This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 lists, and a new category of game-changers have been introduced. Together, they are 120 in total across four sectors: business, technology, creative and sport – cutting across a stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.
Ytainment News in no particular order celebrates the GHANAIANS who made it into the list.
Henry Amponsah, 27, Ghana – Designer, Founder and CEO: 101 Clothing
Henry Amponsah knew he was going to be a designer from a young age.
“I remember when I told my mum I wanted to be a designer in the future, she angrily said, ‘what will be the use of gaining education only to be sitting in a container sewing clothes for chicken change?’ That got me laughing out loud and I said to myself ‘I will prove this lady wrong in the future’,” he tells FORBES AFRICA.
And Amponsah did just that.
While in high school, he and four friends had a photoshoot with outfits that cost $150 and they posted the photos on social media.
“The collection went viral and clients started talking to me,” Amponsah says.
The recognition pushed him to officially start his business, 101 Clothing, in 2014, and the rest was a stitch in time.
Today, Amponsah has dressed Samira Bawumia, the wife of Ghana’s Vice President. He also runs a foundation that helps with basic school equipment and workshops.
To date, he has received over 10 local and international awards and featured in many magazines including British Vogue magazine.
In the end, Amponsah managed to fulfil his dream and that of his mom’s; he built his fashion house and his now gunning for a PhD.
Sydney Sam, 26, Ghana – Founder and CEO: Workspace Global
In 2012, Sydney Sam taught himself graphic design, photography, videography and brand identity development to grow one of his first businesses, an underground live music and performance platform.
His work then caught the attention of other students, at the University of Ghana, who would seek his services and consultation to build their brands and products.
The exposure got him his first big client, UNICEF, in partnership with Publicis Africa Group.
By 2015, his business, Workspace Global, was up and running, from a humble Gh¢800 ($155) cash injection.
They specialize in graphic design, website design & development, print & branded materials, advertising, digital marketing (social media), photography and videography.
The business has grown internationally, with a team of 14 that operates digitally in various countries.
One of their major projects was for the World Bank in Washington DC to organize, brand and document the 2016 African Mining Legislation Atlas Conference in Accra. They later went on to shoot documentaries in Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.
“My grand vision for Workspace Global is to create a pan-African online digital service that offers the full range of branding & marketing services in an easy customer-centric web/mobile experience at the client’s fingertips,” says Sam.
Last year, Sam launched OPENSPACE, a platform that promotes business and development discourse among millennials. In under a year they have trained 700 people and held 10 events.
Sam’s vision is to serve his country, continent and create opportunities for its people.
Joseph Awuah-Darko, 22, Ghana – Contemporary Artist
In a dump site in Ghana near its capital Accra, Joseph Awuah-Darko stands holding a laptop in one hand and a face mask in another, like something out of an apocalypse movie.
He is dressed in orange overalls and there is e-waste as far as the eye can see; and the burning of the contents creates arid smoke in the background.
Darko is a contemporary artist, art collector and dealer and co-founder of the NGO, Agbogblo.Shine Initiative. The organization, which started in 2017, encourages people working at the dump to turn waste into high-end furniture.
His aim was to highlight the importance of the, “circular economy in the face of electronic waste degradation”.
While enrolled at Ashesi University in Ghana, he began educating himself about the obscure art market.
His first major sale was a 3D-printed Ife Head he sold privately to a buyer for $11,000 in 2017. Since then, more clients kept coming, trading the value of trash wish cash and this resulted in him becoming the Managing Director of Africa Modern Art Fund at the young age of 22.
He presented a solo exhibition at Gallery1957; making him the youngest African contemporary artist to do so.
Prior to his contemporary art collector days, Darko was a musician under the alias ‘Okuntakinte’.
Darko is well on his way to getting a piece of the estimated $60 billion global contemporary art industry.
Sarah Owusu, 28, Ghana – Artist and Painter
It all started in the summer of 2012 when living in London, and Sarah Owusu was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy which left the left side of her face paralyzed.
“During this very dark period of my life, I wouldn’t leave my house except for my hospital appointments, and a few weeks into my diagnosis, I got a sudden urge to paint although I hadn’t created anything for years,” she tells FORBES AFRICA.
After gaining the courage to paint, she went to a cheap pound store and bought two blank canvases, cheap paint and brushes.
Owusu’s passion for art grew as she noticed the lack of black female artists in the industry.
One of the biggest highlights for the self-taught artist was last year when she was invited to present two of her paintings of the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, at the Africa Business Summit in London Business School.
“My future plans are to have my artwork exhibited across the African continent, starting from my place of origin, Ghana,” she says.
Credit: Forbes Africa