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‘Ghana Vrs Naija – Rubbing Shoulders With A Giant’, exerpt from new book by Kofi Akpabli

This excerpt is from the upcoming book ‘‘Tickling the Ghanaian Encounters with Contemporary Culture’’ by back-to-back CNN African Journalist Awards winner, Kofi Akpabli, to be launched at the British Council Hall on Friday August 26, 2011. Time 5:30 pm. When it comes to West African neighbours that come closest in likeness to Ghanaians,  Nigeria offers […]

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This excerpt is from the upcoming book ‘‘Tickling the Ghanaian Encounters with Contemporary Culture’’ by back-to-back CNN African Journalist Awards winner, Kofi Akpabli, to be launched at the British Council Hall on Friday August 26, 2011. Time 5:30 pm.

When it comes to West African neighbours that come closest in likeness to Ghanaians,  Nigeria offers a paradoxical prospect. In one sense, they are like us but in another… Nigerians are so interestingly different.

Both share much in common, not least the fact that each country is surrounded by Francophones and the Atlantic. In terms of relationships, the two have come a long way. These days, we hardly refer to Nigerians as “Anago” or “Alata.”  In return, they don’t say “Ghana-nians” that much. (But the term ‘‘Charley’’ still tickles them and one never knows why).

As the most populous black nation on earth Nigeria is  birth-righted with political importance. However, what has mileaged this country’s influence is neither black power nor oil wealth.  In recent times it has been homemade videos. Nollywood, as it is called, has given birth to Naija, a new nation that is poised to sell her aspirations to a growing global audience. Ghana’s showbiz scene, for example, has reflected an active Nigerian influence.

I personally have a fascination for Naija. If you ask me I would say that it is a fondness that is steeped deep in nostalgia. When I entered secondary school Form One, I found that the school library was dominated by books of  Nigerian authorship. “M” novels, for instance, had exciting titles such as The Biafran Testament and The Year.

Pacesetters Series also had an overwhelming representation of  Nigerian writers namely, Agbo Areo, (Director) and Kalu Okpi (Coup!). Their works of fiction were to me an open sesame to a Nigerian world of cultural diversity, fast paced action and intrigue.

Even before these encounters my appetite for Nigeria had already been whetted at elementary school, having thumped novels such as Cyprian Ekwensi’s People of the City and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

My appreciation of Nigeria also has to do with personal associations with a few of her citizens over the years. I remember Lasisi Nureini, my first Lagosian classmate. Lasisi was never boring and he managed my mother tongue with a humorous accent. I cannot forget Jasper Abubakar Safaru who is usually the loudest thing around; no him no Friday, he used to say.

I also reminisce the times spent with Fizz M whose royal Yoruba name I have lost. Fizz M is your typical colourful, good-natured Nigerian. He taught me the smart trick of blowing petrol fire right from the mouth. That wasn’t all. He also showed me some catwalk steps and even how to use raw eggs and steaming water for face treatment.

Then there is Chucks, Chucks, Chucks. How many times did I mention his name? Chukwu (Obiara) Ndukwei is a soul brother. The guy is  Ibo to the bone. At boys school Chucks was the one I would remain on the playing field with, far after all the others had left. We would sit on the grass and talk from dusk till the moon rose above our heads.

The two of us exchanged poems, discussed world changing views and even attempted our own infantile philosophies. When the bell rang for dinner we wouldn’t be bothered because after each soul searching session, Chucks provided dormitory-made steamy eba for our pleasure.

For the records, what Ghanaians recognise most about Nigerians is their distinctive sense to dare. There is also a certain forthrightness that is etched in their DNA. We often marvel when in movie scenes a lowly-placed such as a gate keeper or a truck pusher  faces up with an oga and tongue lashes him. Our Ghanaian society is such that a big man is a big man and he is left alone when he steps on poor toes.

We are also impressed with the manner in which Nigerians proudly flaunt their “kolchor.” This eagerness to display traditional lifestyle is particularly exhibited in cuisine and dressing. Watching Nigerian statesmen and women perform official duties in flowing agbada and ashioke (aligogoro) is a real delight.

I know they would doubt this but we actually admire the way some Naija folks freely spit out the Queen’s language. Our only difficulty is when the Nigerian says “I don chop oo” when in actual fact the fellow has “chopped” the food in question. In Ghana, ‘‘don’’ is akin to don’t and thus a definite negative.

While we, Ghanaians deride ourselves for making fetish out of pronouncing English words, we are also perplexed by Nigerians’ choice of certain vocabularies. Why for instance, they use “pursue” in very informal contexts instead of a simple “chase” is a mystery.

Naija achieves another intrigue when it comes to choice of English and biblical names. On this score, Shakespeare is clearly beaten in his character names. What with Livinus, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Bartimaeus, Maximus, Hygienus and Jeremiah? If you think these names ring out interesting wait until the short forms are called. Livi, Nehe, Eze, Barti…

To be fair one challenge Ghana has, when it comes to Naija is that we are never able to grasp the fact that Nigeria is bigger than us. (Their land mass is four times larger and they outnumber our population a whopping seven times!)

Nevertheless, should the Green Eagles ever beat the Black Stars in soccer (Tofiakwa!) Nigerians would be overly over the moon. But when we beat them -which we always do- we consider it normal and not a giant-killing feat. A victory over Togo is more relished by Ghanaians.

In a sense, what pertains between these two is akin to the British and the American relationship. I know that  Brits don’t see their country as small. On the other hand, I am tempted to believe that Americans regard the home of our colonial masters as a ‘‘Little island.’’ There is a psychology to this politics of geography that I learnt the hard way.

At teatime in England one afternoon, an acquaintance hollered across to me:

‘‘Say, mate, which part of Africa do you come from?’’ I could feel a dozen eyes turn to me. I cleared my throat and articulated, ‘‘Ghana.’’

My declaration was followed by those polite, white nods which translate to ‘‘oh such a nice place’’ and  ‘‘nice people too.’’ Then came the bombshell. I didn’t know what came over me but the next moment I heard myself  “Small country, just like the size of the UK.”

Chineke God! You should have seen the looks on the faces of those poor Brits. Needless to say, my seemingly harmless remark poisoned the tea mood.

The urge to rub shoulders with Nigeria is so strong that we take our achievements for granted. What is it that makes Ghana feel so equal to Nigeria? The problem is that we Ghanaians hardly have it in our heads that we are a small country. All we know is that ours is a very, very important nation, abi?

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Onua FM/TV Captain Smart arrested over ‘unsavoury’ radio commentary

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Controversial broadcaster, Blessed Godsbrain Smart popularly known as Captain Smart of Media General has been arrested over his commentary on radio. (more…)

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Yvonne Nelson wins GH¢500,000 defamation case against Mona Gucci

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An Accra High Court has awarded Yvonne Nelson GH500,000 in a defamation case against Mona Gucci for malicious statements she made about the award-winning actress on Accra-based Neat Fm. (more…)

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Rock Dawuni speaks passionately against fan wars, calls for unity among Ghanaian musicians

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Two-time GRAMMY-nominated artist, Rocky Dawuni has sent out a plea to Ghanaian musicians and their fans to focus less on ‘beef’ and more on collaboration to help grow the music industry. (more…)

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Global Citizen Reveals 117 Million Lives Benefited Three Years On From Commitments Announced At The Epic Mandela 100 Festival

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To mark the third anniversary of the Mandela 100 festival, international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, has announced that over 12 million lives have been impacted this year across Africa, and the world, adding to the 105 million lives reported last year. Impact from commitments announced at Mandela 100 now totals over 117 million people having benefited from pledges made at the ground-breaking festival in 2018 – which brought together world leaders, philanthropists, and the private sector to make commitments towards achieving the UN’s Global Goals, to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $4.7 billion of the total $7.2 billion in funding announced during the Mandela 100 campaign have been disbursed and allocated to key organisations on the front line of ending extreme poverty, in all its forms, and to communities in need around the world.

Over 70,000 Global Citizens, artists, and global leaders came together at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2nd December 2018, united behind one mission to honour the life of Nelson Mandela in his centenary year. The event commemorated the legacy of a man whose extraordinary vision for peace and equality still resonates today with the hearts and minds of Global Citizens across the world.

Hosts of the event included Trevor Noah, Sir Bob Geldof, Naomi Campbell, Gayle King, Bonang Matheba, Tyler Perry, and Forest Whitaker, with ground breaking performances by Beyoncé & JAY-Z, Cassper Nyovest, Ed Sheeran, Sho Madjozi, and more.

During the festival Global Citizen and partners announced 60 key pledges across Health, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Food Security, Agriculture, Environment, Education, Education, Finance and Innovation.

By 2020, more than 105 million lives had been impacted by the commitments announced as part of the Mandela 100 campaign in 2018. Now one year on, Global Citizen can announce that a further 12 million liveshave been impacted from delivery of these pledges. Through pledges made at the festival, interventions have been vast, urgent, and critical for communities experiencing the compounded effects of extreme poverty and COVID-19.

Pledges have resulted in accelerated action to end child marriage, and the delivery of antiretroviral therapeutics to more than 5.1 million South Africans; efforts are underway to map the spread of river blindness in Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, and computers and other educational equipment and facilities that enabled students to continue attending classes online during COVID-19.

Released this week, Global Citizen’s 2021 impact report highlights the latest disbursed commitments including:

  • USD $40 million has been spent by the Motsepe Foundation towards the provision of quality education, an increase of USD $20 million over the last 16 months. USD $50 million had been spent since 2018, contributing to the development and growth of agriculture and farming projects in traditional communities and poor rural and urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State and Northern Cape. The funding has been for tractors, farming equipment and implements, irrigation systems, the digging and construction of several hundreds of boreholes, the provision of water tanks and water storage facilities, as well as the provision of fertilisers, seeds and other agricultural and farming inputs.
  • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Elma Foundation UK, UK Aid, Virgin Unite, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed US$105 million to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2023. Supported by the funding announced at Mandela 100, Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme has addressed neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma in 14 African countries, including Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Ethiopia. The program has delivered 7.4 million treatments for river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis and in the first quarter  of 2021, surgery activities were underway in 95 of the programme’s targeted 180 districts for the year, which has allowed for the treatment of 5,100 cases of trachoma.
  • Vodacom pledged ZAR 500 million (US$34.8 million) toward combating gender-based violence, teacher and learner digital literacy, and early childhood centers. In 2021 Vodacom’s Mandela 100 commitment has supported programmes that have had a profound  impact across key areas in gender, education, and literacy.
  • As a result of one of these programmes, more than 1,900 female farmers have been trained in relevant ICT skills to enable them to communicate with other farmers, access relevant products and services online, and ultimately provide them with access to economic opportunities by connecting them to potential buyers.
  • A Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) and website has provided victims of violence in South Africa with a source of support, by providing counselling, service referrals, and immediate response in the event of imminent danger, all free of charge.
  • Germany committed $72.4 million to support the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD).  Germany’s commitment helped support IFAD overall efforts, ensuring that from 2019 to 2021, 23.4 million people gained access to financial services, such as savings and credits, and almost 1.7 million hectares of land were brought under climate resilient practices. IFAD’s ongoing projects reached over 128 million people, surpassing the year’s goal of 120 million. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IFAD has repurposed $179 million in the form of 58 projects across 36 countries to help relieve the pandemic’s profound impacts thanks in part to funding announced at Mandela 100, in other partners. Recently in Eritrea, for instance, $1 million has been repurposed through the “Fisheries Resources Management Programme” to provide temporary cold storage to make sure those affected by COVID-19 were able to store their harvests.

Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-founder and Chairperson of the Motsepe Foundation said:
“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made relating to our Global Citizen Mandela 100 commitments despite the Covid-19 challenges. We are committed to contributing to improving the living conditions and standards of living of millions of people in South Africa, the rest of the African Continent and the world.”

Chebet Chikumbu, Global Citizen’s Africa Regional Director said:
“Despite the ongoing pandemic, we’ve been working closely with our partners to ensure funds are being dispersed to communities most in need in Africa and across the world. Over the next year, we will continue to deliver on the accountability tied to Mandela 100 campaign pledges made, helping millions of the world’s most vulnerable combat poverty daily, while mitigating the ongoing personal implications and economic impacts of COVID-19.”  ​​

Global Citizen remains committed to bring Nelson Mandela’s dream into reality by ending extreme poverty. In order to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals, including Global Citizen’s mission to end extreme poverty by 2030, we must end poverty in all its forms.

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Gyakie to sign-off 2021 with The Live Experience concert

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The FLIP THE MUSIC star’s terrific run of form has been a performance worth commemorating, and with the year down to its final month, Gyakie is ready to sign-off with a memorable showdown.

Slated for December 19, which happens to fall on a Sunday – a week shy of Christmas Day, the Ballantine’s sponsored concert will have the ‘Forever’ singer give fans a buzz at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, 7pm prompt. Dubbed ‘’The Live Experience with Gyakie’’, the concert will be curated by the artist’s label, FLIP THE MUSIC and is tipped to be one for the books.

This year, Gyakie’s presence has been strong and unrelenting. She inked a deal with Sony Music Entertainment/RCA Records UK, threw in a sassy virtual performance at the MTV Base YouTube African Day concert, featured on BBC World Service’s ‘’Focus on Africa’’ and was the first female African artist to partner with digital streaming platform (DSP) giant, Spotify on their EQUAL music program which got a billboard slot at the Times Square in New York City.

Her feats haven’t been any less extravagant on the music aisle either. She enjoyed great success with her ‘Forever’ remix for-which debuted on UK’s official Top 20 Afrobeat chart. Gyakie also emerged as 3Music Awards’ ‘’Woman of the Year’’ winner, next to her two-time feature on Billboard’s ‘’Top Triller’’ chart. The biggest highlight of her year however was on the back of her ‘’SEED’’ EP’s streaming numbers – a total of over 11 million streams across all DSPs.

Get your tickets here: https://tix.africa/gyakie

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Sarkodie, Local music rule as Spotify Wrapped reveals Ghana’s top albums, artists and more

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As the countdown to 2022 starts, nothing can round off this incredible year better than Spotify Wrapped, which sums up what made 365 million Spotify users around the globe vibe throughout the year.

In 2021, the world slowly came out of its quarantine lifestyle to embrace the New Normal. While at it, Spotify entered Ghana’s space, in line with the rise of audio streaming in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Now, for the fifth year running, Spotify is unveiling the top artists, albums, songs and playlists through Wrapped. Spoiler alert: the Ghanaian music industry is in for a treat as local albums and artists topped the charts among Spotify users in the country!

In Ghana, Rap, Afropop, Afro dancehall and Azontobeats were among the top genres as nightclubs reopened and people got their groove on. Speaking of rap music, none other than “King Sark” claimed the most album plays with “No Pressure” — knocking WizKid‘s “Made in Lagos” and Justin Bieber‘s “Justice” down to second and third in the process.

Sarkodie again ruled the chart as the Ghanaian people’s favourite artist, ahead of Drake and Nigeria’s Burna Boy. King Promise completed the Top 10 as one of three Ghanaian artists listed in it.

Hots Hits Ghana — featuring tracks from Black Sherif, Kuami Eugene, and Wendy Shay among others — was the most streamed playlist. In the midst of the Grammy Awards nominations buzz, it’s fair to say that Ghanaians truly support their own.

Check out Spotify’s full 2021 Wrapped results for Ghana further below. Also, be on the lookout for additional details and exciting new features in the coming days around Spotify’s popular personalised Wrapped and Creator Wrapped experiences, which gives users a deep dive into the music that defined their year. Wrapped is also now available in shareable data-driven stories format.

Ghana’s top Spotify Wrapped lists for 2021

Most streamed artists in Ghana

  1. Sarkodie

  2. Drake

  3. Burna Boy

  4. Kwesi Arthur

  5. WizKid

  6. Joeboy

  7. DaVido

  8. Justin Bieber

  9. Kanye West

  10. King Promise

Most streamed female artist in Ghana

  1. Tems

  2. Gyakie

  3. Nicky Minaj

  4. Doja Cat

  5. Adele

  6. Rihanna

  7. Teni

  8. Beyoncé

  9. Tiwa Savage

  10. Ariana Grande

Most streamed tracks in Ghana

  1. Feeling, by LADIPOE

  2. Peru, by Fireboy DML

  3. Slow Down, by King Promise

  4. Second Sermon, by Black Sherif

  5. Baajo, by Kwesi Arthur

  6. Door, by Joeboy

  7. Coachella, by Sarkodie (feat. Kwesi Arthur)

  8. Understand, by Omah Lay

  9. Essence, by WizKid (feat. Tems)

  10. Sip (Alcohol), by Joeboy

Most streamed albums in Ghana

  1. “No Pressure”, by Sarkodie

  2. “Made in Lagos”, by WizKid

  3. “Justice”, by Justin Bieber

  4. “Certified Lover Boy” by Drake

  5. “Donda”, by Kanye West

  6. “Shoot for Stars Aim for the Moon” by Pop Smoke

  7. “Twice as Tall”, by Burna Boy

  8. “A Better Time” by DaVido

  9. “The Golden Boy” by KiDi

  10. “Somewhere between Beauty & Magic”, by Joeboy

Most streamed local artists in Ghana

  1. Sarkodie 

  2. Kwesi Arthur

  3. King Promise

  4. Stonebwoy 

  5. Shatta Wale

  6. KiDi 

  7. Kuami Eugene

  8. R2Bees 

  9. Darkovibes 

  10. Black Sherif

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