Lifestyle, Arts & Culture - April 2019

Since happiness isn’t perfect until it’s shared as the African proverb reminds us, we wanted to share with you some of the sights, sounds, textures and tastes from around the continent which have caught our attention of late...enjoy!

What’s on our playlist

  • Pape Diouf, a 40 something Senegalese artist who comes from the Sine-Saloum Delta region of Senegal and a family of griots. Using the classic Senegalese mbalax rhythm on the sabar drum, Diouf sings about society and identity. You can definitely hear the Youssou N’dour influence, so it’s little wonder that Diouf used to play alongside N’dour’s lead guitarist Jimi Mbaye.

  • Bra Fie by Fuse ODG who has fallen in love with his motherland Ghana and is unapologetic about African pride through cherishing the continent’s history, culture, values and prospects

  • “Dangote still dey find money,” sings Nigeria’s Burna Boy in the track Dangotenamed after businessman Aliko Dangote. The singer is saying, if the richest man on the continent still gets up to work, why shouldn’t he?

What we’re reading: 

  • 100 Wells of Salaga by acclaimed Ghanaian author, Ayesha Haruna Attah. It’s a beautiful narrative set in 19th century Ghana about two women in pre-colonial Ghana who go through very different experiences at the time of the slave trade. It’s elaborate and personal while addressing a broader historical and uncomfortable truth about African identity - the slave trade.

  • Articles on George Weah’s presidency. One year into his presidency and the cult of personality, corruption and friction between Weah and his vice paint a vivid picture of what the decision-making system looks like.

  • The Africa Report’s take on what the international community's stand is on Tshiskedi in DRC, including the AU and what that might mean for its internal politics. 

Where we’re visiting (or would like to!): 

  • FESPACO's 50th Edition is currently ongoing - think Cannes in Ouaga for only African cinema.

  • World-renowned Ghanaian artist, Ibrahim Mahama, opened a gallery in Tamale in March. It'll be offering artist residencies, is artist-run and will also act as a community centre.

What we’re following:

  • #ResurrectionChallenge on Twitter - a viral trend which started after an SA pastor claimed to have resurrected a dead man. Also the responses to a BBC Africa tweet about timeliness have been outstanding.

  • So, Hannah O'Leary, Director, Head of Modern African Art at Sotheby's has been busy with the auctioning of pieces by African artists. Notable names among some of the best performing works include Hassan El Glaoui of Morocco, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga of the DRC and Ghana’s El Anatsui. 

 What’s in the diary:

  • The Wax Print Festival in June in Accra, which will be a celebration of African fabric, history and culture but it will also bring to the fore the debate about identity and cultural appropriation since “neither batik or wax print are indigenous”, founder Amma Aboagye tells us. 

  • It’s worthy of note that Ghana via the Ministry of Tourism will be represented at 58thVenice Biennale in the final quarter of 2019, the first for the West African nation. Sir David Adjaye OBE, the British-Ghanaian Architect of Adjaye Associates noted for works including The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will design the country’s site in the Artiglierie of the Arsenale in concert with celebrated Ghanaian artists. The names are El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama and Felicia Abban. The other artists are Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, John Akomfrah and Selasi Awusi Sosu. Adjaye has also been commissioned by the Government of Ghana to design the National Cathedral and the Marine Drive Tourism hub project in Accra. 


Nana Ampofo