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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Siavonga Music Festival

Sundown, Siavonga aboard the
Southern Belle, Easter 2013
I spent last Easter on the Southern Belle, Protea's Hotel Boat on Lake Kariba in Siavonga.  I enjoyed a coupla sunsets on the water downing some rather tasty rainbow coloured sundowner cocktails.  This year,  to tempt me to make the trip down again on Easter weekend is the Siavonga Music Festival.

On Saturday, the Festival organisers gave us a taste of what is in store with a preview of some of their acts at Arcades Mall in Lusaka, including the classic Zed sound of recent Zambian Music Award winner Mumba Yachi, and Cactus Agony, an artist whom I have featured on the blog before.  The only disappointment was not getting a taste of what Pompi has in store, another artist already featured on the blog.  

Enjoy a song each from each of these artists and for more information about the Siavonga Music Festival in April, visit their website and for more Zed Music check out the music and African music and tag on MbA:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Mama Monday: Ghanaian Food and Drink Photo Journal

When I was in Ghana in January, to my friends' pseudo-chagrin, I decided to awaken the Asian in me and take copious photos of the food and drink I ingested and imbibed.  I ate a lot and I ate well.  In another life I was a Gold Coast native, I am sure of it! Enjoy :)

Akpeteshie cocktail with Campari and Tonic Water
Akpeteshie is a Ghanaian alcoholic spirit made from sugar cane.  

Clockiwse from fork: shito, jollof rice, stir-fried veggies, corn
bread pudding, gari foto, potatoes au gratin, bbq chicken
Shito is a Ghanaian condiment that literally translated means pepper.  It is made with ginger, pepper, smoked powdered herring and shrimp, onion, garlic and spices.  Jollof rice is the grain cooked in a tomato based sauce with onion, garlic, ginger, chilies and spices. It is a staple in many West African countries.  Gari is made from mashed, dried and fermented cassava that turns into granules.  Gari foto has egg, and corned beef mixed in with the cassava.

Roasted grounuts: peanuts and roasted plantain

One of the main reasons I had been wanting to go to Ghana, apart from visiting my uni friends, is PLANTAIN!! Plantian is eaten all over West Africa. How I love me some plantain.  Had never had it roasted before.  Bought this off the street a lot during my trip.  A yuick and easy snack and soooo satisfying.  As they say it's the simple things in life that have the most profound effect: in this case on my belly :) 


This is a yam out the ground.  This one was about metre long.  It
was ridiculously heavy!
Yam is a tuber that is common in West Africa.  95% of all yam grown in the world comes from this region and can grow to 1.5 metres and can weigh as much as 70kg!  


A  malt non-alcoholic beverage not found in
 East and Southern Africa

This stuff is brown liquid crack man! Soooooo yummy.  Made from the same formula used for the beer Guinness but tastes so much better and doesn't get you drunk so you can indulge as much as you want :)


Tante Marie is an Accra restaurant situated in a converted DC 10

Another non-alcoholic malt beverage
Castle's version is not as good as Guinness'.  This was not as full-bodied and as punchy.  Felt a little watery and did not have the same syrupy feel and rich taste.  Try this one first so things can only get better.

For starters L-R: Fried Plantain and
fried chicken wings with shito
The plantain was spiced with chilli and ginger.  

Entree R-L: Grilled Tilapia with Acheke
Tilapia is eaten all over Africa and tastes just as good in Ghana.  Acheke is like couscous and originally eaten in Cote D'Ivoire and Senegal. It is made from cassava, a root that can grow in the harshest conditions and is common in the tropics: mainly Africa, Asia and South America.

Entree L-R: Fried Plantain and Red Red
Plantain was fried plain.  Red Red is a bean stew fried in palm oil and this version used cassava fish as the protein.

Entree L-R: Boiled Yam, Egusi soup
Egusi soup is made with seeds from squashes, melons or gourds such as pumpkin or watermelon, mixed with water, palm oil, spices and vegetables and/ or meat.  This was made with spinach.  It is famously a Nigerian dish but has spread to other West African countries.


Plaintain chips L-R: unripe (savory), ripe (sweet)
As you can see I really overdosed on plantain.  How could I not when it is so versatile.  There are so many ways to prepare it.  When in traffic how can you resist buying a coupla packets?!  I prefer the sweet to the savoury but they are both tasty :)

Roasted maize
I do have to say that Ghanaian grown maize does not hold a candle to Zambian maize.  Tasty but the grain is smaller, harder and not as sweet in my opinion.



I was instructed to...

Cocktail with ginger, cucumber and apple

...but I am not a beer drinker so I substituted a cocktail instead to accompany my enjoyment of the view he he he.  This drink had  a local name that has escaped me sorry :(.


Bisap Cocktail
Cocktails at Republic are ridiculously cheap.  I got this gargantuan cocktail for about 10 cedis! Can't remember its colourful local name but it has bisap: hibiscus juice, mint, and rum in it and it was so lovely I had to have another but I got a smaller one.   Everything in moderation he he he.


L-R: salad, grilled barracuda, shito, yam chips
Love me some seafood, especially the meaty fish kind.  Dorado is still my fav, but barracuda is tasty too :)


Coconut water on the roadside
Can't stand coconut - its taste and texture are an abomination.  However it has redeeming factors: it's water is a tasty, healthy and restorative drink, the milk taste nice in curries and its oil makes my hair lovely and soft he he he ;}

Pistacio and malaga gelato

Cashew nut gelato
Love this twist on gelato.  Cashew nuts are common crop in West Africa so when in Accra do as the Romans do I guess he he.  I really enjoyed this, it tasted so sweet and creamy with great texture from the crushed nuts.


Okro soup with banku
Okro soup is made with okra, palm oil and contains meat, fish and veggies.  This version had crab, fish, beef chunks and salted cow skin.  Never had salted cow skin - it is gelatinous in texture and is very tasty.  Banku is made from pounded corn and cassava dough that is first fermented then  mixed with hot water.  This tastes like a fermented version of Zambian nshima: maize (and cassava) flour staple dish in East and Southern Africa.

L- R: Goat Stew and Eba
Eba is made with Garri added to hot water and mixed with a wooden spoon and is a harder form of accompaniments like banku and nshima.

Pounded palm kernels

L-R: palm nut stew and fufu
Palm stew is made from the liquid extracted from pounding palm tree kernels mixed with onion, tomato, ginger, onion, garlic, chilli and spices.  This recipe used chicken but can also be made with meat.  Fufu is a common carbohydrate accompaniment in Ghana and Nigeria that is made from boiled cassava that is then pounded into a dough.  It is eaten with soup and is swallowed whole (I tried chewing it just so I could understand why you are told to swallow it.  I agree with the traditional, tried and tested way it has been eaten for centuries he he)

Palm nut stew served with Banku, accompanied by a
semi-sweet white wine
Back in the day at school RFL had taught me how to make light soup which is a tomato based soup made with stock, onion, bay leaves, chilli, garlic, ginger and potatoes and I loved it. I can say out of all the soups and stews I have had, including groundnut, palm nut stew has now eclipsed light soup as my favourite Ghanaian dish.  It was the last thing I ate before I left so I ended on a high note :)

For more on Ghana, check out the country's tag right here in MbA.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Things on Thursday: TAMBA - Love

Last month on Valentine's Day I was privileged to converse with a diverse group of beautiful, soulful and wise African women thanks to the affordances of social media, and technology's potency in this day and age.  It  never ceases to amaze me the way we continue to service our viscerally inherent need to communicate and share ideas through innovation and creation!  Just as we need food and drink to fuel and sustain life physically, our mind needs sustenance through connection, facilitated by our ability to express ourselves.  So what better way to launch Things on Thursday (the last of the day themes) with "this thing called love" he he he he ;}

Here is the video of the Google + Hangout, organised by the awesome ladies at Adventures From the Bedrooms of African Women, discussing the topic: the Metamorphosis of Love. Btw ukutamba in Bemba means to watch, hence the tag TAMBA which I am using to curate video content.

I warn you, my mic that day decided to go on strike, refusing to amplify my voice.  I have been told if you use your earphones and turn up the volume as loud as you can, you can hear me.

You can also check out my post on Valentine's Day that summarises some of my views on love, and my post with links to the other ladies' blogs.