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African-American, Tahira Muhammad shares her joy about her Ghanaian citizenship

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Ghana’s seat of government — Jubilee House — played host to one of the biggest ceremonies as part of activities commemorating the 2019 Year of Return, the Jubilee House event saw 126 African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans receive Ghanaian citizenship. This happens a little over a year after the official August 2018 launch of the Year of Return by Ghana.

Tahira Muhammad was among the 126. She tells TheAfricanDream.net that she first went to Ghana in 2000. The journalist and a teacher have an MA in Teaching English, she currently teaches secondary in Ghana and also teaches a class called Global Perspectives. “I use the Global Perspectives class to help young African students critically think about the issues facing Ghana and the continent as a whole,” Tahira told TheAfricanDream.net in an interview.

Tahira is one of the many descendants of African ancestry in the Americas and across the globe that have yielded to the call of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to return to Africa for the Year of Return, an event celebrating the resilience of African people and to also mark the 400th anniversary of the first Africans forcibly transported to what is now the United States of America.

I will never forget that Wednesday, November 27, 2019 date as I stood amidst 126 African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans to recite the oath of allegiance which was administered by a judge in this moving ceremony. We all became new citizens of Ghana. My citizenship certificate and euphoria sis beyond description right now,” — Tahira Muhammad.

She went on to tell TheAfricanDream.net that she fell in love with Ghana from the hospitality of the people when she first visited and did not want to leave. So, when she returned to the US after that first trip she worked for a year during which she saved $3,500 US dollars working two jobs to enable her return to settle in Ghana for a year. “It was on my return that I met my now ex-husband and with whom I had my now beautiful 16-year-old son,” and with that, TheAfricanDream.net wanted to learn more of Tahira’s story.

Read also: Ghana’s Year of Return and 2019 Black History Month

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When asked what the main thing she found peculiar about Ghana was, she said to her “the hardest thing was accepting the fact that many Ghanaians and Africans on the continent have a neo-colonial mindset. I feel that the mentality of the people is 60 years behind. There’s no self-pride in being a Ghanaian. Ghanaians overall have little trust and support for themselves and their people and their abilities.

The newly minted Ghanaian citizen elaborated: “There are many Ghanaians who have invented innovative things for the country but don’t get the recognition they deserve. Instead, credit goes to foreigners like Chinese and Lebanese. As a result, corruption and dishonest business practises penetrate the hearts and minds of the people and this has caused a vicious cycle of dishonesty and distrust.”

This was the hardest thing that almost made me want to give up. I think it hit me harder when I came back here from living in the Middle East for 9 years. Gulf Arab governments make sure that their people come first. Dubai was able to become a rich country from its tourism in 50 plus years. Ghana has far more resources but the people are still living in poverty.”

According to Tahira, on the day she obtained her Ghana citizenship, she finally felt a sense of belonging, this happening 20yrs after serving Ghana both locally and internationally. She explained that back in 2001 she helped 14 orphans go back to school by advocating for friends in the US to pay their school fees. One of them is now going to nursing school and some have positively moved on with their lives in different ways.

While in Kuwait I also was a member of the Association of Ghanaians there. I participated in helping organize Ghana Independence Day Celebrations as well as sat in meetings to help arrest Ghanaians in Ghana who participated in the illegal trafficking of Ghanaian women to Kuwait.

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Besides these actions, Tahira feels she has paid her dues on the road to attaining Ghanaian citizenship, she says in addition to a smile that, “Ghana was responsible for the trading of my ancestors to the US Virgin Islands. So I feel that citizenship is due me.”

Read also: Slavery ships’ abominable conditions

TheAfricanDream.net asked Tahira Muhammad what people from America and elsewhere visiting Ghana can expect as part of The Year of Return 2019 when they are in Ghana. She said “visitors coming to Ghana should appreciate the efforts that the diaspora in Ghana made to make sure that this was successful.”

Unfortunately, there was an educational gap in the purpose of the Year of Return and as a result, some Ghanaians have turned it into a money-making event, instead of using it to establishing the lost connection between our people — so this is a work in progress, but there is hope.”

Overall it has been an emotional journey going back to Ghana again for Tahira after being away for almost a decade. Yet, what she hopes to happen is that people become more vigilant and help the country fight corruption and hold officials more accountable.

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Ghana is not up to its full potential and will not be able to until corruption is curbed I believe. Rwanda is a prime example of what an African country can become if corruption is minimized. I hope that Ghana can live up to the standards that its first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah wanted for her and Africa.”

And with that TheAfricanDream.net ended our first interview of a returnee. Do you have a story to share, contact us, we would love to hear from you, no matter where you are, oh and a happy YearOfReturn to all, including the other 125 new Ghanaian citizens. We wish you all the best…

Written by Oral Ofori

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WATCH: How Britain Got Talent Judge, Alesha Dixon surprised Sarah Kittoe on TV

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Britain is Got Talent celebrity judge Alesha Dixon gave 11-year-old British-Ghanaian author of four books, Sarah Kittoe a pleasant surprise when she sent a video message to Sarah during a live interview on SkyNews TV in the UK.

Sarah was on the UK Tonight Show on SkyNews to talk about her fourth book, Ama and The Lost Key, which was inspired by her maiden trip to Ghana in 2023.

Before Alesha’s video message was played, Sarah had mentioned the celebrity musician and author as one of her two favourite authors, stating that Alesha’s book series, Lightening Girl was an inspiration to her because that was the first book in which she saw a character looking like her (Sarah), with an afro and puffy hair do.

In the video message, Alesha congratulated Sarah on her fourth book on all the good work she was doing, donating to two charities in the UK and refurbishing a library for a school in Ghana.

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“I read your story in the newspaper and it was very touching – it is because of people like you that I do what I do and hearing your stories validates that and motivates me to keep going,” she said.

Alesha said her dream is to inspire the next generation and for that, she was thrilled that her book – Lightening Girl, inspired Sarah to dream and do great things, because “that was the intention of that book.”

“I am sending you all the love and all the luck in the world. I hope to meet you in person one day…” then she left her with a kiss.

Throughout the period Alesha’s video was playing, Sarah had a dropped jaw in complete surprise. But later told the show host that she had hoped that people like Alesha was going to watch the show and see, and for that she was very grateful that her prayer has been answered.

Sarah then signed copies of her books to be presented to Alesha Dixon.

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Sarah dad, Albert Kittoe, who was also on the show, said he is particularly surprised by his daughters choice to donate all the proceeds of her book to charity at the young age, adding however that he believes Sarah took the inspiration from their family value where they donate to charity every Christmas.

“I saw the joy on her face any time we went our to donate food and other items to homeless people during Christmas, and I believe that is where she took the inspiration from,” he said.

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Explore Instagram Latest Updates For Better Engagement

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To maximize interaction and remain relevant in the ever-changing world of social media, you must keep ahead of the curve. Instagram is constantly evolving as a medium for interaction, creativity, and community development, thanks to its rapid upgrades and improvements. If you want to make the most of Instagram’s engagement strategy, you need to stay up-to-date on all the newest improvements, from new features to algorithm tweaks. Learn about Instagram’s newest features and how to use them to your advantage for more audience engagement in this post.

 

The Latest on Reels: Embracing Condensed Video

 

Reels has further strengthened Instagram’s focus on short-form video content. Users may use this function to make and find intriguing music videos, much like on TikTok. You can display your ideas in short, engaging clips, reach more people, and capitalize on hot themes by using Reels. Try using Reels to spice up your content strategy and produce more captivating one word captions for Instagram for your viewers organically.

 

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Instagram Tutorials: Putting Together Collections of High-Quality Content

 

Users may compile and share helpful content compilations, such as Instagram Guides, which can include everything from product suggestions to travel ideas and educational resources. Anyone from brands to influencers to educators may benefit from Guides because of the flexible structure they provide for arranging and displaying information in an attractive and user-friendly way. To encourage participation and establish credibility, make guides that speak to your audience’s interests while offering helpful advice.

 

Real-Time Environments: Enabling Engaging Broadcasts

 

Instagram’s Live Rooms feature enables collaborative broadcasting between up to four users, allowing for lively, engaging discussions. Live Rooms allow instantaneous audience participation and interaction, making them ideal for question-and-answer sessions, interviews, and panel discussions. Use Live Rooms to connect with your audience more personally, answer questions, and give insightful commentary while fostering community participation.

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Updates to Algorithms: Making Relevance and Authenticity Our Top Priorities

 

Instagram’s algorithm is always improving to give more weight to real, relevant, and interesting content. Make sure to prioritize producing top-notch content that speaks to your audience’s interests and preferences if you want to increase exposure and engagement. Signal to the algorithm that your material is worthwhile and deserves to be prioritized in users’ feeds by using relevant hashtags, engaging with popular topics, and encouraging meaningful interactions with your audience.

 

Story Updates: Bringing New Interactivity

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The latest Instagram Stories update included interactive features like polls, quizzes, and countdown stickers, further solidifying the app’s status as a popular and successful tool for promoting interaction. Use these interactive features to get people involved, get their thoughts, and start discussions. If you want to create content people can’t stop talking about, you must include interactive stories in your plan.

 

In summary

 

Keeping up with Instagram’s innovations and adding new features is crucial for keeping ahead of the competition and maximizing your audience engagement. Discovering Instagram’s newest features opens up a world of possibilities for expression, connection, and community development, from Reels—a platform for short-form video material—to Guides, a tool for collecting and organizing excellent content, and Live Rooms, a platform for promoting interactive broadcasts. By taking advantage of these developments and incorporating them into your engagement plan, you can better connect with your audience, create more meaningful conversations, and stand out on Instagram in the dynamic digital world.



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InnoVision Marketing Group Selected as Agency of Record For Beloved Tennessee-Based Restaurant, Buddy’s bar-b-q

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InnoVision Marketing Group, a San Diego-based full-service advertising agency, has been named agency of record for Buddy’s bar-b-q, an East Tenn. bar-b-q favorite among tourists and locals alike. Through this new partnership, InnoVision Marketing Group will collaborate closely with Buddy’s bar-b-q to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy to assist in a rebranding campaign and its planned expansion throughout the southern U.S.
Buddy’s bar-b-q brand has been Knoxville’s go-to fast casual bar-b-q restaurant since 1972. They have a wide variety of bar-b-q menu options from slow-cooked pulled pork, chicken and beef to Smoky wings, Smoky dawgs, many delicious sides and regionally famous hush puppies and Hot Fudge Cake. With 19 locations in Tenn., Buddy’s bar-b-q is ready to enter new market segments in the surrounding states and showcase its incredibly successful franchise model.
Buddy’s customer base is generational. It’s not uncommon to see four generations of one family dining at one table. The brand has been woven into the fabric of the East Tennessee dining scene by consistently offering a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere where guests can dine comfortably. With a focus on southern hospitality and quality ingredients, Buddy’s offers a menu suited for the most discerning bar-b-q palate, as all the meats are hickory smoked daily at every location. To honor and support their mission of being a restaurant that better serves the community, they provide fresh, fast and delicious bar-b-q at tremendous value.
“We pride ourselves on being a third-generation family-owned restaurant that offers the comfort of dining in with the convenience of a drive-thru at all of our locations,” stated Mark Lemoncelli, Co-Owner & CEO of the Buddy’s Family of companies. “Our success for over fifty years has been based on having a tradition of fresh hickory smoked bar-b-q combined with fast, courteous and friendly service and offering generous portions of food at a reasonable price. We’re thrilled to join forces with InnoVision, confident that their distinct insights and deep expertise in the fast-casual dining sector will bolster Buddy’s bar-b-q, fortifying our brand and propelling us toward future expansion.”
InnoVision Marketing Group offers everything under the marketing umbrella, with all services performed in-house and tailors the pricing and scope of each client partnership based on what stage of growth the company is in. InnoVision represents brands in multiple categories, including airports, automotive, fast-casual dining, food & beverage, healthcare, QSR, soft drinks, retail, tribal government, economic development and nonprofits.
The San Diego-based agency will collaborate closely with the Buddy’s bar-b-q team to develop and execute a rebranding and comprehensive expansion strategy, including the oversight of all marketing services including branding, traditional advertising, digital media, public relations, social media and video production. Once the new brand and strategy are in place, the agency will launch a new creative campaign throughout the Knoxville-designated market area.
“It’s such a tremendous honor to represent Buddy’s bar-b-q; they’re a heritage brand in Knoxville, and their roots are deep in the community,” said Ric Militi, CEO & Executive Creative Director at InnoVision Marketing Group. “They represent tradition, family values and quality. And when it comes to southern bar-b-q, they are as authentic as it gets. It’s amazing to see the nostalgic emotion they evoke in their guests, which is understandable when you consider the generational span they have endured, and the fact that in this age of high prices, they still offer a quality dining experience at an unbelievable value, all in the same place.”
InnoVision’s portfolio and expertise in franchising marketing positions it as the ideal strategic partner to elevate Buddy’s bar-b-q’s objective and expand its reach. InnoVision Marketing Group has recently started providing the opportunity for global franchising to offer its clients the tools to succeed in the franchising and fast-casual industry. The agency currently represents three other fast-casual brands: Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders, Island Fin Poké Co. and Krak Boba.
For more information on Buddy’s bar-b-q, please visit BuddysBarBQ.com/. To learn more about InnoVision Marketing Group, please click here or email PR@TeamInnoVision.com.
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Shadows and Charms: Exploring Superstitions Around the Globe

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Superstitions, those beliefs or practices often considered irrational or supernatural, vary widely across cultures and regions, offering fascinating insights into the fears and hopes of humanity. Around the world there are superstitions from avoiding black cats to the rituals for good luck, these beliefs, whether rooted in tradition, folklore, or collective experiences, continue to influence behavior and perspectives globally. This blog delves into some of the most intriguing superstitions from around the world, revealing the diversity and commonality of human thought and the power of the unseen in shaping our daily lives.

1. The Ominous Number 13: Western Fears and Beyond

In many Western cultures, the number 13 is synonymous with bad luck, a superstition that permeates various aspects of society. From the absence of the 13th floor in many buildings to the fear of Friday the 13th, this number carries a weight of historical and cultural significance.

  • Historical and Mythological Roots: The fear of the number 13, or triskaidekaphobia, has various potential origins, including the Last Supper, where Judas, the 13th guest, betrayed Jesus. Norse mythology also contributes, with the story of 12 gods having a dinner party, only for the uninvited 13th god, Loki, to cause chaos and death.
  • Cultural Impact and Manifestations: The avoidance of the number 13 is evident in architecture (skipping the 13th floor), travel (airlines omitting the 13th row), and dates (the dread of Friday the 13th). This superstition has led to real-world actions, from architectural designs to calendar fears, highlighting the tangible impact of intangible beliefs.

2. The Evil Eye: A Protective Fear Across Cultures

The belief in the evil eye, the idea that envy or malice can bring misfortune or injury through a malevolent gaze, is prevalent in various cultures, including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian societies. This superstition transcends geographical boundaries, illustrating a universal concern over envy and malice.

  • Protection and Prevention: To counteract the evil eye, people use amulets, charms, or rituals. The nazar, a cobalt blue and white eye-shaped amulet, is commonly seen in Turkey, Greece, and the surrounding regions, worn or placed in homes to ward off bad luck and ill will.
  • Cultural Significance and Adaptations: The concept of the evil eye reflects deep-seated beliefs about the power of jealousy and the importance of social harmony. Rituals and talismans vary, from red strings in Kabbalistic tradition to mirrored decorations in Indian culture, each serving a protective function against the unseen forces of envy.

3. Knocking on Wood: A Universal Gesture for Good Luck

The practice of knocking on wood, or touching wood, to avoid tempting fate or to bring good luck, is a widespread superstition with variations seen in many cultures. This act is often performed after making a hopeful statement, to prevent bad luck from intercepting positive outcomes.

  • Origins and Evolution: The origin of this superstition might be linked to ancient pagan cultures that believed spirits or deities resided in trees. Knocking on wood was a way to acknowledge their presence and seek their protection or favor. Over time, this practice evolved into a gesture for luck and a ward against misfortune.
  • Global Presence and Interpretations: While predominantly found in Western cultures, similar practices exist worldwide. In Turkey, people knock on wood and then pull on one earlobe to further ensure good luck. In Brazil, “batendo na madeira” serves the same purpose, demonstrating the global nature of this superstitious action.

Superstitions, from the fear of the number 13, the protective measures against the evil eye, to the luck-invoking act of knocking on wood, highlight a fascinating aspect of human psychology and cultural expression. These beliefs, while often dismissed as irrational, play a significant role in the daily lives of many, offering comfort, creating community bonds, and influencing decisions. They represent a world where the unseen forces, whether feared or revered, continue to shape the human experience across time and geography. 

 

Continuing from the previous points on superstitions around the world, here are three more intriguing superstitions that highlight the diversity and richness of cultural beliefs globally:

 

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4. Italy: The Curse of the Evil Eye (Malocchio)

In Italy, the belief in “Malocchio” (evil eye) is taken very seriously. It is thought that if someone looks at you with envy or ill will, they can curse you unintentionally. This superstition is so prevalent that there are rituals to diagnose and cure the evil eye.

  • Diagnosis and Cure: The ritual to determine if one has been afflicted involves dropping olive oil into a bowl of water. If the oil forms an eye shape, it confirms the presence of Malocchio. The cure often involves a prayer and the use of specific objects like red ribbons or horns (cornicello), which are thought to ward off bad luck and protect against the evil eye.
  • Cultural Impact and Adaptation: The fear of the evil eye has led to a variety of protective amulets and gestures, such as the “mano cornuta,” where the index and little fingers are extended to form a horn, warding off bad luck. This superstition reflects the Italian concern with envy and the power of malicious intent, influencing social interactions and personal adornments.

5. Japan: Nighttime Whistling Attracts Snakes and Spirits

In Japan, a country rich in folklore and spiritual beliefs, it is considered bad luck to whistle or play musical instruments at night. The superstition holds that these sounds can attract unwanted attention from snakes and malevolent spirits.

  • Historical and Cultural Background: The origin of this superstition dates back to times when villages were more susceptible to attacks and invasions. Nighttime noise was believed to summon dangerous creatures or signal to enemies. Over time, this belief evolved into the idea that whistling at night could call forth supernatural beings and misfortune.
  • Modern-Day Interpretation: While the fear of attracting snakes may be less of a concern in urban areas today, the superstition persists, often cautioning against creating disturbances that could upset the spiritual balance or invite bad luck into one’s life.

6. India: The Significance of the Nimbu-Mirchi Totem

In India, the “Nimbu-Mirchi” (lemon and chili) totem is a common sight, hanging in homes, vehicles, and businesses. This superstition is rooted in the ancient practice of “nazar utarna,” believed to ward off the evil eye and bring good luck.

  • Creation and Purpose: The totem is usually made of seven green chilies and one lemon, strung together and hung outside the doorway. It is believed to trap negative energy and protect the household or establishment from harmful influences and bad luck.
  • Cultural and Spiritual Beliefs: The choice of lemon and chili is significant; the sour taste of lemon and the hotness of chili are thought to deter evil spirits and negativity. This totem is replaced every week, typically on a Saturday, to maintain its protective potency.

 

These examples further illustrate the fascinating and varied nature of superstitions across different cultures. From the Italian concern with envy manifested through the evil eye, to the Japanese avoidance of nighttime whistling due to its potential to attract danger, and the Indian practice of using the Nimbu-Mirchi totem for protection, superstitions provide a window into the values, fears, and historical contexts of societies. They offer a rich tapestry of beliefs that continue to influence behavior, traditions, and cultural identity worldwide.



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Nana Kwame Bediako receives blessings from Chief Imam right after Eid, as he endorses his ambition for leadership as President of Ghana

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Chief Imam lays his hands on Nana Kwame Bediako as he prays, giving him his blessings and guidance foe the journey he’s embarked on.
Chief Imam lays his hands on Nana Kwame Bediako as he prays, giving him his blessings and guidance foe the journey he’s embarked on.

Nana Kwame Bediako, leader of the emerging political movement, The New Force, is making waves in Ghanaian politics with a bold vision for change. On the significant day of Eid, Bediako made a notable gesture by paying a courtesy visit to the National Chief Imam at his private residence in Fadama, Accra. 

Symbolizing a significant intersection of politics and religion, the meeting highlighted Bediako’s commitment to engaging with diverse communities and in addition highlighted his long-standing friendship with chief imam and years of demonstrable commitment coupled with a strong and underlining interest in the social development the communities.