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Calling the

Diaspora


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CONTENTS 29.

29. TO THE EAST WE GO 40. EDITOR'S SOFT SPOT 12. ARE DIGITAL

NOMADS COMING TO GHANA? Millenials get a lot of stick for... well, just about anything that will stick.

18.

BIG WIG'S TOP PICKS OF THE QUARTER Our Big Wigs, Daryl & Adaora have gone incognito, springing up at as many places as they can and pulling together a list of their favourite experiences.

Two decades and counting, after some of her contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, Frankie’s still manages to be a favorite of many.

A long and salutary ride deep into the east from the capital will land you in the little known village of Wli.

42. WHAT'S ON If ever you needed more convincing as to why you should be in Ghana before the year ends, then this is primarily for you. This is your official Year of Return calendar.

52. EAST LEGON AT

NIGHT

The quality of nightlife in East Legon is on the up. There are social spots mushrooming throughout the vicinity and there is no better time to check them out.

52.

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MEET THE TEAM DARYL AMANKWAH Founder & CEO

ADAORA UZOR Editor-In-Chief & Managing Partner

NANA KWESI TAYLOR Editor

KWADWO antwi Photographer *Cover Photo

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EDITOR'S LETTER

Hi everyone, It is my pleasure to bring this very special edition of DAME Africa GH to you as we salute the movement of Calling the Diaspora. The global energy behind this movement is explosive and contagious and is exactly what DAME Africa is all about. Since its inception in 2015, our commitment to sharing the beauty of our homelands with the rest of the world has grown and grown. As we have zoned in on Ghana over the last two years, we have realised that we could not have chosen a better time. Ghana is magical right now. The government is playing its part with policy reform; residents are playing their part with commerce and innovation; and DAME Africa is playing its part in pulling it all together and shouting about it all as loud as we can with our magazine.

Our Calling the Diaspora edition aims to broadly explore the needs of holidaymakers and the classic themes they may look to pull together in the ultimate trip. From adventure to city living, relaxation to nightlife and entertainment - a flick through this edition will show you the variety and quality of a Ghana holiday. We have pushed ourselves to explore Ghana more than ever and I really hope this edition impacts more people to come and experience Ghana. DAME is on a really exciting journey now, that is full of momentum and creative so stick around and enjoy the ride! Love,

Adaora

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CITY BREAK

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hat makes it into the league of arts? Pertinent questions with pending answers. Maybe a case better suited for showing rather than telling. Art reflects history, culture, values, philosophy et al. Art is the product of a conference between mind and muse. Art is the expression of feelings. Art is creation. Art is everything and nothing. So then what is Art?

Stakeholders of art in Ghana lack a central definition for art. But what everyone agrees on is the fact that art is highly subjective, which is why the creation of art is not regulated by any fixed set of rules or structures. The free reign given to creatives has borne what is known today as fine arts, tapestry, painting, fashion, music, dance, ceramics, architecture, calligraphy and a host of categories you can think of. Art is indeed life.

The attention given to art and its different facets in modernday Ghana echoes throughout the country and beyond in an unprecedented fashion. As a Ghanaian native, it feels like a new dawn that is being spearheaded by millennials with the impact being felt by all generations. A dawn where the tag ‘creatives’ fills the air and empowers everyone with an artistic bone to bring to life the creations that have remained www.dameafrica.com 8

Image from Ghana Grafitti

‘CR EA T I VES A R I SE’


in their minds’ eyes for long stretches of time. What was once considered unsuitable for a leading career choice or unconventional in traditional terms is now the yardstick for what is regarded as conventional. The revolution has seen skills and crafts being monetized more than ever and an unapologetic wave of being one’s true weird self.

Image from octobergallery

So if you think art encapsulates only the aforementioned categories; then what about gastronomy, make-up artistry, hair and nail care, content creation and execution, video direction and many others which start off as one out of one million Ghanaians having a knack for these things. Art is a world on its own. Get in touch with what strikes a chord in you, get into your creative bag and create some magic unashamedly that you can be eternally proud of.

Image from ralphmag

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CITY BREAK

Some lights just cannot be dimmed

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J

Jamestown. One of the most economical poor and culturally rich parts of Accra.

- this small town preserves and beautifies its identity which dates back to the 17the century.

You may hear many Ghanians pass comments about their perceived loss of their culture, authenticity and heritage - a battle lost to modernisation. However, as a nation draped in its own pride and vibrance, such comments leave many wide-eyed and perked ears puzzled. A stroll through Jamestown will leave you further perplexed.

Its blessed harbour with the expanse of the Atlantic makes Jamestown the place to be for fresh fish and all types of seafood. At the harbour you will see many fishing boats rocking gently in the ocean and when the catch comes in, the coast comes to life with people bartering and snapping up their share of the catch.

The energy of Jamestown is utterly electric. From the pastel coloured homes and city walls to the abundance of street food

The town offers picturesque view of the harbour that can be enjoyed from its many cafes and bars and whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to take in the sights from the iconic Jamestown lighthouse.

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CITY BREAK

ARE DIGITAL NOMADS COMING TO GHANA?

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M

illenials get a lot of stick for... well, just about anything that will stick. A general sense of entitlement and quest for freedom that offends the status quo. They are the things that unify us around the world and Ghana is setting the scene to feed the needs of our lifestyle. With an increasing amount of options to support the shift from brick and mortar work spaces, Accra beacons folks of nomads to come forth.

Cafes and coffee shops Not that I’m claiming to be psychic but I so called this! Back in 2016, I recall speaking the wave of coffee shops in Accra into existence saying they will do well in the city. With the heat in mind, no one agreed but lo and behold Accra is now brimming full of cute, fresh and airy cafes, perfect for a blend of work and fun. Co-working spaces Another one to watch the space for! With the amount of young innovative creatives, leaps of faith into small businesses and ever-increase cost of renting office spaces, co-working spaces, like Interactive Space are beginning to emerge to the rescue. Lounges If you ask me, nothing is as boring as office meeting. 9am, midday, 4pm - no matter the time of day, dragging one’s self from one bland office to another can leave much to be desired. A meet up at one of Accra’s snazzy bars or lounges on the other hand, liberates you from the formalities of work and provides the perfect setting to celebrate that close. The good ol’ beach The great gift of the coastal city. Grab your laptop, a good hotspot source, your shades and enjoy the perks of making a living on the go.

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CITY BREAK

#EATGHANA

Teaching a course on culture and ethnicity? Make sure you start with food. Now more than ever, #EatGhana is an adequately saturated trend in these streets given that The Year of Return is on the cards. There are so many adages about food but the one about it bringing everyone together has to be my favorite and most relatable. Food is usually the first common ground you find while you are coexisting with multiple ethnicities in the same space. Prime example is living in Accra, Ghana. It has become hip for every restaurant to have to add a local spice to their menu – which draws divided opinions. But on this occasion, we are giving flowers to the eateries that are fundamentally modelled on the local cuisine plain. These spots usually present a cheaper alternative to the continental restaurants, and see patrons going for broke anytime they visit. Here are 4 of DAME’s favorite ‘chop bars’ to visit when the craving is a local meal (fufu, banku, plantain, yam, soups, tuozafi, omotuo, konkonte and the rest of the riches). www.dameafrica.com 14


THE CHOP BAR Most Ghanaian natives grew up calling the local eatery ‘chop bar’. It is the street lingo we created. It reflects us. The chop bar is traditionally any informal small-scale set up that tends to serve up a mean local dish – arguably better than will be made at home. The term has been ameliorated by this establishment and used as the title of a restaurant that has sought to bridge the gap between comfortable dining and the local cuisine. THE CHOP BAR, located in the A&C MALL, EAST LEGON and in the ACHIMOTA RETAIL CENTRE, prides itself in providing a unique dining experience together with the flavorful meals Ghanaian ethnic groups have to offer, at a considerably higher price than the local chop bar on the street corner. From the simple plantain and beans to the complex ebunuebunu soup, THE CHOP BAR has it all.

BUKA

Rustic but with a dose of sophistication, THE BUKA offers a warm embrace with its depiction of the quintessential traditional African opulence as its setting – bamboo, wooden structures and well stocked bar. On Wednesday and Friday, the tempo is turned up a notch. You will be serenaded with soulful renditions of ageless African tunes from a live band when you grace the BUKA’s premises. You see, BUKA sells you more than just food, the experience is unparalleled. Nana’s Special Light Soup is one of the many stars of the show. Imagine a bowl of soup littered with peppered snails, crab, fish and other delightful accompaniments. You just have to visit for yourself.

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NUKABITE

There is something special about NUKABITE and authenticity is the description that comes closest. From the less than perfect roads leading to its premises to the outdoor seating under an airy shed that mirrors a chop bar in Adabraka, NUKABITE maintains those raw features associated with chop bars although the wheels of modernity have prompted a touch of aesthetic spice to be added to the equation. NUKABITE particularly comes alive on Sundays, where you will see the CEO, Akua Mireku, attend to the last of every customer’s demands. It has to be part of the reasons why it’s a full house on NUKABITE on Sundays. Nonetheless, a daily menu rotates on weekdays and customers are welcome to place orders only for delivery.

DIMAENSA Dimaensa translates from twi as ‘finish the meal’. This local eatery puts it to you that you are about to have a finger-licking experience because they have the goods. DIMAENSA has a mantra of using the famous black earthenware bowl in the serving of all meals. This minor detail adds to the experience of dining in a local setting and feeling in touch with the culture of Ghana. The thought of eating rice in an earthenware bowl seems outlandish anywhere else but DIMAENSA has discovered that people do not mind challenging the norms under the right circumstances. Orders can take more than a minute to get ready but the outcome always stifles the agony of the wait.

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Big Wig's Top Picks of the Quarter Top Picks of the Quarter is a brand new feature to DAME. Our Big Wigs, Daryl & Adaora have gone incognito, springing up at as many places as they can and pulling together a list of their favourite experiences. This quarter’s 5 Top Picks are…. Drumroll please…

1

Football @ AMPM

2

Dinner @ Marriotts Hotel www.dameafrica.com 18


3

Weekend @ Royal Senchi

5

Brunch @ African Regent Hotel

4

Cocktails @ Urban Grill


ADVENTURE

Have you got heart?


I

f you are the type to make a bucket list on your trips, then conquering Mount Afadja should be an automatic inclusion on your Ghana bucket list. Hidden in plain sight, the villages of Gbledi and Liati Wote, in the Volta Region, sandwich Afadjato/Mount Afadja. The mountain, which stands at over 2000 feet above sea level, is heralded as Ghana’s highest peak and represents a physical link between Ghana and Togo. After the four-hour drive from Accra, the best way to liberate those stiff limbs will be to embark on a hike up the steep Afadjato. The feat at hand is immediately realized when you walk into the embrace of Liati Wote only to be distracted by the towering backdrop of Mount Afadja. The ultimate thrill lies in the push to reach the apex of the mountain while battling the rising altitude and catching your breath. With the help of super assistive guides and raw adrenalin, you should be able to reach the peak in just over two hours after your start, where you will be awed by the panoramic view of surrounding semi-deciduous zones and the grassland savannah. Reaching the top of the mountain typifies victory for many. This type of catharsis sees hikers inscribe their names on rocks up there and take pictures to document the memories. Others soldier on in a bid to also conquer the neighboring Mount Aduadu, witness and engage in the cultural activities of the villages and just soak in all that the Agumatsa Range and its environs have to offer.


ADVENTURE

4 Forts, 4 days. In Ghana, there is a healthy infatuation with breaking chains of oppression, mentally at least. The scars of slavery and colonialism remain vital in the history of the land, however poignant. It is thought that the healing process draws on past trials and reminders in order to be as effective as it can be. The goal for Ghana, and Africa at large, is to never return to those dark days; to forge ahead with as little servile connections to the outside world – so help us God. If you ever need reminding why humanity is all we have, here are 4 historical forts and castles you should visit when you are in Ghana. These forts were once the poster child of slavery and conquest in Ghana.

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FORT WILLIAM

Located in Anomabo, Fort William gained prominence in the height of the TransAtlantic slave trade. It is believed that more than 30,000 slaves had passed through those walls and on to Jamaican fields, with the Swedes, English, Danes and Dutch all taking turns to impose their authority over the people through their control of the fort. These days, the remains of the fort in its most natural state is open to tourists who would like to get familiar with the tales of slavery along the coast.

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CAPE COAST CASTLE

Cape Coast Castle represents one of the earliest marks of imposition on Ghanaian soil by external forces. The walls of the more eerie parts of the castle have smeared on them the despair that humans who were reduced to mere marketable commodities felt – their very last emotions before they were shipped out of the coast. Given that administration of the castle changed hands inadvertently on multiple occasions through conquest, a guided tour of the premises should show office quarters, cannons and mortars, which put into perspective the contrasting purposes of most forts and castles of old.

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The earliest European presence was marked by the construction of Elmina Castle in the 15th century. At the time, the Portuguese had to mark their territory as they continued to learn more about the unknown quantity of the land they had discovered, the people and the boundless riches. As the story goes, the early trade boom, which was quickly facilitated by the castle’s storage ability, gave rise to slaves being added to the equation to convey goods and eventually be used as commodities themselves. The horrors of slavery in the castle are still felt to this day, owing to Elmina Castle being one of the most visited tourist sites in Ghana.

ELMINA CASTLE www.dameafrica.com 25


FORT PRINZENSTEIN

Proof that the epidemic of slavery in Ghana was widespread lies within the walls of Fort Prinzenstein in Keta, Volta Region. This fort is on the east of Accra whereas the mass of forts and castles lie on the west of Accra. Fort Prinzenstein was the main passage for all slaves acquired from Volta-Togoland, Benin and others. What is today merely a relic of slavery still has the quote ‘Until a lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero’ inscribed on the frail walls of the fort.

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ADVENTURE

FUN IN THE MUD

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t

here were more than enough reasons to be excited if you were in Accra at the back end of 2018. Yes, the much anticipated December period was upon us, the Christmas bonus was hitting the account and the vacationers were trickling in. Granted those were some of the choruses across town but something electrifying was also brewing in Aburi that piqued the interest of many. That something, I am pleased to discover, did live up to the hype and several months on is still thriving. The Aburi ATV & Quad Center, which is still in its infant stages as a business, is racking in numbers that long-standing established businesses generally do. It is also refreshing to see entrepreneurship manifest in novel ways and for young people to be bosses! It is not far-fetched to categorize some, if not all, facets of Ghanaian culture as accommodating. Travel and modernity have seen the introduction of concepts that are largely considered non-native onto the local scene, although the core of the cultural makeup remains intact. If there was ever a good time to appreciate the splattering of mud and the labyrinth workings of a trail, this is it. When the turbo engines are revved and the offroad tires screech to a less than melodic tune, then you know you

are in den full of ATV and Quad Bikes. The first of its kind in Ghana and definitely candy for the free-spirited, The ATV & Quad Centre has entered the fray at an opportune time, as we at DAME bet our odds on tourism and hospitality being unprecedentedly a top contributor to Ghana’s GDP from now onwards. The ATV center boasts of muddy courses (among other equally electrifying tracks and courses that extend into the Aburi mountains) that elevate the thrill of riding. A plethora of bikes are also available for the bike connoisseurs to choose from and try out those jawdropping stunts. Similarly, tutorials

are available for novices like me who need to get this activity off their bucket lists. Quite possibly, the center’s full potential is realized when you visit with your squad. Pitting your wits against one another in a custom league raises the stakes and makes the bragging rights more coveted than ever. Children are also welcome for a piece of the action, as the center offers packages to accommodate them. I might have caused you to question your geographical knowledge of Ghana, with respect to Accra and Aburi. The truth is, the N4 Highway has facilitated the marriage between Accra and Aburi so now, the 40 odd minute journey seems shorter than ever. www.dameafrica.com 28


ADVENTURE

TO THE EAST WE GO

Y

ou will definitely see the sentence ‘Ghana is bigger than Accra’ in multiple DAME Africa publications because it is a truth that has not been popularized enough. Each region has its independent thesis on which it can be celebrated. Traversing the boundaries of Accra will open your eyes to greeneries and sceneries that will pierce your senses in many beautiful ways. A long and salutary ride deep into the east from the capital will land you in the little known village of Wli. However, it is after this little known quantity that West Africa’s highest Waterfalls was

named. Official statistics have Wli Waterfalls at a whooping height of 143 meters. The trek to the base of the waterfall from the Visitor Information Center will take you through a semi-deciduous forest and crossing 9 foot bridges that have been built over the Agumatsa River. Rummaging through the forest path to the waterfall, you will be greeted by a plethora of birds and tree species, further emphasizing the tropical prowess of Ghana. Once the journey ends and you are exposed to sunlight, it feels like a proper dramatic catharsis. The waterfalls presents a chance to delve

in some child-like fun throughout the day. Conversely, the more daring tourists and trekkers can test their wits with a journey through the steeper trails to the upper falls. There, the history of Wli will be at your fingertips take in as well as other sights around the village of Wli. Lodges and hotels are available in Wli for visitors who wish to spend the night. The management of Wli Waterfalls also permit camping on some of the grounds. Moreover, the renowned Volta hotel is not too far away. Needless to say, Wli Waterfalls is indeed the complete package for any tourist. www.dameafrica.com 29


GHANA – JAMAICA Strengthening Ties

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est Africa and The Caribbean are closer than geography will suggest. History has the TransAtlantic Slave Trade joining these two zones at the hip forever, in terms of heritage at the very least, and giving cause to the classification Afro-Caribbean several years later. Overtly, Jamaica is the one

Caribbean island that gets most of the West Africa comparisons, Ghana in particular. Apart from similarities in bodily features of the people, Akan names are also not alien in parts of Jamaica. The shared culture stretches back into time and traces of lineage are testament to that. In the wake of the grand Year of Return activities, Ghana and

Jamaica have made a move to bolster their existing relations. Recently, both parties agreed to sever entry visa requirements for citizens who intend to visit each other’s respective countries. The move can be seen as a route to facilitate Jamaicans’ desire to connect with their roots during the spiritual journey of return, which is being anticipated by all.

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w

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Full page Ad

$2,000 Usually $2,500

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RELAXATION

4

of the BEST spas and self-care facilities in Accra and beyond

Fancy getting regal treatment and being pampered silly by the best in the game after an energy-sapping week or day? You’ll want to make a booking at one of these top-notch spas!

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Niobe Salon & Spa

Allure Spa in The City

Niobe has done well to make its presence felt across town ever since its inception. From East Legon through to Cantonments, Airport and Akosmobo, frequenters of any Niobe branch have a chorus of positive reviews to offer about deep tissue massages or manicures that they wish would never end.

Widely regarded as the pioneer of high-end self-care treatments and services in Ghana, Allure cannot be overlooked in such a conversation chiefly on the grounds of merit. Its meditative environment immediately unnerves you and your muscles, putting you in the best position to receive a world-class therapeutic treatment.

www.niobebeauty.com

www.allurespacity.com

Marie Noelle Spa Accessibility, many will agree, is a key consideration in the relationship between luxury services and the customer. Marie-Noelle has this on lock. Strategic positioning in Osu and East Legon, two of the hottest spots in Accra, allows the establishment to generate a cult following and also be in a position to accept fresh converts into her bosom due to the sanctuary for relaxation that has been created over the years. www.marienoellespa.com

Holy Trinity Spa and Health farm The effort put into presenting Holy Trinity Spa and Health Farm as the complete package (aesthetics, location, quality, etc) makes it all the more worth the journey out to Sogakope to be pampered. This spa proves that nature is indeed a vital healing element, as the calming greens, breeze from the Volta River and the melodies from nearby birds play a role in whatever treatment you pick from the wealth of options. A visit to the Holy Trinity premises has become a ritual when one is in the Volta Region. The power of serenity. www.holytrinity.com.gh www.dameafrica.com 33


RELAXATION

BREATHE, STRETCH… TOP YOGA SPOTS IN ACCRA

Yoga might just be one of the few things that is for everyone. Very few workout routines prove themselves satisfactory to both physical and mental needs of an individual. ‘Ommmmmm’, drishiti and downward dog are certainly no discriminators of age or size so the doors of every yoga studio are indeed open to every demographic which intends to reap the immense benefits of this unique workout, especially in Accra. Looking to tap into some of that yoga goodness while in Accra? Well, here are 4 studios you cannot look past.

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Y

Y YOGA GHANA

The well-travelled Yvette is determined to share her passion for yoga with the rest of Ghana. On a residential rooftop with a panoramic view of Labone, the stage is set for Yvette to channel her years of yoga training, and project into unto her class for the day. With the sunset playing co-host on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you will definitely want to be part of that intimate yoga session on the rooftop. Visit www.yyogaghana.tumblr.com for every last detail with regards to yoga with Yvette.

BLISS YOGA ACCRA

The structure in place at Bliss Yoga typifies the discipline that the science and art of yoga naturally exudes. Bliss Yoga has been around for a while, hence its appeal steadily balloons. The studio, located in the popular suburb of Osu, has grown to incorporate a multitude of yoga styles and sessions to serve its diverse clientele. With an incredibly assistive website and warm staff, the medicinal value of the entire yoga process is immediately realized upon first contact with the brand. Additionally, with the organization’s strong philanthropic compass, there is more than one reason to visit Bliss Yoga Accra. www.blissyogaaccra.com – go on and see for yourself.

ACCRA SHALA YOGA

‘No yoga, no peace. Know yoga, know peace.’ With that declaration, Accra Shala Yoga make their modus operandi public in that, they intend to spread the gospel of yoga far and wide throughout Ghana. Apart from a hands-on schedule which sees yoga program after program during each day of the week inside the FitRip Gym, The Accra Shala Yoga organization also coordinates a vibrant outreach program to make sure yoga is portrayed in a positive light across the country.

PIPPA’s HEALTH CENTER For two decades and some, Pippa’s has a staple in the all-round fitness game in Ghana. Excellent service begets a cult following hence, when Pippa’s decided to add yoga to its itinerary, it was no surprise that Accra took to it quickly. With a laid-down class schedule, Pippa’s invites you on Tuesday and Thursday to treat yourself to some therapeutic goodness through yoga. www.pippasfitness.com

www.accrashalayoga.com

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RELAXATION

SUNDAY IN ACCRA A GUIDE

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O

rdinarily, Sunday will unanimously pass as the ultimate ‘wind down’ day in the week. In accordance with Ghana’s formulaic nature, Sunday automatically starts with a sacrosanct atmosphere sweeping across most towns in the country. Church services could creep into the afternoon with the rest of the day at your mercy. What to do next, is the common headache. How does one wind down in Accra?

Nothing screams brunch more than a Sunday afternoon. With the sun always featuring unapologetically on a Sunday in Accra, it always feels like the ideal time to brunch with close friends and family, or perhaps solo. Spend some time in Accra’s hospitality circles and you will quickly develop favorites, however hard it may be to narrow your list down.

Nevertheless, The Vine cannot be overlooked for the purpose of a Sunday afternoon brunch date. Walking down the stairs into the basement of Best Western Premier, Accra, will never get old. The Vine offers a wealth of options in their BRUNCH-TASTIC menu and they have a pretty exotic cocktail list as well. The way the decor ties in with the name, makes for branding magic and simply puts into context how much attention to detail matters to The Vine. A successful Sunday trip to The Vine can be easily achieved with a contingent ready to devour brunch platter topped off with bottomless mimosas. Image from The Vine

Sunday and the beach may also be joined at the hip. This bond is further strengthened by parts of Accra kissing the Gulf of Guinea, which has made the various beach fronts in Accra a popular destination for locals and foreigners alike. Labadi Pleasure Beach is the people’s beach, the city center beach, however, next door to it, you have the Labadi Beach Hotel section of the beach. This secluded beach front which gives you the opportunity to let the calm from the waves be your therapist. Image from Labadi Beach

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Image from Urban Grill

Urban Sundays also comes along on the last Sunday of

every month to crown the grind of the month and refuel attendants for the month ahead. It is a brunch gathering on the famous roof terrace of Urban Grill. Visitors get a view of the city with a special brunch menu at their disposal, complemented with bottomless mimosas and soothing tunes into the night. You probably should request a cigar while you are up there.

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Image from Bloombar

Bloombar on a Sunday is also quite special.

The crowning glory for Bloombar may be the part where the volume is cranked up on Friday and Saturday and the who is who of Accra are crammed in there partying hard. But Sunday at Bloombar is equally gratifying, giving you a chilled pace to enjoy the great social space. You get to see the multiple angles of the beautiful Bloombar aesthetic which is often overshadowed by the mass of bodies on the party nights. The loudest shout out has to go to the special Sunday bubbly menu which features the fun treats of popsicles and prosecco.

Sunday at Sandbox is a common saying among natives of Accra. There is everything to desire about reclining at a beach club with a view of the ocean in your sights. That is what Sandbox is about. Multiple sections for you and your crew to wind down, a good mix of seafood grills and meaty meals on hand and DJs in rotation to charm you before the working week starts. Not bad, is it?

Image from Sandbox

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Editor's Soft Spot

Frankies

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The Soft Touch As a visitor of Accra, a trip to Osu, Accra’s most culturally diverse hub, is a must. The potency of Osu is immediately felt when the iridescence of Oxford Street neutralizes financial tact and resistance to making purchases. Further down the road, it is quite impossible to miss the towering blue figure of Frankie’s Hotel. Frankie’s has been a mainstay in the Osu cosmopolitan food culture. Two decades and counting, after some of her contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, Frankie’s still manages to be a favorite of many. Consistency is the hallmark of every successful business and the proof is certainly in the pudding – or maybe the ice cream. Frankie’s deserves as many flowers for its ice cream as it does for its vast continental food options. Frankie’s ice cream is a major win. The only change over the years has been where the ice cream is served. Frankie’s has in its artillery the type of ice cream worthy enough to effect a cheat day in your diet. The type worthy enough to be used as a reward for your kid’s good nature. The type worthy enough to quell a stressful day. The type worthy enough to embark on a late night drive for. The signature soft twirl at the end of either the vanilla or chocolate ‘ice cream in a cone’ is an indication that you are all set to go in. There are also more experimental ice cream and

gelato flavors available, with some a mouthful to pronounce and ready to melt right on your tongue. There is no turning back from Frankie’s soft ice cream. It is a road you go back on repeatedly as soon as you first make that journey. For this reason, Frankie’s soft ice cream has the editor’s soft spot.

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What's On If ever you needed more convincing as to why you should be in Ghana before the year ends, then this is primarily for you. This is your official Year of Return calendar. From renaissance to pure vacationing urges, you need to peruse this list.

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GOD BOX SPIRITUAL PILGRIMMAGE - July 25 August 21 The God Box Foundation champions the religious diversity of Pan-Africanism worldwide. The spiritual journey back home affords people of the diaspora the chance to reconcile with their roots. The solidarity between returnees and the soil is further strengthened by the tours around the land as well as the use of the overarching theme of religion.

SUNDAZE SUMMER BRUNCH PARTY - August 4 Summer vibes are mirrored in the Savannah Gardens, Accra, where the annual Sundaze Brunch Party will take place this year. The occasion features a perfect composition of cosmopolitan influences from food through to music, drinks and outfits.

Visit www.thegodboxfoundation.org. for more information

INVEST IN

INVESTMENT FORUM – August 5 The supreme motive of The Year of Return is to see the economic face of Ghana, and Africa, get brighter when all is said and done. The Investment Forum should be the perfect agent to facilitate each visitor who has intentions of getting into business with any facet of the country.

MARCUS GARVEY AWARD BALL & BANQUET August 17 This is a night where the colossal Marcus Garvey will be celebrated, along with other individuals who have championed the movement of Pan-Africanism both home and abroad. Under the bright lights, the spirit of Afrocentrism will course through the venue and a special fundraiser for the construction of the Marcus Garvey Pan-African Centre will take place. www.dameafrica.com 43


JAMESTOWN TO JAMESTOWN & AFRICAN AMERICAN BUSINESS INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT - August 18-28 A journey that possesses a cocktail of values for partakers. From Jamestown, Virginia to Jamestown, Accra, this event foregrounds the contrasting fortunes of the two towns which saw a lot during the era of slavery. Individuals are charged to embark on a reconciliatory journey as much as a business one that will aim to better themselves and the Jamestown (Accra) community at large.

CHALEWOTE STREET ART FESTIVAL - August 19-25 For the last decade, the guys at Accra[dot] Alt have given everyone a reason to converge on the streets of Jamestown, Accra to celebrate the arts. In a quite unconventional way, the arts are brought out of their more mundane homes into the grit of one of Ghana’s poorest communities. The brand has ballooned over the years to see key global figures in all fields of art and art enthusiasts bookmark the event at the beginning of each year.

THE CREATIVES ART SHOW VOYAJAH FESTIVAL – September 7

THE CREATIVES ART SHOW – December 14

The maiden edition of The VOYAJAH homecoming festival could not have been slated for a better time. The VOYAJAH Foundation aims to project the glitter of home in order to cement the path of return for members of the African diaspora. The festival will feature pop-up stands, panel discussions, creative historical tours, live entertainment etc.

Thanks to NVA Marketing and Promotions, in December, the stage is set for ‘creatives’ and art enthusiasts to bond over their common denominator – the arts. A concerted effort from the government, embassies and all stakeholders sees us move a step closer to promoting Ghana through creative means. Artists receive the best platform to showcase and market some of their work, in addition to the benefits received from networking in a space full of likeminded individuals.

For more information, visit www.voyajah.com.

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AFROCHIC – December (date yet to be confirmed)

DETTY RAVE – December 27

The AfroChic Diaspora Delegation seeks to draw a global audience to the shores of Ghana under the grand umbrella of The Year of Return. The good work done over the years for the arts in Toronto, Canada is hoping to be replicated out in Ghana. Through multi-disciplinary participation, all stakeholders in the various fields of art will stand to gain a boost in their line of work through the opportunity to network, exhibitions and open discussions.

For the third year running, Afrobeats superstar Mr. Eazi will headline one of Ghana’s biggest concerts at the end of the year to culminate his HappyBoy tour. Detty Rave sees both local and international stars take to the stage in turns to give fans the show of their lives at the La Palm gardens. With Idris Elba and Naomi Campbell being the surprise acts for 2018’s edition, it is proving a fun game trying to guess who this year’s surprise guest(s) will be.

AFRONATION – Dec 27th – 30th

AFROCHELLA – December 28

A proper homecoming this is. An international music festival primarily modeled on the roots of the African sound makes its way back to Africa, via the shores of Accra. The maiden edition of AfroNation in Accra has indeed tickled many locals and foreigners since the organizers made the announcement. To close off the year, Laboma Beach will be the place to be if you want to be dazzled by tunes from Burna Boy, J Hus, Shatta Wale, King Promise and many other superstars.

Dubbed as the flagship event for December in Ghana, the Afrochella brand has shown that consistency always gives a business a fair chance to thrive. Afrochella is steadily becoming the staple for showcasing the dynamism of Ghanaian contemporary culture. Art and fashion stands and multi-purpose vendors scattered across a large field afford attendants the liberty to get comfortable and familiarize with all facets of Ghanaian and African culture. Be sure not to miss the live performances as well. Afrochella is held at the El-Wak Stadium in Accra. www.dameafrica.com 45


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NIGHTLIFE

F R I DAY N IGH T S

IN ACCR A

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T

he whole of Accra will probably hit the same chords when testifying to how much Friday evenings are anticipated around here. It is somewhat like an unwritten law – Accra gets loose on a Friday evening. That’s the plan it stays by. Think of it as all individuals reenacting the Wolf of Wall Street inspirational speech scene then hitting the town afterwards. That’s the level of energy that swirls throughout all social centres in Accra from the close of day on Friday right into the early hours of Saturday. Here is a road map of some sort to give some clarity into Friday night choices if there is an impasse.

Fridays are coveted by both workers and students alike. Hard work throughout the week deserves to be crowned with some self-love or a self-pat on the back. Likewise, if you are a visitor in Accra, Friday nights are the best times to gauge the social intensity of the people. You can warm up for the night by getting a good early dinner in town. Coco Lounge or a pricier Urban Grill will be ideal as they are located inside Stanbic Heights in the Airport City precinct, a hot spot in Accra. You are likely to meet fellow Friday night crusaders who will charge you on in the cause, if you are not with your own crew already.

Turn up the heat by getting some shisha on the Urban Grill Terrace. This roof terrace gives you a perfect view to keep an eye on the traffic while you enjoy the preliminary stages of your night ‘pre-gaming’. If you are a fan of shisha, Urban Grill has some of the best shisha in Accra, with an array of flavors to pick from and masterful operators on hand. Complement your shisha with a drink – your choice depending on whether you are a lightweight or otherwise because if you’re on the right track, the night will still be young. Bloombar on a Friday has a magnetic power that defies all www.dameafrica.com 48


physics. It is a household name for pregame activities and main events alike. Bloombar brings Accra together in their space which has been expanded multiple times since its inception. Accra loves Bloombar. Under those iconic lights, new memories are made. When IPhone DJ is on the ones and twos and he drops an afrobeats banger, it is tough to not let the exotic cocktails work through you and push you to break a move wherever you are situated. The energy is electrifying and the characters are many. You will justified to end your night there for all those reasons. However,

science says energy is transferable and Twist should be the next destination to transfer your energy. Twist NightClub and Lounge is just the place. The best DJs in the city taking turns to blow your mind is just what you will need to crown your night. Twist is heralded for its ‘exclusivity’ (shout out to Head of Security, ‘FM’) and the experience the club provides. ‘Bottle wars’ between tables show that Accra likes to play hard as much as it likes to work hard. Twist also serves some of the best post-nightclub food under the circumstances. By the time it is 4am, you should be calling it a night. Rinse and repeat the next day or wait till Friday comes around again? Your call.

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NIGHTLIFE

TOP 4 SHISHA LOCATIONS IN ACCRA

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Urban Grill

Urban Grill is one of the Airport precinct’s finest products. It sits in the impressive Stanbic Heights building and is popular among subscribers of the premium lifestyle in Accra. Aside from the indelible dining experience Urban Grill has to offer through its sophisticated menu and supreme ambiance, time on the connecting roof terrace also packs a punch. Immerse yourself in the vibe created by the patio umbrellas, grass-covered walls, and scented candles, while you have a wealth of shisha flavors to pick from.

Moka’s Resto Café Moka’s is relatively new to Accra’s hospitality scene but has been able to amass somewhat of a cult following in a short space of time. With a ‘droptop’ rooftop, Moka’s easily has one of the most notable edifices in Accra, owing to its growing popularity. On this same rooftop, you will often find diners taking turns with a shisha pipe. Regulars know the potency of that ‘Moka’s special shisha’. This has become the Sunday ritual under the glistening sunset in the Moka’s skies.

Lord of the Wings As the name suggests, you should be going here primarily for chicken wings. Nevertheless, as you will quickly discover in Accra, the concept of specialization ends in the classroom. Lord of The Wings does serve some pretty good spicy wings with a number of highly complementary dips but the shisha on hand does steal the show, especially at the East Legon branch. Under the comfort of a cute little open-air shed, quality shisha flavors in decent price ranges can be enjoyed in a well-lit and energetic space.

Bosphorus Café There is something about Bosphorus that makes you feel like you are about to walk into a hacienda. Bosphorus is a Turkish café that is well-established in the game. The undeniable consistency displayed over the years has seen the grounds become a go-to for myriad occasions, regardless of the size of company. Given that the establishment is overtly publicized as a Turkish spot you will expect quality shisha and you sure do get nothing short of that. www.dameafrica.com 51


NIGHTLIFE

EAST LEGON AT NIGHT

M

ainstream nightlife in Accra is largely heralded by Osu and its able deputies; Cantonments and Labone but inhabitants

of other neighborhoods will be reluctant in admitting this because time has seen multiple neighborhoods step up to shoot their shot at being considered a prime social hub. One of such neighborhoods is East Legon. East Legon is home to high rise buildings and affluence. This is where the residential community meets the commercial community, making the entire area attractive to natives and tourists alike.

The quality of nightlife in East Legon is on the up. There are social spots mushrooming throughout the vicinity and there is no better time to check them out. Of course there are the veteran joints that have been there for over a decade and have gone on to lay the blueprint for the more recent joints to thrive.

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Nyonyo Essentials

Exhale Lounge

Food is always a good place to start on any given night out. Nyonyo Essentials often provides a tranquil atmosphere to enjoy tasty local and continental dishes. Just over a year after its grand opening and the restaurant is already being used a landmark for directions. In terms of the goods, the garifotor, kelewele and chicken wings meal combo is an absolute homerun if you are looking to go the local route. The in-house DJ on Friday nights also creates a worthy party atmosphere to culminate the week’s proceedings. Exhale Lounge should be your next stop. Commentators refer to this spot as “Bloombar” without the party crowd and that is one of the many reasons patrons love the lounge. With a cozy setup, the space screams tranquility, and attracts individuals to come over and unwind. You might as well grab a shisha pipe and colorful cocktail and do your thing under the dark skies. Wednesday at this spot sees a fantastic band serenade guests with renditions of their favorite songs. An ultimate crowd pleaser, this particular schedule. Crown your night in East Legon at the ultimate veteran spot, Jerry’s Pub. Consistency and Jerry’s deserve to be in the same breath. Jerry’s walked so all of the new spots in East Legon could run. You are always guaranteed an epic time at the open air spot, whether you are alone or with your crew. Jerry’s is home to all, meaning you will get to witness diverse characters in their element. It is the place to get your favorite Ghanaian spirits and some good kebabs before finally calling it a night.


NIGHTLIFE

F R I DAY N IGH T + AL T

Y

ou are forgiven if you think of Friday nights in boozy and bubbly terms only, with club lights and music loud enough to leave your ears ringing throughout Saturday. Indeed, a working week in Accra is a test of a man’s fortitude and to make it through to Friday without losing your mind calls for a celebration of some sort. But what happens when the itinerary for Friday nights become monotonous and incapable of alleviating stress levels? www.dameafrica.com 54


Personally, I think Accra’s nightlife options could do with a bit more spice. Yes, the club and Bloombar exploits on a Friday night are rather consistent in terms of what they bring to the table. High octane and enthralling by every stretch of imagination. However, sometimes there is a craving for a more tranquil night. The type of night where you wind down and still feel like you are having fun. One of such nights can be crafted at The Studio at The Secret Garden over in East Cantonments. Trap ‘N’ Paint is this unique establishment’s motive on a Friday night. It is an embodiment of how simple things can generate unquantifiable

satisfaction. Attendants are given the platform to get in touch with their artistic facets and muses, and paint unapologetically over mimosas and good music. It is all about you loosening the shackles and allowing paint colors to emblazon your entire weekend. Trap ‘N’ Paint spans from 7-9pm and is run strictly on a booking policy. Head over to https://tsgonline. setmore.com/ to make a booking and to check out the other activities that take place throughout the week. Do not forget to let people know where you got this information from.

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