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November 5, 2015 | Opinion/Feature

Three Soup-Cooking Men On A Mission

 Solomon Mensah

When Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu told his mother he would want her prepare a bowl of soup for him, she asked, “What for?”

“I would, first, call four people with ideas which could help develop Accra... over a soup dinner. The four will present their ideas before an audience,” Kwasi started.

“Each audience member pays a rate of Ghc5 [entry fee] and they are served a bowl of soup. They as well would have the chance to vote for the participant whose ideas won their hearts,” he told his mother.

Madam Joyce Asiedu never understood her son. However, when the day came and Kwasi went to the market to buy the condiments for the chicken light soup, she gladly prepared the soup. The soup had to be transported from Dome to Accra by a taxi.

Kwasi, a student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), says he is an ardent listener of BBC radio where the story of a group of creative women in Detroit was aired. His 'soup-on-a-mission' idea is a model of theirs.

In that story, Detroit Soup founder Amy Kaherl together with her friends nursed an idea. They would invite people over a soup dinner where they [audience] would vote for participants pitching their respective ideas before them. The participants’ ideas were aimed at developing Detroit anyway. The organisers of the show would give all the monies collected at the gate to the participant whose idea the audience would choose as the winner. Simple.

Amy’s first show launched on February, 2010, was named Detroit Soup.

Kwasi had followed Amy ever since. He had a heart to develop Accra, too... no matter how small it could be. He, thus, informed two of his GIJ friends; Revival Paul Boakye and Edwin Kwakofie, about it.

They wrote to the Detroit Soup and, thankfully, they approved its franchise in Ghana!

“The Detroit Soup, a non-profit organization, actually has no strict measures that prevent one from replicating the idea in their town. They gave us the go-ahead and we had the maiden edition of ours dubbed Accra Soup held on August 1, 2015,” Revival Boakye said.

So, replicating a non-profit show in Accra- Ghana, how did the three young men borrow money to execute their borrowed idea?

Edwin Kwakofie says, “We had to borrow money from a few friends for the maiden edition. I think it was around Ghc250. We bought the ingredients for the soup including chicken and bowls, spoons and bread [some of the audience ate their soup with bread].”

At the August edition of Accra Soup, close to 50 people attended with Action Accra (a group of individuals) winning the competition after a bout of ideas pitching.

Action Accra, Kwasi Gyamfi says, was given every cedi collected at the gate. “They are building a children’s playground at Jamestown, here in Accra.”

At each soup dinner, there are four presentations on projects ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more.

Each of the four participants has 4 minutes to share their idea. The audience can ask each participant up to 4 questions after their presentation.

According to www.detroitsoup.com, after the presentations, the audience is encouraged to discuss/debate before voting. Whichever participant gets the most votes wins all the money collected at the gate! Whew!

The audience then vote on what project they think benefits the city/their neighborhood the most. So simple. Isn’t it?

Revival Boakye, a native of Kumasi says he has planned with his friends to extend the ‘soup’ to his city.

As of when I had this interview with them, a number of potential participants had submitted their proposals to compete in the second edition of Accra Soup which comes off on November 7, 2015, at the campus of GIJ from 5pm to 7pm.

Attending Accra Soup, you would be required to pay an entry fee of Ghc5. One could, however, pay more if they so wish.

The young men, all would-be journalists, are poised to see Accra develop. They wouldn’t treat Accra’s development as a sole responsibility of the politician.

As a nation, we have blindly copied western cultures of which some have contributed to our woes. Need I mention the popular ‘La Gata’ telenovela?

If we have accepted to copy, is it, therefore, not prudent to copy the good from the West and give our support to such that would lift us from our state of a ‘developing nation’?

I couldn’t attend the maiden edition of Accra Soup. This time around, I have already booked my seat and willing to pay more than Ghc5 at the gate to be given to one with that idea that will indeed make Accra that capital city we all would be proud of.

A native of Sunyani, would it be wrong taking it there? Of course not. Watch out for the Sunyani Soup (SS).

The writer is a young Ghanaian journalist

Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Solomon Mensah and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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