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Colourful streets and night life make Accra a visitor's dream

By unknown | Jan 02, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

After the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg, visiting Accra, the capital of Ghana, is like stepping back in time.

The idyllic sense of time standing still and the colonial ambience - Ghana was the first African country to sever its colonial ties to Britain - are fuelled by waiters wearing white navy-like uniforms, complete with stripes.

Add to this a Santa Clause suspended at the entrance of The Golden Tulip, my home in Ghana, and it's simply dazzling.

A walk through the streets of Accra brings me to the familiar Standard Bank, where I draw my first cidis, Ghanaian currency.

My first point of call is Orphanage Africa, where I arrive after visiting five garages in search of diesel fuel. We drive past the University of Ghana, which is alive with the sound of the youth radio station. Life is definitely going on here.

Everywhere you go, there are buildings going up. Most are incomplete, but they tell of their owners' larger-than-life dreams.

Eventually, we arrive at Orphanage Africa, a small village of thatch huts, some of which are falling apart.

Unfazed by their bare dwellings, the bright-eyed and excited children are happy at the unexpected treat of visitors. They sing, smile and generally show a desire for human contact.

The guest of honour is Damon Dash, he of Rockerfeller fame. Unlike his wife, he does not pick up any of the orphans.

The evening is an explosion of colour, music and dance. The models cheekily display designs by the likes of Ghanaian Ozwald Boateng, Nigeria's Deola Sagoe, South Africa's Stoned Cherrie and Alabah.

Singing their hearts out were Tic Tac and King Ayisoba, and Kojo Antwi. Individually, they brought the house down with their brand of hip-hop, world music and Ghana's home-grown sounds that reverberate in your mind long after the echoes of the last drum beat.

I was among those who felt cheated when Nigeria's brilliant comedian, Busketmouth, and the US's Mya, failed to appear.

The presence of the delectable eye candy that is Nollywood's foremost star and heartthrob, Ramsey Noah, more than made up for the no-shows.

As usual, my predictable sense of adventure saw my friends and I get into multiskilled visual artist Mustapha's car on blind faith.

The next thing I knew, we had been stopped by a traffic cop who chucked us out of the car after discovering that our driver did not have insurance, or vehicle and driver's licences. After a lot of wrangling, they left us stranded on a busy street in Osu.

Hours later, our artful dodger driver appears, triumphantly brandishing a form he claims absolves him from having to answer for his misdemeanours for the next couple of months.

I have never seen anyone so excited by a piece of paper.

What would a trip to Ghana be without trudging the long, colourful, congested streets of Makola Square, heavily adorned with tempting bhubus, fabrics, caramel cookies or anything that grabs your fancy?

I found myself bargaining up a storm at the market, pulled from side to side and strangely feeling like a thousandaire, thanks to the wad of cidis I possessed.

Never mind my excessively sweating face!

I just could not resist those exquisite designs, crafts and a Fugo shirt.

Night life in this part of the world is vibrant you can never resist the allure of clubs like The Office, Boomerang and Afrodisia.

Ghana is beautiful, laid-back, and almost crime-free if the unlocked cars with their wide open windows are anything to judge by.


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