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LeBron James is teaming up with Ghanaian-born designer Mimi Plange for a four-part LeBron 18 Low collection that celebrates diversity and a sense of community. The series of colorways collections is the second collaboration between the NBA star and a female designer. It is the first-time-ever Plange is designing sneakers.

Plange is a household name in the fashion industry and most notably known for her designs worn by former first lady Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Gabrielle Union.

“We are so honored to have created ‘Higher Learning,’ our first sneaker design in collaboration with LeBron James and Nike,” Plange announced on Instagram. “We are beyond excited and thankful to have had this opportunity to continue to share inspirational stories with the world.”

She added that the latest design was inspired by James and varsity style.

“There is nothing more empowering and enlightening than education,” said Plange. “The design is inspired by Lebron James and varsity style. The shoes are a powerful symbol of sport and school.”

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Plange, who migrated to the United States from Ghana at the age of five, said she has had a lot of experiences with many different groups of people. “…So I’ve lived through contrasts, like coming from Ghana and growing up in California, like not having a lot of money growing up and yet participating in honors classes, which included a specific kind of student. I think those experiences, along with the ability to travel as an adult, were big reasons why I design the way I do, because you’re able to see that the world is a lot smaller than you think, and that people are not as segmented or opposite in thought as you might think they are.”

Working with James, according to Plange, has been nothing short of amazing. She got the opportunity to bring forth his personality and influence in education, sport, and culture in her designs, thus making the world see James from four different perspectives. The four-part series will show him as a young superstar, as a family man, as an educational advocate, and more.

The collection of four shoes will drop throughout the Holiday season, with the first going up on Plange’s website, SNKRS and other select retailers from June 2.

United Airlines’ quest for growth has led it to re-launch nonstop services to Accra, Ghana, adding to the carrier’s long-haul list after cutting the route back in 2012. The airline aiming at connecting Washington’s Dulles International Airport and Kotoka International Airport with thrice-weekly flights.

With the flights currently up for sale starting May 14, outbound flights from Dulles will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays while return flights from Accra’s Kotoka International Airport will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

With just 5,282 miles between the two destinations, the 10-hour service will be operated using the Boeing 787-8 airliner configured with a 243-seat configuration consisting of 28 Polaris business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, 36 economy plus seats and 159 economy seats

This new service is also part of the ongoing efforts to deepen the already-existing bilateral relationship between Ghana and the USA, according to Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter in an official statement.

“The national capital region is home to one of the largest population of native Ghanaians in the United States, and we are honored to welcome United Airline’s new route from Dulles international Airport to Accra, as we work together to forge an important new link between our two countries,” said Potter.

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“Today, Accra joins nearly 40 other nonstop international destinations currently served from Dulles International Airport, offering our customers more global connectivity as demand for air travel continues to rise,” Potter added.

United says its new nonstop service to Accrameans the airline is the only U.S. carrier offering the nonstop flight from Washington, D.C. The United States has more than 116,000 Ghanaians living in the country, making the US the third-highest Ghanian population in the world. DC is home to the second-largest population of Ghanaians in the United States.

 

Twitter announced today that they are building a team in Ghana to establish their presence on the continent. Twitter’s mission is to serve the public conversation, and the positive power of Twitter is what connects them and allows them to impact the world around us. “To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent,” they wrote in a company blog post today

🇬🇭 Twitter is now present on the continent.

Thank you Ghana and @NAkufoAddo. #TwitterGhanahttps://t.co/tt7KR3kvDg

— jack (@jack) April 12, 2021

Twitter posted job openings for a variety of positions ranging from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications. Individuals will occupy these positions remotely, though, as Twitter expects to open an office in the country later.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed delight at the news, saying, “the choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”

#AfricanCreativeSeries: How Surf Ghana Is Building A Vibrant Community of Surfers In Ghana

He also announced that he met with Dorsey virtually on April 7th, where the two parties may have finalized the contract.

“As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana,” he added

Twitter’s decision to begin its African expansion with Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations and access to the internet, according to the company.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.

Your parents, grandparents, or distant relatives could be your ticket to dual citizenship.

Several countries around the globe will grant citizenship if your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents were born in said country. Not only will you become a citizen of your family’s native land, but it allows you to have a variety of opportunities such as living, working, voting, and even owning property without the need for a visa.

While a number of countries including France, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil, South Korea, and the Philippines—require applicants to have at least one parent who was a citizen of the country at the time of the applicant’s birth, others are a bit looser when it comes to demonstrating jus sanguinis, or the right of blood. If you can dig up the birth certificates and other required documentation that proves your family ties are legitimate, and you are willing to pony up the administration fees, you could be looking at dual citizenship between six months to three years, which is still far more expedient than if you were to seek citizenship through naturalization.

If you’ve been looking to acquire dual citizenship, here are five countries that will issue you a secondary passport if you meet their requirements.

Brazil

Brazil was one of the most frequented destinations during enslavement. Its culture and history are deeply rooted in African and Portuguese ideology.

Requirements: Have at least one parent that is a Brazilian citizen at the time of your birth.

Ghana

When Ghana declared 2019 the Year of Return, one of the major goals of the program was to inspire members of the African diaspora—specifically Black Americans descended from victims of the transatlantic slave trade—to embark on a birthright journey to their ancestral homeland. The country granted citizenship to more than 100 interested African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans as part of the initiative. Now Ghana is following up its successful Year of Return with a decade-long project called Beyond the Return, aimed at promoting tourism, bettering economic relations between countries, and carving out a clear pathway to citizenship for people of African descent whose parents or grandparents are not Ghanaian. This expands upon the country’s pre-existing Right of Abode law passed in 2000, which allows a person of African descent to apply for the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. Those with a Ghanaian parent can currently apply for dual citizenship by providing proof of the parent’s nationality through a birth certificate or passport, as well as the names and addresses of two relatives residing in Ghana.

Learn more here.

South Africa

South Africa extends citizenship opportunities to people born abroad who have at least one parent that was a citizen at the time of their birth. The law also applies to people whose adopted parents are or were South African citizens. South Africa also extends citizenship to children whose parents were in the service of the South African Government, an associated individual or an international organization to which South Africa is a member

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Ireland

Ireland, also known as “The Emerald Isle” for their deep peaks and valleys of greenery, have over 32 million descendants living in the United States.

Irish descendants are mostly found in cities like Boston, New York and New Jersey.

Requirements: Must have at least one parent or grandparent with Irish citizenship.

Italy

In Italy, descendants of Italian citizens are often eligible to become citizens themselves — and there is no limit on how many generations ago your ancestors left the country as long as they maintained their own Italian citizenship until they had kids of their own, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. You can prove this lineage through things like birth and marriage certificates.

 

Anna Acheampong’s daughter came home upset from school one day in The Netherlands, after questions came up about her race. What was most shocking to Anna was that her daughter insinuated that she would have more friends if her hair was straighter and her eyes were blue.

“My daughter started noticing that she was different from the rest of her classmates and when the questions came up, I asked myself, ‘do I want to raise my kids in this environment?’” said Anna to Travel Noire. “For me growing up in a white neighborhood with white people around me in The Netherlands, I have what I call a ‘race radar.’ I felt racism so much, and I don’t want that for her.

 

Anna and her husband have Ghanaian fathers and Dutch mothers. They decided to use their daughter’s experience as a teaching moment and moved to Ghana to teach their two-children more about African culture and heritage.

The Acheampongs began their journey during the Year of Return campaign in 2019. It was only supposed to last one year

“I remember our immediate circle saying, ‘Are you crazy?’ ‘Why would you go to Ghana for a year?’” said Anna. “That’s why we started documenting our time here in Ghana on YouTube.”

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Through their family YouTube channel, the Acheampongs hope to change the narrative of what it’s like to live in Africa. Anna admits that she was exhausted from the hustle-and-bustle in Europe. In Ghana, the family spends more time on their mental health and wellness and spending quality time together. Anna tells Travel Noire that the best part of living abroad is the fact that they are celebrated in ways they were not in The Netherlands.

“It’s still a very strange thing that we’re learning to deal with. We’re coming from receiving racism to being celebrated. When we tell people that we’re Ghanaian, we came back, people are genuinely happy to be to meet us. It’s amazing,” she said.

You can follow along on their journey on Instagram or the family vlog on YouTube.

Source: Travel Noire

Ghana is reportedly set to open up its first official skate park this late December. According to Vogue, the skate park is expected to open in the capital of Accra in July 2021. This comes after Ghana’s decade long fledgling skate scene caught international attention. American-Ghanaian designer Virgil Abloh, who also serves as Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director, is part of the international project. The international collaboration also includes NGO Surf Ghana and pan-African fashion label, Daily Paper Clothing. The skate park has been aptly named “Freedom Skate Park”.

#AfricanCreativeSeries: How Surf Ghana Is Building A Vibrant Community of Surfers In Ghana

Freedom Skatepark, as it will be known, is the manifestation of an initiative that Surf Ghana put into action when it was founded in 2016, aiming to ensure that Ghanaian youth enjoy easy access to board sports and the friendships that bloom therein. Not only will the space be an informal hang-out spot but the creatives behind its construction hope to foster Ghana’s possible participation in forthcoming Olympic skateboarding events.

“With this initiative we hope to evolve the skate culture in Ghana to the next level and give locals a platform to grow their talents within a space that will hopefully become their biggest training ground to date,” said Daily Paper co-founder Jefferson Osei in a statement. “They now have a place where they can be themselves, freely develop their skills together with likeminded people and reach their true potential. Hence the name Freedom Skatepark.”

Before Freedom Skatepark is completed look for a collaborative Surf Ghana capsule and Off-White™ T-shirt to launch at Daily Paper’s Accra, Ghana flagship store on December 21 before hitting Daily Paper’s website January 15, 2021. Daily Paper will also introduce a Tony Chocolonely chocolate bar imagined by Off-White™ in Ghana later this month.

As one would expect from an international label, Daily Paper recently put the finishing touches on a boutique within New York.

As air travel continues to slowly pick up amid the ongoing pandemic, many airlines are completely reimagining their route networks. For United Airlines, that means announcing seven new long-haul routes, including three new destinations in Africa. United says it’s adding international flights where there’s existing demand, especially tapping into traffic from travelers from the African diaspora visiting their friends and families

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The new routes include:

  •     Newark, New Jersey—Johannesburg: beginning spring 2021

  •     Washington, D.C.—Accra, Ghana: beginning late spring 2021

  •     Washington, D.C.—Lagos, Nigeria: beginning late spring 2021

Tickets will be available for purchase on united.com and the United app in the coming weeks, the airline says.

“Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues around the world,” Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, said in a statement.

Throughout the crisis, United has been taking an “opportunistic approach” to expanding its network, driven by demand, says Patrick Quayle.

United highlighted that when its new nonstop Accra service launches, the airline will be the only U.S. carrier offering the nonstop flight from Washington, D.C., home to the second-largest population Ghanaians in the United States, according to United.

In addition to Africa, United is adding nonstop flight routes to Israel, India, and Hawaii.

The new routes include:

  •     Chicago—Tel Aviv, Israel: beginning September 2020

  •     Chicago—New Delhi, India: beginning December 2020

  •     San Francisco—Bangalore, India: beginning spring 2021

  •     Chicago—Kona (Big Island), Hawaii: beginning summer 2021

  •     Newark—Kahului (Maui), Hawaii: beginning summer 2021

Last week, the carrier announced that it would end change fees for all domestic flights in premium and regular economy cabins. On Wednesday, it also expanded that policy to flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Nova Felder of Queens flew from New York to the west African nation of Ghana in March. It was supposed to be a 17-day trip, to the country where his parents were born.

On March 13, however, Ghana’s president closed the borders indefinitely and halted all flights into and out of the country, an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Four months later, Felder is still in Ghana — stranded, he says, along with hundreds of other Americans.

What is Acaraje?

It’s a small Brazilian fritter made from black-eyed peas. The dish uses onions and ground dried shrimp to give it an extra punch in flavor. They’re shaped into balls and deep-fried in boiling azeite dende also known as Brazilian palm oil. The balls are then split in half and filled vatapa, a creamy paste made from finely ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk.

To elaborate, you need to soak the peas overnight and strip their skins. This will include the black “eyes”, making it tedious but often optional. But if you opt to do this, you’re rewarded with a creamier texture for the final dish.

Vatapa Brazilian food in a bowl with spoon

History of Acaraje

Acaraje originated from Western Africa, that’s why you can also find it on Nigeria and Ghana. But after getting to the Americas, it became more popular in Salvador, Brazil as street food. Women in Bahia made and sold the dish as well.

It is popular with the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria and Sierra Leoneans. In Ghana, it is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding while in Nigeria it is eaten with bread, ogi or eko, a type of cornmeal made with fine corn flour.

In the Yoruba culture, akara plays a significant role when a person assumes the age of 70 or dies. It is fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. Back in the day, the cake was also prepared in large numbers as a sign of victory when warriors returned victorious from war. Wives of the warriors fried it and distribute to fellow villagers as gratitude for the safe return of their husbands.

In Sierra Leone, akara aside being a street snack, is usually prepared upon the birth of a child, a wedding, funeral or party.

The dish, made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in palm oil or vegetable oil, is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. It was sent to the Americas, especially Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia by the West Africa enslaved from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

With that, the dish became part of the “heritage culture” of Bahia. Its ceremony of certification happened at the headquarters of the National Institute of Artistic and Historic Heritage in Salvador. The ceremony featured a lot of proud women, serving lots of trays to everyone.

Pin em Bahia

The dish’s name is a funny mistake since its real name is “acara”. But women from the Yoruba ethnical group selling these shout “acara -je”, meaning, “I have acara”.

Acarajé is  sold on Brazil’s streets but here it is variously made with fried beef, mutton, dried shrimp, pigweed, fufu osun sauce and coconut. Distinct sellers wear all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The bean cake is reported to have made its way to Bahia in the 19th century.

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Earnings from its sale was used to sometimes buy the freedom of enslaved family members until the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888 while serving as a source of family income. It also has a notable presence in Sergipe and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.

Acarajé serves as both a religious offering to the gods in the Candomblé religion and as street food.

A taste of Africa in the Americas

As an essential ritual food used in Afro-Brazilian religious traditions such as Candomblé, it is offered to the orixá Exu. They vary in size based on their offering to a specific deity: large, round acarajé are offered to Xangô; smaller ones in form are offered to Iansã. Small, fritter-size acarajé are offered to Erês, or child spirits. Acarajé is used in Candomblé rituals in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Maranhão.

Acarajé was listed as a federal immaterial asset (patrimônio nacional imaterial), by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage in 2004; the role of baianas in the preparation and sale of acarajé was recognized in the same act.

Today, acarajé represents a good example of how African influences have been shaping Brazil’s cultural heritage and its culinary identity.

 

 

Sandy Alibo spent the past few years building and promoting Surf Ghana, the very first Surf and skate crew to come from Ghana.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT “SURF GHANA” AND HOW
DID IT ALL START?

Surf Ghana is a collective of surfers and skateboarders based in Ghana founded in 2016 by Sandy Alibo. The collective collects used sports equipment in Europe and the U.S and teach the youth how to skate and surf, organize numerous events during the year to promote the surf and skate culture in Ghana.

For example, The Skatetour Gh, Noise!, MASS, Skate Gal Club, are our signature events (for us and made by us). This year, we’ve just started to create a program to develop job opportunities and we team up with brands like Jameson, MTN, United Nations, etc.

It all started in March 2016 in Busua, a fishermen village in the Western Region of Ghana. We met Peter, Ben, Justice all surfers.  We started an Instagram account to showcase this beautiful area of Ghana and tell the stories of these new athletes. They received a lot of good feedback on social media about this initiative from Ghana but also from the diaspora living abroad. And with a little elbow grease, we started some surf lessons and skate lessons with the local community.

surf Ghana

WHAT IS THE GOAL BEHIND SURF GHANA?

We use the practice of extreme sports as a driver for diversity in education, social inclusion, and empowerment of the youth. Surf Ghana is a voice of diversity that pushes a narrative of freedom and self-expression creating a counter-culture, a platform for the Youth. Our collective also wants to improve physical and mental health. For example in Ghana, life expectancy is currently 63 years, and in Europe, it is 81 years. We think skateboarding and surfing can offer full-body workout and reduce major health problems in Ghana like diabetes and obesity. Also, we create a platform for local artists to promote a culture of tolerance, respect, and celebrate African young creatives.Finally, we teamed up with talented local artists like Art Soul Kojo, Ahmed Partey, David Alabo, Awo Tsegah…

Our main goal is to create a sporting ecosystem that could benefit sports athletes and Ghana as a tourist destination. Plus, our next project is to create the first skatepark in Ghana in 2020: A safe space to practice sport and to connect the youth through art.

surf Ghana

WHO ARE THOSE INVOLVED IN THE SURF GHANA PROJECT?

We can count today 25 active members based in Accra, Busua, Krokrobite, Kwahu, Kumasi. They all practice skateboarding or surfing and they also contribute as filmmakers, photographers, writers, artists, journalists, carpenter, mixologists, etc. Joshua, Justice, Kwaku, Addy, Mensah, OG, Sandy, Kuukua, Lauren, Jovita, Harmonie, Sarah, Anastasia, Ria, Ben and many more.

Moreover, we have implemented the process of design thinking in our collective (zero hierarchy, brainstorming culture, test and learn the process, WhatsApp group culture) to grow faster and try a new way to work in Ghana that can directly benefit the youth and help them to be a better entrepreneur. Spmething like a youth leadership program, maybe ?

TELL US ABOUT WOMEN AND SKATEBOARDING IN GHANA?

Skateboarding is new in Ghana. And in the past 5 years, less than 10 girls tried to practice it regularly. Despite the fact that our events were opened to everybody, girls and women didn’t seem interested.

Therefore, seeing this, in June 2019, Sandy Alibo (Founder of Surf Ghana) and Kuukua Eshun (a Ghanaian writer and filmmaker) decided to create the skate girl club, an initiative to empower women through skateboarding. The main goal is to connect creatives women and improve their wellbeing. The access to the club is free and the organization offers skateboarding lessons and also different art workshops (tye and dye tee-shirt, water painting, gardening workshop, nail art) and activities like yoga, hula hoop, soul sister circle, etc. We count now more than 60 active members who come regularly at our monthly meet-up.

This project is a success, we received so much support and positive feedback about this initiative.

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE BIRTH OF SKATE TOUR GHANA?

The skate tour is our annual road trip that we plan with 20 Skateboarders, filmmakers, photographers, event managers, web developers, etc.

With the help of the tour, we get the opportunity to meet all kinds of children from different towns that have different backgrounds. We are trying to build a community that children can rely on. For our last trip, we taught up more than 1000 children how to skateboard in exactly 12 days. In the past two years, we toured in Busua, Cape Coast, Cape three points, Takoradi, Abonom, Accra, Kumasi, Peki, Ada, Akosombo, Ho, Keta, Ada, and even Lomé.

We believe, this project has a huge positive impact in the Ghanaian community and above all has encouraged the youth to practice sport to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. Moreover, we believe traveling is the best way for Ghanaians to discover their own truth.

Surf Ghana

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HOW DO WE GET MORE WOMEN TO PRACTICE SPORTS IN
GHANA, AND IN AFRICA?

For example, the number of attendees at the Skate Gal Club keep increasing and prove than Women-only spaces are a necessity. This, because they provide an opportunity where women can talk about anything from skateboarding to mixology, from fashion to domestic violence and more, all in a “safe space”.

However, for this project, we aren’t attempting to change Ghanaian’s mind about feminism; we’re creating a space where all women can talk about whatever the subject might be.

We also noticed that in Ghana, many women find physical training in the presence of men to be intimidating. Plus, we think that creating this kind of welcoming, inclusive, safe spaces could be handily accomplished by providing exclusive places for women and girls to train.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT SURF GHANA TO IMPACT WOMEN IN
SPORTS AND IN GENERAL?

Our collective craves a space to call women, where they don’t have to feel threatened, hit on, talked over, or mansplained to. Where they can learn from each other, feel positive and get inspired.

We hope that with this project, we can create a better equal representation of women and men.

Through extreme sport, women practice being open and authentically themselves, we think that we help give them the courage to feel more comfortable in Ghana, knowing that a skate gal club is here and got their back.