like in many other parts of the world, the advent of the Coronavirus in
South Africa has left government with no choice but to impose various
levels of lockdown that came with unprecedented levels of restrictions
on citizen movement and business activity. While the restrictions were
broadly accepted during the early stages of lockdown – at the strictest
level 5 – many South Africans began to scrutinise and question the
relevance of some of them as the weeks went by, specifically wondering
in what ways they would help flatten the growth curve of the Coronavirus
or prevent infections and unnecessary loss of life.
As the weeks
went by, we also witnessed some known and unknown groupings in the NGO
sector, opposition politics, and others with business interests taking
to the courts to challenge the legality of some aspects of the lockdown
restrictions. In the process, there have been a mixture of firm and
short-lived court victories going in all directions, resulting in the
overall climate – at least parts of it – becoming somewhat murky. A lot
of the frustration was driven by people realising that the little
savings they had – for those who had savings to speak of and were not
receiving any income while they stayed at home – were gradually being
depleted. While those who were fortunate enough to continue doing paid
work from home could do so, many others were either receiving only a
portion of their normal pay or, for another group, not receiving any
income at all. Those worst affected were the unemployed, the
self-employed, and those who worked in small businesses that could not
sustain them during a time when no revenue was being generated by the
So, to the health crisis that was brought about by the
Coronavirus, an economic crisis was gradually building-up, affecting the
livelihoods of many South Africans and, even dangerously, threatening
harm to an already challenged social harmony in the country.
But ubuntu never died
is often said that the character of people is best tested in times of
crisis. This has been true for many South Africans over the years and
during the past 5 months or so of COVID-19. Known to be generous by
nature, and easily taking the side of the weak party in any conflict
situation, many South Africans rose to the occasion and – driven by the
spirit of ubuntu – started initiatives that enabled them to play their
part by taking care of the weakest in our society. In no time, many
feeding schemes were established by individuals, neighbourhoods, small
and big companies, NGOs and others, to prepare and distribute warm food
and clothing to people living in the streets and to indigent neighbours
and poor people in communities on the other side of town from where they
lived. Others offered to use their motor cars and cycles to deliver
medical supplies for the elderly and people living alone with various
forms of disabilities in their respective neighbourhoods and
To outsiders, the seeming contradiction in the
conduct of South Africans would be baffling. On the one hand, they stood
up and demanded that government speak with more clarity when it
explained the rationale for the various lockdown restrictions while, on
the other hand, they never forgot that we’re all in it together when
they played their part to ensure that as few South Africa as possible,
if any, where left behind during this testing period of an unprecedented
health and economic crisis.
The road we must travel together
is known that South Africans have fought long and hard, over many
decades, for the freedoms they enjoy, freedoms that are now firmly
enshrined in the country’s Constitution and Bill of Rights. They will
not easily let anyone, including their government, take these freedoms
away. And government knows that. But they have also shown that when
government takes steps to protect lives – even when such steps seem
harsh and hard to abide by – South Africans will stand behind it and
play their part, even if doing so takes having to police one another and
calling out those who step out of line to endanger the lives of others.
But for the above to happen, government has also learned that it must
trust South Africans and reaffirm its commitment to the social contract.
It must always openly and consistently share information with them in
the same way that it did at the onset of the Coronavirus.
From Level 3 to Level 3 bis
lifting and easing of many of the COVID-19 restrictions at the onset of
level 3 lockdown, at the beginning of July 2020, unleashed a lot of
excitement around the country. It did not help that restrictions on the
sale of alcoholic beverages were lifted at the same time in their
entirety, with government having trusted that all citizens would
continue to play their part, having heeded warnings by the authorities
and health professionals against alcohol abuse.
Soon, people began
forming long queues outside liquor stores around the country to
purchase alcohol. Pictures and videos of drunk, careless, revellers made
it onto social media platforms to the dismay of many others. It did not
take long before reports of increased numbers of car accidents,
injuries, and incidents of gender-based violence made the news headlines
and, as feared, the rising numbers of injured people needing
hospitalisation began to compete for much needed hospital beds with the
rising numbers of COVID-19 casualties. This left government with little
choice but to reimpose prohibitions on the sale of alcohol beverages,
public consumption of such, as well as an overnight curfew.
But all is not lost
is an opportunity for leaders in politics, religion, traditional
affairs, academia, media, business, and other branches of civil society
to realise that in order to be won, the battle against COVID-19 can
neither be led nor won by government alone. It should never have to be a
competition of wills and might pitting any group of South Africans
against others, or citizens against government. We have to reignite the
nation’s social compact and fighting spirit to positively channel them
in a shared drive to curb the spread of the real enemy of our times, the
pandemic that is silently making its way within our population taking
many lives before their time. We are South African. We have the fighting
spirit; we have one another, and we have our spirit of ubuntu. Let us
rally these assets to effectively push back and defeat COVID-19 so that
we can safely turn our focus to saving our economy. The more time we
waste bickering over who is right and who is wrong, the harder it will
be to step in in time rescue our ailing economy against certain
Malele is the Marketing Manager at Brand South Africa, the official marketing agency of South Africa with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation and to improve its global competitiveness. – Forbes Africa
The Jay Foley Story; A Journey Worth Celebrating [READ PROFILE]
Media Personality and entrepreneur Jay Foley gained mainstream acclaim as host of the entertainment television channel 4syte TV, but not long before that, he had created footprints which continue to inspire people,
His creative journey started in primary school education at Bishop Bowers School where he was referred to by his colleagues and teachers as “the creative think tank”
He was greatly admired for his ability to come up with very creative ideas that could impact the entertainment industry as well as other extra-curricular activities.
Foley grew up in many communities, nurturing his talent and leading him to what he is today. His creative thinking process drew his interest in studying Visual Arts in one of Ghana’s premium colleges, Achimota Secondary School
Jay Foley established his first company RADIO ADVERTISING PEOPLE LIMITED. His company specialized in developing audio products for advertisers. It consisted of radio commercials and jingles, radio imaging among others. His company today is one of the most successful young businesses in Ghana today.
He also trained himself to become a professional voice talent and today, has become one of the sought-after voice talents in Ghana.
RADIO ADVERTISING PEOPLE LIMITED presented him with an opportunity to become the lead host of one of Ghana leading entertainment television channels, 4syte tv. Jay Foley became one of the best entertainment presenters of his time. He worked with 4syte tv for 10 years. This gave him an undoubtedly, strong and highly influential relevance in Ghana and the diaspora.
Through 4syte tv and his company, Jay was made the General Manager of YFM Ghana, another leading urban youthful radio station in Accra, Ghana. From YFM, Jay moved to establish another competitive urban radio station, LIVE FM where he stayed on for another 3 years and the Business Manager.
In 2012, Jay Foley became the 1st Ghanaian radio and tv personality to cover the European Music Awards in Germany. His outstanding coverage earned him among the top media personalities to interview top celebrities such as BUSTA RYMES, ERIC BENNET, KIM KARDASHIAN, AKON among others on and off the Red Carpet of the BET AWARDS in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Jay Foley’s engagement at the BET AWARDS created huge interest in Ghanaian journalist to follow suit in covering the BET AWARDS. He also became the brand ambassador for REMY MARTIN and Telco giants MTN.
In 2018, Foley was assigned by EIB NETWORK, owners of FIESTA TV, an entertainment digital satellite TV channel on one of Africa’s most patronized Satellite television platforms, DSTV, to upgrade the channels performance on DSTV to promote Ghanaian content across Africa. Jay Foley and his team have managed to elevate FIESTA Channel to become the only Ghanaian owned entertainment TV station to air across 48 African countries in Africa.
Currently, Jay Foley also hosts his radio show titled MUSIC BOX on HITZ103.9fm, which currently is the city’s most influential and widely listened to radio station. His latest role to host the morning show on JOY PRIME TV is clearly based on his years of experience in the showbiz space in and out of Ghana
In all of this, Jay Foley has dedicated time to filming the beautiful sights and sounds of Ghana in a special series titled, THE SKY MARSHALS. A 30-episode series that gives the viewer a realistic experience of the beautiful sights in Ghana.
In music, through his efforts, Jay has helped a lot of Ghanaian artistes gain mainstream appreciation in the music industry and across its borders. He continues to dedicate his life to inspiring, helping and motivating young people with his exploits. His guiding principle is, “it is possible if you believe.”
[IN-CONVERSATION] Kay Studios, the Young Ghanaian Photographer Shaping Perspectives And Capturing Emotions through His Lens
I was thinking the other day about the life of a photographer. At first glance, it seems like a wonderful thing. Imagine spending your time traveling the world, creating beautiful artwork that is admired by all. Unfortunately, however, this dream is often just as impossible as it sounds. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be a successful photographer — on the contrary, it means that in order to be a successful photographer, you’ll need to deal with a variety of problems.
Especially in Ghana where being an entrepreneur doesn’t look lucrative, young Ghanaians who venture in to sole proprietorship in informal economy are exposed a legion of difficulties, with one of them being their vulnerability (inadequate finance). I had an insightful conversation, with Kay Studios; A&R Consultant @kvonlinetalent Creative director, Film maker and Official videographer for Stonebwoy & Bisa Kdei, which focused on his career as a photographer, challenges and where he wants to reach in the arts economy.
The Accra-based photographer who has been increasingly shaping perspectives, changing narratives, capturing emotions through his lens and leaving long lasting memories on the mind of his patrons and consumers, including musicians and brands. With an impressive portfolio, consisting of works of Stonebwoy, Bisa KDei, Fameye, Medikal, Gyakie, Ice Prince Zamani, the young creative is considered a professional in the photography industry and has a solid support system that is partly responsible for his current success rate.
Check out the conversation below
1. Briefly describe your background as a creative person and what led you to become a photographer? Better still, how did you first get into photography?
“My name is Ebenezer Ofori Donkor popularly
known as KAYSTUDIOS, I got my first degree in Land Economy from Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology, named after the first president of the
Republic of Ghana, formerly Gold Coast. I started my journey into the video
editing and photography world by working with famed photographers, Twinsdntbeg
through which I established and built connection with a lot of influential
people. I pushed him onto the mainstream domain, I have managed to use my
talent very well and has been noticed by the Second Lady of Ghana, Samira
Bawumia, and also known brands like Miss Malaika, Vodafone Ghana Music Awards,
2. What moved you to establish “Kay Studios”? What would you say have been some of the challenges that have come with setting up your business? What are also some of the challenges you foresee in terms of keeping it going in the long-term?
“Motivations for wanting to become an
entrepreneur can vary greatly. Common motivators can include escaping the
corporate grind, taking greater advantage of special skill sets, supplementing
income or a strong drive to achieve personal or financial success. But as
spiritual as I am and how quick I found the purpose for my life, I only wanted
to be remembered as one who has been needful to mankind and impactful and this
was the platform for me to help everyone one I’m
Meeting and the passion for the camera pushed me
to start my Kaystudios business . There hasn’t been any challenges so far
setting up , if serving and working hard is a challenge then that’s my only
challenge be cause I still serve and work very hard as well”
3. As a young photographer living in Ghana, what would you say has been your biggest setback?
“My biggest set back was often
4. How is it that people know a Kay Studio image when they see it? Is this something that’s intentional? How would you explain it?
“Well, I’m sure God’s plan wasn’t regular for me so he need me to be a difference, I have always wanted to be different among other photographers with the intention of making my pictures look different”
5. Every new project you work has a completely different vibe from the previous one. What’s your creative process like and where do you draw your influences from? And, Do you have a favorite project? And why?
“I’m someone whose by God’s blessed with humility, I Love to learn new things, thus far I’m never too big to ask other photographers for Tuition. I see any beautiful piece out there, I proceed to ask how it was achieved, then I learn, add to mine and create magic so everytime I’m learning and creating new stuff. All my works are my favorite and clients favorite because they love the outcome and results of my works everytime and is by grace”
6. Do you ever face any troubles or complications interpreting your ideas and bringing them to life?
“I do find troubles sometimes especially
when I really want it to execute the exact piece of work I have imagined but
lack of resources I sometimes have to improve”
7. You’ve worked with a lot of musicians and brands, including Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei etc. over the past few years. What does it feel like to be the creative brain behind a great number of album covers and promo shoots? Your experience
“I will say I feel blessed to be a part of
all these big brands it’s jut not a chance but the favor of God and my
preparation met the opportunity so I grapped it . My experience with them has
been amazing and they are big brothers to me, and This relationship has made
both artist built and good working respect and connection”
8. Regarding Stonebwoy, he seemed like a very strong personality, was he picky about how he wanted to be photographed or he allowed you to take full control over the shots and angles?
“With Stonebwoy is always collaboration you know creativity is collaboration so we bring ideas and then execute all the time , and we have a great understanding so I know what he wants to see and how he wants to look we just have our way of communicating for the pictures and visuals”
Connect with Kay Studios below;
Instagram – Kay Studios
MEET FRANKY 5: The Tale Of A Banker Turned Journalist
He started off as an astute Banking Executive, after he had the opportunity to undertake his National Service assignment with Akuapem Rural Bank at Mamfe, Akuapem in 2005. Following this feat achieved, he worked professionally at the same bank for 24 months as an Assistant Accountant. Later in 2008, he joined United Bank for Africa (UBA) as a Retail Banking Officer. Due to his dedication to work, he won the Most Outstanding Staff award and later was poached by Access Bank, where he worked as Head of Asian Corporates desk.
In less than 3 months at Access Bank, Frank Kwabena Owusu liabilities portfolio had risen to $25million, unprecedented in the history of the bank, as he got recognized by the Board of the bank. Then he moved to Unibank as Head of Commodities Banking, later to Fidelity Bank as Head of Exports desk then finally left to First Atlantic Bank as Branch Manager at North Industrial Area, where he reigned to follow his passion in music and media.
Prior to the banking experience, he had his basic school education at the Alajo Basic School and had his secondary school education at Koforidua Secondary Technical School in Koforidua. He had his first degree at Valley View University where he studies Business Administration (Accounting option) and graduated with 2nd class upper division.
Franky5 has become a household name and one of the most talked about radio personalities in recent times. He is the host of “This is Gospel” radio show on Hitz 103.9 fm, a Multimedia Group. During this period he has conducted big interviews with top showbiz names such as Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, CK Akonnor, Prince David Osei, Obrafour, Yaw Sarpong, Joe Mettle, Diana Hamilton, Nacee, etc, and also securing two nominations, one each at the Ghana DJs Awards – 2019 and
RTP Awards – 2018.
Franky5’s entry into radio space started when he was into Artist Business Management where he managed Gospel music stalwarts such as Nacee and No Tribe music group, Ceccy Twum, One Voice Choir and OJ. There, he developed great love for radio as he encountered and studied top radio hosts such as Kuami Sefa Kayi, Akwasi Aboagye, Andy Dosty, Abeiku Santana, etc.
Later in 2016, he decided to divert to radio and television. His first application was to host the TIG Show on Pluzz fm which fell off along the way, until Mark Okraku-Mantey (Programs Director at Hitz fm) decided to give him a chance to develop his passion at Hitz fm in the same year.
Absolute belief and faith has been his guiding principle in the processes that has led him throughout his career. “If you don’t believe you can absolutely transform your life and get what you want, then you might as well forget about goal setting and do something else”. If you are in doubt, look around you. Everything you can see began as a thought. Make your thoughts turn into reality. The ultimate is to be able put a smile on someone’s face by virtue of my service to God and humanity.
Having worked in the corporate world, creative arts and the media space, his dedication to work and excellence has positioned him to serve on the Board of the 2nd biggest music awards scheme in Ghana, ‘3 Music Awards’ as the only Gospel representative. He also serves as an Academy member the biggest music awards scheme in Ghana, VGMAs. He is also a consultant to Africa Gospel Awards Festival and the Ghana National Gospel Music Awards. He also served on the Board of Zylofon Arts Fund, Ghana Tourism Authority Film Support Fund and currently a member of the “Beyond the Return” planning committee.
The 7 Record Producers Making Afrobeats Music A Globally Accepted Genre
When Drake hopped on Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba Remix” back in 2015, his co-sign helped elevate the blossoming Afrobeats scene to global heights. With the impending Afrobeats bonanza in his sights, a year later Drake, the globe’s biggest (and most opportunistic) artist, again sought Wizkid’s helping hand for his own Afro-inspired single “One Dance,”
This foray into the unknown paid off for him as “One Dance” exploded into one of the most successful singles of the streaming era. Just like that, almost in the blink of an eye, Afrobeats became a global commodity.
The emergence of artists like Burna Boy, Rema, Mr. Eazi, and the continued success of the likes of Wizkid and Davido, have propelled the genre globally. The recent release of Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift, which featured the who’s who of the Afrobeats scene—Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Maleek Berry, Tiwa Savage, Shatta Wale—is further evidence of the world’s growing interest in Afrobeats.
Throughout the years, there have been several producers who have consistently been behind many of our favourite hits. We take a closer look at the cream of the crop.
It took almost two years for Davido’s “Fall” to make its mark across the world, but when it did, it quickly became a torchbearer for the expansion of Afrobeats. The Kiddominant-produced record broke ground in the US and became the longest charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history, peaking at number 13 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. It also notably rose to one of the top 100 most Shazamed singles in America in early 2019 and was enlisted among Pitchfork’s 200 best songs of the 2010s. Other notable production credits by Kiddominant include AKA’s “Fela In Versace”, DJ Neptune’s “Marry” (feat. Mr Eazi) and Orezi’s “Rihanna”.
African Giant, Burna Boy’s magnus opus, would not have been possible without Kel P. A producer and co-writer on 10 of the album’s 19 songs, including the standout singles “Pull Up”, “Killin Dem”, “Dangote”, “On The Low” and “Gbona”, his production on African Giant provided a smooth canvas on which Burna Boy could showcase his immense talents. With multiple gold and platinum certifications all over the world, African Giant has arguably been the most important project in Afrobeats’ ongoing global expansion. Aside from his work with Burna Boy, Kel P has produced for an array of gifted African acts such as Niniola, Phyno, Wizkid, Solidstar, Ceeza Milli, Diamond Platnumz and Davido.
London-based producer P2J is perhaps the continent’s most visible Afrobeats production export. The versatile Nigerian has worked with the likes of Doja Cat, Chris Brown, Stormzy, Mario, H.E.R and Tiwa Savage. On Beyoncé’s album, Lion King: The Gift, he produced arguably the two most memorable songs, “Brown Skin Girl” and “Ja Ara E”. Other notable records produced by P2J include Amine’s “Easy” featuring Summer Walker, DJ Tunez’s “Cool Me Down” featuring WizKid, and Wizkid’s “Smile” featuring H.E.R.. Last year he had the impressive distinction of having two of his songs featured on President Obama’s list of his favourite songs of 2019: Gold Link’s “Joke Ting” and Burna Boy’s “Anybody”.
When E-Kelly and Mr Eazi came across each other in Lagos in 2016, Mr. Eazi was fresh off the success of his breakout singles “Skin Tight” and “Bankulize”, while E-Kelly had recently left his role as an A&R for Patoranking. Both were in search of a new challenge. The two connected instantly, and it wasn’t long before they had their first record together—the easy, infectious and sultry “Leg Over”. As the song enjoyed global success, they soon collaborated on yet another chart-topping single, “Pour Me Water”, which helped propel the Nigerian star into the continent’s highest streaming artist in 2018. Aside from his work with Mr Eazi, E-Kelly has produced songs for other stars such as Major Lazer, Patoranking, Vanessa Mdee, Tekno, Ycee and Waje.
Since bursting onto the scene in the early 2010s, Nigerian producer Sarz’s production style has evolved year on year. A pioneer of the growing Afro-house scene, his extensive work with Nigerian singer Niniola continues to break boundaries. The award-winning producer’s work stands out for its smooth, bouncy African rhythm and minimalist production. He counts among his collection of hits songs such as Wizkid’s “Closer” featuring Drake, Niniola’s “Maradona” and Skepta and Wizkid’s “Energy (Stay Far Away)”.
Award-winning Ghanaian DJ and record producer, GuiltyBeatz has been on a tear since he released his breakthrough single, “Akwaaba” featuring Mr Eazi, Patapaa and Pappy Kojo in 2018. After collecting several awards, including most notably Best African Collaboration and Song of the Year at the 2018 All Africa Music Awards, he went on to co-produce three songs off The Lion King: The Gift: “Already”, “Keys to The Kingdom” and “Find Your Way Back”. On his recently released debut EP, Different, GuiltyBeatz presents a more uptempo rhythm than the mellow, sexy vibes that have become his signature sound. It’ll be interesting to see if the sparse, clubby Afro-house world he imagines on “Different” will be a staple in his production work going forward.
Few songs have been as important in elevating the Afrobeats genre than Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba”. The soulful melody on this gold-standard production paved the way for Wizkid to provide a spiritual and joyous classic about harsh life in the streets of Lagos. With Skepta and Drake’s contribution on the remix, the song received critical acclaim in the UK, North America and beyond. Aside from producing several hit songs for Wizkid, the multi award-winning production duo, which comprises siblings Uzezi Oniko and Okiemute Oniko, have also produced for the likes of Mr Eazi, Seyi Shay, Ice Prince, L.A.X and Skales.
– Shingai Darangwa/okayafrica
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