Tema Life: Beind the scenes of shooting the documentary

For the Ghana Studies Association conference with the theme “Ghana as Center”, I decided to make a dream come true and make a documentary about my hometown for 12 years – the city of Tema.

The film “Tema Life: City of the Future” will be presented in a panel about Tema – the city that geographically is the center of the world.

The panel is in Room 1 at 2.30-4pm on Friday 12 July, 2019.

Here is my writeup about the documentary:

The city of Tema was planned and constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a central part of Ghana’s modernization project. Buildings and areas were purposely designed for industrial, residential or business purposes according to the modern planning ideas of the time as well as socialist ideology. Original inhabitants were moved. The industrial model town was populated by foreign and local workers. By 1960 the city and surrounding areas had 25 000 inhabitants and ten years later just shy of 100 000. The industrial model town had various industries: textiles, radios, soap, motor vehicles, food stuffs, cigarettes and so on and was populated by foreign and local workers. The city was constructed “to be the city of the future” (Ahlman, 2017).

Tema was politically and economically central – in addition to purposely geographically constructed in the Greenwich meridian before it hits the ocean. Later political and economic pressures, including geopolitical changes and the growth of Ghana’s nearby capital Accra and its industrial areas and Tema became peripheral.

This project seeks to collect narratives from the first dwellers in Tema in a documentary film. Young laborers in 1960 would today be in their 80s and hence the time is running out to capture their oral histories about Tema then and now. The narratives will focus on what work, leisure, shopping was like during the early days of Tema and offer Tema’s first inhabitants a space to reflect on how it has changed. Building on the Nana Project by Kirstie Kwarteng that seeks to collect oral histories in Ghana, the conversations will be professionally filmed and the output will be a short documentary and a journal article analyzing their oral histories about the center of the world, Tema.

The team behind the film is scholar Kajsa Hallberg Adu, PhD and filmmaker Mantse Aryeequaye who bring together knowledge of Tema and of documentary film in Ghana. Mantse is a cultural producer and filmmaker perhaps best known for his championing of the street art festival Chale Wote in Accra. He is however also a longtime music and film producer who has worked all over the continent with companies such as MTV, Studio 53, Moonlight Films in Capetown, The Africa Channel, and currently serves as director of Reddkat Pictures and as the co-director of AccraDotAlt.

 Ahlman, J. S. (2017). Living with Nkrumahism: Nation, State, and Pan-Africanism in Ghana . Athens, OH, US: Ohio University Press.

My story up on the PhD Career Stories Podcast

Kajsa is holding a mic.
Photo: OP studios

Do you want to know…. what a morning in my home office sounds like?

What I did when I wanted to quit the PhD program?

How activism and teaching are very good companions to research?

…and what I did after completing my dissertation and finally sleeping properly again?

Yes? Then what are you waiting for? Tune into my story on the PhD Career Stories Podcast.

A Whirlwind of Events: #NAD2018, #NEFScienceWeek, #FIFAfrica18, #MIASA

The fall semester has just started and that means it is like a new year for us academics. I have decided to go back to a paper calendar to make sure I do not overbook myself (when the space for a day is filled, my day is filled!). However, September was slightly overfilled anyways. But with some great events:

#NAD2018

Nordic Africa Days is a biannual conference organized by the Nordic Africa Institute. It is my “home conference” as a Swedish researched in Ghana and I have been attending since 2007!

This year, I organized a panel session with my colleague Michael Boampong called Conceptualizing Youth Mobilities and presented a paper within it.

 

#NEFScienceWeek

Next Einstein forum contacted me about moderating a panel which proved to be very interesting where industry representative Ethel Cofie or Women in Tech/ Edel Consulting Ltd met education representative Dr. Patrick Arthur from University on Ghana on the gap between STEM education and industry. Some highlights from the conversations:

  • Review primary education to make sure we educate producers (eg. programmers), not consumers (eg. users of Word and PowerPoint).
  • Make sure the higher education sector is wired for innovation by having incentive structures not just for peer-reviewed journal articles, but also for innovation/entrepreneurial initiative.

  • #NEFScienceWeek

#FIFAfrica18

Forum for Internet Freedom in Africa organized by CIPESA and MFWA is something I luckily happened to come across as I was doing research for a new project I have initiated on Internet Freedom and Internet Shutdowns. It turned out the experts were on their way to Accra! The same week as finding out about this conference, I was able to join its last afternoon. It was a fantastic networking opportunity and the sessions I visited launched reports like The State of Internet Freedom in Africa and the Internet Universality Indicators, discussed how to measure Internet Shutdowns and how to advocate effectively for them not happening.

#MIASA

The Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa funded by the German government had its inaugural conference at University of Ghana – I only made it to the very final and concluding session. The institute has planned for some interdisciplinary and interesting studies investigating big issues, from the concluding presentation, however, I worry that the research groups and methods seemed to already have been decided in Germany and that could mean the so-called collaboration in actual fact is only a satellite department of a German institution coming to Ghana. I hope I am wrong…

My paper calendar…

…is that beautiful blue book with gold details. On the inside it gives me a full week’s overview and just enough space to list my meetings and main to-dos for each day. I realize it is less stressful to have a finite space for planning my time.

How do you make sure your days and weeks are not overfilled, but allow for quality work and breathing pauses?

How Are You Managing Your Screen Time?

Because I love technology and social media, I feel like I have been quite conscious of my screen time. Since more than a year, all notifications are off my phone. I use the app “Focus” to turn off the internet on my phone (it also helps with working with the pomodoro technique). After reading Adriana Huffington’s book on sleep, I also parked my phone – turned off! –  in a different room during the night and am awoken by an old-fashioned alarm clock. All in the name of limiting my screen time and not being dragged down the rabbit-hole of smartphones.

Sadly, I also agree with Jim Kwik who suggest that smartphones make us less smart!

However, all of this seems to not be enough to manage my time in front of a screen. Indeed, Catherine Price who wrote a book about breaking up with your phone, and a New York Times article that sums it up, suggests it took her two years!  When I heard on the news Apple is including such a control mechanism for parents and individuals in their next OS, I thought to myself I NEED THIS NOW and started researching programs for both me and my 7-year-old. This is what I found.

 

FOR ME: Space. Free app, upgrade available USD 1.99 (but actually I am not sure what the upgrade does).

I liked the design and step-by-step idea that “diagnoses” your particular problem (I am a “boredom battler”) as well as the pop-ups and idea of dimming of the screen. It is also free! That is a pretty great feature when comparable apps charge a monthly cost.

 

FOR THE KID: Habyts. Free for 14 days and after that USD 3.29 or 7.99/month depending on services needed. The more expensive upgrade include chores that your kid can do for extra points or minutes.

Further, Habyts was the only app I could find that both allowed me to set daily time allowances, remote turn off her device, as well as included the option of adding tasks or chores for her to earn more time.

 

5 days in

We have tried a for a few days and I appreciate the professional help! In addition, what has helped is the idea to limit and track not just duration of each session, but also the number of times one reaches for one’s phone and unlocks it. However, despite warnings, limits and general awareness-raising, it has not been very impactful so far for me. I have not yet met my goals of 1,5 hours max on the smartphone/day (my average is more like the double!) or less than 30 unlocks during a day. Two nights since I started this phone detox, I have also unfortunately late-night-binged on my iPad (where I did not install the program).

My child shows withdrawal symptoms as well and has been angry and demanding. I had to change the lock codes on all my devices as she “jumped” to mine when her time was up! However, the remote shut-down function makes the process of limiting the time (right now the same 90 minutes a day) easier than earlier and I recognize that it helps for thinking of other things to do that I am also off my phone!

I will follow up again when some more time has passed to tell you how we are doing.

How do you limit screen time in your family?

Becoming Ghanaian: Registration as a Citizen Part 2

On Wednesday, I submitted my application to register as a Ghanaian citizen to the Ministry of Interior (MINT). I described the first step of the process in Registration as a Citizen Part 1. Between then and now, I was making sure all paperwork ( see a checklist in the earlier post) was in order and properly copied. 

Next steps

I was told the next step (to be expected in a few weeks) is a letter sent to Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for them to start their investigation. GIS will call me in for an interview. Then GIS will write a report to be handed back to MINT. The folder will then be sent with a recommendation to the president. The whole process takes 6-12 months.

 

Group effort

I am part of a group of several foreigners living in Ghana applying this year. We are all members of the International Spouses of Ghanaians (ISAG) group. We have a WhatsApp group where we share information and cheer each other on. It has been very helpful and I encourage anyone who has to go through larger application processes to organize with others or join already available groups, for instance on Facebook. The group I Väntan På Familjen for instance shares info on family-related residence permits to Sweden.

The officers at the ministry are also very helpful and friendly. I spent less than 15 minutes getting my application reviewed and submitted.

 

Clarification on completing the application

Submitting the paperwork to office 17 I learned:

  1. The application sponsors ( in my case, a lawyer friend and a family member in the public sector) should ideally use their STAMP under their signature when signing the form. (Nowhere is that indicated on the form or checklist). I had letters from the sponsors in addition, one of them luckily with a stamp, so it passed with some frowns.
  2. The MINT officers did not ask for a police report (something we were told when buying the forms but was not on the checklist).
  3. Before submitting, a Notary Public stamps the application. You can find one to put a red seal on your application at the High Court (around the block from the Ministry of Interior) for GHS 50.

If you have any questions about the process, I will try and answer them. I will also continue reporting here about the progress of my application to naturalize!

Becoming Ghanaian: Registration as a Citizen Part 1

About two years ago, I saw a newspaper article about a citizenship ceremony held in Accra. In the photo illustrating the article was a small group of well-dressed, brand new Ghanaians smiling widely. One of them was a fair-skinned woman. I think I was at that moment, a lightbulb lit up in my mind and I thought to myself, “But of course! I will also be a Ghanaian!”

Last year I discussed this idea with the members of the International Spouses of Ghanaians (ISAG), who were most helpful when I was applying for permanent residence eight years ago. Now a handful of us agreed, it would be good to become Ghanaians! One of us went to enquire at the Ministries about the process, another talked to someone who just passed through the process. We were happy to find out that it would not take more than six months and cost GHS 3000, a quite reasonable sum for adding the rights and responsibilities of a whole new country to your person.

 

Why going for a Ghanaian citizenship?

I can think of many reasons ( I will list them all below), but it is based on the general feeling that one should hold a citizenship for the country where one resides permanently, and return readers will know I have lived in Ghana for 10 years now.

Here are all my reasons for going for a Ghanaian citizenship:

  • I live in Ghana and would like to hold all the rights (like voting) and responsibilities (like being involved in local government) as others who live here.
  • My current status could be revoked. I hold an Indefinite Residence permit, but have to ask permission to leave Ghana for more than one year. The Ghanaian government could say they don’t like my reason for staying away, and revoke my indefinite residence permit. If I get divorced, I am also not sure what happens to the indefinite residence permit as it is based on being a spouse of a Ghanaian.
  • My children and spouse are Ghanaians. At this stage, my husband has no reason to apply for Swedish nationality, but it would still be practical and nice to all have the same citizenship.
  • I would also like to inspire and perhaps even surprise jaded Ghanaians who think there is nothing to gain from being a Ghanaian citizen. I would be proud to be part of the nation that has such rich cultures, languages, and practises, that first gained independence from the colonial power, that has gold and diamonds, vast forests and beautiful shores…
  •  Easier African travel is a plus!

 

Starting the process

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together with my fellow applicant Nancy we signed in at the Ministry of Interior at 10.20am. We were directed to Room 17 to share details. In the small office, three officers sat by their desks. We were asked how long we had resided in Ghana and the room fell quiet when Nancy calmly said “41 years”. My 10 years seemed feeble in this context. We were asked for our nationality and brought our passports to show our full legal names. There was a Notice on the wall that a third party cannot come for the registration or naturalization form.

We were told to go to Room 24 to make payments. After we had paid the GHS 3000 and been issued with a receipt, we went back to the first room, obtained a checklist (see below) of all the documents we need to attach to our application, a form for sponsors to fill, and the application form. We asked some questions to clarify. We found for instance that although not specified in the checklist, we also need a police report, two sponsors to fill forms AND write letters on our behalf. Sponsors should ideally be a senior government officer and a lawyer. After only 25 minutes in the ministry we had come to the end of the first step of the process, we asked one of the officers to take a photo of us with our brown envelopes containing the application forms to let us remember this big day and at 10.46 am we signed out!

 

First Step of the Process of becoming a Ghanaian citizen

The first step definitely was most fact-finding, psychological and personal, and just to a small extent administrative. The process seems to be quite straightforward, the hardest part at the ministry was finding parking! Now I have some work to do to complete my application. I will keep you posted on the next steps.

If you have any questions, please post them below and I will do what I can to help.

 

————————————

Checklist: Requirements (taken from the Ministry of Interior’s website).

NB: Applicant should reside in the country for at least 5years

  • Purchase (Application form 3)
  • Copy of Passport (Bio Data Page)
  • Current OR Indefinite Residence Permit page
  • Copy of (Spouse) Ghanaian Passport (Bio-data page)
  • Consent letter from Spouse
  • Copy of marriage Certificate
  • Naturalization Certificate (if spouse is a naturalized Ghanaian)
  • A citizen of age and capacity of any approved country may upon an application, and with the approval of the President be registered as a citizen of Ghana if he satisfies the Minister that;
  • (1)He is of good character, (2) he is ordinarily residence in Ghana, (3) he has been resident throughout the period of five years or such shorter period as the Minister may in the special circumstances of any particular case accept, immediately before the application, (4) he can speak and understand an indigenous language of Ghana.
  • Application letter addressed to the Minister, Ministry of the Interior (P.O. BOX M42, Accra)
  • Four (4) Passports Size Pictures

 

Last Chance: Orderly/Disorderly BlaxTARLINES Art Exhibit

Here is an important Public Service Announcement:

The Orderly/Disorderly Art Show curated by Blaxtarlines (follow and support on FB, read the curatorial statement here) opened at the Science and Technology Museum in Accra at the end of June. If you did not yet see it yet, you only have until Friday 1 September to do so. 

The magnificent show where young artists both from KNUST and the professional fold in Ghana treat the order and disorder in our society, spans installations, video, cartoons, photography, textile and new techniques I cannot even describe. The show makes you happy, sad, marvel and it is miraculously free!

The show closes in grand style with a talk by the grandfather of Ghanaian art, Prof. Ablade Glover at 4 pm on September 1st, 2017.

UPDATE: Meet-the-Artist Series featuring Adwoa Amoah, Ato Annan, Francis Kokoroko and Shimawuda Ziorkley, in collaboration with Foundation For Contemporary Art,Ghana (FCA-Ghana) and @thestudioaccra

Date: Wednesday, 30th August, 2017 
Time: 4pm
Venue: Museum of Science & Technology, Barnes Road, Accra
Rate: Free

The event will be broadcast live via Facebook

After that, it is over! Take your chance!

See my slideshow with a small selection of the works on display from my visit at the Orderly/Disorderly art show with my kids.

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Chale Wote 2017 is Finally Here: #WataMata

Yaaaaay! Chale Wote Street Art Festival is here again! This year an array of Artist Labs are followed by a weekend of public street madness in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana.

The full program (PDF) that this year has the theme of “Wata Mata” (Water matters? Word play with “Mami Wata” the female deity of the sea) is totally overwhelming and massively impressive, but I am especially looking forward to…

Sat 19 August, 2017

  • Dzala Butiq Art Sale
  • The Accra Cookout international food court
  • The Mami Wata Procession

Sun 20, August, 2017

  • April Bey’s workshop on printing
  • Deo Gratias Photo Studio Open House
  • The Wata Mata Procession
  • High Life Cafe Stage program with Ria Boss and Wanlov

 

Perhaps most I am excited about the overall creative environment with surprises around every corner.

Looking forward to sharing it with you on social media – hashtags #ChaleWote2017 and #WataMata.

See you there!

 

7 Facebook Profiles to Follow on Sociopolitical Issues in Ghana

Sometimes I despair: the problems are too many, the poverty too jarring, the madness to intense, the attitude among the leaders appalling, truly everywhere I turn, I see costly mistakes.

Then I turn to these seven Ghanaian opinion leaders asking the right questions. Because we need to ask questions, we need to keep the pressure up, we need to not despair.

Here are my top seven Facebook profiles to follow on sociopolitical issues in Ghana.

  1. Golda Addo 
  2. Bright Simons 
  3. Ethel D. Cofie (see her this week on #EthelCofieStartupSchool!)
  4. Franklin Cudjoe 
  5. Jemila Wumpini Abdulai (Meet her at #Cirqmixer, July 22)
  6. Kwame Gyan 
  7. Kathleen Addy

Chin up, follow them today!

Illustration borrowed from here.

I am attending Nordic Geographers’ Meeting #NGM2017

On Sunday, I’ll be in Stockholm for the 7th Nordic Geographers’ Meeting. I am excited to be presenting my work to a completely new audience – geographers, and a wider audience of social scientists – as I usually meet with Africa scholars or Migration scholars. The theme is “geographies of inequalities” which is almost a perfect topic to capture student migration out of the global South.

At the meeting, I hope to:

  • get some new ideas on how to take my work to the next level (Where do I publish?  What are others doing on students and migration?) and
  • pick up some clues on how I continue to do relevant interdisciplinary research. (What methods should I use?  Who can I collaborate with? Who else is interested in my work?)

I’ll be presenting two papers out of my dissertation research for the following two panels:

Session A3: Youth and Inequality: Perceptions, experiences, and aspirations. (PDF details)

Conveners: Prof. Katherine Gough of Loughborough University and Dr. Thilde Langevang of Copenhagen Business School.

Session description
Rising unemployment and sluggish economic growth are widely predicted to further widen income and wealth inequality worldwide. Young people, in particular, are being disproportionately affected with the OECD claiming that youth have replaced the elderly as the group experiencing the greatest risk of income poverty. This has widespread implications for the opportunities and constraints young people face as well as impacting on their aspirations for the future.This session will bring together papers which explore how young people’s lives and aspirations are being influenced by the inequality they experience and imagine both in situ and in faraway places. Papers are welcome from societies across the globe where young people are being affected by real or perceived high levels of inequality. Topics which may be explored in the session include, but are not restricted to, the implications of rising inequality at a range of scales for young people’ perceptions, experiences and aspirations of: Mobility and immobility /Education and skills training/ Work experiences and job prospects/Housing and home

Here my paper “Migration aspirations among university students in Ghana” will discuss my choices to focus on university students and not youth in general as well as aspirations and intentions and not migration per se . I also will share some results from the survey I did with university students in Ghana, in particular looking at social backgrounds of students and their view of migration. (20/6/17 1.15-3.00 pm. Room: William Olsson, House Y)

Session J7: The Politics of Movement. (PDF details)

Conveners: Dr. Nancy Cook & Prof. David Butz, Brock University.

Session description
The politics of movement  entanglements of power, social inequality and mobilities – is an abiding preoccupation in social geography and critical mobilities studies. Both scholarly fields identify mobility as a fundamental structuring dimension of social life. They also demonstrate that the capacity for movement under conditions of one’s choosing is a valuable resource that is unequally distributed in social contexts structured by hierarchies of power. In other words, movement is socially differentiated; it reflects and reinforces structures of power to configure inequitable social hierarchies. Critical geographers and mobility scholars are tracing the ways in which relations of gender, race, class, sexuality and citizenship shape discourses and practices of mobility that produce beneficial movement for some people and too little or too much movement for others.

For this session, I will discuss some thoughts around what a global South student really is in relation to mobility in my paper “Conceptualizing academic mobility and mobility exclusions from a global South student perspective”. Based on the data I collected for my dissertation research I will suggest some trends in the politics of movement from a student point of view. (19/6/17 at 5.15-6.45 pm in Room: U26, House U)

I am also looking forward to keynotes, especially with Dr. Brenda S.A. Yeoh who has a distinct global South perspective in her work and meeting new friends – and at least one old! I want to thank my good friend Michael Boampong who sent me the initial info on this conference, and who is also attending the conference as well as and my department at Ashesi University which made this trip possible.

Hope to meet you at #NGM2017!

Introducing The Flint and its Initiator: Emmanuel Quartey

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email with a very long text about WhatsApp marketing in Accra. Sure, I am a social media fan, but marketing and WhatsApp are not exactly my areas of interest. Still, I read the entire article and said to myself, something like: “I need to know more about this high quality initiative taking social media so seriously in our local context”. So, I contacted the initiator and asked him a few questions. Here is my interview with Emmanuel.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Emmanuel Quartey, and up until very recently, I was the General Manager of the MEST Incubator (which funds and supports early stage tech startups) in Accra. I consider myself primarily a product designer, but to be honest, I find the “what do you do” question increasingly difficult to answer these days. For money, I’m currently doing product design and digital marketing consulting. Otherwise, I’m working on The Flint, and saying “Yes” to all sorts of inbound requests from founders and VCs to chat about some a broad range of topics. So in summary: I write, I design, I figure out how to get people excited about things on the internet, and I have conversations with interesting people who’re working on interesting things.

2. Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do:

  • Because I want to know how and why things are. I get a special bone-deep thrill from understanding how things work, especially human systems. When this happens, I want to tell everyone about what I learned.
  • Because I’m fascinated by the relationship between the words of ideas, and the world of made things. I’m driven by the desire to understand how it is that some ideas make the leap from a mind to “reality,” while others get smothered immediately.
  • Because I feel I’ve been incredibly lucky and privileged, and I feel an obligation to make the opportunities I’ve had available for as many people as possible.
  • Much of this is motivated by my mother, whose life has been defined by service to others.
  • I’ve been very motivated throughout my life by school – I’ve had incredible teachers and the attended institutions with very strong missions. Primary school was St. Paul Methodist in Tema, whose motto was “Knowledge is Power”, High school was SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College, whose motto is “Knowledge in the Service of Africa”, College was Yale, whose motto, “Lux et Veritas” means “Light and Truth”…It sounds corny but that underlying message of learning and sharing knowledge means A LOT to me and drives a surprising amount of my thinking and actions.
  • Even more, I am motivated by fear and anger. Fear because there are these horrible forces out in the world and I worry that we’re not equipped to withstand them. Anger because we could be so much more. We could be SO much more.

3. What is The Flint?

On a very practical level, The Flint is an online publication about technology in Africa, aimed primarily at non-technical African entrepreneurs who’re eager to leverage technology to achieve more. I meet so many people pursuing fascinating ideas, but they lack the exposure to simple tools and processes that’ll help with user acquisition, recruitment, etc etc. Technology can be a productivity-enhancing multiplier for literally everyone, but too much of the knowledge is trapped in highly technical writing aimed at tech startups.

More conceptually, The Flint is also a vehicle for me to explore ideas around digital media. I believe that in the future, literally, every company will be a digital media company. By which I mean that every company will be in the business of acquiring, translating, storing, and distributing information. Manufacturing? Files (information) of objects will be transmitted (distributed) to be printed (translated) on site. Housing? Airbnb owns no property and yet manages the flow of information to put millions of people into millions of homes. Sports? Sports teams are already experimenting with placing fitness trackers on athletes and repackaging those statistics into content that is consumed by sports fans.

I genuinely believe this is the direction we’re heading in, and I very much want to understand as much as possible about how digital media entities work. What better way to run one myself? It’s very much an exercise in working and learning in public – in addition to the interviews, I’ll be sharing updates on what I’m learning while building The Flint. I’ll learn a ton and hope people will be interested in learning along with me.

4. The name clearly is about sparks, what fire to do want to light?

Racial justice means a lot to me. I want us to wake up to the fact that we have the tools to become masters of our own destiny. It begins by changing our relationship to our work – whatever “work” means to you from a chore, to craft. We need to 1) become craftspeople and domain experts in everything we do, and 2) we need to TEACH EACH OTHER how to level up.

We need to learn how to do hard things.

5. How do you see Ghana today and where do you see Ghana in 5 years?

Oh, goodness! Ghana leaves me both incredibly excited and intensely frustrated. I think Ghana is genuinely something special on the continent. I think our tiny nation has often proven that we have a remarkable ability to lead the way for the entire continent, and I think we’re dimly aware of that fact.

I don’t know where we’ll be in 5 years.

I hope we’re at a place where we realize we, collectively, need to be so much more serious about so many more things.

6. What is your best advise to someone who wants to create change?

I’m hesitant about answering this question but:
Courage is contagious. If you see something that isn’t right, say something, or do something about it to the extent of your ability. Someone once said that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. When you step up, you give other people permission to do same. They agree with you, but they were waiting for someone to say it first. “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” – Hillel the Elder

Find your tribe. Chosen families are powerful. Find your people who resonate on the same frequency as you and let them nourish you. It’s important to note that your tribe might not be your biological family or members of your school or religion. You might have to go far afield, but find them.

There will never be a perfect time. Planning can quickly become procrastination. Do it, even a small version of it. Do it now. Throw the bottle into the sea. Your people will find you, no matter how faint your signal.

Do cool things. Tell people about it. Repeat. People will mimic you. That’s how change happens, I think.

7. What do you want to promote? (a book that changed your life, what someone who wants to write for The Flint needs to do, go to grad school, don’t go to grad school etc.)

I’m very eager for people to contribute their knowledge to The Flint! The Flint wants to become a community of makers and craftspeople creating and sharing knowledge with each other.

If you don’t have the time to write, don’t worry – reach out to me and if I think your story will be instructive for others, I’ll write it for you. The things that make a good story for The Flint:

  • It reveals new facts or data that people would be surprised to know
  • It teaches a process/framework that can help a group of Africans do more
  • It involves technology in some way (note: “tech” can be as simple as a telephone)
    People can pitch ideas at emmanuel@theflint.io

Thank you for sharing, Emmanuel! I especially liked how you linked change not just to start-ups and entrepreneurship, but to civic courage and speaking up.  I wish Emmanuel all the best with his fiery, new project and hope you also like The Flint!

African Fashion Week in Sweden #AFWS2016





14188586_946147242163470_9208120836886791545_oIt is the time of the year when otherwise gray and black clothed Stockholmers can OHHHH and AAAHHH to beautiful wax print, refined raffia, and curve hugging colour!
The African Fashion Week Sweden is on its third year and growing strong! Founder Ayesha Jones who also started the Gambia Fashion Week, explains in a blog interview why she started the week:

“I felt Sweden was lacking a platform for black/African creativity to be uplifted and celebrated. In a society were people are so diverse and multicultural I don’t understand why no one did this before me and I’m a strong believer of not pointing out flaws if I don’t have suggestions on how to adjust them.

I also wanted to do something that hopefully would leave an impact in the world and create a legacy that the next and future generations can be proud of and enjoy.”

I have my agents out and hope to give you more info after the main event today, 3rd Sept.

As a Swede living in Africa, I am so happy the fashion conscious but very conservative Swedes finally get a flavour of African fashion!