Lifestyle, Arts & Culture - June 2019

The Cameroonian proverb which says ‘There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree’ is a beautiful adage for resilience through the hard times. With perseverance, you will reach your goals. Many of the innovators and creatives behind the alluring sights and sounds from around the continent that we’ve picked up over the past few weeks definitely mirror such a mindset…be inspired!

What’s on our playlist

  • The captivating voice of award-winning gospel artist Joe Mettle was so nourishing to hear at a live concert in Accra over the weekend, where he sang a favourite Onwanwani at ICGC, in Nungua, Accra. It’s not difficult to understand why he broke the glass ceiling for gospel musicians by winning ‘Artist of the Year’ at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) in 2017. 

  • Afrobeat singer/rapper Elom Adablah, better known as EL, also won VGMA Artist of the Year. EL’s song Higher gets us in the perfect frame of mind to continue our week with. Dance, then get up and go. 

What we’re reading: 

  • Two Weeks in November – an insider’s look at the last few weeks of Mugabe’s reign in Zimbabwe and the power struggles that were going on behind the scenes to find a successor.

  • Face2Face Africa’s entertainment news - So, Idris Elba, British-born Sierra Leonean actor, got married in Marrakesh, Morocco and the A-List wedding reception saw a dance-off between Nigeria’s Afrobeat singer Davido and Christian Louboutin, the luxury footwear designer. These guys have got soul (or maybe it was those red-soled dancing shoes)!

  •  What the implications of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area will be on the 24 African states which ratified the agreement and on their trading partners. The treaty comes into force on 7 July.

Where we’re visiting 

  • SociaLiga Match Day 2 @ CIS, Lekki, Lagos. Youths in Lagos didn't just want to watch the top football stars in European leagues, rather, they created their own league. It wasn’t just about the football: there was music, food, drinks, entertainment - and a lot of networking for business or pleasure. 

What we’re following:

  • More love lost in Ghana’s dancehall scene.The feud between the two largest dancehall icons, Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy, reached new lows last month at the VGMAs. As Stonebwoy was onstage to collect his award for Reggae/Dancehall Artist of the Year, Shatta Wale and a crowd of his supporters stormed the stage. According to Shatta enthusiasts, it was in order to congratulate Stonebwoy (perhaps implausible, given their history). A scuffle ensued which saw Stonebwoy brandishing a gun, purportedly in self-defence. Shatta has promised more violence, including the use of weapons, if/when the two meet again. Fans and industry observers are already calling for the two to reconcile for the benefit of the industry. However, the same cannot be said for the extremely loyal followings of the two artists, Shatta Movement and Bhim Nation.

    All of this puts a downer on Ghana’s music industry, which is starting to gain international acclaim (recent months have seen Stonebwoy collaborating with Beenie Man as well as Shatta Wale performing to a sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in London). 

  •   Ghana takes its seat at the global arts table: As shared previously, for the first time, Ghana showcased its wealth of creative talent at the 58thVenice Biennale International Art Exhibition. Led by Sir David Adjaye OBE, the nation’s pavilion unleashed a mosaic of  paintings, images and sculptures captured under the themeGhana Freedom. It is of course liberating to witness a changing narrative about African art internationally but the talk of a new national museum by Adjaye and film-maker, curator and historian, Nana Oforiatta Ayim if it comes to pass, will go a long way towards articulating a strong sense of national pride too. 

 What’s in the diary:

  • 7thJune @ 5pm @ Ecobank Head Office (opposite), Accra: a discussion around sustainability in fashion: who should do it, and how should it be done?

  • 8 June: Design thinking seminar: how 5G technology can ensure greater opportunity for financial inclusion, given that only a third of Ghana’s 29.6 m population is banked.

  • 10 June: Tech in Ghana conference in London, bringing together the very best in tech and innovation.

  • 14-16 June: The Wax Print Festival is almost here! A celebration of African fabric, history and culture. 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. Look out for our “In Conversation With” interview with her this month too.

  • 24-26 June 2019: Affordable Housing Investment Summit in Nairobi. As one of the association partners of Global Business to Business, we are helping to bring together a range of stakeholders - developers, construction companies; government, associations and investors- with a view to fostering a collaborative environment to find effective and affordable solutions to the current housing deficit on the African continent. If you would like further details, please reach out

  • 24-26 June: For the second time, Gabon will be holding its Gabon Wood Show, in Libreville to pull together a range of developers and manufacturers to take advantage of the country’s abundant wood and forestry sector.

  • 27-28 June: The Women in Africa Initiative (WIA) will have its annual summit in Marrakesh on 27-28 June. It's their third such conference highlighting, promoting and empowering women leaders on the continent. This is in terms of high-powered discussions, training, exhibitions, awards and a fair amount more. 








Nana Ampofo