Accra is a land of many things, ranging from incredible festivals, to a complex cosmopolitan lifestyle and wonderful people. New trends ranging from fashion to arts and even food spring up all the time in the city and within no time spread to the other parts of the city like wildfire.
What then is this new craze in town?
Well we can’t exactly call it a new craze as it has been in the system for a while now and had people engaged in it over the two decades. However walking through the streets of Accra one can’t help but notice it has taken centre stage in the city.
We are talking about the ever growing fanciful coffins which line up the streets of Accra these days. Decades ago, carpenters and coffin makers used to make simple and modest coffins for the departed souls to be buried in. This has however changed drastically over the course of the decades, with the art of coffin making becoming some sort of competition among carpenters.
Instead of the normal triangular-shaped coffins, carpenters now make incredible designer coffins, designed in many unique forms; some to looks like microphones, some in the form of vehicles and so forth depending on the occupation of the deceased who is going to be buried in the coffin.
For instance it is now a common sight to see a deceased driver being buried in a coffin designed in the form of a vehicle and a preacher being buried in a coffin designed to look like a bible.
Make no mistake these customized designer coffins come at a higher cost due to the tedious work and time that go into making them. In the early days when the craze for these coffins began, they were made upon the request of families, meaning carpenters did not make them until a request come in. This has however changed as demand for them continues to sour and families visit coffin shops to purchase while on display.
The trend is not only common to Accra these days with the craze crossing boundaries and seeing other regions getting caught in the craze. Today, you are most likely to see some of these fancy coffins when you attend funerals in other regions in Ghana.
From all indication, the new trend is not one that will go away anytime soon, and that is if it ever would. If you ever find yourself in Accra, take a tour of the city and visit some coffin shops and admire the beauty and artwork that goes into making these beautiful coffins tasked with taking the departed to their final destination.
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The Apartheid Museum, located in Johannesburg, is arguably the most historic and iconic museums in Johannesburg and South Africa as a whole. The museum which was established after the fall of the infamous apartheid system in 1992, preserves memories of the horrific events that took place during the apartheid era especially in relation to the treatment of Black South Africans and the incarceration of Black political leaders like Nelson Mandela.
Inside the historic museum, tourists can find graphics portraying the apartheid era and how life generally was back in the days. Also there are hundreds of artefacts and replicated monuments from the apartheid era on full display in the museum with the most popular being the segregation entrance which sort to portray how blacks and whites were racially segregated in South Africa, with Blacks having to enter certain places using different entrance from that of the whites.
The Museum was originally built in 2001 by the South African government under the leadership of Nelson Mandela to remind South Africans of the atrocities of the past and the need to never go back to such a period but rather live in harmony and unity as one people with equal rights and freedom irrespective of race or culture.
As a museum dedicated to the preserving the history of South Africa’s past and teaching people the need not to revisit that dark era, the Apartheid Museum occasionally holds festive events in the course of the year to mark and celebrate the end of apartheid.
The Museum is opened to people of all races and people from all cultural background including non-South Africans who wish to visit the facility to learn a bit about the apartheid history of the Rainbow Nation.
Tourists who intend to visit the museum are advised to make an early reservation, at least a day to the visit in order to get the best experience as the facility is one of the busiest attractions Johannesburg.
If you are traveling via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, you may want to see what the city has to offer tourists especially if you have to wait for long hours to catch your next flight.
Tour Operators at the airport advertise various tour packages to travelers on transit but Jetsanza.com recommends you spend these few hours at the Dam Square.
Dam Square has a bit of almost everything that Amsterdam has to offer. The tourist-packed area houses Koninklijk Palace, the 17th-century Royal Palace and also former home of the Dutch royal family. It serves as venue for royal functions.
Dam Square boasts of Amsterdam’s top tourist attractions. Visiting Dam Square alone means seeing almost all what Amsterdam has to offer tourists. Amsterdam’s great attractions like Nieuwe Kerk (the New Church); Madame Tussauds wax museum; and the National Memorial Statue are all found at the Dam Square.
The public square is very huge. Dozens of cafes and shops with vendors all over selling food and souvenirs. Dam Square has a Ferris wheel to give tourists different views of Amsterdam, as well as plenty of entertainment, which ranges from street performers to music festivals.
The good part is that, Dam Square is easily accessible from the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Both bus and train take approximately 25 minutes. If you have to wait for over 5 hours before flying, this is perfect for you.
Take note of your boarding time to avoid missing your flight. Have your train or bus ticket booked before beginning your Dam Square tour. Choose the bus/train that will get you to the airport at least an hour before departure.
Also note that you may not require transit visas to travel through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport but obtain the necessary visa to enable you exit the airport for the Dam Square experience.
Yellow Fever vaccination is one of the foremost things you would have to consider when making travel arrangements, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 30,000 deaths yearly due to this disease.
The introduction of the vaccine brought some form of relief to the traveller, however, since the introduction, authorities are making the everyday traveller assume possessing the International Certificate of Vaccination is synonymous to taking the vaccine. Majority of the health facilities and health desks in most African airports and borders only issue the vaccination certificate at a fee without actually administering the vaccine.
People exiting Ghana through Aflao, and do not possess International Certificate of Vaccination are issued copies without receiving the vaccine and sometimes are even made to pay specific amounts, devoid of the certificate. It has become a norm for passengers travelling from Ghana and have not taken the vaccine, to only purchase the certificate. Passengers arriving in Kenya without the certificate are issued copies at a fee without any form of vaccination against yellow fever.
As a person travelling, it is for your good and safety to regard yellow fever as dangerous as, either HIV-AIDS or Ebola. Acquiring and possessing the certificate just for immigration purposes will always put your life at risk, as the document is not a guarantee of good health nor a form of protection against the deadly yellow fever. Possessing the yellow fever vaccine certificate without actually taken the vaccine is like “operating with a fake document, there is always the possibility of you being caught!” (i.e. you are always open to acquiring the disease)
I am bothered, why authorities at various ports in Africa, are only interested in being shown the certificate or issuing the document, without putting in measures to check if a traveller has vaccinated against the disease.
Journeys are supposed to be enjoyed to the fullest, and it is always an excellent occasion to relieve some stress and also enjoy both natural and human-made scenes that come with it. So when a critical part of the process, such as this is ignored, then your guess is as good as mine.
Bunch of emails find its way in my inbox daily asking how I manage to get my travel visas to embark on my globetrotting.
It’s grueling acquiring visas from our part of the world and has cost many huge sums of monies just to witness visa repudiation. It is estimated that, about $200,000 is wasted daily in Ghana on non-refundable visa fees. It’s this same money that is given to us back as an aid.
Before I come out with my secrets in getting all the travel visas for my trips, let me first clear some myths about ‘Visa Contractors’ popularly called ‘Connection men’.
1. There is nothing like ‘connection’ when it comes to Visas acquisition
‘Connection men’ are not connection men as they are known. They do not have any connections to the embassies as they claim. Even employees of the various embassies do not have the capacity to influence a visa decision.
Usually, decisions to issue visas are a sole responsibility of selected consular officers.
2. They do not influence your application positively in any way
In no way can they positively influence the outcome of your application. If you take any promise by a ‘connection’ man seriously, you may end up committing suicide.
Whatever they do is a ‘try your luck’ or 50/50 affair.
3. ‘Connection men’ have no knowledge in travel and tourism business
These so-called ‘connection men’ practically have no knowledge in travel and tourism business. A nurse was advised by a connection man to travel to a foreign country to pursue her nursing profession. Others have been advised that they can get admissions while in a foreign country to further their education. Graduates have been told that jobs are easily acquired with their certificates while in other countries. All these are false advises.
Travel visas have their own restrictions. The visitor/tourist visas you are traveling on do not permit you to carry on any job, school, or even engage in any other paid activities.
4. They are confident charlatans
They are quick to study your desperation or shortfalls and find a smart way to let you fall to their tricks. They usually answer ‘YES’ to all questions.
Accessing how fraudulent a ‘connection man’ is, I deliberately asked one question; “Can I enter the UK with a Schengen visa you are advertising?” and the answer was ‘YES’!
Meanwhile, UK who is planning to leave EU isn’t part of the Schengen treaty.
5. They can risk your chances of getting visas
These men do not have any knowledge in visa acquisition and may complete your application forms with false information that will rather risk your chances of getting visas now and in the future.
Many travel wishers have received bans from various embassies for providing false documents and information in their visa applications. It becomes difficult for you to apply for visa yourself after a connection man works on it. You do not know the exact information he/she gave to the embassy at the time of applying your first application.
Conflicting information equals lies and this usually comes along with a ban.
6. They are only interested in your money
Yes, it’s all about the cash. They will speak beguiling words to rip you off your lifetime savings. Interesting reasons on why advance payment has to be made are always given.
Some travel agencies advertise packages they cannot deliver. They lure travel wishers with radio and TV commercials to pay some amount (usually around 100 to 300usd) to register their interest in a package. Because this registration amount sounds a penny to a travel wisher, thousands of people rush in to make payment. Be informed that they are only interested in these initial payments.
When Ghana was playing against England in the UK in 2011, some agencies made fortunes out of it. Thousands of people rushed to make deposits in a bid to witness the international friendly match. A particular agency recorded over 10,000 registrations of £100 each – and that amount to a whooping £1m.
You will be shocked to know that I was at Wembley during the match and both seats on my left and right were empty. So many seats were empty.
Tickets meant for people who paid £100 to register their interest were sold about three times the price prior to kick off.
7. They need visas themselves
Some of these ‘connection men’ do not even have passports and they are interested in traveling themselves but have no means or little knowledge as to how to obtain visas. This is not an advice to pay people with travel experiences to assist you with travel visas. The fact that they travel to and fro in a country as many times they wish do not mean they could influence your visa application in any way.
A popular ‘connection man’ who was heard on radio everywhere advertising UK visas was seen going through his own NOTICE OF IMMIGRATION DECISION, popular known as ‘Refusal Letter’.
8. The embassies do not give accreditation to ‘connection men’ or travel agencies
Most at times, you hear on radio that a travel agency has been accredited by an embassy to send people to participate in or witness a particular event. Some of these adverts are false information they are sending out there just to put you on your heels to give them cash.
If they claim they have been accredited to send people on a particular mission, call the embassy to authenticate this. I bet they will smile and answer a big NO.
9. You could end up in jail
The very day you hand your travel life into the hands of a ‘connection man’, see yourself as a wanted criminal. Many are serving jail terms and others have suffered in the hands of the police and the judiciary service.
‘Connection men’ usually make up their applications with fake documents and information which warrant an arrest.
They are selfish and only interested in their monies and not your travel. When they are able to manoeuvre their way through with the fake documents, which is not likely, they make huge money forgetting about the problems you would go through if they fail.
10. Loss of documents
Consider your documents lost because as he/she plays hide and seek with you, it’s likely he won’t be able to hand over your documents to you. Some ‘visa contractors’ handle so many documents and easily misplace some of them. As you have been hearing and reading in the media, it’s quiet expensive and difficult to obtain a Ghanaian passport. Handle them with much care.
*In my next article, I will talk about what you can do if you have suffered in one way or the other in the hands of these ‘connection men’. I’ll also write about how you can obtain all the travel visas you need on your own.
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With its proximity to Accra, Koforidua is one of the cities in Ghana in which you could listen to most radio stations that transmit from Accra, but once within the city, you sure want to also enjoy radio from within the heart of it. In this piece, Jetsanza.com presents to you the stations to listen to in Koforidua and how to select just what you need based on your interest.
Eastern Fm (Formerly Radio Z) 105.1
With the proliferation of private commercial radio in the year 1995 with the establishment of Joy Fm in Accra, it was time for Koforidua to have her own. Therefore on the afternoon of August 22, 1997, Eastern Fm became the first radio station in Koforidua. It began operating with the name “Radio Z”. The station began with some of the old and retired Broadcasters from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) who hailed from the city. Notable names among the pioneers are Kweku Temeng and Wofa Duku, all of blessed memory.
Some of the young ones who graced the station with their voices are Abeiku Aggrey aka Santana, Alexender Siaw and Anaafi Agyeman who are all no more with the station. Established by Mr Owusu Acheampong aka MC Caterpillar who worked at Radio Zurich in Switzerland, the station continues to drive a considerable amount of listenership today especially among the rural folks in the Region.
If you are in looking for a radio station that will feed you with good old music that appeals to the older generation, your dial should be on no other but 105.1.
Especially on Fridays, the station spends a considerable amount of time churning out “funeral songs”. This has been a consistent characteristic of the station since its inception, programs that provide historical information about old events and music in Ghana is something you will not miss.
Format: The station operates a General Audience format in Akan and spends the early hours of the day interacting with listeners on what is known as the “Eastern Agenda”, one of its oldest running programs.
Midday on Eastern Fm is marked by more music and sales programs.
Politics, Sports and Relationship programs parallel those of a typical Akan radio station.
Goodlife FM 105.5
What was started by a Reverend Minister and now owned by Dr Paa Kwesi Ndoum is a “Gospel Station”.
If you are in Koforidua and love to be “in the spirit”, Goodlife FM is the station for you. The station has gained a reputation for producing health programs and rich award-winning midday Akan News. You will hear only Gospel music, preaching messages, and a lot of health talks by various natural health practitioners.
Sunrise FM 106.7
This is the second station to have been established in the city. The government-owned station is the station with the widest coverage as it transmits on two frequencies. 106.7 and 102.1.
Format: The station operates a general audience format in Akan with a little blend of English. It is symptomatic of the typical GBC in Accra as it does everything parallel to the “mother station”. Sunrise Fm picks their news from GBC in Accra, as such, you can be sure of quality professional news devoid of any antics at 6:00 AM, 12 noon and 6:00 PM.
If you are the type who used to enjoy GBC Radio 2 in the 80s, this is the station for you when you are in Koforidua and its environs.
EMARK FM 97.7
Having started with lots of presenters from Eastern FM, you can be sure that it began as just another Eastern FM, however, this station won the hearts of many with their afternoon political show hosted by Francis Annor Dompreh who also joined from Eastern Fm but no more with Emark too.
Owed by Apostle Evans Tawiah, the station has gained a reputation for several preaching times where different pastors grace their airwaves with their messages.
Their afternoon political show is no more as vibrant as it used to be.
Format: Emark operates a general audience format that is “light” in that, their programs are interlaced with lots of music. If you are a music lover, this is the station you should be glued to in Koforidua. If there is a station that saw a massive exodus of presenters joining and at the same time leaving, it is Emark FM. As a result, a new generation of presenters now hold the fort and have brought in a new phase of presenting all together. These are however very young ladies and gentlemen and are bound to play music of the current trend. 87.7 is the frequency.
Bryt Fm 99.1
This is the first of the Joy Daddy Industries’ radio stations that was established. Born out of the search for a channel to promote the products of Joy Industries, this is not a station you would want to listen to if you are not ready for heavy entertainment. With the likes of Ekow Puncho and Mama Sita, Jah Solo and more to churn out good music and entertainment, there is so much fun on their airwaves. Bryt FM was the station that managed to organize musical concerts that filled every square metre at the Jackson’s Park. With the likes of Dancehall King Shatta Wale gracing their concerts, Bryt has gained a reputation for huge events. The Dadi’s bar would feature live band that is sometimes transmitted on their airwaves.
Bryt, despite their entertainment dose also provides their listeners with Akan news, following the steps of Peace FM or Adom Fm, you will enjoy their news if the local news is a thing you have a knack for.
Tyt Fm 88.9
Another child of the Joy Industries, this station was set up purposely to play music. With absolutely no talk on their airwaves, it is all music. Any talk on this frequency is a feed from any of the other sister stations. Mainly Bryt FM.
Taste Fm 90.9
A station acquired from then Vision FM (an all English Radio station) and then converted to Taste FM. This station, like Bryt, was established purposely to promote the products of the Angel group of companies (mainly Adonko Bitters).
It is a station with very little “stress”. You will hear one voice presenting the morning show and drive time. And then more of programs from Angel Fm, their mother station from Kumasi.
If you love Kumasi Akan station formatting, this is the station you should be listening to while in Koforidua. You are bound to hear news from Kumasi, and have all the “Juicy Oseikrom filla”.
MY FM 94.5
After much controversy of the frequency, 94.5 eventually became part of the Obuoba Group. With a typical general audience format, My Fm is gradually gaining roots in Koforidua as talk radio with a heavy dose of sports in their program line up.
Being the latest in the city, you can only “give it a try” to see if they have what you need in a radio station.
KTU Radio 87.7
Just like any campus radio, you will find KTU a platform where young talented students who aspire the profession of radio broadcast are “testing their paws”. This station tries to “mimic commercial radio”. But KTU has a few unique programs like their “French program”.
If you want to listen to young fresh and emerging young broadcasters, albeit the occasional lapses occasioned by experimentation. Recently, they have started picking feeds of some current affairs programs like “News File” from Joy Fm.
Koforidua has within the last two decades seen such tremendous change that it has gradually gained a reputation for being one of the best cities to live in Ghana. Having undergone name branding, the town has been known in time past as the flower city for the numerous “flowers”. i.e. the beautiful ladies the city prides itself with, hitherto known as the “Koforidua flowers”.
Sometime in 2013, an Actor and a Dancer, Coudjoe Nana Nyarko popularly known as CNN, invented the name “KofCity” and this has gone down well with many who now refer to the city as such, others prefer the good old “KofTown.”
For various reasons, it has become a place for many. These reasons are countless; however, a few of them are its lack of heavy traffic as compared to Accra, Kumasi or Takoradi, Affordable housing, and its proximity to Accra. The city has also gained a reputation for its motorable roads within its suburbs and home of famous bread B Foster.
In this piece, Jetsanza.com takes a look at some of the best areas to live within KofCity.
The Old Estates is a community in the City that came to be as one of the Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT) flats. The community gradually expanded to include other flats that were built by individuals. The community has gained popularity for being the “most sort after” place of residence for professionals and the elite for good reasons.
Old Estates is one of the suburbs in KofCity that has almost every road in the community well tarred.
It is also a place of choice for many because it has enough working street lights. If you are the type who goes out and returns home late, security should be of concern to you. And during the night, the number one rule for security is that one should see and be seen. The Old Estates provides just that for her indwellers.
Low level of noise: Unlike other areas that are known for their noisy reputation like Betom, Jackson Park or certain parts of Srodae, the Old Estates is a quiet place. And you can be sure of that serene environment where you can rest or take that nap whenever you want to without worrying about a sudden headache induced “wake”.
Taxis plying all the time: Unlike some communities like Abugri where taxis will not ply when it rains unless for a good price, Old Estates is one of those places where you are almost always going to find a taxi home anytime, in any weather. And oh if you are a taxi driver who wants to ply your trade to the Old Estates, be warned, the people in this community don’t board old taxis.
Adweso SSNIT Flat
Sharing a boundary with the Koforidua Secondary Technical (SECTECH) and the New Juaben Senior High School, this place houses some of the most prominent people in the City. The Adweso SSNIT flats, like its Old Estates counterpart, is known for its well laid out roads. The place is a high-demand area ever since the flats were put up. Even though the buildings therein are out of sales, people still inquire for houses to buy in the community.
The community houses the famous King of Glory Early Childhood Development Centre, one of the prestigious development centres in Koforidua. It is also home to the famous Clinical Pastoral Education, the only one in Ghana, and former Mac Dic Royal Hotel (Now, Mac Dic Royal Annex), below are a few reasons why this community is the best places to live.
Proximity to the Highway: The Adweso SSNIT Flats is so close to the highway that links the Adweso community to the city centre that it is effortless commuting to and from the suburb.
Excellent lighting: Certainly, this is one of the suburbs you can wake up in the middle of the night and go out for jogging, with its well laid out streets and lightening, the community is almost always brightening.
Silent Environment and Greenery: This is one of the greenest and silent environ in Koforidua, with lots of trees in the community, the environment is always full of fresh air, especially at night. You will not miss the feeling of a “garden” in this community even if you are just passing by.
Lastly, it is one of the places in KofCity that is very accessible; taxis will ply the Adweso SSNIT flats any day and at any time.
Atekyem – Kassadjan
Having seen new roads in early 2020, Atekyem-Kassadjan is most definitely one of the “housing hot cakes” in Koforidua. Closest to the bypass linking the “Poly Junction” to the “Licence Office – Asokore Roundabout”, the community has expanded gradually with lots of infrastructures.
One reason this is one of the best places to live in is its new roads and buildings that are springing up. Suddenly, the home of Souls Habour, Plan Ghana Office, Koforidua Hospital and Oasis of Love retreat Centre, has seen a facelift in early 2020. The new buildings that are springing up in the place seem to have coincided with the construction of the new roads in the community, giving the place a brand new identity.
Most definitely, there is going to be a “rush” for accommodation in the community, but like it is said, the early bird catches the worm.
This community is gradually developing into an autonomous community as it is receiving such a considerable facelift that will see it having almost all that a community needs to become independent, like schools, hospitals and markets.
Sharing a boundary with the Densu Ano residents, a highway in between this community and the Old Estates, this is one of the “small communities” in Koforidua.
It is a community anyone will love to live in for different reasons.
Gate-like environs: Even though there is no gate to this community, it looks just as such, its main entrance looks so beautiful as though one was entering a gated community. Almost every house in here at Daasebree is walled beautifully. It is one of the best places to live in Koforidua, very quiet, especially at night and then airy during the day.
If you are the type who does not like too many people around you, you want your residence cute, quiet, neat and serene. This is what you have been looking for.
Though some might have succeeded in obtaining visas with fake documents, do away with fake documents and be honest throughout your visa application.
It’s good to explain why you don’t have a bank statement than forging one. Many applicants unknowingly included fake documents because they left their travel plans in the hands of connection men or visa contractors.
In the rest of this article, Jetsanza.com discusses some of the dangers involved in the use of fake bank statements.
If you spend a day at the Fraud office at the Police Headquarters, you will count many people who have been brought there for forging bank statements in support of their visa applications.
Once arrested, court may fine and/or jail you if found guilty. Why put yourself in this danger to visit another country?
2-) Jeopardise subsequent applications
If you are lucky and not caught for the first time, it’s going to affect your subsequent applications. What do you do if you are to make a re-application because you were denied? What happens when the embassy calls you for an updated bank statement? What happens when you forget details on the forged statement and present a new one in a new application? The inconsistency would mean tougher hurdles to jump.
3) Travel bans
Almost all countries will ban you immediately after discovering that you included a fake bank statement in your application. The UK ban such applicants from entering the country for ten years. It’s better to use a year to explain your circumstances and why you don’t have a bank statement or why you don’t have enough in your account, than getting banned for ten good years. And I even doubt if they would ever trust you after the ten-year ban.
Compare these scenarios
Kofi and Ama applied for UK visas at the same time. Kofi used a fake bank statement while Ama used her genuine account. Both applications were denied, but because Kofi used a false statement, he was given a travel ban to the UK for ten years. Ama re-applied and provided answers to the concerns raised by the Entry Clearance Officer. She gets the visa.
In another scenario, if Ama is refused the visa because she doesn’t have enough funds, she can still get the visa in future when she has enough funds while Kofi keeps on serving his ten years ban for applying with a false statement.