Travel Destinations: Greater Accra and Gotland

I have two homes. One in Ghana and one in Sweden. Having two homes is normal to me, it is my life.

In Ghana my life centers around the Greater Accra area: the capital Accra, my hometown Tema and my workplace roughly an hour north east of Accra. In Sweden, I hail from the island of Gotland, more particularly the village Brissund and then the cosmopolitan city of Malmo in the very south thanks to my siblings who moved there.

This week, I stumbled across tourist information of my two homes provinces and WOW! they look great! I can’t believe how lucky I am to share my time between these two places…

1. Ghana: Greater Accra (as described by Virgin Atlantic)

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2. Sweden: Gotland (as described by the campaign GotlandJordenRunt)Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 1.55.13 PM








So when are you coming to visit?

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A New Mall in Accra – Marina Mall

On Thursday, I went to visit the new Marina Mall in the Airport shopping area in Accra. Here is my report:


Coffee and Pain au Chocolat, outdoor terrace facing the “Ghana Airline” and selection of shops

I was positively surprised when it came to parking – but maybe it was because I wasn’t there during the weekend – and happy to see one of my favorite Ghanaian brands All Pure Nature‘s sleek boutique just close to the entrance. I also had a really good Pain au Chocolat and coffee at the top.

Not yet ready, expensive shops, is parking/infrastructure enough for weekend rush?

Apart from that, the shops are not yet fully functioning or a bit too pricey for my taste.


In addition to the great coffee, I can also recommend a visit for those of us who miss Christmas and its inevitable capitalist component! Marina Mall is all dolled up with trees, ornaments and tinsel!

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Book Reading in Accra with Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Last Wednesday evening, there was a book reading at a coffee house and bookshop in downtown Accra. I have been busy ever since, but still wanted to write something about it. So better late than never, here it is.

The Accra literary crowd is not spoilt with world renowned authors coming to share their work, so it was an exciting evening. Author Nii Ayikwei Parkes, fulfilled most of our expectations. “Literature is a way to have fun”, he mused. With a clear voice and a warm smile, he read his Spoken Word poetry, sang some lines from a favorite song and shared highlights – with some extra italics – from his book the Tail of  the Blue Bird (a Ghanaian crime novel that I loved, and I don’t easily warm up to this genre. Maybe this is another post, though).

The discussion that ensued touched on many different topics, but in the center was issues about editorial concerns about readers’ capacity to understand African literature (names, expressions, contexts), the localization of language and Parkes way of using italics to highlight Akan words and expressions in his book.

Parkes, book bloggers Kinna Reads and Accra books and things in blue and other guests at the Sytris book and coffee shop in Osu.

Maybe the most rewarding thing with the event, apart from meeting a wonderful writer, was that in the crowd I know we had some of the next authors out of Ghana!

See all my pics from the event here.

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Plane Crash in Accra: News Broke on Social Media

The #AlliedAir cargo flight thats down @ Elwak sports stadium... on Twitpic

This evening a plane crashed through  one of the walls of Kotoka International Airport in Accra. As the airport is very centrally located, this is a catastrophe. At the time, a  heavy rainfall was coming down, potentially causing the accident, but surely limiting the casualties as the area is a traffic hub for eastern/central Accra.

The news broke on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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And there were conversations on how traditional media was running behind. Just 10 m inutes ago TV 3 featured the news, according toTV3 the cargo plane was coming form Nigeria and skidded off the runway.

However, there was plenty confusion.

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There were some casualties, people on a “trotro” or minibus and a motorcyclist are mentioned in unconfired reports and the deathtollhas been mentioned from8-25 people. The road  from 37  station towards La Badi  beach is closed.

Online news is still scarce. See MyJoyOnline, Nigerian Daily Times, fellow Ghanaian blogger Samuel Obour.

UPDATE: Reuters report and Allied Press.

On Twitter, the discussion continues.

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What Does Religion Have to Do with New Year in Ghana?

Ghana is a very religious society. I believe Ghana has the most churches and mosques per square km in the world. People usually answer “by the grace of God, I am well” when I ask how they are doing. Ghanaians all over Ghana go to church each Sunday or Mosque each Friday and sometimes on other days of the week too for Wednesday service, Qur’an teachings or “Friday-all-night”.

So it did surprise me a lot when I realized Christmas is not a big deal for Christians in Ghana. Ok, banks and shopping malls get all dolled up with tinsel, red bows and Christmas trees (although both my husband and I have seen trees turned upside down) and businesses are supposed to give their employees and clients “Christmas hampers” or baskets full of goodies (often rice, oil and cake).

But there is no general Ghanaian Xmas celebration style with say a huge dinner and gifts, nor is there a time for peace and quiet or to even assume your friends and family are busy – a friend was invited to a wedding on the 24th!

Then maybe it makes sense that New Year’s Eve is indeed a religious holiday. I just wonder where in the Bible church-leaders find their support for celebrating the end of the year rather than Jesus’ birthday…

So what does religion have to do with New Year’s Eve in Ghana? Well, on this evening many Ghanaians go to church, also those who rarely go (you know who you are!) will find a way to, everyone is dressed in white, the whole thing is quite peaceful and most churches congregate outdoors because of the huge crowds or as in the case of popular pastor Mensa Otabil (see the billboard pic taken in traffic today above which inspired this post) –  at the Accra Sports Stadium!

See other posts on Ghanaian New Year’s Eve here and here.



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Chale Wote Street Festival in Ghana

At the same time as I am waiting for my life to change here in Sweden, creative friends of mine in Accra under the umbrella “ACCRAdotAlt” (find them here on Facebook) have organized the “Chale Wote Street Festival“.

Chale Wote is the Ghanaian name for the cheap flip-flop that clad many Ghanaian feet. However, the festival was all other than cheap. From the pictures I have seen so far – the best ones you find with Nana Kofi Acquah (like the smashing pic above),  the festival was a meeting opportunity for creative souls like musicians, designers, artists and the local community of James Town in Accra with a beautiful and rich result.

I love events like these as they bring meaning, activity  and fun to peoples’ lives where there before was just business as usual.

UPDATE: See also the festival covered by fellow bloggers Graham, Jemila and Holli.

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Must See in Accra – Dobet Gnahore

On Wednesday Ivorian performer Dobet Gnahore graces Accra with a concert at the Alliance Francaise.

This energetic singer/dancer provided me with one of my best concert experiences in my life last time she came to town, so expectations are sky high!

Dobet Gnahore (MySpace, official website)has it all –  the music in her blood as a daughter in a family of Ivory Coast musicians, many amazingly beautiful melodies and songs sung with a versatile voice and  one of the most interesting and captivating stage presences I’ve ever seen – Dobet just rocks!

My high regard for this artiste grew when I heard that she graciously agreed to lend her music to the Witches of Gambaga film I wrote about earlier this year.

Dobet Gnahore, ladies and gentlemen. She is a must see!

Wednesday 23 March, 2011, 8.30 pm

Alliance Francaise, Accra

6 GHC/2 GHC for students

Photo credit to African Music Safari.

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Accra – A Boring City?

When I first moved to Accra, I found the city boring, dusty and event-less.

Three years on and counting, I am not sure if it is the city that has changed or my network that has grown. Maybe both?

Yesterday, I knew of five interesting events happening simultaneously:

the Ghanablogging November Meet-Up I arranged at cozy Cafe Dez Amis (former Afrikiko), a discussion evening with entertainment for diasporan Ghanaians and others at Golden Tulip Hotel. There was also a fund-raiser coctail at Bella Roma Restaurant in Osu, a first meeting for the new expat network InterNations at Rhapsody’s and the High Vibes music festival also opened… (click on link to see program for the following week!)

I smiled to myself as I hurriedly left the first event for the second, smiling because I felt like this was the first time I was actually missing out on something in Accra…

I only resent that events often are announced short in advance (some less than 48 hours !)  and that there is no information central for finding out about “all” events (if there is, please let me know!). I believe that makes Accra rather boring for a newcomer.

What do you say, is Accra boring?

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Bus Mass Rape in Kintampo Never Happened

On Thursday, the horrible news of a bus going from Accra to Tamale in northern Ghana was reported to have been robbed by gun men close to Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo region . The robbers, after having collected money, phones and jewelery, were said to have raped the passengers and, at gunpoint, forced male passengers to rape their female co-travelers. One father was said to have been forced to rape his teenage daughter with tears streaming down his face.

I was first informed through a mass email at work, later the news was all over the radio with comments from police, crime experts and upset Ghanaians –  “where have we ended up?!”

Now it seems the whole mass rape story was made up. Nobody has reported such an incident, no victims have stepped forward, no evidence is available. The incident has been discussed at highest possible level in Ghana and the conclusion is the story is pure fantasy by a young woman.

What can we learn from this?

Well in my opinion, Ghana is an extremely safe and peaceful society to live in. It seems Ghanaians like to more often focus on the negatives, “armed robbers” etc.  – can we learn to be more positive about Ghana?   I was told recently by a friend that the rate of murders in Ghana is very low compared to almost anywhere else in the world…(source not known, anybody?)

This report by Overseas Security Advisory Council for Ghana 2010, although suggesting that Ghana is a “high crime threat country” starts its list with street crime such as pick pockets (!) and later focuses on the dangers of the Ghanaian roads. Regarding street crime, the report advices not leaving your car unlocked “even for a short period of time” (!!) About carjacking they say:

The potential for carjacking exists in Ghana, but there have been no reported occurrences over the past year.

About safety at night:

Walking alone is not advisable in downtown areas or poorly lit areas, especially at night.

About burglary:

There have been burglary attempts against expatriate residences in the past, but perpetrators generally lack the sophistication required to overcome home alarm systems and static security guards.

To me, that makes Ghana safer than any US state and European capital.

What did you learn?

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Official Blogger for Bless The Mic All Day Festival

I have been asked to be the “offical blogger” for this weekend’s upcoming event, Bless the Mic Arts and Music Festival.I am very excited about this event which I believe will be rocking! I especially like the combo of visual arts and music.

From the Press Release:


Mi Prime Entertainment in collaboration with Alliance Francaise is pleased to announce this year’s ‘Bless the Mic Arts & Music Festival’, which takes place from the 27th – 29th of May 2010. ‘Bless the Mic Arts & Music Festival’ celebrates the diversity of Ghanaian creativity in the Arts and Music.


Bless the Mic Arts & Music Festival is organised by Mi Prime Entertainment in association with Alliance Francaise and supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAKSI, Pidgen Music, Ghana Cultural Fund and 2131 Banging Hiphop show.

Media Partners: Y fm, X fm, myjoyonline and

Media Sponsors: E-TV Ghana, Net2 TV, CRTV,, Sky Digital Network,, chilloutghana and Dust Magazine.

The main event is happening this Saturday the 29th of May from 3pm -10pm at Alliance Francaise and will include a photo/art exhibition as well as poetry and live stage performances by King Ayisoba, Nana Fynn, Gouda Traditional Music, DK Osei Yaw, Yaw Kontoh, Chuks, Chase, Crystal Tettey, Fiifi Sellah and Efya.

Find more info on Facebook under “All Day Festival”. I will be blogging from the event.

See you there?

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Finally: Coz ov Moni Premieres

M3nsa wanlov FOKN BoisOn Saturday May 15th, the time has finally come for this creative, fresh and rocking musical movie, Coz ov Moni, to open to the world! Directed by King Luu and produced by Panji Anoff of Pidgen Music. It is featuring musicians Wanlov – the Kubolor and M3nsa (together they form the FOKN Bois), but also poet Mutumbo and legend Reggie Rockstone as well as other Ghana celebs!

This is the plot:

On a normal morning in Gbese, Accra. The FOKN Bois wake up and plan to go clubbing with some lady friends after chasing an evasive debtor for their money. Their free-spirited and seemingly conceited attitude makes them a few enemies as the day progresses. How will this day end for the FOKN Bois? Do they deserve what awaits them at the end of it all? Come find out!

Do you remember the funky Coz ov Moni trailer I posted some time ago? For the premiere, think that x 20!

DATE: Saturday, May 15th

VENUE: National Theatre

TIME: 6.30pm & 8.30pm  (Two screenings)


This is going to be so great! Why? Coz of Moni! See you there!

Read more about the premiere at Ameyaw Debrah, Museke, African Hip Hop , Ghana Celebrities and fellow blogger MacJordan. Also read the lovely interviews in Dust Magazine with Kubolor and M3nsa.

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Aim for the Stars: Ghana Planetarium

Up until about two months ago, I had no clue Accra had its own planetarium. Not knowing what to expect, I went for an event and came out amazed and much wiser…

The program started with a video and some talk about the Ghana Science Project/ Ghana Planetarium by Dr. Jacob Ashong, the initiator of the project, and as the evening drew closer we entered the planetarium dome for some cool presentations almost lying down in the chairs provided. When they do shows for kids, they are invited to lie on the floor which I’d love to have done!

We were also told about the free software Stellarium that shows you a map of the sky from wherever you live including the position of planets, star clusters, and movement over time. Later, I downloaded it and absolutely LOVE IT!

After that we went outside, now it was almost dark. We watched the International Space Station (ISS to all astronomy lovers) fly by and took a closer look at the moon with all its craters.

Now you also have the chance! Here’s a message from the Ghana Planetarium.

April 2010 is “Global Astronomy Month”, and there will be events at the Ghana Planetarium every Saturday throughout the month.  Each event will have a theme, depending on what can (hopefully!) be seen in the night sky around that time.

SATURDAY 10TH APRIL – Mars, our sister planet

SATURDAY 17TH APRIL – Saturn, “Lord of the Rings”


Events will start at 5pm, and will feature a Night Sky presentation, presentation or film show on that week’s theme, Planetarium show and telescope viewing (weather permitting).

Charge for each event:

Adult – GHc 5

Student – GHc 3

Child – GHc 2

Here are some related links,  Global Astronomy Month around the world, the  Ghana Astronomy and Observation Association (GAOA) and finally for more info on the Ghana Planetarium also read this article by one of the organizers, Sarah Abotsi-Masters.

Pic borrowed from the following Flickr set. UPDATE: Having temporary problems with uploading pictures.

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