Our Celeb of the day is Dometi Pongo.

Dometi Pongo is a journalist and television personality in Chicago who was born to West African parents.

He’s an award-winning journalist and has served tremendously in several media firms.

Before entering into media as his official profession, he began with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at southern Illinois university in the US which he concentrated mainly in Economics.

He also worked as a news anchor and reporter at Chicago’s WGN Radio 720AM and voiceover talent for WGN TV.

In addition, Dometi serves as the speaker and consultant of his own organization known as the Pongo Strategy Group, which seeks to help other organizations to tell better stories through multimedia.

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As part of his journalism profession, he always goes far in pursuit of perfecting his expertise. He has written and produced articles and documentaries with authenticity which got him honoured as second best radio feature from the Illinois Associated Press.

In 2016, his “Pongo Strategy Group” collaborated with Sankofa Ventures to embark on a project which grouped people of African descent to have group tours in Ghana, west Africa to explore their ancestral lineage.

Dometi won the award for the “Best Radio Feature” from the National Association of Black Journalists’ with his radio feature, which reported the coverage of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

Read Also: Travel Africa

He also remained a key contributor to Roland Martin’s daily digital show, “Unfiltered” covering the Jason Dyke trial.

Other awards he won included, NAPA ambassador award, 2019 (Nigerian American Professional Association), Excellence in Media Award, 2018, Community Leadership Award, 2016, Catalyst of Hope Award, 2016 and many more.

He is currently the host of MTV new series, True Life Crime, an eight-episode docuseries covering high profile murder cases and traumatic crimes affecting young people and MTV News…

Credit: Dometi Pongo

JOANA GYAN: THE YOUNG EMPRESS OF A GOLDEN EMPIRE

The gold mining industry in Ghana is now predominantly controlled by Golden Empire Legacy LTD.

The CEO of the company is Joana Gyan,  a young and passionate businesswoman who grabbed attention not only with her achievements but also with her beauty and inspiring jump through many obstacles.

Born in 1985, Joana Gyan was the 19th child of parents who were employers and contractors at COCOBOD in Ghana. Due to the consequent military coups, their business was affected negatively, resulting in bankruptcy.

Throughout her childhood, Joana was always relocating with her family to Dunka and Wassa Agona. She received formal education at Wassa Agona Methodist primary school.

SCHOOL AND CAREER

 

joana gyan
Photo Credit: Joana Gyan

While attending school, the five-year-old Joana was also helping out her mother with the farm and carrying groceries of older women for extra money.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough. When she was only eight years old, she was introduced to the world of illegal mining.

The money she earned helped her continue her education at Denkyira Asukima catholic school and Dunkwa technical secondary school, despite the difficulties in time management due to her part-time jobs.

Unable to compartmentalize time for education, she eventually dropped out and moved to Accra, where she was helped out by some of her friends who provided accommodation for her.

She continued pursuing small businesses such as operating a phone booth, working as a laborer at construction sites, and working as a maid at the airport.

Although some distant family members with better financial status reached out to her, she refused to live under their protection.

LOVE LIFE AND MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE VGMA ADS

In 2010, Joana met a British businessman through a mutual friend who fell in love with Joana, he proposed to her, and they got married. This marked the first steps of Joana into the gold mining business.

Joana has already experienced thanks to the illegal mining operations, however, her hubby  also trained her to carry it out legally and professionally.

This initiated the first business “Jay Golden” and helped the couple to purchase gold mining sites.

 

Joana Gyan mining site
Joana Gyan mining site credit: Joana Gyan

 

Her husband passed away in 2012, she used some of their savings to reach out to European investors and to create her own business.

With the help of these investments, she founded the Golden Empire Legacy LTD that would become the primary gold export company in West Africa.

She explains the success of her company through an analogy of “the tentacles deeply embedded in every single mining community in Ghana.” Her knowledge of the area gives her access to the best locations for gold extraction.

 

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JOANA GYAN MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC

In a recent interview, Joana expressed gratitude as she realized she was finally able to wear high-quality pants instead of torn pants that she had during the times of hard labor.

Despite her influential life story, Joana is currently struggling with investors who are skeptical due to the scandal of another gold trade company called Menzgold Ghana Limited.

In 2018, the company was shut-down due to problems with its operating license.

She also explained  the VGMA ads ‘The first fool is not a fool’ and wanted all Ghanaians to know that she is not a FRAUD!

Joana Gyan also said that is not fair for people to jump to conclusion that she’s a scammer. Her story is very inspiring. From a housemaid, illegal gold miner to CEO of companies and a including a gold company that he runs legally.

Joana Gyan with investors
Joana Gyan with investors: Photo credit Joana Gyan

She has also cautioned those who are trying to tarnish her legacy to put and end to it.

The CEO NAM1 (Nana Appiah Mensah) has left the country ever since and in Dubai and  customers are still waiting to reclaim their investments and deposits.

When asked about the situation, a representative at Golden State Empire stated that they are different from Menzgold since they are more transparent with sharing the procedures and the transactions involved.

Despite these explanations, many Ghanaians are not convinced and are looking out for similarities between the two companies.

For example, both CEOs own media firms and have signed record labels with music groups.

Visit Joana Gyan’s website for more info

Credit: Joana Gyan/Ghana News

First Africans On Earth

TBT: Sonqua, Bushmen, Saake… They have been called by various names by many African tribes and European settlers, who had difficulties in identifying them and their culture. Having inhabited Southern Africa for more than 20 000 years, the San people are the oldest residents of Southern Africa.

Their territory was not only limited to South Africa but it also expanded into Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Although the groups living in these areas had differences, they were connected by a shared history and linguistic.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

The early signs of San tribes were found to date back to Early Stone Age. There were many clans scattered along Southern Africa who lived a migratory lifestyle, making caves their temporary homes as they go along. Before they started domesticating animals, they were very skilled at tracking and hunting. Another skill they developed over time was to investigate and make us of the flora around them for medicinal purposes.

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INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER TRIBES

As migrations started to occur in other regions of Africa, the San people subsequently started interacting with them. One of them was Khoikhoi that often gets mixed up with the San People. Unlike the San People, Khoikhoi were able to domesticate animals and live closer to a farming-lifestyle in today’s Western Cape.

On the other hand, people of Bantu heritage were also migrating from Central and Western Africa towards the south.

They were also much more settled, living in small villages and planting crops. By the 16th and the 17th centuries, the southern half of Africa was populated by three groups: San, Khoikhoi and Bantu.

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WHEN EUROPEAN SETTLERS ARRIVED

The struggles for San People had already started when they had to share the space with settled communities, especially Bantu groups. Thus, small battles ensued between the two, which did not end in the favor of the San who were disadvantages in terms of numbers and weapons.

Things got much worse with the arrival of European settlers, since they were not able to roam freely and migrate as they liked. Those who were caught or defeated after a battle were forced into slavery. The animals they used to hunt for food were hunted or domesticated by farmers, so they no longer had sufficient access to them.

The tribes who refused to join any of the settlements as slaves were put through mass destruction. Overall, they were greatly reduced in numbers, while the remaining people assimilated in the communities that they were placed in.

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SOCIAL LIFE

Although San People had no formal authority figures, they would grant leadership to people with experience and respect within the group through voting.

Instead of a great leader with absolute power, there would be guides or pioneers in every field from hunting to healing. Decisions would be made after council meetings and debates. The economy was based on gifting or trading goods and services.

Given the scarcity of the resources, they were not picky with the food. Among the animals they hunted down were antelopes, zebras, lions, fishes and insects.

They would either roast the meat on fire or place it in boiled water. For water, they were usually collecting rain water using empty ostrich egg shells, digging holes into the ground to search for water or squeezing plant roots to extract moisture.

The most common method for hunting was with bone and arrows. They would poison the tip of the arrow to make the death quicker; however, the poison would not contaminate the meat.

They were also good at setting up various traps such as pitfalls with spikes planted underneath. In terms of distribution, it was usually the man whose arrow shot the animal that decided on the distribution of the meat.

On the other hand, women were occupied with gathering plants that they cooked for their immediate families. Despite the segregation of labor in social life, hunting and plant-gathering were unisex activities. Women were able to participate in hunting and men were able to help women with gathering plants.

In fact, the women were treated with respect and a sense of equality to the extent that they would be able to make decisions on behalf of their families, own water holes and foraging areas.

 
san people

 

BELIEF SYSTEM

The San beliefs differed from one clan to the other. While some clans believed in a single and powerful entity, other worshipped nature, the Sun and the moon. After-life was also an important concept which they believed in, so they always paid homage to their deceased loved ones.

There were four main types of rituals: a boy’s first kill, a girl’s first period, marriage and trance experience. When a boy killed an eland or an antelope, he would be considered transitioning into an adult.

Another interesting ritual was during a girl’s puberty where the women of the tribe would perform a dance that imitated the mating of Eland cows.

Ritual dances and shamanic experiences were of great importance as they were used to practice medicine and observe the effects of herbal medication.

The herb extracts would often be hallucinogenic, putting the people into a dream-like state of mind. Then, they would draw the images appearing before their eyes on cave walls.

The red paint was usually made of animal fat, milk and blood while manganese oxide and charcoal was used for black and white.

 

TODAY’S WORLD AND THE SAN PEOPLE

The controversy around the San People still continues to this day, particularly in Botswana. In the 70s, government took a substantial amount of land from San People and reallocated them to pastoral farmers, especially the farmers of Tswana descent.

In addition, many San tribes were evicted from Kalahari Game Reserves and forced to relocate. South Africa has also lots of conflicts regarding the San.

Because they were given no land-rights, they are mainly living in rural areas and in extreme poverty, being driven into alcoholism, prostitution and crime.

Despite the never-ending struggle, there are also attempts to preserve and resurrect what is left of the San Culture. The rock art and paintings inside hundreds of caves have been taken under protection, while many organizations initiated education centers and museums about the San Heritage.

 

Recommended Stories: Travel Africa

 

Visiting Africa soon? Why not visit South African-Namibian border and learn more about the Oldest Population of Humans On Earth…

Credit: Research/ Ghanaeducation/Southafrica/Education/wiki/Passdownhistory

 

On this day in history, Togo attained Independence and the colonial rule came to an end in 1960 and the dawn of their independence.

Join us in wishing Togo Happy Independence Day! Are you from Togo/Lomé ? Let us know how you’re celebrating Independence Day today.

Togo was a German colony until World War I when it was divided by England and France.  Togo finally attained Independence as the colonial rule came to an end on 27 April 1960

The first President of Togo was Sylvanus Epiphanio Olympio, he was in office from 1958 until his assassination in 1963

The current president of Togo is Faure Gnassingbé the son of former president Gnassingbé Eyadéma who served as president for 38 years and few days.

Togo popularly called Lomé is in West Africa. Togo’s capital is Lomé, located in the Gulf of Guinea. Lomé  has Ghana to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Benin to the east.

Even though the official language is French and Ewe, As a multilingual country, they have over 38 local dialect/languages…

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dr ola-orekunrin

Meet 27-year-old Dr. Ola Orekunrin, a pilot, a medical doctor and CEO of Flying Doctors Nigeria.  Ola Orekunrin was a 22 year old in medical school in the UK when she found out that her sister had fallen ill and died in Nigeria.

It was a treatable illness, and her sister could have been saved had she been taken to the hospital on time. After her sister’s death Ola wanted to make sure that what happened to her sister would not happen to others.

Five years on and Dr. Ola Orekunrin is founder and CEO of Flying Doctors Nigeria, the first and only air ambulance service in all of West Africa. She is also a pilot. The company has 20 charter aircrafts available 24/7. They service both individuals and corporate entities…learn more by followingFlying Doctors Nigeria @flyingdoctorsnigeria

Keep up the good work!

 

Award winning veteran Nollywood actor, director, producer and filmmaker  Zack Orji is a year older today! Join African Celebs in wishing him a very happy birthday!

Zack Orji is Nollywood’s Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the world, having traveled far and wide in the practice of his craft as a an actor film maker, and the promotion of the Nigerian nation and its motion picture Industry.

 

zack orji

Zack Orji an Estate Surveyor and Valuer by training and a 1984 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a 2007 graduate of the prestigious Pan-African University (Lagos Business School) where he did a certificate course in Media Enterprise, as one of the pioneer students in that discipline.

By vocation, he is an Actor, Filmmaker, Media Consultant, Singer, Composer, Writer and Motivational Speaker, whose work has taken him to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Congo (DRC), Benin, Cameroun, South Africa, France, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, UK, USA and Thailand. Born in Gabon, fluent in English and French, he is an Emeritus president of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria. He is also a member of the Director’s Guild of Nigeria, Association of Movie Producers and Filmmakers’ Cooperative of Nigeria.

Between 2003 and 2005, Zack was SIMBA Ambassador / Media Consultant to WANDEL NIGERIA LTD, an Indian Multinational Company with branches in India, UK, Nigeria and Tanzania.

He has successfully conducted workshops on acting, initiated and executed auditions, castings and film projects in some of the above named countries, sharing his experiences and aspirations with potential actors, practitioners, the business community and his audience. He has starred in about 150 films, produced 10 and directed 8. He has also composed and performed theme songs for some Nollywood films.

Zack has won National and International Awards, some of which include:
1. USA / Africa International Actor of the Year in March 2006, Houston, Texas, USA.

2. Homeland Ambassador of the Nigerian American Community in July 2005, Houston, Texas, USA.

3. African People’s International Award of Achievement in June 2005, Washington D.C Convention Centre.

4. Africa Achievement Award in May 2005 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles, California, USA.

5. Merit Award for contributions to African film in April 2004 in Washington D.C by the Filmmakers’ Association of Nigeria, USA.

6. Afro Hollywood Award for contributions to the growth and development of film in Africa – in October 2003 – London, UK.

7. Reel Awards Actor of the year 2000 – Nigeria

8. West African Film Merit Award in August 2006 – Accra, Ghana by the West African Film Industry Summit.

9. Appreciation Award in March 2006 by the Ugandan Investment Authority, Kampala, Uganda, for initiating and executing the first Uganda/Nigeria feature film collaboration.

10. Best Collaborative Picture won by his film “Web” in the Ghana and Malaysia Film awards of 2001 in Accra, Ghana.

11. Builders’ Award London October 4, 2006 (As one of the builders of the Nigerian Movie Industry).

12. A Nigerian Film directed by ZACK ORJI titled “BONDS OF TRADITION” is the first Nigerian Film to be accepted and classified by the British Board of Film Classification in 2003.

13. In July 2006, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA, Zack Orji played the leading male role, in the first Nollywood/Hollywood feature film collaboration starring actors from both countries.

14. Award of Excellence by Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (Aug. 3, 2007) for contributions to the growth and development of the Guild.

We wish Zack more Success, Happiness and Good Health…

Credit: Zack Orji

Tech Spotlight: Kunle Awosika is the Country Manager for Microsoft Corporation in Kenya. Kunle is responsible for steering the business to the next phase of expansion through commercial and government engagements while building and growing a high performing.

His career at Microsoft Corporation spans over 14 years having held several senior and key sales and business development roles in the company, including running the telecommunications sector across West East Central Africa (WECA).

Prior to his appointment in Kenya in 2013, Kunle worked as Director, Enterprise & Public Sector Business for (Anglophone) Africa, contributing to the business expansion within the growth region of West Africa. Part of his key achievements in Nigeria includes working with government divisions responsible for the implementation of the Government Wide Messaging & Collaboration Platform (GWMC) to foster a uniform messaging & communication platform across government entities. He was also responsible for driving business in the enterprise market.

Before joining Microsoft, Kunle worked with a local IT company – Solix Technologies.  Prior to that, he worked within the sales and marketing division for the downstream arm of Exxon-Mobil.

He sits as part of the ICT Committee for the Ondo City Vision 2015 in Nigeria and on the board of AMCHAM ICT committee in Kenya…

Click here for more information on the upcoming events

‘One of the things we’ve than as Microsoft within the continent is basically an investment in skill development, innovation and in affordable access to technology…those 3 pillars are very critical to the fostering of proper service delivery to any economy’ Kunle Awosika

Credit: Microsoft East and Southern Africa/Connected East Africa

wole swoleNobel Laureate Prof  Wole Soyinka Is  81 Years Old  Today! Join us in wishing Nigerian playwright and political activist an amazing  birthday!!!! We wish Prof  Wole Soyinka God’s blessings, Success, Happiness and Good Health…

Wole Soyinka wrote his first important play, A Dance of the Forests, in the late 1950s. It satirizes the fledgling nation by showing that the present is no more a golden age than was the past. The Nobel-winning writer sometimes writes of modern West Africa in a satirical style, but his serious intent and his belief in the evils inherent in the exercise of power are usually present in his work….

Soyinka has written over 100 books and has also taught at numerous universities around the world! 

More AfricanCelebs Birthday here

What is your favourite Book/s /Play/s by Prof  Wole Soyinka

Photo credit: Prof  Wole Soyinka

 

Meet Funke Opeke, Founder and CEO of Main One Cable Company Nigeria Ltd. Main One is a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions for businesses in West Africa. Main One is West Africa’s first privately owned, submarine cable system interconnecting Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Seixal, Portugal

Funke Opeke

MainOne recently announced the opening of it’s premier Tier lll Lekki Data Center.

The Data Center, valued at N 7 Billion ($37.7 million) is aimed at addressing the growing demand for Co-location, Cloud and Disaster Recovery services in West Africa. It’s West Africa’s largest and best connected data center..says Funke Opeke, Main One’s CEO at the launch of the center in Lagos, Nigeria.

“We are delighted to launch West Africa’s largest and best-connected data center,” said Funke Opeke, MainOne’s Chief Executive Officer at the launch in Lagos, Nigeria. “This reaffirms our capabilities in meeting the needs of business for reliable connectivity and data center services in a dynamic and fast paced global economy.”

The Nigerian company explained that the purpose built facility designed to International TIA 942 standards will be managed under a new subsidiary branded as MDX-i. It is fitted with capacity for 600 racks.

 Fola Adeola, chairman of the company stated that the company’s commitment to nurture the growth and impact of the internet ecosystem through the provision of high quality infrastructure, to power businesses and government across West Africa. This data center makes them capable to meet the needs of business for reliable connectivity and data center services in a dynamic and fast paced global economy.   For more on MainOne click here.

Listen to this phenomenal woman’s advice for young women in the clip below

Keep up the good work!

Photo Credit: Funke Opeke/ Source: Africanglobe