The first official event to launch Ghana’s Year of Return, 2019 was the TINA Festival and Kente Party which took place 2nd– 4th January 2019. It was the perfect jumpstart to the year’s activities. This is New Africa (TINA), was created by international artist Fuse ODG as a platform to promote Ghana as a destination for tourism, investment and culture. It was also an opportunity to promote African music and culture while educating the masses about self-love as people of African descent.
Fuse ODG is back in Ghana to once again connect and continue spreading his message about changing the narrative of Ghana and Africa at large. He had a Cocktail Reception at Fat Fish Villaggio-Alto Tower on 13th June, to discuss what’s ahead for TINA Festival 2020 and share his reason for continuing to invest in Ghana. He started off by giving the crowd a look back at the first event in January.
It was a 3-day festival that kicked-off with Nation Building Day, an event encouraging the diaspora community to give back to society. Their team of volunteers, along with UK artists Stefflon Don and Raye, and political activist Chakabars visited Wood World Missions Vocational and Technical College/New Africa Nation School that Fuse ODG built in Akosombo. They had an impactful day with the students and helped them upgrade their school by painting classrooms. They also took the time to visit the site planned for the future construction of a senior high school.
The New Africa Nation Conference was at the Accra International Conference Centre. It featured panel discussions with thought leaders from the Ghana and the diaspora including BBC Broadcaster Reggie Yates, Actress/Producer Ama K. Abebrese, Media Entrepreneur Bola Ray and outspoken activist, Chakabars. The event came to an end with a concert featuring both local and international artists. Sarkodie, Joey B., Lethal Bizzle, and Stefflon Don were among the headlining performances at the show.
Fuse ODG thanked everyone for supporting him and coming to the reception at Fat Fish, “It was very important that we connect with you guys, so you can understand the vision because it’s not just about what we’re doing, but it’s really about why we’re doing this.” His passion was evident as he continued addressing everyone there, “I don’t just make music, I use it to create a platform for us to change the perception of Africa,” he said. “I’m always making sure that I’m promoting Ghana in my interviews. I’ve used the music to get to these platforms to help tell a new story.”
Just as TINA Festival launched the Year of Return, it will also close out events at the beginning of 2020. Fuse ODG and his management were thrilled that they will be continuing what they’ve started. He spoke of how other countries like the U.S. don’t have to sell themselves. They’ve already sold their narrative even though they have negative aspects that are rarely shown. He said that we need to show the positive of Ghana and that, “We’re allowing them to tell our stories, it’s now time for us to stand up and tell our own stories.”
TINA Fest will continue on as a yearly event that would help nurture and develop partnerships and opportunities between Ghanaians and the diaspora. It represents exactly what the Year of Return sees as its legacy. Not just a single trip to Ghana but building for the future growth of the nation.
Written by Ivy Prosper