This week team Arhinarmah have been debating about some of the people who have inspired us through an unreserved celebration of their heritage and culture. After the very sad passing of Maya Angelou (a truly inspirational woman), who, during her illustrious career lived and worked in Ghana for a time as an editor and writer.
Given that our wonderful prints and aesthetic have its heritage deep within Ghanaian culture, we think it’s important to pay tribute now and then to those who are bringing our homeland of Ghana into the fore.
Number one on our list Kwame Nkrumah was the man responsible for the separation of what was the Gold Coast, from Britain’s rule. He led the newly emerging Ghana to independence, governing the nation as it’s first Prime Minister from 1957 – 1967, and later became it’s first President from 1960 – 1966. As with all revolutions towards independence, many of the risks he took were great. A well educated young man upon his return to Ghana from America, Nkrumah rose through both rank and various organisations. His revolutionary views however, eventually culminated in his arrest during the Ghana riots of 1951. Whilst imprisoned, he won the election for the Accra Central Sear with an overwhelming majority of 22 780 votes, out of the 23 112 counted. Affectionately known as the founding father or modern Ghana, Dr Nkrumah makes our list in pole position.
Kofi Annan (another political figure)m serves as the General Secretary of the United Nations from 1997-2006. In 2001 together with the UN, Annan was awarded the Nobel Prize for their contributions to making the world a more peaceful place. During his time at the UN he spearheaded the Millennium Development Goals project which implemented the initial stages of a movement that aimed to overcome poverty worldwide. Kofi Annan, along with ten other world leaders were know for their contribution to a more peaceful world. These ten were selected by Nelson Mandela to form an organisation named The Elders in 2007, of which Annan has acted as Chair since 2013. The Elder’s main aim is to promote human rights across continents, with no patriotic bias in order to achieve the worldwide progression of humanitarian interests. They believe that in order to achieve an positive result from any conflict, harsh truths must be acknowledged and awareness of issues is vital.
You may recognise this handsome face a little more readily, London’s very own Idris Elba is of Ghanaian Heritage. His Father, Winston, was a Sierra Leonean, and his mother, Eve, a Ghanaian. Though Elba may not have won any Nobel prizes, he is raising the profile of those in the African Diaspora within popular culture. His already prominent success stemmed from The Wire, a gritty, no holes barred look at drug culture in Baltimore, Maryland. Since then he has appeared in numerous film and television roles, and more recently through his role as the man himself in the bio-pic ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’. He has also been nominated for three Golden Globe awards, winning Best Actor (Television) for his role as the maverick Detective Inspector Luther.
There are of course many other notable figureheads stemming from Ghana, and throughout the African continent. The important thing to note is the celebration and pride in your heritage, no matter where you’re from. Are there any stand out figures you’ve come across recently? What is it that makes them stand out? To me, what makes a person special is a passion for what they do, and a drive to move forward whilst remembering and respecting the past.
Though we may not all be walking the red carpets, you can celebrate Ghanaian culture through our lovely prints taking pride of place in your home. Luxe homewhere by Arhinarmah can be found at our website!