We take our hat off to Sandra and Isaac for the hard work. We congratulate them for doing what African leaders could not do on their own. A decade ago former Ghanaian President Kufuor and his government paid a British company a reported $5-15 million for re-branding Ghana. Did it work? What some of these leaders forget is the wisdom of our African ancestors who communicated through proverbs. One proverb from the Akans of Ghana says that a precious jewel does not need to advertise itself.

The post independence Africa has generated millions of educated talent. One expects a parallel development as education improves. Ghana for example has educated more people in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Medical  and Management area than the leaders realize. Sadly almost all of them work for the Western world which provides decent and respectable compensation, but perhaps more importantly recognition, of their education, talent and skills.

Sandra and Face2FaceAfrica have created a platform to lift Africa?s image. The rest is up to us Africans under our leaders. We encourage African leaders to learn to polish their jewelry at home, and they will shine by themselves. They need to overcome the envy politics and inward demon of corruption and greed, and liaise with their colleagues overseas towards a common work to develop the motherland and lift the image of Africa and black people globally.


Source: The grio.com by Kunbi Tinuoye  

Sandra Appiah

Sandra Appiah

Sandra Appiah is on a mission. The 23-year-old wants to rebrand Africa and alter skewed perceptions of the continent.

The New York-based Ghana native says when she moved to the States as a teenager she was shocked by the racist name-calling, not only from whites, but teasing and bullying from black and Latino kids in the Bronx.

?They?d say things like, ?African booty scratcher,? or ?You stink? or ?You live in trees,?? says Appiah. ?I couldn?t relate to what they were saying because these weren?t experiences I had as a child growing up in Ghana.?

Born of humble beginnings in small town in eastern Ghana, Appiah and her family immigrated to Italy when she was just eight years old. She describes her time in Milan as challenging and it was there that she ?first encountered racism.?

When her parents decided to relocate to New York, Appiah assumed things would get better. She was wrong. ?My experience was terrible, especially in high school.?

Mwiza Munthali, a public outreach director at TransAfrica and host of Washington DC-based Pacifica radio show (WPFW 89.3FM) Africa Now!, says part of the problem is the mainstream media?s portrayals of Africa. He says issues are underreported, oversimplified and ?stories are often negative and not always in proper context.?

During her formative years in the States, Appiah struggled to embrace her native identity and was burdened by an inferiority complex relating to her heritage, even to the point she?d tell people she was of mixed-race ancestry.

It was only after a life-changing trip to Ghana during her sophomore year at Syracuse University, that for the first time, she truly embraced her heritage. ?That journey transformed my life.?

She was standing in Cape Coast Castle, a slave outpost in Ghana, when she made the decision never to allow herself to ?become be a victim.?

Spurred on by her newfound identity, when Appiah returned to complete her studies she was inspired to establish a platform to rebrand Africa. After two years of strategic planning, Appiah and her business partner, Isaac Boateng, 28, launched Face2Face Africa (F2FA) in March 2011, an online magazine with the mission of ?restoring Africa?s image within the global community.?

?We want to make sure Africa has a voice and is showcased in a positive and progressive light,? says Appiah, who works full-time as F2FA?s Editor-In-Chief/Chief Operations Director. ?We also needed to start a conversation and bridge the gap between Africans and peoples of African descent to connect with their roots.?

She says the heart of the story is ?we have done everything ourselves, without funding or a major investor.? The young multi-media mogul adds, ?It was bringing a vision without investment.? As the brand has evolved, Appiah says individuals committed to the cause have lent their support.

As a testimony to the success of the Face2Face Africa brand, in December, Appiah and Boateng were able to launch F2FA Magazine, a high-end contemporary pan-African magazine. F2FA can currently be purchased online prior to it hitting retail stores across the States, Europe and Africa.

The maiden issue profiles Kwame Boateng, Kwesi Boakye and Kofi Siriboe, three Ghanaian young actors (and brothers) who are making waves in Hollywood. It also features a compilation of some of the most beautiful African women around the world, as well as interviews with BET?s Michael Armstrong and a profile of award-winning Ghanaian actress Lydia Forson.

Despite the digital revolution, the magazine has a multi-niche market ?because it?s filling in an important void,? says Appiah. ?Our vision was always to launch a print version.?

New York native Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, 31, is also using her multi-media skills to reconnect with people back home. By day, Ishola-Ayodeji works as a producer for a New York television station, by night she assumes her role as co-host of Culture Shock: Nigerians in America.

The talk show airs on Nigeria?s Ibadan-based radio station, Splash 105.5FM and can also be heard online. Ishola-Ayodeji says the show is a vehicle to connect Nigerians in Nigeria to Nigerians in America like never before.

Her husband and co-presenter, Kunle Ayodeji, was raised in Nigeria, so she says she?s well aware of the challenges facing immigrants in America. ?Relocating is difficult,? with issues like ?assimilating into a new culture to having an accent, a different outlook on life and even eating different types of food. Nigerians also have to deal with stereotypes about fraud.?

Ishola-Ayodeji was born and bred in Miami, Florida, though her family is from Nigeria. She says growing up as a Nigerian-American, she would even get asked questions like ?did you sleep in trees,? does your family ?use goats as cats,? and of course children made fun of her foreign name.

In reality, Africa still has many challenges to overcome, but these dynamic young entrepreneurs, driven by a desire to tell their own stories, are using multi-media skills to show the world that real change and new opportunities are taking place.


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