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Colonial satire parade still going in Ghana after almost a century

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A fancy dress New Year festival that began almost a century ago in Ghana as a searing satire of colonial life is still thriving today, with hundreds of people dressing up and donning masks.

On the streets of Winneba, a fishing town a two-hour drive from the capital Accra, a four-metre tall Santa Claus waving Ghana’s flag marches past a wolf shimmying to the jazzy beats played by a brass band.

Children wearing matching pink and white cowboy outfits decorated in silver tinsel and Christmas ornaments dance along with their parents in the friendly — but fierce — annual costume competition held just after New Year’s Day.

The Winneba event is a “passion festival”, organiser James Kofi Annan told AFP.

“Whether you are in Winneba or elsewhere, you want to come.”

The Winneba Fancy Dress Festival has its roots in colonial Ghana, when Dutch and English settlers would wear masks at New Year parties.

Ghanaians in Winneba began forming masquerade groups in the 1920’s in part to poke fun at the life and dress of the Europeans, explained Annan.

What began as a subversive depiction of colonial life transformed into a beloved cultural event.

After Ghana achieved independence in 1957, President Kwame Nkrumah’s administration endorsed and promoted the annual Winneba festival.

This year’s event saw five groups of about 100 members vying for the top trophy.

The groups — the Nobles, Egyaa, Tumus, Red Cross and Group Five — have their own marching bands to provide the soundtrack to fast-paced, rhythmic dancing and marching formations.

To perfect their moves before the big day, they practised in secret locations around Winneba, including in the bush and abandoned buildings.

Almost everything the revellers wear is custom-made for the event, from the harlequin outfits sewn in leather and velvet to the multicoloured hand-stitched boots and tall crowns.

 

– Cowboy boots and tinsel –

The costumes are adorned with a glittering array of embroidery, tinsel and Christmas balls.

The performers all wear masks, some handmade, others more generic. Santa is a favourite, and there is at least one Obama among the dancers.

The groups, made up of women, men, boys and girls, work to wow the judges with three different dance routines throughout the day.

Isaac Ambrado, 43, an architect and proud member of the Red Cross group, has brought his five-year-old son Gabriel to perform for the first time.

The father and son are also joined by Isaac’s cousin, Mark Koomson, 42, and his son, Theophilus, also five.

The two young boys held hands as they marched in the procession. Dressed in pink and white, they were pint-sized reflections of their fathers.

Neon pink feathers lined their white, handmade boots, with pink rope decorating their white trousers. Their vests were festooned with tassels.

They wore pink and white masks with long noses under pink sun hats decorated with feathers and tinfoil.

 

– Family legacy –

Both fathers want their sons to carry on the tradition of the annual festival.

“I am growing older, he is supposed to come and take over from me. I have been doing it for 32 years. It is in my family,” Ambrado said.

Koomson said it was emotional to have his son march alongside him, explaining that his great-great grandfather was a founding member of the Red Cross.

In the end, the Red Cross lost out to the Tumus group, who impressed the judges with their costumes that sent a message of “harmony and unity”, Annan said.

While there was no specific theme linking the outfits, Annan noted that they took care to use harmonious colours.

The Tumus group showed discipline in their well-choreographed routines, but it was their passionate performance that endeared them to the judges.

As Annan put it, “they were on top of virtually everything”.

 

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

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Events & Places

#ITISPOSSIBLE! John Mahama, JOSPONG, Duffour Jnr. pick up first copies of Bola Ray’s bio

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Ex -president John Dramani Mahama, JOSPONG Group CEO Joseph Siaw Agyepong, and UniBank CEO Dr. Kwabena Duffuor II are among the first to secure copies of media mogul Bola Ray’s biography “It Is Possible”.

Dr. Duffour purchased the book for a whopping GHC100,ooo, while ex-president Mahama is said to have secured his copy for an undisclosed amount. The JOSPONG boss also bought hs for GHC 50, 000. Other early birds include William Asiedu (Managing Editor – Daily Heritage), and Mr. Ofori Boateng.

Reggae/ Afrobeats singer Eboo, Stonebwoy, and Bronya duo Wutah have all performed at the ongoing event.

Authored by journalist Obed Boafo, the book (titled “It Is Possible”) details the media mogul’s life over four decades, as well as his journey to becoming one of the country’s foremost business persons. It was written over 2 years.

Copies of the book can be purchased via bolaray.com

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#ITISPOSSIBLE! Bola Ray Book Launch Underway!

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The widely-anticipated launch of media mogul Bola Ray (Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi (Bola Ray) is currently underway at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.

Compered by veteran broadcaster Kwame Sefa Kayi, it was kicked off with a prayer from motivational speaker/ preacher Rev. Albert Ocran.

Several of society’s most prominent faces across various spectrums of society have converged at the venue for this landmark event.

Respected traditional ruler and academic Nana Kwabena Nketia V is the chairman for the event.

Authored by journalist Obed Boafo, the book (titled “It Is Possible”) details the media mogul’s life over four decades, as well as his journey to becoming one of the country’s foremost business persons. It was written over 2 years.

Joining radio while still in university, Bola Ray has grown to become an authority not just in radio broadcasting, but in the entertainment industry as a whole. He joined Accra-based Top Radio after university and went on to The Multimedia Group, where he served a variety of roles, mainly hosting Drivetime on Joy for 11 years. For the past two years, he has been host of Starr Chat and co-host of Starr Drive, aside being head of the EIB Network and the Empire Group. 

Copies of the book can be secured via bolaray.com

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#ITISPOSSIBLE! EBOO, Efya, Patch Bay, OTHERS to perform @ Bola Ray bio launch

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Dancehall/ Afrobeats gem Eboo will perform his compelling tribute song in honour of Bola Ray’s book launch tonight at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra.

Like the memoire, the song is titled “It Is Possible”, and proves a touching testimony of the celebrated broadcaster’s journey. Produced by Legacy Beats, it also features the EIB boss himself.

Other top acts named for the night include sultry chanteuse Efya, the Patch Bay Band, as well astalented saxophonist Mizter Okyere.

Authored by journalist Obed Boafo, the 320-pager details the media mogul’s life over four decades, as well as his journey to becoming one of the country’s foremost business persons. It was written over 2 years.

Copies of the book can be secured via bolaray.com

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#ITISPOSSIBLE: Kwame Sefa Kayi to host Bola Ray Book launch!

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Beloved media mogul and EIB CEO Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi (Bola Ray) outdoors his memoir at the Labadi Beach Hotel tonight.

Expected to be graced by the creme of society, the launch is part of a series of activities to mark the broadcaster’s 20 years as a media practitioner.

Colleague broadcaster and host of Peace FM’s Kokrokoo has been announced as compere for the evening. An icon himself, Sefa Kayi is highly revered in the media landscape, bringing to the stage a wealth of experience built over many decades.

The launch will be graced by key statesmen, industry colleagues, and admirers alike.  President Akufo-Addo, former presidents Rawlings and J. A Kuffour, John Dramani Mahama, Deputy UK High Commissioner to Ghana Gavin Cook, world-renowned cosmetologist Dr Rita Rakus are among special guests of honour.

Joining radio while still in university, the EIB boss has gone on to become an authority not just in radio broadcasting, but in the entertainment industry as a whole –widely earning praise as the brightest of his generation.

Copies of the book can be secured via bolaray.com

 

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IMAGES: Nikki Samonas and Jasmine Baroudi Celebrate With Jack Daniels

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September marks the birthday of Jack “Jasper Newton” Daniels, the legendary craftsman who founded the “Jack Daniels” brand and continues to make his mark on the world today with the world’s finest whiskey.

Because no-one knows his exact date of birth; Jack Daniels is celebrating (Mr.) Jack’s birthday all month long with celebrity birthday celebrants within the month.

Delectable screen goddesses, Nikki Samonas and Jasmine Baroudi looked fab and stunning last Saturday night as they hosted their birthdays with Jack Daniels inside the plush Venus Lounge in OSU.

The AccraNightlyf Group and Jack Daniels promised a fun night and delivered a scintillating affair.

Guests were welcomed unto an artsy  yet glamorous red carpet set up reminiscent of “Mr. Jack’s Room”  and featured an on- going live graffiti painting of Mr. Jack, leading into the fun photo area complete with Jack Daniels props.

It set the tone for a fun and memorable night.

A consistently good playlist was served throughout the night by Live Fm’s Sheldon the Turn Up, budding DJ, Wallpaper and the best female DJ in Ghana, DJ Nyce.

Venus Lounge was lit as a capacity crowd made up of the city’s upwardly mobile socialites partied their way into the morning with Mr. Jack.

This was the kickoff event in the #CelebrateWithJack  Birthday party series which moves next to the CHAMPS Bar this Friday, 22nd September for a special Karaoke Party dubbed, “WHEN JACK SINGS.”

 

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#ITISPOSSIBLE: All set for launch of Bola Ray’s bio tonight!

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It all comes down to tonight. For some two decades, celebrated broadcaster Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi (Bola Ray) has indisputably changed Ghana’s media landscape. Joining radio while still in university, the EIB boss has gone on to become an authority not just in radio broadcasting, but in the entertainment industry as a whole –widely earning praise as the brightest of his generation.

In a few hours, and like his GH One TV show, the story of this beloved media mogul and leadership icon will be officially revealed. Slated for the plush Labadi Beach Hotel, the drive-belt doyen outdoors his biography.

Authored by journalist Obed Boafo, the book details Bola Ray’s life over four decades, as well as his journey to becoming one of the country’s foremost business persons. It was written over 2 years.

#ITISPOSSIBLE – Eboo drops official theme song for Bola’s biography – LISTEN!

 The launch is expected to attract key statesmen, industry colleagues, and admirers alike.  President Akufo-Addo, former presidents Rawlings and J. A Kuffour, John Dramani Mahama, Deputy UK High Commissioner to Ghana Gavin Cook, world renowned cosmetologist Dr Rita Rakus are among special guests of honour.

Copies of the book can be preordered via bolaray.com

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