If all go well, Tanzania is set to birth a new national park following the directive from the country’s President, John Magufuli, to the wildlife conservation authorities to split Selous Game Reserve to form a new national park, as reported by Eturbonews.com. Magufuli directed the Ministry of Natural Resources and other relevant government institutions to carve a part of the game reserve to establish a new national park.
He said that the current situation of Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s biggest wildlife conservation areas, was not economically viable to benefit the country through tourism, as mostly hunting and photographic safaris are being carried in the game reserve.
Based on this, the president therefore, directed the Ministry of Natural Resources to split the natural enclave and make its upper part a national park so as to spur tourism growth and conservation of wildlife.
He issued the directive at a function to lay the foundation stone for construction of the mega-power generation plant at the Stiegler’s Gorge site within the reserve. He said the lower part of Selous Game Reserve, the largest wildlife reserve in Tanzania and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site should retain its current status as a game reserve, while the upper part should become a national park.
2019 MIRROR PRIDE OF BRITAIN AWARDS WINNER: My foray into the world of sickle cell nursing –Anionwu
Dame Elizabeth Anionwu is an Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London who co-led a campaign to have a statue of the nurse, Mary Seacole, erected at St. Thomas’ Hospital in 2016. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards for her dedication to nursing and the care of people living with sickle cell.
The award highlighted the struggles Anionwu faced in her early life and the kindness of a nurse who treated her eczema and inspired her to follow in her footsteps. She has had a 50-year career as a nurse and in 1979 (alongside Dr Misha Brozovic) set up the UK’s first sickle cell and thalassaemia screening and counselling centre in Brent, North West London. In that same year she became one of the founding members of the Sickle Cell Society.
Born in 1947 to a 20-year-old Irish student and a Nigerian law student, Anionwu’s early life was dogged by racism and the stigma of illegitimacy. She was involved in setting up the Sickle Cell Society, which this year celebrated its 40th anniversary. Today, she is a Patron of the Sickle Cell Society, the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association and the Sickle & Thalassaemia Association of Nurses, Midwives and Allied Professionals.
Below are excerpts of her remarks from The Wendy Williams Show. Excerpt:
When did you start your nursing career?
I came into nursing in the late 1960’s and as a black nurse I was very conscious that certain black health conditions were just not being addressed. I visited one mother at a time when her son was lying on the sofa, writhing in pain. She was crying her eyes out and she was asking me what she could do. I was really helpless and it really upset me because no child should suffer like that.
Did that inspire what you are doing today?
I was witnessing the impact of a genetic blood disorder; it primarily affected African and Caribbean communities. It was known as sickle cell disease and caused extreme pain, organ failure and even death. A boy was diagnosed with sickle cell at the age of three. I don’t think it’s a pain that you could ever imagine. I remembered his father was sitting next to him and he just looked at him and said: “Dad, do you think it would be better off if I had died or if I would die, because it would take this pain away.”
Were you aware of the disease before that time?
Despite sickle cell was affecting thousands of people in this country, we knew nothing about it, we were taught nothing about it. A lot of people were dying of this disease, and it was really outrageous. As far as clinical care of black people was concerned, we simply didn’t exist, it was nothing short of scandals. The NHS had to get to groups with these conditions, I was fuming, I was so mad, something had to change and quickly.
Where did you study about disease from?
I travelled to the U.S to study the disease, and in 1979, became the U.K’s first sickle cell nurse specialist. I immediately sought funding to set up a sickle cell centre in Brent. Thousands of people contacted the centre, people were coming from the North of England, from Wales, I couldn’t believe it. People were desperate, this went on. I was on my own for six years, just me.
What happened afterwards?
Determined to spread awareness, I took to the road, launching a series of nationwide campaign. Having got a lot of information for the newly formed sickle cell society, one of our campaigns was to write to every single MP in the country.
Was it about activism?
This was about activism; I came into that situation as a clinician and a black woman at a critical time. I couldn’t be ignored. We finally started to break through, people were contacting me from up and down the country to set up similar centres and as a result, patients were accessing services more easily and a voice, a national voice, at last! Patients were now fully supported in the NHS with lifesaving treatments. Our campaign also led to a national screening where every new born in the UK has to be screened for sickle cell disease.
What would you describe as your legacy?
Our legacy was love, love in action, not of some soft sentiment but it is a strategy for change. It is such an extraordinary story and one would wonder in why we had a fierce anger on what was happening and we went out and did something. Our work continued to blood transfusion, blood donation to individuals and those were very helpful. DNA check is now a very common thing, so there is a combined campaign to recruit more donors from similar backgrounds but I have to say that one of the many reasons I’m pleased to be here is that it has given sickle cell a much higher profile and I’m really pleased about that. The NHS means a lot to me, I’ve grown up with it and it has helped me enormously.
THEOPHILUS NZEI: Nigerian hotel owners are hoodwinked by expatriate professionals
Theophilus Nzei, until recently the general manager of Treasure Suites and Conferences, Abuja, spoke with DEBORAH OCHENI of his sojourn and the state of hospitality business in Nigeria among others
With a vast experience in the hospitality sector, working his way through the bottom ranks of the ladder to the top echelon, Theophilus Nzei, is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian hospitality business, where he has made a mark as an hotelier of note.
He started out 21 years ago with Starwood, having a stint at Hilton Hotel, Sheraton Lagos Hotel and Four Points By Sheraton. Marriott Hotel in Doha then back to Nigeria again where he had a stint with All Seasons Hotel, Owerri, Planet One, Maryland, Lagos and Ibeto Hotel, Abuja.
‘‘I have been in hospitality industry for 21 years, I started my career in Starwood. I started with Sheraton Hotel Lagos and like every other junior staff I was a front desk personal, then I was working closely with the then general manager, who is an American.
‘‘He was later transferred to Marriott Hotel, Doha, Qatar, so he suggested that I work with him. I was in Marriott Hotel Doha for eight years. I did the six grade course in Leicester, United Kingdom for 11 months before returning to Doha”.
He further explained that: ‘‘Six grade course is a Starwood training programme where you learn about the industry in another clime, with people who don’t think or eat like you. That gave me the opportunity to see the industry from another clime and it was a different ball game altogether.’’
In 2007, he returned to the country and took up appointment as the first general manager of All Seasons Hotel, Owerri; general manager of Planet One, Maryland; manager of Ibeto Hotel, Abuja and now general manager of Treasures and Conferences, Abuja.
Why did you returned to Nigeria at the time you did given the fact that you were making name in Qatar?
It was not an option for me to come back to Nigeria, the truth is, I wouldn’t want to come back to Nigeria because the circumstances there is better than that of Nigeria. If I were privileged to work in the United Kingdom I wouldn’t have returned but stayed back.
I tried to stay back in the UK but the Marriott policy wouldn’t allow me so I returned to Doha, there I found it difficult to cope with their Arabic software, which is what is used for operations. I have some knowledge of Arabic, I understand and speak Arabic but I found it difficult to write with it, I tried to learn to write with it but it was so difficult for me and that in a way stunted my growth in the industry because most of my colleagues became general managers and that was why I returned to Nigeria.
What is your view of the increasing independent brands by Nigerians owners of hotels?
I want to look at Nigerian hospitality sector from a different perspective because most of Nigerian hotel owners are not looking for hotel managers but magicians and there is no magician in the industry. You can’t place something on nothing and expect it to stand, there is a base for everything.
They have this mentality that Nigerians are not good hotel managers but they are wrong because Nigerians are good hotel managers. The expatriates you are bringing from Europe to come and work for you are coming here for one reason, which is for him or her to come and make his or her money and return to his or her country.
A Nigerian manager is working to build his career, while he is making the money he is also building his career and developing others. The white man does not care about the growth of your company, you may think he care and that is why the moment there is small crisis, they are back to their country.
In most of the facilities I have worked, you will find out that white men come in there, stay for months and return back because the owners of the facilities didn’t give them the leeway to have their way. Most Nigerian hotel owners give the whites more leverage than they give to Nigerians and the whites do little and return to their country.
But is it right to say that your international exposure places you in a vantage position?
Yes, of course because the reason why some of them call me to come and work for them is because of the international experiences that I have garnered. It is a psychological thing, there are many Nigerian hoteliers who didn’t work in Doha but are professionals who are boxed with unreliable demands. The truth is, some Nigerian managers do way better than the whites but the whites are given more opportunities and tools to work with.
The standard white hospitality professionals won’t come to Nigeria for any reason because those who come around here are the little white professionals that I know as junior staff in Doha.
The manager of Four Points in Lagos is somebody I know in Four Point Abu Dhabi, he was an assistant front office manager that has not done the 6G course. Meanwhile, I did mine 10 years ago.
Nigerian hotel owners pay white men who don’t know anything about hospitality science huge sums of money to manage their hotels, and some of these managers are not up to half a waiter that I know.
Many of the foreign brands live longer than the local ones because they know the importance of service charge. The simple logic is, take care of your staff, and automatically, your guest will be fine. The industry suffers in Nigeria and Africa because they don’t understand that service comes first before any other thing.
How are you able then to cope with these obvious challenges?
It is very difficult for me to cope with the psychology of an African man, they want a magician and not a hotel expert. Hotel owner tends to tell you what to do instead of you telling them what should be done.
Would you say you are satisfied with your choice of career?
I am satisfied with my choice of career; I have realised that people with rare skills are the ones that make the money. While we were growing up everybody wanted to be a lawyer, medical doctors and the rest, but at the end, you find out that it is one of the very best that gets the job because the system is choked.
People who took unfamiliar courses made it more, 6G course in hospitality is an unfamiliar course just like the football of those days. I didn’t go into hospitality because I wanted to make money; growing up, I like meeting different kinds of people.
What is your philosophy and motivation in life?
Nigeria and her culture will be great if we downplay religion. Religion is one major things that is destroying the world. Kill religion the world will be good. Religion is one of the deadliest tools that destroys. I have found out that some countries that downplay religion are living great. I stay away from everything that has to do with religion but I believe in God.
What is the future of hospitality business in Nigeria?
It looks bleak.
Four Points By Sheraton Lagos offers magical Yuletide season
With the wind of Yuletide season blowing, the management of Four Points By Sheraton Lagos has promised a magical season for its guests and visitors as its folds its bumper offerings for the season, which according to it meant to treat them to best of the season and give them unique and exciting Yuletide season.
It is a 25 day magical treats spanning between December 1 and 25, with colourful and attractive offers each day. The General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Jonathan Patterson, disclosed that the hotel has made available magical offers for everyone, from food lovers to music enthusiasts.
“For those visiting our hotel, get ready to light up your mind and sight as the ambience of the statement décor will highlight the Christmas spirit for those coming through the doors of our hotel,” he said, adding that: “It will be one that our guests will remember for a long time.”
According to him, in the spirit of creating an unforgettable experience for our guests, room rates have been discounted, including breakfast for two, high speed internet, access to the gymnasium and swimming pool. “The ambience in the hotel is truly something not to miss,’’ said the general manager, explaining that children will be delighted, ‘‘with our Christmas village kiddies set up, packages and entertainment geared to keep families having fun while relaxing.
“Our food and beverage offerings will be tailored to specially meet the taste of all our customers, with inspiring Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year brunches and a selection of beverages.”
Also, there is discount on individual gymnasium membership registration this festive season, which gives you access to the swimming pool, aerobic studio classes and many more while the spa is also not left out. ‘‘You can spoil yourself and family members at the Four Points Lagos spa with a selection of Balinese massage, your choice of Four Points spa pedicure or fruity special, couples massage, couples facials and lots more.
“We are looking forward to having all our guests with their families over to share and enjoy this Magical season of good cheer with us,’’ said the general manager.
Where are the world’s hardest-drinkers?
Is it Vilnius, Seoul, Moscow or Kiev? And what do alcohol consumption statistics tell us about a city and its culture?
Drinking can be seen as an important part of a city’s identity, either as a tourist draw or as part of work culture.
“Drinking is seen as a sign of masculinity in Kiev,” says Daria Meshcheryakova. “People don’t understand how a grown man could be sober in the evenings or on holiday – they would wonder what was wrong with them.”
Last year the Ukraine capital’s city council voted to ban shops from selling alcohol between 11pm and 10am in an attempt to curb excessive all-night drinking.
Former Eastern Europe countries take the lead
Will it work? Mescheryakova, a local journalist, says generational changes may work to reduce consumption in any case. The biggest drinkers are middle-aged men, she says: “Young people in Kiev, who grew up with the internet, they aren’t as interested in getting drunk.”
The former Soviet states in Eastern Europe are among the world’s heaviest-drinking countries, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which mapped the total alcohol consumption of people over the age of 15 in litres per capita across the globe.
Elsewhere, countries such as South Korea, Vietnam and Portugal are curious outliers and drink more than the regions that immediately surround them. Australia, Canada and Europe all also have significant levels of drinking.
But although identifying heavy-drinking countries is relatively straightforward from the available data, it is a little trickier to single out individual cities.
Lithuania tops EU countries
According to WHO data, Lithuania is the heaviest-drinking country in the EU, with its capital Vilnius an increasingly popular tourist hotspot. On average its population consumes a staggering 15 litres of pure alcohol per person per year – the equivalent of 167 bottles of 12% wine.
Vilnius city rated above others
Its capital, Vilnius, is increasingly popular as a weekend tourist hotspot, and could potentially be a contender for the one of world’s hardest-drinking cities – but locals aren’t so sure. “Problem drinking is not as much of an issue in the capital,” says journalist Ziville Raskauskaite. “It is more [of an issue] in rural areas where people are unemployed and don’t have as much to do in their free time.”
That opinion appears to be backed up by a study commissioned by the Lithuanian Business Confederation, which found that the countryside contained almost twice as many people with a drinking problem as in cities.
New York and Los Angeles lead cities in USA
Religious, cultural, social and economic factors all make a difference within countries. “In the US, New York and Los Angeles, have a higher rate of drinking than other areas, as you might expect,” says Max Griswold, lead author of a recent study on global alcohol consumption since the 1980s.
“Areas such as Utah are much lower, because of the large Mormon population.”
Africa: South Africa, Namibia ahead
In Africa, a study from the University of Cape Town points to a widespread binge-drinking problem affecting one in seven adults in South Africa. The country is high up in the ranking for alcohol consumption in the continent – possibly because it is home to some of its wealthiest cities.
“You’ll find that drinking in Johannesburg or Cape Town isn’t much different from in London or New York,” says Munya Shumba, a Johannesburg resident who works in the financial sector. “You get the same brands of whisky and beer, and the bars and pubs are full on a nice day after work.”
Alcohol consumption has also been a problem over the border in Namibia. In 2017 police in Windhoek, the capital, introduced breathalyser tests for pedestrians involved in motor accidents, as well as for drivers. A police spokesperson said “most of the time, victims will be coming from bars and under the influence of alcohol, which makes it difficult for them to fully concentrate on the road.”
Ahead of the decision, a report found that between January 1 and October 4, 2016, 147 pedestrians were killed on Namibian roads and 832 were injured.
In South Korea, team bonding endears drinking
In some cities, work culture has long revolved around drinking as a way of team bonding. In Seoul, home to half the population of South Korea, the preference is for shots of soju, a fermented rice spirit that is 20% alcohol. Research from Euromonitor has shown that South Koreans consume the equivalent of 13.7 shots of spirits per week – twice as many as the stereotypically hard-drinking Russians, for example.
Seoul-based companies and the government have been trying to restrain the post-work drinking culture. An outbreak of hepatitis means sharing glasses is now forbidden, and a number of big businesses have been trying to operate a “1-1-9” rule – meaning post-work drinks should be kept to one round, in one location, and end by 9pm.
Fashion can also change drinking habits. Vodka-loving Russia has recently seen a dip in its alcohol consumption, perhaps dovetailing with a growing craft beer scene in Moscow and St Petersburg. However, a BBC fact check of a government minister’s claim that alcohol consumption in the country had fallen dramatically found that sales of vodka are still robust.
Mumbai, New Delhi in the picture
India’s booming Scotch whisky market has helped drive a rise in Scottish exports of the spirit. While average alcohol consumption isn’t high in India nationally, Griswold says a trend towards whisky-drinking and tasting sessions in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi is showing up in the statistics.
“A popular new trend in Mumbai and other large cities has been whisky tasting, especially among women aged 55 and older,” says Griswold. “No other country has this in their data – where women start to drink more as they age – but it is the case in India because of this trend. Women have become quite fond of whisky there, it seems.”
Juror still out for the hardest- drinking city
Ultimately, though, it is difficult to say definitively which is the hardest-drinking city in the world. Could it be Seoul, based on that city’s consumption of spirits? Or Kiev, with its macho drinking culture?
Drinking in the Ukrainian capital tends to be highly visible – and Mescheryakova describes often seeing groups of men buying cheap alcohol from shops, which they then drink sitting on chairs on the pavement outside, but elsewhere it can be completely private. It will always be hard to tell.
While nightlife can be an important part of a city’s draw (Berlin has made a concerted effort to protect its nightclubs, for example) heavy drinking can be both a symptom and a cause of social problems, affecting a city’s health, resources and economy.
How Britain’s post-industrial cities got hooked on booze
The WHO analysis of alcohol and health found that globally three million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol, most of them men. For the heavy-drinking men of Kiev, this certainly seems to be borne out by the facts: Ukrainian male life expectancy is just 64 years.
An analysis of the heaviest-drinking cities in the US also correlated with a high percentage of car accidents involving alcohol in each place, while the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found excessive drinking to be costly for the US economy, to the tune of $250bn.
In the UK, a 2017 police report argued that 24-hour licensing had led to an increase in crime in city centres.
A city government’s response to their population’s drinking habits means trying to keep the balance between letting people drink while protecting their safety, and it can be a difficult line to walk.
*Culled: The Guardian
4th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism
The fourth edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has been scheduled to hold at Valle de Colchagua, Chile between December 4 and 6. This is following the success of the past three editions of the conference in the last three years. It is to be held in collaboration with the government of Chile.
The Colchagua Valley is a historical and agricultural area located approximately 180 kilometers south of the capital, Santiago. Thanks to the quality of its soils and microclimate, this valley stands out for its richness, giving rise to a fertile terroir and where an important part of Chile’s most famous wines are produced.
This, combined with a persistent and focused commercial strategy, have positioned the Colchagua Valley and the country internationally as a wine tourism destination of great relevance. Chilean independent wine makers stand out for their continued challenge to more traditional wine making, being able to create new blends, revive old vines and even implement biodynamic, dry and organic farming practices.
With the theme: ‘Co-creating Innovative Experiences,’ this year´s conference seeks to explore issues related to wine tourism experience, co-creation of experience, big data in wine tourism, and more. In line with this, the conference will challenge its participants to further explore these topics as well as the contribution of technical assistance and capacity building to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).
Also slated are workshops on four different themes, giving participants the opportunity to further explore the issues addressed in the sessions and interactively share and exchange ideas, which will in turn form part of the conference conclusions.
The event will open with a Masterclass on how to develop competitive and sustainable wine tourism destinations and close with wine tourism experiences: Colchagua Vineyards.
The world at the feet of La Campagne Tropical Beach Resort
If there is one spot in Lagos, Nigeria where the world gather for the best of Nigerian and African themed offerings it is La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Ikegun Village, Ibeju – Lekki.
The African themed resort, which is known for its blend of African offerings with admixture of the most sophisticated, elegant and opulent ambience has continued to play host to hundreds of visitors from across the world. People of different backgrounds and leanings take solace in the resort that is best described at haven for nature and man.
Just recently, the Belgian ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Dargent, took time off his busy schedule to visit the resort where he explored the resort and hosted to a breakfast treat on the lagoon by the founder of the resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye.
He was enchanted and fascinated by the treat and the awesome nature of the resort. He was at a point loss for words in his admiration of the resort.
And in furtherance of its continent building project, the resort, which is the headquarters of Motherland Beckons, also founded by Akinboboye as a vehicle to promote Africa and interface with Africans in Diaspora and the world, has embarked on a move to have the 55 Africa countries presence and celebrated in the resort.
To this end, it has created Oja Africa (Africa market), where each Africa country have their arts, craft, food, fashion and other materials that are unique to the country are displayed in a kiosk for the benefit of visitors to the resort.
Recently, the Ethiopian ambassador to Nigeria, Azanaw Tadesse Abreha, was at the resort and was conducted on tour of the resort, and treated to a breakfast on the lagoon, after which he took physical possession of his country’s kiosk and declared it opened for business.
World-first Mantis Eco-lodge set for 2020
Accor has disclosed plans to unveil the world’s first Eco-Lodge Innovation Hub by Mantis. It is part of the world leading hospitality group’s move to entrench its presence in Africa hospitality market.
It has a 50% stake in the brand, which is billed for 2020 in a bid to showcase the future of eco-travel to investors and guests. Accor made this revelation on the sideline of the recently concluded Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 2019, the leading hospitality investment forum in Africa organised by Bench Events, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The one-of-a-kind concept, which will be launched in early 2020 at South Africa’s famous Mantis Founders Lodge, will bring together conservation partners from across the globe to showcase the future of eco-travel to potential investors and sustainability-minded travellers.
This collaboration of leading eco innovators will see Mantis build five new room models known as ‘Innovate Hospitality Units’ close to the luxurious Founders Lodge – two tents, a pod, a log cabin and a treehouse that integrate the latest green technology on a site designed to showcase to business leaders and future travellers, alike, the vast possibilities of low eco-impact accommodation and activities.
“Mantis, a global pioneer of conservation tourism, is once again pushing the boundaries, creating a hub where experts can collaborate to give investors and guests a glimpse into the future of sustainable hospitality models and eco-experiences,” said the Chief Executive Officer for Middle East and Africa, Mark Willis.
“This bolsters Accor’s commitment to sustainable tourism development in Africa as we embrace innovation to pursue responsible expansion that supports local communities and protects and promotes wildlife and the natural environment,” he added.
Eco-Lodge Innovation Hub is the combined brainchild of digital strategist and product innovator, Craig Llewellyn-Williams, and Paul Gardiner, CEO, Mantis.
Mantis, a collection of luxury boutique hotels, eco-escapes, and waterways around the world, include Mantis Founders Lodge, the original Mantis Group property. Located adjacent to the world-famous Shamwari Game Reserve on South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the entire project created was by Paul’s father, the globally-revered conservationist, Adrian Gardiner.
“As the heartland of conservation tourism, Founders Lodge is the natural home for our hub, providing an inspirational setting where suppliers can test, develop and showcase off-the-grid accommodation and green energy innovations,” said Paul Gardiner.
“At the same time, the new units tap into popular global travel trends including wellness tourism, multi-generational holidays and eco-education, offering future guests new travel and lifestyle experiences that are central to the Mantis and Accor hospitality offering,” he said.
Sustainable development has been the focal point of the Accor/Mantis strategic partnership signed in May of 2018, with both parties founding the Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) as part of the deal.
This non-profit company (NGC) signalled the commitment of both groups to prevent the accelerating decline of Africa’s wildlife and over the past year, the CCFA, which is aligned to Accor’s conservation platform Planet 21, has donated more than US$500,000 to approved community projects across Africa.
*Culled: Culture Newspaper (Olamilekan Okeowo)
Annang Festival of Arts and Culture 2019 holds on December 20
With a mission to preserve the Anaañ history, language and culture and to promote our cultural heritage, promote and market Anaañ language, industry, arts and crafts including advancing the appreciation and understanding of Anaañ artistic production, and scholarship, through a yearly cultural event, tagged Annang Festival of Arts and Culture (AFAC), in partnership with other Anaañ organisations, Nto Annang Foundation (NAF) is set to hosted this year’s edition of the festival, AFAC 2019.
Slated to hold between December 20 and 22 at Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium and Ikot Ekpene Plaza in Akwa Ibom State, activities lined up to mark the cultural tourism festival, is according to the organisers a reflection of the theme of the celebration: “Harnessing Anaañ Cultural Assets for Economic Gains.”
The festival, which enjoys the endorsement of the National Council for Art and Culture (NACA), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, promises to be one of the biggest show stoppers and largest fiesta in 2019. Now in its third edition, the national President of the NAF, Abom Ephraim Okon, said arrangements have reached advanced stage for the hosting of the event. According to him, it promises to be a colourful and exciting showpiece of the cultural wealth of the Annang people, with exhibitions spanning both the intangible and tangible heritage of the people and spiced by culinary display, arts and craft as well as live performances by notable Nigerian musical Icons.
He further disclosed that the theme for the festival is: ‘Harnessing Annang cultural assets for economic gains.’ To this end, he Mosaid efforts are being made to ensure that every component of the festival display the vast and unique cultural assets of the people of Annangland and how the people can take advantage of them to enhance their living. With endorsement from the state government and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) among others, he said the three days event is also geared at developing and promoting travel business in the state. ‘‘The event shall model strategy for effective travel trade business, cultural synergy and enduring unity through culture and tourism as a special purpose vehicle.
This model we intend to replicate for global peace efforts and to mark our cultural product at the international stage,’’ s a i d Okon. He stressed that the festival, which debuted in 2016, has helped greatly in developing the tourism market of the state, as it has gone in a long way in generating tourist traffic to the state and Ikot Ekpene. Therefore, he disclosed that the projected tourist traffic for this year is 15, 000.
According to him, the rich and enlarged content of the festival this year include: Colourful cultural display from over 5, 000 cultural revelers; 800 spectacular masquerades display; Annang warriors trek, drum ensemble of over 5, 000 extinct African drums; art exhibition and colloquium/ cocktail party for VIP and foreign envoys. Others are: Night of legends; Annang language essay competition; Annang hall of fame induction ceremonies; inauguration of children royal troupe; and festival theme song/Annang ballad.
This Night of Stars and Beauty comprised the cerebration of the Anaañgness as expressed in the people, the Annang Hall of Fame and the awards of excellence to deserving sons, daughters and friends of Anaañ. It will feature dance, poetry, arts and performances by star studded squad of renowned artistes in Nigeria and will climaxed with the Ujai Annang Beauty Pageant. Also speaking on the festival, the Executive Director of Akwa Tourism Development Company Ltd (ATDC), Mr. Ubong Ekpe, whose company is consulting for the festival, said it is informed by the need to promote Annang and re-enact its unique cultural heritage, stressing that it is aimed at exposing the Nigerian people to the city of raffia and its colourful and attractive heritage.
According him, Annangland is host to the 500 year old Usaka virgin forest, custodian of 400 years old Iso Ekpo Nkwubia mask, the mythical blue river of Ukanafun, the Ibibid Abak traditional stool of Annangland and the oldest raffia dunes in Africa.
UGANDA ‘The Pearl of Africa’ beckons
Uganda is a landlocked country in the Eastern region of Africa and otherwise known as The Pearl of Africa, which is an acknowledgeable of its unique attractions, especially cultural heritage, arts and craft, natural bliss, religion and life style, which make it one of the must see tourist destinations in Africa to experience by tourists seeking to have a piece of Africa. The people are aware of the richness of their land, therefore, they leave no one in doubt of what a visitor to the country stands to explore. It was one of the countries that exhibited at the recently held Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos, Nigeria, where it tourism minders led by the country’s minister of tourism and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) made an audacious presentation of the tourism offerings of the country, beckoning on the world to visit to experience the rich taste of The Pearl of Africa. Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. With its dense misty forests, snow-peaked mountains, glassy lakes and sprawling savannas, it’s no wonder Winston Churchill dubbed this wonderful country the ‘pearl of Africa’.
While mountain gorillas are the allure for many visitors, there’s an astounding variety of attractions for tourists. A land that is said to be painted in 1,001 shades of green with fantastic natural scenery given its array of natural wildlife and nature trail. It is also a land that celebrates its religious history ranging from its darkness to brightest hours as signified by its religious offerings, which is built on the telling story of the 45 Ugandans that were executed on the order of King Nwanga between 1885 and 1887 because of their faith. Today, the country is known as ‘The Land of the Martyrs,’ it wasn’t surprising then, that Uganda Tourism Board made religious tourism their major selling point and bargaining power at the 2019 Akwaaba.
With such powerful symbolism as the presence of a Rev Father, portraits of the martyrs, with the Uganda Martyrs Museum, Uganda Martyrs Shrine, and Birinzi, Kooki and Waluleeta. But aside of these, you are sure to have a lot of fun in the capital city of Kampala, which is believed to be alive for 24 hours, with exciting nigh life to explore. Here are samples of some of the attractions to feast on while on tour the country: Coffee tour East Africans are known for their special brand of coffee production, with Ethiopia coming across as one of the traditional and popular coffee region, however, Uganda is also rates as a coffee destination with its array of coffee plantations spread across the country.
Uganda’s coffee beans flow from the slopes of the Rwenzori and Elgon mountains and the west of the Nile. Aside visiting the coffee farms spread across the country to see the production process, you can have a savoury experience of it from any of the coffee shops or malls.
The endless list include: Café Javas; which is a most visit, with branches across the country, including Kampala Boulevard, Oasis Mall, and Kamwokya. Café Javas is most famous for its signature blend, a cappuccino blended with a shot of espresso made from high quality local coffee. Brood (Dutch for bread), and this coffee shop serves a delicious selection of baked goods alongside delightful specialty coffee.
The Brood has multiple branches in Kampala, with the most popular being inside Acacia Mall; 1000 Cups, which is very ideal for coffee break. Java House is a Kenyan brand known for brewing some of the most delicious coffee with a taste that cannot be forgotten. It is popular for its cold iceblended coffee frappes and delicious desserts, which makes it ideal during warm afternoons; Endiro Coffee located near Kisementi Shopping Centre serves some of the finest brews. Café Pap noted for roasts beans from Mountain Elgon near the Sisiyi River, is a great way to spend the mornings in Kampala. Wildlife adventure It landlocked landscape lend itself to vast and rich wildlife offerings for those seeking a blend of romantic intercourse with nature at its best.
The range of locations to visit include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with mountain gorilla sanctuary among others; Murchison Falls National Park boasting 43 metres tall waterfall and rich wildlife such as hippotamus. Rwenzori Mountain National Park, also known as Mountains of the Moon, is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, situated in the western part of the country along the Uganda-Congo border. Among its elements it features the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. It also hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation. Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is located also in the western part of the country, is the mostvisited o f the
national parks. Established in 1954, it is named after Queen Elizabeth II, with diverse attractions and ecosystem rich in fauna and flora, including bird life. Murchison Falls National Park, is the largest of the country’s national parks, spanning 3,840 square kilometres. The park boost over 76 species of mammals and 451 birds among other attractions. Kibale Forest National, is in the southern end of the country, a rich rain forest, spanning 766 square kilometres, with both lowland and montane forests.
The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee, contains over 375 species of birds. The source of the Nile, is the longest river in the world, with magical appeal and the source of life for many great civilisations over the ages; Mountain Elgon National Park, boast the largest volcanic base in the world. Located on the Uganda-Kenya border, it is also the oldest and largest solitary, volcanic mountain in East Africa and is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer. Small antelopes, forest monkeys, elephants and buffalos also live on the mountainside. Semliki National Park, spreads across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the western side of the Rwenzori.
The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin; Kidepo Valley National Park, located about 700 kilometres from Kampala, it is home to big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. Lake Mburo National Park, is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years and home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Budongo Forest Reserve, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Kihingami Wetlands Sanctuary, Nabugoye Synagogue, Lake Mburo National Park, Tooro Botanical Garden, Bwama and Njuyeera (Sharp’s) Islands, Great Lakes Museum, Nabajjuzi Wetlands, and Kyahugye Island also beckon. Kampala The country’s capital city offers quite a lot of attractions for tourists,ranging fromlife style, culture, rich night life to culinary and different adventurous experiences.
Uganda National Cultural Centre, offers rich and colourful performances in live music, film, dance and drama. There are also bars and restaurants within the complex to unwind. Parliament of Uganda, opened to the public viewing, is a window to the conduct of parliamentarian affairs and attractive structure; Kasubi Tombs, is a window is also archaeological and memorial facades of the people, with it being dedicated for the burial site of the kings and royal family of the Buganda Kingdom.
It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Craft Market, the city’s landscape features quite an avalanche of art and craft markets, both of traditional and contemporary ferment; the list include the crafts village behind the National Theatre and Crafts Centre on Buganda Road, and Makindye as well as Asante Art Gallery, Makerere Art Gallery, Umoja Art Gallery, and Nommo Gallery. .Uganda Museum, which is a history and art museum, also offers rich insight into the people’s culture and life style. Established in 1908, it is said to be the oldest museum in East Africa, the rich heritage of the people. For rich culinary treats in the city, some of the spots to visit include: Luwombo, for steamed beef in banana leaves – only in a kafunda; 2K Restaurant, is noted for its local flavoured offerings.
To a have a feel of the city and pulse of the people, it will not be out of place to hop on and off the local Ugandan boda boda, which is a popular form of transportation, which is a motor bike taxi. The National Mosque, is another interesting and attractive site to behold in Kampala. Fondly known as Gaddaffi Mosque, the building was started by the former leader of the country, Idi Amin in 197 but finally completed in 2007, following the donation received from the late Libya leader. Conversely, Namirembe Cathedral, a huge domed Anglican cathedral, which was completed in 1919, and has a distinct Mediterranean feel. In years past the congregation was called to worship by the beating of enormous drums, which can still be seen in a little hut, is another religious place to explore.
For enriching shopping, a visit to Wandegeya Market, which is located in the school district of Kampala, will be a delightsome experience to be cherished for a long time. Owino Market, which is the largest in the country, is another place with interesting discovery on visit.
Others interesting sites include: Taks Centre, 32° East Ugandan Arts Trust Entebbe Entebbe is another historic city in the country to explore for its rich offerings and delightsome experiences. One of the suffusing natural appeal of the city is the Uganda Reptile Village, which is set about three kilometres from the city. There is also Entebbe Botanical Gardens, laid out in 1898, with its lush and greenery, it offers a playground to feats on nature and feel its abundant bliss. Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine is located in Namugongo, on the spot where Kabaka Mwaga 11 directed the execution of 14 Catholics, who refused to denounce their faith when threatened to do so. The martyrs also included the church leader, Charles Lwanga, who was said to have been burnt alive. Relatedly is the Rubaga Cathedral, a twin-towered Roman Catholic cathedral, with a memorial dedicated to the Uganda Martyrs; with 22 Catholic victims (later declared saints) enshrined in the stained-glass windows.
Hennessy celebrates 10th Limited edition bottle with carafe by Osa Seven
Hennessy recently hosted an exclusive preview to celebrate the limited edition Hennessy very special bottle in commemoration of Hennessy Artistry’s 10th anniversary, featuring a carafe decorated by Nigerian urban artist, known as Osa Seven, to mark this milestone. The night event, which held at the New Temple Muse, was as bold and vibrant as the stunning carafe created by the artist and it was well – attended by many industry players across the music, media and the creative arts space.
Hosted by Jimmie, it had in attendance such names Falz, Vector, Illbliss, Olisa Adibua, Ycee, Sasha P, Dj Obi, Toni Tones, Anto Lecky, Ayoola, and Elozonam. According to the Brand Manager, Hennessy and Spirits, Moet Hennessy Nigeria, Wole Awoleke; “Hennessy Artistry longevity and success is a testament to the strength of our devotion to strengthen and promote artistic content within the Nigerian creative space. ‘‘It also signals our commitment to provide a platform that enables Nigerian creative entrepreneurs to bring the “Art of Blending” to life. Our 10th anniversary celebrations will definitely leave a lasting impression in the minds of our consumers.”
The limited-edition bottle will serve as a memento for Hennessy patrons as each of the limited edition bottles have a unique number inscribed on the bottle, allowing collectors to have bottles with numbers special to them. He further stated that other Hennessy’s celebrations, with focus on the limited edition bottles, will hold throughout the month of November, with the final concert billed to hold on December 14. The theme for the 10-year anniversary is the “Art of Blending,” and the limited edition bottle design depicts this. The design represents the “blend of our best aspects of us as individuals blended together seamlessly to create something magical” said Seven.
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