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Touching Africa, Touching The World!

FLYafrica ISSUE 3





Glove affair




A meal at Urban Grill




Artist inspiring budding young creatives

Leslie Lumeh Newhouse Center for Global Engagement Prof Ken Harper



3 Foreword

12 Accra Theatre Workshop

Africa World Airlines Head Office - SSNIT Emporium Ground Floor, Airport City Liberation Road PMB CT67 Cantonment Accra, Ghana Tel: +233 24 243 8888 Toll Free: 0800 200 200 Email: FLYafrica Magazine is published for Africa World Airlines by: Land & Marine Publications Ltd 1 Kings Court, Newcomen Way Severalls Business Park Colchester, Essex CO4 9RA United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1206 752902 Email: ADVERTISING: Matthew Jay, Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0)1206 752902 Cell: +44 (0)7714 448057 (WhatsApp) Email: The contents and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, or any other organisation associated with this publication. While every care is taken to ensure accuracy in preparing the magazine, the Publisher and Africa World Airlines assume no responsibility or liability for any inaccuracies or omissions. All submitted material is accepted on the understanding that the material can be edited, amended or abridged for publication. ©2019 Land & Marine Publications Ltd

Thank you for helping us set new passenger records

18 Gramps Morgan

5 WINafrica

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland’s inclusive art vision The reggae artist on a musical mission

20 Leslie Lumeh

FLYafrica competition

Liberia’s top artist inspires a new generation

6 EVENTScalendar

22 Karmzah

8 STARdestination Abidjan

26 Coastal hideaways

16 EATafrica

28 China Nicky

24 INVESTMENT market review

30 Film special Filmmaker Femi

A taste of Tamale

Banking sector crisis weighs heavily on markets

The first super-heroine with cerebral palsy Get out of reach by the beach How Big Sister star won over Sierra Leone Move over Tinsel Town…

32 Film special Kunle Afolayan

Nollywood hero with a big screen vision

36 Fantasy coffins

34 TECHcorner

Drones – reach for the sky!

Saying farewell in style…

38 Rhyme Sonny

Spoken word artist speaks out

40 Paragliding festival

AWA Information

4 AWAnews

Flying high in Kwahu

42 The boxers of Bukom

45 AWAroutes

Small community producing legends of the ring

46 TRAVELinformation 48 AWAcontacts

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COVER STORY Bukom boxing

THANK YOU FOR HELPING US SET NEW PASSENGER RECORDS Dear passengers, On behalf of Africa World Airlines, I’d like to wish all our customers a very happy New Year and best wishes for 2019.

destinations, and seamlessly connect in Accra without having to reclaim your baggage or check in again.

The last quarter of 2018 was an exciting time for AWA as we took delivery of our seventh Embraer 145 aircraft. This allowed us to increase frequencies on many of our routes to offer a choice of multiple flight timings to our customers. Our team successfully carried 2,000 passengers in a single day in December – yet another milestone as we continue to expand Ghana’s largest airline.

Our ‘WOW! Wednesday’ promotion was another big hit with customers. This promotion offers tickets to domestic destinations at never-before-seen discounted prices.

AWA also moved into a new home at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport, with all our regional flights now operating from the state-of-the-art Terminal 3 facility. The new terminal provides an excellent passenger experience, enabling travellers to catch their international connecting flights with only a one-hour connection time. Concurrently, our domestic operations moved into Terminal 2, allowing us to offer a range of additional services and comfort to passengers travelling within Ghana. You can now purchase single tickets between any of our domestic

Looking forward to 2019, AWA will be taking delivery of yet another Embraer 145 in the first quarter of the year, which will take our fleet up to eight aircraft. This will enable us to launch services to Abidjan in Côte D’Ivoire, our ninth destination.

purchase AWA flights on single tickets together with flights operated by South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways and ASKY Airlines, with more partners coming soon. Our partnership with South African Airways has grown to include a comprehensive code-share agreement planned to begin in April. This will significantly increase the volume of passengers connecting between our airlines, thus helping AWA support the Government of Ghana’s vision of turning Accra into West Africa’s aviation hub.

In other exciting news, AWA plans to introduce in April a Premium Service product on our regional flights. Features will include a higher luggage allowance, business lounge access and dedicated check-in counters as well as an enhanced service on board that will feature food and beverages selected in partnership with some of Accra’s finest restaurants. Our interline agreements continue to grow, enabling passengers to purchase single tickets in conjunction with our partner airlines. You are presently able to

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John Quan Chief Executive Officer Africa World Airlines FLYafrica


AWAnews Big flight discounts give AWA the ‘wow’ factor AWA is putting the ‘wow’ into Wednesdays with a series of ‘miss them, miss out’ deals offering huge discounts on flights. The WOW! Wednesday adverts appear, unsurprisingly, every Wednesday across AWA’s social media platforms and on its website. These sites will also carry early warnings of upcoming WOW! Wednesdays, with details of which flight is being drastically reduced in price.

Flights from Accra to Abidjan coming soon Africa World Airlines is set to launch its first direct flights from Accra to Abidjan in 2019. The flights are scheduled for the end of March with five flights a week serving the Côte d’Ivoire capital. This brings AWA’s network of regional routes to five with flights to Lagos, Abuja, Freetown, Monrovia and Abidjan. The latest move forms part of the airline’s strategy to grow its presence in West Africa. AWA has been operating in Ghana since 2012 with its fleet of Embraer 145 jets. The airline will announce the full scedule in the coming weeks. Check the website at

Once Wednesday comes, you have a five-hour window, from 12 noon to 5 pm, in which to visit the website and book the advertised flight route for the day and time of your choice at the offer price. The WOW! Wednesday offer was introduced in November as a sign of appreciation to AWA passengers for their custom over the airline’s six years in operation. When one-way flights between Accra and Kumasi were offered for just GHS 49, they were snapped up by over 700 people in the five hours. The promotion has proved such a hit that AWA has decided to continue it into 2019. Other big savings served up by WOW! Wednesday since the offer began include single flights between Accra and Tamale for GHS 99 – these would normally cost between GHS 249 and 449 – and one-way flights between Accra and Takoradi for GHS 79.




Passengers can book flights online by visiting and using the ‘Book A Flight’ function. You can then choose your flight, book your seats and select your payment method. AWA offers various methods of payment for customers in Ghana and Nigeria including debit/credit card, MTN Mobile Service (Ghana only), Quickteller (Nigeria only) and bank transfer. For detailed information, check out our website.

Telephone bookings can be made by calling 4

+233 24 243 8888 or our

Toll free number:

0800 200 200


WINafrica FLYafrica competition

Thank you for choosing


Win a chance to dine at Urban Grill The fine dining scene in Accra is burgeoning and at its forefront is a string of stylish venues owned by the YOLO (‘You Only Live Once’) group. Among them is the dazzling Urban Grill, which may well serve the best steaks in Ghana. They are cooked over a charcoal grill to perfection and served amid the metropolitan glamour of the mirror-clad restaurant, which was designed by award-winning studio Graven Images. YOLO has teamed up with FLYafrica to offer two of its lucky readers a GH¢ 500 voucher to spend on a delicious dining experience at Urban Grill. To be in with a chance of winning one of these wonderful prizes, simply answer the three questions below and email your answers along with a picture of yourself holding a copy of FLYafrica to Answers can be found within the pages of this edition of FLYafrica. The deadline for entries is 20 March 2019. Good luck! QUESTIONS 1. What is the name of the mountain, the highest peak in the Kwahu range, which is the take-off point during the Ghana Paragliding Festival? 2. Which of Karmzah’s possessions is the source of her superpowers?

Happy New Year! Thank you for making us your airline of choice for year 2018

3. What is the name of the community in the west of Accra which is renowned for producing a string of world-beating boxers?

COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Closing date is 9 March 2019. Photographs should be sent along with your entry. One entry per person. Entrants must be 18 or over. The winning entry will be selected by Land & Marine Publications Ltd. This competition is not open to employees of Africa World Airlines, the Yolo group or Land & Marine Publications Ltd. FLYafrica


EVENTScalendar STAR EVENT Ghana’s Independence Day 6 March

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence, on 6 March 1957, and is seen as a leader in African democracy and development and as having played a key role in the decolonisation of Africa. The 62nd Independence Day will be marked by a traditional march-past and parade in Black Star Square. Other parades will be held simultaneously across the nation’s regional and district capitals. And there will be plenty more small-scale celebrations in bars, clubs and family homes, with decorations and costumes dominated by the red, yellow and green of the national flag. Start planning your celebration.

FREEDOM Independence Arch, Independence Square, Accra



Anton_Ivanov |

ON YOUR BIKE Sierra Leone to Liberia

MARKET Fresh catch

JANUARY – FEBRUARY African Culture & Wellness Festival 30 January to 11 February, Aburi, Ghana The tranquil setting of Aburi Botanical Gardens will host this super-healthy festival. It showcases the many manifestations of African fitness as well as a huge range of wellness treatments such as life management, meditation, food therapy and natural hair and skin care. There will be live music concerts and workshops by local and international artists and a food court serving a wide variety of nutritious delights from local vegan restaurants and catering services.

West Africa Cycle Challenge 28 January to 3 February, Sierra Leone and Liberia This charity event takes riders 300 miles from bustling Bo in Sierra Leone through lush green landscapes and welcoming local communities to one of Liberia’s most beautiful beaches, the palm-fringed Robertsport. The West Africa Cycle Challenge is organised by Street Child and all sponsorship raised by cyclists will go to the charity’s projects, some of which the cyclists will drop in on along the route. To sign up for the event, visit event/westafricacyclechallengejan19

Argungu Fishing Festival February, Kebbi State, Nigeria This spectacular, once-annual event is back after a 10-year hiatus. The highlight of the celebration marking the end of the growing season and the harvest is a fishing contest on the Matan Fada river. At the beginning of

the event over 5,000 fishermen and women gather close to the river and at the sound of a gunshot they all dive, using traditional nets, gourds made of calabash and even just their hands to catch fish. There is a US¢ 7,500 prize for whoever catches the biggest fish. Festivities last for four days and include canoe racing, wild duck hunting, barehanded fishing, diving competitions and plenty of drinking, singing and dancing long into the night.

MARCH National Decoration Day 13 March, Liberia The second Wednesday of March is National Decoration Day in Liberia, also sometimes referred to as Memorial Day. It was made an official national holiday in Liberia on 24 October 1916. On this day, people decorate the graves of their deceased relatives with flowers or wreaths and trim overgrown grass or plants near the grave site. The Liberian flag is flown at half mast to mourn for the nation’s fallen heroes and workers have the day off. In recent years the celebration has taken on a darker, more national tone of mourning with the mass graves of ebola victims.

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Revitalised Abidjan is an all-round treat for visitors With the gleaming skyscrapers of its business district looming over lagoons and waterways, Abidjan can seem a little soulless from a distance, but at ground level it bustles with tropical life and character. Côte d’Ivoire’s biggest city is divided into many neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. Exploring them will reveal lively markets, street-food stops, welcoming bars and music venues, beautiful beach resorts and creative architecture. The city, which locals affectionately refer to as ‘Babi’, has had a rebirth of late with an urban renewal programme under way fuelled by a booming economy. This is a great time to visit Abidjan.


PORT CITY Modern skyline

Roman Yanushevsky /

NoyanYalcin /

Hailu Wudineh TSEGAYE /

TRAVEL: AWA’s network of destinations across West Africa is set to include its first direct connections to Abidjan, with flights from Accra to the Côte d’Ivoire capital to begin by the end of March. There will be five flights a week between the two cities.

can be found at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury. This 600 square metre gallery features sculpture, painting and photography.

SEE: The striking St Paul’s Cathedral in the Plateau district is a modernist masterpiece. Built in 1985, with the first stone consecrated by Pope John Paul II, it features a giant cross, connected by cables to the church behind, which it appears to be tugging into the lagoon. Fantastic views of Abidjan are to be had by climbing its tower. Also worth visiting is Parc du Banco. Don’t expect much in the way of wildlife, but this rainforest on the north-west edge of town is cool and shaded with pleasant walking trails, majestic trees and a lake. Rangers are on hand to give visitors a guided tour.

day. Standards of comfort and cuisine vary greatly, but maquis can be quite sophisticated, even outdoing some of Abidjan’s finest restaurants. Take your pick of some of the best examples at Mille Maquis, an energy-infused strip of different maquis in the Marcory district, offering fresh Ivoirian dishes such as braised fish, peanut soup and kedjenou, a meat stew with chopped onions, tomatoes and fresh ginger. If you’re after something fancier, try Le Croisette. This Frenchowned restaurant in the business district is renowned for its local seafood and elegant cuisine. For food on the run, Abidjan is peppered with stalls selling street snacks such as banana with chilli and onions and delicious fried spicy chicken.

DO: Head for the Treichville district and immerse yourself in its lively markets or seek out Abobo, to the north-west, where hundreds of fanicos (washer men, never women) scrub clothes clean in the middle of a stream at Africa’s largest outdoor launderette. The Yopougan district – the new hub for Côte d’Ivoire’s musical and dance culture – is the place for nightlife. During the day you’ll also find plenty of impromptu street performances of zouglou, a dance-oriented style of music that began in the country. A trove of African contemporary art

EAT: Abidjan locals love their maquis. These open-air restaurants can be found all over the city and serve as a great place to unwind after a busy

SLEEP: Abidjan has a good selection of hotels and lodges. The best are to be found in the wealthy suburbs of Cocody and Marcory as well as in the city centre. Eiffell’s Hotel, in Concordy, is a tranquil escape from the city and its terrace restaurant is a lovely spot for an evening meal. The Seen Hôtel Abidjan Plateau, in the heart of the city, is an ideal base for business travellers. It has five conference rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a gym.

OLD AND NEW Striking architecture






Multi-skilled performance artist Elisabeth Efua Sutherland wants more Ghanaians to explore their imaginations through the Accra Theatre Workshop


erformance artist Elisabeth Efua

is to make the arts accessible to as many

can teach a child to use their imagination,

Sutherland is an actress, dancer,

people as possible, encouraging members

think critically, learn without assistance and

director, musician and sculptor and

of the public to write, design or perform,

have discipline and self-belief. A child with

has even embraced theatre technology

outside of work hours, for productions and

all those abilities can change the world. We

and software – a recent show featured

putting on yoga, movement and acting

need more of those.”

a 3D scan of Elisabeth triggered by the

classes. It is also part of the arts educa-

audience’s movement. Learning such a

tion programme the Nubuke Foundation

her far and wide. After studying at an inter-

broad range of skills has been driven both

– sharing its East Legon location – which

national school in Accra, where she showed

by what the 27-year-old calls a “curiosity

promotes visual arts, culture and heritage

promise in dance and science, she won a

about the world and about what mark you

for 10- to 14-year-olds from some of the

scholarship to study at DePauw University

can make on it” and the knowledge that,

capital’s neediest neighbourhoods.

in Indiana, in the United States, which has

as co-director of the self-funded Accra

a respected theatre department. She went

Theatre Workshop, the ability to carry out


a range of roles on a shoestring is vital.

Elisabeth says: “It is my great hope that

for an MA in Contemporary Performance

people learn the value art can bring to their

Making. Her work was part of the group

others in Ghana to broaden their knowledge

lives – the added beauty, complexity and

show ‘Filter Bubble’ in Zurich, which show-

and outlook. Since its beginnings in 2013 –

peace. Many people as well nowadays are

cased artists under 25 and which led to a

it was launched by Elisabeth and director

so stressed out and they don’t realise what

residency at the Google Cultural Institute

Emelia Pinamang Asiedu – the workshop

a change in one’s sense of well-being the

in Paris. There have been further high-

has become a key component of Accra’s

arts can bring. We have run meditation

profile residencies at the Villa Empain and

growing, supportive and experimental

and movement classes to try to support

Boghossian Foundation in Brussels.

contemporary art scene. Among its aims

the public with some of these issues. Art

Elisabeth hopes the workshop will inspire


Elisabeth’s artistic leanings have taken

on to study at London’s Brunel University

Despite such far-flung success, it is here

because it’s tucked away in an institution or rotting in forgotten archives. I think it’s important to remind people and educate people in my own small way.” The storytelling lineage is personal for Elisabeth. Her paternal grandmother is the playwright, director, dramatist, children’s author, poet, educationalist, researcher, child advocate and cultural activist Efua Theodora Sutherland, who was integral in shaping modern Ghanaian theatre. Elisabeth has not only inherited her grandmother’s artistic versatility but also her ability to bring alive ancient tales for modern audiences. Efua modernised the dramatic structure of tales such as ‘Anansi’ STAGE SCULPTURES Wooden handiwork DANCING IN THE STREETS Masquerade

in the 1960s by borrowing from Western literature conventions while her granddaughter brought it into the 21st century. Elisabeth was still a child when Efua died, but her influence is keenly felt. “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” she says. It is hoped Accra Theatre Workshop will

members, Tim and Caroline Good, who

inspire a new generation of writers and

were my undergraduate academic advisers.

performers. “I like to think we are showing

They will work together for two weeks to

alternatives in the work we do, our storytell-

create a theatre production drawing from

ing, and in just existing as an experimental

all their backgrounds to try to find common

theatre company and on a personal level

ground and common humanity.”

existing as a full-time artist in an environ-

The performances will take place at the

many people as an option to survive on,”

with Gallery 57 at the Kempinski Hotel,

says Elisabeth.

championed new and envelope-pushing

in Ghana that Elisabeth is most keen to make her mark. She sees her home city as

ment where it still does not make sense to

Accra Theatre Workshop, which has, along

work in the city. Elisabeth has seen her work


performed at all three venues, but while her

The workshop reached its five-year anniver-

performance pieces strive for originality,

sary this year, a milestone it celebrated with

they are consciously steeped in the coun-

reimagined versions of some of its most

try’s heritage.

popular productions, such as the experi-

‘Akε yaaa heko / ‘One Does Not Take It

mental dance performance ‘Dreamscape’;

“so full of potential, so vibrant, amazing

Anywhere’, at Gallery 57, was a collabora-

an evening of live storytelling entitled ‘Last

people, incredible energy” and wants to

tion with renowned fantasy coffin maker

Dance’; and ‘Messia’, a new full-length

support artists at different stages of their

Paa Joe featuring dance and live music and

dance project choreographed by Elisabeth

careers by providing opportunities for train-

considered traditional funerary customs

and featuring live accompaniment by the

ing, experimentation, showcase and perfor-

in contemporary Ghana, while in ‘Anansi’s

Afro Maestros Orchestra.

mance. In 2012, while still in college in the

Wife /Akua’s Daughter’, Elisabeth rewrote

US, Elisabeth funded Summer Shakespeare

the famous Ghanaian folk tale ‘Anansi’ from

that Accra Theatre Workshop “will always

in Accra, a performance-based programme

his wife’s perspective and added technolog-

continue to push and grow and re-examine

for young people, which drew volunteers

ical flourishes such as 3D projections and a

our work. We’re an experimental company

from DePauw to help out. Lack of funding

video collage that responds to body heat

and we want to push the envelope. It’s what

led to the programme being suspended

and motion speed, making it an interactive

we do.”

for many years, but this year will see a new

audience experience.

collaboration between Elisabeth’s alma mater and budding young Ghanaian actors.


“Culture is, to me, the most important thing,” says Elisabeth. “We have such a beautiful and rich range of traditions in Ghana. Unfortunately, we are losing some

Elisabeth says: “We will be hosting a group

of the details in terms of the way some of

of students from DePauw who will work on

these events are celebrated because our

a cross-cultural exchange with some local

history is rarely recorded or written down

students led by myself and two faculty

and when it is it can be hard to access

The revisited shows, Elisabeth says, show

Find out more For the latest on Accra Theatre Workshop productions, visit the Facebook site. To find out more about the workshop’s services, email FLYafrica



A taste of Tamale Northern Region’s capital is full of restaurants serving farm-fresh food sourced from Ghana’s breadbasket If the fertile Northern Region is Ghana’s breadbasket, Tamale is its kitchen. Restaurants here are blessed with a constant supply of produce from the surrounding farmland, so their food is fresh and almost always very good value. It’s a big town – the fastest-growing in Ghana – and there’s plenty of choice for diners, who can choose from West African delicacies; a range of international cuisine; and food and drink you’ll only find in Tamale, such as the non-alcoholic millet or maize brew called Toose. Here are some of our favourite foodie haunts to try.

Luxury Restaurant Charcoal-grilled guinea fowl is a Northern Region delicacy and this popular dining spot is one of the best places in town to try it. It is often served on skewers as kebabs and the yellowish meat is low in fat with a taste closer to game like partridge or pheasant than chicken. Other favourites served include jollof rice and entrées such as toasted

certainly has a fiery menu, with curries to rival the northern region’s climate for heat. Ghanaian options include red red, a spicy rice dish, while flavourful Indian dishes on offer include fish shahi paneer, chicken biryani and Malay curry. WHERE TO FIND IT: Gumbihini Road

baobab and other exotic fruits.

Wooden Bakery Coffee Shop, Bar and Restaurant

WHERE TO FIND IT: Jisonayili

People flock here in the day

Road, opposite King David Bar

for some of the best coffee in

meatballs. The drink selection includes fruit cocktails made of

TEL: +233 507 463 655

Swad Fast Food


during its 10 years in Tamale. It


town, which goes wonderfully with its home-made croissants, doughnuts and other pastries. In the evening you can get

Located just off the high street,

tasty Lebanese dishes, burgers

this Indian food-focused eatery

and pizzas served to you on an

has built up a huge renown

expansive terrace just off the

HEALTHY EATING Fresh and tasty

TAMALE Sellers at a food market

recommended and you can buy a range of Ghanaian malt beers to wash it down. WHERE TO FIND IT: Hospital Road TEL: +233 372 024 898

Koyla Bon Appetit If you’re not sure what kind of food you’re after, it might be wise to head for this restaurant in Education Ridge – Tamale’s school-strewn suburb – as it sells just about everything. Choose from Indian and Chinese to Ghanaian dishes. Favourites include curry dishes and fried chicken along with a wide variety of wines, beers and cocktails. WHERE TO FIND IT: Education Ridge Road, TamaleKumbungu Road fivepointsix |

TEL: +233 243 107 786

main road to the airport with fine views over Tamale. Sharing the view is a garden bar, which also attracts a crowd of evening drinkers. WHERE TO FIND IT: R.C. 841 Airport Road (adj Mash Plaza), Gumani TEL: +233 372 028 943

Sparkles Restaurant After browsing the arts and craft stalls of the Centre for National Culture you should pop into this restaurant, located inside. It serves great-tasting banku and tilapia as well as a choice of classic Italian plates such as lasagne and pizza. There’s also an extensive drink menu, including

locally brewed beer, and the attractive outdoor lounge area with its piped music is a relaxing place to enjoy your order. WHERE TO FIND IT: Hospital, Salaga Road TEL: +233 207 090 065

Crest Restaurant As its name suggests, this restaurant is on top of a hill, giving a bird’s-eye view of Tamale. You can sit inside or go up on the rooftop where the best views are to be had and the ocean breeze offers a welcome respite from the heat. The food is as impressive as the view, with some of the tastiest curry dishes in town. The chicken and fish curries are both

Speed Link Restaurant It you want to get a true taste of Tamaleh then head for Speed Link Restaurant. The quality of chefs and food here belie its fast food status. You can sample seafood Ghanaian style, with shrimp and tilapia especially popular. Other favourite dishes include jollof rice and vegetarian fried rice. WHERE TO FIND IT: Bolga Road TEL: +233 209 387 480

Mike’s Bar and Restaurant With its terraced area shrouded by mango trees, Mike’s Bar is a tranquil spot to hang out with friends for an evening drink, but it also has a fine food menu. Guest can choose from Ghanaian dishes, a range of pizza toppings, salads, sandwiches and desserts. WHERE TO FIND IT: Behind Barclays Bank, off Salaga Road TEL: +233 26 202 7799 FLYafrica




MISSION Reggae star inspires fans to take pride in their African heritage

Q. You were brought up in a musical family. Can you tell us about your earliest musical memories? A. Some of my most memorable memories are when me and my brothers and sister were first training, performing as the backing band for my father on several shows across the United States and Jamaica. I remember playing at the public library and at school talent shows. Those are some of my fondest memories. Even as I think back now, I remember all the training that my father set up for me and my brothers to receive while we were growing up. Teachers such as Thelonious Monk, Jackie Mittoo, Clifford Branch and Bert Reid. Some taught me the keyboards, some worked on my vocal abilities, others helped me study special cord inversions. I could never forget my past. Q. Tell us about being Gramps Morgan and your achievements so far. A. Well, that’s a funny question. I’m happy to be me and I’m happy about some of the things that I have accomplished. I’ve travelled the world and performed in front of millions of people throughout my years playing with my family, Morgan Heritage, as well as playing as a solo artist. Some of my greatest experiences have been performing on tour with India Arie, John Legend and Buju Banton. One of my favourites was when we opened up for Lenny Kravitz in Europe. Playing with artists like these and watching them perform, you learn something every time. Q. The ‘Africa Jamaica’ single and your role as ambassador at the Ghana Jamaica Homecoming Festival (a project celebrating the cultural heritage of Africa) suggest you want to raise awareness of Africa as the spiritual home of Afro-Caribbean and

Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan has had musical success as a solo artist and with four of his 29 siblings, the children of reggae legend Denroy Morgan, in the Grammy awardwinning reggae group Morgan Heritage. Recently the band has teamed up with Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Tanzania’s biggest musician of the moment, Diamond Platnumz, for the single ‘Africa Jamaica’. Here he talks about his earliest musical memories, bringing together East and West Africa with his latest release, and why everyone should try gardening.

African-American communities. Why is it so important to you? A. While growing up as a child, my father instilled these qualities in me to let me know who I am, where I come from, not only as black people but as Rastafarians, to always remember Africa. This was part of my childhood. It wasn’t something new that I discovered as I turned an adult. It has always been a part of me. So since I have now started travelling more frequently to Africa, I find it my duty to build the bridge from


the diaspora to Africa to make people be aware not only black people but all people to know the strong spiritual foundation and what we have to share with our minerals, herbs, farming and many more entrepreneurial opportunities that can help to build Africa. Hence comes the Ghana Jamaica Homecoming project. I truly pray that corporate Ghana gives me as much support as possible to make some of my visions become reality. It cannot be done without them. Everyone needs to play their part. Q. For ‘Africa Jamaica’ you also brought together West and East Africa with both Stonebwoy and Diamond Platinumz on the track. How did that go? A. While doing the Africa hitmaker single we really accomplished something that has never been done before, bringing together one of the strongest artists from East Africa

‘With the Africa hitmaker single we brought together one of the strongest artists from East Africa and West Africa on one song’

and West Africa on one song. This is truly history. There were no problems, zero egos,

children know that there are many different

as well as all Africa and teach children that

not one battle and we are truly thankful that

options other than becoming an athlete or

there is value in farming. I am also interest-

we were able to accomplish this. It is a sign

a musician. There are options that are not

ed in educating many of the governments

to show what we can do together when we

presented to many communities around

across Africa about hemp and its healing

unite – conquer the left, conquer the right.

the world and I am just doing my part by

properties. In the United States, Canada

bringing that awareness to the forefront.

and Europe and even now South Korea this

Q. Do you link your music with your

plant is now being used as a medicine. I

philanthropic ventures? I have heard you

Q. You are also an entrepreneur. You have

have a dream for Africa and hope it comes

describe your music as ‘healing music’ and

your own 60-acre farm in Trelawny and a

true sooner than later, before it’s too late.

you set up a charity to bring relief to the

line of health food products and sauces.

needy in various parts of the world.

It seems having that connection with the

Q. Where do you like to go to relax and

land and growing your own food has been

have fun away from the busy life of a

A. I am truly proud about my charity

transformative for you and you want to

music star?

organisation Gramps Music Orchestrating

encourage others to try it. A. Well, some of my most favourite places

Miracles (GRAMPS M.O.M) and truly, yes, it is part of my music and the message

A. As a child I always saw my grandfather

in the world to relax are in Africa and the

that I share in my music is how I truly feel

[Cleveland Morgan – Roy was given the

Caribbean, but I have recently found a place

in real life. I have done projects in Ethiopia,

nickname ‘Gramps’ as a baby because of

called Saskatchewan in Canada. It is so

Trinidad & Tobago and Anguilla support-

his resemblance then to his grandfather]

beautiful. I fell in love with fishing there.

ing education as well as farming to let

working in a small garden in his backyard. I was always amazed by the look on his face while he was farming the land. I saw a peace, I saw a connection, I saw there was a special connection with him and the earth and I wanted to experience that. So when me and my family moved to Jamaica in 1995 we were living on a farm property. That’s where we built our home and I felt so good while preparing the land. I felt a special connection to God and nature and

HOME On the farm

that feeling made me want to share that awareness of farming to my generation and many generations to come. Gramps Morgan Farms is my sauce company, which is a

HOT N SPICY Home-made

line-up of jerk sauce and jerk BBQ sauce. I am truly excited to start farming in Ghana

To Watch the ‘Africa Jamaica’ video visit Morgan Heritage’s YouTube channel at MorganHeritageTv To find out more about Gramps M.O.M visit the Twitter page @grampsmom To purchase some of Gramps Morgan Farms jerk and scotch bonnet sauces, visit grampsmorganfarms



Liberia’s top artist inspires a generation


Liberia Visual Arts Academy finds ‘the light within’ budding young creatives


two other teachers, Frank Dwuye and Isaac Doubor, who specialise in the

eslie Lumeh is Liberia’s most

academy’s team of recruiters or will

digital arts, illustration, graphics and

celebrated artist, with his work

have submitted a portfolio of their

mixed media.

exhibited all over the world,

work that has impressed the LivArts

but he has come home for his latest



project, which aims to inspire a new

Which programme at the

generation of artists in his country.

academy the accepted pupils

kind when Lumeh was growing up

embark on is dependent on

in the 1970s. His dexterity with the

(LivArts) is the first of its kind in

their age. Those aged eight to 15

brush for his watercolours and with

Monrovia and offers free lessons in

are enrolled on the Kids Power

the palette knife for his vivid oil

art to Liberian youths aged from

Programme, a year-long series of

works was self-taught, though he

eight to 21. Lumeh set the school

weekly classes which aim to enhance

did study for a diploma in archi-

up in 2010 and today it runs classes

creative thinking and develop

tectural drafting from the Booker

in two locations in the capital – the

concentration and basic hand-eye

Washington Institute in Kakata.

Alliance Francaise compound in

coordination through drawing, paint-

the Sinkor district and iCampus in

ing, and collage.

The Liberia Visual Arts Academy

Snapper Hill – outside of normal school hours.


Those aged 16 or older will take part in the two-year Certificate Programme. This provides students with an opportunity to develop visual

Art is not part of the national curricu-

arts and professional skills. Year

lum in Liberia and the weekly classes

one teaches the fundamentals of

offer a rare chance for school-age

drawing, painting and photography.

youngsters to explore their creativity,

In year two, students apply these

something Dambala-born Lumeh

skills in group projects and commer-

believes is vital for the future of his

cial design applications. The projects

beloved homeland.

not only teach basic techniques but

Most of the pupils, especially the younger ones, will have had little experience in drawing and paint-


complemented by the academy’s

also train students to find jobs as designers and illustrators. Lumeh is there in the classrooms,

ing, but the academy will have seen

passing on the skills honed over

something of interest in all of them

a 24-year career working in oils,

to merit their place. They will either

acrylic, charcoal, watercolours and

have been talent-spotted by the

gouache. His traditional skills are

There was nothing of the academy’s

COLOURFUL Street market

Still, his work has always a fascination and sensitivity to people and

Leslie Lumeh Newhouse Center for Global Engagement Prof Ken Harper

Classes offer a rare chance for school-age youngsters to explore their creativity, something Dambala-born Lumeh believes is vital

everyday life – concerns that made

art gallery, Art of the Heart, in 2008

him an ideal cartoonist for ‘The

and became president of the Liberia

Liberian Observer’, the country’s first

Association, an organisation devoted

independent newspaper, a post he

to the advancement of art in the

has held since 2005 – and when his


career began to take shape he was

Lumeh’s works do have a childlike,

very willing to offer the mentorship

unaffected quality that suggests his

that was denied him to others.

lack of formal training, but they are

As well as his work with LivArts,

filled with detail that repays close

during time spent in United States

study and the naivety gives some of

he gave lessons on book illustration

the more unsettling elements – child

to children at the Children’s Reading

soldiers, peeping home security

Center in Palatka, Florida.

guards – even greater menace. His

He began showing his work in 1993

skill with the brush gives his water-

but soon after was exiled in Abidjan

colours of rural scenes a lush fluid-

during Liberia’s civil war. He contrib-

ity and his human figures, though

uted to various creative projects

simply rendered, are all wonderfully

launched in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone

suggestive of life and character.

and Gabon and became an artist of note in West Africa. Returning to his


native country he set about rebuild-

One of Lumeh’s most recent and

ing an artistic identity in the wake of

prestigious projects was his involve-

the war. He opened Monrovia’s first

ment in ‘Lumieres d’Afriques’, a trav-

How to be a part of LivArts Both Liberians and foreigners aged eight to 21 are eligible to apply to the academy, regardless of gender, creed, religion or physical handicap. There are two ways to enrol at Liberia Visual Arts Academy: 1. Recruiters determine whether the applicant qualifies for the LivArts scholarship programme 2. Applicants submit a portfolio to be reviewed by LivArts staff There is a US$ 10 program registration fee, but tuition is free. Both programmes have one field trip each term. Successful applicants will be notified by phone or email. For information on how to help fund the school, email

elling exhibition which showcased


the work of one artist from each of the 54 nations of Africa. His work ‘The Light Within’, a monochrome urban environment illuminated by the people who walk its streets, who seem to glow in colour from within, was chosen. Lumeh has said the work was an attempt to illustrate the “unique individual spirit within every person”, a universal quality he tries to mine in every one of his pupils at LivArts.


LivArts is running classes at two locations in Monrovia: on Wednesdays from 2 pm to 3.30 pm on 15th Street, Payne Avenue, Sinkor (Alliance Francaise compound) and on Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm at iCampus 150 Carey Street, Snapper Hill. For more details, email or call 0888 894 488 or 0886 430 483. FLYafrica



Meet the first superhero with cerebral palsy Ghana-based software engineer and author creates comic book to inspire young people with disabilities


here have been superheroes with disabilities before – the wheelchairbound Professor X in ‘X-Men’ and

the visually impaired Daredevil among them – but a super-powered crimefighter with cerebral palsy is a first. And she

KARMZAH Comic book superhero

comes from Ghana. Karmzah, a superheroine who walks using

comics provided an image of escape and

brainchild of software engineer, disability

inspiration from schools which were such

rights advocate and author Farida Bedwei.

“disability-unfriendly terrain” that she was

Karmzah’s adventures appear in a comic

home-schooled for much of her childhood.

produced in partnership by Farida and Leti

“As a disability-rights advocate, I am

Arts, a media company known for its digital

always looking for effective ways of getting

comics and mobile games featuring African

my message across,” says 39-year-old

superheroes and heroines based on historic

Farida. “As a child, I loved my superheroes

local figures.

and I used to fantasise about having powers

Relatable characters

to defeat bad guys. I reckon the average

AUTHOR Farida Bedwei Images courtesy of Leti Arts

child – disabled or not – also has similar

The first instalment was released digitally on

notions and as such if we had more superhe-

the Afrocomix app by Google Playstore on

roes with disabilities it would go a long way

6 October, World Cerebral Palsy Day. Farida,

to ‘normalise’ it in our societies for future

designed to appeal to young people and to

who developed the lifelong condition affect-


give them an inspirational figure they can

ing muscle control and movement when she

“There are a few superheroes with

identify with and root for. There will be four

was 10 days old, says coinciding the launch

disabilities, but none of them have cerebral

issues in a year, Farida tells me. Each will be

with the annual celebration was important

palsy. There are more children with cerebral

uploaded in instalments on the Afrocomix

in changing perceptions about what is now

palsy than any other disability in the world

app and then made available in print. The

the leading cause of childhood disability in

– an estimated 17 million. Considering the

first issue was released in November 2018

the world.

number of children and adults with varying

with its print version hitting stores in late

disabilities worldwide, there is the need for

December. Issue 2 is due out in February.

Farida, who was born in Lagos but spent much of her easy childhood in Dominica

more characters they can relate to in the

before her family settled in Ghana, has said

world of animation.”

in interviews that she encountered a good 22

deal of prejudice growing up. Superhero

crutches imbued with magical powers, is the

Telling the tale in comic format is

The first issue tells how Morowa, a feisty Ghanaian architect with cerebral palsy, inherits her super powers. “She becomes

for a one-year computer course at the St Michael Information Technology Centre in Accra to study software engineering. After stints at Soft, a software company in Ghana, and Rancard Solutions as a senior software architect, she helped set up the software company Logiciel where she developed gKudi, a cloud software platform that has revolutionised the universe of micro-lending in Ghana by making small loans available on demand while cutting out fraud and stream-

‘The nice thing about fantasy is that it is unrealistic, so the possibilities are endless’ strength and possibilities and to see their

lining the activities of these institutions. She is involved with Girls in ICT, inspiring women to pursue careers in computing, and partners with ShareCare to cater for disabled people and those with cerebral palsy. Such achievements have won her a series of awards, including the 2013 CEO Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award Financial Sector.

aids – be they wheelchairs, crutches, glasses

African heroine

or hearing aids – as ‘cool’.

Farida has also written a novel, ‘Definition of

Farida, who is now based in Accra, says:

a Miracle’, fictionalising her life story. When

“The nice thing about fantasy is that it is

she sat down to write ‘Karmzah’ Farida

unrealistic, so the possibilities are endless.

always knew she wanted an African heroine.

So why not turn the perceived weakness

“We have few superheroines from this part

into a strength by giving power through the

of the world,” she says. “I am elated that the

aids she uses. Those of us who have to use

first ever superheroine with cerebral palsy

these aids, at one point or the other, resent

came from no other place but Ghana.”!

them. So in Karmzah, her world is transformed because of her crutches. She has extraordinary strength and fighting skills because of them. Who wouldn’t want those

CHARACTERS Muzu and Selassie


Capabilities, not disabilities While people with disabilities are often portrayed as helpless victims, Karmzah is always coming to the rescue of her hapless able-bodied friends. Farida says: “The focus is on their disabilities, not their capabilities, and that perception will only change when we start focusing on their strengths, not their weaknesses. If Morowa loses hold of her Karmzah when she accidentally breaks a

crutches, she reverts to her ordinary self

jar brought back from a dig,” says Farida.

and can no longer fight, run or fly as she

“Unbeknown to her, the jar has been the

does with the superpowers.”

home of an ancient medicine man who,

Farida has much in common with

once freed, becomes Karmzah’s ‘handler’.

Morowa beyond the shared use of

When the jar breaks open, the power – in

crutches. They both, she says, have “a

the form of smoke – gets on her crutches

penchant for arguing and a sarcastic wit”.

and when Morowa holds them it gets into

Farida is also just as much an inspirational

her as well.”

figure as her cartoon alter-ego. She showed

The hope is that Morowa’s story will help

an aptitude for computers from a young age

make young people with disabilities begin

and, refusing to be held back by the limits

to look on their condition as a source of

in motor activity of her condition, signed up

Issue 2 of Karmzah will be released by the end of March and the print version of the comic is available at Koala Shopping Centre in Accra as well as online at and FLYafrica 23

INVESTMENT market review Brought to you by: Strategic African Securities Limited

Banking sector crisis weighs heavily on markets At the end of January last year, Bloomberg reported that the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index (GSE-CI) had gained 19 per cent in dollar terms, the most among benchmarks tracked by the company globally. The GSE-CI did race to an all-time record high by the end of April, but performance for the rest of the year was underwhelming. The stock market grew more volatile from mid-year as troubling events in the banking sector dominated headlines all year. Both the GSE-CI and the SAS Index, our stock market benchmark, sadly gave up all the gains made in the first four months and a little bit more over the second half of 2018 to 24

close the year down 0.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. These two indices had returned 52.7 per cent and 53.4 per cent respectively in 2017. Market breadth was decidedly negative for the year. Decliners topped advancers two to one as a total volume of over 200 million shares and a total value of over GHS 650 million changed hands in trading. Banking stocks, which had driven big market gains in 2017, declined

Selected Market Indices Source: SAS Research, 1st Jan. – 31st Dec. 2018









across the board last year, with the GSE Financial Index, a benchmark for financial stocks, shedding 6.8 per cent of its value. Shares of Republic Bank, which rose 85.3 per cent in 2017, halved to GHS 0.69 in 2018 and

Enterprise Group shares, which appreciated 54.2 per cent in 2017, dropped 39.5 per cent in 2018 to GHS 2.24.

Fixed income securities offered an attractive alternative to the volatile equity market

Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Number of Listed Securities


Total Market Value

GH¢61.14 Billion GH¢ Million 16,404.24 15,159.30 9,709.47 3,850.84 2,829.93

at GHS 8.00 as the company

On a relative basis, the fixed

Top 5 Companies by Market Value Tullow Oil Anglogold Ashanti MTN Ghana Ecobank Transnational Standard Chartered Bank Ghana

continued to report declining

income positions in 2018 for

Source: GSE, SAS Equities Desk, 31st December 2018

revenues and profits.

our investment clients yielded

Fan Milk share price lost 54.8 per cent of its value to close the year

The top price gainers for the year were PZ Cussons, SIC, Mechanical Lloyd and Unilever. Analysts may argue that record primary market activity during the year sucked significant liquidity out of investors’ hands, which was not available for aftermarket trading in the second half, resulting in the flat performance of share prices generally. The two-month initial public offering of MTN Ghana shares in the mid-year alone raised GHS 1.15 billion from Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian retail and institutional investors. The market’s performance in 2018 represents a sharp correction to year-end 2017 price levels. For savvy investors, however, value and profits can still be found in the equity market. These investors will focus on searching for beaten-

on average more than 20 per cent and made a significant contribution to overall or diversified portfolio returns. In the government securities market, yields hardened across the curve in the second half of the year. The yield on the 91-day Treasury bill opened the year at 13.33 per cent and closed at 14.59 per cent. The yield on the two-year Treasury note increased from 17.50 per cent to 19.50 per cent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note opened at 16.35 per cent and the last average quote for the year was 17.50 per cent. In the first half of 2018 declining long-term rates in the market

Market Activity Top Advancers PZ Cussons SIC Insurance Mechanical Lloyd NewGold ETF Unilever Ghana

Open 0.20 0.10 0.06 38.80 12.84

Close Change 0.41 105.00% 0.19 90.00% 0.10 66.67% 54.00 39.18% 17.78 38.47%

Top Decliners Fan Milk Ghana Republic Bank Ghana Aluworks Limited Enterprise Group Trust Bank The Gambia

Open 17.7 1.39 0.16 3.7 0.35

Close 8.00 0.69 0.08 2.24 0.23

Source: SAS Equities Desk, 1st Jan. – 31st Dec. 2018 GH¢ Exchange Rates Currency US Dollar Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen S/African Rand Euro Chinese Reminbi Naira

Avg Open Avg Close Change 4.42 4.82 -9.16% 5.97 6.17 -3.42% 3.52 3.54 -0.57% 0.04 0.04 -11.59% 0.36 0.33 6.49% 5.30 5.51 -4.09% 0.68 0.70 -3.45% 69.40 63.77 0.08

Source: Bank of Ghana, SAS Research, 1st Jan. – 31st Dec. 2018

rewarded investors who had exposures to term government

Money Market Rates

bonds, but this scenario

AIBOR 91 Day Tbill 182 Day Tbill 1 Yr Note 2 Yr Note

reversed from mid-year as interest rates started to rise.

down stocks that are cheaply

While fixed income offered

valued but have historical and

generally higher annual yields

potentially high prospective

for investors in the market in

fundamental and investment

2018, some non-bank financial

Bond Yields

growth rates, with the hope of

institution (NBFI) issuers of fixed

benefiting from a meaningful

deposit instruments reported

recovery in share prices.

liquidity challenges during the

3 Yr Bond 5 Yr Bond 7 Yr Bond 10 Yr Bond

Historically, long-term-oriented

Change -54.80% -50.36% -50.00% -39.46% -34.29%


investors in the stock market who

The Cedi weakened against

hold diversified portfolios have

the major trading currencies

accumulated attractive market

during the year, but gained on

returns. For example, a holding

the South African Rand and the

investment in the SAS Fortune

Naira. Headline inflation was

Fund between 2013 and 2018

read at 10.3 per cent for January

yielded a compounded annual

and most recently at 9.3 per

growth rate of 23.5 per cent.

cent for November 2018.

Open 19.20% 13.33% 13.78% 15.00% 17.50%

Close Change 16.12% -3.08% 14.59% 1.26% 15.03% 1.25% 15.50% 0.50% 19.50% 2.00%

Source: Bank of Ghana, SAS Fixed Income Desk, 1st Jan. – 31st Dec. 2018

Avg Open Avg Close 16.57% 19.50% 16.30% 16.50% 15.98% 16.25% 16.35% 17.50%

Change 2.93% 0.20% 0.28% 1.15%

Source: SAS Fixed Income Desk, 1st Jan. – 31st Dec. 2018

Find out more Strategic African Securities Limited, 14th Floor, World Trade Centre, Independence Avenue, Accra Tel: +233 302 661 990 / 770 / 900 / 008 Email:, FLYafrica 25


by the beach Ghana’s best coastal hideaways

Beach holidays are a popular escape in Ghana and there are plenty of remote getaways along the country’s more than 500 km of coast. Whether you’re after a low-key eco resort or a five-star slice of paradise, you are catered for in Ghana. Here are three remote beach resorts to help you recharge with some ‘vitamin sea’.

SUNSET The bar at Meet Me There African Home Lodge

Blue Diamond

Lou Moon Lodge Perched on a peninsula near Axim, in Ghana’s Western Region, and shrouded by dense forest, this exceptionally beautiful boutique resort is the perfect getaway.

taking a seafaring excursion to meet the local fisherman or just to unwind in this tropical beach paradise with a good book – the resort has its own library – or with a massage at the spa.

Lou Moon Lodge has only 11 rooms in its main building and a sprinkle of bungalows perched on the tip of its private island. Built entirely from local materials and designed to harmonise with the natural environment, the family-friendly lodge nestles on the shore of a private cove offering rare protection from the ocean waves and creating an idyllic natural swimming pool, safe for swimmers of all ages.

Whether or not you go out with the local fishermen, their catch of the day will be a large part of the fantastically fresh French-inspired cuisine prepared by head chef Yvonne Ganlonon. Wherever possible, all the vegetables and herbs she uses will have been grown in the lodge’s garden. The meals can be taken in the restaurant and bar, with its views of the garden, or a romantic meal can be set up on the beach.

There are plenty of activities on offer, such as walking or jogging in the lush tropical grounds, kayaking or paddle boarding, playing beach volleyball or 26

Lou Moon Lodge, Axim Tel: +233 26 424 1549 Email:

This serene hideaway is only 80 km from Accra on the Cape Coast Road, but the city’s bustle will be a distant memory once you’ve sunk into one of the many hammocks hung between palm trees that fringe the resort’s 500 metres of private beach. If you feel you have to unwind still further, the resort’s fantastic spa offers, among a huge range of treatments, Balinese massages, renowned for bringing bring a sense of well-being, calm and deep relaxation. The resort is spread over eight hectares with 11 chalets and one conference room for business groups after some team-building escapades. There’s also a swimming pool, restaurant and bar on site.

Images courtesy of Boštjan Selinšek

LIGHT AND AIRY Rooms at Meet Me There African Home Lodge

Meet Me There African Home Lodge If the revivifying effects off the resort have you in the mood for exploration, the picturesque fishing village of Apam is only 20 minutes away – in fact, you get a magnificent view of it from the beach, where there are hammocks along the shore. Apam is also known for its colonial castle and church and there is an opportunity, for a few extra cedis’ encouragement, to grab a ride in a fishing boat. Blue Diamond, Gomoa Abrekum Tel: (+233) 206 042 265 or (+233) 246 675 500 Email:

This idyllic eco retreat sits on the edge of a still saltwater lagoon between the rural fishing villages of Dzita and DzitaAbledomi in the Volta Region. The lodge has strong ties with these impoverished communities. While guests are introduced to the rural way of life with a wide range of interesting trips and activities, the money they pay for their stay is invested by the not-forprofit lodge in programmes to improve healthcare, sanitation and education for local communities. Activities include visiting a local market or taking a boat trip along the Ada coast and estuary, where the sea merges with the River Volta, stopping at remote villages on the way. Back at the lodge, guests can choose from a range of very reasonably priced

traditional accommodation, from yurts to thatched suites with breathtaking views of the unspoilt coast. Guests can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and wake up to the traditional songs of local fisherman. The lodge’s traditional offerings continue at mealtimes with dishes such as hearty chicken and groundnut soup served with kenkey; while the vibrant beach bar, complete with a jetty that juts out into the lagoon and straw parasols shading wooden armchairs from the sun, has a creative drinks list that includes refreshing cucumber cocktails. Meet Me There Eco Home Lodge Tel: (+233) 541 838 387 Email:

FLYafrica 27

How Big Sister star China Nicky won over Sierra Leone

By Mark Edwards

Rags-to-riches tale of the winner of the country’s first 24-hour live TV reality show


hen Haja Mariama

chosen China Nicky as ambassador

Kamara – known as

for this year’s Ecofest music festival,

China Nicky to her

while Sierra Leone’s leading mobile

friends because of her oriental look

phone company, Africell – one of the

and love of American rapper Nicki

partners of Big Sister – is paying her

Minaj – applied to be a part of Sierra

Le 6 million to be its latest ambas-

Leone’s first 24-hour live reality TV

sador. Part of the agreement will

show, Big Sister Salone, she had to

involve the tech giant supporting the

get a friend to pay the Le 100,000

illiterate China Nicky’s education.

entry fee, such were her financial

The budding actor’s admittance


to having had no formal schooling

Now the up-and-coming actress

and her efforts to better herself were

and comedian is a millionaire

key reasons behind why she drew so

after storming to victory on the

much support from viewers.

show, winning the hearts of Sierra Leoneans the world over who fell


for her bravery and optimism in the

While Big Sister Salone garnered

face of early family tragedy and

plenty of disparaging comments

hardship and loved her crazy dance

during its run about fame-hungry

moves and struggles with the Krio

contestants and their underwhelm-


ing attributes, it was launched with

China Nicky entered the Big

grand aims for female empower-

Sister Alone household with 11 other ferociously loyal fan group, the

off the show each week by the public

Rashul Gang, named after their

until just three remained, vying for

hero’s mispronunciation of the Krio

Ella Koblo Gulama Drama’ with the

the top prize of Le 10 million and a

word ‘rahul’, which had the judges

concept of upholding the values

new car. The show attracted millions

and audience in hysterics at the Big

of one of Sierra Leone’s most cele-

of viewers, with thousands of votes

Sister audition.

brated heroines. Madam Gulama

cast by fans each week. China Nicky

There are plans to feed the fans’

may well have achieved them. The show was themed as ‘The

was a strong character who paved

was a clear favourite, winning each

hunger for more China Nicky now

the way for many women in politics

week’s vote outright.

Big Sister is over – don’t panic, 12

after she became the first elected

new contestants will take part next

female member of parliament in

has become a phenomenon in the

year. The Minister of Tourism and

Sierra Leone and sub-Saharan

country. She even has her own

Culture, Dr Memunatu Pratt, has

Africa in 1957.

In just a few short weeks she


ment. With China Nicky’s victory, it WINNING BIG China Nicky

contestants, with three being voted

Images courtesy of AYV Media Empire

Whether Madam Gulama would

of the deaths of both of her parents

have approved of the twerking

and fend for herself, she gained

competition set up for the house-

respect in the house and across

mates or the backbiting that went

Sierra Leone.

on between the women is doubtful,

The resilience she has shown

but seeing a woman of China Nicky’s

throughout her young life – training

impoverished background given her

as a seamstress and hairdresser to

time to shine would appeal to her.

support herself and following her

Certainly, Zainab Sheriff, the host

dreams to become an actress – were

of Big Sister Salone, believes the

evident in Big Sister Salone. She

show lived up to its remit. She saw

ignored the mockery, made friends,

it as presenting a cross-section of

worked hard, spread an motivational

Sierra Leonean womanhood, with

message and had fun. Her victory

many contestants learning valuable

was never in doubt.

lessons during their stay. The artist and model, who rose to


fame as the winner of ‘Big Brother

Despite this widespread adulation,

Africa’ in 2012 and is also chief exec-

there have been a few dissenting

utive of ZedZee Multimedia, a Big

voices on social media arguing that

Sister Salone partner, said: “All sorts

China Nicky winning the Big Sister

of women – the good, the bad, the

contest glorifies illiteracy and that

ugly, the fantastic, the amazing, the

it would discourage more educated

quiet, the wild – were put together in

girls from opting to take part in

one house [to] see who comes out as

future editions of the show.

the best. It doesn’t matter how quiet

This seems unfair. While China

you are, the house will change you to

Nicky is unashamed of her past,

be able to speak up. It doesn’t matter

throughout her stay in the house

how wild you are, the house will

she spoke of her desire to educate

calm you. You will understand that

herself and make the most of her life.

your colleagues need to be heard,

She has the chance to do just that

FAME BECKONS All dressed up

champion in China Nicky, but one

too. It doesn’t matter how intelligent

with her new role as Africell ambas-

you are, you will know that there is

sador. Part of the agreement involves

education and offers inspiration to

something you don’t know. It doesn’t

the mobile phone company support-

escape their predicament.

matter how dumb you are, you will

ing her return to formal education.

understand that there is something you know that the next person doesn’t know.”


Yes, the less privileged and unschooled of Sierra Leone have a

who espouses the importance of

With Africell expected to provide BRAND AMBASSADOR Contract

the Big Sister Salone winner with a return air ticket to London for television appearances in the UK, it seems membership of the Rashul Gang is set to go global. Sierra Leone has a

There was quite an arc of progres-

new star and it will be fascinating to

sion for China Nicky during her

see what she does next.

month in the Big Sister Salone house. On arrival she found herself the target of discrimination from a few of the well-educated housemates due to her struggles with the language. Still, she rose above it and when she revealed how she had to drop out of school at a very young age because

Africell is paying Nicky Le 6 million to be its latest ambassador

FLYafrica 29

cia l

Fil m


MOVE OVER TINSEL TOWN… Filmmaker Femi embodies golden age of Nollywood

Acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker Femi Odugbemi knows how to make a hit on the big screen and small screen and his expertise has been recognised by Hollywood, where he was recently invited to join the Oscars judging panel. Mark Edwards finds out where his love of cinema began and why he thinks the future for Nigerian cinema is so bright.


hen filmmaker Femi Odugbemi

countries, inspiring others with a glimpse of

was a boy growing up in

West African storytelling, life and culture.

Fadeyi, a low income area of

He is optimistic this will happen and sees his

Lagos, he would dive into the dark of the

recent invitation to the voting membership

local cinemas almost daily and be trans-

of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and

ported to other worlds and cultures.

Sciences – which he describes as a “great

“All we did was play football on the

its membership to more professionals of

finish playing football, go to see an Indian

colour and race” – as a sign that Hollywood

or Chinese karate film, come back to the

has Nollywood in its sights when it is

neighbourhood and act out the love scenes

looking for the best in new world cinema.

of Bollywood films or the choreography of the Chinese karate films. We were


immersed in a culture of cinema. I knew so

The 55-year-old, who studied film and

much about Indian and Chinese cultures

television production at Montana State

even though I couldn’t point to these coun-

University in the United States, says: “The

tries on the map. But I knew how they lived,

Academy is saying to all of us, ‘bring it on’.

how they dressed. I knew the songs and the

It is important that we take the challenge.

names of the heroes of these films are still

If we focus on excellence and if we find

etched in my subconscious till this day.”

those stories that will inspire and engage

Here Femi’s love affair with cinema

the world, we will offer a unique creative

began along with the first stirrings to make his own ideas come alive on the big screen.


honour and a positive response to open up

streets and watch movies,” he says. “We’d

identity. “Being a voting member of the Academy

Today the award-winning filmmaker, script-

makes you part of a prestigious confer-

writer and producer – with the hit Nigerian

ence of professionals, too, so it is a valuable

soap opera ‘Tinsel’ and recent telenovela

networking door to the world of cinema

‘Battleground’ among his many successes

that was [previously] distant from us in

– is still smitten. Now he hopes it will be

our neck of the woods. So it says that the

Nigerian films that are screened in far-flung

world is challenging us to come to the table

GO FEMI Nollywood meets Hollywood

with our ideas and our creativity and our stories. Hopefully, in the course of this new opportunity, I will learn more and do more to project the best and brightest of our industry.” With Nollywood, which has overtaken Hollywood as the world’s second-biggest film industry and pumps out around 50 fulllength movies a week, Femi says Nigeria has a distinct dramatic voice to share with international markets. “Nollywood has grown organically into its own unique story-telling style. With it, we have something interesting to show the world,” he says. “It has proven much more than entertainment, it is a counternarrative to the post-colonial images of ‘African cinema’. There are many young emerging storytellers who now have the

Future stars of Nigerian cinema

training and talent and are navigating their creative and artistic explorations with far more confidence and dexterity than their

Femi Odugbemi reveals the young Nigerian filmmakers who are exciting him with their work. “The cinema in Nigeria is hugely exciting and this emerging generation of storytellers have the talent and power to create it,” he says.


Generations One concern the filmmaker – who served on the Steering Committee of the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria, the nation’s highest regulatory body for the film industry – has with generations to come is that so few Nigerians have access to the big screen cinema that filled the young Femi with

EXCITING TIME Femi says there is a new wave of film talent in Nigeria

Kemi Adetiba

wonder. Despite Nigeria having the largest population of any African country, it has less than 100 cinemas and most of these are large multiplexes with ticket prices that exclude all but the wealthiest visitors. The largely straight-to-video output of Nollywood does little to counter the trend. Femi has been vocal in advocating more modestly priced community cinemas which are reachable for most inner city dwellers, but he believes changes are coming. “There are a lot of entrepreneurs who see huge opportunities in the growing numbers of Nollywood audiences and who are building cinemas across major cities of Nigeria,” he says. “So I am confident in a short while there will be far many more film exhibition spaces of all shapes and sizes across our major cities.” Hopefully this will mean more emotional connections with films for young viewers who will never forget where cinema took them and how it made them feel.

OSCARS JUDGE A ‘great honour’, says Femi

“I think that the themes of her work have depth and subtext that can be culturally provocative. I am looking forward to her new film, ‘King of Boys’, but I have followed her journey from music videos to short film to big features and I see an interesting artistic ambition and progression.” Stanlee Ohikhuare “I think the works of Stanlee Ohikhuare [the self-taught director of surreal, imaginative works such ‘The Fast of Souls’] exude audacious fantasy with a measurable degree of artistic juxtaposition.” Jadesola Osiberu “She did excellent work with [the 2017 romantic comedy] ’Isoken’ and a few others.” FLYafrica


cia l

Fil m



Kunle Afolayan’s big-budget films are leading a revolution in Nigerian cinema


unle Afolayan has been compared

and 2016’s ‘The CEO’, a thrilling fusion of

Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, taking

to Martin Scorsese by ‘The New

‘The Apprentice Africa’ and ‘The Hunger

nine awards. In the same year Afolayan was

York Times’, though he shoots

Games’, are among the 10 top grossing films

named Nollywood Man of the Year and a

of all time in Nigeria.

Quartz Africa Innovator alongside luminar-

his movies on the mean streets of Lagos. The Kwara State-born director shares the

Both made more than NGN 60 million at

creative energy and artistic control of the

the box office – impressive, considering that

Oscar-winning American auteur, but wants

Nigeria, so reliant on home-view Nollywood

to make his high-production, high-octane

discs, has only 25 cinemas. “The days of

Family heritage

blockbusters in Nigeria.

relying on DVDs are over—it was a piracy

Afolyan’s life story has the makings of a

nightmare,” says Afolayan. “Now, this busi-

film itself. He is the son of renowned film

ness is about the cinemas and TV.”

director and producer Ade Love, but rather

The country has the second-biggest film industry in the world, known as Nollywood – a term also coined by ‘The New York

The 44-year-old director’s films have

ies of the continent such as musician Akon and footballer Didier Drogba.

than follow his three siblings into his father’s

Times’ – which releases as many as 50

garnered critical claim. ‘October 1’ dominat-

profession, Akolayan opted to take an

original Nigerian films each week, mostly

ed the 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards,

economics degree and got a job in a bank.

on CD.

taking home three awards including Best

He only started to make films after taking a

Film. The film also swept the board at the

course at the New York Film Academy.

‘The Figurine’

‘October 1’

Afolayan’s big-screen debut sees him in front of and behind the camera in this thriller about two friends who find a mystical sculpture that bestows good luck for seven years but has dark consequences after that.

This dark psychological thriller focuses on a police officer posted to a remote town in Western Nigeria to find a serial killer and have the mystery solved before the national flag is raised on Nigeria’s Independence Day.

Low budget Amid this rapid-fire, low-budget production line, Afolayan stands out. He makes films that transcend the often formulaic plotting, boasting superior technical quality with a budget to match. And they are screened at cinemas in Nigeria alongside major international releases. Among his five theatrically released feature films, two – 2015’s ‘October 1’, about Nigeria’s journey to independence in 1960,

Five of the best The films of Kunle Afolayan


AUTEUR Kunle Afolayan behind and in front of the camera

It seems Afolayan is keen his own children are taught a similarly broad skills set. A recent interview revealed he enrolled his son as an apprentice at a car mechanics workshop to give him a trade and divert his

‘October 1’ was exposed to the world when it bagged a Netflix deal that saw it subtitled in 10 languages and streamed around the world

focus from his mobile phone and tablet. The father-of-three’s background in

out into television, too, which has broad-

tale about a cursed artefact.

economics has been put to good use. In his

ened his appeal even further. ‘October 1’

10 years as a filmmaker he has directed five

was exposed to the world when it bagged

between his new Nollywood and the old by

films. Amid the prolific Nollywood scene

a Netflix deal that saw it subtitled in 10

featuring veteran Nollywood actors such

such a meagre output is unheard-of, but it

languages and streamed around the world.

as Binta Ayo Mogaji, Zack Orji, Tina Mba,

speaks of Afolayan’s emphasis on quality

Last year’s ‘The Tribunal’ was also released

Adebayo Salami, Lere Paimo and Lanre

over quantity and the difficulty in financing

first on television before getting a cinema

Hassan (Mama Awero) in key roles.

major products when the cinema theatre

release in Nigeria and Ghana.

infrastructure is not yet there. To deal with these financial concerns,

Links to old Nollywood

Afolayan also makes clear the link

Still there is much to distinguish Afolayan’s work from traditional Nollywood beyond the projection onto the big screen.

Afolayan has diversified and looked to

Despite doing much to shake up the

He is not afraid to address contentious

markets beyond Nigeria. His production

Nollywood film industry, Afolayan’s work

issues, such as the persecution of albinos in

company, Golden Effects, teamed up with

contains many themes familiar to fans

Nigeria. The culture of modern-day Africa is

South African TV company Africa Magic to

of the genre, which is deeply rooted in

also dissected in ‘The CEO’, which amplifies

release three films, the last being courtroom

Nigerian cultural traditions and superstition.

the cut-throat ambition and rivalry on which

drama ‘The Tribunal’ in 2017. Afolayan also

His latest film, ‘The Bridge’, a romantic

reality TV thrives.

has a range of credits as an actor in his own

tale that turns very dark indeed, addresses

films and those of others. This year he even

the rivalry between the Yoruba and Igo

making should set Afolayan up for a film

launched an African-inspired clothing line

tribes, two of the largest ethnic groups in

career to rival that of Scorsese in longevity

called Kunle’s Kembe.

Nigeria, while his award-winning debut,

and influence as he pushes back the fron-

2009’s ‘The Figurine’, draws on an old folk

tiers of the film industry in Nigeria.


‘The Tribunal’

The big-screen director has branched

‘Phone Swap’ A stylistic switch for Afolayan as he swaps thrillers for a romantic comedy about a fashion designer and a businessman who accidentally switch mobile phones at a busy airport and are forced to carry out each other’s assignments. A huge box office hit.

This glossy thriller plays out like a sparkling melange of ‘The Apprentice Africa’, Agatha Christie and ‘The Hunger Games’. A telecoms firm with footprints across Africa picks five top executives to compete for its vacant CEO role on an island boot camp. Grammy Awardwinning actor Angelique Kidjo stars as the camp leader, Dr Zimmerman.

Such endless creativity and fearless film-

This gripping courtroom drama centres on a washed-up lawyer who takes on the case of a senior banking officer who believes he has been wrongfully dismissed due to his appearance (he’s an albino). The intelligent drama features albino actor Damilola Ogunsi, who impresses in his first screen role. FLYafrica 33


Reach for the sky! Your guide to choosing the perfect drone Drones – or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems as nobody outside of Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority calls them – are starting to appear in West African skies. As long as you register your drone with the authority, you can start using one of these ‘fun to fly’ pieces of kit to obtain high definition bird’s-eye film footage – or just to take a memorable selfie on Labadi Beach. Here is our pick of the best on the market. Best beginner drone PARROT BEBOP 2 FPV PACK

Thanks to its three modes, children from seven years and up can easily learn to fly this drone. Mode 1 provides maximum stability while they learn the ropes. They can advance to Mode 2 for medium speed and to Mode 3 for bells, whistles and tricks that include 180 degree flips. Headless Mode (which is not the result of an unfortunate accident with the drone but means it is far more straightforward to control) makes it even easier for beginners to grasp the basics. Add the cool image of flashing lights and you have yourself a massive hit.

The GPS-equipped Parrot Bebop 2 comes packed with tech that makes it incredibly easy to fly, including First-Person View goggles that give you an exhilarating drone’s-eye view. You can use just an Apple or Android device or, for an even more satisfying flight experience, the dedicated Skycontroller tablet dock. The Bebop 2 flies for up to an impressive 25 minutes per charge and is very stable. It comes with an emergency cut-out feature that stops the rotors as soon as they come into contact with an obstacle, which should help prolong its life. It’s also light enough to survive the occasional crash.

Price: US$ 50

Price: US$ 399

Best drone for children UDI RC U27



Best all-round drone DJI MAVIC AIR

If you’re hunting for the best indoor drone with HD camera, this fits the bill. This is one of the best indoor drones in the middle-tier price area. It’s agile, nimble and durable enough not to be written off by minor collisions. Your start-up kit includes a battery, remote control and the drone itself. You can also choose to purchase your own 5.8 GHz video receiver and screen, but it will work fine as it is if you download the free app CameraFi on your smartphone. It’s available on both iOS and Android. Once set up, you’ve got one of the best indoor FPV quadcopters. A stand-out feature is the one-button return. Simply press the button and your drone will autolocate the remote and fly back to it. The UFO-shaped drone looks great, too, especially when you turn on the blue and red LED lights for flying in the dark.

The Mavic Air is a true pocket rocket that excels in every department. It’s light and small with four folding rotor arms, making it the most portable 4K cameraequipped drone currently on the market. The quality of video footage is matched by its ability to take very detailed 12 megapixel photos. It can also take four styles of panorama image and it does this all by itself. Simply select the panorama function and the drone hovers in one spot and takes a series of images from different angles (with no pilot input) which it them stitches together to produce a seamless widescreen vista. The Mavic Air can also be controlled with palm gestures or a mobile phone, but the supplied hand controller provides the most satisfying way to operate it. It also lets you fly much further – up to 4 km away and back again on a battery that lasts around 21 minutes. Best of all, though, are the obstacle avoidance sensors on the rear as well as to the fore and below the craft. This makes flying more confidence-inspiring than ever.

Valentin Valkov |

Price: US$ 799

Price: US$ 427

Best selfie drone DJI SPARK The cute and portable Spark is the smartest selfie drone in existence right now, available in five lush colours. It comes with front obstacle avoidance and is rock steady when flown indoors or out. You’ll get very acceptable 1080p video and 12 megapixel photos from its camera, which is equipped with a two-axis mechanical stabiliser for relatively smooth video footage. The battery provides around 16 minutes of flight time, decent for a drone of this size. While not designed for high-quality videography, it still shoots excellent footage. It’s also reassuringly tough as nails, so should you not spot that you are directing it full speed into a tree, chances are it will emerge unscathed. Another good reason to consider snapping one up right away. Price: US$ 848 FLYafrica 35

Saying farewell in style… How a carpenter’s bright idea in 1951 led to a Ghanaian tradition

Funerals are solemn occasions: true or false? Well, in Ghana they’ve found a way to bring lightness and even humour into the very process of burial. It’s all thanks to the idea – born many years ago in the coastal town of Teshie, part of Greater Accra – of making coffins in fantastical colours and shapes that reflect the character and career of the deceased. Images courtesy of Eric-Adjete-Anang. Photos by Michael D Wilson


he Ghanaian tradition of

the shape of a boat, while a farmer

making fantasy coffins in

specified a giant onion. Originally

colourful shapes can be

popular among the Ga people of the

traced back to colonial times. In

Accra region, the ‘abebuu adekai’

1951 a young carpenter called Seth

or ‘proverb boxes’ have become

Kane Kwei made a palanquin (a

a Ghanaian tradition. Today, there

type of sedan chair) in the shape of

are nearly 10 workshops in Ghana

a cocoa pod for a tribal chief who

specialising in such coffins, but the

was due to take part in a local festi-

Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop is

val. Sadly, the chief died before the

where it began.

festival, so it was decided to bury him in the palanquin. Not long after that, Kane Kwei’s

Today, the original workshop in

grandmother died. Growing up near

Teshie is managed by 33-year-old

the airport, she had always been

Eric Adjetey Anang, grandson of

fascinated by aeroplanes, but had

the founder. He works alongside his

never had a chance to fly in one.

father, Ernest Anang Kwei, and his

Remembering how the cocoa pod

brother Reginald, plus six apprentic-

coffin had impressed the crowds

es. The business has now expanded

at the chief’s funeral, Kane Kwei

to include a separate workshop in

decided to commemorate his grand-

Kumasi. The two workshops produce

mother by making a coffin in the

anything up to 300 coffins per year.

shape of an aeroplane so that she could ‘fly’ into the afterlife. Within a few weeks, local people



Eric was born in Teshie and grew up in the compound where the family workshop is located. “At eight

had begun to ask for bespoke

years old I began helping around the

coffins and the idea quickly caught

workshop, learning the tools of the

on. A fisherman wanted his to be in

trade that has supported by family

Coming to America

BESPOKE Eric creates to order

The unique designs of the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop have caught the attention of American academics and artists and in recent times Eric Adjetey Anang has been in demand at a number of venues in the United States. Last October he spent two months as an artist in residence at the University of Iowa. In the summer he was a guest of Maine College of Art and he recently hosted workshops at Tennessee Tech University. Eric is married with two children and his son Joshua loves helping him in the studio.

‘At eight years old I began helping around the workshop, learning the tools of the trade that has supported by family my entire life’ my entire life,” he says. After senior

traditions has resurged, the shop is

high school, he could have started

slowly reclaiming its glory days.”

university but chose to join the family business as an apprentice. “When my grandfather passed

Most of the coffins are bought by Ghanaians and 70 to 80 per cent of them are used in the traditional

away, the shop had started to go

way for burial. But, of course, the

downhill as bills piled up and former

‘proverb boxes’ are works of art,

apprentices embarked on their own

too, and many people – including

businesses,” says Eric. “I decided

overseas customers – buy them

to pour my heart into the shop and

as artefacts for display and other

see if I could turn it around. At age

purposes. Some of the export coffins

20 I took over the shop because

are specially built in harder woods

I was determined not to let my

so they can be displayed in colder

grandfather’s name die. It has been


a worthwhile investment. Over time, as Ghana’s economy has improved, tourism grows and interest in our

AMERICA Eric in Tennessee

FLYafrica 37

Image courtesy of EATV

Speaking out Smooth-talking artist Rhyme Sonny is a major player in the resurgent spoken word scene in Ghana. By Mark Edwards


here’s rhyme and reason

and been a regular on Ghanaian

behind Bedwei Kwaku


Sonny’s rise to the top of

plenty of plaudits in his career, but

in Ghana. His talent surfaced at

nobody is as sure of his talents as

Opoku Ware School in Kumasi,

the poet himself. His wonderful

where he wrote rap verses for his

poem ‘How Did It All Start’ explores

schoolmates to perform. As an

how the poet found his calling and

adult, friends called him the ‘King

built a lasting renown that will go

of Rhymes’ as he began to transfix

“farther than the Picassos and the

audiences with the biting wit and

Shakespeares”. His new album, which

rhythmic flow of his poetry.

has 22 spoken word tracks and took

He combined this moniker with his

Image courtesy of GeeQ Photos


eight engineers and four years to put

actual name for his stage persona,

together, is called ‘G.O.A.T.’ (Greatest

Rhyme Sonny, and has notched up

Of All Times).

more than 300 shows in the past 10

ON STAGE Performing

Rhyme Sonny has received

the burgeoning spoken word scene

years, including appearances at the


MTN Music Festival and the AU Arts

“G.O.A.T is one of my best works,”

Festival in honour of ex-president

says Rhyme Sonny. “You have to

JA Kuffour. He has also released a

be confident in your abilities to

book of poetry, ‘My Word String of

become the Greatest Of All Times.

Rhymes’, organised poetry festivals

Confidence is key but it must be

drawn from hard work. You can only

Aidoo, Kofi Anyidoho and Abena

be confident if you know your worth

Busia and the enterprising new

and the power and creativity behind

generation of Sonny and his contem-

the words and works you share.”

poraries is elevating the art form

Such self-belief has fortified

Rhyme Sonny’s work acknowl-

in spoken word poetry, a genre that

edges its links to such heritage with

is experiencing a renaissance in

the talented wordsmith eloquently

Ghana but doesn’t command the

flitting between Twi, the dialect of

financial rewards afforded to rappers

his Ashanti roots, and English in

or musicians.

his poems. The poet also tackles

man – he attended the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra – so could

Image courtesy of GeeQ Photos

once again.

Rhyme Sonny in navigating a career

Rhyme Sonny is an educated

traditional themes of faith and family in his work. “I love my mother tongue and I

have pursued more obviously lucra-

knew I can go places with it,” he says.

tive careers; but he believes in his

“It gives you an identity and brings a

calling and the power of the spoken

fresh breath to the arts.”

word and is an unstinting champion of contemporary poetry in Ghana.


Image courtesy of GeeQ Photos

‘I love my mother tongue and I knew I can go places with it. It gives you an identity and brings a fresh breath to the arts’

However, the always dapper

Shakespeares” has included gigs

poet is very much an artist of his

outside of Ghana, performing in

times and his works also cover more

Nigeria, Cameroon and the UK.

modern concerns such as drug

Whether such legendary status

When Rhyme Sonny began on

abuse and Aids. He is not afraid

comes quick or slow, it will not

the circuit he was inspired and

to subvert the art form, adding

dampen Rhyme Sonny’s belief in

supported by Ghanaian spoken

elements of music, dance and

himself and others in Ghana’s spoken

word artists such as Mutombo The

technology. His collaboration with

word community. “We have an inner

Poet and DK Osei-Yaw. Now, as

Tawiah DeSoulPoet on one of his

passion burning of which the smoke

an established artist, he mentors

most revealing works, ‘My CV of Sin’,

will definitely come out some day,”

a growing community of poets

was an interactive piece of perfor-

he says.

as the co-founder of the Poetry

mance art.

Exchange, founder and president

“My first love was music,” he

To keep up with announcements on Rhyme Sonny’s latest shows in

of People of Equal Thoughts and

says. “When I started active spoken

Spirits (POETS) and the creator of

performance I was converting my

‘The Rhyme Show’, a weekly spoken

songs into poems. I can say this

word and music open mic event at

could be the reason why my flow has

Accra’s Badu Lounge.

become rhythmic, but also the style

For footage of his live perfor-

I adopted which dwells mainly on

mances, visit his Facebook page.

“When I started I had never heard anyone do spoken word in Ghana,” he says. “When I looked for venues

Ghana, visit his Twitter page @rhymesonny or go to instagram. com/rhymesonny

rhymes is naturally musical.

to perform at I came into contact


with other poets and artists. I drew a

“Having envisaged how I want

lot from their standard and I realised

some of my performances to go,

I was fully baked and could match

for example with a choir, orchestral,

up to the competition. I respect and

dancers, bands and more, I have

appreciate talent so much and I am

been able to achieve all of these.

always ready to push poets to levels

Placing my poetry in the midst of

Rise above your peers

that I am not and pull them to my

these art forms has challenged me to

level as well.”

become a better performer.”

And do away with your fears

Ghana has a rich heritage of

SELF BELIEF Rhyme Sonny is driven

His journey to better himself and

spoken word artists such as Efua

hone his craft until he is remem-

Sutherland, Kofi Awoonor, Ama Ata

bered beyond the “Picassos and

The making of a poet (An excerpt from ‘How It All Started’ by Rhyme Sonny)

One day, I heard a voice clearly in my ears Saying Sonny, wipe away your tears

It will add more years to your years And your name will go farther than the Picassos and the Shakespeares. FLYafrica 39

Flying high in Kwahu Paragliding festival now one of Ghana’s top Easter events


very Easter crowds of people from Ghana’s Kwahu tribe who have spread across the country and beyond in their lives return to their mountainous homelands in the Eastern Region for three days of celebrations. The events have always meant a lot to the Kwahu people, who are committed to the Christian faith and flock to the Kwahu Hills – the highest habitable point in Ghana, dotted with 12 towns – to mark the celebrations. Ghanaians have always loved their Easter celebrations, but beyond the members of the million-strong tribe, the revelry in Kwahu drew little interest to this mountainous area – so remote it is known as Asaase Aban or ‘the natural fortress’. That all changed 13 years ago when the Easter celebrations were literally taken to new heights by


a business idea which the Kwahu people, renowned for their thrift and entrepreneurial know-how, could not pass up. Now, as well as the carnivals and street jams on the ground the skies are also alive above the mountains as paragliders swoop and soar overhead. The Easter event, now known as the Ghana Paragliding Festival, has the backing of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and is seen as the best place in the country to celebrate the holiday, attracting visitors from across Ghana and the world. Paragliders come from far and wide and it’s easy to see why. The thermals around the take-off point, Odweanoma Mountain – at 2,500 metres the highest point of the Kwahu range – provide excellent flying conditions from mid morning until late in the day and the views

across the green hills, plunging ravines and tumbling waterfalls of Kwahu once you’re up and soaring are spectacular.

World-class paragliding Pilot Charles ‘Chuck’ Smith has been flying at the festival for many years and coordinates the international team of tandem pilots for the event. He says: “There is nothing like the Ghana Paragliding Festival anywhere in the world. The flying at Kwahu is wonderful. The launch site lends itself to be flyable all day long. The Ministry of Tourism recently expanded and improved the launch area and now it is world-class.” Chuck says pilots from Nigeria, South Africa and Togo, from Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and the UK, and from India, Japan, Peru and the United States have taken part in the event over the

HIGH IN THE SKY What a view

‘The paragliders are beautiful to watch as they soar majestically in the air. The children of Nkawkaw surround the football field where we land’

KWAHU CELEBRATION Traditional dress

Ground-level attractions years. The past two Easter events have seen Jonathan Adjin Quaye from Accra take to the skies – the first Ghanaian to be certified as a paragliding pilot. Many of these pilots fly tandem paragliders, so there is room for one paying passenger to experience free flight. A 15-minute flight costs around GHC 150. This ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity is a huge draw for festival visitors. Over the course of the event more than 200 people will get their chance to fly. Certainly, for the Kwahu people to get a chance to see their homeland, a place that holds deep significance for them, from an entirely new, exhilarating perspective is something special. Even those not personally taking part enjoy seeing the gliders launching and flying. Chuck says: “The paragliders are beautiful to watch as they soar majestically in the air. The children of Nkawkaw [capital of Kwahu West Municipal

District] surround the football field where we land. They always greet us with cheers of joy. We often drop little toy parachutes or footballs from the sky overhead for them to catch as an Easter gift to enjoy.”

Community aid Such interaction with the community by the paragliders is integral to the principles of the festival, which has evolved into an opportunity not only for participants to experience the beautiful culture and landscapes of Ghana, but also for participating pilots and passengers to represent the goodwill of the flying community by raising donations to aid local community development efforts. The efforts of several pilots over the years, with the help of the Cloudbase Foundation, have raised funds for a local orphanage in Kwahu.

There are plenty of ground-level attractions during the festival as well. If you want something to rival the adrenaline rush of paragliding, you can go on a hike to the Nkofieho Caves of Life. It is said they once served as a hideout for warriors fleeing wars waged by the Asante kings and you’ll appreciate their evasiveness when you have to plunge into thick forest and climb up a steep section of Odweanoma Mountain to reach them. In the towns there are live music events, organised football matches, street carnivals and markets selling traditional clothing and jewellery to cater for the vast numbers of people who visit the region each year.

Find out more For more information on the festival, visit or call the Ghana Tourism Authority on +233 30 268 2608 FLYafrica


SPARRING Ernest Amuzu and Wahab Oluwaseun

The boxers of Bukom What is it about this small, underprivileged fishing community that produces so many legends of the ring?


Another boxer to learn his craft in Bukom gyms was Azumah Nelson, probably the greatest African boxer of all time, renowned for his strong jabs and quick feet in the ring. From his humble upbringing, Nelson, who was nicknamed ‘The Professor’ as he

ukom is a community in

fighter who won many international

often taught his opponents a lesson,

the west of Accra near

bouts at a time when Ghana was

went on to win three world titles in a

James Town that is inhab-

still under British rule. Back then,

long career that including legendary

ited by the Ga people. The Ga gave

the colonials introduced boxing

bouts with Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo

the district its name, which means

to communities along the coast,

‘a well’, and Bukom has turned out

building gyms and encouraging

to be a well-spring of world class

Ghanaians to fight.

Ghana has a rich boxing herit-

PROUD TRADITION A fisherman in Bukom

World title

age and much of it centres on the

The spirit of boxing remained after

small, underprivileged community

independence in 1957. Bukom boy

of Bukom. This fighting hotbed has

David Kotei turned pro at 16 and

nurtured six of the country’s nine

went on to be known in the ring

world champions in the sport.

as ‘DK Poison’, becoming the first

The history of Bukom’s boxing

Ghanaian to win a world title, reign-

success began with Roy Ankrah, a

ing as world featherweight boxing

Gómez and Salvador Sánchez from Mexico. Today, boxing is as big as ever in Bukom. Thousands of boys and young men see a chance to rise

Danilo Marocchi | Shutterstock

boxing talent over the years.


champion between 1975 and 1976.

from poverty to stake a claim on boxing’s world stage, just like Kotei and Nelson and other local heroes such as former welterweight world champion Joshua ‘The Hitter’ Clottey and Olympic medallist Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey.

FIGHT NIGHT Temporary ring set up for young boxers

COACHING Ebenezer Quartey, advises boxer Michael Pappoe

HEROES Braimah Kamoko aka ‘Bukom Banku’ sparring with George Ashie aka ‘Red Tiger’

JUMP TO IT Bastie Samir (left) training alongside his boxer colleagues

The gyms that blooded these

muscled fishermen dragging their

“From our childhood on, fighting

global stars are still in operation and

pirogues – fishing boats usually

is part of our lives. So when we

training the next generation of fight-

laden with a catch of squid, barra-

saw Azumah Nelson or other guys

ers. More than 30 boxing schools

cuda, mackerel or flounder – onto

boxing, we started doing boxing,

are squeezed into the tightly packed

the beach and marvel at the way

too, and it looks like fighting is in our

streets of Bukom. No other place in

they balance on the rolling waters as

genes, it flows in our veins.”

the world has this quantity of boxing

they cast their nets to understand

schools and none has produced so

how this could be a good grounding

Heywood Okine concurs. “In Bukom,

many world champions in the past

for success in the ring.

you learn to fight before you learn

75 years.


Boxing is more than just a sport here; it’s a way of life. Many of the

Ghanaian sports journalist Sammy

to walk.”

FOCUS Abraham Osei Bonsu at Bukom Boxing Gym

young boxers who frequent the

There have been many attempts to

roofless gyms and roadside sparring

fathom why so many talented boxers

sessions are homeless, often sleep-

hail from this district, no doubt in

ing at the gym and rising to train all

the hope of replicating the model

day. The gym community of boxers

elsewhere, but none has yielded a

and trainers becomes their family

definitive answer.

and nurtures them.

Certainly, life in Bukom, one of

IN TRAINING Wahab Oluwaseun (of Nigeria)

Charles Quartey, head coach at

Jamestown’s poorest neighbour-

Charles Quartey Boxing Foundation,

hoods, is hard and you need to be

an open-air boxing gym in Bukom

tough to progress. The Atlantic

that counts Pan African Super

Ocean is a main source of income

Featherweight Champion Oluwaseun

and you only have to see the densely

Wahab among its fighters, says: FLYafrica 43

WORKOUT Abraham Osei Bonsu works the punching bag

Bukom’s boxing greats Roy Ankrah: Held featherweight, bantamweight, lightweight and welterweight Gold Coast titles during a professional career that ran from the 1940s to 1960s. After retiring from the ring, he coached the Ghana Olympic boxing squad. David Kotei: When he was crowned world featherweight boxing champion in 1975 he became the first Ghanaian professional boxer to win a world title. Nicknamed ‘DK Poison’, he won 40 fights, 24 by knockout. Azumah Nelson: Widely considered the greatest African boxer of all time, Nelson held the WBC featherweight title once and the WBC super featherweight title twice. He is now training his son, Azumah Nelson Junior, who has set his sights on becoming a greater legend than his father. Joshua Clottey: Held the IBF welterweight title from 2008 to 2009. Renowned for his defensive prowess – most controversially displayed in a 2010 loss to Manny Pacquiao – he never lost a bout via knockout.

Those who excel in the sport are hugely respected, but Bukom’s boxing community is hugely

29-fight career. The 4,000 seater arena, which

supportive of all its fighters.

was opened by President John

Roadside sparring sessions will often

Dramani Mahama in 2016 and also

draw a huge crowd of supporters.

houses an Olympic pool and a school

Everyone has a favourite local cham-

for needy children, has provided

pion and will go to all his fights and

Bukom – and, indeed, Ghana – with

even turn up to support him during

a much-needed showcase for the


cream of its talent.

One of the most colourful local stars today is Braimah Kamoko,


known as Bukom Banku, who has a

The chance of earning a bout there

rock star following in the commu-

will doubtless fire up the young

nity, in part due to his efforts in

boxers training among the labyrinth

training new boxers. His fight last

of tin roof shacks in Bukom and

year against another local hero,

putting their hopes and dreams into

Bastie Samir, drew record crowds

every punch.

to the Bukom Boxing Arena. The


37-year-old the first defeat of his

Bramaih Kamoko (Bukom Banku): Rose to prominence by winning a bronze medal as a heavyweight at the 1999 All Africa Games. Won the WBO Africa Light Heavyweight title in 2011 and the WBO Africa Cruiserweight title in 2012. His 28-fight unbeaten record came to a dramatic end in 2017 when he was knocked out by fellow Bukom boy Bastie Samir. A rematch has been much talked about, but has yet to happen.

Ray Demski Canadian photographer and cinematographer Ray visited Bukom last year as a Nikon European Ambassador to take pictures of the boxers and their community. He kindly allowed FLYafrica to use his stirring images to accompany this feature. Ray specialises in action and adventure photography, using his own athleticism to find new angles and points of view. His commercial client roster includes the likes of BMW, Adidas, Audi and Red Bull.

Upcoming fights are fairly well

disciplined Samir’s training regime

publicised in Bukom, but if you

included sparring with four fighters

want details on a bout, contact the

at once. As a consequence, the

Greater Accra Boxing Association

solo Banku didn’t offer too much

on +233 302 760 892 or visit its

of a challenge and he handed the

Facebook page.

RAY DEMSKI Photographer and adventurer

To see the film he made of his time in Bukom, visit To see more example of his work, go to his website at or visit his Instagram page at @raydemski


Freetown Sierra Leone


Tamale Côte Ghana d’lvoire Monrovia Kumasi Liberia



Abuja Lagos


Explore West Africa with Africa World Airlines LIBERIA





Kotoka International Airport

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Roberts International Airport

Capital city of Ghana with an estimated population of 2.27 million. Economic and administrative hub for Greater Accra region and home to Ghana’s government administration.

Port town combined with Sekondi to form Sekondi-Takoradi, capital of the Western Region.

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Book online FLYafrica 45

TRAVELinformation Before your flight



3 .



Allow enough time to arrive at the airport at least two hours before the flight departure time and no later than 40 minutes before departure.

Unaccompanied minors Children aged six to 12 must travel as an unaccompanied minor (UM) on AWA. Only children mature enough to

If you are a special needs passenger, arrive at the airport in ample time to allow the airport staff to process documents.

travel with limited supervision

Make sure you have the correct identification for check-in, such as a voter’s ID card, National Health Insurance card, driver’s licence or any form of government identification before you travel on AWA’s domestic routes and a valid passport on regional routes. A visa is required for non-ECOWAS passport holders. Without a valid physical government-issued ID you will not be checked in.

receiving a UM at final

are allowed to travel as a UM. Details of parent/guardian destination must be provided by a parent/guardian during reservation. Proof of age such as a valid passport, birth certificate or National Health Insurance card must be presented at check-in.

Check that your bags are within the correct weight and size limits for your product class (see table below).

AWA ground staff will assist the UM with check-in, transfers and boarding.

Check your seat assignment, which will be given to you at the airport.

Once on board, a flight attendant with observe and/

During your flight





Enjoy complimentary hot beverages, served on some routes, as well as fresh fruit juice and snacks including croissants, biscuits and fish/meat pies.

UMs are only allowed to travel on non-stop or same-

The parent/guardian receiv-

Pay close attention to the safety procedures outlined by the cabin crew and take note of your nearest exit.

plane services.

ing the UM should arrive at the gate 30 minutes prior to

AWA does not accept

scheduled arrival and present

responsibility for a UM’s

valid photo ID to an AWA

actions. The parent/guardian

representative. AWA will not

agrees to hold AWA blame-

release a UM to anyone other

less for any injuries to UM

than the designated parent/

caused by or out of UM’s own



Sit back, relax and enjoy FLYafrica magazine! AWA reserves the right to

Baggage allowances


or communicate with the UM

Checked baggage

Hand luggage

Excess baggage

Should the UM’s flight be

transport UMs on flights that

disrupted or should the guard-

may have been diverted or

ian or parent fail to meet the

cancelled due to weather or

UM on arrival, AWA is author-

operational disruptions.

ized to take necessary and

Domestic Regional 23 kg

30 kg

One piece up to 5 kg and 1 handbag/laptop bag GHS 5/kg

US$ 3/kg

book stating the duration of

to AWA representatives of the

pregnancy at the date of travel.

person’s condition upon ticket purchase.

A new mother is permitted to fly 48 hours after a normal

Pre-boarding to find a suit-

delivery, provided that she has

able seat. Passengers with

a certificate from her obstetri-

disabilities are not permitted to

cian stating she is fit to fly.

sit in the emergency exit rows.

Babies under 14 days old are not permitted to fly.

Receipt of checked-in wheelchair or other assistance device upon disembarking or

Passengers with reduced mobility

at baggage claim. AWA is not insured, permitted

AWA provides assistance to

or equipped for staff to carry

passengers with special needs

any passenger who is unable to

during the reservation process,

assist himself or herself onboard

check-in, during the flight

an AWA aircraft, even if he or

and at final destination. AWA

she is able to walk but needs a

will ensure provision of the

trained and accredited bearer.

following: AWA is not equipped to Transport of passengers

reasonable action under the

agrees to reimburse AWA for

Pregnant women Expectant mothers are permitted to fly until the 28th medical certificate. From the 28th to the

seated on the lap of an adult

34th week of pregnancy, an

over 15 years of age. However,

expectant mother is required

a passenger may choose to

to provide a medical certifi-

purchase a seat for the infant

cate from her obstetrician

as long as there is a proper

stating that the pregnancy is

child restraint device.

progressing without complications and stating the expected

Only one child is permitted

delivery date.

to sit on an adult’s lap. An additional seat must be purchased

or contained gas either in the

safety-related regulation that

passenger cabin or as cargo/

requires us not to do so.

baggage. AWA is not equipped to

chairs or other assistance

transport passengers who

devices for personal use at

require stretchers, incubators,

no charge, in addition to

respirators or other devices

enplaning and deplaning.

that may rely on aircraft power

Attention should be brought


week of pregnancy without a

AWA requires all children under two years old to be

other hazardous materials and/

unless there is a specific

Transport of wheel-

any expenses incurred.

Infants and toddlers

with disabilities of any kind

and more comfortable flight.

circumstances. In the case of the latter, the parent/guardian

transport medical oxygen or

Expectant mothers more

if one adult is travelling with

than 34 weeks pregnant are

two infants.

not permitted to fly with AWA.

AWA recommends that

For pregnancies less than

a child over 20 kg in weight

28 weeks, passengers should

should use a seat for a safer

possess an ante-natal card/

Fleet information Embraer ERJ-145LR Length:

29.87 m / 98 ft 0 in


6.76 m / 22 ft 2 in


20.04 m / 65 ft 9 in

Capacity: Engines:

50 passengers Rolls Royce AE 3007-A1 Turbofans

Range: Maximum speed:

2,870 km Mach 0.78

Number of aircraft: 8 FLYafrica 47


Get in touch Local Offices Accra – Head Office SSNIT Emporium Ground Floor, Airport City Liberation Road PMB CT67 Cantonment Accra, Ghana SOCIAL MEDIA

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Regional Offices Lagos

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Airport Ticketing Office Room 2030, 2nd Floor (Airline Floor), D Wing Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja, Lagos

Tel: +231 886 691 623 +231 881 108 682 +231 881 108 666

Tel: +234 1 342 7130/2

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Abuja Airport Ticketing Office Public Concourse, Terminal C Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja Tel: +234 8171 481 189 +234 8171 481 480

Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 (Mon-Fri)

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Airport Office Lungi International Airport

Opening hours: 08.00-16.00 (Mon-Sat)

Tel: +232 79 630 103


Town Office 5 Usuma Close, off Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja

Town Office 21/23 Siaka Stevens Street Tel: +232 79 630 103; +232 88 852 773


Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 (Mon-Sat)

Opening hours: 08.30-17.30 (Mon-Fri)

Book online 48


Profile for Land & Marine Publications Ltd.

FLYafrica Magazine, Issue 3  

FLYafrica is published four times a year and is the inflight magazine of Africa World Airlines (AWA). FLYafrica provides news about the airl...

FLYafrica Magazine, Issue 3  

FLYafrica is published four times a year and is the inflight magazine of Africa World Airlines (AWA). FLYafrica provides news about the airl...