Talk about Yin and Yang. Here is Black Panther movie, a positive view of the Continent that we often don’t see and then Christian Amanpour’s version of Ghana. Or at least what she choose to emphasis. Here’s Ghansah, the Ghanaian physician, photographer and self-taught poet’s, take on Amanpour’s “Sex & Love Around the World” documentary that’s currently airing on CNN. It appeared in the local Ghanaian press. It’s a long piece, but worth the reading. Enjoy this piece and decide for yourself.
It is Time
By Nana Dadzie Ghansah
May I rant?
“Sex & Love Around the World” is a documentary on love and sex by the award-winning journalist, Christine Amanpour. It premieres this coming Saturday on CNN. Like she said in an interview:
“From Berlin to Beirut, Tokyo to New Delhi, Accra to Shanghai, everywhere I looked I found people seeking — and craving — love, intimacy and sexual fulfillment. My quest took me to women and girls, who we so often dismiss as only victims of our patriarchal, misogynistic, hypersexualized culture, who were boldly seizing every opportunity for satisfaction and personal pleasure. I also found their evil downside: sexless marriages, industrial-scale infidelity, and loneliness.”
Go to the page on the CNN website that has been created for the documentary. One sees the thumbnails and can watch clips of the different episodes she shot around the world. Now compare the themes she addressed in Ghana versus other places outside the African continent.
It is rather evident that in Ghana, she chose to address negative themes like polygamy and infidelity.
In Lebanon she addresses divorce, she looks at love and intimacy among Arab refugees, she tackles transgender issues in India, in Japan she touches on the meaning of phrases like “Thank You” and “I love you”…but in Ghana, she grabs onto infidelity.
Now, why would she do that?
It is not like Ghana is the only place in the world afflicted with the scourge of infidelity or we have the most polygamous relationships. I can think of three countries in Asia and two in Africa that are way ahead of us in that category.
I have an inkling as to why.
It is the reason “National Geographic” apologized to people of color people a few weeks ago. It is the reason why we Africans are always depicted as irrational buffoons without an iota of character wallowing in the pits of our shitholes.
It is because, in her eyes, we Africans do not know love and sex for us is just a barbaric affair of taking the opposite sex. So why would she waste her time discussing things like “The rising and confident African feminists” or “Juggling sex, family and work in Ghana”.
No! That would be too human for us apes! What do we know about love anyway? So in Ghana, she looked for the “…evil downside: sexless marriages, industrial-scale infidelity, and loneliness.” I do not blame her though. I blame a continent that cannot tell its own story and has the myths and traditions of other places foisted on it. Yet, we have such a rich story to tell – of pain, glory, defeat, perseverance, betrayal, yes, love, sex, polygamy, and death. We have it all.
Come this weekend, Ms. Amanpour is going to show the world a young Ghanaian lady telling everyone how she sleeps with married men for money. Or the older woman talking about sharing her husband. Or the man worried about keeping his wife if he goes broke. Ms. Amanpour will paint Ghana with the colors of infidelity, polygamy, and deceit. And the world will gasp and have their misgivings about those shitholers confirmed. She may even win awards. Through all that, no one will hear of the three young ladies who recently made it to Ivy League schools from Ghana, the young women building their own businesses, those fighting for equality for women, those dying from childbirth, those working hard to take kids through school. No one will hear those stories. Of their love and sex lives. Then, you see, that will make us human, give us character and defeat the narrative. Now, who wants that?
Well, we do! We Ghanaians do! We Africans do!
Yet I do not despair. Such lopsided reportages will only help harden our resolve on this dark continent that, IT IS TIME. Time to make and tell our story with the nuances only a life nourished by a spirit birthed from pain, joy, hope and resolve allows. Nuances that are baked in the sun that burns brightly over the Equator.
IT IS TIME!
What is The Hand Book? It is a collection of photographic stories from Ghana and the African Diaspora of hands working, playing and creating. With these stories, Susan invites young readers and cultural explorers to think about the beauty and power of our hands to express love and labor and to hold memory.
What was the inspiration for The Hand Book? The book was assembled between 2014-2015 while Susan was teaching and doing research at the University of Ghana. But before living in Ghana, she had a fascination with hands. Writing about her grandmother she says:
I recall the touch of my maternal grandmother’s skin, soft from washing dishes but not delicate. Her hands were in service everyday, feeding, repairing, cleaning, and holding her grandchildren. They were as nimble from sewing a finely-detailed wedding dress, as they were strong from kneading dough for her famous Parker House rolls. In my Mama’s hands was an autobiography of love, loss, labor.
Drawn to the texture, tone and movements of hands, Susan focused her lens on them instead of the more obvious image. And because Ghanaian culture places great value on interpersonal exchanges, Susan used these conversations to write the text for the photographs.
Why are the photographs black & white? By printing the photographs in black and white, greater focus is given to the subject matter. It also encourages viewers to challenge their expectations of Africa’s cliché “vibrant” imagery.
Who is The Hand Book for? As an artist and educator, Susan wanted to gather visual stories that convey African/African Diasporan culture and inspire reflection on the ties that bind us as human beings. The Hand Book is meant to spark discussion, writing and exploration. Families can read it together, teachers can use in their classrooms, and people curious about the world can learn something about Ghana and the African Diaspora.
An April 28, 2017, MansaWear was one of the 8 artists invited by the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) of Rochester to present their artwork during its annual gala … An Artist Affair.
Each artist displayed their work on large banquet-style tables and provided diners an option to bid on the original artwork displayed. MansaWear featured table runners and unveiled 3 of its 2017/18 lineup on 2-foot dress forms, which also served as center pieces for the banquet tables. Diners were invited to bid on the sample outfits.
Each sample outfit represented on the table was a replica of an impeccable tailor-made outfit that would be specifically made for the bidder at her convenience. Since MansaWear is all about customization and mashups, you will have options to personalize the design such as changing the neckline, sleeves or even the print as it’s your style, your fashion statement.
MansaWear’s Cheo-Ana jacket was worn by Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, recipient of the 2017 Woerner Kollmorgen Community Service Award on Thursday, April 27th at Nazareth College. It was such an honor to see to Nydia greeting her guest in a MansaWear design, but the zenith of my gratitude was when she informed the audience where she purchased the jacket and acknowledged me in the crowd by making me stand up.
Thank you, thank you …. No wonder you are the 10th recipient of this distinguished award. Here’s to Nydia: a friend, an educator, a mentor, owner and artistic director of Borinquen Dance Theater, dance instructor to Mansa and MansaWear devotee. I’m so blessed to count you as a friend.
Photos taken by Greg Francis Photography.
Mother Nature has been teasing us about spring all winter long. But Spring has arrived with a thud and with it the advent of green beer, candy, cookies and all things viridescent. St. Patrick’s Day is here….do you have your green on yet? If not, stop by MansaWear to pick your green bracelet, skirt, top or several lovely dresses we have ready to go. Don’t get green with envy, get EVEN. #mansawear #custommade #handmadejewelry #woodinfabrics #woodinGhana
MansaWear boutique is now open 12 – 2:00 PM for easy holiday shopping! Exciting accessories await you as well as the gift everyone loves receiving — MansaWear gift cards that never expire. We’re still open on Saturdays & Sundays.
Coming straight from Fashion Week’s “Fashion on the Edge” to Temple B’rith Kodesh’s Fine Arts Show on Sunday, November 6th, from 9AM – 5PM. Stop by and check out all the #styles we previewed on the runway. Plus, get a start on your holiday shopping – accessories, hand-made jewelry and much more. Dazzled by the plethora of choice, you can always get a #giftcard #mansawearstyle #woodinfabrics #tellyourfriends and family. It’s a free event!
Go back to school in style by transitioning your summer look seamlessly to a fall one with your MansaWear bicycle skirt or top. It’s easy to revamp your wardrobe by mashing up sweaters, blouses and halters already in your wardrobe with a one or two MansaWear pieces. Go ahead, try it, it’s easy. #bicycle#skirt #summerlook #bicycle#skirt #falllook #backtoschool #style#fashiondiaries #fashionicon #fashionista.
Park Ave Festival is almost here and so is #MansaWear. Stop in and shop accessories, skirts, tops and dresses! Cool and chic, that’s how your summer style would be with our
Cool and chic, that’s how your summer style would be with our smock skirts, Alfie necklaces, button purses, Afia quilted handbags and purse, Toma bracelets, hand-knitted jewelry and much more. Don’t see what you are looking for? Just place your custom-made order. Turnaround time is only 28 days.
MansaWear is once again participating in Trillium Health’s “Turn the Avenue White for a Night” on Thursday, May 5th from 6:00 -8:00 PM.
Participating Park Avenue Merchants not only decorate their stores in white, but a portion of all sales made during that period are donated to Trillium Health to support its HIV/AIDS and other health initiatives. Dress in your whites,come celebrate spring on the Avenue and shop for a good cause. Look for the white balloons! Can’t wait to see you.