Home Isn’t Where Love Is: A look at the stabbing attempt on Stonebwoy.

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If Julius Caesar knew what fate had in store for him on the Ides of March, I’m sure he’d have had both Mark Anthony and Cassius arrested or barred from entering the chamber of the Senate. Despite the premonitions of his wife about him, Julius Caesar dismissed it, wore his robe and like the Emperor he was, walked into that chamber to conduct daily affairs. But, instead of him coming out impressed by the day’s proceedings, it was his lifeless body that was carried out. The man who loved Rome had been murdered in cold blood.

I first saw a link to the story about the stabbing of the wife of dancehall artist Stonebwoy on a website I’ve come to dismiss as peddlers of sensationalism. (I’ve fallen for their click bait headlines on a few occasions). It wasn’t until I saw a friend comment on a link to the story that I decided to click. It was true. Stonebwoy’s wife, Dr. Louisa Ansong was stabbed on Saturday during the ‘Ashaiman To The World Concert’ put together and headlined by Stonebwoy. A night that was to be a celebration ended up being bloody.

My first reaction was: Who Wanted to Stab Stonebwoy? More importantly: WHY?

Stonebwoy is one of the few artistes who is loved by all, not because of the incredible music he does (there are awards to show), or his amazing performances but, his respectful demeanor, a trait many who have met him reference. Stonebwoy’s rise to the top echelon of dancehall hasn’t been an easy one. His rag to riches story is inspiring. And as someone who distanced himself from the acrimonious ‘Who’s The Best Dancehall Act’ debate,  I wonder who was out there to get Stonebwoy.

‘The Ashaiman To The World Concert’ (ATTWC) was staged to celebrate his success with his home town folks. A proud Ashaiman lad, Stonebwoy hasn’t hidden his love for his hometown. Ashaiman is where his heart lies. Ashaiman is the town he bleeds. Ashaiman gave him what he has now (success, fame, respect). Ashaiman, like many ‘ghetto’ towns has earned a reputation as a tough town, where the animal kingdom rule prevails. Stonebwoy is one of the few public figures whose success attests to the fact that, the town does produce good people as well; that it’s not all gloom and doom in Ashaiman. So, going back after all these years to celebrate with them was a good thing.

According to reports, the event was a success until that point when the stabbing incident was reported. Apparently, the stabber(s) had split through the tent that was serving as the ‘room’ of Stonebwoy. According to the artiste, the knife was meant for him. Unfortunately, his wife rather became the victim.

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At this point, I asked myself: How was it possible for someone (or a group of people) to have access to Stonebwoy’s tent? Where was security?

Maintaining security has always been a challenge for event organizers, especially in Ghana when it comes to both indoor and outdoor events. It’s even worse when it’s a free outdoor concert. The crowd is mostly huge, making crowd control a nightmare. The venue for the concert obviously is an open ground, and judging by the turnout, it was free for all. Security may have been procured but may not have been adequate to control and pick out individuals who are there for mischief purposes. Don’t forget, provision of security comes at a cost too.

I recall in 2013 when Guinness Ghana hosted Akon, Big Sean and Wizkid at a concert at the Accra Sports Stadium. The security in place was enough, yet they got overwhelmed at certain points. The crowd even defied directives not to move closer to the stage. Even if Guinness Ghana, who are very resourceful (financially) had security officers stretched by the crowd, how much more Stonebwoy who may not have enough resources and hosting an event in Ashaiman? (I don’t mean no disrespect Ashaiman folks).

If security couldn’t be adequately provided by the organizers, personal security shouldn’t be taken lightly, even when at home (Ashaiman). Home love (protection) is no substitute for effective security albeit it could be of help. And when it comes to such free, open air concert, excitement does turn into mayhem at times. I’m often amazed at how fans easily jump on stage during performances with little resistance from the security. Sometimes, it’s a whole mob of fans; a dangerous situation if you ask me since anybody with ill intent could cause harm to the artiste.

According to reports, the stabbing occurred few moments before Stonebwoy took to the stage. Instead of cancelling it as many in his position would do (hi Kanye West), he went on stage to perform; to entertain the thousands who have supported his growth from his days as a young underground act trying to find his feet. The decision showed his mental toughness and how much he cherishes his fans.

There are obviously more questions to be asked from this incident. How did the assailant(s) get to his locker room or tent? What kind of security arrangements were in place to protect him, his family and friends? Who were these assailant(s) and what motivated them to cause such harm? These are questions police investigations may provide answers to.

This unfortunate and sad incident may influence other artistes to consider their personal security arrangements again and be extra cautious especially during open air concerts. Of course it may be costly but would you rather get maimed or killed when you could spend a bit more to secure your own life?

Stonebwoy may not know who was out there to get him. His wife was affected. This definitely would impact his future decisions. He undoubtedly loves Ashaiman. It’s where he comes from. It’s the place he calls home.

But, it’s worth reminding him and others that, the place we call home, where we go seeking for solace, where our hearts feel at ease may be a hydra headed dome. After all, home is where the love resides. It is also where hate lives.

 

 

 

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Prof. Ladé Wosornu is guest reader for the month of September.

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In our final public reading in the 2017 series, Writers Project of Ghana and the Goethe Institute, Accra proudly present for the month of September, a reading with surgeon and poet, Professor Ladé Wosornu.

Ladé Wosornu, professor in surgery (retired), is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a poet, essayist and columnist for The Ghanaian Times, writing on health and wellness issues. He has had a distinguished professional and academic career in surgery, practicing in Ghana, Zambia and Saudi Arabia. He is a a founding Fellow of the Ghana College of Surgeons and formerly a member of the National Council for Higher Education.

Professor Ladé Wosrnu’s specialty training was in chest surgery. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals, reflecting his input to surgical research and practice. During the Second Gulf War, he played a key role in triage for mass casualties. His expertise in the field of quality management was recognized by the W.H.O. which invited him to assist Sierra Leone with their strategic plan for postgraduate medical education. He was the first African to win the coveted Brunton Memorial Prize. As a poet, he won the V.A.L.C.O. literary award. His most abiding poems are Desert Rivers and The Master Brewer.

Professor Ladé Wosornu attended both P.R.E.S.E.C. and St. Augustine’s College and is a graduate of Glasgow University with Honours. He has Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Edinburgh & England.

He will be reading from his works, including the poetry collections Journey Without End and Other Poems and Celestial Bride and other Poems.

Join us as we host Professor Ladé Wosornu on September 27th for an informative and interactive reading. Copies of his books will be on sale.

Date: Wednesday, 27th September, 2017

Time: 7.00 PM – 8.30 PM

Venue: Goethe Institute, 30 Kakramadu Close, East Cantonments, Accra

Admittance is Free.

 

Press Release: UNCOLONISED Concert VOL.3 featuring VILLY & The Xtreme Volumes

VILLY   &  The  Xtreme  Volumes  are  back  with their  annual   concert   theme  ‘Uncolonised’.

Regarded  to   be   amongst   the   most   successful   concert   series   in   Accra, ‘Uncolonised’said is  expected  to  be  filled  with energy; to  be  filled  with  questions  and to  push the  boundaries of music and performance.  

We  are  dedicating   this   year   to   the   one   who   kickstarted   the   fire   for   us:   FELA KUTI, marking  his  20th   year  since  he  left   the  fight for  us  to  continue.  

THE  ONE  GROUP  SHOW,  WILL  BE UNFORGETABLE.

Date:  Saturday, 30th September, 2017

Venue: Alliance Francaise, Accra

Gate Fee:  30  Ghana Cedis 

Time:   8PM  Sharp.  

This event is powered by Blank   Creation   Entertainment  

Sister Deborah to Perform at ‘Life Is Eazi Culture Fest’, London

Ghanaian Afropop artist, Sister Deborah, will be performing at the maiden edition of ‘Life Is Eazi Culture Fest’, at Roundhouse, London on 23rd September, 2017.

Sister Derby, as her fans love to call her, captured global attention following the release of her sensational single ‘Uncle Obama’. With her mesmerizing stagecraft, funny and easy to sing along songs, The African Mermaid continues to excite fans through the release of songs such as ‘Ghana Jollof’, ‘Sampanana’, and her latest, ‘Never Leave You’.

Headlined by Afropop sensation, Mr. Eazi (who is the founder of the festival), according to Roundhouse, will showcase the art, dance, fashion and music curated by Mr. Eazi, culminating in a full-blown concert by the pioneering artist himself’. 

The ‘Life Is Eazi Culture Fest’ is an opportunity to witness what defines ‘Afropop culture’.

Listen to Sister Deborah’s latest single, ‘Never Leave You’, where she sings in Pidgin, Ga and Twi here:

by: Rahim M (@swayekidd)

Book Reading for August with Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe and Kwesi Amoak

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Writers Project of Ghana and the Goethe Institute, Accra proudly present a reading from The Unfinished Journey: Biography of V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, with the author, Kwesi Amoak and Justice Prof. V.C.R.A.C Crabbe, FGA.

Justice Prof. V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana. He has held various positions including, Director of the Commonwealth Secretariat Scheme for Legislative Drafting for the West African, Southern Africa and the Caribbean Regions, Senior Instructor at the International Law Development Centre in Rome, Italy, and has been a professor of Legislative Drafting at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of West Indies (UWI), Barbados. He was also a Senior Instructor at the International Law Development Centre in Rome, Italy.

Justice Crabbe acted as the Special Commissioner to the 1968 Constitutional Commission, Legislative Draftsman to the 1969 Constituent Assembly and drafted the 1969 Constitution. He again worked on the 1979 Constitution acting as the Chairman of the 1979 Constituent Assembly. He also worked on the Fiajoe Review Commission for the review of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and various Constitutional Commissions for Constitutions in Kenya and Zambia and Constitutional Advisor to the Uganda Government.

Justice Crabbe attended Accra Academy, the Presbyterian Secondary School, Odumasi, and later went to London to study Economics at the City of London College, Moorgate. In 1952, he was admitted to the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple to read Law and was called to the Bar on 8th February, 1955.

About the author:

Kwesi Amoak is a Documentation Specialist, ghostwriter, and journalist with expertise in Creative Education. Apart from The Unfinished Journey: Biography of V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, he is also the author of The Creative One: Life and Works of Jake Otanka Obetsebi LampteyQuest for Excellence: Biographies of 15 Alumni of LegonArise Ghana YouthSocial Accountability through Active Citizenship: The Shama Model and other publications. He has also ghostwritten more than ten books for clients in Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK).

Kwesi is the Executive Director of Mpuntusem Foundation, an NGO which focuses on the documentation of impact stories, relevant historical and cultural narratives.

Join us as we host Justice Prof. V.C.R.A.C Crabbe, FGA, and Kwesi Amoak on the 30th of August for an informative and interactive reading. Copies of the biography and other books will be on sale.

Date: Wednesday, 30th August, 2017
Time: 7.00 PM – 8.30 PM
Venue: Goethe Institute, 30 Kakramadu Close, East Cantonments, Accra

Admittance is Free.

Special Reading With Jide Adebayo-Begun at the 15th Ghana International Book Fair

 

unnamedWriters Project of Ghana on behalf of the Ghana Book Publishers Association proudly invites you to a reading and interaction session with Nigerian author, Olujide Adebayo-Begun, at the 15th Ghana International Book Fair.

The Ghana International Book Fair is organized yearly by the Ghana Book Publishers Association and collaborators for both the local and international book industry, to enhance partnership and provide a platform for trade. The 15th edition of the Book Fair will be held at the Accra International Conference Center from 24th — 27th of August 2017. Click here to go to the fair website.

The public reading with Olujide Adebayo-Begun as a guest author is dubbed, “Time With Authors”, and will take place on Saturday, 26th August, 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Jide Adebayo-Begun is a Nigerian poet, fiction, and screen-play writer. He is an alumnus and Fellow of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he completed an MFA in Creative Writing, and went on to teach English and Creative writing. Jide has also previously worked as a farmer and copywriter. His works have appeared in Kwani?, the Caine Prize Anthology, Chimurenga and Internationale.

Jide currently lives and works in Lagos as a film maker and writer.

Join lovers of literature on Saturday, 26th August at the Accra International Conference Centre for an entertaining reading session with Jide. Copies of books will be on sale. Admittance is free.

Date:         Saturday, 26th August, 2017

Time:       10.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Venue:    Corridor 1, Accra International Conference Centre

Admittance is Free.

 

Notes from Yoyotinz Shrine

For two days, the Old Kingsway Building at James town (for those unfamiliar, it’s next to Ussher Fort) was home to hip hop. Rappers, both semi-mainstream and up-coming, took their turn to thrill, selliing their artistry to the hundreds present within the graffiti blemished walls of this iconic ground.

The organizer of the event was Yoyotinz, a media outlet with interest in promoting Ghanaian brand of hip hop music and culture. For over four years, the Yoyotinz crew has put together what began as the Yoyotinz Block party to now ‘Yoyotinz Shrine’. The venue has moved from the Bible House area (‘Gbobalor Hip hop’), then to space close to the Post Office (with Yoyotinz Shrine). The Old Kingway Building has hosted two Yoyotinz event (Robosapien in 2016) and Yoyotinz Shrine this year. This current place is now the permanent home for Yoyotinz. The crowd has been growing each year like the Chalewote Festival from which the event takes its soul.

This year was the first year in my four year ‘Chalewote pilgrimage’ that I attended as an ‘observer’. The last three years were mostly to work- rigorously updating social media pages for those unable to attend follow the event, shuffling from one event to another just so I don’t miss anything of importance. This year was different. I was there to chill-lay back, hang out with friends, walk to other event venues at my own pace, not because it was urgent. The 19th and 20th of August were the days that I never really cared if my phone battery died because I was there not to work.

Aside the many shades of humans you meet (to put it aptly ‘mom ma yenka na Ghana mbaa ho y3 f3 (It’s no lie that Ghanaian girls are beautiful), the dope graffiti works, art installations, many food joints, open air bars and the many shops that lined the streets of Jamestown, I was impressed by how relatively easy it was to navigate through the crowd compared to last year. The organizers, AccradotAlt deserve some plaudits for taking the feedback from last year and improving on it. I know the debate on whether Jamestown could continue to serve as the ‘home of Chalewote’ or a new venue need to be found shall continue.

Aside these interesting observations, most of the things that appealed to me happened at the ‘Yoyotinz Shrine’, a stage for artistes to have a good time with both old and new fans. Yoyotinz is big on spotlighting newcomers. They have played a part in propelling some of them to where they are currently through publications, promotions and putting them on their stages. I must state that, I didn’t catch all the performances especially on Saturday 19th August but I saw the tweets and videos.

Kwesi Arthur with fans (photo by Kwesi Hassan)

First observation was the location of the venue. It’s the first activity spot you’d encounter on your way to the festival grounds, when coming from the High Street. Whether this factor influenced the choice of location or not, it without a doubt, became a shrine to visit (no pun). People came in there either on the grounds of curiosity or legit desire to witness some very remarkable performances.

Second has to do with the reaction of these fans when it came to new artistes whose music or set were outside the borders of hip hop. Case in point was when new act Sofie took her turn to perform on Saturday. The hyped audience, who had been treated to some dope hip-hop music courtesy the incredible DJ Vimtimz hours before, stood and watched the acoustic renditions from this young artiste performing this ‘strange’ music set.

AYAT in his element (photo: Kwesi Hassan)

From top: AKAN, FU & Bryan The Mensah (photo by Kwesi Hassan) 

The fans had the option of exhibiting their displeasure via booing or aloofness, which could have negatively punctured her confidence. No, they rather listened, applauded and hummed along to the melodies even if they knew not the words. This reaction, I’m sure did her confidence some good. Another artiste who got an impressionable ton of applause was reggae artiste/producer Oga Chux. 

                   Sofie photo by culartblog

This kind of patience from the fans is one of the nuggets of this event.
The Yoyotinz Shrine served as a ‘home’ for some artistes like Worlasi, Akan, AYAT. It’s always a great reception whenever they’d graced the stage. The fans go crazy, each time they step on the stage. Sunday, August 20th was not different. Kwesi Arthur knows how to get the fans going. Things got underway on a mellow note till he took off his white ‘Free The Youth’ inscribed t-shirt. Fever pitched performance it was. The estactic fans kept cheering, with some hopping on stage at some point. It was dope as hell.

     Guy in cap was came to party hard. 

The ‘Shrine’ serve as a platform to introduce new acts. Prior to the event, names like Tripp Nie, Abena Rockstar, Ntelabi (whose name I’ve heard but not many of his songs) among others were unknown to me. But, I became a fan of them both especially Tripp Nie. It was exactly on the Yoyotinz platform that I learnt of Haywaya two years ago. Today, he’s counted as one of the best rappers around.

Unfortunately, I can’t forgive myself for missing both the sets of Kay-Ara, Bryan The Mensah, Fu and the legendary Illa Shaaz (if you don’t know him, find him). From the videos I saw, it was super lit.

It goes without saying that Yoyotinz is doing amazing stuff. Not only are they documenting the hip-hop scene in Ghana through writing and visuals, such events like this year’s, help advance the culture forward. They connect artistes with both new and old fans. This helps grow their fanbase organically. The stage is also a confidence grooming one for young, up and coming artistes.

The good folks at Yoyotinz (Selorm Jay, Hamza Moshood, Esse and the other members) know how important the culture. And music is a powerful medium. By creating an avenue like the ‘Yoyotinz Shrine’, artistes don’t only get to perform, gauge the level of appeal for their songs and bond with fans, they help in saving the music that we love.

The crew at Yoyotinz may not be your quintessential A&Rs. But, their role in providing the outlet for up and coming artistes to showcase their talents and works is their way of supporting and sustaining the culture. KEEP THE YOYO Going.

All photos courtesy Kwesi Hassan (@the_KwesiHassan)