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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

British Council launches Duapa Challenge “THE CAMPUS DUEL”

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The Duapa Challenge is a social innovation support competition providing seed capital and business support for the early-stage viable social enterprise. The programme, as part of our contributions to the social enterprise ecosystem, seeks to promote economic growth, private sector development and youth employment through enterprise.

Over the past two years, the competition achieved its aim in identifying and supporting brilliant social enterprises like Trotro Tractor and CowTribe who are in operation and growing.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • identify and support idea and growth stage social enterprises from tertiary institutions in Ghana.
  • generate and support student entrepreneurship with a focus on social entrepreneurship.
  • bring together idea and growth stage social entrepreneurs to connect, learn and develop synergies.
  • provide seed capital and support to the winning social enterprise from ideation to prototype/market entry phase.
  • create general awareness about social enterprises in Ghana.

CORE TARGET AREAS

This edition of the Duapa Challenge seeks to draw social entrepreneurs in tertiary institutions from the following sectors:

  • Social focused Fintech
  • Green & Renewable Energy
  • Agriculture
  • Ethical Design & Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Education

 

 

THE APPROACH

In this edition dubbed “The Campus Duel”, the competition will focus on student social enterprises in the following 10 Ghanaian tertiary institutions:

  • University of Ghana
  • Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration
  • Ashesi University
  • University of Professional Studies
  • Knutsford University College
  • Lancaster University
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
  • Central University College
  • University of Cape Coast
  • Catholic University College

Each of these institutions will have a team each of three or fewer students representing them at each stage of the competition. The teams will be required to develop and pitch their business ideas. The winning team will be awarded seed funding for their business, business incubation, training and support by the British Council and social enterprise partners.

 

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2017 SoundCity MVP Awards Festival – WATCH LIVE

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The 2017 edition of SoundCity MVP Awards Festival is currently underway at the Eko Suites and Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.

The prestigious awards ceremony is steered by the larger than life Ebuka, as Soundcity VJs – Adams, Moet and Pearl host the red carpet.

Ebuka sure yields star wattage to anchor the show and set the diverse audience alight with fun, laughter and wisecracks as the African music industry honours its finest talent.

Among the several performers who have been announced is multiple award-winning rapper Sarkodie.

Watch the event live here:

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Sarkodie wins “Best Collaboration” at #SoundCityMVPAwards Festival 17

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Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie has won the Best Collaboration at the ongoing SoundCity MVP Awards Festival at the Eko Event Center in Lagos.

His hit single “Pain Killer”, featuring Nigerian singer Runtown, secured him the laurel. He beat off stiff competition from Tiwa Savage, Tofan, AKA among other African giants.

The prestigious awards ceremony is compered by broadcaster Ebuka, with Soundcity VJs – Adams, Moet and Pearl hosting the red carpet.

 

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How Jack Daniels Rocked Accra This Christmas [+ images]

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Leading Nightlife marketing agency, The AccraNightlyf Group and Jack Daniels exceeded expectations once again as they delivered a truly unique GH party experience at a series of events across the city dubbed “A JACK DANIELS CHRISTMAS.”

An eclectic mix of the finest rave DJs, awesome Xmas -themed cocktails, Jack Fire “Shots On Shots” by the hour, lots of giveaways, and the best party people in the city defined the each event on the calendar; kicking off with the 2017 Ghana Dance festival at the Afrikiko Leisure Centre. The colorful event featured spicy Salsa, Kizomba and various afro-Latin dance performers from across the continent as well as the UK.

The city’s affluent yuppies, corporate professionals and socialites turned up in style and in their numbers at the PLOTSEVEN Nightclub and partied till the break of dawn the DECEMBER EDITION of the monthly networking rave, GOOD VIBES ACCRA dubbed “BACK TO 94.”  The night brought back the nostalgic days of “94” with the best of music from the era provided by FRENCHKISS DJ.

The party was back at PLOT 7 for the epic FUNKY CHRISTMAS rave but not before a sold out crowd turned it up at the Paparazzi Lounge for the 2nd Annual Xmas Eve Party.

 Leading female DJ on the nightlife circuit, DJ Nyce and DJ Wallpaper teamed up to deliver  an electric party at the “Krazy Party”  at Krazy Bar [Former Duplex] Osu on Boxing Day.

See images:

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Highlife legend Ebo Taylor & Saltpond Band in Concert, Jan 13

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Highlife legend, Ebo Taylor and the Saltpond Band are set to dish out an outstanding musical concert of great Highlife and Afrobeat tunes this January at Alliance Francaise Accra.

Ebo Taylor, whose musical career started in the 1950s when he rose to fame as lead-guitarist and arranger for Stargazers Band and Broadway Dance Band, which were among the most popular Highlife bands of that era has  composed ever popular Highlife songs, like “Sika Enibre”, “Owu Na Mewu”, “Odo Ye Wu”, “Ghana Be Ye Yie”, and “Dofo”.

In 1962, Taylor took his own group, the Black Star Highlife Band, to London, which led to collaborations with the late Nigerian afrobeat star, Fela Kuti as well as other African musicians in Britain at the time. Returning to Ghana, he worked as a producer of crafting recordings for Pat Thomas, C.K Mann, and others, as well as exploring his own projects, and combining traditional Ghanaian material with afrobeat, jazz, and funk rhythms to create his own recognizable sound in the ’70s.

He made recordings as solo artist, developing his own innovative style and sound to be heard on his albums.  At this creative stage he composed his enduring hits “Twer Nyame”, “Heaven”, “Come Along”, and “Love & Death”. He became the musical director and main band arranger for the two ground-breaking Ghanaian record companies, Essiebons and Gapophone.

In the 1980s and ‘90s – harsh times for Ghanaian musicians – Taylor worked as free-lance artist, also temporarily in Cote D’Ivoire, and from 2001 he added an academic chapter to his career, and started teaching Highlife and Jazz-guitar at the University of Ghana. This allowed him to research more into local music of the various regions of Ghana, which gradually became a more important inspirational source in Taylor’s compositional approach.

With his compositions, arrangements and also his outstanding guitar style Taylor has shaped Ghanaian music and in particular Highlife substantially. Significantly, he has created his own, remarkable style of African music: a unique synthesis of Highlife, Jazz, und Afrobeat.  Ebo Taylor and his 8-piece Saltpond band will be in action for the first concert of the year to perform some of the songs from his new album ‘Yen Ara’ on Saturday, 13th January 2018 at Alliance Francaise Accra at 8pm.

Make it a point to be there with your Friends and Family as we enjoy great Highlife tunes.

 

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Efya, Ko-jo Cue, OTHERS for FRA!ternity Concert, Jan. 20

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Music band FRA! will on Saturday January 20, hold a mammoth concert at the Alliance Française in Accra.
The show, dubbed the “FRAternity Concert”, is scheduled from 8 pm to 11 pm.
Known by their hit single, Happy Yourself, members of the group have promised to thrill patrons and fans with mind-blowing performances of their songs. Some of the artists on the bill include Efya, Adomaa, Yaa Yaa, Ko-jo Cue, and Reynolds ‘The Gentleman’.
Others set to take the stage are Robin-Huws, Maayaa, Six Strings, and O’Bkay.
FRA! hit the mainstream music scene in 2015 with its single Dumsor, which was a quasi-satire with themes drawn from the erratic power outages in Ghana at the time.
‘FRA,’ in Twi, means ‘to mix’ and the group adopted the name to show the strength of the diversity that they are so proud of. Now made up of Martin Adjartey, Maxwell Klu, Selorm Dornyoh, Joshua ‘Virgen’ Boateng, and George Ashirifie ‘Gogoe’, the eclectic band’s recent remix of their Happy Yourself jam features Ghana’s female soul vocalist and songwriter, Efya.
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