghanaian cuisine "You Are Invited", I stumbled across Betumi, an extremely well-researched website on Ghanaian foods, created by obruni cum expert Fran Osseo-Asare.

Osseo-Asare writes on many (all?) different aspects of Ghanaian foods - the culture surrounding it, how to make fufu, grilled tilapia and Fante kenkey, as well as the ceremonial uses of Oto etc. The website is complemented by a couple of books (which I have not seen in Ghana) and importantly also features a blog! Latest updated on Thursday on the Ghanaian breakfast served to the Obamas in Ghana on their visit in July.

Osseo-Asare beautifully summarizes the Ghanaian kitchen like this:
I think of Ghanaian cuisine as a kind of culinary jazz. The pepper, tomatoes, and onions, and possibly the oil, form the rhythm section. The stew is one musical form, like blues, the soup and one-pot dishes are others. Like a successful improvisation, the additional ingredients vegetables, seeds and nuts, meat and fish harmonize and combine into vibrant, mellow creations. While Ghanaian cuisine is very forgiving and flexible, there are certain "chords" or combinations that go together, and others that do not. Part of mastering the cuisine requires learning these chords and developing the sense of what goes with what: gari or fried ripe plantain or tatale (ripe plantain pancakes) with red bean stew; kenkey with fried fish and a hot pepper sauce like shito; banku with okra stew; chicken with groundnut soup; soup with fufu; palaver sauce with boiled green plantain or yams or rice.
Read my other posts on Ghanaian foods aka culinary jazz here.

Pic: Jazz in Accra in July 2009.

Ashesi Campus Groundbreaking in Berekuso

On Saturday, I was fortunate to experience the groundbreaking - or sod-cutting - of the new Ashesi University Campus in Berekuso, up in the Akuapim Hills in Ghana. This beautiful hill lies about an hour drive north of Accra and was breezy and green on this joyous day.

The university which is currently housed in a residential area in down-town Accra, hopes on this campus extend its student population from 400 to 600 and of course provide a less distracting and more beautiful environment.

The ceremony came off to a bit of a late start, but that was lucky since the townfolk of Berekuso had to climb the steep hill by foot and arrived just in time for the chiefs' arrival. I can safely say all of Berekuso town were there, small and big, clad in gold, colorful cloths or in school uniform.

The whole experience was wonderful, but I think the most touching part of the day was when the chief explained how welcome the university was by telling us that a residential developer had inquired about purchasing that very hill for a project.
- But we would rather have an educational institution here in Berekuso.

Or maybe the most emotional part was when we cheered for Patric Awuah, the founder of the University during the presentation of dignitaries. And then his mother was introduced and the crowd went from loud cheer to complete euphoria!(Gotta love the Ghanaian mother-centered culture!)

Other articles on this event were written by Friends of Ashesi/Todd Warren, Peace FM, and the official version here.

New Job, New Week

Last week, was my first at my new job.

As always when you start something afresh there is loads of information, faces and guidelines to take in
"you must create a new password", "Hi, don't you remember me?", "you should park here" etc ad infinitum.
In this case there is also a class of 47 students as I will be teaching Expository Writing for freshmen, or first year students.

Already all this steady stream of new has provided me with the best quality sleep for a long, long time. And already I love my new job!

Pic: White board answers for "how do you become a better writer?" It says Reading, Interview, Listening, Vocabulary, Critical Thinking, Dictionary, Write more, Talking more.
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