A MAG is a Modern African Girl, so no subject is taboo. My purpose is to share things which may interest a MAG.

The Weekly Lifestyle Blog by Lydia, every Friday at 1700 hrs. Nr 92 22nd March 2024

Lydia's Weekly Lifestyle blog is for today's African girl, so no subject is taboo. My purpose is to share things that may interest today's African girl.

This week's contributors: Lydia, Pépé Pépinière, this week's subjects: Black and Proud, The Influence of African Fashion, The Rise of African Aesthetics, Credit Cards, and Pâte à choux Restaurant.

Black and proud, the Olympic games in Paris and sad things happening. French President Macron approached singer Aya Nakamura (955 million views!) to possibly perform at the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Paris in July this year.
Aya is Mali born and black but since an early age a French citizen, and this has provoked shockingly racist reactions, according to the organizing committee of the Paris games, and the Paris prosecutor last Friday launched an official racism investigation. Nakamura has managed the impossible by making songs in French “sound danceable”, yet for a large section of the French population seeing a Black woman embody the nation remains “unthinkable”. Nakamura has achieved remarkable global success and is the most listened-to French artist in the world. How long will we all remain racists? At least 4-5 generations is my guess.

The Influence of African Fashion: A Tale of Creativity and Appropriation:
African fashion is a vibrant tapestry woven from centuries of rich cultural heritage, diverse traditions, and artistic expressions. From the intricate beadwork of the Maasai tribes to the bold prints of Ankara fabric, African designers have long been at the forefront of creativity and innovation. However, this creative legacy has not always been celebrated without controversy. In recent years, Western fashion has increasingly drawn inspiration from African designs, leading to a complex interplay of influence, appropriation, and cultural exchange.

The Rise of African Aesthetics
Celebrating Heritage: African fashion celebrates diversity, storytelling, and identity. It is deeply rooted in history, spirituality, and community. Traditional garments often carry symbolic meanings, reflecting social status, rituals, and life events. From the flowing kente cloth of Ghana to the geometric patterns of mud cloth from Mali, each piece tells a unique story.

Modern African Designers: In contemporary times, African fashion has become a fusion of traditional African styles and modern Western fashion. African designers blend heritage fabrics, bold colours, and innovative silhouettes to create garments that resonate globally. Brands like LemLem, Maxhosa, and Maki Oh have gained international acclaim for their unique designs that celebrate African culture while pushing boundaries.

Honesty between partners and incest. Unfortunately, some of us were mishandled by brothers, nephews, or uncles, sometimes even by fathers, at a very young age, some as young as only 6-7, some of us for many years. We were told not to report and intimidated into silence, so we kept quiet and carried it with us like it was dirt. If you are one of these, take the opportunity to tell your future husband, talk as much about it as you want, and get rid of this idea that you have a dirty secret. And if he starts to look at you differently? Wrong guy, drop him. You were a vulnerable kid, you are not responsible, not then, never.

Credit Cards, Again:
One of the dangers of a credit card is that often you don't immediately get notified that your account is to be debited at the end of the month by so and so much and that your balance will then only be so much, so at the end of the month you may be surprised at what you spent and that you are now overdrawn and are paying interest. You are surprised, and the bank is happy. And one more thing. Assuming you had an authorized overdraft of say 5000 GHS, and paid an interest of 36% per annum on that, (so 150 GHS/month), if you overshoot that credit limit you now pay say 55 % per annum on the overshoot. So if you overshot by 1000 GHC you pay about an extra 46 % per annum on that overshoot, so a total of 150+46=196 GHS. Starts to add up eh? Per year that would be 2352GHS, oeps?
Now a little example. Say you earn 10,000 GHS per month. The bank gives you a credit card and an authorized overdraft of 8000 GHS. You dig into that overdraft by 6000 GHS, big spender just pulls out her card and smiles whilst paying. Next month the bank takes the 6000 from your salary, plus the interest, about 180 GHS, and leaves you with only 3820 to spend in the new month. So again you dive into the overdraft, this time it shoots up to 8000 GHS. Next month you end up with only having 10,000 income minus 8000 overdraft minus 240 interest =1760 GHS to spend. You say stop, no more, and bit by bit you get rid of that overdraft, say by paying off 800 GHC per month for 12 months. That would more or less clear it (eh you borrowed 8000 and have to pay back 12 x 800 = 9600? Yes, 1600 interest). Maybe you now understand when they say that someone is working for the bank... And in case you are not good at math and all this sounds a bit too complicated? Then stay away from debt. The bank knows that most of us are not too smart in math, and happily guides you into being an ever-bleeding milk cow.

Paid for by who?

Pâte à choux: There's a new restaurant by that name, (Dade Street, Cantonments, Accra), that opened in a few months. Beautiful place and they sell bread and pastries as well and after buying your bread you could have a cup of coffee. Or a milkshake, a bit difficult to get in Accra. We came in the evening and had dinner. I am a bit wary of all these new upscale restaurants, often the quality does not match the price at all. But here we had a pleasant surprise. We had truffle fries which indeed tasted the umami truffle taste and a very interesting goat cheese salad.
Goat Cheese Salad
Then lemon chicken and jumbo prawns, fresh.
Jumbo Prawns
The funny thing was that to have a bit of bread with the meal, which is a standard French habit, no dinner without accompanying bread, in this case, we had to purchase a whole bread with which the balance we did “take-away” and which lasted for a week. The service was of level and the prices were of level as well, but not outrageous for what we got. The painful part is the taxes, 24%, and that included a 1% Covid Levy, but then, being obedient citizens we didn’t mind contributing to the construction of whatever our democratically elected Government has in mind to construct for us. Amen.


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