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People & Lifestyle

A Literature Review of Kofi Kinaata’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Amu Mawutoh

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In October 2019, a month ago, the Things Fall Apart writer and singer, Kofi Kinaata (formally called Martin King Arthur) released his song that took to the music industry and caused a stir online and on the airwaves. Ghanaians on Twitter reacted to the song by tweeting their opinions of the song – some quoting their favourite lines of the song and many more hailing him for the message of the song.

The Western Regional award winning song-writer and singer came to the limelight when he featured on Castro’s Odo Pa (2013). Two years later, he collaborated with Donzy and released The Crusade (2015). He is also known for hits like Susuka (2015), Sweetie Pie (2016), Confession (2017), Time No Dey (2017), and very recently, Things Fall Apart.

Kofi Kinaata, is a Highlife/Hiplife musician who comes from a Christian home in Takoradi. Born into a Christian home with a father who is a past or and a bible studies teacher in his church, it is expected that he is raised with Christian moral values and with the Bible. It is therefore not a wonder that many of his hit songs such as Confession, Susuka and Things Fall Apart appear to draw from his family and Christian background with references to God and Christian lifestyles. According to AnswersAfrica.com, Kinaata is influenced by the reggae musician, Joseph Hill and his songs which preach love, unity and peace.

Since hearing Kinaata’s music in 2015, when he released The Crusaders – I will always have it in my memory as the song that brought him to my attention – I have found his sense of humour as a musician refreshing as well as his choice of language when rapping and singing. These set him apart, in my opinion, from other musicians. More than that, I respected him for the themes he addresses in his songs and his innovative and ingenious music videos also were not in the usual trend – there was no use of nudity which many artists use in their videos to pull certain viewers with a taste for women nudity – he chooses very traditional settings that showed a true reflection of the reality of the time. His themes have always had a social import and dealt with issues that plagued the Ghanaian. These elements are not absent in

Things Fall Apart.
The title of this new song immediately brings to the mind of any literature student or African novel lover, Chinua Achebe’s popularly known novel of the same title which portrayed a protagonist who did not want to accept the changes of the colonial era, especially with the coming of a new religion and education. It is however, clear from the lyrics that he is referring to falling standards of morals in today’s Ghana. And he chooses to use a familiar ground – church members and leaders – to channel his message.

His refrain which translates in English as “And so is this how we are worshipping God?” is the rhetorical question directed to the church in Ghana and the Christians in Ghana. The title is mentioned once in the song when he refers to the churches with schools that their members cannot afford. It is absurd and really goes to support his claim that things have indeed fallen apart there.

The introductory lines are profound and attest to Kinaata’s skills as a songwriter. Without saying much he makes use of metonymy and imagery and paints a picture of double standards of most church members in Ghana. As depicted in the poster for the song, a black man holds up the alcoholic bottle that is laced with the rosary. In Ghana, Fridays in the Christian circles are associated with all-night church services where the congregation is believed to be praying and warring against the devil who is blamed for all their problems.

At my first hearing of the song, I played with the idea that Kinaata may be addressing the colonial theme when he says that the colonial forces that brought the Bible also brought the alcohol. I wondered if he wanted to tackle the double standards from the colonial point. I settled with the opinion that he uses it as an extended metaphor to propagate his theme. The mention of the alcohol and Bible, coming from the same source is, first of all, used as the excuse for living double standard life by those who are two-faced. Secondly, that all humans are capable of good as well as evil, but it is our responsibility and we must choose the right path.

Thirdly, that the colonial experience brought some good and also bad experiences and again, we should be able to discern and choose the good experience and use it for our development. In sum, we learn from the past, use it in the present and look forward onto the future.

Another strong message that resonates in the refrain is the issue of hypocrisy. And though the framework is as I have mentioned earlier his most familiar setting; the church, he strings this hypocrisy theme through the religious, to the political and to social institutions. He sings to every human being that can hear and understand the song, asking a question that demands his listeners and fans to (ask their friends and ask themselves to) examine their lifestyles, if they are worshipping God right? or as the refrain says “… this is how we are worshipping God?”

With regards to religious institutions, the song addresses the silence of pastors over the bad lifestyles they witness in their members and how the Bible is used to their convenience to become sovereign in their ways. He uses in particular, the verse in 1 chronicle 16:22/Psalm 105:15, which says “do not touch my anointed and do my prophets no harm”. According to Kinaata, this verse becomes the trump card these pastors pull on the masses to avoid being checked or spoken against when they are clearly in the wrong.

In the name of God they do the unspeakable and use the name of God as a cover. Not too long ago a pastor with many followers was arrested for promoting wee smoking in his church. Stories of pastors who also verbally and sexually harass their members, are not wanting. He does not leave Muslims and traditionalists out. There is a mention of Muslims who drink and claim they are “American Muslims”.

With regard to the political setting, he bemoans corruption and the disservice to the citizens who voted these politicians into power. The reality of bad road networks that prevail in the country is given a mention and the floods that come with rains, rendering many homes inhabitable and some roads that cannot be plied after rains.

In the social setting such as educational institutions, the issue of “sex for grades” is brought to the light. A lot of these lecturers are Christians or Muslims whose religious tenets forbid such immoral actions. Kinaata also focuses on people who covert their fellow’s partner (husband/wife) and properties to the point of shedding the blood of their neighbours in order to own what belongs to their neighbours. Also mentioned are those who cannot be patient and work through the process to succeed but want everything on a silver platter and thus will resort to blood money to become rich.

I mentioned earlier that his sense of humour is an element that I find refreshing in his art. I will point out here some of the elements of humour that I find in the song. Kinaata may not have meant to be humorous however, I found myself laughing from these. The first is the mention that on the Day of Judgment, God will have to make some considerations else he will have nobody in heaven. Of course, this is not something to laugh about if you believe in heaven. This implies the lack/falling of standards to a low level in modern times that God may have to lower his standards to get people in heaven.

So many people will not make the mark due to us falling short of his glory. Second is the mention of the Jehovah Witnesses. So many humorous stories abound on the topic of Jehovah witnesses especially with regard to their persistence. But what is hilarious is the imagery of people running away from them and giving all sort of excuses to avoid them; a realistic painting of today’s society. Their attitude to propagating their gospel is I must say, admirable yet sometimes a bit intruding, for lack of a better word. Thirdly, the metaphor Kinaata uses in comparing husband snatchers is, without doubt, a rib-cracker.

Kinaata compares them to plaster on a wound: that these “side chicks” stick so close unyieldingly to another woman’s husband. Lastly, what many people find as a punch line, towards the end of the last verse, when Kinaata says, “Part-time Christian you wan’ fight full-time devil”. I agree that it is a heavy punch line and incredibly weighty with a truth while being humorous for its suggestion of part-time and full-time jobs. There is no winning for the part-time Christian.

Things Fall Apart is a song that describes, unbiased, the realities of a religious country struggling to find the thin line between morality and religion. The two can be confusing sometimes as clearly painted by the Kinnata’s lyrics. It offers a pearl of subtle wisdom that only answers to the questions posed by Kinaata can uncover. Despite its many philosophical intakes, the song can be grooved to by those who prioritize instrumentals and those who consider content before taking a liking to songs alike. Both factions are in good luck. They will be delighted to sing along to the agreeable didactic content of the song while tapping their toes to the instrumentals. Kinaata does well to sing clearly, paying attention to diction so that listeners can hear and ultimately absorb his message.

Hmmmm
The sky is definitely the limit!!!
Keep up the good works

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People & Lifestyle

Our fundamentals are weak: Lessons from the Global Citizen Festival

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Event organization is an arduous and complex terrain. From conceptualization to the composition of a team, to resource mobilization, to marketing, to delivery, it is such a mammoth task which requires grit. Some people presume event organization as an easy task until they have first-hand experience. Unfortunately, the smooth ecosystem in Ghana to facilitate event organization is virtually non-existent. While industry players and ‘ordinary’ citizens strive to see a miraculous change in new event organizations, a new yardstick has been created – the Global Citizen Festival.

What is this new yardstick?

Over the weekend, the Global Citizen Festival (GCF) came off as one of (if not) the best-produced entertainment event in Ghana. Everything was perfect, from the artist lineup, promotions, performances, light, sound, set up, audience control, extra support for attendees (charging ports, free refillable water stations), and live stream. In the past few decades, I have witnessed many events as a physical and a virtual audience. However, I have not even caught such a flawless piece of work.

During and after the event, many netizens in Ghana concur that the GCF has set a benchmark for rating future shows organized by our ‘local’ entertainment bigwigs. That’s fair enough. Barring any other noteworthy piece not directly mentioned, I am convinced that the event’s success rested on a large pool of resources – human and capital.

Expertise and sub-substandardness of local production:

Getting experts to run successful events in Ghana has been a severe bane to event organizations. British Advertising Tycoon David Mackenzie Ogilvy once said, “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine”. Unfortunately, one of Ghana’s significant shortfalls is the lack of technical know-how. Not to say that we don’t have people who have experience in handling events in Ghana. But, the challenge is those who have ‘experience’ are stuck to a particular mundane routine over the years and ‘refuse’ to learn or grow.

Why do I say that? First, it was fascinating to see that our ‘experienced guys’ such as Mr Rudy Kwakye(served as a team lead), Mr Frank Kwakye (sound), and Derrick Ankomah, alongside other production crew members, played impressive roles in the successful organization of the GCF. Yet, these same people offer services to event organizers in Ghana and produce negligible differences yearly. Correct?

So the big question is, what different methods did organizers of the event rely on to pull off such an incredible event? The answer is simple. Our ‘experienced practitioners’ were led/directed by ‘experienced professionals’ (foreigners essentially) assigned by the GCF organizers. For instance, the OB Van (owned by a Ghanaian) used to operate the control room was handled by “outsiders/foreigners”. Not to take anything away from us, but we are just so accustomed to a particular norm. Thus, pulling off a spectacular production is challenging unless there’s a direction from an “outsider”. Our experienced guys would not take a word from you (as a local) if you tried to suggest other creative ways to get the job done. You will likely hear statements such as, “do you know how long I have been doing this? This is my job; let me handle it”. But do they say the same to “outsiders”? Your guess is as good as mine.

We need skilled individuals to thrive in every facet of our industry. But how will we learn new techniques and improve when there is an institutional and financial lapse? When the people themselves are used to the same routine and are unteachable – unless it is a foreigner?

Finance:

On finance, while going through the feeds on Facebook and Twitter, I saw how some netizens went hard on events such as the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards – calling them out to take a cue from the GCF and do better. But one missing link was that very few considered (or consider) the level of capital investment that went into the production of the GCF. The budget, if disclosed, would shock the bone marrow of ordinary Ghanaians who lack insight into what goes into the production of a successful event. I, therefore, ask, when will corporate Ghana and the government understand that the creative arts industry can drive tourism and help accrue millions of dollars into the Ghanaian economy? On this side of the sun, event organizers will go arm’s length to secure sponsorship only to be given a paltry of it (that is when they successfully get any). Lack of financial support leads to inadequate funds to pay for “experts” and acquire advanced equipment to run a flawless event. While the sound guy is underpaid, the light guy is taking his share. As a result, everyone is de-motivated right from the onset, leading to poor production year in and year out. I must also mention GCF employed a large pool of Human resources to see the event’s efficiency. It won’t be surprising that the cost of paying the crew alone can be the entire budget of several “big events” in Ghana. Capital is thus critical in acquiring the tools and human resources needed to man these tools.

Impact on economy:

Notably, the creative arts industry contributes significantly to countries gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide. For instance, in 2020, Media and entertainment contributed a whopping $2 trillion annual economic impact globally and some $500 billion in the United States. It is estimated that about 5 million people are employed within the audiovisual space alone in the creative arts industry, bringing in about $5 billion annually. Sadly, we do not have precise data on the influence of the creative art industry on our economy.

Way forward:

Consequently, I hope that while we set the GCF as a benchmark for future events in Ghana, funding bodies and the government will open their arms wide to support the creative industry. I still consider it an untapped sector. We need to do more. Also, event organizers need to stop underpaying creatives – all in a bid to make so much for themselves. If the resource is available, it is better to pay creatives well, as it would lead to the success of the events. What’s the return on this? Better sponsorship packages for subsequent events. Additionally, our ‘experts’ need to take it upon themselves to outgrow their comfort zone. It is time for them to plug themselves into international productions to acquire enhanced skills and knowl edge to change the fortunes of event organizations in Ghana. On the flip side, I believe our ‘experienced guys’ learnt a thing or two about production while working with these “foreign experts”.

I would use this opportunity to congratulate all the acts who performed, especially our Ghanaian acts, for their stellar performances. Big shouts to Stonebwoy, Sarkodie, Gyakie, DWP Academy, Kwesi Arthur and Yaw Tog. You made us proud.

By David  Quaye

The author of this piece is an MC, a new media enthusiast and digital media freelancer named David Quaye. You can reach him on +233 241 664 181 or davequaye@gmail.com

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Fashion

Meet Ellanore; the Ghanaian fashion brand stapling its name in the hearts of many

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Being uniquely creative in a saturated industry as the fashion industry requires more than just the ability to make a perfect stitch. Just as they say, Imagination encircles the world. Ellanore; a Ghanaian fashion brand through its creative ingenuity is spearheading a new paradigm in today’s fashion space.
Raised in a fashion-obsessed household, Emmanuella Abena Amankwah, an old student of Radford University, the face behind the undisputed brand ELLANORE, has grown to become a household name in the fashion industry while cherishing her desire and strides to make fashion her residence and also, ignite some difference while at it.
Born and raised in Ghana by an affectionate and devoted fashion-oriented mother, Emmanuella, from the get go knew what she wanted, and marked her tracks in achieving that.

Ellanore

Ellanore

Though her ambitions of becoming a seasoned fashion designer were boundless and could not be distracted, she was poised for global excellence and has since worked assiduously towards that.
Her love to create and bring her creative designs to life has been the foundation of her brand. As talented as she is, it is no surprise her outstanding works speak heavily for themselves. Her secret, the desire to see her customers satisfied and happy.
Emmanuella began her fashion brand in 2017 and jumped unto the online platform in the year 2020. She is an all-round fashion designer with great experience in both haute couture and ready-to-wear pieces. She strives to create clothes that are both useful and aesthetically pleasing to stay relevant.
For her, making a perfect garment demands more than just body measurement. The herculean process of creating and making an ideal gown goes through diverse analysis and selection process, including who is wearing it, where it is being worn, and how it must be worn.
While at this, there is also the task of considering materials to work with, as well as a range of colors, designs, accessories, and styles to choose from.
As the creative face behind the Ellanore brand, Emmanuella Abena Amankwah focuses on certain concepts and as a fashion designer, centers on making a statement when it comes to her designs rather than selling out.
According to Abena Amankwah, though the work sometimes can be nerve-racking and stressful, her daughter and family have been her biggest source of inspiration. She however added that it is most fulfilling to receive recommendations from clients who happily wear your brand’s custom-made outfits.
Ella, whose mother takes center stage of her business and growth obviously has got a big shoe to fill, and that she take with pride.
Madam Jane Eck of Janeck Fashion has been a major source of strength to her daughter. Though aged, madam Jane Eck till date, oversees production and plays a role in the affairs of Ellanore. It is no wonder their works exhumes so much life.
Speaking on some challenges associated with her work, the CEO of Ellanore mentioned that with a chunk of her client being foreign-based, it sometimes becomes a challenge to get accurate measurements since you would have to take customers through a guided live video session on how to take body measurements.
Yet, Emmanuella and her team know no limitations, work on all body types and shapes, and nail them all. Even though her brand specializes in making clothes for women, she still has plans on bringing men on board.
As a brand, she specializes in creating clothes which will sway you away, put a smile on your face and leave constantly satisfied. To Emmanuella, her customers are her first and foremost priority.
Her loving and pursuing heart makes her fond of her clients and makes sure they enjoy working with her. Her adventurous spirit creates a satisfying environment to slay on her designs.
She aims at adding beautiful touches to her work from size 6 down to even a size 22. She hammers the word neat in her job description and makes it professional.
Ellanore has been in the fashion design industry for 5 years and she’s not stopping until her dream of becoming a world-known fashion label becomes a reality.
By : William Lamptey
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People & Lifestyle

Kenya’s Jennifer Riria to be Honoured as Model African Woman of the Year 2022 by YAWC

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The Group Chief Executive Officer of Echo Network Africa (ENA), formerly Kenya Women Holding which is a woman led, women serving development institution has been nominated to be honoured at the 6th Annual Continental Convocation of the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) which is set to take place in Accra, Ghana from 2nd to 6th October, 2022 under the theme, “Network for Empowerment: Eliminating Barriers to Women’s Development”.

She will be honoured in relation to her interventions in improving the socio-economic situation of women and girls in Kenya, having been admitted into the EY Global Hall of Fame.

A special event dubbed, “Jennifer Riria Day” will be held in her honour on Tuesday 4th October within the period of the congress.

Dr Riria is distinguished as a Microfinance Banker and Practitioner, Researcher and Gender Specialist. She has led Kenya Women Finance Trust Microfinance (KWFT) Bank for over three decades, and propelled it from an unprofitable NGO to a medium sized Bank, serving low income women and their families all over the Kenya. KWFT has served over 3 million women and disbursed over US$ 3 billion over a period of 30 years. As the CEO she spearheaded the transformation of KWFT from a microfinance institution to a regulated middle-sized bank (2004-2009).

She has served in many other leadership roles both in financial, public, and health institutions for which she has been recognised locally and internationally. Dr Riria is the Patron of the Democracy Trust Fund (DTF) a semi-autonomous organization that supports and positions women to participate in democratic processes. Additionally, Dr Riria is the Chairperson of the Africa Women Leaders Network – Kenyan Chapter. Recently she re-launched the “Jennifer Riria Foundation” whose focus is to enhance young women’s leadership through innovations and connecting them with the private sector. Working with and touching people’s life is her passion. Dr. Riria served on many Boards including the Women’s World Bank Board which is an international microfinance network of microfinance institutions and banks for 21 years, which she was the Chairperson.

The “Jennifer Riria Day” will be the second in a series of events to recognise and celebrate astute women of Africa for their contributions to women empowerment for national and global impact. The first, having been conferred on the first female Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana, Hon. Akosua Frema Osei Opare in 2019. The day is specifically named after the woman proposed to be celebrated at the specific congress to leave an imprint on the minds of delegates on the achievements of the honouree.

The Young African Women Congress is a Pan-African event opened to young women of African descent. It is a platform which fosters knowledge-sharing and cultural exchanges among nations and generations. Major activities at the congress include Keynote Presentation, Panel Sessions, Career Workshops, Group Brainstorming Sessions as well as Project Story Presentations by delegates. There is also a full day trip to interesting sites to promote Africa’s heritage and tourism.

Its main objective is captured in its motto: Empowering Women for Continental Development and Integration for a Better World.

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People & Lifestyle

Ghana’s new dancing super-talent, Endurancegrand steps into the light with her effervescence

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Dance With Purpose Academy (DWP) have established themselves as one of the best producers of dance talent on the African continent. One of their most exciting prospects emerging on the scene is Endurancegrand.

Born Endurance Dzigbordi Dedzo, the dancing queen who has been stepping gracefully to the rhythm since she was 7-years old has already performed on some of the biggest stages in the country including the VGMA, TV3, Coca Cola, Ghana Football Awards, Ghana’s Most Beautiful and most recently, The Global Citizen Festival: Accra as part of the DWP Academy collective during Usher’s show-stopping performance. To top that impressive feat, she has also worked with brands like AirtelTigo and Dark & Lovely.

Endurancegrand’s interest in dance was piqued by her brother-in-law, Joshua Rana, back when she was just a kid who loved playing football, video games and singing; and she has never looked back since. For her, dancing has never been just a job or a simple means to an end, dancing has always been the “end” itself, her north star. “I faced neglect, doubt and lost some people very close to me because I chose dance as a career but that did not stop me because I always knew what I wanted. To me, dancing is just as important as the air I breathe or the water I drink. Dancing is my life! When I step on the stage, nothing else makes sense. Only my body and the rhythms and energy it releases”, Endurance describing what dancing means to her.

The Capricorn dancer’s biggest dream is to be able to touch lives globally, travel around the world to share her knowledge to the young and old and show women around the world that they can be whatever they choose to be.

Dance with Endurancegrand on her socials and keep up with what will be a very majestic career. Instagram: endurancegrand | TikTok: endurancegrand | Twitter: EnduranceGrand

Instagram: endurancegrand
Twitter: @EnduranceGrand
TikTok: endurancegrand 
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People & Lifestyle

Understanding probable cause

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Probable Cause vs Reasonable Suspicion DWI in

Probable cause refers to a legal basis that gives the police officer a chance to arrest a person, seize property, or conduct a search. This originates from the United States constitution Fourth Amendment. So what is probable cause? (more…)

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People & Lifestyle

Global publisher to release first graphic novels from South Africa’s award-winning Triggerfish Animation Studios

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North American independent book publisher Catalyst Press will publish two graphic novels from Cape Town’s world-renowned animation studio next year, its first venture into the literary sphere. (more…)

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