EXPLORE. CELEBRATE. PROMOTE. AFRICA.
My grandmother had a pub where wayfarers, fishermen, their wives, officers and anybody who had trouble or was looking for a little happiness would come, buy tots of the local gin, “akpeteshie” and start pouring their souls out. I would crawl under tables, eaves dropping and soaking it all in. When I got bored listening to them, I’d run to the beach, sleep in a docked canoe, play soccer with my friends, catch crabs or help some fishermen pull in their catch of the day. I grew up on stories. Now, I am a storyteller who uses the camera as his favourite medium. After five years in the world of advertising and winning awards every single year, I hanged my boots as the Executive Creative Director of TBWA\ Ghana and decided to pursue photography full time. I focus on Africa and so far have worked for Corporates, NGOs and magazines in Cameroon, Uganda, Angola, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, and Ghana. My work has been exhibited in Europe, Africa and America. I am part of the Instagram group: Everyday Africa. My clients include: UNESCO, Orica, Endeavour Mines, Marie Stella Maris, Nestle, CFA Institute, Olam, The Guardian, Geo France, The Financial Times, Getty Images, BASF, Nike, Arise Magazine, FIFA, IFAD, CARE, ActionAid, WaterAid, The Global Fund, Novartis Foundation, Vodafone and Philips. I live in Accra with the love of my life, Gloria and our three lovely children. Bio via http://www.nkaphoto.com/en/about.php FOCUS ON
Africa can rise but not when it prefers to sleep. Africa can rise but not when it’s afraid to hold its leaders accountable. Africa can rise but not when our leaders are quite content to sit on gold and beg for brass. Africa will rise from the day we stop blaming slavery, colonialism, apartheid and everybody else. We cannot change what other people did to us but we must question what we are doing to ourselves. Africans must start taking responsibility for the state of affairs on the continent. We must question the sources of people’s wealth. We must stop celebrating Africans who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars so they can park them next to rubbish dumps. We must start hooting at civil servants who live in houses and drive cars they obviously cannot afford based on their salaries. We must stop teaching our children that the only way to progress in life is to bribe your way through every hurdle. We must stop treating education as an end and start questioning our doctors, engineers, planners, scientists and professors on exactly what they have been able to achieve with their education?
Africa must rise and it must start with every single one of us.
Excerpt via http://africaphotographer.blogspot.com/ © Nana Kofi Acquah
WOMEN OF THE WORLD
“I come from a matriarchal society. Women in my part of the world are very strong. They make the key decisions. We say that a child gets the soul of their father, but they belong to the mother.
“The love of my grandmother, the lessons she taught me – and for my mother – made me consider myself as a feminist and put myself in a position to strongly push women’s issues, any time I can,” Acquah says.
And this philosophy informs the way he sees his own children, “For me, feminism is when we can create a world where a woman has the same rights as a man. I believe my daughter has the same rights as my sons.” © Nana Kofi Acquah Excerpt via http://www.nkaphoto.com/en/
Photo: Men watching a game of football in Ponsomtenga, Burkina Faso (Aug 2014).
Words also by Nana Kofi Acquah.
THE WAR IN EVERY MAN
The tragic hero is everyman. The frog in him finally buries the prince in him; if he’s not lucky. Days come when he can’t dare raise his eyes to look into a mirror because he knows the frog is poised and ready to barrage him with overwhelming evidence of his worthlessness: They both know what he’s done and where he’s been. Everyman knows what he’s done and where he’s been but must he allow that to define him? Is a man separate from his actions? Do the acts make the man? Do his whys matter?
Everyman needs his world to believe he’s the prince he claims to be. He needs his spouse to know he can be trusted with her hopes, her fears, her heart- her all. He needs his children to know he is beacon and bright enough to point them in the way they should go. The crave for a resounding echo of his manliness and royalty on the lips of those he loves and respects is not just an ego thing. It’s an identity thing; for it is dangerous for a man to come to believe he is the frog croaking at him in his mirror, when he desperately yearns for affirmation that he is the prince.
When the frog’s croaks crack through his night and desperate hours, the force of its hatred yanks everyman into the darkest corner of his cell; and the venom in the frogs voice weakens his will until he slumps in a defeated heap him in the faraway corner of his prison… and once again, he will need all the energy he can muster to come back out into the light, knowing full well that the frog will return. And deep down, it isn’t as much the return of the frog that scares him as his fear that he might finally believe what it says. It is sad to watch a man live his life, who has made peace with the frog in him.
So who is everyman?
Everyman is spirit. Everyman is dirt. Therein lies his problem and his hope.
He’s as comfortable in mire as a swine because mire’s what he’s made of; and yet he strives for the heavens like an eagle because he’s every bit spirit. But how can spirit and clay dwell together? Can fire and water share space? Can morning and evening sit at table?
Everyman deliberately must choose a side in the war that rages on in him. It’s wise to choose the side that’s bound to win.
The frog is loud. Its croaks will threaten to drown you many times over but the frog is mortal. The frog dies- with his struggles, addictions, accusations, guilt and nightmares. He dies. But spirit lives on.
The spirit in everyman is the very breath of The King. The spirit never dies. It only goes back home. Must the prince not return to his king and his kingdom? And would you not he returned victorious? I am every man… and I choose to be prince.
© Nana Kofi Acquah For more photos & words by Nana Kofi Acquah: https://instagram.com/africashowboy/
Focus On The Creative, Tru FireElectric