Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Which Ghanaian Celebrities Have You Met?

I lived in the US six years and not once did I meet a star. Sure we had Floetry, Pink, Ann Coulter, Madeleine Albright, Judy Woodruff , Shelly Lazarus and others pass through Smith College when I was there
and I got to see Ama Ata Aidoo once at Amherst College (pictured above), Wole Soyinka, John Hope Franklin and Barbara Kingsolver at Duke University and Sam Jonah at Harvard University but I only got to see them by attending events like book readings, conferences, commencement, and talks. In many of these meetings, I didn't even get to speak with them or shake their hands.

Life in Ghana is sweeter than that. In the six months that I've been back here, I've bumped into the following Ghanaian stars, had chats with them and asked them questions as if it was the most ordinary thing to do:

1. Odompo, who acts in Obra, the popular Akan drama and Ghanaian movies and who I met in Madina and chatted with for over an hour.

2. Brew Riverson one of Ghana's finest actors who I worked with on a voice-over

3. Ebo Whyte, a respected playwright and host of a segment of JOYFM breakfast show called the Rover Report in whose play I'm acting (By the way, the play "Mr. President, Your Move" is showing at the National Theatre, from March 6th to March 8th...March 6th also happens to be Ghana's Independence Day).

5. Akosua Abdallah, another great actress who is remembered by many because of her role in Inspector Bediako, the detective show produced by Kojo Yanka as described in an interview conducted by A Choice of Weapons Blog. I met her through an acting workshop she conducted for the Roverman Group.

6. Amandzeba Brew who I really respect for his commitment to traditional Ghanaian music. I was sitting outside Yoofi Brew's studio (Yoofi is the guy who got me into doing voice-overs) waiting to be picked up by a friend when his brother Amandzeba showed up. I was starstruck but I still managed to tell him what a fan of his music I am.

7. Bola Ray, one of the most popular radio presenters and MCs in Ghana. I met Bola at the MTN Nine Lessons and Carols event at the Accra International Conference Centre where I read a lesson along with others including

George Andah of MTN and

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah of Joy FM breakfast show. Bola was the MC for the event who got a kick out of saying my middle name "woarabae"

8. Then just yesterday, at the gym I met Kwaku Sakyi-Addo at the water fountain:). Though I really wanted to talk, I didn't want to seem like a pest so I just gave him my card, told him how I want to be a writer and asked him to check out Wo Se Ekyir.

Isn't it an amazing thing that an ordinary Ghanaian can meet these personalities in just six months without having to go out of his/her way or even try? I think it's rather strange that so many of these people are in the arts and media. Am I in the wrong profession? Maybe I belong in advertising, the arts, or the media? I was also thinking how enriching it has been for me to talk to some of these people. When you interact with such people in real life you begin to dream that there is no magic gene for being great and that you too could be great at what you do. I think it's wonderful that in Ghana, our stars are within reach and not just people you see on tv. This is cool and should be celebrated!

You know why Wo Se Ekyir is awesome? Because no other blog gives you the platform to talk about your brush with Ghanaian celebrities/greats/icons. Meanwhile we all know we want to tell somebody:) I mean whole publications and websites are dedicated to gossiping about Beyonce and Shakira. Not that we need that kind of madness here but a little chit chat never hurt anyone, especially when in Ghana, we actually get to meet these people feeli feeli (tr: live or in person) without crowds and cameras getting in our way.
I'd really like to meet both ex-presidents and get to talk to them about their lives, Patrick Awuah, Kwame Despite, Kwaw Kesse, do I sound like I want to start doing interviews soon? hehe. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Anyway I'll end with these two questions:

1. Which Ghanaian stars/greats/icons have you met, how did it happen, what did you say to them, were you star-struck?
2. Which
Ghanaian stars/greats/icons (living or dead) would you like to (or have liked) to meet, and why? What would you say (or have said) to them?


  1. Was walking to Shoprite through the Accra Mall before XMas withmy gf, when we saw Van Vickers. I turned round twice. She didn't, adding calmly that it is Van Vicker--and, yes, as I saw, he's shorter than he looks on screen. He was strangely wearing shades -- in the evening! Like no-one would see him?

    Secondly, Chris Attoh--also at Accra Mall, but never went up to him (why should I?) He was interviewing some music doodes.

    Thirdly, (the beautiful!) Anna Bossman of CHRAJ was jogging just before Xmas near Regimanuel. I only found out as I was walking my dog--a golden retriever. She approached me, saying that's a "lovely dog", and that she has two dogs, but is looking for another one. She was wearing a baseball cap, but I knew it was her--from the voice and face.

    Wasn't really star-struck. But I enjoyed the small time. She may be older than me by far, but she's hot! I'm strange that way...;-)) Do u know she's also on Facebook (her daughter added her)

    Finally, Benny Fifi-Eshun (formerly of CITI97.3 fm, and TV3's Health Check (with a GORGEOUS sister-newsreader on TV3 (Besua) ) at GOIL on Spintex Road (after Papaye). Didn't utter one word--except to say "sorry!" as he moved past me. He actually added "it's alright!" very unexpectedly...

  2. Brew Riverson Jr.! I forgot all about him. I used to have such a crush on him back in the day...sigh :)

  3. Yeah, you've met the whole range. Autographs to show? I have the autographs of Bagbin, Akufo-Addo and Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.

  4. Man,Emmanuel,one can never outdo you:) How're you meeting all the chicks?

    @anonymous, i'm sure you are not alone.

    @Nana Yaw, nope, no autographs. Never really occured to me. Now i have no proof.

  5. @Nana Yaw, did you talk to any of them? What was it like? Chit chat about the weather or about the country?

  6. Talking about stars...YOU!! Esi Woarabae Cleland. I've met you!! At the National Theatre (Unhappy Wives Confused Husbands). I almost screamed (well I did; in my head of course)when I saw you in person. I think you're a reflection (Full of Life!!) of your blog. I'm a big fan! One down one to go. No one else comes to mind readily...hmmm lemme see...I've also met Ama Ata Aidoo and Esi Sutherland (whom I had a crush on and was my lecturer for 1 Semester at UG-Legon), Atukwei Okai etc. Basically the literary Greats have made the most impression. I have seen my share of them. I think you've met all these people because you "move around a lot".

    What would I have asked? That's just someway b'cos I would like to just talk normally. You know pick their minds on everyday issues and life in general.

    NB: Please Esi get a bluetooth headset or one of those "handsfree" ear phones better still, tell me ur phone's model and I guess I could hook you up with something that will allow u to keep your hands on your steering wheel ooootom.

  7. Esi that, you are becoming a celebrity yourself! I've met a bunch of Ghanaian celebrities, but not randomly, I think most of the time I made the effort to meet them.
    And Esi, if you really want to do interviews (I know you are extra busy) we should talk about some gig/project. Will get in touch.

  8. Esi, Bagbin just smiled when I told him he was a 'star' in politics. A tongue-in-cheek smile, I thought. Kwaku Sakyi Addo was told I had a love affair with words, so he wrote 'Good luck, David' in my criminal law notebook! Akufo-Addo came to the Faculty of Law as a guest lecturer. After the lecture, while many people had surrounded him, I managed to ask him for his autograph. He said to wait and moved a while off. Then after talking to his little group, he turned and walked back towards me. He signed his signature in my notebook and smiled.

  9. well i've met quite a number of them, and i can say a few are friends too. first of all, let me mention YOU! well i didn't know how much of a star you were till i saw you on screen at the national theatre during the lessons of nine lessons and carols. that was when i googled you and saw that wow! i'd been close to an influential figure all this while. then i've been close to the likes of Brew Riverson, Uncle Ebo Whyte, Adjetey "Pusher" Anang, Elom Anang (of Sun City fame), Roland Adom, Funny Face Benson, Omar Sherrif Captan, Kojo Frimpong, Eddy Annan (of NDC fame), Akosua Abdallah, Bola Ray, Martha Ankomah, Liz Benson, Charles Okafor, Dzifa Glikpoe (backstage of National Theatre during unhappy wives.), Shirley Frimpong, David Dontoh, Gifty Anti, Pastor Josh Laryea, Fiifi Banson, and a few others I can't remember. I did take the autograph of Omar in a book which I lent someone, and he hasn't returned it yet. But anyway, I think there are stars in all of us, and let's rehearse signing autographs for we never know when someone may walk up to us and say "I know you.... Can I have your autograph?"

  10. Ei, I didn't know you were on TV with your name and all, Esi! Of all the things you claim to have revealed on this blog, I think that little detail must have gone unmentioned. I haven't met any Ghanaian celebrities - at least not that I can remember - since my glory days at Morning Star when Abedi Pele came by and we were made to take a picture with him (as winners of the National Spelling Bee). I think it's funny that there are a lot of new Ghanaian celebrities I would never recognize because I simply haven't kept up with the TV scene there in a while... I do know Van Vicker though, mmhmm... The same goes for Swiss celebrities; one of my friends was hyperventilating the other day over spotting some TV chef in the supermarket and I was all like, who? a little skinny for a chef, no? Of course, she looked like some random person to me because I don't watch Swiss tv either. lol. Somehow I like thinking that some person will come across you expecting special treatment because they're famous, and then you respond with a blank gaze... hilarious. I guess I like my famous people to be nice and down to earth... if that makes sense. Sounds like the ones you met are... good!

  11. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is sooo HOT!

  12. Esi you are the only Ghanaian celeb i know.
    Hope to meet you soon n get an autograph.
    I dont know wht you do but yes you are in the wrong career field

  13. ok let's see,
    i love amandzeba's art...(not because he's some star!)... he's good, that's all!
    but that pic of Sayki Addo recieving a bogus award does not tell the good works he's done...

    stars? i don't know about those really... i know about the market women at agbogloshie who just struggle to see their kids have some education too... then i've met the shoe shine boys who show dedication while walking the streets...

    and who would i love to meet? anybody and everybody... while sharing tea or weed... including Osama Bin Ladin and Idi Amin the DaDa!!

    and wait... i'd love to meet 'praye' (the trio) and ask them why do they make music so noisy and cheap??? like: meat pie, pastries and ministries??? hehehehehe!

    and oooooo! i nearly forgot too, i love to meet the mentors of TV3. that programme is a supernatural! somebody say i hear you........!

    in short there's no star out of no sky!


  14. Seen so many I have lost count. But walking up to them is a No.

    One I met at BusyInternet 2 years ago was Orlando Julius. I asked politely: "Sir, you look like Orlando Julius". He responded jovially: "That's me." I was shocked. I did not expect to meet him in Ghana, of all places.

  15. I'm so late in responding to your comments, but Martin, I'm going to have to take you up on the headset offer. Looks like u've been seeing me a lot. Glad you like the blog. Come and hang out with us often, will you?

    AB-P, you won a national spelling bee? Now i feel unaccomplished.But it underscores the point i was making.

    The Broke African, I'm hardly a celebrity but i'll give you an autograph. We can just pretend:) Obiaa nyE obiaa

    Novisi, stop hating on the stars.

    David, have to google Orlando Julius. Had never heard of him. We learn something new everyday. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I have met a couple of cele-bri-stars since coming down almost two years ago. First of all, I met Professor Gideon Hayford Chonia of the university of Zurich. I actually met him at an IP & ROuter Seminar held in Warsaw, Poland by Mikrotiks in the summer of 2006. Upon knowing, he's Ghanaian, I approached him and said, I'm Ghanaian too. He was shocked and was like, "Ghanaians are everywhere" which I found very interesting because most of the people at the conference where from the Eastern European countries and a couple of university guys from Nigeria who were interning at Mikrotiks. I again met him in Ghana when he hosted a seminar with one Dr. Gamey Gamey on enterpreneur and human-resource training in Takoradi.

    Lemme see, who else comes to mind, mmmmm. YES..!!! Esi Cleland. It was at BarCamp Ghana 08 in Accra. I actually arrive a bit late before the program started. I saw you going up the podium and I ask some dude by my side, who's that lady up there with the mic? He went like; "mmmm, I heard, she's Esi Cleland" and I went like, whooooops. you don;t mean. I managed to actually approach you after your time was up on the podium, interacted with you a bit, exchanged com-cards and requested you accept my friendship invitation on FB.. ya digg? ha aha ah..!

    Met Kwame Sefa-Kayi at my brother's pre-wedding bachelor's nite at Osu. I walked to him and said, never knew you were my bro's friend. Made him, I really like what he does on the radio every morning and I even went on to ask, is he returning to the silver screen soon and he was like, "maa kyee kraa too mech" [tr: I've waited too long]. Met Bola-Ray, Eddy Blay Jnr and Kwaku Tutu [Kwaku-T of Big Brother Fame) at JQ's Party at the SilverStar Towers at Airport city over the x'mas season last year. Fiifi Banson stays a couple of blocks away from me, I see him almost everyday. Haven't spoken to him though, he seems arrogant and unfriendly most of the time.

    This one is quite interesting, I created a group on FB, thus; Free Tsatsu Tsikata Now Movement. So I heard, Uncle Tsatsu was at a thanksgiving session organise for him by his counsel, Hon Lithur in Tema. I happened to be in Tema, so I hurriedly caught a cab and went straight to the venue. I had the chance to meet him right at the entrance where he was about leaving. I quickly dashed to his side, spoke a few ayigbe [tr: ewe-land lingua] to him and voila, we started talking as if he knew me from birth.

    met the following randomly, JJ Rawlings @ Honey Suckle, Komla Dumor @ his mum's funeral service, Hon. Doe Adjaho, Kofi Jantuah, Sulley Muntari, Laryea Kingstoin & Micheal Essien @ Novotel Hotel after Ghana-Nigeria match for a FIFA09 on PS3. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley @ BusyInternet, Tony Baffour @ Sekondi.....

  17. Yofai

    Great stuff Esi. I know you feel it right in bones-the arts. It flows in you like the great firaw - the Volta, and am I surprised it's gushing out of your brink for others to drink of. Cheers...African gal.

  18. Yeah my fav topic! unfortunately I've met only two wh en I resided in Ghana, Kofi Adjorlolo a distant relative(goes beyond the great grand father) and Sena Tsikata a.k.a Marcia of Things we do for Love fame, also a close cousin.
    I agree my life sucks, but who knows? I could become a celebrity..someday...a very,very long one day... Oh and before I forget, Michel( right spelling?) Majid picked up his sis (surprise surprise) from my school at East Legon, a whole lotta years ago. Make that 3 celebrities.

  19. Fiifi Banson is extremely arrogant @ Mac-Jordan