Featured

Bisa Kdei: 10 Things I Love About Ghana

Ghanaian star singer Bisa Kdei tells us his 10 favorite things about his home country, including waakye, local movies and, of course, highlife music.

In our “10 Things I Love” series we ask our favorite musicians, artists & personalities to tell us what they like the most about their home country.


In this latest installment, Ghanaian star singer Bisa Kdei tells us his favorite things about his home country, just in time for Ghana's 60th independence day celebration.

Breakfast in Ghana

If you're Ghanaian, you don't have to think about your scrambled eggs with sausage and tea. When you wake up in the morning, all you think about is waakye or your cocoa. The best place to get it is always by roadside. Every roadside you see a waakye joint or you see a cocoa joint.

Waakye breakfast on fufu table. Creative Commos image by PapJeff (via Flickr).

Highlife

I like the fact that we created a genre of music, highlife music which I play myself, and that everybody in Africa is tapping into it. When you listen to the Congolese music, Senegalese music, music from other parts of Africa, it's influenced by highlife.

Ghanians created highlife music and we sold it to parts of Africa and Nigeria. I'm highlighting Nigerians because Nigerians tapped into highlife music to create afrobeat—that was Fela Kuti.

The whole highlife thing has an influence on African music in general. That's part of the culture. And that's what I like about Ghana. Fela came to Ghana and he listened to our highlife music. You know, the Ghanaian musicians used to go to Nigeria back in the day and it was amazing that the response that they got.

Because we're the originators of highlife music, we know how to do it better.  When it comes to the instruments, we know how to put it together. The guitars, the clave, cowbells and the percussion, everything is so on point.

Compassion is part of us

Ghanaians are very compassionate. We like to accept and help people. We accept people from wherever they come from, even though we might not know them. Even if we don't know what they do or what they've done, we like to help them. That's Ghana. It's part of us.

Natural resources and beaches

We have gold. We have cocoa. We have diamonds. And don't forget our beaches. We have nice beaches. We have so many sightseeing places that if you're a tourist you can go to. It's just amazing.

For me, as a musician, if I want to take some time out I just go to the beaches. I love spots like Labadi beach.

Labadi beach. Creative Commos image by PapJeff (via Flickr).

Politics right now

I like the way we understand politics right now. Ghanaians are really into politics at the moment so, if you're a politician and you come out to say something and don't take your time or you didn't say it well, the next moment you will feel the drill. [laughs] We've elected a new president and things are going pretty well from what I'm seeing at the moment.

Ghanaian movies

Sometimes when you're feeling lonely at home, I watch our local movies. They're very dramatic and hilarious. If you watch the local movies, you're going to laugh. You'll laugh your head off, trust me.

Me personally, I started working on movies through the movie producers abnd that's how I came out as a musician. I started doing soundtracks for a lot of movies and that's how I became a mainstream artist around 2012. I watch the local movies a lot. As Ghanians, we actually really relate to our movies.

I worked on a movie like Metanfo and wrote a song for it (also called "Metanfo") which is very, very big in Ghana. It was all because of movies that I made it very big. I also did the soundtrack for this movie called Big Boy Weezy and it was also very big.

Our languages

We have 10 regions in Ghana and each and every region has their own language. And the fact that every region is trying to tap into everybody's language is just amazing. I like that about Ghana. Aside from the mother language, we're all trying to do tap into each other's language.

I sing in Twi most of the time because it's the mother tongue. But I have songs that I sign in Ewe. I have songs that I express myself in Hausa. I'm from the Eastern region and we speak Akuapem. In my new album that's coming out soon, I have a song in which I sing in my native language.

Social media and freedom of expression

I think in Ghana everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You can say anything you want, at any point in time, anywhere and nobody is going to ask you anything.

And right now social media in Ghana is everything. Technology in Ghana is growing, it's on the rise. So, you can say anything you want. I mean, if you say something today, the next moment you might have a whole bunch of people coming at you on the internet. [laughs]  I think freedom is everything in Ghana right now.

I think one thing I've noticed about Ghanians is we like to express ourselves very well. We like to exchange words with people. Like, on the radio or when I see you personally, I would exchange words with you based on what I'm thinking. But I won't fight you. I'm scared to fight you. That's one thing I love about Ghanians. We just don't like to fight. We'll keep it to a verbal exchange. It's a peaceful country.

A post shared by Bisa K'dei® (@bisakdei) on

Fashion and festivals

We have a rich culture when it comes to our clothings, you know we have the kente, we wear the ahennema. When it comes to festivals, you know, you see all kinds of people coming to the festivals and it's just awesome.

Our women

Our women are, let me just say, physically endowed. Trust me, you walk on the streets and you see beautiful women everywhere in their African prints and their ahenema, you know? It's amazing. You know people who love African women, I personally love my Ghanaian women.

But, I love everybody as far as Ghana is in the picture. I love everybody in Ghana because we're trying to represent Ghana to the fullest.

popular

Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.

EXPERIENCE 100 WOMEN 2020

The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

100 women 2020

Audio
Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs

We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rejoice! WhatsApp Places New Restrictions on Chain Messages to Fight Fake News

To combat the spread of misinformation due to the coronavirus outbreak, users are now restricted from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than one person.

The rise of the novel coronavirus has seen an increase in the spread of fake news across social media sites and platforms, particularly WhatsApp—a platform known as a hotbed for the forwarding of illegitimate chain messages and conspiracy theories (if you have African parents, you're probably familiar). Now the Facebook-owned app is setting in place new measures to try and curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

The app is putting new restrictions on message forwarding which will limit the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be shared. Messages that have been sent through a chain of more than five people can only subsequently be forwarded to one person. "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," announced the app in a blog post on Tuesday. "In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers."

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

Sarkodie Hits Hard With His Latest Single 'Sub Zero'

The Ghanaian heavyweight rapper shows up with the fire bars over an Altra Nova-produced beat.

Sarkodie has dropped a new aggressive track in the shape of "Sub Zero."

"Sub Zero" follows the star Ghanaian rapper as he throws back criticisms that have come his way from other rappers with his own ice cold flow. The new track was produced by Ghanaian beatmaker Altra Nova and mixed by PEE On Da BeaT.

"Sub Zero" follows Sarkodie's turn-up single "Bumper," which dropped bak in February.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.