Ghanaian decorations
June 11, 2014 11:55 PM   Subscribe

I've pulled Ghana in our World Cup sweepstakes - how can I decorate my desk on a Ghanaian theme?

Each World Cup year we have a sweepstakes, and with that a desk decorating competition for your chosen team. There's a cash prize, but mainly it's for fun - my colleague who pulled Croatia has printed out pictures of famous Croats and stuck them on his desk, along with crows in hats. Before my time, one person interpreted Italy with a Mafia theme complete with horse's head (he was Italian so got to legitimately riff on a stereotype).

I know not very much at all about Ghana so I'm struggling on what I can easily decorate my desk with other than flags. Or a life-size cut-out of Idris Elba? Any ideas, hive mind?
posted by mippy to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A few bits of traditional fabric perhaps? (with added bonus that you can use them for something else afterwards).

Here is a list of London's best African shops and markets, I'm sure you can find something there.
posted by girlgenius at 12:41 AM on June 12, 2014

Put out a copy of The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. It's an extremely important Ghanaian novel and the cover snags all eyeballs within a 50-yard radius.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:02 AM on June 12, 2014

How about Kwame Nkrumah for inspiration?

He was a strong advocate for Pan-Africanism, unified the country that was the Gold Coast at that time and arranged for the independence from the UK. Subsequently, he became president of the newly independent Ghana, its very first. He was in prison and later in exile, but he never gave up on his vision for an independent and unified Africa. His work won him the Lenin Peace Prize and many honorary doctorates around the world.

He still is an important figure in Ghana, September 21st being a holiday to celebrate his legacy, called the Founder's Day.

Nkrumah was on the cover of the TIME magazine in 1953. In 2000 listeners of the BBC World Service voted him as the "Man of the Millennium".
posted by travelwithcats at 2:02 AM on June 12, 2014

Just to clarify - funny is good (another colleague had a red light over his desk for Holland) and football themed even better.
posted by mippy at 2:49 AM on June 12, 2014

Well, Ghana's team is the Black Stars ... putting giant black stars in places is likely the most recognizable thing to do.

And covering things with pictures of Idris Elba is never wrong.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:38 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ghana is where they make fantastic, artistic, custom, coffins. Google "Ghana coffins" and display some pictures.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:24 AM on June 12, 2014

I looked up "Ghana celebrations" to see decorations but half the google images are people dancing. I bet Ghana's traditional music is awesome. You could have traditional ghana music coming from your cube at all time... volume low, just enough so when someone approaches they can start to hear it.
And they always have these cool, big parasol umbrellas. Or a half yard of the traditional fabric, cut into banner triangle and strung across your desk.

edit: I just listened to music from Ghana and it IS awesome. I am going to jam to it while I clean my house
posted by beccaj at 6:06 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would make a 12 inch paper standee of Kofi Annan standing victorious on your desk with 12 inch cutouts of Uncle Sam, Heidi Klum, and Christiano Ronaldo scattered prone around him with their eyes Xed out.
posted by 256 at 7:40 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Former resident here, with seconds, ideas, and names:
- Seconding the traditional cloth (kente). If you can find some, feel free to make a wrap out of it and wear shorts underneath. That's about how it's done for men.
- Seconding the music (look up "high life" music; it's like the most popular genre)
- Seconding the coffins. Whoooo those are extreme. I didn't get to see any in person, but everyone knows about them.
- Adding adinkra, a type of symbol with traditional meanings. There are a bunch that already look like balls / soccer balls / goalie nets / etc. So have at it.
- Adding the possibility of poking at the carrying-stuff-on-heads thing. Everyone does it there. Everyone. Even the NGO-types get pretty good at it.
- Adding some interactivity: there's a particular handshake done there, which ends in snapping fingers. It's cool and hard to get the hang of. Perfect it and amaze your friends. This video is a good example (though I've never seen the bowing kinda thing near the end; this may be a regional thing).
- Adding more black stars. Besides being the team name, it is the symbol of the country's independence (first independent "black Africa" nation). Really, you just need one big one, like in their Independence Square.
posted by whatzit at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love the idea of the coffins - I had seen those before but didn't remember they were particularly Ghanaian - but not sure we have the space.

Open plan office, so music sadly can't be a thing.

I have some wax print cloth in my fabric stash but it isn't a very bold print (I'm probably the whitest girl in the fabric store so that would have looked odd/possibly appropriative on me). I could always head down there and get one of the cool fish prints to cover my desk, though.

Thanks for answers so far - I will end up learning a little bit too!
posted by mippy at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2014

Resident Ghanaian Mefite here:

Black Stars. Everywhere. Also drape everything in the colors of the Ghanaian Flag.

Life size cut-out of Idris Elba is good. VERY GOOD. Also Boris Kodjo.

Ghana Oseeyeee!!!
posted by ramix at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Here's the Ghanaian Official World Cup Anthem: Go Go Black Stars ... Goal!
posted by ChuraChura at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2014

Find a totem of American soccer's hopes and dreams. Burn it.
posted by Tevin at 8:08 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

oh, and - Ghana has a tradition of amazing applique banners. You could, I dunno, print a couple of copies poster size. Even better if you find a football themed one.
posted by glasseyes at 8:22 AM on June 14, 2014

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