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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last week we had a chat with Okiinshowara from Ivory coast, We continue our series of discoveries of African creatives. We are pleased to feature Derrick O Boateng from Ghana. He is a contemporary Art photographer who was born in Ghana and resides in Accra.
Portraying beauty is one of Derrick’s main aims, because he strives to change perceptions about Ghana and Africa in general through his Art.
Hi, can you introduce yourself to our readers… Who is Derrick O Boateng?
I am Derrick Ofosu Boateng. I was born on the 2nd of June. I attended Kumasi High school in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and I am currently a student at the University of Ghana business school. I am a fan of Soccer, music and watching movies.
How did your encounter with photography come about?
My encounter into Photography was quite Unexpected. I realized I was into photography when followers on Instagram kept commenting under my post that I had Good images and should keep it up.
How powerful is photography in changing people’s perceptions about Africa?
Photography has always being a Tool to interact with different people in different places. The stories told with photography are exceptional, emotional and live. Some Photographies portray Africa in a positive way and it strongly changes the perception and mindset about Africa. I have had so many testimonies on the fact that my photography has changed their perceptions about Africa and it feels so great.
Can you talk us through a specific example of a photo you have taken and its “back story”? What inspired you to take this specific image? What specifically about the situation you witnessed did you want to capture?
“The story about this man and lots of people I have listen, who have similar stories inspired me to
create this picture.”
I spoke to Baba Abdul Mohammed about his cloth business and why he came to Ghana. Baba Abdul Mohammed is from Niger and he is in Ghana to make a better living to reach his family in Niger. I asked him why he came to Ghana and he explained to me that making life better in His country is a bit difficult as compared to Ghana. He also said, aside from his cloth business, he does sell herbal medicine and beads.
He ended saying he finds peace and freedom living in Ghana.
Is there a particular story you are trying to tell with your photography?
Who or what influences you?
My main mission as a photographer is to change the bad perceptions and mindset about Africa. Also, I want my pictures to promote love among People. I also want to showcase the rich and extraordinary lifestyles and cultures of We Africans which the world has not recognized.
Where do you see the future of photography heading within the continent? What is the future?
Photography in Africa is growing with Time and it looks great. A lot of young people have started fond interest in it and they are changing the world with their images. I see African Photographers winning all big competitions and changing the lives of people.
What is your creative process like? Where do you start? Where do you get your ideas?
My Creative process is quite simple and easy. Firstly I find concepts and it normally comes from the environment, People, music, and imaginations. I search for the needed materials for the
pictures. I then look for preferable models and locations for the pictures. I personally direct the
models and shoot them. After the shoot, I sit quietly and edit
What is your particularity and your unique selling point as a Ghanaian creative?
I think my unique selling point is the type of images I bring out and the inspiration People get from. A lot of people see my uniqueness as clock blocks and others also think the use of children which are fine.
According to you, what is the way for creative Africans to make themselves known and make a living from their art?
I think the best way to get known as a creative person is to work hard and be very consistent on your work. I believe everyone should have a particular style as a creative in order for his works to be known everywhere. Branding and interacting with people who appreciate your works is also very important
What is it like to be a young creative in your country and what are your daily struggles as a young Ghanian creative?
The Problem as a young creative is no interest and value from the People in our localities. My struggles are difficulties in finding some needed materials for a project and a lack of enough capital to finish a project.
This week, MoyoAfrika has selected for you the dopest sounds on the continent that you must listen to, to be up to date on your playlists, let’s go!
“Mind Game” of Buju and Ejoye
Buju is a 21-year-old Nigerian as also known as one of the newest faces and most promising stars of Afrofusion today. He is the genius behind those bangers: “Spiritual” and “L’enu“. His enchanting voice and vivid and harmonious melodies are his signature, then come the importance he puts on the lyrics and his effortless ability to freestyle on every type of beats.
Watch and listen to his latest music below!
“Play Play” of J Hus and Burna Boy
Back in 2017, J Hus blessed our ears with his fantastic debut album “Common Sense” and it was huge because it was playing a major part in expanding UK rap’s horizons to include African and Caribbean sounds, earned gold sales figures and Brit and Mercury nominations. Following this, it was put in jail in 2018 for knife possession, and by mid-2019 he was on top again, sharing the O2 stage with Drake, performing at Wireless Festival and appearing on Skepta and Ed Sheeran albums.
He released “Big Conspiracy“, a project mostly produced by his long-time producer JAE5. J Hus gave us here summer vibe, dope lyrics.
From the melodic dancehall of Repeat, sung by new Jamaican star Koffee, to the spy theme bass of “Helicopter” you will find the song who perfectly fits your mood.
They did it first on Burna boy’s project “Outside” on “Sekkle down“, J hus Teamed up with Hislondon friend again, on “Play Play“, listen to this masterpiece below!
“Runaway Lady” of The Cavemen
We discover “The Cavemen” mostly via Lady Donli‘s “Enjoy your life” album where we find so many gems, and incredible underground talents. It is a Ghanaian band, in love with smooth highlife ballads. They share with us lately her very anticipated love highlife inspired ballad “Runaway Lady“, a culture-rich articulation of romantic feelings from them atop instrumentals flush with local and traditional sounds. The band’s signature shaky drum is the highlight of this love affair.
“IYABO” of Guiltybeatz, Joey B and Falz
Guiltybeatz awarded Nigerian producer/Dj collaborates with Joey B and Falz to give us a dancing song, produced by himself under Empawa, the label of Mr Eazi. It is a taste of the upcoming project “Different” of the producer.
Listen and watch the video below!
“Omo Rapala” of Niniola
Niniola, the current queen of Afrohouse, author of major hits such as “Maradona Riddim” a song DJ Snake remixed, then Drake requested it on a live radio program, and Beyoncé interpolated it on “Find Your Way Back.”, and “Boda Sodiq” remixed recently by Timbaland, releases her new single “Omo Rapala” produced by Sarz.
Omo Rapala is a slick instrumental hook who seems to be designed to inspire popular dance videos on social media mixed with a catchy melody.
Watch and listen to the song below!
“Need You” of Fireboy
Fireboy, as we speak of him in our recent #MAPLAYLIST, is YBNL’s new face. He is very talented and was discovered with the infectious hit “Jealous” who was a huge success in Nigeria and abroad. Recently, Olamide’s protege release the video of “Energy” the track who is opening his first album “Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps” who surpassed recently 100 millions of streams on all streaming platforms combined.
Watch the visuals below!
“I came I saw” of Kwesta and Rick Ross
South African / American Collabo as Kwesta comes through with”I Came I Saw” featuring Maybach Music Boss Rick Ross. The song will not come as a surprise to his fans having been filmed with Rick Ross in Gauteng, South Africa many months ago. We can witness a dope beat, really delightful
Watch the visuals and listen to the song below!
“Alaye Jor Jor Jor” of Vector
Nigerian award-winning rapper, Vector dished out a new single titled “Alaye Jor Jor Jor” which is track 6 off his just-released Extended Play “VIBES BEFORE TESLIM: The Journey To Self Discovery“. The rapper dropped here a real anthem, with catchy lyrics and interesting visuals
Watch the video and listen to the song below!
“Blow” Of Wizkid and Blaq Jerzee
We talk about it recently when Wizkid dropped “Soundman Vol 1”, a solid EP with contributions from Chronixx, Blaq Jerzee, London and Kel P. He released the visuals of “Blow” and we suggest it to watch it below!