by: michael eli dokosi/blakkpepper.com/ghana

Having started small in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman in his attempt to find balance for technology, entertainment and design (TED), TEDGlobal conferences have become a global phenomenon attracting influential audience from many different disciplines united by curiosity.

Expanding from its California roots, speakers from scientists, philosophers, musicians, business, religious leaders and philanthropists have mounted TEDx global platforms delighting founder Richard Saul Wurman and partner/curator Chris Anderson.

It was only a matter of time before Accra had her turn and host it did in 2015. Based on the warm reception TEDxAccra 2016 is here packaged by Emmanuel Leslie Addae and the crew.

From 19th April 2016 to Saturday 23rd April 2016 a series of activities have been planned to engage audiences and offer platforms to speakers to share their thoughts and experiences.

On Wednesday 20th April 2016, one such event was held at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City with the theme ‘ReThink in Media, Art and Entertainment’ and tracked by blakkpepper.com.

ted dzifa2The Deputy Minister of Culture, Tourism and Creative Arts Dzifa Gomashie commended president Mahama for showing sincere interest in the well-being of the sector. She urged visitors to the country to tap into the available offerings regarding meals, beverages and tourist sites including the Nkrumah Mausoleum, George Padmore library, castles and forts adding that such visitors should feel free to interact with locals rather than just being with country or tribes men.

The Deputy Minister also implored citizens to have a rethink about how to boost the arts by deliberatively contributing their quota by undertaking domestic tourism, consuming local brews and meals.

A health talk given by Dr. Addo of the Clarion Health Institute tasked media practitioners to safeguard their health through balanced diets, regular exercise and having enough sleep.

He warned that as the middle income bracket widens, more urban related lifestyle conditions like cancer and hypertension are becoming the leading causes of Ghanaian deaths.

He implored attendees observed by blakkpepper.com to secure fitness gadgets be it Nike or Google to measure recommend daily steps of 8000 to 10,000 or undertake 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily as well as eschew late eating and stress to remain productive and fit.

Poet Ama Asantewaa
Poet Ama Asantewaa

Ama Asantewaa’s poetry session rallied attendees to face their fears adding the ‘world does not give a hoot about who you are but cares about what you can do’.

Chris Adodwe is certainly a poet whose foundations are rooted in Africa. Blending Ewe and English delicately to reach diverse audiences, Chris who appears to hail from southern Volta put on a delightful show.

The Anlo man made it known that the elders speak in appellation while using proverbs to reach the young. His ‘one of a kind’ poetry embraced Pan-African and African humanist principles  while bemoaning the failings of the media and rape of our culture through foreign religion and consumerism be it ‘La Gata’, ‘La Usurpadora’ or even ‘Kumkum Bhagya’.

ted edwinaSpeaker Edwina Momoh declared that when doors are shut in one’s face, it’s an opportunity to create a new door to make advancement. While managing partner of O FM, Okay FM’s show host and brand strategist Gilbert Aggrey a.k.a Abeiku Santana touched on the inroads digital media was making stressing that his 16,400 followers on twitter and about 5000 linked in contacts were no fluke.

ted santanaThe sharp dresser further asked folks to ask themselves what their social media aspirations are and where they are on that journey. He said with 1.5 billion active Facebook subscribers, 300 million monthly twitter subscribers and google+’s 1 billion enabled accounts, it was easy to why businesses which neglect to have online presence and get a chance to interact with online clients/potential clients  are doomed to eventually fail.

“With 72% of internet users on social media platforms, business executives and other professionals cannot claim to be grown pass Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and the others” Mr. Aggrey pointed out.

Abeiku also shared how his active social media presence facilitated his Kenya visit in a bid to boost their tourism industry which has taken a hit since the Al Shabab attacks. Ending his bit, Abeiku opined “it’s time to stand tall to be counted or lay down to be buried.”

For Priscilla Yaa Brego, having to endure names such as ‘African Body Scratcher’ in school while in Canada served as motivation to discover Africa on her own terms leading to the establishment of ‘Hands of Heroes Fund’ to offer mentorship and share secrets of success with young ones through volunteerism and harnessing of skills for larger economic recovery.

ted ksm2Kwaku Sintim Misa a.k.a KSM narrated how as a youngster he possessed great imagination which was an asset yet a liability for often even while in class he transitioned into fantasy land oblivious of the class lesson underway. Such wonderings the TGIF show host recounted led to him repeating classes 1 and 3.

The man who described himself as shy and with an inferiority complex at a stage in real life said he found liberation in his imaginations and creative spaces adding when he was relocated to the U.S it was there he was described as having Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD).

For one considered dim witted in Ghana, KSM had a break while in class 5 when the teacher asked pupils to write an essay beginning with the statement ‘It was a dark and windy night’. Now given an assignment to properly enter fantasy land KSM says he poured his thoughts out but when the teacher found out the work belonged to him asked where or from whom he copied it from? Breaking his joy on the one occasion he exceled at that stage.

Now a firm believer in ‘how knowledge is applied is powerful’ and not just ‘knowledge is powerful’, Mr. Misa shared how he eventually became an A student at a university in the U.S when he made a few adjustments adding at film school he also lent that even with creativity rules applied and that one’s thoughts/imaginations need to be purposefully channeled to generate desired effect.

Journalist and media person Nana Boakye Yiadom touched on the emergence of data journalism. How media persons can break down meaty reports through graphs, info-graphs and animation for easy digestion by consumers adding new media has liberated the space such that even trained journalists and traditional media houses do not have the exclusive rights to break news anymore.

For Princess a geography enthusiast, 11 years ago she begun an odyssey keen on visiting heritage sites but now even keener on discovering how countries like onetime poor Singapore, war ravaged Japan and others got developed.

So far the dreadlock lady has visited 100 cities and 62 countries including 20 from Africa. Princess quizzed if Africa was on the rise how could cholera be claiming lives in this era. Why only 650 million Africans have access to electricity. Why the whole continent’s power generation amounts to that which Belgium alone produces.

How only Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco are on course to meet the sanitation targets of the Millennium Goals. She charged attendees to shun tribalism and engage competent people to positions and respect time in a bid to advance development in the country and on the continent.

ted niiLawyer and Starr FM’s Morning Show Host, Nii Arday Clegg shared how he was approached by the late Komla Dumor to host the Super Morning Show at Joy FM given that he had just secured admission into Harvard college but despite the fat cash reward and fresh ride thrown in the mix not to talk about the chance to interact with anybody who mattered in the country, Nii turned down the offer to pursue law at Harvard despite having a 1st class degree.

Mr. Clegg stated he believes the media profession must have persons with expertise in charge so they can easily spot untruths and better update the audience.

“Media will always be heartbeat of society. I have always loved law and the media profession so despite the offers, I had a rethink to pursue a Masters programme in law yet retained my media affection when at Harvard I was introduced as the only TV show host among my peers” the suit loving and smile wearing Clegg asserted.

Kojo Yankson holds two theories, based on the harsh conditions in the Americas/Europe where inhabitants had to be thinking on their feet and perfuming duties lest biting cold killed them at will where in sunny Africa inhabitants could afford to relax and enjoy life as fruits and edibles were within reach hence the laid back approach to life.

A firm believer of radio getting results, Mr. Yankson detailed the history of radio and TV adding although radio faces stiff completion from new media, it remains key in the life of many persons such that even when stories break on social media portals, some consumers would only believe the story when carried on favourite radio channels.

He added in Africa at least when there is a road accident, fire outbreak, burglary and other happenings,  it is the radio station people call not the police or fire station underlying radio’s power not as just a reporting source but a solution source as well.

ted jeremiahJeremiah Buabeng, life coach who has 600 speaking engagements and over 100 radio sessions under his belt narrated how after discovering in high school that he had the gift of counselling his peers, he wasted no time in honing his craft which in his 10th year has taken him to 9 regions of the country.

But it never came easy as Jeremiah recounted how schools, churches and other bodies rejected his offer to interact with and share knowledge. He challenged all to make a difference and leave a mark even if it means starting little, having passion, harnessing brilliant ideas and utilizing inheritance prudently.

ted estherLecturer and host of the ‘Spin’ radio show Esther Armah called for a rethink, reset and reimagining of the world with women at the helm of affairs. Madam Armah narrated how her pregnant mum had escaped death during the 1966 coup when a soldier shot point blank but narrowly missed her forehead in a bid to expire her. That experience retold to her in 1996 has led to her new found verve to champion the cause of women.

Citi FM’s Appioko Seyram Ashong tackled the dilemma that exists when one is not good enough for the homeland yet not good enough for the adopted home either. Born to Ghanaian parents of mixed ethnicities in the U.S, the poet narrated the difficulties in her life journey leading to her transferring from her U.S university to the University of Ghana after a summer tour to complete her course.

The dissident and risk taker then did a piece on marital rape which can be curious to the uninitiated.

ted kobSadly although Wanluv de Kobulo mounted the stage to perform, technology failed to let the attendees enjoy a free spirted performance from the bare footed man.

Bright Ledgekpo working for phd, a gaming company explained how artificial intelligence was the next big thing regarding man’s interaction with machines adding with programmed machines defeating their human counterparts in games the time had come for humans to perfect attributes of empathy and love which set humans apart from machines while utilizing machines to undertake chores for humans rather than compete with them.

He mentioned Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA’s) will be in great demand in a few years adding artomations (man and machines together can make life more meaningful).

The 2016 TEDxAccra series of events shall be concluded with a main event at the National Theatre on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 9am to 3pm.