Published March 8, 2013
Harare’s lively arts hub, Book Cafe, is on March 9, 2014 set to mark Ghana’s Independence Day with a celebration of food and music classics and hits from the West African country. But before then, an International Women’s Day Concert with Prudence Katomeni and Rute Mbangwa, shall warm up the venue on March 8 at 8.00pm.
Golden “Highlife” oldies as well as new tunes from the Ghanaian and West African music scene,shall be played by ‘DJ RK’ in the Book Café Garden between 12.30 and 6.00pm as Ghanaian cuisine–Pepper Soup, Spicy Okra, Jolof Rice, Fufu and Banku–is served, courtesy of Dining Point, Harare’s only Ghanaian restaurant, as part of Book Café food-as-culture project.
Ghanaians, including some prominent intellectuals and teachers, have lived and worked in Zimbabwe, just as President Robert Mugabe and other Zimbabwean leaders lived in Ghana; the late Sally Mugabe, President Mugabe’s first wife, was Ghanaian. At one time a direct air connection existed between Accra and Harare. Many Ghanaians have visited over the years.
Ghana was the first African state to win political independence on March 6, 1957. A long and bloody campaign to subdue the Ashanti (1822-1900) resulted in British colonial forces burning the Ashanti capital, Kumasi, and annexing the territory in 1902 from which they were to later conquer the peoples to the north of Ashanti. Britain called the new colony “The Gold Coast”. Nationalist activists led a fight-back from the 1920s culminating in mass strikes and protests in the late 1940s. The new country was named “Ghana” after a famed medieval African empire.