Ghana’s Paa Joe: The Extraordinary Coffin Maker

Paa Joe's coffins

Lion-shaped coffin at Paa Joe’s coffin shop in Teshie, outside Accra, Ghana.

Paa Joe (with family the name Joseph Ashong) is a Ghanaian figurative palanquin and fantasy coffin artist born 1947 in the region Akwapim belonging to the Ga-Adangbe people, Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Paa Joe is considered one of the most important Ghanaian coffin artist of his generation.

He was involved since 1989 in major art exhibitions in Europe, Japan, and the USA. His fantasy coffins are in the collections of many art museums worldwide, including the British Museum in London.

If Ghana is one of the leading countries in the world for Cocoa production, then Paa Joe can make cocoa pod coffin.

At 15, Paa Joe started  his ten-year apprenticeship as a coffin artist in the workshop of one called Kane Kwei (1924–1992) in Teshie. Then in 1976, he started his own business at Nungua.

Paa Joe’s experience and mastery over his works attracted a number of people to be trained as fantasy coffin artists. In 2007, he moved his workshop from Nungua to Pobiman, in the  Greater Accra region, where he still works with his two sons Jacob and Isaac. His work is now internationally known, enabling him to visit Britain in 2013.

The sculptor and artist: Joseph Ashong (Paa Joe)

 

Paa Joe’s sculpted coffins blur the line between art and craft. Each work is carefully constructed to reflect the ambition or the trade of the person for whom it was made. They are not dead things but are instead a manifestation of and indeed an affirmation of life. The works are wholly African and are a contemporary embodiment of traditional tribal burial rituals and art practice. They link back to pre-colonial West African sculpture but also recall the pomp and extravagance of ancient Egyptian royal tombs. In contemporary Western art

The works are wholly African and are a contemporary embodiment of traditional tribal burial rituals and art practice. They link back to pre-colonial West African sculpture but also recall the pomp and extravagance of ancient Egyptian royal tombs. In contemporary Western art practice, the coffins recall Jeff Koons.

They too are kitsch – Paa Joe, like Koons, plays with scale and with a work like the Jet, with material and commercial ostentation. The foremost sculpted coffin maker of his generation, Paa Joe apprenticed with Kane Kwei – who is credited with beginning the 20th-century tradition of figurative coffins. Paa Joe’s work is held in museum collections around the world including the British Museum in London.

Bloodbath In Paris As Terrorists Strike The City

 

Paris

People gather outside the Le Carillon bar. It’s one of the venues targeted during the terrorist attacks.  Photo: Steve Parsons/PA

“The current crisis in Syria, has brought many refugees, including terrorists to the shores of Europe unnoticed.” – Joel Savage

Gatwick Terminal’s North Terminal shut down after reports of ‘suspect package’ at airport. France also in lockdown after a series of coordinated terror attacks across Paris on Friday. Follow latest updates

Jeremy Corbyn condemns “horrific and immoral” attack

Christopher Hope writes:

Jeremy Corbyn, newly sworn as a privy counsellor which allows him to be briefed on state secrets, will get a Downing Street security briefing today in the wake of the French terror attacks in Paris today.

Here is his statement:

“Today, all our thoughts and sympathy are with the people of Paris.

“What took place in the French capital yesterday was horrific and immoral.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of France – as with all victims of terror and violence.

“I have cancelled my engagements today to hold discussions on events in France with shadow cabinet colleagues and be briefed by Downing Street security officials.

“It’s vital at a time of such tragedy and outrage not to be drawn into responses which feed a cycle of violence and hatred.

“We are proud to live in a multicultural and multi-faith society, and we stand for the unity of all communities.”

Gatwick’s North Terminal has flights suspended

Lyndsey Telford is at Gatwick Airport where she reports that North Terminal is still evacuated.

Flights departing from the North Terminal, where a man was arrested after a suspicious item was found, have been suspended. Entrance to the terminal is cordoned off with a small police presence.

Hundreds of confused and frustrated passengers have formed a winding queue unsure of whether their flights will depart at all. Passengers arriving on flights into the airport have described scenes of “chaos” and “mayhem”.

Alex Pollock arrived this morning on a flight from Bordeaux into the North Terminal. He said: “As soon as we got off the plane, we were met by Border Force security guys who told us the area had been evacuated and we had to get as far away from the North Terminal as possible”.

He said staff at Gatwick seemed to have “no idea” about the security alert. “It’s been absolutely chaotic, which has made the whole experience all the more unnerving.”

Separately, passengers trying to leave Gatwick have been told public transport was in “lockdown”, but it is understood trains are in fact arriving and departing from the airport.

Suicide bomber identified by his fingerprints

BFMTV, a French TV channel, reports that police have identified one of the suicide bomber via his fingerprints, but he has not yet been named.

He was a French man, known to security services.

Continue reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995541/Paris-shootings-terrorist-attack-french-victims-latest-news.html

Books: Special Branch War- Slaughter in the Rhodesian Bush. Southern Matabeleland And Bitter Sweet

Africa 2

This searing account primarily covers Ed Bird’s Special Branch (SB) service in the Beitbridge area of southern Matabeleland, 1976-1980, encompassing Operations Repulse and Tangent of the bitter Rhodesian ‘bush war’.

Joining the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in 1964, Bird cut his teeth on Selous Scouts ‘pseudo’ operations during Operation Hurricane in 1974-1976, so was well equipped to deal with the insidious escalation of the ZANLA and ZIPRA campaigns in the south of the country.

A meticulous recorder, Bird implemented and maintained the Beitbridge SB incident log, and it is this diary of terror and death upon which Bird’s account hangs, interspersed with detailed accounts of fire fights, ambushes, landmine blasts, ZANLA executions, traitors and assassinations, SB ‘dirty tricks’ and ‘turning’ terrorists.

Although first and foremost an intelligence-gatherer, Bird thrived on combat and against all protocol inveigled his way onto Fire Force operations and as an air mobile MAG machine-gunner on converted Police Reserve Air Wing aircraft. Decorated for bravery but overlooked for promotion, Bird’s BSAP career became victim to spurious political expedience.

http://www.amazon.com/Special-Branch-War-Slaughter-Matabeleland-ebook/dp/B00MZKAW2Y

 

BIRD 1Following the untimely death of his wife, Hilton Shire, a newly appointed private investigator, embarks on a quest for revenge. He enlists the help of his brothers-in-law, Jordan and Kyle to prove that Sabrina was murdered. Hilton and his comrades believe that Sabrina was killed because of her investigation into the demise of Julie Curl’s husband years before. They also believe that Sabrina was drawing close – too close – to the truth hence she met with unmitigated violence.

The case unfurls to something more sinister and complex as the investigators find themselves taken as far away as Barbados and into dangerous situations they never thought possible. Will Hilton get to the bottom of the mystery and avenge his wife before more killings take place? In this brilliantly orchestrated novel, E.D. Bird takes readers on a relentless cat and mouse chase across the unforgettable southern African nations and Barbados.

The unfolding adventure is menacing, perilous, intriguing and, in the end, it could possibly be Bitter Sweet…

http://www.amazon.com/Bitter-Sweet-E-D-Bird/dp/1517695732/

The Author

BIRD 2

E.D. Bird was born in Scotland on March 17, 1955, but has lived in Zimbabwe since 1957. The author was divorced in 1987 but remarried the same person on the 20th anniversary of their original wedding date and continue to live happily in Bulawayo with their two rescue dogs. E.D. Bird is an animal lover and, over the years, has had a variety of pets including horses, dogs and cats.

Bird has worked for a law firm for 13 years and also joined the family business, a gold mining enterprise. Growing up in a rural mining environment and working in the mining industry has given the author a sound basis for the situations created in this novel.”

Where Is Clarence Williams III, After The Moud Sqaud?: The Influence of Television Films In Africa

Clarence 4

The Mod Squad, featuring Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton, played a significant role in the entertainment scene in Ghana. 

It is often said that Africa is a continent plagued by war, conflict, poverty and diseases, but the discipline, endurance and the survival on that harsh continent, which have never been the pride of the foreign media, could have been very good education for the advanced world, including Europe and America, to stand stress, frustration and other life turmoils. 

Africans are tough, immune to suffering and can adapt to every situation than Africans in the Diaspora and Europeans. Apart from the influence of the Bible, the role of churches and gospel music, television has played a significant role in entertainment history in Africa. The national coverage of television films from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation helped transformed Ghana.

Ghana was one of the happiest African countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa and still remains a peaceful and God fearing country. That doesn’t mean there is no crime. I remember in the early seventies, foreign television film inspired the first kidnapping story in the crime history of Ghana. Three young men made names for themselves and became fugitives when they kidnapped a car dealer’s son for ransom.

The entertainment scene in Ghana during the 6O’s and 70’s was amazing. Apart from Bonanza, featuring the Family Cartwright, Department ‘S’ featuring Peter Wyngarde and Joel Fabiani, Roger Moore as ‘The Saint,’ David Janssen as Richard Kimble in the fugitive etc; ‘The Mod Squad’ a group of two handsome men,  Clarence Williams III and Michael Cole and a pretty lady called Peggy Lipton, made some groundbreaking advancements in Ghana’s entertainment.

I missed those wonderful golden years; thanks to the birth of technology, making it possible to view those wonderful old television series today. Some of the great film stars may have gone or still living, but the role they played in Ghana’s entertainment and Africa generally shall never be forgotten.

Clarence 3

Clarence Williams III today

One of my dreams is to see Europe and America media, lifting the image of Africa to educate Europeans and Americans on how Africans cope with all the hardships. Why many criticize about Africa’s weak educational system, yet teenage pregnancy, smoking and alcoholism are problems Britain and America are facing today? Why so much suicide in Europe and America than Africa? Because the life of Africans is much influenced by the gospel. Above all the entertainment scene from the sixties in Africa was a key to provide young children the experience, teaching, skills and the critical thinking to survive on that harsh continent.

Head Of State

STATE

When a young investigative reporter is found dead on the streets of London few people notice. But when another body – minus its head and hands – is washed up on the banks of the Thames, its grisly condition arouses a little more interest.

There appears to be no connection between the two dead men. But, unsuspected by the electorate, there is a shocking and dangerous secret at the very heart of government. While the United Kingdom approaches a crucial and delicately-balanced referendum on Europe, a group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing – including murder – to prevent the truth from getting out.

Andrew Marr’s first novel is a gleefully twisted spin through the corridors of power. Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge of the British political scene, Marr has threaded his wickedly clever thriller with a distinctive strand of pitch-black humour, to offer an irreverent glimpse behind the parliamentary curtain.

The Author

State 2

Andrew William Stevenson Marr (born 31 July 1959) is a Scottish journalist and political commentator. He edited The Independent for two years until May 1998, and was political editor of BBC News from 2000 until 2005.

He began hosting a political programme Sunday AM, now called The Andrew Marr Show, on Sunday mornings on BBC One from September 2005. Marr also hosts the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week.

In 2007 he presented a political history of post-war Britain on BBC Two, Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, followed by a prequel in 2009 – Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain focusing on the period between 1901 and 1945.

Most recently, he presented a series, Andrew Marr’s Megacities, examining the life, development and challenges of some of the largest cities in the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Marr/e/B001HPXUPY/

Death In The Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba

Death in the Congo is a gripping account of a murder that became one of the defining events in post colonial African history. It is no less the story of the untimely death of a national dream, a hope-filled vision very different from what the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo became in the second half of the twentieth century.

Lumumba

When Belgium relinquished colonial control in June 1960, a charismatic thirty-five-year-old African nationalist, Patrice Lumumba, became prime minister of the new republic. Yet stability immediately broke down. A mutinous Congolese Army spread havoc, while Katanga Province in southeast Congo seceded altogether.

Belgium dispatched its military to protect its citizens, and the United Nations soon intervened with its own peacekeeping troops. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, both the Soviet Union and the United States maneuvered to turn the crisis to their Cold War advantage. A coup in September, secretly aided by the UN, toppled Lumumba’s government.

In January 1961, armed men drove Lumumba to a secluded corner of the Katanga bush, stood him up beside a hastily dug grave, and shot him. His rule as Africa’s first democratically elected leader had lasted ten weeks.

Lumumba 2

More than fifty years later, the murky circumstances and tragic symbolism of Lumumba’s assassination still trouble many people around the world. Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick pursue events through a web of international politics, revealing a tangled history in which many people—black and white, well-meaning and ruthless, African, European, and American—bear responsibility for this crime.

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Congo-Murdering-Patrice-Lumumba/dp/0674725271

The Girl On The Train

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.


Train

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immerse, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

The Author

Paula

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, she moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller. It is being published all over the world and has been optioned by Dreamworks.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paula-Hawkins/e/B0034Q4SHS/