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Title: A Journey of Purpose: My Connection to Ghana and the Humanitarian Nomination

As I reflect on my nomination for a Humanitarian award, my mind is drawn back to the profound impact Ghana has had on my life and the path that has led me to this moment.

My journey began during my time at The London School of Contemporary Dance (LCDS) in 1999, where I pursued my BA Hons in Contemporary Dance. Among the many transformative experiences, two moments stood out. The first was the incredible opportunity to train at the renowned Suny Purchase Dance College in New York as part of a 6-month exchange program. This eye-opening experience exposed me to diverse perspectives in the world of dance, broadening my horizons.

However, it was the second moment that truly resonated with my soul. I made a life-changing decision to embark on an independent choreographic African dance project with Francis Nii Yartey, the esteemed Artistic Director of the National Dance Company of Ghana at the time. It was during this project that my purpose became clear.

For three months, I had the privilege of living and studying in Accra, the vibrant capital city of Ghana. During this time, I resided in Madina, a suburb outside Accra, where I shared accommodation with a group of local dance students from the Noyam Dance Institute, all of whom were under the guidance of Francis Nii Yartey. Teaching them Contemporary Dance allowed me to share a cherished art form close to my heart. In return, they graciously taught me African Dance, providing a profound connection to their community's soulful rhythms and rich cultural heritage.

One of the most remarkable opportunities during my stay was travelling to Abidjan with Francis Nii Yartey. We attended a cultural development program, MASA (African Performing Arts Market), dedicated to promoting African performing arts.

Moreover, I had the humbling experience of attending a traditional funeral during my time in Accra. The funeral was in honour of Prof Mawere Opoku, a respected Ghanaian choreographer, dancer, artist, and educator who had passed away while I was there. I felt deeply honoured to be invited to pay my respects and participate in this solemn ceremony.

My time in Accra, Ghana, was truly transformative, allowing me to share my passion for dance and immerse myself in this incredible community's vibrant culture and traditions. It was an unforgettable journey of learning, growth, and meaningful connections.

This experience was truly transformative. The exchange of knowledge and the blending of dance styles opened my eyes to the power of movement in transcending cultural barriers and fostering a sense of unity.

During my time in Ghana, I had the opportunity to choreograph a dance piece titled "Wosoo Wowoo," which means "We are always sleeping," beautifully fusing Contemporary and African Dance. Additionally, I wrote my dissertation on "Dance Making - Different points and alternative ideas for choreography."

The news of being nominated for a humanitarian award fills me with overwhelming gratitude towards Ghana. It seems almost serendipitous that this recognition is happening in the very place where my purpose was born.

I am deeply moved by the warmth, passion, and spirit of the people of Ghana, who embraced me with open arms and shared their rich culture and traditions. Their generosity left an indelible mark on my heart, and I am forever grateful.

With this nomination, I am renewed in my commitment to serve communities with the same passion and dedication that Ghana instilled in me. May this recognition be a celebration of the profound impact of dance and education in transforming lives and creating positive change for all.

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1 Comment

Yasmin Lambat
Yasmin Lambat
Oct 09, 2023

What a beautiful journey. It's our curiosity that enriches our experience of life. Knowing you Monja. How you never lose your sense of wonder. Has guided you to the heartwarming work that you do. Thank you for sharing this vibrant part of your journey.

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