BEYOND THE RETURN’ TO HOLD MASTERCLASS ON ‘THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC’

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ACCRA, GHANA – 21ST November 2020 –

‘The Return Conversations,’ a pivotal part of the ‘Beyond The Return’ project, bridges the gap between the global African diaspora and Ghanaians thorough a series of dynamic and impactful panel discussions. On the 24th November, at 4PM GMT, a Masterclass is set to take place under the theme, ‘The Business of Music; Finding Innovative Ways to Market Ghanaian Music to the Rest of the World.’ The Masterclass will feature panelists in the music and creative arts industries from the USA and Ghana.

 

The panel will be moderated by Lydia Forson, an Actress and Frank Owusu, the Head of Operations for the Creative Arts Council. The Masterclass will focus on key areas in the music industry such as marketing, finance, technological advancements, new channels for distribution & sales, networking, and new trends.

“Bringing together music industry and creative arts professionals from Ghana and the USA will be instrumental in building relationships between continental Africans and the diaspora,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat.

The program is being coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority and the ‘Beyond The Return’ Secretariat in conjunction with the Creative Arts Council and TheBridgeZone. According to Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of the ‘Beyond the Return’ project, “Forging collaborations between Ghanaians and the historical diasporas is a key objective of ‘Beyond The Return.’ After a successful first edition of the ‘Return Conversations’ Masterclass, we will continue to foster collaborations between Ghanaians and the global diaspora in the music industry.’ C.E.O. of TheBridgeZone, Anthony Bart Appiah, says, “As the billion Dollar music industry undergoes changes due to the advent of streaming. This masterclass themed the business of music will help boost confidence within the Ghana creative industry. It will also begin the conversations in finding partnerships & collaborations between Ghanaians and the diaspora.”

Panelists include SONY Music President, Glyn Aikins, Music Producer, Trumpeter, Composer & Educator, Dontae Winslow, Composer, Guitarist & Producer, Vasti Jackson, Senior Integrated Media Specialist – Radio One USA, Coriya Burns, Award Winning DJ, Malcolm Xavier, and President, Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku-Mantey.

The program will be broadcast worldwide on the social media channels for ‘Beyond the Return’ (@beyondthereturn), and Ghana Tourism Authority (@ghanatourismauthority), and locally on Hitz FM 103.9 and Y FM 107.9. For more information on this upcoming event, contact the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat office by email at support@beyondthereturngh.com.

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Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Hosts First Diaspora Breakfast Meeting With ‘Beyond the Return’

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The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat collaborated on the first ever Diaspora Business Breakfast Meeting which was held on Tuesday November 17, 2020.  The event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Accra.  The meeting was an official ‘Beyond the Return’ event which carefully aligns with one of the pillars for the campaign called, Invest in Ghana.

 

 

After the ‘Year of Return’ many diasporans wanted to explore business and investment opportunities in Ghana.  Under the Invest in Ghana pillar for ‘Beyond the Return’, a committee has been formed that is chaired by GIPC with a goal to create programs and opportunities to support the diaspora in their journey towards investing in Ghana.

The event’s theme was ‘Creating Connections- Building Ghana, Together’ and was an opportunity to network and engage with the diaspora community.  Speakers included, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, CEO GIPC, Yofi Grant, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, and Co-Chair of ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Co-Chair for the ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Kwame Acheampong Boateng Esq. and CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for ‘Beyond the Return’, Akwasi Agyeman.

Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, addressed the attendees about the ‘Right of Abode’ and citizenship, stating that there to plans in place to work on those concerns.  He also spoke on making provisions for the diaspora who are looking to relocate and resettle in Ghana.  CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre highlighted important areas of business opportunities for the diaspora while speaking on the importance of taking advantage of our strengths and resources.  “We can’t have a continent that is wealthy and yet our people are poor,” he said. “We must all do our bit to transform our nation.”

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway was the Keynote Speaker and shared her experience about moving back to Ghana in 1993 when there was no structure in place to support returnees.  She commended the collaborative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, GIPC, Ghana Tourism Authority, the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and the Beyond the Return Secretariat.  “There’s never been a time in the history of this country where you see so much interest and enthusiasm on the part of the diaspora who are willing to contribute their skills, technical know-how, and capital in support of government transformation agenda,” she said.

The Panel Discussion was moderated by Jerry Adjorlolo and featured Diasporans who shared their experiences and advice when moving to Ghana.  They were, Head of Information and Public Affairs Embassy of Ghana USA, Kofi Tonto, Real Estate Developer; Ayi Mensah Park, Kofi Anku, CEO of GUBA Enterprise, Dentaa Amoateng, and Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank Group; Founder of Ahaspora, Christabel Dadzie.

In closing the event, Akwasi Agyeman said that we need to tell our story and it starts from us.  “We need to open our arms to our brothers and sisters out there, it’s a collaborative effort,” he said. “We’re not just talking about the Ghanaian diaspora, we’re talking about the historical diaspora as well,” he said.

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PRESS RELEASE – 2020 December In Ghana Events

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The ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat is excited to release the official events schedule for November and December 2020. The events have been chosen after a careful review to include cultural events, festivals, performances, entertainment, business, and educational activities that amplify the pillars of ‘Beyond the Return’. DecemberInGH will be an exciting time filled with events and festivals that will create memorable experiences for Ghanaians and diasporans to See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, and Feel Ghana.

The Ghana Tourism Authority, coordinators of the ten- year project and the ‘Beyond The Return’ secretariat will work closely with event organizers to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed. “It’s been a challenging year for everyone so it’s great to have something to look forward to,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the ‘Beyond The Return’ Secretariat. “We’re pleased to announce the schedule of events because many Ghanaians and Diasporans have already been asking about the DecemberInGH activities.”

Proposals for November and December events are still being accepted. Event organizers are encouraged to submit proposals for events in all regions and not only focus on the Greater Accra Region. Proposals can be submitted on the website at www.beyondthereturngh.com.

‘Beyond the Return’ is a ten-year project with a theme of ‘A Decade of African Renaissance.’ The project is the follow up to last year’s successful ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ campaign. During the ‘Year of Return,’ Ghanaians and Diasporans attended cultural & entertainment events, participated in community service projects, and contributed to the economic advancement of Ghana.

More information about ‘Beyond The Return’ and the official calendar can be viewed on the web at www.beyondthereturngh.com and www.visitghana.com.

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Third Edition of Worlafest Officially Endorsed by ‘Beyond the Return’

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Worlafest is a festival of arts and music that was created by Ghana’s renowned musician, Worlasi. This year’s event is the third edition and takes place on Saturday 7th November 2020 at Alliance Française.  This time it’s an officially endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event and promises to take you on a journey through art and music.

 

During the day, the festival will host an art exhibition from 2pm-5pm that features a selection of artists curated to represent the various talents in Ghana.  Artists in the exhibition include, Abena Oyiwaa Art, Joblek, Sara Black, NiiOdai, James Mishio, Lawrence Torto, and Teloe.

 

Worlasi himself is also a painter and animator who wants to elevate the work of local talent through this event. His creative inspirations come through life experiences and observing the world around him then translating it into his music and art. Worlasi will be performing some of his new music during the concert which is slated for 7pm-10pm.

 

Tickets for the event are 100 GHS to attend in-person. Purchase your tickets online at www.ayatickets.com.  If you can’t make it to the event, you can also purchase tickets for 30 GHS by going to www.worlafest.com and watch online from the comfort of your home.

 

Follow Worlafest on Instagram @worlafest for updates and more information on artist performances at the event.

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‘Beyond the Return’ – Health & Wellness With Self-Care Sunday

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Make your health and wellness a priority this weekend at  ‘Self-Care Sunday’, a ‘Beyond the Return’ endorsed event with a focus on taking care of yourself through activities that promise to improve your body, mind and spirit. ‘Self-Care Sunday’ takes place on 8th November at the Rehab Beach Club from 10am-5pm.  Araba Babs Ofori-Acquah, is a Certified Well-Being Coach, and the Founder of Self-Care Sunday.

Miss Ofori-Acquah said the idea for Self-Care Sunday came to her in a flash of divine inspiration. “Wellness is something that has been commodified and made exclusive in many ways,” she said. “With gyms and fitness studios charging high prices. There are many ways to be well, but people are missing out either due to high costs, stigma associated with activities such as yoga, or lack of education around different ways that we can look after ourselves.”

 

Taking care of ourselves is something that’s often ignored in the daily hustle and bustle of our lives.  For most of us, we wake up, go to work, school, attend events, participate in activities, take care of children, family members and so much more.  Your days are so packed with doing things for everyone else, that you ignore your own needs.  This event aims to shift our thinking and prioritize healthy living through fun activities.

 

The event includes high speed fitness, afrobeats yoga, high intensity interval training, twerk fitness, a Zen Zone by the beach, and a wellness market. An important element at the event will be the Conscious Conversations which includes important talks and workshops including men’s mental health, diet and nutrition, benefits of waist beads and more.

 

Self-Care Sunday is unlike any other ‘Beyond the Return’ event and Ofori-Acquah says that “Health and wellness is key to Ghana’s prosperity, and is an important consideration for any diasporans making the return home.”  Her goal is for her event to act as a wellness sanctuary for all Ghanainas, returnees and diasporans.   “I believe we’ll create a high energy, positive atmosphere that will help people feel at ease.”

 

The event aims to educate people on practicing self-care in an open, inclusive environment at a reasonable cost.  Tickets to the event are 150 GHS and can be purchased by registering online using this link: bit.ly/SCSnov.  Information about the event is also available through Whatsapp on 0596041984.

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Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2020 – Beyond the Return Edition

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Glitz Africa Fashion Week is one of Ghana’s biggest annual fashion events and takes place this year from November 6-8, 2020. This year’s edition is in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority and endorsed as a Beyond the Return event. This is the 8th edition of this exciting fashion program that features African design and creativity.

On Friday 6th November, from 3pm-5:30pm there will be runway shows featuring streetwear designers that will take place at Untamed Empire on Spintex Road. Designers on that day include Subwae Studios, Darkor, Afro Volf, Slum Studios and Kojo Kusi. Saturday 7th November will feature events taking place at the Grand Arena at the Accra International Conference Centre. The day starts off with a business seminar featuring industry professionals, exhibitions and collections from young design talent. The evening runway shows will include a host of established designers including, Ophelia Crossland, Selina Beb, Larry Jay, House of Paon, and Christie Brown.

The final day takes place at The Octagon Rooftop and includes the screening of a fashion film and runway shows from designers Nyonuvi, Kokude, Afrodisiac Worldwide, Jermaine Bleu, Chocolate Clothing and Duaba Serwa.

For more information email info@glitzafrica.com and to purchase your tickets to the event call 0501581266 or 0302798513.

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Rhythms on da Runway is Back for the 2020 ‘Beyond the Return’ Edition

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Rhythms on da Runway is officially back for another year.  Media Personality and Fashion Designer Kofi Okyere Darko, popularly known as KOD, is the man behind this brand that has been showcasing African fashion and entertainment for over a decade.  The official launch announcing the upcoming event took place on 8th October on the rooftop at the African Regent Hotel. Many of Ghana’s celebrities and members of the creative industry were in attendance for the high energy event that featured music and entertainment.

Rhythms on da Runway 2020 Edition is set to take place on 14th November 2020 at 7pm at The Underground located in East Legon.  This year’s edition is supported by Ghana Tourism Authority and is an officially endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event.  With the global pandemic this year’s event is expected to be on a smaller scale because there will not be designers from other African countries flying in to participate.  There are also limited travellers from the diaspora due to travel restrictions around the world.  This year’s edition is slated to be 100% Ghanaian featuring designers and musicians from across the country.

 

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of ‘Beyond the Return’, Akwasi Agyeman, said that having the event this year shows how resilient we are as a people.  Being and endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event, he assured that there will be several editions of the event endorsed over the next 10 years of the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative.  “We’re quite excited that this year we’re having a 100% Ghanaian program,” he said.  Making mention of Ghana Tourism Authority’s ‘See Ghana, Eat Ghana Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana’ campaign, he said that Rhythms on the Runway fits right into that messaging.

 

 

Yvonne Ocloo is the Creative President for RODR and she said they are excited about the upcoming event and are humbled to be able to pull off another show considering the things that have happened this year with the pandemic.  She remembered how exciting last year’s event was and the acknowledgment received from BBC Africa in referring to the show as the “Biggest cultural expose in Africa.”  She made mention that one of this year’s highlights will be the celebration of Ghanaian designer Ricci Osei, father of musician Reggie Rockstone.  He was a cultural innovator who paved the way for many design talents in Ghana today.

Some of the performers scheduled for the show include Kelvyn Boy, Kwabena Kwabena, Efya, King Promise and Kuami Eugene.  Designers who will be showcasing their collections include Chocolate by Kwaku Bediako, Sima Brew, Stepup, Jay Ray Ghartey and others to be announced soon.

Tickets for the event go on sale on 14th October and there are only 200 tickets available. KOD was overwhelmed with how many people attended the launch event and acknowledged that with Covid-19 protocols this year’s event will not be as grand in number.  He said it was going to be tough turning people away because of the limited numbers.  Despite that, he knows this is a momentous occasion to be able to still put on the show.  Akwasi Agyeman said, “We know that this year’s event as small as it will be, it will be another milestone to celebrate.”

By Ivy Prosper

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Photos: Beyond The Return ‘Return Conversations’ Begin In Accra

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Professionals from Ghana’s Creative Arts Industry came in their numbers to participate in the first ‘The Return Conversations Masterclass’ virtual panel discussion. The panel featured industry pros from the U.S. who were imparting their knowledge with decades of industry experience. A Q&A session gave Ghanaian creatives the chance to share their experiences and ask questions about collaborations and real investment in the African industry.

 

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‘Beyond The Return’ Officially Accepting New Proposals For 2020 Events

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19TH SEPTEMBER, 2020

ACCRA, GHANA

‘Beyond the Return’ has announced that event proposals are being accepted for programs taking place from September through December 2020.  After last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign which included programs, events and festivals, there have been many requests for ‘Beyond the Return’ to have a platform to continue in these activities and provide new ways for the diaspora to continue to connect with Ghanaians through event programs.

“I’m really looking forward to the events this year.  Especially the ones that will give back to Ghana through initiatives that seek to serve the local communities like the commissioning of boreholes we saw last year. It will be great to see more events that highlight Ghana’s culture as part of ‘Beyond the Return’ because it will expose diasporans to the diversity and richness of Ghana’s culture and heritage,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the Beyond the Return Secretariat.

Event proposals are officially being accepted digitally and a separate form must be filled out for each event using the ‘Beyond the Return 2020 Events Submission Forms’ available at www.beyondthereturngh.com.  Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.  Event organisers should prepare to explain how their programs fit into the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative and its ability to include both the diaspora and local Ghanaian communities.

‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year initiative with the theme ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on seven pillars: Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back to Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation. Each of the pillars is important because it represents an area that ‘Year of Return’ received feedback from the diaspora and the local Ghanaian community on ways to strengthen engagement between our communities.  It’s also the opportunity to create programs and events that represent each pillar. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is coordinating the project under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Other collaborating organisations are the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the office of the President, the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and the Ghana Tourism Development Company.

To learn more about ‘Beyond the Return’ please visit the website  www.beyobdthereturngh.com. Please send questions and comments to support@beyondthereturngh.com and you can also follow on social media @beyondthereturn.

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‘Beyond the Return’ – 7 Unveiled Pillars Promises Deeper Connection With Diaspora

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The official unveiling of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Pillars took place at the National Theatre on 9th September 2020.  ‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year project with the theme, ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on the seven core pillars which were unveiled during  the event which was filled with a colorful display of dance, music and theatrical performances from the National Theatre’s dance ensemble, dramatic actors and the National Symphony Orchestra.  Beyond the Return is the follow-up to last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign, which commemorated the 400-year anniversary of the first documented ship of enslaved Africans to arrive in Virginia, U.S.A.

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, is also the Coordinator for the Beyond the Return Steering Committee. In his speech he acknowledged the loss of African American actor Chadwick Boseman, whose unexpected death last month shocked the world. He died after a 4-year battle with colon cancer. The actor played a pivotal role as the lead character in the movie, ‘Black Panther’.  The film contributed to changing the narrative of Africa and proving that Black Superheroes and stories of Africa can connect with all audiences.  “May I request that we all rise for a minute of silence? One for our ancestors who went through the torturous journey of slavery, two, for our brothers and sisters who have fallen in recent times, especially our brother Chadwick, of Black Panther fame,” said Mr. Agyeman. He also asked that we honour the late Elolo Gharbin, who died recently.  He was a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and a strong pillar in PANAFEST and Emancipation.

Mr. Agyeman chronicled the beginnings of the Year of Return and stated that this new journey of Beyond the return would have deeper conversations among the global African family. Beyond the Return, will work towards building bridges and creating activities, events and policies that are inclusive and integrate our local community in ways they can connect with our global African diaspora. Most importantly there is work being done to support the diaspora’s needs when it comes to repatriation.

“Each of the 7 pillars being unveiled today touches on the many areas that are key to developing Ghana and providing an environment that supports the diaspora,” said Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture when she delivered her keynote address.  She expressed that the Beyond the Return committees are listening and working diligently to address the concerns expressed by the diaspora community, especially when it comes to repatriation.  “Ghana is currently developing a homeland return legislation to facilitate various forms of migration and integration into the country for our diasporan kith and kin,” she said. “Ghana as a leader in pan Africanism, through the Homeland Return Act, will offer the opportunity for citizenship to our brothers and sisters.”  This is welcome news to all the diasporans who have been asking how they can also become Ghanaian citizens.

 

The Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, recognized the significance of the Year of Return, as he officially unveiled the pillars for Beyond the Return. “One cannot speak of Beyond the Return without mentioning the Year of Return in 2019, which was a major landmark campaign targeting the Historical African Community outside our continent,” the Senior Minister said. “Over the next decade, the project seeks to consolidate the gains of the Year of Return and grow tourism in the country, showcase its investment potentials and solidify its diaspora engagement programs to promote the African Renaissance.” The seven pillars unveiled during the event are, Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation.

The unveiling of the pillars was a historic event that has kickstarted a new chapter in Ghana’s journey of reconnecting with the global African family.

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