Thursday, 27 August 2009

An exclusive interview with journalist Ameyaw Debrah

Where do I start with Ameyaw Debrah? Well I love his work -for starters; -I admire him [and hope that Ghana appreciates this national treasure], he is an incredible journalist -and a very funny man. I first stumbled across Ameyaw Debrah when I was researching a piece for Ghana Rising. This brother's work was everywhere! YouTube? Check. Facebook? Check. Modern Ghana? Check. Check. And so forth -and so forth. On his myspace page, -Debrah describes himself as' 'West Africa's Number 1 Celebrity Journalist' -and he is soo right. From Ovation International (Ghana) Limited [he was their on-line editor] to Jamati, orijin-ent and of course his own Blog, 'The Jaded Renegade' -he has interviewed everyone from John Legend, Damon Dash, Ozwald Boateng, Jay Z -to Akon. I particularly love the interview he did with the elusive Pearl Amoah [a model I have been trying to track down and interview -forever], and come to think of it, -the piece he did with Amanda Annan for Jamati [it was also an eye opener]. I love his, 'probing but respectful' style, -and even though he has interviewed [or snatched a few seconds here and there] with some of the greats [Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General), President J.A Kufuor, Rev Jesse Jackson, President Obasanjo etc]- I love his lighter work with artist such as; Dentaa and comedian Kojo -where his personality really shines through. Debrah is a busy bee, -and he is working hard to start his own [entertainment] newspaper -at present, -so we are very please to bring you this insightful interview..............enjoy xx

GR: Hello Ameyaw -how are you?
AD: Hello, I'm doing quite well for someone who is always working on new ideas and news updates. We thank God

GR: What projects are you working on right now?
AD: Currently I am working on a number of interviews with Ghanaian entertainers in the Diaspora with the hope of getting the people back home to know of the amazing achievements some of our brothers and sisters have made out there. Also, I am working on providing more content on Ghana for some African publications such as Arise magazine, BHF magazines etc. In the mist of all these I still have to juggle with keeping my YouTube fresh with exciting interviews, event coverage etc. Oh, not forgetting updating my columns on, www,,, as well as my blog, The Jaded Renegade.
Ameyaw Debrah and Samini

Ameyaw Debrah and Damon Dash

GR: Ameyaw can you tell us about your background and how you got into journalism?
AD: I have a Bachelors degree in Publishing Studies from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. While in school, I won the prize for Best Publishing student in my year and as part of that I had the opportunity to do my National Service at Ovation International. This was where I started writing and finding my interest in the entertainment industry. At a point when Ovation was heading towards redundancy, I signed on to the Voices of Africa project where I was given a nokia phone to file video and photo reports on interesting subjects within Accra, Ghana. With this tool, I started exploring more mediums such as YouTube, Facebook etc to tell my story and the stories of other to the rest of the world. And viola, now I can say my name is a household name.

GR: Does journalism pay in Ghana?
AD: In general I would say no based on my experiences at Ovation and from the experiences that my colleagues have gone through.

GR: With all the brain drain going on in Africa -have you been tempted to take your talents abroad?
AD: My dream is that I would be successful to the point that I can travel abroad to cover events, interview people and always come back home to Ghana.

GR: I know that you are working away, -with plans to start your own entertainment newspaper. How's it going?
AD: It has always been my dream to have my own publication, where I would have more control in terms of content and style but I am quickly finding out that this could also be achieved in the cyber/virtual world [i.e. the internet] and I hope to fully exploit that now. The newspaper market is saturated at the moment -and sadly, it isn't all good so I don't want to jump on the band-wagon. I am hoping to have my own website and explore what I can achieve with it and then eventually turn it into a newspaper or magazine with a difference.

GR: Well, we can't wait for your magazine or newspaper -you deserve it. Ameyaw, you are one of the most exciting journalists in Ghana -and you have interviewed some of the greats[ like; Kofi Annan, President J.A Kufuor, Rev Jesse Jackson, President Obasanjo etc]. Who has been your favourite interviewee thus far, -and who would you really, really -love to interview?
AD: Let me use this platform to clear certain misconceptions about the people I have interviewed. I created a profile on MySpace saying that through my work, I have met or interviewed some of the people you mentioned above. In the case of Kofi Annan, I did have the opportunity to do a 5 minute or so interview with him. With the other names it was just a meeting opportunity that presented itself during the Ghana@50 celebrations. Now to the question about my favourite interviewee, hmmm that's a tough one! There have been several great interviews but I would try to name a few. I loved my interview with Ade Bantu because he was so deep and interesting with every answer he gave me. I asked him of his origin and he said he is NiGerman (half Nigerian, half German), I will never forget that. Jon Germain was also interesting and perhaps since he has been around the business for long, he knew what to say and how to say it. Kojo the Comedian was another great interviewee perhaps because he is a funny guy and I am a sucker for jokes. As for the people I would want to interview the list is endless, -right on top of that was Michael jackson but of course that is now a real unreality for me with his passing. Obama is the man of the moment and it wouldn't hurt at all getting an exclusive with him [God knows I tried when he was recently in Ghana]. There is also Kanye West; Beyonce -and back home, I would love to meet the maestro, Kojo Antwi.

GR: You are based in Accra. Can you tell us about some of your favourite hot spots in Accra [ I am planning to touch down very soon]?
AD: In general, the hottest district is still Osu. You will find almost anything there. The hottest area now [hands on] would be the Accra Mall, although it can get crowded, you will never have a dull moment when you pass through.
The Sony Centre -Accra Mall -

GR: Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn or Confidence Haugen?
AD: From a far I see the famous Confidence 'boob job' and I guess I'm sort of keen on proving that it isnt real. Sally is almost scary, and I don't have a strong liver although I like to speak my mind. Not much to choose between the two but I would go for Confidence

GR: The best restaurant in Accra is?
AD: The Tulip experience is Golden for me [lovely starters, first course to dessert]. Maybe I enjoy their food so much because each time I ate there, I didn't have to pay
The Golden Tulip gets Ameyaw's vote as the best restaurant in Accra -

GR: The best hotel in Accra is?
AD: The La Palm experience is still royal
The La Palm triumphs as the best hotel for Ameyaw Debrah -

GR: The best nightclub in Accra is?
AD: I am not much of a clubber but as someone who monitors the entertainment scene, I think Aphrodisiac offers a lot more than most others.
Aphrodisiac -one of Accra's finest nightclubs -

GR: Accra is buzzing right now. Where can one go in the capital to chill out?
AD: Osu is still hot, you can go there to grab some food with your Friends and loved ones; hop from one club to the other, and go home completely 'wasted' or satisfied. If you want a more relaxed setting, you can do the Accra Mall. Citizen Kofi in Osu is also making waves and so is Mirage Nightclub.

GR: You was at GFW [Ghana Fashion Week]. Which shows did you see ....and who is the next hot Ghanaian designer?
AD: Yeah I was there on the first, third and fourth days and I saw some amazing stuff. Although there weren't that many designs for guys -a lot of the Ghanaian designers showed potential. I was particularly impressed for the first time by the collection of House of Eccentrics. His stuff were cool. Salimi Akil also showed great potential so lets keep our fingers crossed for Ghana.

GR: Who is hot right now [in Ghana]?
AD: There are amazing things happening on the Ghanaian entertainment front that gives hope to many of us [that want to see it grow from strength to strength]. Currently, acts like Ayigbe Edem, Asem, Richie, Sarkodie, Bradez and R2bees are hot on the music scene. There are also some up and coming acts enjoying massive following and they include Yaa Pono, Chase, Shaker, Eassy, FOI and many others. In terms of film, Lydia Forson is turning heads.

GR: On to more serious things Ameyaw, -there are so many issues effecting Ghana [and the rest of Africa] -what really gets your goat?
AD: For me it has to be poverty because it is central to all the woes facing Ghana and the rest of Africa. People put their children in labour because they want to make some money to survive, people are unable to put their wards in school because there is no money and people live in unhealthy conditions because often they lack money for general hygiene and access to quality healthcare. And of course you throw in a bit of bad governance, and the situations is worsened.

GR: The dump site in Agbogbloshie really gets my goat, -how does the ordinary Ghanaian feel about it?
AD: Generally we all hate it, even if not for the health implications it has on the people, at least the stench would put any one off.

GR: How is President John Atta Mills doing?
AD: Tricky question but my answer is far he hasn't stood out for me. I think I saw Kufuor achieve more over the same period that Mills has been in office. Or perhaps Kufuor was just more visible than Mills is currently. Nonetheless, I haven't given up completely on Mills, -I think he is a slow starter. But in the mean time, I would like to see more improvement in the economy because life is 'simply' hard in Ghana at the moment.

GR: What did the visit by President Obama and his family to Ghana -mean to you?
AD: Personally, it made me proud to be Ghanaian. Professionally, it would have done my career a whole lot of good -if I could interview him or at least meet. In general I think it put Ghana further on the map, -and with this, would come more opportunities in investment, health delivery etc.

GR: And finally Amyew, -what are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
AD: I want to see Ghana succeed in everything we do; in terms of politics, economy, development, entertainment etc. We should be a unique pride of Africa.

GR: I love your work and appreciate what you are doing. Keep it up. God Bless all your dreams..........
AD: Thank you very much. And you keep up with your great works as well.

You can follow Ameyaw Debrah on Twitters at:
For 'The Jaded Renegade' Blog by Ameyaw Debrah please visit:

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Noticeboard: Do you live in Accra or NYC?

Do you live in Accra or New York? Are you passionate about Ghana [ its people, its Movers & Shakers, its politics, its celebrities etc]? Are you interested in popular culture? Do you have access to successful Ghanaians in your city? Do you know how to research -and work to deadlines? Do you have the motivation to contribute to Ghana Rising, -as and when [yummy news involving the Ghanaian Glitterati -breaks in your city]? I am looking for two contributors; one based in Ghana [preferably Accra] and another based in the States [preferably NYC] - to contribute to Ghana Rising. If you are motivated, passionate about Ghana, can work to deadlines, have a good understanding of the English language, -and love fashion; beauty, lifestyle, popular culture, Ghanaian celebrities, -and are interested in writing for Ghana Rising; -please email me at: or Thanks Paulina xx

Friday, 14 August 2009

Beauty: ADIEL Online Cosmetic Store

I was handed a trendy looking flyer about an online beauty store called ADIEL by a group of beautiful sisters at Ghana in the Park [last weekend] -and I was sooo excited, -because as you know [by now] -I love business [especially ones founded by my fellow Ghanaian and African sisters] and trying out new beauty products. Well, I was not disappointed! Founded by Bridget Addow, - ADIEL online cosmetic store is a treasure trove of pampering, beauty products [comprising; Fragrances, Beauty Products, Pamper Time, Men, Kids Corner Body & Bath, gifts and special offers like; Grab A Bargain, Buy 1 Get 1 Free -and much, much more].

ADIEL online offers a stunning array of goodies like; Jasper Conran Man gift set -for the lucky man in your life (£31.00), -and an old favourite of mine; 'Gres Cabotine' [EDT 30ml] (£21.00) - a yummy fruity perfume. I am also loving this 'on trend' Elizabeth Arden Trio Eyeshadow (only £2.00) from their 'Grab A Bargain' section -and L'Oreal Paris Visibly Clean Scrub (only £5.18 for two) from their 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free' categorie. For more information, gift ideas or to order please visit:

P.s Keep an eye on the ADIEL online website -as they are about to launch a concession in Bluewater. I will also keep you posted...x

Music: Tinchy Stryder and Kano performing 'Stryderman remix Live on Manny Norte's show on KISS FM

Loving it...............x

Business: Hermann Chinnery-Hesse (Founder of SOFTtribe)

"Africans don't need to beg, we need to participate in the global economy." Hermann Chinnery-Hesse

"Technology is the only way for Africa to get rich. We don't have proper infrastructure and we can't compete in manufacturing. But if you put me behind a PC and tell me to write software for a Chinese customer, then I can compete brain for brain with anyone trying to do the same thing in the US." Hermann Chinnery-Hesse

"Our mission is to provide Tropically Tolerant software solutions to the West African market. We are committed to ensuring that we are responsive to rapidly changing Information Technology and to changes in our clients’ environments."

I happily stumbled across an exciting piece about Hermann Chinnery-Hesse written by By Briony Hale [BBC News Online business reporter, Accra, Ghana], dated Tuesday, 3 June, 2003 and entitled: 'Ghana trumps mighty Microsoft' -and just had to google Hermann Chinnery-Hesse. And I am very pleased that I did. What an inspirational man!

Hermann Chinnery-Hesse is a 'tour de force'. Touted as the Bill Gates of Ghana -this power house -and a self-described “geek and gangster”, -Chinnery-Hesse has an excellent track record. Often called the “Father of the African Software Industry”, in 1991 he co-founded theSOFTtribe - the largest and most successful software company in Africa. Anyway, I found a very interesting piece by Max Chafkin [for Inc.] entitled: 'Meet the Bill Gates of Ghana' -and the following is an insightful and well written piece about Hermann; -the 'trials and tribulations' of doing business in Ghana, -and the many opportunities that modern Ghana offers modern businesses:

Brash, ambitious, and optimistic, Herman Chinery-Hesse has already accomplished what many considered impossible -- building a thriving tech business in his native Ghana. His new goal: to spark an entrepreneurial revolution in Africa by bringing e-commerce to the most remote corners of the continent.
By Max Chafkin | Oct 1, 2008
It's just past midnight, and Herman Chinery-Hesse can't sleep. The 43-year-old entrepreneur is lying on his back, eyes closed, mind cranking.
He's working through the details of a pitch to American and European investors -- many of whom have never backed a company like the one he's proposing. The pitch is absurdly ambitious: a tech company that aims to reshape the business climate for small entrepreneurs in Africa while grabbing a share of the $28 billion that Africans living abroad send home every year. His start-up is a long shot, will cost millions of dollars to execute, and could take five years to get off the ground. In other words, it's not the kind of thing you would expect from a company based in West Africa, a place known for many things -- malaria, civil wars, famine -- but definitely not disruptive technology companies.
But Chinery-Hesse thrives on just this sort of contradiction. He's a technology entrepreneur on a technologically barren continent, an atheist in a deeply religious country, and a capitalist raised amid the excesses of socialism. He also loves an uphill battle -- and this particular battle is just too intriguing to pass up.
I know this because I'm lying in bed next to him. I had come to Accra, the capital of Ghana, to understand what African entrepreneurship looks like, and I had sought out Chinery-Hesse in particular to answer this question: Who in his right mind would sell software in Africa? I had been following him around for a week, a frenetic experience that typically began each day in the late morning and lasted until midnight. I observed Chinery-Hesse make hundreds of phone calls, send thousands of text messages, and smoke a carton of Benson & Hedges cigarettes. And now, I was cowering close to the edge of a king-size bed around midnight, reluctantly conducting an interview.
This is not as weird as it sounds. Business in Africa is much more informal than in the United States. Meetings are not typically pegged to a specific time, and lateness -- even several hours' worth of lateness -- is not considered worthy of reproach. And then there are the sleeping arrangements. In Africa, it is not uncommon for two people of the same sex, when pressed for space, to platonically bunk up. This point had been mentioned to me several days earlier, but it acquired a terrifying immediacy when the tiny hotel where we had intended to stay was booked, and a friend of Chinery-Hesse's offered to let us stay at his place.
Chinery-Hesse is an imposing man. He stands 6 feet tall, has a Tony Soprano -- size gut, and possesses a salesman's mannerisms, including a blistering laugh and a fondness for crass language that belies his upper-crust background. Most of the time, his clap-you-on-the-shoulder pose is endearing. But his size and tendency toward overfamiliarity make him a less than ideal companion in situations -- a bed, say -- in which personal space is scarce.
Still, it's a big bed, and I figure I can simply turn on my side, avoid eye contact, and fall asleep quickly. Chinery-Hesse will have none of it. "We can still chat," he says matter of factly from the other side. "You can still ask me questions."
When you come to Africa, take everything you know about Europe or America and turn it upside down." This advice, given to me by a Ghanaian entrepreneur named Kingsley Awuah-Darko, was meant not as preparation for unfamiliar mores but as a key to understanding business on the African continent. Judge a company in Accra by the standards you would apply to one in Akron, and you're likely to form mistaken impressions and miss opportunities.
Most people consider opportunities and Africa to be mutually exclusive concepts. We have come to see Africa as more a cause than a place and its population not as a market but a class of victims. Of the 20 cover images of Vanity Fair's Africa Issue, published last year, not a single portrait featured someone who owned a business based in Africa. And although the issue's guest editor, the Nobel Prize -- nominated pop star Bono, lauded Africa as an "entrepreneurial, dynamic continent," the casual reader might have been tempted to ask, Who are these entrepreneurs, exactly?
Ghana is a small country in one of the poorest parts of the sub-Saharan region, but it's also a hotbed of technology entrepreneurship thanks largely to the pioneering work of Chinery-Hesse. Today, Accra boasts dozens of tech companies and one of the largest Internet cafés in Africa. Chinery-Hesse was an early investor in the Internet café, which also serves as an incubator that rents space to start-ups. He went on to found what is widely considered the first and largest software company in the country, called theSOFTtribe, where he serves as executive chairman and controlling shareholder. Chinery-Hesse has also left a wider mark on the country's tech sector. Many former SOFTtribe engineers have gone on to start other software companies, including the second largest in the country.
These accomplishments have earned him a moniker at once homespun and grandiose: "the Bill Gates of Ghana." They have also landed him speaking engagements at Harvard, Wharton, and Cambridge. Last summer, he shared a stage with Bono and Jane Goodall at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania. "Herman is the godfather of the software industry, not just in Ghana but in all of Africa," says Eric Osiakwan, a Ghanaian journalist and IT consultant. At its height in 2003, SOFTtribe employed 80 people, mostly programmers, and was booking well over $1 million a year in revenue -- a substantial sum in a country in which a three-bedroom house costs $20,000.
It's hard to imagine the founding of a software company as a revolutionary act, but in 1991 in Ghana, it was. Not only were there no technology entrepreneurs to speak of, but the idea of entrepreneurship as a path to wealth was a novelty. Ghana had suffered for decades under repressive governments that were outwardly hostile to private enterprise. From 1970 to 1990, the country's gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 2.1 percent. Some of the most successful companies were nationalized, price controls were instituted, and owning many kinds of property, such as a car with air conditioning, was considered an indulgence that risked the wrath of authorities. Entrepreneurs accused of breaking the rules had to surrender their property and financial assets to the military government. If they resisted, they were often beaten and sometimes killed.
Democracy -- along with peace, stability, and a measure of prosperity -- has since come to Ghana. But it is still a hard place in which to be an entrepreneur. As a market, Ghana seems hopelessly inconsequential: just 23 million people, with a per capita income of $676 a year. Nutrition is often poor, and health care is spotty. The average person has a 1 in 10 chance of dying before he or she reaches age 5, and life expectancy is just 60 years. The country's business climate, in which an entrepreneur can expect to spend 220 days just to get the proper business licenses to build a warehouse, remains stubbornly anemic. Interest rates are prohibitively high at 25 percent. The 18 percent inflation rate, while down from 30 percent five years ago, is high by global standards. According to the World Bank, Ghana is one of the most difficult places in the world in which to start a business, ranking 138th -- after Venezuela, Serbia, and Iran.
These facts paint a bleak picture. Yet there's no shortage of evidence to suggest that despite all its problems, Ghana is brimming with opportunity. GDP grew 6 percent in 2007, and in the first six months of 2008 the value of companies listed on the country's stock exchange grew 56 percent. One important factor fueling growth is the explosion of mobile phone use throughout the continent. Ghana alone added 2.7 million cell phone subscribers last year. The rapid spread of cell phone service has made it much easier to conduct business and has prompted some investors to take a fresh look at the African market.
Even so, the West tends to see only tragedy in countries like Ghana. "In the U.S. media, Africa is a place where people are dying and starving, and where there are no opportunities," says Vijay Mahajan, a professor at the University of Texas and the author, most recently, of Africa Rising. In the book, Mahajan argues that Western entrepreneurs are ignoring the next big global market at their peril. He points out that in Africa, for instance, GDP per capita is $200 higher than in India. "I'm not saying Africa doesn't have problems -- all developing countries have problems," he says. "But the opportunity in Africa is at least as great as the opportunities in China and India."
We're going to turn Ghana into Singapore in five years," says Chinery-Hesse the first time I reach him by phone from New York. It's 6 o'clock in the evening in New York -- 11 at night in Accra -- and Chinery-Hesse is still in the office, supervising a late-night coding session. His voice cracks through a bad cell phone connection but betrays an unmistakable level of pride. "This is the Holy Grail. Everybody is going to be rich."
His new company, which is separate from SOFTtribe, is called BSL and draws inspiration from and PayPal. When BSL launches this fall, it will let African entrepreneurs easily sell their products online and accept payments via mobile phone. Such transactions are extremely difficult in a country in which computers are rare and in which PayPal doesn't operate. If Chinery-Hesse can sign up enough merchants and get enough people making payments with the service, he could drastically improve the lives of African craftspeople by giving them access to global markets. "This system is going to allow someone living in a village who makes 20 sweaters a week to export them at $10 a sweater," he says. "That's $200 a week!" It also promises to put Chinery-Hesse at the center of African commerce and make him exceedingly rich.
Not that he needs the money. Chinery-Hesse is an elite's elite whose mother serves as chief adviser to Ghana's head of state. He has three servants, a driver, and two SUVs, and he lives with his wife and two children in a comfortable ranch house in a gated community. At one point, he owned seven cars and two nightclubs. As a boy, he bounced between Accra and wherever his parents, both career diplomats, were posted, including Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Switzerland. He attended Ghana's prestigious Mfantsipim School -- Kofi Annan's alma mater -- where his friends recall him as brilliant, outspoken, and academically lazy. Like many privileged young Ghanaians, he left the country to attend college; he studied industrial technology at Texas State University in San Marcos.
In Texas, Chinery-Hesse was an outsider: an African who had little in common with the black Americans on campus but who was mockingly called "nigger" by his white friends. He shrugged off the taunts as innocent "teasing" but never felt entirely comfortable. "America is the most racist place I've ever been," he says, admitting that he often felt afraid to talk to strangers or to police. But he was also captivated by the place. "I saw open spaces where there was nothing but cows, and then four years later, it's a whole community." Everyone he knew seemed to own a ranch, and the pace of development was preternatural, with 7-Elevens and McMansions blooming spontaneously from wide-open farmland. He remembers this period as the time of his entrepreneurial conversion -- when he first understood how business might change an impoverished country. "Every aspect of underdevelopment requires a business," he says. "I realized that the opportunities were everywhere."
He returned to Accra for Christmas in 1990 and announced to his friends that he was coming home for good. The group had been partying at an Accra dance club, and Chinery-Hesse's friends responded with incredulity. They were thinking about how to get out of Ghana, not back in, and they had been badgering him all night for help in getting jobs abroad. (At the time, his mother was working as a U.N. official in Geneva.) "You guys are crazy," Chinery-Hesse responded. "The opportunities are right here."
Chinery-Hesse talked his way into a contract job with Accra's largest travel agency, whose owner was a distant relation. He was paid $2,000 to write a software program that automated the company's accounting and customer service functions. The program, which Chinery-Hesse called Gbefaloh, meaning "traveler" in Ga, his mother tongue, would eventually be adopted by travel agents throughout the country.

Please read the rest of this article at:[Read from page 3]

Culture: Kwame Nkrumah's Blue Plaque in Camden

'Blue plaques celebrate great figures of the past and the buildings that they inhabited. They open a window into another time by showing us where the great and the good have penned their masterpieces, developed new technologies, lived or died. Actors, authors, politicians, painters, scientists, sportsmen, campaigners and reformers – people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds – have all been commemorated in this way.'

Why not visit Kwame Nkrumah's blue plaque -when in Camden, and see where our first ever president lived between 1945-1947. The address is 60 Burghley Road, Camden, NW5
For more information concerning blue plaques please visit:

Monday, 10 August 2009

Charity: Amanda Annan interviews Richard Branson

Kudos to Amanda Annan for managing to track down Sir Richard Branson [in Kenya] for this interview -concerning a children's school/charity in Kenya...
P.s I don't know Amanda personally but we have a couple of friends in common -and I just want to say that I am very proud of her and her achievements -may God continue to bless her............x

Friday, 7 August 2009

Fashion: An interview with Ernest Osei (Catwalk Trainer)

Ernest Osei is a character. Happy, positive and the 'life and soul of the party' -Ernest is a catwalk-trainer -and created history, -when he became the first ever male model in Ghana to walk the catwalk in female attire and High Heels. I love this brother -he is so happy and his positivity is infectious. Enjoy this wonderful insight into the inspirational world of Ernest Osei -a very modern Ghanaian man with a heart of gold.........xx

GR: Hi Ernest, how are you?
EA: Am good thank you. And you are looking sweet hahaah?

GR: Ernest I can see that you are a character, tell me about yourself and how you became a Catwalk Trainer?
EA: Mmhh, Ernest is a simple person; lovely and respects all[people], -is down to earth and very assertive. How I became a Catwalk Trainer....I always love to see girls walk with power -and the fact that you walk and people look at you... So 2 years ago, I decided to look for a model agency, and become a model with the hope that someday -I will be a trainer. I did and had to go through an audition for an up coming event. After the audition, the CEO of the Agency asked me To work for him, -and train the Models because I had the Talent -and the ability to work in high heels [better then the female models].

GR: I'm sure that like most Ghanaians; your parents wanted you to become a doctor or a lawyer -what was their reaction when you became a Catwalk Trainer 'extraordinaire' [in an industry dominated by women]?
EA: Honestly, my parents wanted me to be a journalist [I have a diploma in -Broadcasting and Journalism]. And although I liked it, -it was not as much as I love fashion and modeling. So I had to talk to them and at a point they saw that, it is what I want to do -so they supported me, -besides, I became what they wanted. I become [and was doing well on the airwaves as] a radio presenter.

GR: By the way, I have seen photographs of you on the catwalk and you look fierce. What are you saying to the crowd [in your mind]?
EA: Hahahahaa, honestly -every model must have a look that is different from the way they look on normal days [and a look that makes them different from all other models]. And to the people, being the first male model in Ghana to come out with High Heels [on] like that, -I had to make them know -that I mean Business, -and I take my work seriously.

GR: I know you love to party. Describe the perfect night out in Accra?
EA: As much as I love to party; my perfect night will be, -having dinner by the pool side [at the Golden Tulip -which I love doing] -to enjoy the music [being played] and sweet peace around me as I eat, -because I love food too hahaha.

GR: Sally Kanbonaba Kleyn or Confidence Haugen?
EA: I love them Both because they are making Ghana fun!!

GR: Who is hot right now in Ghana?

GR: Veeda or Mzbel?
EA: Mzbel

GR: Ernest you work with some of the best models in Ghana -name your favourite Ghanaian model(s)
EA: I will go for Jocelyn, Seth and Nicola [Miss UK Ghana].

GR: Which one of them has the best walk and why?
EA: Nicola Sackey [Miss Ghana UK] because modeling is all about selling the clothes you have on -and posing to take good pictures. But it's so sad, most models think of themselves and forget the importance of the whole business. But with Nicola, you get all that you need. She sales the clothes with power; attitude, -and has a good pose for pictures and I love her for that.

GR: Apart from modelling and your work as a Catwalk Trainer -what are your other passions?
EA: Now, I'm more into administration and I love to Sing; Dance, cook and spend time at home with my family.

GR: Name the best dressed man in Ghana?
EA: Myself hahahahaha .. OK I will give it to Chris Attoh.

GR: Describe your style Ernest?
EA: I love African clothes -made [especially] for me and no body else, with shoes and black trousers. It makes me feel great and powerful and mature too.

GR: Name your favourite designer(s)?
EA: In Ghana, I Love Atta kofi Moda [which is coming to Ghana soon]; Allan David, H O E by Patric, B'Exotiq by Bee and Royal Denis. When it come to outside designers -I love D&G and Gucci.

GR: On to more serious things Ernest. How is President John Evans Atta Mills doing -thus far?
EA: Hahahahaha to me he is doing his best. I'm not so much into polities but I think he is doing his best.

GR: There are so many issues effecting Ghana [and the rest of Africa] -what really gets your goat?
EA: Child Labour and Poverty.

GR: What are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
EA: I believe in Ghana. And I Believe in the people [in this country] and I hope that we will see the ability in us, -and use them to develop our country. It takes one person to start. And if I can -we all can.

GR: Ernest you are so happy. What's making you smile?
EA: I love to smile and it has being wonderful talking to you and I hope I can teach you some few lessons on catwalk. hahahahaah

GR: Thank you for this wonderful interview Ernest and I look forward to some lessons on the catwalk!! God Bless all your dreams -stay Blessed................xx
EA: Thank you too for your time....

For more information about Ernest Osei please visit:

Random: Ghanaians Hamamat & Kate Tachie-Menson at M-Net Face of Africa 2008

Source: MNetAfrica (P.s I hope to catch up with Hamamat soon for an interview -watch this space).

Beauty: Vote for Agnes Ntow

Agnes Ntow is competing in the Miss Africa USA Pageant and I would like everyone to support this beautiful sister -and vote for her -so that she can become a delegate in the competition!!! There are lots of other Ghanaian sisters -also involved in the competition, -so check it out.

Agnes is a DJ, busy entrepreneur and as you can see from the photographs above, -a great beauty. We have spoken via Facebook and Myspace and she is a lovely young lady. To vote for Agnes Ntow please visit:
Why not join the 'Agnes Ntow For Miss Africa Delegate' group on Facebook at:

Art: Akan Terracotta Funerary Head at African Art

"Most Akan terracotta images were made by women. The people of most areas recognises these terracotta heads as portraits. Until recently, many ethnic groups in the southern parts of this area commemorated deceased family members and royals with terracotta figural sculpture. Heads such as these, often broken from full figures, or from vessels with figurative elements, all had funerary contexts."(African art .com)

For serious collectors of Ghanaian Art [like Zetha Annan -a tireless promoter and collector, -and myself...very soon!!] -why not visit African art .com. They have a unique collection of Akan Terracotta Funerary Heads -and prices start from £295.00 [for newer pieces]. Please visit:

Please note, these Terracotta Funerary Head were not randomly created -but were made in the image of the deceased, -and are therefore -accurate depictions of our ancestors,-and so very important, -historically. I just hope that we have enough of these beautiful, delicate, historic pieces in our museums [in Ghana] -before we start selling 'the family Silver' to foreign private buyers....................xx

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Charity: The Call 2 Art Exhibition [6th - 19th September 2009] -helps AfriKids

'The Call' started out as a unique 'Exhibition of Contemporary African Art Celebrating 50 Years of Ghanaian Independence'. Patroned by Zetha Annan of UNICEF [Zetha Annan is a serious collector and tireless promoter Ghanaian Art] and sponsored by Wellbeing for Women, Spirituality for Kids & DWIB Leukemia Trust, -it featured works by noted Artists including; Sami Bentil, Wizz Kudowor, Nii T.Mills and Rikki Wemega Kwawu, -as well as the Internationally renowned Percussion Skills of Okyerema Asante (Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon) -in 2007. Since then the successful exhibition, has run consecutively [at La Galleria, Royal Opera Arcade, PALL MALL, London in 2007 & 2008] and due to be held, -for two weeks in London at, The Smithfield Gallery from the 6th to 19th of September 2009. Artist Paul Apowida’s work is contemporary, bold and beautiful -and all sales of his work -will be donated to AfriKids, as well as any merchandise sold. AfriKids will also receive a percentage of sales from the work of Wiz Kudowor and Sami Bentil. For more information please visit: and The Smithfield Gallery at:

Tourism: The mosque at Larambanga

Why not visit the mosque at Larambanga, -believed to be the oldest building in Ghana, it was built in western Sudanese style in the 17th century and is carefully maintained by the local community. With its dark supporting wooden poles, gently curved buttresses and whitewashed exterior, it is a beautiful example of the combination of Islamic architectural styles brought by early traders and indigenous building techniques. Larambanga is also known for its Mystery Stone. Legend has it that this stone on the outskirts of Larabanga -always returns to its original resting place when moved, and -due to this legend the main road that runs through this area had to be diverted around the stone.

Object of Desire: Asante Polychrome Sculpture of a Man Holding a Black Ram

This sculpture is beautiful..........I want it now!!! Origin: Southern Ghana Date: 20th Century AD (POA) Visit:

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Art: Atta Kwami

Amedzofe 2007

Kpong 2006

Harmonium 2001

"The starting point of my inspiration is my environment. Many of my images have been shaped by my experiences of Atonsu Agogo, a commercial/workshop area in Kumasi, close to my studio. My works are not transpositions of African or European images but become new and real entities brought about by material concerns. The Ewe saying "All things belong to the earth" with its animistic connotations has implications for my art practice." Atta Kwami

Artist and academic, Atta Kwami was born in Accra in 1956. He lives and works in Kumasi, where he is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Painting & Sculpture at the College of Art, KNUST [Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi]. He studied painting at the College of Art in Kumasi from 1976 to 1980, gaining a BA and has taught at the college since 1986. He has made many international teaching visits as Visiting Lecturer to universities in England, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria -and he gained an M.Phil in African Art in 1992 and was Fellow in Printmaking at Chelsea College of Art & Design, The London Institute in 1992/93.

Atta Kwami has exhibited extensively around the world [including: 2002/03 Nicolas Krupp Contemporary Art Gallery, Basel, Switzerland 2001 Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland 2001 Beardsmore Gallery, London 2000 L´Alliance Francaise de Kumasi, Ghana 1999 Lake Naivasha Studios, Naivasha, Kenya 1998/99 National Museum of Ghana, Accra 1996 School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 1995 Newtown Galleries, Johannesberg 1995 Beardsmore Gallery, London 1994/95 Point of View Gallery, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA 1993 Castle Museum Nottingham, UK 1980 British Council, Accra, Ghana].
*Note -The above artworks are a small sample of Atta Kwami's work -and can be purchased from the, Howard Scott Gallery

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Black Star: R.I.P Carl Beatson Asiedu aka Charmz (1989-2009)

Words cannot express the shock and sadness felt by Ghana Rising; -that Carl Beatson Asiedu aka Charmz, -a handsome, young; humble, talented, promising musician -has been taken away from his family, his friends, his community [and a bright future] in such a brutal way. God Bless the Asiedu Family and give them peace. Rest in Perfect Peace Carl Beatson Asiedu (1989 -2009)Paulina Opoku-Gyimah

Title: Talented rapper dies after stabbing -Carl Beatson Asiedu, known as Charmz, was on the brink of a promising music career when he died after being knifed outside Club Life in Kennington, south London (Credit: Rachael Wheeler -Dated: 3 August 2009 For The london Paper)

AN ASPIRING rapper who was stabbed to death was on the brink of a brilliant music career, friends said today. University student Carl Beatson Asiedu was found dying of his injuries in the back of a car by police who had stopped it for jumping a red light. Known as Charmz, the 19-year-old was being driven by friends to hospital desperate to save his life after he was repeatedly knifed after playing a gig. Officers called paramedics in the early hours on Saturday morning but despite efforts to save him, the teenager died at the scene near Waterloo station. Asiedu, from Norbury, south London, was pronounced dead just after 5.30am. Officers believe he was stabbed outside Club Life nightclub in Goding Street, Kennington. Police believe Asiedu and a friend were ambushed by a gang outside the venue. Police believe Asiedu and a friend were ambushed by a gang outside the venue. His 19-year-old friend was also stabbed but survived. Asiedu is the 11th teenager to die violently in London this year - eight of whom have been knifed (see right).

Today friends described the teenager as “funny” and “charming” and said they will pay tribute to him by promoting his first record and raising awareness of knife crime. More than 3,000 have joined a memorial page to him on Facebook. His friend Christopher Coco told thelondonpaper that a group were working with a production company to make a professional music video with an anti-knife crime message as tribute. Coco said: “Charmz loved music. It’s what he would have wanted. His life was cut short and it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t push his first single on MTV Base. I want the video to be finished before his funeral so that we can raise money to support his family. “Charmz was very popular,” he added. “He had no problem with anyone and no one hated him. He was funny, and, hence his nickname, charming.”

Asiedu grew up in the capital and had just finished his first year at De Montfort University in Leicester. In his spare time, he performed as half of a music-duo known as Kid n Play at events and universities across London and the Midlands. On the night Asiedu was killed, the student was performing on stage as Kid n Play at Club Life, said Coco. Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder and have been bailed pending further enquiries. Please read the rest at: Please read the rest at: To join the memorial page for Carl Beatson Asiedu on Facebook please visit:

Music: Stereotype by Blitz the Ambassador is out TODAY!! [August 4th 2009]

I love this brother.....anyway, 'Stereotype' is hot -go out and buy it !!!.....(you can sneak a listen at: For more information about Blitz please visit:

Art: Photographer Jane Hahn

Computer monitor shells lay at a dump site in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. ©Jane Hahn

Children working amongst E-Waste at Agbogbloshie dump site.©Jane Hahn

I can't connect the Ghana I know and love to the images / photographs by Jane Hahn [above]. But I believe that her work is relevant -[if only to 'provoke' people like me, -to work harder -and help Ghana to stand-up on her own two feet]. Her photograph of a crack cocaine user in Accra is particularly disturbing, -I thought it belonged to another African country. Jane Hahn is an American photographer based in Accra [since 2007], and her clients [and publications] include: Telegraph Saturday Magazine, The New York Times, The Times of London, Marie Claire UK, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian UK, foto8, Associated Press, Save the Children UK, Action Aid International, UNFPA, DFID, -and Oxfam America. For more information or to buy her prints [of Ghana and other African countries] please visit:

P.s I truly believe that the dump site in Agbogbloshie -is a national disgrace -something that the whole of Ghana should be ashamed of. But I am a believer, -and I believe that God is going to raise Agbogbloshie, a dump site [a hell hole] in Accra, Ghana -from the ground up. He will deliver all the people [especially the children] who work there, and give them work, homes and a future -and turn that place/land into an oasis -that all of Ghanaians will be proud of [and it will happen in my lifetime] -Amen. Bye for now.............x

Monday, 3 August 2009

Ghanaian Princess: Ashanti Ameyaw

Ashanti Ameyaw, looking flawless in an African print and white dress -with a chunky purple belt and clutch combo -on a night out with a friend.[Photo by RaeQkwan]

I believe that life is a beautiful and joyous journey and definitely -for the living, -so when I head about a sister -who was, -fun, ambitious and inspirational; -Ghana Rising just had to interview her. Ashanti Ameyaw is an incredibly beautiful young lady -who is the, 'life and soul of the party' and a model on the assent. We managed to catch up with Ashanti Ameyaw -on her return from modelling at, 'Ghana Fashion Week' -and the interview is as follows....................Enjoy x

GR: Hello Ashanti, how are you?
AA: Not too bad thanks.

GR: What are you up to?
AA: Well at the moment I'm doing a few shows in Ghana. I should be going back there [again] in two months time; and I'm at university, -studying Health Studies and Management.

GR: Ashanti, you have just returned from Ghana, -where you was modelling in Ghana Fashion Week. How was it?
AA: I loved it; -the people, the clothes. It was great. I'm ready to go back and do more shows because I loved it so much.

GR: Which designers did you walk for?
AA: [I walked for] so many designers that I can’t remember them all. There was KIKI, Kofi Ansah, Alan David and many more.

(Ashanti Ameyaw walking for Ivana Elle Couture at Ghana Fasion Weekend)

GR: Did you go to any hot parties in Ghana?
AA: Not really; because I was so busy working, -but the after party for the show was great.

Ashanti Ameyaw looking fierce
GR: Who is hot in Ghana right now?
AA: I'm loving Sarkodie at the moment, he is a really good rapper.

GR: Veeda or Mzbel?
AA: I don’t really know who Veeda is so I will say Mzbel.

GR: Ashanti, can you tell us about your background and how you got started in modelling?
AA: Well I started modelling when I was 19. One day I went to work and I saw a flyer about a fashion show; and they were looking for models, so I called them [then met up with them] and they loved my look, -so I got a place in the show. After that show, other designers got in contacted with me [to work with them], -and it all started from there, -getting more jobs after job.

Ashanti looking fabulous in a body-con dress
GR: Tell us about your most memorable modelling experience so far?
AA: Me going to Ghana, -for Ghana fashion week.

GR: Ashanti, you model and dance, what are your plans –for the future?
AA: To became the face of Africa, and hopefully have my own modelling agency in Ghana.

GR: I have seen lots of beautiful pictures of you wearing/ modelling Nkya designs, -name your favourite designers;
AA: Nkya, will have to be my first choice, -then KIKI based in Ghana, kofi Ansah and many more.

Ashanti in a fabulous design by Nkya
GR: You always look fabulous and 'on trend' {and it would seem from your photographs on facebook -that you love fashion} -how would you describe your look?
AA: Individual, unique, funky, bold and crazy.

GR: Who is your style Icon?
AA: Right now [its] Lady GAGA

GR: Ashanti, you are flawless. Tell us your beauty secrets?
AA: I don’t really have any beauty secrets but I use Iman foundation and make-up, then once in a while -I steam my face to freshen my skin. I also use Nivea to cream my body -it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. I don’t use Nivea to cream my face, instead -I use a Ghanaian product called 'Cho Cho' cream, -which helps to tone up your skin. I do my own hair at home; I only go to the barbers to shave the sides, -and I do my nail once in a while [if not, I just paint it myself].

The beautiful Ashanti Ameyaw -looking flawless
GR: On to more serious stuff, -what are your hopes and dreams for Ghana?
AA: What do I want for Ghana? I want the best for my country. I want a better 'Education System', better 'Health Care Insurance' [where people can go and seek treatments without worrying about cash, -because the cash in hand before treatment, ends up costing peoples lives]. I want our country to be the best place -for all of us. All the bribing -needs to stop. The government needs to see to this issue [urgently] because a country that allows you to use bribery to get to anywhere [you want] -is not a good country; -it also means that there is no law in that country [and for a better Ghana this needs to stop] -and we need more young people to get involve with the country -to bring new ideals [for a better Ghana]. I also want my own modelling agency in Ghana and hopefully other big things will come my way.

GR: Thanks Ashanti, Stay fabulous and God bless all your dreams.
AA: Thank you Ghana Rising for having me here today.