Jamestown Cafe hosts ADESA Festival on August 24

With the birth of the new age, the good old days of storytelling, conversation among kinsmen, among others appear to be running into extinction…

To help rekindle this good old flame of natural and indigenous Ghanaian theatre, a fete of oral arts, Adesa Festival, has been instituted by Play House.kom & Philjoe Multimedia.

Adesa Festival planned to be an annual event, hopes to engage old and young artistes who are in the businesses of oral arts—storytelling, poetry, music, comedy, video screening and other spoken arts—in conversations, workshops, round table discussions, exhibition and performances.

In this year’s edition, legends & teachers of Ghanaian Folk & Spoken art as Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, Grace Omaboe (a.k.a Maame Dokono), Prof. Lade Wosornu, Dr. Mawuli Adjei and young artistes as Chieff Moomen, Oswald Okaitei, Nana Asaase, Nana Yaa Yeboaa, Nii Commey, Theophilus NII Adjei Badger, among others (who are blazing the new dawn trail) will be engaged in the diverse activities lined up for the festival. There will also be a symposium on Oral Arts.

The festival will also host Jamestown Reads! with Nana Yaa Yeboaa (a Ghanaian Children’s Book Author, poet & Nurse), Poetry Therapy with Naa Kwarley Dove, conversation with some old cast members & crew of the former famous Ghana Television storytelling programme, ‘By The Fireside’, Conversations with Resource persons in National institutions in charge of arts & acts in Ghana among others. Other activity to be seen at the festival will be Dramatic Reading by children of Achievers Ghana.

Another interesting segment will be a tribute moment for the creative legends/icons—Prof. Atukwei Okai, Dr. Kobena Eyi Acquah, Kojo Laing, Jewel Ackah, CK Man, Paapa Yankson & Nana Turkson who passed this year.

Martin Egblewogbe, host of the ‘Writers Project on Citi’, will lead a Round Table Conversation about how the dying flame of the Poetry Spoken word caught a new fire while Socrate Sarfo (Creative Arts Director—Programmes & Project, National Commission on Culture also engage the audience in another conversation on the role of the state in promoting oral arts.

The festival will climax with a myriad of performances from one of the oldest Ghanaian storyteller, Ama Boabeng, Chieff Moomen, Seyram, Nene Narh, Festus Dzogbewu, Oswald Okaitei, Shiloh, Neeno, Nana Asaase, Daavi Emefa, King Gali, Nana Yaa Yeboah, Fapempong, The Play House Drummers, Achievers Ghana among others.

The festival is set to take place on 24th August, 2018 at the Jamestown Cafe near the Ussher Fort, on the Atta Mills Highway, Accra. It starts 11am and ends at 9pm. The theme for this year’s edition is “The Oral Arts Revolution, The Role of Everyone”

“…Then when

The sun had fallen & the moon had woken up

From sleep & glowed,

We gathered in the village square under the moon shine

And danced, sang &

The orators chanted, ‘Pimpinaaaaaaa…!”

(From Oswald Okaitei’s ‘Pimpinaa’)

The slogan for this edition is “Pimpinaaa…Nanaaaaa!”.

My ‘’Wailing Pen” for an Economic Surgeon late Amissah – Arthur 

TRIBUTE BY MAXWELL OKAMAFO ASAMANI ADDO (PRESS ATTACHE)

There are two types of people who populate Ghana, those who make themselves and those who make history. History-making individuals are rare to come by. That is what my Boss late kwesi Amissah -Arthur stood for.

They are dominated by the desire to fulfill a noble goal. They think less about personal comforts. They reflect more on the common goal. Profit in worldly pursuits does not appeal to them. They stand by lofty principles and pursue them to a logical conclusion.

On Tuesday 26th June 2018 I had interacted with you in the office at East Legon and left for an assignment. On the same Tuesday when you got home you called me to come over to the House for further discussions.

These were his last words said to me before I departed. “Okamafo I know there have been challenges here and there after the 2016 general election. The loss of the election was very huge but the party is not dead even though no politician wants to lose a vote. Keep praying and let’s work hard.

On Wednesday 27th June we both attended the book Launch of Mummy Mrs. Matilda Amissah -Arthur titled My Journey at the Ghana Academy of Science and Arts Auditorium at CSIR.

Thursday I spoke to you only to be alarmed by an early call to your maker. But God knows best. I never knew you were saying good bye.

Papa you have indeed suffered from the Pestle Wielding Critics of Kwesi Amissah Arthur. When you were alive they formed an army of sponsored and self-appointed anarchists so diverse; many of them were attacking you. But in the face of severe provocations you allowed political maturity to prevail.

Papa most of them are mourning you today. When you were alive they were unrelenting, self-appointed activists, idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger; a distracted crowd who always fed on your name by attaching you to negativity for their personal interest. But you always said Okamafo leave it to God.

Especially the unintelligent people I describe as cynics who repeated silly clichés and too many intelligent persons wasted their talents lending relevance to thoughtless conclusions when they put things like this out there. When you were alive they criticized you out of ignorance. They abused you out of mischief.

Sir you proved to them that you were an astute politician, a clever, methodical and intelligent man, who was very adept at wrong footing all the persons who make an effort to second-guess or under-estimate you .You understood the game of politics.

As an individual who held the post of deputy finance secretary/minister for ten years (more than two terms of the current dispensation), and being in charge of the central bank during one of the longest period of stability for our currency since independence, it baffles political level-heads why people would want to undermine your political experience.

You became a victim of similar nefarious activities by some self-made political hawks as a Vice President but you were not worried when you received your fair share of such diabolic plots.

Rather you believed in solving the problems of Ghanaians without engaging in any unnecessary controversies that may only detract him from your core mandate.

Papa you proved to Ghanaians that politics can be played without rivalry and enmity. Today I see them wailing .The possible shoo-ins to replace Amissah –Arthur the man who had been largely flayed as almost bringing nothing of value to the Mahama ticket. But even where he was flayed for not bringing value, no one ever faulted you for bringing something negative to the Mahama ticket.

If there were ever a man that were worthy of celebration in the context of Ghanaian history, power and politics Papa you stand tall.  I must confess that I find it difficult to write about you simply because I’ve mentioned him so many times in write-ups over the years and there is so much to say.

The moment I received the news of your ascendance, Sir, my world caved in. My heart was torn into two, one was filled with heartache and pain, and the other died with you. Sleep still eludes me.

I am however honored and delighted to be able to share a few words about this great and profoundly good man who is not only a former Vice President of Ghana but also a great patriot and nationalist and an outstanding elder statesman.

Ghana has Lost An Epitome Of Integrity, late Kwesi Amissah -Arthur was an “icon of transparency and an epitome of integrity who lived an incorruptible life.”

I can say he was one of the nation’s shining stars and a frontline statesman who demonstrated passion for the unity, progress and development of Ghana. “Indeed we lost a great man, a patriot, leader par excellence and a shining star.

He is one of those that has stood firmly on his principles, displayed great fidelity and commitment to his cause and shown the world that Africa has men and women of courage that are consistent, true to their word and loyal to their leaders.

There are very few of leaders in this category. Some come like a comet, only to fizzle out like the foam from a detergent, some like a temporary whirlwind, only to be still at its short surge. Late Amissah- Arthur has been on the turf before 1990, unflinching, never waning, but increasing in strength and capacity by every minute of the day.

The history of the most reputable campaign for democracy in Ghana will not be complete without chapters devoted to him, so also will his style to deepen financial discipline will be incomplete without constant references to his name.

I keep wake at nights when the world is fast asleep, through the stillness of the dark; alone I take a walk down memory lane with tear filled eyes.

Sir, it would be the greatest ever story told of a kind and warm heart man, a loving and a caring and a consummate professional who had a generous heart of gold. Diction fail in providing the right words that would correctly describe your sterling qualities.

I could write a million pages yet unable to say just how much you gave yourself, your love, your resources, your everything; how dedicated you were to caring for your children and others around you.

You have left behind a legacy of detribalized leadership and a soil that was fertile enough to grow trees whose shade you would never enjoy.

I always say  Society sets certain standards by which people are measure and it is the conviction of every Ghanaian that if the nation cannot bequeath anything to Ghanaians at all, it must at least bequeath to them, a leader with a high sense of morality, uprightness and humility. That was the man Kwesi Bekoe.

You were a perfect example of what the people of Ghana were looking for was a humble selfless, truly confident intelligent, non-corrupt, God-fearing Vice President who was focused. You proved yourself.

A man well recognized for his many achievements and immense contributions to the polity, communal liberalism, growth, and general welfare of the people of Ghana. Beyond these, you were a humble man, dearly loved and respected.

As a democrat, you promoted due process in government and equity in public administration. a friend and brother, a great gift to the nation and people of Ghana ..

I describe you as pillar of Ghana’s democracy. “How are the mighty fallen! The pillar of our democracy has gone, the finest and the most credible political leader has gone.

I cannot be the same again. The gentleman who brought great intellectual touch to our politics and sustained our democracy has passed on.

You have died at a time when your wealth of experience and wisdom of an elder is required to strengthen the unity of the great NDC Party.

The life, times, and selfless service of such “courageous, cerebral, and incorruptible leader and patriot” should be appreciated and projected as a model for the political leaders, youth, the whole nation, and posterity.

Though we will miss you your elderly guidance, ideals of honesty, hard work and humility in service will remain fortitude to me.

It is left for those of us in the new generation of leadership to continue where and when he stops.  I will never forget how he touched my soul, how he stirred my spirit, how he moved my heart and how I looked to him for strength even when he didn’t know that I was looking.

He’s like the eagle that takes pleasure in flying directly into the rage of stormy thunder and rises above its frightful dangers.

He’s like the lion that sees conflict, danger and war ahead and yet plunges into battle with courage, pride and joy. He’s a great man of the Churchillian mould.

I will write and write again  because society sets certain standards by which people are measured and it is my conviction that as a former press corps member if I cannot bequeath anything at all to  the late former Vice President Kwesi Amissah –Arthur, I must at least bequeath to him, as a leader with a high sense of morality, uprightness and humility when it came to his press team.

That is what as an outgone member Vice Presidential Press Corps, I saw in Amissah –Arthur. These were the leadership qualities the former Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, had and proved to us as members of the Vice Presidential Press Corps.

We operated separately and were not part of the Flagstaff House Communication bureau platform for the dissemination of information. Meanwhile the Dean and the Vice Dean were from the Vice Presidents media team.

As his Press members, one did not need permission to see him for discussions. If I am not lost as his Press, we consistently met him on countless occasions when we had issues of our general welfare and observations. Beyond these, he proved to us what humility was so we learnt a lot from him. His press men were very important to him and we shared a lot of ideas.

If you were a security man, an ADC or whoever, you dare not cross the path of his press team. He met his team without staffers or aides.

Sometimes, he personally wanted to see the vehicles that were being given to his press when we were going for an assignment. That was the man. He made sure we handled our stipends personally including accommodation of our choice when we travelled.

After his exit, he has and still gets in touch with his press and remains a press builder of human social bridges.

I am persuaded that posterity will be kind to him and history will never forget his timeless contributions to the development of our nation. He will always be a reference point for all that is wholesome and good. May God bless him forever?

Adieu our leader! May your gentle may soul rest in perfect peace, Amen

ARABA SEY WRITES: When passion beats talent in career building

Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion or a strong desire,interest and belief in something.Its that spice that triggers or contributes meaning or purpose to talent and career discovery.

Many people in their daily lives find it difficult or struggle to realize their talent.In situations where talent becomes uneasy to be discovered, passion paves the way for a desired dream or career to be uncovered and exploited.

Passion gives you a focus and a goal to achieve and fight for.It sets the pace for a career goal for you when you are unable to discover your talent or settle on a career choice.

As mentioned in previous articles,the God factor is necessary in personal growth and career/talent development.Bringing in the God factor, passion can be aligned with faith. Comprehensively, both passion and faith call for a positive yearn for the accomplishment of a wish,dream,petition or goal. Faith and passion both define a strong belief in something.

Passion activates the disposition or temperament of faith to strongly believe in something or in the fulfillment of something which is of desirable interest to you. Passion coupled with faith urges you on to persevere during hard or tough moments in your talent journey or in your field of interest.

Passion creates a strong zeal or gives room for adventure,creativity and exploration. In the sense that, as passion is a strong desire and belief in something of your interest,you are moved to know more,experience more and find all routes and means to be successful in that field you are passionate about. Through this process, your drive (passion) pushes you to go deeper where you end up realizing certain hidden abilities or unearthing certain potentials in you that you were ignorant about. Passion fits in where talent fails or a person’s talent hasn’t been discovered.

In most cases, passion even gives life and motivation to talents.When practicing your talent becomes challenging that relentless passion for it keeps you striving hard and moving.

Though I fear to say,but talent with a passion that is dead is one that has already fallen on rocks.This is not to undermine or necessitate the insignificance of talent but to emphasize on the importance of passion also. The mere fact that you have a talent or have discovered a talent in you doesn’t guarantee success at the completion of your dream or goal. Through your journey of using your talent,struggles and challenges could trigger frustration and giving up but it’s passion that sparks the character or ingredient of perseverance,consistency and persistence in your expedition.

Passion is one of the greatest keys to an unfailing and successful talent or career expedition.To everyone struggling to discover your talent, focus or seek for your passion to build a career out of it. For all those who have realized their talents, grow with passion in your talent.

Achievements are gained with an inclusion of passion to your talent or goal.Passion arouses the ambitious character in you and makes you determined for success. Every talented person who has been successful did not do away with passion. Remember that, passion always beats talent where there are frustrations, losses and challenges.

 

Submitted

 

Reasons for UK Visitor Visa Refusals and Other Widespread Misconceptions

Let me start with a simple and clear warning: lying to a UK Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) by way of presenting fake documents or incorrect information is an immigration offence, punishable not by just a refusal or cancellation of already issued visa but also by a ban, which can be as much as for ten (10) years.

At Fortwell Solicitors where I currently work, I spend a lot of my time making representations to the Home Office (UK Visas) on behalf of clients, challenging their decisions and mostly arguing that certain refusals are unreasonable, unconscionable and that the Home Office has failed to follow the Immigration Rules appropriately.

In the last few months, we have obtained 100% success in all refusal representations we’ve made the Home Office—requesting for a reconsideration of their decisions for clients from Ghana, Uganda and several other places.

While it’s true that you have no right of appeal or administrative review when you are mostly refused a UK visitor visa, Entry Clearance Officers who assess visa applications get it wrong sometimes and end up refusing people who meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules and therefore shouldn’t be refused.

In such situations, we take up the casesand challenge the refusals by making further representations to the Home Office as part of a specified route to seeking legal redress, clarifying what the ECO probably didn’t understand or pointing him to things he should have considered—and thengetting the refusals to be overturned by a senior officer,an Entry Clearance Manager, for our displeased clients.

Having dealt with several UK visa refusals, I’ve established some common reasons why people are mostly refused visitor’s visas. This includes certain widespread misconceptions which somewhat land people refusals.

  1. The Amount of Money Needed in A Bank Account

For whatever reason, people applying for UK visitor visas get into the old deception of increasing their bank balance ‘inorganically.’ A lot of people are refused visitor visas because of large unaccounted for deposits in their bank accounts.

And this is because, there’s a misconception that you need to have a large bank balance to be given a UK visitor visa. So, people start depositing monies into their bank accounts, ahead of their application.

The requirement to provide a bank statement is to help the ECO ascertain your financial circumstanceand not to just note your bank balance. Therefore, you are required to provide at least 6 months bank statement, and this is for a reason. If your bank statement shows that you earn 1500 GHS a month, and somehow there are regularly deposits of large sums, the ECO will suspect trickery—an attempt to misrepresent your true financial circumstance and that’s a tick towards a refusal.

It’s unconventional in the UK or most Western Countries for anyone to be depositing monies in other’s account or running their money through other’s account. Hence, it raises suspicion if large deposits or transfers, either than salaries backed by payslips as evidence, are coming into anyone’s bank account without a reasonable explanation.

The applicable Immigration Rule, Appendix V: visitor rules, V 4.2 (e) states that you “must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.”

To meet the above requirement, you must also show the source of the funds in your bank account which you are presenting—any irregular deposits or activities in your bank account for the period presented must be explained to the satisfaction of the ECO.

This means, do not be depositing funds in your bank account, purposely for a visa or to deceive the ECO into thinking your financial circumstance is great when it’s not. You are likely to be caught and be refused.

You are probably asking how much is a reasonable amount to be shown. The answer is, that depends—but what’s important is the activities in your bank account and the picture it paints of your finances.

My wife (then girlfriend) visited me in the UK in 2016 without a problem when she was receiving 700 GHS a month in her employment—with a little regular sideincome from her bead bags and accessories business.

 

  1. Would You Return to Ghana At the End of Your Visit to the UK?

A lot of people erroneously think that the UK government or High Commission does not want people to visit the UK. That’s never true. The UK derives a lot of money from foreigners coming to visit and therefore they want you to come and visit the UK.

It’s reported that 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2016 and spent £22.5 billion. That’s a lot of money and the UK government wants even more.

Therefore, coming to the United Kingdom as a visitor is not a problem. What the UK government and every ECO is worried about is this: would the person go back to his or her home country after the visit, if he or she is granted a visa?

A lot of people have told the ECOs that they intend to visit the UK briefly and go back to their countries and never go back as stated. So,merely stating that you swear by God or Zeus that you will return to Ghana or wherever you are from after your visit to the UK is not persuasive enough.

An ECO needs more than your words and that’s where in assessing your application, an ECO will consider your social, economic/financial and family ties to your country of residence—to establish if you have things tying you to Ghana such that on balance of probabilities you will return to your home country.

If you are unemployed, you have no children, you are not married, you have no property, you have no savings, you have no investments, or nothing really is going on for you that ties you to Ghana, then you are highly probable to be viewed as likely not to return to your country if granted a UK visitor’s visa.

In a recent successful challenge of a visitor’s visa refusal for a client from Ghana who had a child, a savings, and was gainfully employed, I argued, inter alia that, “considering the applicant’s strong economic, social and family ties in Ghana which she has provided evidence of, it’s unreasonable and unfair that the ECO came to the conclusion that she will suddenly abandon all these including her young son, to become an overstayer in the United Kingdom with uncertain or no future prospects. This conclusion is unconscionable, on balance of probabilities, when examined in light of the applicant’s circumstance in Ghana and presented evidences.”

Here, the challenge was successfuland the refusal was overturned, because the client had several things tying her to Ghana and therefore the refusal on the basis that she will not return was deemed to be unfair.

In Sawmynaden (Family visitors—considerations) [2012] UKUT 00161 (IAC), the tribunal held that when assessing the eligibility for entry, entry clearance or further leave to remain as a visitor, the Entry Clearance Officer needs to take into account relevant factors such as the links that the one retains with his country of residence.

You need to show the ECO that you have links to your country, and as such you cannot reasonably abandon those to overstay in the UK.

  1. How Long Should You State That You Will Stay in the UK…

I get a lot of people asking me about the number of weeks or months they should put on their application forms as wanting to stay in the UK for. I find this weird, albeit, important.

If you want to visit the UK and return as claimed, then you should know how long you want to visit—and not be asking your legal representative about how long you should stay.

When you travel, several factors including your finances, the responsibilities or ties you are leaving behind and others determine how long you can go for. If you claim to have a job and state that you want to go and visit the UK for 4 months, is that not a red flag?

If you claim to be earning 1500 GHS and have a bank balance of 8,000 GHS and state that you want to go and visit the UK for 5 months, how would you be able to sustain yourself with this money for that long?

All I am stating is that, a genuine visitor knows his or her circumstance and will always state a reasonable number of days, weeks or months he or she intends to stay in the UK.

 

  1. Do You Need Someone to Send You An Invitation Letter for A UK Visitor’s Visa?

I recently visited China with my wife, and we were required to obtain a visa. We did not know anyone in China and yet we got the visa. It’s the same for every other country.

You do not need anyone to invite you to the UK before you can get a UK visitor’s visa.

You can come into the UK as tourist, and that’s what majority of the people who visit the UK are.

To come to the UK as a visitor, you will have to provide evidence of accommodation for the period you will be in the UK—which can be a hotel booking. You will have to show that you can maintain yourself while you are in the UK during that period and cater for emergencies if any arises.

In fact, I find it straightforward for people who are genuine visitors to come to the UK via the no-invitation route.

When someone invites you, your application is somewhat assessed in two folds: your circumstance is examined and that of the person inviting you is also considered. That’s ‘double trouble’ for you.

Free Legal Advice:

A lot of the people intending to visit the United Kingdom are mostly refused visas because they are unable to satisfy or convince the ECOs that they are genuine visitors—as in, their intention is purely to visit, they will return back to their countries after the visit and that they have the financial strength to afford the trip and maintain themselves while in the UK.

The most important elements to be met, for a UK visitor’s visa, are captured below, from the Immigration Rules, as:

Genuine intention to visit…

V 4.2 The applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine visitor. This means that the applicant:

  1. (a) will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
  2. (b) will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
  3. (c) is genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes (these are listed in Appendices 3, 4 and 5); and
  4. (d) will not undertake any prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10; and
  5. (e) must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.

Conclusion

If you have recently (in the last 3 months) been refused a UK visitor visa, and you want to challenge the decision, we are able to do this for you at Fortwell Solicitors. You can call us via +442033257030 or +447837576037 (Direct/Whatsapp) and ask for Vincent.

About the author:

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri is the Founding Editor ofGhanaCelebrities.Com , a Film Critic and a Human Rights Advocate; he holds 2 masters degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School–and also a degree in Law (LL.B) from University of East London.

He’s a Professional Truth Sayer and he is the author of the popular eBook “Success is a Right, Not A Privilege.”

He currently works at Fortwell Solicitors in London–where he uses his legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of his clients and humanity.

Contact: Vincent@FortwellSolicitors.Com or Vincent@TopVincent.Com

Submitted

Poet Oswald Okaitei pays tribute to Prof Atukwei Okai

Multiple award-winning Ghanaian poet and playwright, Oswald George Okaitei, has eulogised the late Prof Atukwei Okaifor his contributions toward the Ghanaian poetry industry.

JUST AS YOU ARE

(To Prof Atukwei Okai)

Introduction:

Prof. Atukwei Okai is one of the greatest poets in Ghana & Africa. He is associated with the trail blazer for performance poetry in Ghana & Africa at large. He has several poems to his credit, popular amongst them include “Logorligi Logarithm”, “999 Smiles” & “Rosimay”. Sad news of his death came on Friday, 13th July, 2018, after short illness. He died at 77.

This poem was influenced by two of his poems—“The Africa” & “Rosimaya”

Poem:

Just as you are, just as you are,

You struck our Friday

With sorrow, kept our Saturday with tears & wails

And sunk our Sunday unto its feet

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

You liberated this genre

Of ours from its shackles, lit it up with your flame on stage

And opened up its door to all

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

You raised a valley

Into an ancient mountain of pride & created a sacred

Shrine for it in this land, our motherland

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

You are the logorligi

Logarithm between Shakespeare & Einstein

And you’re the Creator & still the Created

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

You have crossed the last

Phase of this eclipse into a new sunrise & yet, eternalised

Your presence here amongst mortals

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

From Timbkutu to Accra

From Freetown to Abuja & from Moscow to all,

You still remain a wonder talisman in the shrine of this art & act

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

Master Weaver of words

Ancient sound of rhythms

Master Cast of the ever resurrected stage

Though your crossing

Of the veil of darkness brings grief

To our hearts &

Pools cloud of tears in our teary eyes,

That you lit the flaming light

Before this night,

We gather in dust & in spirit to ferry you

Into the new life

So let crying women cry

And our sobbing men continue to sob;

You are our fallen king,

You are our fallen hero!

Just as you are, just as you are,

You are not yet dead

Tsofantse Kpentenkple;

You have only, in this light of night, faded

—into a new life

So,

Fare thee well

You, Legend of the Poetry Concerto,

Rest in power

Einstein of this genre of our boast!

Note:

Tsofantse Kpentenkple: Ga phrase which implies “Great Medicine man”

 

Oswald Okaitei (c)

Oswaldokaiteye@gmail.com

The Poet is one of his mentees from same land of birth, Ghana.

LEILA DJANSI WRITES: Who said GOLLYWOOD?

Hollywood–the pinnacle of glam and wealth–the signature of success for anyone in entertainment.

Hollywood in California was once an agricultural village, an independent county/city with Los Angeles as its neighbor.

Filmmakers fleeing from the east coast and Thomas Edison sought a new central filmmaking location; the city of Hollywood was the smart choice. The sun was up long, it’s always sunny in California. The area boasted of varying landscapes, from deserts to mountains and even snow.

Above all, it was close to the Mexican border. If Edison’s men went looking for them for stringent rules and lawsuits, they could easily flee to Mexico and would not be extradited.

The city blossomed into a filmmaking hub and ultimately became known as the center of studio films.

When you say Hollywood, a noun, you refer to the center of powerhouse filmmaking. Same way when you mention the city of Chatsworth and film in the same sentence, everyone assumes you’re referring to the porn film industry.Yes. There is a section in Los Angeles that is considered the porn central of filmmaking.

There are films made outside of Hollywood that are called either independent films, micro budget etc. When you see a studio film, you know. When you see an indie or micro budget film, again, you know.

Bombay had the same set of characteristics as Hollywood. A city dedicated to Hindi language filmmaking. What was intended, as witticism became a serious and accepted name–Bollywood. Metonymy. Hollywood and Bombay, now called Mumbai are cities dedicated to filmmaking. The etymology dates back to 1932. When did Ghana receive independence? 1957? Ok. We’ll come back to that.

There are films made outside of the Bollywood Identity. Each has its style and traits.

Nollywood.

Simply called the Nigerian film industry until Matt Stainglass, in an article to the New York Times, came up with the sobriquet. Nigerians did not name themselves. The only person who can aptly define what he meant by Nollywood is Matt Stainglass himself. What style filmmaking was he referring to since there is no dedicated film hub in Nigeria? Nollywood celebrated Nollywood at 20 few years ago. Nigerians were making films long before Nollywood, which was born on the back of a film called Living in Bondage. A man importing VHS tapes was about to lose money when the importation was taxed high/banned. To sell his tapes, he made a film and put it to all the tapes. Ingenuity. That is how Nollywood was born. He birthed a genre within an existing industry. Filmmakers suddenly saw a quick and affordable way to churn out movies.

The name has been so adulterated; there is no real definition for it. Even Ghana films are called Nollywood. The sobriquet itself is just a form of imperialism.

There is now New Nollywood. To set apart films made with bigger budgets, better technology and a different style of storytelling. There are films like B for Boy by ChikaAnadu that do not wear the tagNollywood or New Nollywood. They prefer to be called Nigerian film to assist in a branding that is not judged sight unseen, based upon the style of filmmaking Nollywood has been known to represent.

Nollywood does not represent an industry, going by its etymology. It rather represents a style, a genre of filmmaking.

What then is Gollywood?

The etymology will be: Richard Boateng and a group of people woke up one morning and decided to name the Ghana film industry Gollywood, with absolutely no idea why they chose that name, and drag all films and filmmakers, kicking and screaming under this hole ridden umbrella.  It must have “wood”. Period.

Most of the people carrying the offensive photo are folks who have not made films in years. Those that do are not making the kind of films that fit today. Their transmission has been stuck in opera square mode since the VHS era. They are not abreast with the times or technology. So, if they are branding their style of filmmaking Gollywood, all well and good. Do not drag other films and filmmakers into the fray.

If they really wanted to carry everyone along, this seminar would have been a place to start the debate on what to call the film industry and the style of filmmaking qualifies to live under such brand.  All those who have worked under the umbrella of the Ghana film industry and would be affected by its brand would have been asked to vote.

The government is playing politics. Sharing money via ASOG in the name of film residuals. Residuals that filmmakers like me, Leila Djansi who has spent more than 3.5 million Ghana cedis in the past 8 years of making films in Ghana, have not received. Government releases the funds to ASOG and they men over there, products of Opera Square, share it among themselves. But the filmmakers making films that rake in box office and international appeal are left out. Because I do not reside in Ghana, I was not even aware I had residuals due me because it is all done in secrecy.

It is this same money sharing enterprise that birthed all these associations and people who organize one small workshop and quickly run to government for taxpayers money when our hospitals have no beds. Please use that money to import selfless doctors to help save lives in Ghana.

I was almost killed over the foreign Oscar submission board because a cross section of filmmakers thought I had been given some money by the Academy. I was not. I used my own funds and sponsorship from companies owned by my friends to fund the workshop and submission process.

It all boils down to “something small to chop chop”.

When Richard Boateng formed the Film Directors Guild of Ghana, I was in Ghana on a visit. He invited me to the launch. I went. I returned the invitation and he came to my home in the Volta Region. I remember telling him to seek after the interests of film directors – welfare, pension, distribution, and education. It went into one ear and came out through the other.  To be fair, most of the working directors failed to show up to the event because ‘who is Richard Boateng to convene this without seeking my consent.” It occurred with the Oscar workshop. Some working filmmakers did not show up. They were feeling too important; it wasn’t their idea to control. Ghanaians are very quick to call peoples humility into question because they themselves are not humble. We are a proud and arrogant people. Which is why we always look out for humble people we can control.

I am of Ghanaian descent; I have made three films in Ghana and about Ghana that currently live on mainstream distribution platforms. I do not want to be called a Gollywood filmmaker! I do not want any of my films to be called Gollywood. Being a black woman with an accent in Hollywood is a challenge. You have to prove yourself and be twice as good to get a quarter of what others have. Do not muddy my waters.

Identity of an industry is not only in its name. It is content. Waakye on wheels is not popular because of its name. It is popular because of its taste. Let us first determine the identity of a Ghanaian film, and then we can talk about nomenclature– if Ghana Film Industry is not good enough.

And to Ghanaian filmmakers crying foul over the name. Unity. Unity, my friends. I recall an actor’s guild called Equity that failed to launch. Another actress, speaking to me said if she weren’t going to be the president of the association, she would stand against its formation. There is the crux of our problems. “It must be me. I must be the center of attention.” We like recognition way too much! We consider Kumasi and opera square filmmakers illiterate but they are way more united and that is why they can organize a seminar and give you a colonial identity, that is why they can share ASOG residuals and leave others out. It’s Book-long aka pride and greed. Bickering, gossip and rip each other apart. Instead of being partners in progress, we are rivals in competition. I am personally so cautious of Ghanaian filmmakers based on numerous bad experiences; I stay away from them entirely. No love, no trust. How is this fixed?

To Madam Catherine Afeku. To adequately support/build the film industry, you need all voices at the table—Leaders of the industry should be not appointed by political appreciation. A thorough representation of all branches and genres of films and filmmakers is needed. Hear from all of us and shape the industry in such a way that will benefit the country. Surrounding yourself with a few greedy people who have only gained and not contributed anything to sustainability of the industry is sad. They know next to nothing about how a film industry should be ran or organized. Look at their tax returns, their books and contributions before you seek advice from them. Look at the type of films they have put out. If that is what you want to identify the Ghanaian life with… by their fruits. Judge them by their fruits.

ABOUT LEILA DJANSI

Leila Afua Djansi  is an American and Ghanaian filmmaker who started her film career in the Ghana film industry.

She took a job with Socrates Safo’s Movie Africa Productions where she worked as a Writer/Line Producer. Whilst with the company, she wrote Ghana’s first Gay/Lesbian rights screenplay The Sisterhood, the film that included the late Ghanaian screen actress Suzzy Williams. Djansi worked with the state owned Gama Film Company, where she wrote and produced Legacy of love.

In the United States, she established Turning Point Pictures, an independent production company geared towards social issue films.

Djansi’s first film was awarded a 2009 worldFest Platinum Award for the film Grass Between My Lips, a story of female circumcision and early marriage, set in a northern Ghana village.
In 2010, her debut feature, I Sing of a Well was nominated for 11 African Movie Academy Awards. The film won 3 awards: Best Sound, Best Costume and the Jury Special Award for Over-All Best Film. In 2011, Djansi was presented with the BAFTA/LA Pan African Film Festival Choice Award for the film I Sing of a Well.

Djansi’s 2011 film Sinking Sands received 10 African Movie Academy Award nominations, with Ama K Abebrese winning the Best Actress Award and Djansi earning the Best Original Screenplay Award. At the first Ghana Movie Awards in 2011, Djansi’s Sinking Sands received awards for “Best Art Direction”, “Best Costume”, “Best West African Film” and “Best Picture”. Sinking Sands was nominated in 14 categories.

Djansi 3rd directorial effort Ties That Bind received a Black Reel Awards Nomination in 2012. The film also won the Best Diaspora film at the 2012 San Diego Black Film Festival.

In 2016, Leila Djansi directed Like Cotton Twines an exploration of the practice of Trokosi in her native country of Ghana. The film was nominated for “Best World Fiction Film” at the Los Angeles Film Festival

Djansi’s work and contribution to the Ghana film industry has been recognized by UNiFEM Ghana, The African Women Development Fund, The Ghana Musicians Association and other social issue minded communities.

 

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YALDA 2018 i-Boot Camp slated for October 24–28

Through the theme “Africa in the Digital Age: Youth Bridging Physical Integration through ICT”, the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) recognizes the fact that an innovative and connected Africa can only be fully realized if the continent takes advantage of its human resources which are characterized by a large population of the youth.

‘’Thei-Boot Camp, where the i serves as a reminder that at YALDA we are here to inspire youth to innovate and implement ideas that will have a positive impact on our beloved African continent”

The camping will therefore create a platform whereby the youth can propose innovative strategies beyond conventional approaches that take into consideration rapid digitisation when implementing their ideas. YALDA seeks to support state-level processes by enhancing the continent’s innovation through a bottom-top process that places the youth at the center of rapid digitisation through social entrepreneurship, mentorship, and youth engagement programs.

The YALDA 2018 i-Boot Camp will be held from 24th.– 28th.October, 2018 and will  engage and empower 350 youth to build viable and sustainable digitally savvy enterprises across African borders in a high intensity and fast-paced environment, thereby enhancing rapid digitization from the bottom-up. The i-Boot Camp will incorporate YALDA’s previous i-Boot Camp structures encompassing four key areas:

  • Industry specific panel discussions;
  • IDEA labs; workshops focused on refining ideas and refining skills, and
  • Site visits to youth-led projects and businesses acrossMorocco.

BENEFITS:

  • Delegates will be given an opportunity to present their unique ideas to industry experts for constructive feedback during the industry panel sessions, in which they will also receive further leads for more support in the idea implementation stage
  • Some of the best ideas/initiatives under the respective panels will be rewarded with a sponsorship package to kick-start the initiative in the community of the winner while promoting the very theme of the i-Boot Camp
  • Delegates will have an opportunity to network with Africa’s leading professionals across various sectors and build relationships with their peers from different countries

THE MEDIA :As communication is a very vital part of rapid digitisation, we want to ensure that all brilliant ideas from all over the continent are extensively covered by both local and international media and shared online through the various social media and that language is not an impediment. All documents and summary presentations will be available in multiple languages.

E-PARTICIPATION : Additionally, YALDA will continue to offering e-participation that we recently offered at the YALDA 2016 i-Boot Camp that was held in Cameroon. This will allow delegates who are unable to travel for whatever reason the chance to register and participate online through audio live streaming, video streaming, online communications/feedbacks including live feeds on various social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, MindMixers andVimeo

OBJECTIVES: YALDA’s objective for organizing this year’s i-Boot Camp in Rabat Morocco is centered majorly on these key areas:

  • To GenerateInnovative Ideas; wherein young people across Africa would be encouraged to cultivate the willingness to actively use the internet to seek solutions for challenges faced by their communities, nations andregions and also provide digital tools for young people to facilitate creativity and to think out of thebox.
  • To Develop Concrete Implementation Strategies forIdeas;This wouldenable young people to receive feedback from their peers and professionals on the implementation progress of theirideas, provide meaning analysis, constructive critiques about their business ideas and Assist in the development of tangible goals to ensure careful project or business planning that clearly articulates the critical assumptions key to the success of the initiative.
  • ToUp-Skill;where delegates would be equip with the necessary skills to capacitate them for the digital development of their own business/socialenterprises.Give delegates the opportunity to develop mind-sets conducive to pursuing their objectives. And also give participants online tools that will enable them to share their i-Boot Camp experiences with their fellow peers long after the i-BootCamp
  • To Expose toResources;Award the best ideas with funding and other resources so the participants can implement their ideas immediately following the i-BootCamp.Give participants access to potential technical advisors for the successful guidance and capacity building needed in the effective implementation of theirinitiatives
  • To Network; Foster respect, appreciation, and a spirit of collaboration between young people of diversebackgrounds. Provide a range of opportunities to build mutually beneficial relationships with peers andprofessionals.

YALDA believe the crux of this i-Boot Camp is to enable young Africans to take advantage of the rapid digitisation occurring all over the continent and ultimately, to have an Africa developed by Africans. Creating awareness is the strongest foundation for prosperity. Thus, by sharing lessons from past experiences and developing enterprises to address the technological advancements that are being made and can be made in the future, young people will be instrumental in strengthening digital development and synchronising efforts for a technologically integrated Africa thereby contributing to the prosperity of our Africancontinent!

North Hills School holds maiden Speech and Prize Giving Day

North Hills International School (N.I.S.) located at North Legon, Accra, has held its maiden Speech and Prize Giving Day which was characterized by the awarding of huge scholarship packages to its brilliant pupils and the overall best teacher of the 2017/2018 academic year.

The event which took place on Thursday, 28th June 2018 at the school premises was under the theme: “Promoting Academic Excellence Through Holistic Education.”

At the well-attended event, seven (7) pupils were awarded 50 per cent tuition scholarships—an initiative instituted to encourage the other pupils to make efforts to excel in their studies and push the borders of academic excellence.

Beyond the tuition scholarships which went to seven (7) excellent pupils, the beneficiaries also received bank accounts at NIB, sponsored by the bank with a free initial deposit of 200 GHS each meant to highlight to parents the importance of early savings for their young children and wards.

Teachers of the school who have made an impressive mark with their teaching were also awarded plaques and various parcels—with the overall best teacher taking home a full scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in any University of her choice.

The maiden Speech and Prize Giving Day was graced by numerous dignitaries. Among them were DrAduBoateng (Director of North Hills International School and CEO of Endpoint Homeopathic Clinic), Professor OpanyinAgyekum (Ag Dean, School of Performing Arts – UG, Mrs Olivia Asante (Educationist), Beverly Afaglo (Actress) et al.

In a welcome address, the Head Teacher of the school, Mrs Emma Opoku, traced the history of the school from its humble beginnings to the present day when the school has been consistently maintaining good academic performance, adding that it would not have been possible without its disciplined and dedicated staff.

MrsOpoku said the school commenced with a total of 96 pupils on 5th September 2017 but could now boast of 109 pupils while the teaching staff stands at 23.

The Guest Speaker of the occasion, Mrs Olivia Asante, a lecturer at the University of Education – Winneba (UEW), appealed to parents and teachers to help their children and wards acquire the 21st century skills’ set, which includes critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, initiative, technology literacy, collaboration and teamwork, among others.

She noted that without the aforementioned skills, children would not be able to successfully participate in the global economy and wouldn’t be prepared for further education and work.

This, she said constitutes academic excellence.

Parents present at the occasion expressed delight for the good work done by the school’s management.

There were several displays of talents by the pupils which included poetry recitals, cultural dance, taekwondo, choreography, etc.

About the School:

North Hills International School is approved to run the highly sought after Cambridge curriculum alongside Ghana Education Service (GES) curriculum.

The school has highly trained tutors and expensive yet necessary educational facilities that you wouldn’t find all in one place at most schools in Ghana, even the highly rated ones.

North Hills International School has on campus guarded swimming pool with a professional swimming instructor, a basketball court, a lawn tennis court, a spacious library stocked with needed books, an up to the minute computer lab, a modern football pitch, and a fully equipped colourful playground for Pre-School.

The classrooms are not just conducive for teaching and learning; physical class sizes are super spacious, an administrative cap of a maximum of 12 students per class for the Pre-School and 15 students for the Primary and Junior High School has been instituted—to enable the teachers pay the much-needed attention to each student in a class.

The school currently has the following; Pre-School Stage, Primary School and Junior High School–and the school has air-conditioned buses that pick and drop its pupils daily.

 

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Harruna Attah Writes: Kaakaamatobi and Bedlam

He goes about with a mask on his face, stalking and exposing his quarries to the public, without exposing his own face. The other hacks away at his, whoever they are, in the full glare of the media, without mercy, sense or sensibility.

Between the two of them, the portrait of Ghana that is emerging is one of stage-managed (in)justice, of irreverence, farce and the confusion of Bedlam***. A nation of people getting ever closer to becoming the Yahoos of Jonathan Swift – those odious, pernicious creatures without any saving graces.

Kaakaamatobi, as we all know, refers to masquerades who appear on our streets during festive occasions like Christmas, Afahye and others. Their masks and brightly coloured costumes stand out and the masks can be terrifying with many a child running screaming to its parents for protection on seeing them – I used to! Kaakaamatobi is essentially flippant subterfuge (disguise) and not surprising, though meant to be fun, can also be frightening…

What many people may not know is that Bedlam is the very original madhouse which has gone into the English language as anything to do with disorder, and well, madness. Mental health, I know, is a human condition not to be trivialised or trifled with, but the manifestation, at its most developed stage, can be diagnosed as “criminally insane” and palpably dangerous to society…

Between Kaakaamatobi and Bedlam, a defining agenda for Ghana is emerging. This article is not ascribing names, and rightly so, because it would distract. The intension is neither to expose nor attack anybody but to think aloud…

On the issue of kaakaamatobi, we will recall when Dr. Daniel Ellsberg got hold of the “Pentagon Papers” some decades ago, he shared them with the public without covering his face. Two of the most celebrated journalists in the US, Woodward and Bernstein pursued the Watergate break-in with their faces known to every American and the entire world. It culminated in a President losing his job.

And in recent times who does not know the faces of Julien Assange (Wikileaks) and Edward Snowdon (Whistle-blower), taking on the might of US intelligence and government? The exposure of the Mossack Fonseca hidden accounts was achieved without any journalist covering his or her face and we got to know about the billions stashed away in secret accounts by all manner of people including African politicians.

Journalism can be dangerous and sadly many have lost their lives in the pursuit of their assignments, and it is right they adopt self-preserving strategies in the line of duty, but they also owe the public disclosure.

Films and images of warfare going as far back as WWI and before, have been brought to us by courageous journalists who have been embedded with armies with only cameras as their “weapons” and exposed faces, with deadly live ammunition flying all around them. A most terrifying prospect…

Journalists must not wilfully expose themselves to life-threatening dangers, but part of their pact with the society they claim to be serving is integrity and accountability. Just as they feel it their duty to be the watchdogs of society and expose others, accountability requires them to face that society openly. Kaakaamatobi has no place in that pact.

We remember the likes of Tommy Thompson, George Naykene, Kweku Baako, Kwesi Pratt, Ben Ephson, Eben Quracoo, Kofi Coomson, and many others who faced the period and immediate post-period of the Culture of Silence with their faces known to friend and foe alike. They were shit-bombed, jailed and persecuted. In the process, they helped engineer the media freedoms that Ghanaians are enjoying today…On the international scene, my personal favourite is Nima Elbagir, the beautiful young Sudanese lady working for CNN who has done some of the most spine-tingling reports, including one on modern-day slavery. There is also Ross Kemp, whose speciality is covering mean gangs and other dangerous assignments. And of course, Rageh Omaar and many orders…We know their names and know their faces…

The media scene in Ghana is now so cacophonous that anything goes. Pluralism? I don’t know… but for a legislator to use the airwaves to hammer his perceived enemies or political opponents, is to hammer the Freedom of Expression. And to use it to lambaste “enemies”, even including a senior officer of our armed forces with the Commander-in-Chief remaining silent, is going a bridge too far. For an envoy-designate to be captured making stridently partisan threats regarding his appointment and still be confirmed, all such things just add to the Bedlam. Some “Men of God” have made the most ungodly of effusions on the airwaves and been applauded by their followers. Gratuitous insult, calumny and bad manners rule the media…What about politicians, who should lead the way in the use of measured and well-tempered language, now competing for medals in the nugatory games of offensive verbiage? Bedlam all round!

Private Investigators (PI), Investigative Journalists, Undercover Agents, Whistle-blowers, all add to the mix but the bedrock of journalism, when all is said and done, still remains good writing. Journalists must be able to put their facts together and without the fanfare of a kaakaamatobi or hubris of a Bedlam inmate, write it out to be read or spoken. The advent of the “social media” does not negate or invalidate that…

As Ghana continues to grow her democratic traditions, the danger of throwing the proverbial baby away with the dirtied bath water is also becoming a clear and present danger. That little voice of reason we call the “Rule of Law”, is gradually being drowned in the rule of Kaakaamatobi and Bedlam.

The potential Houyhnhnms among us far outnumber the Yahoos and playing that potential up, may yet hold the answer to our underdevelopment and not the rule of kaakaamatobi and Bedlam.

An ironic postscript to this commentary is that Kaakaamatobi and Bedlam are now locked in an embrace of self-destructive combat – an opportunity, perhaps, for the rest of us to transcend them and move into a gentler, caring and enlightened Ghana.

***For the avoidance of doubt, my take on “fighting corruption” will come in a future commentary.

By A Harruna Attah, MOV

Araba Sey writes about discovering your talent for personal growth and career development

The reality and interesting thing is everyone has a talent.The knowledge lacking in the minds and thoughts of people is how they define it and how to find or discover it.

Talent is when you are exceptionally good at something,or have the natural ability to flow or do something deftly. Ordinarily when we mention talent what promptly comes to mind are singing,acting,dancing,rapping,sporting and drawing.The mindset of most people is that, if you don’t possess any of these then you aren’t gifted or talented.

Talent is actually that gift you possess that gives you the mastery to do things effortlessly where others find it difficult to apply the little knowledge they hold in those areas.The reason why most people think they don’t have any talent or find it difficult to realize their talent is because their thoughts are narrowed to only a certain category of abilities they tag as talents.

Talent in actuality extends over a wide area of which most people are eminently ignorant about.The propensity with which you become expertly inventive or original in a particular field makes you talented. Talent is associated with creativity,originality,uniqueness,doing things out of the ordinary and a facile flow of idea generation or skills.

In situations where you instantaneously display,apply or give off your best, that becomes  the field or area that defines your talent.There are different kinds or forms of talent.In areas where you debate on issues or incidents expertly without grooming, that is  your field of talent.Being able to influence or convince people to buy into an idea,project or product becomes your talent sphere.That makes you naturally talented  in marketing or selling. When you are particularly skillful,experimental or contribute immensely and easily with great interest and credence over others in a peculiar domain, that makes you talented in that domain.

Besides that,occasionally something needs to also stir up that talent in you.Sometimes, when realizing your talent becomes strenuous, your passion also helps you in discovering a talent in you. Passion is that drive that sparks that trigger in unleashing that talent in you.When you develop a passion for something, you realize it propels you to do things out of the ordinary and makes you flow assertively in that distinct field.It is usually that mystery to unveiling or uncovering a talent in you.

Many a time, people repeatedly say they do not have any talent or do not know what their talent is.Each and everyone possesses something unique.It’s not only about being able to sing,dance,act,draw or being skillful in a particular sport.Your talent is or your talents are the things you do effortlessly without any struggle or training.

Some are able to discover their talents beforehand or easily.Other talent discoveries come with being adventurous or exploring.Trying your hands on different things can help you to identify or discover your talent sphere.Talents can be unveiled during your education experience in relation to the courses you study in school,the extra curricular activities you participate in,some of your interests and various work experiences.

 

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