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Colonial satire parade still going in Ghana after almost a century



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”.



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Events & Places

Adane BEST, Samuel Owusu, Tagoe Sisters, others for “Time with MGA” concert, March 2



The Executives of MUSIGA Greater Accra, (MGA) in partnership with EventMastersGh, and Alliance Francaise Accra presents “Time with MGA“: a  variety show featuring top artistes of all genres.

The MGA Variety Show is a pre-independence day live concert slated for Friday, March 2, 2018. Artistes billed to perform include   Shegah (godmother of Dancehall music in Ghana), Adane Best (Highlife), Nana Quame (Highlife), Samuel Owusu (Highlife), Kento & Joe Wizzy (Hiplife), Ex-Doe (Hiplife), Soma Iddrissu (Traditional), Tagoe Sisters (Gospel), Gifty Osei (Gospel), Ras Caleb, Appiah-Levi (Reggae) and Mellodica led by bassist Emmanuel Ofori as a back-up Band for all the artistes.

This event promises to be one of the exhilarating concerts in the series of “Time with MGA”.

The Chairman of MUSIGA Greater Accra, Ras Caleb Appiah Levi said “this collaboration is welcoming as such Platforms do not only help the musicians to improve on their stage craft when it comes to live musical performances but also an avenue to further improve and grow the creative arts industry”.

Mr. Isaac Kofi Maafo, Director of EventMastersGh also added that, they are opened for partnerships as these concerts would provide one of the best and cost effective consumer engagement platforms for organizations to promote and consolidate their brands.



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Events & Places

Reconnecting Africa, Diaspora key to accelerated development – Dr Bawumia



The single most important factor in the development and progress of a nation is its human capital, and it is crucial to reconnect Africans on the continent and those in the diaspora to accelerate the emancipation of the African continent, the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has underscored.

The Vice President, who was speaking at the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr W.E.B Du Bois in Accra on Monday February 19, 2018, emphasised that the destiny of Africans anywhere in the world is irrevocably tied to the destiny of the African continent.

Born on February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, a small town in Massachusetts town USA, Dr Du Bois Du Bois was a leader in the pan-African movement that sought solidarity between all people of African descent. He was a major influence on Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, especially after they met at the 1945 Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England.


travelled to Ghana in 1961 at the invitation of Dr Kwame to help write the Encyclopedia Africana. Renouncing his U.S. citizenship, Du Bois became a citizen of Ghana and lived here until his death in 1963, at the age of 95.

Alluding to W.E.B. Du Bois’s drive to reconnect the African diaspora to the continent, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia emphasised that almost 400 years after the advent of slavery, Africa was still strong and, with a growing population billed to be the largest in the world by 2050, a focus on developing the human capital of persons of African descent would help the continent assume its rightful place in the world.

“It is important for Africans to recognise that we are all Africans, whether you are in the diaspora or in the continent” Dr Bawumia stated.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a billionaire walking on the streets of America as a black man; they will see you no different from anybody walking on the streets of Africa, and so the emancipation of people of African descent lies in the emancipation of Africa.

“That lesson for me is very very important, and that is why we have to grow and move beyond aid and develop our continent.”

According to the Vice President, Dr Du Bois’ decision to relocate to Ghana, sowed a seed that reflected his commitment to the development of the African.

“The message for me in his coming back home – he was here, died here, he is buried here – that singular act is the sowing of a seed, and we are all the products of that seed. He sowed a seed to let us understand why it is important to unite the African diaspora with the continent.

“The research is very clear, that the single most important factor is not natural resources, the gold and all that. The single most important factor for the development and the progress of nations is your human capital. That is the single most important factor.

“Next year 2019 will be 400 years of the first documented arrival of slaves from Africa to America, so if human capital is the key to the development and progress of nations and you have 400 years of a loss of human capital, it is bound to have a major impact for us descendants. Therefore it is very very important to reconnect that human capital that is out there, our brothers and sisters out there in the diaspora.

“We want quality human capital, that is why our education systems have to be ramped up, and we have to link up with the human capital that we already have in the diaspora. We have to link up and take advantage of that to propel this continent scientifically.”




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Events & Places

These Paul Addo images sum up Ebony’s One – Week Observation!



The One -Week observation ceremony for singer Ebony Reigns (Priscilla Opoku Kwarteng), held in Dansoman over the weekend, was characterised by a mix of emotions: disconsolate and celebratory alike.

A momentous time in modern Ghanaian music, the event attracted a myriad of sympathisers (celebrities, as well as regular folk).

Photographer Paul Addo, via a selection of poignant images, sums up the key scenes from proceedings. Follow him on Twitter

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Events & Places

IMAGES: Mzvee shows class at inaugural NFF Awards in Nigeria



Afro-Dancehall artiste Mzvee was the toast of the several patrons who throng the Grand Ballroom of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island (Lagos) on Monday for the maiden edition of the Aiteo/Nigeria Football Federation awards.

The versatile act performed her smash hit “Rewind”, and was joined by Nigerian Dancehall act Patoranking to perform their collaboration “Sing My Name” on the night.

Other performers on the night were Tiwa Savage, Simi, Kiss Daniel, Reekado Banks,  and Falz.

Present at the awards were NFF President Amaju Pinnick, First Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Born Vera Hamenoo-Kpeda, the Natural Girl is popular for many hits including Bokor Bokor, Abofra, and Hold Me Now.

She has worked with top colleagues as Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale, Richie Mensah, Efya, Didier Awadi, Pappy Kojo, and MI Abaga etc. MzVee is also a two-time BET honouree, and is recipient of several other laurels including VGMA awards for  Unsung Artiste of the Year (2014), Best New Artist Of The Year (2015), Best Female Vocalist of the Year (2016), GMH Best Female Artist Honour (2016) and a host of others.


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WEDDING BELLS! Here are exquisite Kwabena Awuku -made images of Paa T & RHODA’s nuptials



Here are images from the most-talked about wedding in the capital all weekend. Made by celebrity photographer Kwabena Awuku, the pictures are a captivating portrayal of what a momentous time the ceremony turned out to be.

A classy garden event which saw Michael “Paa T” Tawiah Attoh (CEO of Accra Young Wise Football Club, and PM’s Lounge) say “I do” to his sweetheart, Rhoda Adei Asantewa Neequaye, in the presence of several high-profile personalities including actresses Moesha Budong and Efia Odo, executives of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), members of the Shatta Movement, as well as a number of TV and radio presenters.

LYNX Entertainment singer KiDi, was present to serenade guests with songs from his ever-growing catalogue.

Another highlight of the beautiful function, which came off at the Page Centre in Sakaman – Accra, was the fascinating decor ( a masterful blend of  gold, white and wine).

See images below:

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Events & Places

THE JOURNEY OF AN ENTREPRENEUR! Bola Ray to speak at 9th edition of OF LEAD SERIES



OMNIS2131, in conjunction with live919fm, will host Chief Executive Officer of EIB Network, Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi on Sunday, February 25, on the theme ‘THE JOURNEY OF AN ENTREPRENEUR”.

The event will run from 4pm to 6pm at Capitol Café & Restaurant, located inside Labone, a few meters away from the Ghana Free Zones Board.

Bola Ray is unquestionably one of the utmost successful young business magnates in the media circles whose success story is motivation to the youth who look up to him.

The LE.A.D Series is powered by OMNIS 2131 with support from The Radio Advertising People (TRAP), TOTO Wear, Made Men Agency, Brands Aid, and TIGO Bussiness. In the past, the series has hosted influential personalities as Sarkodie, Ameyaw Debrah, Nabil Alhassan, Asamoah Gyan, among others.

Bola Ray joined 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.

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