Showing posts from March, 2015

Made in Ghana - The art of promoting home-grown talent

Without the aid of Google, could you name 10 contemporary Ghanaian painters, sculptors, or visual artists? How about five, two or one? Did you struggle? I managed two – Kofi Agorsor and Godfried Donkor, which is a shame when you consider the massive contribution Ghanaian artists have and continue to bestow upon the art world.

Ghana has produced some of the world's most established artists, many of whom were trained at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Some of these leading names includeSami Bentil, who celebrates traditional Ghanaian culture and surrealism in his pieces. El Anatsui who has garnered widespread acclaim for his sculptural installations, which use a diverse range of materials from cassava graters to chainsaws. And London-trained Godfried Donkor - well known for Financial Times newspaper-inspired collage work.
But one of the biggest challenges emerging artists still face is visibility and recognition within Ghana. Those coming fresh out of u…

What would you do to protect your baby's childhood?

Eight years on since Ghana’s government technically criminalised rape between husband and wife, and one female MP is pushing for legislation that could force men to marry girls they impregnate.

A step backwards I hear some of you cry especially when set against a backdrop of disturbing and frequent reports of child and adult rape cases in the West African country.
According to the latest government statistics, 1,000 children are raped annually in Ghana - three times as many as adults. And these figures are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg with many more going unreported.

Articles alleging abuse, paedophilia, and child pregnancies at the hands of family members, authority figures and celebrities are becoming an all too common feature in Ghana’s newspapers. Even more disturbing is the public’s attitude to rape and the blame culture that often prevents victims from seeking help.

Earlier this year, a child bride was imprisoned for killing her adult husband. And in a much publicised …

Art imitating life: An interview with children's storyteller Dr Tamara Pizzoli

Tamara has already written five books, including The Ghanaian Goldilocks, and is embarking on a film project and a scripted series. In this final instalment she gets creative and gives a hat tip to two of Ghana's rising stars.

MB: You are a bit of a globetrotter and this seems to be reflected in your books. Where do you plan to (a) visit next and (b) where would you like to go if time, space and money were no barriers?
TP: Ooooh, this is such a good question, particularly part b. Next I plan on visiting New York in early April. But I’m also open to Milan or Marrakech for a weekend before then.
As far as where I’d like to go if time, space and money weren’t to be taken into consideration: -To my childhood with my sister, to make mud pies and eat popsicles and have her chase me with the vacuum cleaner. -In the air, seated on the edge of a very fluffy cloud. -To check on my sister and my other loved ones in the afterlife…just to pop in and say hi and catch up. I wouldn’t wanna stay too lon…

All Hail the Ghanaian Trotro

This blog is written in tribute to every trotro (Ghanaian mini bus) I rode during my eight-month stay in Ghana.

I know some people see them as rickety, rusty and dangerous forms of transport. But for me - a diasporan accustomed to the English bus system - trotros gave me unique insight into Ghanaian culture.

They helped me navigate Accra's ordered yet chaotic roads and improved my mental arithmetic.
Yes, it is true that a couple of my nice dresses got jammed and torn as I tried to descend from them. And I am the first to admit that I pondered getting a tetanus jab once or twice after drawing blood from the rusty vehicles. And YES I can still smell that acrid, sulphurous boiled egg aroma mixed with ‘scent e no, a gye bebia' (stale sweat). But believe me, I gained a whole lot more than I lost.
Assimilation I came to live in Accra in 2008 before the new Achimota bus station was built. I was immediately baffled at how people managed to get from A to B, let alone Z. Having started a v…