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M.anifest's '10 Things I Love About Ghana'

M.anifest lists his ten favorite things about Ghana, including food, films and even bold nicknames, ahead of his "Forget Dem" video release.


Ghanaian rapper M.anifest seamlessly blends guitar lines warm highlife guitars, multilingual raps and 808 drums in "Forget Dem." The soundscapes of his latest single dutifully showcase the MC's marriage of inventive wordplay, vim and an all-around Accra flavor. Following his cross-continental style, M.anifest's lighthearted music video for the Killbeatz-produced single was shot in in Cape Town, South Africa. It features scenes of M.anifest (hardly) working at a food stand and barbershop, as well as a cameo from Young Fathers. 

Ahead of the release, we asked the Accra-repping MC to list his ten favorite things about Ghana. M.anifest came back with a mixed bag of choices, from a number of culinary dishes to Ghanaian films and, even, bold nicknames. Read M.anifest's complete list and watch his latest video for "Forget Dem," directed by Garth Von Glehn for Film Fam, below. Follow and tweet at @okayafrica with #ForgetDem for a chance  to win the Dedo Azu-designed red jacket M.anifest wears in the video (seen above).

1. Shitɔ (Shitor)

One of the greatest Ghanaian inventions ever. Joy in a jar. Better than Sriracha, Tabasco and all of their cohorts.

2. Ghanaian movies

Just because they never end with part 1 or 2. At least 4 to 6 parts minimum. I rarely watch them but the trailers give me life.

3. Big breakfast for champions

Breakfast can typically be waakye (rice and beans), red-red (gari & beans), kenkey, and fufu for the starch die hards.

4. When it rains...

When it rains it's an unspoken holiday. Your workers might not show up. People coming to meetings on time is out of the question. Rain is our snowstorm, our earthquake, our great escape from work.

5. Kente

I don't really love kente. I get tired of it being overused. I just love the fact that like Adinkra symbols it's everywhere in the world and we invented it. *beats on chest*

6. News read in local languages

We have a penchant for drama. When I hear the news in local dialects it makes Shakespearean tragedies pale in comparison. We don't read the news, we make stories out of news. It's inspiring for my music.

7. Grilled tilapia

How food so gawdly and tasty can be everywhere is a mysterious pleasure. Tilapia and banku over jollof, sue me.

8. Irreverent nicknames for people and places.

We named a dance alkayida. We nickname our friends, Osama, Saddam, and ap3tw3 (a womaniser). And yes there is an area in Accra called Sodom and Gomorrah.

9. Everyone is into politics and football

Apathy is not a luxury we can afford in these parts. Our voter turnout is incredibly high, and for good or for worse everyone believes they know the right way the country should be run.

10. Candle light dinner... sponsored by ECG

So the term in Ghana for load shedding is dumsor. Nothing funny about it except the jokes we make on social media. Dumsor jokes are irresistible because of how badly we all feel the pain. So no there isn't a romantic angle to dumsor, but it's an indication of our wicked sense of humor.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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