>Extravagant Event

> Tonight I will be attending my first Fashion Show ever. It is the final event for Accra Fashion Week and I am invited by one of the designers, Nanna Nilson, an amazing lady who also is a dancer and choreograph with roots in Sweden and Denmark.

Since one of my big interests after moving here is collecting the “good news” of Ghana, this display of fashion has to be one of them. It will be so interesting to see the cutting edge of Ghanaian fashion, the wax prints and batiks molded in new shapes and most likely some modern, urban, arty fashion that is not specifically “traditional/African”.

But then comes the problem: WHAT TO WEAR TO A FASHION SHOW. I don’t think I have ever felt this self-conscious about clothing. Do I sport a colorful dress or casually come in the pants I wore to work? What in my wardrobe is really new and fresh? How should I keep my hair? What jewelery goes with the outfit? What bag is appropriate? In the end I have chosen to dress in black with Ghanaian accessories and a drop of perfume behind my ears. I’ve heard you can’t go wrong with black.

In the pic some lovely Ghanaian wax prints in braver colors than the author behind this blog. At least tonight.

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>Panafricaism in Ghana

> Check out my article (only in Swedish) in the latest edition of the Swedish Travelling Exhibition/ Riksutställningars Newsletter Spana!.

After visiting the cool national museum in Accra, I wrote about its history, organization and visitors and in do doing managed to combine my two top interests art and politics in one project! Additionally, when interviewing the management of the museum I found that migration/brain-drain is a problem also in the museum sector. As a result this post has the most “tags” I have ever given to a text on the blog.


Picture taken by me of two young museum visitors, and beutifully reddened by Spana!’s editor Mårten Jansson.

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>World Artist in Town!

> This Saturday, May 17th, the Jazz Society of Ghana (JSG) and Nooq Entertainment presents Richard Bona in Concert. This worldknown bassplayer and singer just came from Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Krakow, Amsterdam, Oslo and will after Accra continue his tour in US and Europe. He is by some called “the African Sting”.

I was happy to see that our splendid wedding band Takashi is the opening act when Mr Bona plays at the National Theatre in Accra, 8 PM on Saturday! Tickets are GHC 50 a piece.

Now to connect this piece of info to my previous post, I will stop the celebration and be a bit serious. This information that a world artist is coming to town was given to me in an email from FCA, an art club. The organizers JSG and Nooq seems to have done little to advertize for this concert apart from producing the flyer you can see above. They are also strangely absent on the internet. JSG hasn’t uppdated its webpage since 2005 and Nooq doesn’t even have one (as far as my searches go).

Sure there are newspaper articles about this, but key information (where, what time, how much) is unfortunately not something they transmit.

So now I hope I will be given a couple of free tickets for my marketing efforts, most likely the only to be found in cyberspace.

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>Whats Up, Ghana?

> Being a curious cultural consumer, I have spent my first year in Ghana trying to experience as much entertainment as is only possible. There are lots of cultural events going on in Accra and its surroundings, many of them free or very cheap, but I have found one major problem. Getting to know about the events – before they take place – is often a mission impossible!

Many institutions rely heavily on placing a banner outside their premises as their only form of marketing (!) The University of Ghana, the British Council and the National Theatre are a few examples. Others place ads in the newspapers, unfortunately these ads easily get overlooked if missing to buy the paper one day. However I have found that some institutions have e-newsletters, which is more visitor friendly in my opinion.

If you want to know what goes on in Accra, sign up for the newsletters of
Goethe Institute,
Alliance Francaise (send an email to info@alliancefrancaiseghana.com) and
Foundation for Contemporary Art
to get a few hints.

The Goethe Institute often have events including exhibits and concerts on Tuesday nights, while Mercredis de la Paillote (Wednesdays in the pavillion) have become the trademark for Alliance Francaise. The FCA arrange contemporary art exhibits and exciting, but unfortunately not very well known Meet-the-Artist sessions.

The events page of the Ghana Tourism Council will tell you about the big events, but unfortunately the Ghana Web events page seems sadly nonfunctioning.

The information gap is a big problem not just for the entertainment business, but basically for all sectors in Ghana. I have had similar problems when I wanted to buy furniture, for example. Maybe there is something we bloggers in Ghana could do about this problem? For starters, please let me know if there is more information to be had about events in Greater Accra. I still have some nights open this week!

In the picture Ivorienne artist Dobet Gnahore at Alliance Francaise the 20th of February this year in one of the best concerts I have ever seen (thanks to their newsletter).

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>Images of Ghana

>Prestigious photography price Prix de Rome was this year given to the arty fashion photographer Viviane Sassen who won with a series of beautiful pictures of Ghana. I especially liked the portrait with a woman carrying a leafy branch on her head, but the one you see here with a man carrying a child was also sublime.

I have borrowed the picture from www.trouw.nl

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>Poetry and rain

I am reading the wonderful vivid stories compiled in the book by the Danish baroness Karen Blixen who came to live in Kenya in 1913 and stayed for almost 20 years. In the book, beautiful insights of life at a coffee plantation, masai people and the politics of first world war are interspersed with shockingly racist accounts by a baroness who was not only a writer, artist and safari hunter, but also a slave owner.
In this section she tell her kikuyu slaves about rhymes and poetry and they ask her to continue. The chapter is very typically named “Negros and verse”.

One night out on the corn fields, when we had harvested the corn…I started for my own amusement to speak to my workers, most of them very young, in verse in Swahili. There was no meaning to the verses, they were made up for the sake of the rhyme:
Na penda chumbe (The bulls like salt)

It soon attracted the interest of my workers, they gathered around me…

-Speak again, speak about rain.
Why they thought that poetry sounded like rain, I do not know. It must have been an expression for approval, because rain is in Africa always longed for and welcomed.

-Karen Blixen in Out of Africa

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>On books

I was challenged to answer to this survey by blogger/friend Marta. So here we go:

I. A book that changed my life.
My diary.

II. A book I read more than once.
Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is making it ALL UP, it is SO obvious that NO love story can EVER unfold like this. At the same time it’s touching and somehow believable.

III. A book I would like to bring to a deserted island.
Probably 100 love sonnets by Pablo Neruda, the pink edition with beautiful and sentimental love poetry in Spanish translated into English on the facing page. Then on my island, I’d learn the Spanish versions daytime by heart, later cry them out into the lonely and very black night and at the same time understand what I was screaming.

IV. A book that made me laugh.
A Rough Guide to Sweden. Jeez, it really gives a person some perspective to read travel books on her own country. This handy guide states that Sweden really just needs two days, one in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg…

V. A book that made me cry.
All the thick ones, ’cos I have separation anxiety (GWTW/Mitchell, Diva/Fagerholm, Anne of Green Gables/Montgomery, A little love song/Magorian)

VI. A book I wish had been written.
A coming of age story taking place in the echoing halls of Uppsala University, some romance at the student clubs called ”nations” and a strong heroine taking her own high road…

VII. A book I wish had not.
Little Birds by Anaïs Nin, a sequel to the wonderful and erotic Delta of Venus that has the quality of a, well, sequel.

VIII. A book I am reading now.
The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm, a Finnish-Swedish writer who makes up a new language for every book she writes, takes some getting used to, but I think the effects of when you just don’t read a persons story, but read their language is powerful (Ett Öga Rött by Hassan Khemiri had a similar effect).

IX. A book I plan to read.
Late in November by Tove Jansson. Aron said it was great and I trust his literary taste.

X. Pass the survey on to other bloggers…
I think that Mamma and Nadja should get it once they start their blogs.

AND SOME EXTRA FOR THE CHEAP SEATS IN THE BACK: A book I give to a friend any day.
The Daughters of Egalia by Gerd Brantenberg. This is how equal rights should be pursued; in a crazy-witty-fantastic literary description of what life would be like if everything was different. I’m just saying – the scene when Rut gives birth in the spotlight on a stage in the Birth Temple before she leaves to go out to celebrate with her friends! I believe in visualizing the absurd. So does Gerd.

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