My name is Kobby. Or rather, Kobina: a name given to Akan boys born on Tuesday. I was born in London and raised between there & Cape Coast.
In the UK, kids teased and called me, ‘Ribena’ or ‘Corn on the Kob’. I took it in stride. At eight, my parents sent me to Ghana to learn how to be Ghanaian.
On my first day at University Primary School, I introduced myself as ‘Koh-BEE-nuh’ and had my new classmates on the floor in stitches. At the time, I didn’t understand why. Now when someone says my name the way I did that day, I know exactly where I’m from.
Here, I am a writer, academic and (ever so occasional) DJ on Ghana’s rising creative arts scene; one with an endless fascination with modern African culture and creativity. My writings and observations on these things have featured in publications including The Guardian and The Africa Report. I wrote stories too. This is my third blog since 2007. I will forever regret deleting the first of them.
Since moving for good from London to Accra almost fifteen years ago, I have experienced everything from being a security/surveillance expert and heading a market research department, to being a journalist, DJ & new media executive with Ghana’s biggest media group, and becoming one of the first people paid by the Ghanaian government to work in social media. I was also the editor of DUST: a Ghanaian magazine that combined creativity and popular culture with social awareness-raising content. Each one of these came as a surprise to me: I studied law and my Master’s was in International Studies and Diplomacy. I enjoyed the latter a lot more than I did the former.
As a DJ, I was part of London’s Amplified collective, with whom I organized events for the likes of The Roots & Estelle, and spun sets supporting everyone from Amadou & Mariam to Erykah Badu. Here in Ghana, I’ve supported artists at the Asabaako Festival; been on-stage at Alliance Francaise, dropped the odd set at Republic, and used to collaborate with accra[dot]alt.
For eight years, I taught Written & Oral Communication, Social Theory, Leadership, African Philosophical Thought, Africa in International Affairs, and Text & Meaning at Ashesi University – Ghana’s first liberal arts college.
Today, I balance teaching at Webster University Ghana with pursuing a DANIDA funded doctorate under the ‘Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana‘ collaborative research project between the University of Ghana, Copenhagen Business School and Loughborough University.
African. Fante-raised Akyem. Ghanaian. Geek. Londoner. Father…
These are all words that describe me. I live to add a couple more.