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#VIMYAAZO: Conversation with sportswear “mayniak” David Buckman

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Nima native Abdul Rashid Zakari is a maniac – or more appropriately, Mayniak (the name of the sportswear brand he founded two years ago). At 30, he’s CEO of the outfit, and looks to revolutionize sportswear on the continent. He walks briskly, and his speech is hurried.  He also wears a constant smile, is generally hyperactive, and exudes an unmistakable passion for discourse around sportswear for Africa.

He sports a funky jacket with lapel flower pins over blue athletic pants he designed himself –the word Mayniak crawling down his right leg. “As you can see, this is super-dry material which is good for our weather”, he proclaims later in our conversation. The insides of the fabric are made of a sort of towel which absorbs sweat. In one of the two bags in his hand are samples of the jerseys which have made him superstar –Liberty Professionals FC’s new “Performa” kits for 2016/2017. The jerseys have proven to be a landmark project, and on them, he’s collecting autographs which he’ll exhibit in coming months.

David Buckman in conversation with ENEWSGH’s Gabriel Myers Hansen

Until now (what he calls “50 seconds of fame”), his acclaim has been as a result of his marketing strides (he’s worked on projects with Kumasi Asante Kotoko among other major sports establishments). He also responds to the name “David Buckman”, is graduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-UK) as well as the Sports Business Institute of Barcelona, and a strong advocate of the word “vim” –that word litters nearly his every submission, which is underlined by empowerment. And why is that?

“Vim is a contagious spirit…that resilience or willpower to do stuff. You dream, you have to defy, you have to deliver. Initially this [Mayniak] was a dream. We defied it [obstacles], and we’re delivering”. To back this point, he reveals how he has had false starts with Accra Hearts of Oak (which he’s a die-hard fan of), and Papa Kwesi Nduom’s Elmina Sharks. But Abdul Rashid Zakari is irrepressible in his ambitions, for even today, he nurses hopes of those dreams coming true. He shows me designs of jerseys he has created for both clubs on his smartphone –that same Samsung on which rapper Kanye West’s “Lamborghini Mercy” blared out when a call came through for him as our conversation started. The designs fascinated me, especially that of Accra Hearts of Oak – the “rainbow colours” running across the chest of a white one, a black one, and then my favourite: an intricately crafted yellow and blue one which leaves you astounded and proud to be Ghanaian all at once.

Sample designs created by David for Accra Hearts of Oak

 

The words “creativity”, and (of course) “maniac”, also describe his identity, he believes – “I am a creative guy. I try as much as possible to think outside the box. There’s a way over here, it’s locked. Is there any way we can go through without breaking this particular glass? So that’s me – I try as much as possible to think outside the box for options”.

Another word – “sahiihi” –which he pronounces with an intentional stress, and has stamped unto the stitch on the helm label, is key to the Mayniak dream, for “sahihi” means “original” in his native Hausa. The jersey is innovative in the way that it is designed, because it is “made to fit Africa”. That phrase can be found in the inner label around the neck. Adidas and Nike kits have the inscription “original” on them to show that they’re genuine. It is also this purpose that the “sahiihi” serves on Mayniak sportswear. Made of ultra-dry fabric, it is designed to keep players as dry as possible during games. It also includes ventilation holes –a Nike invention which he has tailored for the African situation — on the sides.

“Sahiihi” is Hausa for “original.

Abdul Rashid’s designs are captivating to say the least, and a club’s history is influential to his creative process. The ones he’s made for Liberty Professionals are rich in how they embody the story of the club.  He asks me to hold the red jersey up –the away jersey – and then takes me on a quick tour of the club to which my only response was several remarks of “wow”: “this round neck represents the Dansoman Roundabout”, he starts, and then, pointing to the blue and white patches right beneath the neck area and running down the length of the shirt, he reveals that they represent the Third Street, which leads to the Carl Reindorf Park (the 2000 –seater venue which serves as their home ground). The pattern is broken in the center of the jersey, and then resumes to the helm of the shirt. The point where the pattern breaks, he explains, represents the exact location of the park, and then the street (the blue and white pattern) restarts. Crowned with fascinating calligraphy by a Columbian classmate from Sports Business Institute of Barcelona, the kits have become the most talked-about this year.

Captivating calligraphy behind the “Performa” jersey. Credit : David Buckman

And so how did his marriage with Liberty Professionals kick off? One day, he was watching soccer back home, when he got a call from the Club’s General Manager Godfred Akoto – Boafo. He (Godfred) had seen some designs of his, and was interested in working together. Samples were submitted, and the club was impressed. And they’ll continue to collaborate for as long as the relationship is great. “We’re a family now”, he points out, smiling.

What is Ghana getting wrong when it comes to kits? The Ghanaian game, specifically our premier league, is hardly nascent anymore: Accra Hearts of Oak is over a hundred years old, Asante Kotoko is over 80. Unfortunately, though, our progress with kits is hardly something to write home about. Abdul Rashid bemoans the lack of attention to specific indigenous requirements: “they jus go unto the open market, and buy anything their colour, and wear them. That is quite wrong!”, he fumes. “Once you’re playing premier league football, you’re a professional club. “They even disregard the quality of the fabric –whether it is good for us or not. Everybody goes out there, and does their own thing.”

Will the Ghanaian buy Mayniak? Perhaps, because if how poorly marketed our league has been over several years, the average Ghanaian finds Western leagues: the English Premier League, The Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A more attractive, and so they enjoy better patronage than the Ghanaian league. This can be seen in how religiously we follow foreign games on TV. Even more telling is how, on our streets daily, many a young man sports a replica jersey of his beloved Manchester United, or Chelsea, or Barcelona.

He agrees that that assertion is true, but also points out the overwhelming opportunities there are with local clubs. “Last year, Accra Hearts of Oak sold about 10,000 jerseys to its supporters. Kumasi Asante Kotoko sold a similar number. It tells you that there’s potential…if we do it very well, supporters will buy. Ever since this one [Performa] was unveiled, we’ve had calls from many many people who want to buy”.

Does the success of the Performa kits scare him about future creative endeavors? Buckman admits that he never anticipated the response to Performa. He was simply doing his best in his little corner, and is grateful for how well the jerseys have been received. Sure, he does harbor fears, but it is not with his future designs –it is with the shameless attitude of some people to plagiarize.

My only fear is that in Ghana, we copy things anyhow. Somebody will sit somewhere…and just because this one is getting some attention, might be thinking ‘oh he’s doing good, so let me also enter into it.’, and the next thing you know, they’ve fragmented the market, instead of joining hands”, he says.

What’s next? “The African is crazy about sports” he asserts, and so there’s already demand across the continent, especially if marketed appropriately. He’s already busy: “As I speak to you now, I need to be in Cameroon. There are some orders there…in Nigeria too”.

Poised for a mind-blowing future, he also looks to create even more captivating designs, collaborate with other sporting bodies, and influence Ghanaian urban culture like American rapper Jam-Master Jay did with Adidas Superstar eventually.

I inquire from him, finally, what he think’s Mayniak’s place is, in the sportswear terrain, and like a messiah, he answers, certain eyes trained on mine, in a piercing way that makes whatever words come out of his mouth impossible to doubt, and then says these, as though in capital letters: “as far as Ghana and its weather is concerned, this is the best, and it can stand toe-to-toe with any other product, especially what our football demands”.

 And with that, I sigh a heavy sigh, thank him for his time, and leave him to finish his coffee.

 

ENEWSGH editor Hansen and David pose with autographed “Performa” jerseys. Photo credit: Pep Junia.

 

 

 

 

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Events & Places

ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST!Sarkodie pulls out of DUBAI gig citing disrespect by organisers

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Celebrated Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie (Michael Owusu Addo) pulled out of a November 16 performance in Dubai due to reported incidents of disrespect on his team.

The “Highest” was scheduled to perform alongside other African giants at the just-ended Dubai leg of the widely-patronised One Africa Music Festival, but refused to mount the stage despite a successful soundcheck session earlier.

Journalist Eugene Osafo Nkansah reports that the rapper was shoved aside because Davido was ready to perform, never mind that he had just been announced by host Banky W to perform:

“During the concert, host of the show Banky W announced Sarkodie as the next act on stage after Nigeria’s Teckno performance and Sarkodie’s DJ, DJ Mensah mounted the stage but Banky W came back to announce Davido’s name after someone whipped to him on stage that Davido was next.

 

The show started at about 9:30 pm and ended at about 2:45 am and all the artistes numbering about 20 from different African countries(Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzanian, Nigeria etc) performed with the exception of Ghana’s Sarkodie.”

George Britton also reports of scuffles and arrests as a result of the unfortunate incident:

“When Sark was just about hitting the stage, Davido’s guy attacked Black Nana by pushing him to the floor to allow Davido perform. Ugly scenes. Slaps, blows, police arrest etc”, he posted on Facebook earlier this morning.

The rapper, his official turntablist DJ Mensah, and Dancehall singer Shatta Wale have all tweeted reactions regarding the incident.

Sarkodie was Ghana’s only rep at the concert, which also saw performances from 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Davido, Tecko, Diamond, Victoria Kimani, Cassper Nyovest, Tiwa Savage, Flavour, Emma Nyra among others.

One Africa Music Fest is described by organisers as ‘ Africa’s leading platform in showcasing the best and brightest musical talents in the continent, with the sole aim of solidifying Africa’s position within the entertainment industry on a global level”.

 

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BOOK LAUNCH: Samuel Ato Afful’s “Relevance for Success, Vol. 1” OUT this December!

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A Netherlands-trained Ghanaian Communication Expert and Life Coach, Samuel Ato Afful, is to launch his third book in December 2017 in Accra titled “Relevance for Success, Vol1”. The 60-page publication is a compilation of 40 original messages of motivation and empowerment detailing some carefully selected issues of daily life, and practical ways of dealing with them.

The Author, a Journalist by training, with expertise in media, communication and events management, states emphatically that “life must be enjoyed; and not endured. One may have to endure a situation, but for a period of time. At the end of the day, every human being must enjoy the life they live. There is therefore the need for every sane adult to carefully choose and/or select his/her friends, career path, and, be meaningfully selfish with decisions concerning their personal growth and development”.

As the immediate past and first General Manager of the Kumasi branch of YFM, a youth-focused popular radio station in Ghana, and having been involved with students development in the academia as Counselor and Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies, Mr Afful has had the opportunity to interact with and learn at first hand, the very common, yet difficult to tackle, challenges of the youth across religions, race and geographical location. This benefit of hindsight allows him to focus his writings on very practical issues, whiles proffering workable solutions to such.

The book, published in 2017 by Ginaric Publishers, a company owned by one of the students of Mr Afful, comes after four years of consistently churning out original daily words of motivation, and published on social media each morning by the Author. According to him, it’s about time he put some of his writings into a book for present and future generations to benefit from the knowledge and wisdom endowed him by God.
When asked the source of his inspiration for his writings, Mr Afful simply said “all the 40 issues dealt with in the book have a connection with my personal life growing up and even in adulthood. I get inspired by the Spirit of God as to what to write each morning. All messages are written in the morning. There has never been a moment where I had to write a message down for publication the following day. No. None that I can recollect. And one interesting thing is that I sometimes get inspired to write, especially on very sensitive topics, whiles sitting on the toilet seat.This compelled me to conduct some research which led to the finding that there is a link between the rectum and the brain”.
This is the first Life-Empowerment book by the Author; having written two books both on Journalism as a subject of study and as a profession and published in the years 2006 and 2015.
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Planet One and TV3 hold Home and Lifestyle Fair 2017

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Ghana’s biggest home and lifestyle brands will from November Friday, 24th to Sunday 26th gather for the maiden edition of the Ghana Home and Lifestyle Fair.

The event, which will hold at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra, will see an assembly of the best local and international home and lifestyle products on display over the three days.

Organizers, Planet One Multimedia, say they are optimistic the event will live up to its billing.

With support from the 20-year-old media brand TV3, the Ghana Home and Lifestyle Fair was informed by the need to have a one stop destination for everything around domestic needs and wants.

 


CEO of Planet One Multimedia, leading event organizers, Gilbert Boakye Nhyira says:

“We look forward to a good show. We have put in a lot of work and we are hopeful that the exhibitors and patrons alike will have a lot of positives from this three-day event.

“What we are putting together, is the biggest super discounted fair ever to be held locally. We wanted a platform for all manufacturers, dealers, importers, suppliers of electronic appliances and home decor and accessories, lifestyle products; home owners and related needs such as internet, security and insurance.”

Exhibitors can book by calling 0244627609, and can also pick up registration forms at the premises of Tv3.
The Ghana Home and Lifestyle Fair 2017 is powered by Planet One Multimedia and in partnership with TV3 and 3FM (Media General), and supported by Golden Tulip Hotel. The event is FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

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The Lycée Français Jacques Prévert of Accra celebrates maiden “World French High Schools Week”

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The Lycée Français Jacques Prévert of Accra (LFA) is the only accredited institution of French education in Ghana.  It is enriched with experience and the dynamism of the network of AEFE institutions to which it belongs and will from 12th to 19th November 2017 partake in the first edition of:

The World French High Schools Week

The LFA is one of the French educational establishments operating under the management of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) that oversees no less than 494 institutions and schools more than 340, 000 pupils across the globe.

The LFA represents a medium of cooperation between France and Ghana. There are partnerships with the Embassy’s network in Accra, the French high schools within the sub-region and other schools in Accra. The institution makes it a top priority to meet the objectives set by the AEFE, namely: excellence, with an average success rate of 90% in the baccalaureate examinations, a high number of academic pursuits in French and international tertiary institutions (international opportunities), value-sharing, with the cohabitation of more than 30 nationalities and the showcase of French culture through the system of teaching.

Through close collaboration with parents, the administrative board and the school council, LFA is constantly improving its teaching and learning environment. As the educational arm of the French Embassy in Ghana, its objective is to as much as possible, open its doors to Ghanaian partners, as illustrated by the participation of the Ghana International School and Ecole Ronsard in this special week’s activities. Refurbishment and extension works are also set to be undertaken in the coming years. The school offers enrolments from kindergarten through to the high school level and prepares the pupils for French examinations while making provisions for transitions into other educational systems.

A summary of events taking place this week at LFA is as follows:

Monday 13th November

  • Theme: “Science, innovation and digital technology” – “International mobility of pupils within the network”
  • Videoconference between LFA’s 2nd Grade class and another 2nd Grade class in Laos as well as the departure of LFA high school students to Paris.

Tuesday 14th November

  • Theme: “Kindergarten, a distinctive French specialty”
  • Hosting of Kindergarten pupils, sports day and English slam poetry sessions.

Wednesday 15th November

  • Theme: “Sports in French institutions abroad”
  • Sports day : junior and senior high school tournaments – football/ basketball/ volleyball

Thursday 16th November

  • Theme: “The teaching of philosophy, culture and civic education”
  • Workshop on making of recycled paper, collection of donations for Beacon House Orphanage

Friday 17th November

  • Theme: “Artistic and cultural activities” and “ the inclusive school and the admission of students with special needs”
  • Workshops on art and Salsa, filming of Twi workshop, screening of Spanish movie and Flamenco dance performance.

Saturday 18th November

  • Theme: “Guidance on choosing academic and career paths” – “Former students French High Schools across the globe”
  • Press review breakfast meeting and videoconference with former students of LFA.

These activities will mobilize and bring together all the actors and partners of this school community comprising 570 students from kindergarten to 12th grade (age 3-18) of thirty different nationalities and 90 staff members including 55 teachers. The richness and specificities of the French educational offer in Ghana are evident in the selection of some of the themes featured in the course of the week.

This celebratory week, H.E. François Pujolas the French Ambassador to Ghana and Dr. Jean-Luc Mure, Head of Cooperation and Cultural affairs at the embassy, decided to visit the school on Tuesday 14th November, a day dedicated to welcoming new kindergarten pupils and to sports practice. “For the Lycée Français of Accra, this initiative affords the occasion to throw the spotlight on its dynamism, the commitment of the team and the success of its students. The French embassy is proud to be blessed with such a partner in education which directly facilitates integration and exchange between French and Ghanaian youth. This approach is fundamental to the relationship we wish to strengthen with Ghana.” he remarked.

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Makeup Ghana participates in 4th Global Business Forum on Africa – SEE IMAGES!

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Makeup Ghana, represented by its CEO/Founder Rebecca Donkor participated in the two-day Global Business Forum on Africa in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.  

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, the theme of the 4th Edition of GBF Africa was “Next Generation Africa”, and brought together 1,000 top-level participants, including government officials, policymakers, business and finance leaders, and entrepreneurs from across Africa and around the world, to discuss trade and investment opportunities that are blossoming across the continent.

Makeup Ghana, participated as part of a Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) delegation of private and government participants across multiple sectors. Makeup Ghana believes the cohort of attendees at GBF Africa provides the perfect launchpad for mutually beneficial collaboration between Dubai’s vibrant makeup and beauty scene and Ghana’s fast ecosystem.

The focus for Makeup Ghana’s participation was to properly project the economic impact of the Makeup and Beauty Industry in Ghana, especially its importance in creating and empowering female entrepreneurs and find partners who can help fulfil this agenda.

Makeup Ghana CEO, Rebecca Donkor emphasized this when she said:

” The Makeup & Beauty Industry in Ghana is growing fast and is a formidable force for economic empowerment, especially for female entrepreneurs.

However, to continue this growth trajectory, we need support from private and public-sector stakeholders within and outside Ghana. We are here to showcase the vast opportunities available in our industry and to also find partners to help train and build capacity within the industry through grants, equity funding and skills transfer between artists, retailers, brands, manufacturers in Dubai and Ghana”

 

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EIB signs deal with Temple Management Nigeria… holds Lyric & Tone with Jeff Okoh and BBA Naija’s Bisola

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The maiden edition of the Lyric and Tone event has taken place in Accra. The event featured two of Nigeria’s budding talents Jeff Okoh and Bisola.

Organizers, Africa 1 Media, EIB Network, Temple Management, Nigeria, and Empire Ghana said the session was to afford the two a rare opportunity to interact with the Ghanaian media.

CEO of Temple Management Company, Idris Olorunnimbe expressed his delight and the reception his team received, adding it formed part of their strategic partnership with Africa’s fastest media group EIB Network.

Wednesday’s event was held on the back of the signed partnership with EIB Network. The team had early on met with representatives of the Ghanaian media group promising to put each other’s expertise to use.

Bisola and Jeff Akoh have already recorded singles with Samini and Raquel ahead of a major attempt to make it into the Ghanaian market.

Lyric & Tone” will hold occasionally and would follow the same format.

In attendance at Wednesday’s event: CEO of EIB Network, Bola Ray, Andy Dosty, Kofi Kinaata, Brainy Beat, Samini, Raquel, and Nathaniel Attoh among others.

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