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(1) Africa 53: Exploring the continent's diversity

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Too many times, I have heard the African continent described as a country with one homogeneous ethnic group. Considering that the continent is 30.4 million square metres (m2) in size, dwarfing Russia at 17.1m2, according to Nature America, and easily swallows up China, India, the US and most of Europe, isn't it about time her true might is reflected properly? I recently met a man who, through his work and in his spare time, has visited 53 of the 54 countries recognised by the African Union. It may have taken him 25 years but his experiences have helped to give him a more balanced appreciation of the continent, her people and the politics. In the first of three podcast instalments here, lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade talks candidly about nation building and corruption and tells us some of his favourite cuisines and destinations. This podcast is based on questions from MisBeee Writes readers. Music in this podcast is called 'Di Asempa' and comes from Atakora Manu & H…

Brixton exhibition to showcase life of Ewe Royal in papers

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It is not everyday that you come across papers that give you some indication about your heritage and family history. This happened to one East London family that can trace their ancestry to a Ghanaian royal from the Ewe nation.

Ewe Fia  - Togbui Adamah II reigned from 1915 to 1963 - and thanks to a collection of official and personal letters and papers written by him and addressed to him, we know much more.

These papers - known as the Adamah Papers - were found by a family member and eventually donated to the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton, London.

This is likely to be the first time such a find has been discovered in this way, and provide great insight into what life was like during a time when present-day Ghana was under British colonial rule. These papers give us rare insight into what life was like for Fia Togubui Adamah II, the people he ruled and his intersection with neighbouring kings and the British.

Check out my interview with Natalie Fiawoo who is project managin…

Vlog: British-Nigerian author's books set for February 2018 revamp

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The son of the late British-Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta is leading a project to digitise and re-launch all her works. By February 2018, her most well-known novels: 'In the Ditch’, ‘The Bride Price’ and ‘The Slave' will be re-launched with more titles set to follow, Onwordi told MisBeee at the sidelines of literary festival Africa Writes 2017 earlier this month. The plan to digitise and republish Buchi's entire collection of over 20 books – complete with new book covers - emerged after the Ibusa-born London-based author passed away in January this year.

"..one of the consequences was a realisation that lots of people wanted to read her books but unfortunately some of her books have gone out of print,” said Sylvester. “And so the idea came to me, and the other people I have been collaborating with, that we should get together and form a publishing company to re-launch some of those editions.” Despite Buchi's work spanning almost 30 years, some of her books have f…

Ghanaian bamboo bike maker explores UK market

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The guy Ghanaians reportedly call the bamboo man came to London in June to promote his handmade bamboo bikes to the UK market. Kwabena Danso is the founder and ceo of Booomers - a range of bikes made in Ghana and designed to provide the healthier ones among us with a novel way of getting around. These bikes are also hoped to tackle Ghana's youth unemployment problem, and promote green transportation. 

Ok, so these bamboo bikes are not completely made of bamboo. The frames are, but not the wheels, handles or gears, and there is no bamboo helmet (yet?!). Nevertheless, the invention has been eagerly embraced by bike enthusiasts all over Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. Even the UK's Minister for Foreign Affairs and the figure behind the sponsored London bikes Boris Johnson also had a go on one when he paid a recent visit to Ghana. Danso hasn't stopped riding them since coming to London for the first time in early June and has been quick to extol the benefits of using this fo…

Books by Nigeria's Buchi Emecheta likely for digital revival

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I have been so enchanted by Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta OBE and her books since my early teens and sorely regretted missing an opportunity to see her in my 20s. So, in my 30s – some months after she had passed on – I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate her life at a tribute event. This event included an audience with her son Sylvester Onwordi, Diane Abbott - MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Margaret Busby OBE – Buchi's publisher who just happens to be the UK’s first Black female publisher.
Greenwich Book Festival I was surprised that the event – organised by the Greenwich Book Festival and chaired by writer Ade Solanke – wasn’t filled to the rafters. I was even more surprised that I was one of the youngest people there. I had assumed that, like me, Buchi’s books had been staple reading material for most Black people growing up. Over 40 years on and her books are still hugely relevant. They touch on themes related to racism, sexism, poverty, and the exploration of A…

MisBeee shares some Monday motivation with Abigale Otchere

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Morning All! I wanted to share with you my first podcast as an interviewee. 
Motivational coach and podcaster Abigale Otchere interviewed me about this MisBeee Writes blog, understanding identity growing up as a British-Ghanaian and what motivates me. 
She shares similar stories of inspiring people every Monday - so check her out - here
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Ghana 60 years on through the eyes of a filmmaker

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I just came back from the Ghana 60 years on, mobilising Ghana's future event - staged at London university SOAS. In a nutshell, I would have to say that there was more politics going on behind the scenes than was discussed during the session. Serious egos bouncing off each other which meant there was NO REAL transformative discussion about Ghana at all.

The highlights for me were the way the filmmaker Paul Adom-Otchere structured the film 'From Gold Coast to Ghana' - around legal and constitutional milestones dating back to 6 March 1844 when part of modern-day Ghana came under British jurisdiction. I thought it was a simple way of crystallising and distilling a lot of our complex history and creating some sort of timeline of historical events and their significance. 


A legal route to Ghanaian history
But this did not go down well with everyone and one audience member took issue to what she thought was an omission of Ghana's rich heritage of tribes, cultures and female le…