Showing posts from May, 2017

Ghana 60 years on through the eyes of a filmmaker

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…

Shakespeare and the Robben Island prisoners that inspired a play

On the day that one of the last political prison mates of Nelson Mandela died, a South African play capturing life at the notorious Robben Island was released.
Written by Matthew Hahn, the play is based on selected texts from the complete works of William Shakespeare that became an important source of support and inspiration for inmates. The book - 'The Robben Island Shakespeare' (formerly known as The Robben Island Bible) was smuggled into the prison by the wife of political prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam.
Sonny was one of 33 political prisoners sentenced to life after being convicted of sabotage in the Rivonia Trial. The trial took place in South Africa between 9 October 1963 and 12 June 1964 and resulted in those famous pictures we know showing Mandela and his comrades imprisoned on Robben Island.

Inspiring texts
Apart from a Bible, inmates were forbidden access to reading materials. But Sonny convinced one prison guard to allow him to bring in the Hindu holy book. But there w…

Opinion: Inspiring the next generation

I initially didn't pay too much attention to the BBC news story about the 14 Black men studying at Cambridge University, (see here). If you hadn't heard, the guys represented Cambridge's small Black student population and the group shot (taken by a Black female Cambridge student) was aimed at encouraging more from the Black community to come forward and consider learning at the institution.
The image subsequently went viral on 3 May 2017 and the woman behind the photograph told the BBC she had been inspired by a similar initiative launched by Yale University's Black male cohort. The reason I initially shrugged it off was because I didn't think - in this day and age - we had to keep flagging up milestones that should be available to all regardless of what they look like. But the more I read this news, the more it reminded me of my own experience of applying to the Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) universities and why the achievements of these men still needs to be ma…