>Did I Dance with Kojo Antwi?

Before we headed to the Haiti Benefit Concert I mentioned here, we had dinner with some friends. One of them had heard the rumour that Kojo Antwi wouldn’t come to the benefit(sadly his personal website is very heavy to load, so maybe his MySpace is a better option for you who with less fast Internet).

I was disappointed. Antwi’s songs were some of the first Ghanaian pieces of music I heard when I started dating my husband back in 2002. The romantic, lovers rock style tunes in Twi/English/Ga always spoke to me – also others think he Tops the List of Ghanaian Love Songs – although some of his melodies might be just too synthesizer-sweet. Anyways.

When we arrived at the concert, there was no place to sit. “Everybody” was there to support Haiti earthquake victims. We were standing with a bunch of others on the side of the stage, dancing and enjoying from there. After an hour or so, some space opened up on the first row.

When Kojo Antwi did in fact come out on stage I felt a big smile spread across my face. As he started singing a song in Ga “Baa sumo me” (Come love me), I stood up to dance, two ladies joined him on the stage dancing, I was smiling. THEN. Mr Music Man walks over to the side where I am standing, points at me and gestures me to come on stage.

To be continued.

Pic from Creative-Africa.org

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>Ashesi Founder Recieves Prize

> Woke up this morning to some very fine news. My employer received the John P. McNulty Prize of USD 100,000 with this wonderful motivation:

“In Patrick Awuah we have found not only immense personal leadership in founding Ashesi, one of the African continent’s first liberal arts universities, but in the school’s commitment to ethics and civics as a central part of education, he has guaranteed future generations of leaders for Ghana, Africa and the world.”

Read the whole press release here.

I am proud to go to work today!

Patrick Awuah and I at a conference in August 2008.

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>Sibling Blogs

> My siblings Freja and Aron have finally

1. moved abroad and
2. started to blog

What took you so long?

I think your blogs are the funniest around (unfortunately only in Swedish with few additions in German (Freja) and French (Aron)). Could it be because we grew up together?

Or because one of you is a stand-up comedian/culture producer/actor and one a professional juggler/male nanny?

In the pic: Aron and Freja during a happy moment 2007.

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>Ashesi Campus Groundbreaking in Berekuso

> On Saturday, I was fortunate to experience the groundbreaking – or sod-cutting – of the new Ashesi University Campus in Berekuso, up in the Akuapim Hills in Ghana. This beautiful hill lies about an hour drive north of Accra and was breezy and green on this joyous day.

The university which is currently housed in a residential area in down-town Accra, hopes on this campus extend its student population from 400 to 600 and of course provide a less distracting and more beautiful environment.

The ceremony came off to a bit of a late start, but that was lucky since the townfolk of Berekuso had to climb the steep hill by foot and arrived just in time for the chiefs’ arrival. I can safely say all of Berekuso town were there, small and big, clad in gold, colorful cloths or in school uniform.

The whole experience was wonderful, but I think the most touching part of the day was when the chief explained how welcome the university was by telling us that a residential developer had inquired about purchasing that very hill for a project.

– But we would rather have an educational institution here in Berekuso.

Or maybe the most emotional part was when we cheered for Patric Awuah, the founder of the University during the presentation of dignitaries. And then his mother was introduced and the crowd went from loud cheer to complete euphoria!(Gotta love the Ghanaian mother-centered culture!)

Other articles on this event were written by Friends of Ashesi/Todd Warren, Peace FM, and the official version here.

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>Nkrumah’s Daughter

>On Sunday evening, I had the privilege of meeting Honorable Samia Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah‘s daughter – and herself currently an MP for CPP – at an event. Here’s the photographic evidence.

And while I’m shamelessly bragging, the man sandwiched between us is also an MP, Honorable George Blankson more specifically from Mfantsepim Constituency where my Ghanaian family has its roots!

Interestingly the event was hosted by another Ghanaian leader’s daughter, Professor Abena Busia who is the daughter of Prime minister Dr. Abrefa Busia. As Dr. Busia was the leader of the opposition against Kwame Nkrumah and his party CPP whose reign ended with a coup d’etat, I thought it was very appropriate – even touching – of Prof. Busia when she publicly acknowledged Samia Nkrumah in the audience and with a few words put history behind us.

I have earlier written about Kwame Nkrumah here and here.

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>"The Birthplace of Cool" – Bono on Ghana

> I had totally missed that U2 singer, cum activist Bono wrote a column on Ghana and Africa in the New York Times just before Obama’s visit.

After reading the article I think to myself that something about Bono’s efforts is somehow so…arrogant and at the same time wonderfully naive. It talks about important things like the G8 meeting and how Africa is the birthplace of humanity. I guess it can’t be summarized, but here is a sneak peak to show you what I mean:

On a visit there (Ghana in May 2006), I met the minister for tourism and pitched the idea of marketing the country as the “birthplace of cool.” Just think, the music of Miles, the conversation of Kofi. He demurred … too cool, I guess.

Haha, pitched (haha, that word alone!) a marketing idea to a Minister of Tourism after having spent a few days in a country, how arrogant is not that?…but on the other hand, if now Bono says Ghana is cool, then why not take his word for it?! I guess we thought about marketing our chocolate, our gold, but we never really thought of marketing our ability to be cool.

And now three year after Bono’s visit, does Ghana even have a tourism marketing strategy?

The column can be found here.

Pic: Bono in Ghana 2006 borrowed from U2station.com

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>Kiss My Teeth or Sounds with Meanings in Africa

> Alleluia!

I had wanted to write about how as a process of me learning Twi I have now gotten to the non-verbal sounds used commonly here in Ghana. One sound in particular is very useful.

But how do I describe a sound on my blog? Recording it and posting a sound clip is out, ‘cos I don’t master it quite yet – its really difficult!

But then today, there (facebook) it was: In Writing. Now you might understand what I am talking about:

KMT = kiss my teeth aka tsuos aka tweeeeee(sound) aka the sound African people make when they are angry

It seems the sound I was talking about is called “kiss my teeth”: although my Ghanaian husband had not heard that name, but “tsuos” or “tweee” sounds about right. But I think “angry” doesn’t really cover it – its more close to extreme disappointment, grave nonsense and deep mistrust. Effectively used, it can even be a potent insult.

Often used about a (useless) person:
– As for that thief, *tsuos*

Or to correct a child:
– Did I not tell you to stop doing that five times already? Hm, *tweeeeee*

Or to stress an (upsetting) occurrence, as the Facebooker in question describes:
– they dont give plastic bags in that shop, nonsense i forced her to give it to me KMT

In the pic, my young friend is attempting the sound. – What? I have to stop playing with my toys and go shower? KMT!

According to comments on this post this is not an African sound per se, but also common in the West Indies, South America etc. I was also informed that Guyana Gyal posted on the same topic years ago here, she also added a useful manual on how to do it!

To suck you teeth, you got to pout you lips in a li’l pout, clench you top and bottom teeth close, close. Push the tip o’ you tongue against you teeth. Suck in air. Stchuuuuu….when you want to finish close you lips…uuup.

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>Does Gin Tonic Prevent Malaria?

> Have a couple of times come across the statement that the drink ‘Gin and Tonic’ prevents malaria since it contains quinine which is an antidote to malaria. That sounds so good. How fun is it not to cure yourself with alcohol?

But maybe it sounds too good to be true? Today, I decided to google the whole thing and came up with the following.

1. The quinine is part of the bitter tonic.
2. The drink came about as the early colonialists tried to mask the bitter quinine taste with gin.
3. To prevent malaria one needs to drink the equivalent of 67 liters of GTs per day according to the travel doctor here.

So the answer to my question is unfortunately NO, Gin and Tonics’ do not prevent malaria. Well, that is if you consume less than 67 liters a day.

Pic from cafepress.

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>Ghana’s Wonderful Fantasy Coffins

> This is how I with to leave this world. Carefully put to my last rest in hot, red chili fruit. Remembered like a fiery person.

The only country in this world where funderals are “celebrated” (more on that here) and where my wish could be executed (pun not intended) is my hot and fiery home country, Ghana. But, maybe it doesn’t have to be a chili, I can also choose a Coke Bottle, a Sardin Jar or a larger-than-life (I can’t help myself!) mobile phone.

More on Ghana’s exquisite sculpture coffins, sometime called fantasy coffins, here, here , here and here (the last from the National Museum of Funeral History, the second last from DeathOnline.net!) I can also really recommend this coffee table book on the topic.

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>Kojo Antwi and Accomodation in Ghana

> Yesterday, we meet up with our landlord for a discussion along the lines I laid out the other day in this post. The discussion gets a bit heated and we differ on if the current dollar-rate has changed the price structure in Ghana – we know for sure our wages have not climbed with the dollar!

Our landlord however defends his dollar rent (which of course is his perogative, only who can pay what he asks?) and keep referring to that we can call “Mr Antwi” who will back his claims.

I can for my life not understand why we should call the famous Ghanaian popmusician Kojo Antwi for opinions on accomodation prices, but let it pass as I dont want to irritate our landlord further.

Only this morning, when my husband had recieved a call from the real estate agent who two years ago brokered this house to us, I understand that he was the “Mr Antwi” intended. Not the popsinger.

Sometimes knowledge make us more stupid.

Pic: A cartoon of named singer borroed from his website.

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