Showing posts from October, 2017

Vlog: A Blogging workshop at Pa Gya - Literary Festival in Ghana

Blogging - by far - is my biggest passion at the moment and so it was a great honour to be able to represent Blogging Ghana (the Ghanaian association for blogging and social media enthusiasts) at this year's Pa Gya literary festival in Accra.
Pa Gya is a literary festival, which was jointly organised by the Writers Project of Ghana and the Goethe Institut, and hosted by the Goethe Institut in Cantonments, Accra between 20th October and 22 October 2017. 

Bookworm's fantasy I would describe the three-day event as any bookworm's fantasy - second to my deep-seated desire to be locked in a library!!! Although low key, the event brought together the cream in West African literature, seasoned novelists, poets, aspiring writers, publishers and cartoonists. It also gave attendees a chance to get up close and personal with their writer heroes.
African writers Mine were the venerable Ama Ata Aidoo and Nii Ayikwei Parkes, who I had the pleasure of interviewing in 2015 at the London-based …

Podcast: How important are facts when producing films on Black history?

Three years ago (in June 2014), I was on the verge of walking out of 'Belle' - the second film by award-winning British-Ghanaian director Amma Asante. This film was inspired by a painting in Kenwood House, Hampstead, London, which featured Dido Elizabeth Belle - a biracial woman born to enslaved African Maria Belle and English officer Admiral Sir John Lindsay in Jamaica in 1761.
The painting is particularly striking because unlike many from that time, which showed black and Asian people in subservient positions next to their white counterparts, Belle holds almost equal status to her white cousin Elizabeth.
I say almost because although both ladies are dressed finely, Belle is positioned ever so slightly behind her cousin. 
The difference is subtle but that, for me, is the story of Belle's life! She does not quite fit into any complete narrative, and inconsistencies in her life story, position her as a powerfully enigmatic and mysterious character. Just like her infamous painti…

‘Trouble in Mind’ – a review of a timeless US play

Alice Childress’ play ‘Trouble in Mind’ is the ultimate conundrum for those of us who face racial discrimination and are forced to navigate the sometimes uncertain road of being black in a white world.
Do we laugh at the unfunny jokes sometimes made at our expense just to fit in and get by? Do we grit our teeth when the unsolicited gaze on our black bodies lingers way too long? What about when that unwanted hand rests lecherously on our knee with intentions to wander and we do nothing because we need this job to pay the bills? Or do we speak our minds regardless of the consequences, knowing that our hopes and dreams may fade and we will be that solitary but brave/foolish figure speaking out.
Directed by Laurence Boswell, this version of a Childress play reflects that internal struggle in the mind. But it also shows the external trouble that voicing these feelings can also cause through an arresting exploration of identity, power and ambition - set against a backdrop of racial stereoty…

Perspectives on mental health - your stories

The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day and as part of the day, I wanted to share some of the mental health challenges people in our communities have told me over the years.

Mental health and poetry - one man's story

I start with a frank interview with aspiring poet Tetteh-Kwesi who lives with dyspraxia and undiagnosed psychosis. He talks about how he has had to grapple with understanding his conditions, navigating manhood, relationships and how he has been received by the NHS and the police. He talks about his love of poetry and how writing poems has helped his to navigate this often challenging world. Click here to listen to his story.

Misdiagnosis and mental health - one mother's journey

In this piece, mum-of-two Jayne talks about her journey to discover why her perfect daughter Ann-Marie was initially misdiagnosed by the health authorities.

She also talks about her faith, determination and the foresight of a Ghanaian doctor resulted in a positive outcom…

(3) Africa 53: Neocolonialism, homosexuality and Africa

Imagine the stories, the knowledge and the political, economic and social oversight you would have if – like lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade – you had travelled to 53 African countries? 
Dr Ogunade’s travels across the continent have been largely due to him working for the African Union. During his travels he has fought for the rights of Black Mauritanians to remain in their country after the government ordered their expulsion in the late 80s. 
He is now working to develop a watchdog body that aims to monitor and ensure the African Union delivers on its set objectives.
I spoke to him to learn more about his experiences, which has been broken down into three podcasts. In the final and third podcast instalment here, Dr Ogunade talks about the rise of Asian investment across Africa, the controversial topic of homosexuality and its place on the continent and his future business plans.
You can catch up on the previous two podcasts below. The first episode features Dr Ogunade who talks ab…