On Saturday, January 26th, 2019, at Filli B’s Bar and Garden Grill in East Legon, Accra, H.E.R. Collective hosted its monthly ‘Icebreaker Social Mixers’ event. The scene was romantic, flirty and jovial; it was truly a vibe. The eclectic blend of guests made for an interesting and educative night. Attendees were divided into two teams: Team Ghana, which consisted of Ghanaians who were born and raised in the continent, and Team Diaspora, who were people of the African Diaspora who might be from outside of Ghana or who are Ghanaian but have spent time outside of Ghana.
The first activity focused on cultural adages, where the two teams were told proverbs from the opposite cultures and then attempted to figure out what the proverb meant. Some of the African American/ African Diaspora sayings were “You think fat meat don’t mean grease?” and “it takes two to tango”. The Ghanaian proverbs were sayings like “Se aboa bi beka woa, e firi wo ntema mu/If an animal bites you, it is from inside your cloth” and “abofra bo nnwa na mmoo akyekyed3/ The child breaks a snail but it does not break a tortoise shell”. This exercise was a testament to the links that hold the diaspora together. Most of the proverbs were translated by the opposite teams into what was familiar to them. Throughout the event, the level of understanding and the playful camaraderie grew.
The trivia section of the event was especially entertaining. Both teams were extremely knowledgeable about notable figures throughout the African Diaspora. Some of the pioneers mentioned were King Zumbi of Brazil, Queen Nanny of the Maroons from Jamaica, Ghanaian-American Bozoma Saint John and Ghanaian author Ayi Kwei Armah.
It was a time of enlightenment for the second to last activity, which was titled “The Elephant in the Room”. Each team brought up important issues that peoples of African Descent struggle with when building with each other. Some of the elephants in the room that team members mentioned were the culture of lateness in Ghana. For repatriates coming from the Western countries, where ‘time is money’, it was frustrating to be told by Ghanaians ‘I’m five minutes away’ when they are in actuality an hour or more away. Some people from Team Ghana explained that they do it to make the other party feel better about their lateness.
The final activity was a intercultural soul train line, where a member from each team went down the line doing dances like the ‘walk it out’ , ‘akwaaba’ and the ‘kupe’. After, everyone took it to Black America and did the ‘Cupid Shuffle’. It was truly a night of fun, edutainment and mingling. We thank everyone who came out and supported this event. Oh yea, the karaoke was a lituation as well!
We hope to see you every fourth Saturday of the month at our social mixers, you will not regret it! Follow our Instagram page to stay updated for our next location. What can be an ‘elephant in the room’ for you when connecting with someone of the diaspora from a different culture? Please comment below!