Ghana : Why Everybody Ran Back !

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After seeing this pic on the gram, I knew that the Year of Return in Ghana had to be my next topic I blog about. You guessed it, over 1.5 million people took plane, ferry, catapult or whichever method of transport to get themselves from all over the world, to the sunny and vibrant lands of Ghana. From Ludacris to Cardi B and her infamous chichinga incident to even the Queen B’s mother herself spent new years in Ghana.

Of course, I was watching like a lot of my friends from my phone via SnapChat and Insta stories. Whilst I was drying my eyes of the tears due to not doing up enjoyment like everyone else, I do feel glad that I somewhat saved money. Prices skyrocketed to over 1 grand, and that’s just the tickets alone. If you didn’t get transport and accommodation sorted also, then I guess your bank accounts definitely felt the pain! Nevertheless, 2019 was the definitely the year of African awareness and self-consciousness.

The Year of Return

I actually had to find out from a colleague what it was and why it meant so many people were returning home ( they need to teach this during BHM in schools ).

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.”. yearofreturn.com

In hindsight, it was an invitation of all descendants from years and years of slavery to come back to their original roots, original heritages and come back to their true homes. The project has many goals and targets. One being for people to come and experience culture and enjoyment in their hometown, another to celebrate the freedom that Africans all over the world currently have and also to boost tourism as it can be a leading indicator to business and investment.

What does this mean for Ghanaians, Africans in general?

For me, I think it brings a new sense of emotion and patriotism for not only Ghana, but for Africa as a whole. If you think about it, Africa definitely wasn’t the dream spot that people wanted to spend their Christmas season at. If it wasn’t America, it was Canada. If it wasn’t the UK it was somewhere in Europe ! But the fact that thousands of people dream about going home to see the places where their parents were born and raised, really brings a sense of change and greatness.

Afro Nation, the festival which features many African and Caribbean artists sharing the beautiful and lovely music that Africa has to provide is also a massive contributor to many people going to Ghana. The festival celebrated the vibrant and emerging culture of Africa and it has definitely had an impact on the younger generation all over the world.

Overall, I am proud of where Ghana and Africa as a whole has transformed and come to be in this current year, it’s rise in popularity, public perception and view has made it a number 1 tourist destination. Who would of thought- not me ! and who knows, mabye Ghana will be seeing me this year after-all ! *crosses fingers*

Thanks for reading !

United African Nations ?

 

(Hey guys, before I begin, I would just like to apologise for my absence on here , I have started a placement, yes officially entered into the working life and I’m just trying to find balance on blogging, time for myself and also time for God, as that’s been slacking *slowly reminisces on when I had a solid quiet time routine*. This post was written months ago but I thought it would be a good idea to include it now since it is still relevant)

It’s every Saturday morning that my Dad has to show me a WhatsApp video on his phone about the atrocities not only happening in South Africa, but in other “fellow African” countries such as Nigeria and etc. Videos of shops being vandalised, demolished and burnt, not to talk less of people being burnt with tyres around their bodies and it really leaves me to wonder how we even allowed it to get to this point

If you didn’t know, this is the current situations happening in South Africa:

So now that you know the basics around the situation, I thought why not put my own two cents into this topic as me being an African and also having studied the history of how Africans relate to each other in this present day, I thought I could add my own perspective to this controversial topic.  I first came across this after seeing news that many African stars such as Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage boycotting their performances in South Africa due to the acts that they were committing in that country. Honestly, I didn’t take much notice of it as after all, starts always boycott their performances for various reasons. However, it wasn’t until I saw this post from famous South African comedian Trevor Noah that stated:

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This provides another perspective to the issue of xenophobic attacks, with one side stating that they are seen as “foreigners” who are deliberately taking the jobs of the South African people, whilst the other side (Trevor’s) explaining how the real issue is that whites still have the majority of ownership of businesses, agricultural lands and income, and I couldn’t agree more.

It really hurts to see that Africans who all belong from continent and who are all united are actually pushing their brothers and sisters away instead of helping them or encouraging them once they have started a business, This goes to show that xenophobia is still alive, well and kicking in the sense that Africans are still against each other by not uplifting them and investing in their businesses.

This is just a topic that had to be discussed briefly, I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions on this topic!

Thanks for reading

 

 

All About My Braids Part 2

“Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates”

Welcome back to a new post readers !

Today I decided to blog about braids yet again! I realised from my last post in February, that there is yet so much to delve into about the topic surrounding braids, yet it isn’t really explored that much. So this post pretty much explains the history and backgrounds of braids and how it has transformed into what it is in 2018.

Looking at the origination of braids, we have to look at Africa, particularly West Africa. In the villages, hair was known to act as a statement. Based on your hair, a person could tell your background, family roots, location and so much more information about you just by the styles and the presentation of your braided hairstyle.

This is why when the Trans Atlantic slave trade occurred, many women’s heads were shaved for sanitary reasons, meaning they lost a part of their heritage and identity.

However as slavery ended around the 50’s, the black power movement’s in America stemming from the civil rights movements encouraged a “Black Consciousness” out of black women to recognise their roots and their hair as being just as acceptable as the typical European style.

So, in comparison to 2018, where braids are appreciated even more than ever! Why are we still talking about them? The true fact is, that deep down oppression of braids still occurs today. I spoke on a previous post about the topic of Cultural Appropriation and how trends and lifestyles typically known to be created by black people are adopted by another culture. Although it may not be out in the open, it still exists.

Braids are no longer seen as something used for portraying an identity, rather it is used for styling and social media purposes. Which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, however it can mainly be misinterpreted as a muse to boost social media followings on pages. Again, isn’t a bad thing, as it is showcasing the many talents of hairdressers around the world. So I guess it is at a point where it is neither negative or positive. Views on the purposes of braids are completely subjective.

I believe it is up to us as older women to not only educate the younger generation about their roots but to encourage them to recognise it as their original identity, stemming back from centuries. I guess because it is what’s in fashion alongside other styles such as wigs and sew-ins, but at the end of the day it is nice to know where your heritage come from.

So this concludes my post about braids and it’s origins. I hope to research more about other African cultured items and trends that are valued at such a high standard like it is today. Until next time!

(All research used for this post is credited to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_l0rEJq1_s)

Dear Makeup Brands…

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Source – Instagram (nyamtang)
This is the beautiful Nyma Tang, a South Sudanese Youtuber, who has a channel with over 200,000 subscribers. As you can see she is a beautiful, dark skinned woman with skin to die for. Her inner melanin is filled with glow and sparkle and I am really enjoying her posts on her channel of recent. She is mostly famous for her series #Thedarkestshade where she reviews foundations, concealers and other products in the darkest shade to suit her complexion. This series gained fame as it pinpointed the major problem with makeup brands these days, especially affordable drugstore brands, in getting their shades right to suit all complexions from light to dark. I came across this video from NowThisEntertainment about how she explained her troubles of going to drugstore brands and finding that they don’t appeal to her complexion and often she had to go to higher end brands, which could be quite expensive at times in the US and even here in the UK

Upon watching this video above, I started to realise that for me in particular it wasn’t so much a problem, but for darker skin tones it was a major problem for them finding foundations that were either ashy looking on them or did not match their proper complexion properly. I realised it as I thought whenever I will visit a local Superdrug near me, looking at the brands of Rimmel London, or Maybelline, they would have a range of colours for lighter skin but only have 2-3 shades for darker skin girls. Therefore, leaving them to drift towards higher end brands like Lancôme or Nars who offer great alternatives, however can come at an expensive price.

So I guess the question exactly is, why don’t makeup brands cater towards darker skinned women? I can admit her skin shade would not be something you come across on an everyday basis, it’s unique in itself. However it doesn’t mean popular makeup brands should simply stop catering for their skin shades. Even looking at it from the other way round, most of the light shades still do have a tint of a tan look in them, forgetting that there are paler skin people and that not everyone prefers that tanned look even though it is what is in fashion right now.

Except for black owned brands such as Black Opal Beauty or Fashion Fair who focus on black skin mostly, many brands that are mainly advertised as being affordable for women and easily accessible should take a rise on expanding their colour ranges to suit each skin type. Especially with the rise of popular woman from Nyma herself to other youtbers such as Nikki Perkins or even actors such as Lupita Nyong’o who are gaining prominence in the spotlight.

My hope for the future is that makeup brands will continue to expand on their colour ranges, not only for foundations but other products such as blushers, highlighters and lipsticks (especially lipsticks, we need to stop looking like we have just eaten a powdered doughnut!) so that women will not have to resort to expensive brands all the time, even thought they are of very good quality

I’m no beauty expert myself, but I would really like to know why there isn’t a full range of colours suitable for all women of colour !

Embracing Your Culture

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“Wouldn’t you just wish you were British” Hmm now me personally I haven’t heard that line or question from anyone in my lifetime and to be quite frantic, a place where over 270 nationalities and 300 different languages remain in London alone, So I wouldn’t be surprised if I never get to hear those words come out of a person’s mouth. So, in this twirl up of immense diversity and multi-cultural city, one may ask – How exactly do you embrace your individual culture?

Well me, I’m Ghanaian. That’s’ all I’ve got in me loool. Of course, I was born here in London and I’ve lived here my entire life. I know that my origins and roots are instilled in Ghana. Both my parents are from Ghana and that’s where they were born and raised. So, I’ve automatically been brought up and surrounded by Ghanaian traditions all my life. To start with, my name is Efe which is Ghanaian, Fante (tribe in Ghana) to be more precise, meaning I’m Friday born. So when people meet me they automatically know I’m from Ghana (or I get the occasionally odd Nigeria…) but overall my name just sets me back to my African roots.

I feel like surrounding yourself with people from your country really helps too. All my life I have been surrounded by Ghanaians in pretty much everything I do. From nursery, even till now I have had Ghanaian or at least African friends, my church is mainly Ghanaian and my area of where I live has a high percentage of Afro-Caribbean members in the community, so I’ve always learnt the ways of people from not just Ghana but Africa alone, honestly I can tell whenever someone is walking past me, if they are Ghanaian or not. They have a certain look to them lool. Obviously, areas of Britain with a low percentage of Africans in the community can make you feel quite remote.

Music and Social Media play a HUGE part in me Embracing my culture, you may think me living in Britain, I’m subjected to listening to Take That and eating Sausages and Mash yeah… Hell No. Africa is literally everywhere in terms of music and lifestyle. UK Afro beats have absolutely taken off and has grown over the years. Before, people would of been embarrassed to listen to the likes of Kwabena Kwabena or Sarkodie when they’re out with their friends. But literally I find listening to them and even the classics a normal thing to me, as I’m learning to embrace my culture in terms of music. With the likes of DJ Abrantee, giving us the sounds of Fuse ODG, Kwamz and Flava, J Hus, Moelogo, Mr Silva, Mr Eazi, Jaij Hollands, Lola Rae etc. the list can go on and on. The point is as well as UK artist and sound that we get to enjoy, we also get to enjoy Africa in our sound as well

Almost all social media platforms incorporate culture in their pages, posts or in their videos. Instagram has thousands of Ghanaian food pages, clothes pages and lifestyle pages that get likes upon likes all the time. This helps in me embracing what my country as well as other countries have to give unto the world. Hashtags and popular sites are nearly impossible to miss if you have a great community of friends having discussions and debates about their own country, especially about who makes the best Jollof rice (obviously, it’s Ghana, but we will leave that for another day)

Overall, I encourage anyone struggling to be proud of their culture, even if you’re not from an African country, may it be Asian or Caribbean, to learn more and have a deeper understanding f were their lives are fixed in. Ask friends and relatives to understand your countries traditions, food, clothing, lifestyle, music etc. and before you know it Embracing your culture will come naturally !