Kim Thipe
Kim Thipe
Image: Supplied

So, wow! What’s my favourite city besides Jozi, besides New York, besides…? This is a tough one: my favourite city is always fluid because I’ve been to quite a few amazing cities. The city that’s a standout for me right now is Accra, Ghana, for a couple of reasons. Its rich history is unsurpassed, and a must-see for all who cherish the African continent.

My humble Accra travelogue has unfolded over a couple of visits, intertwined with my job as head of marketing for South African Airways (SAA). The airline has been flying to Accra for more than 20 years, enabling lots of travellers
to connect.

Image: Supplied

My curiosity about Accra was reawakened after being privy to a video conference call at Google South Africa’s headquarters with two amazingly talented women — Millie Monyo and Nicole Amarteifio — who produce and
write the YouTube romantic comedy web series, An Africa City. This programme, which covers the trendy lives of five beautiful African women in Accra, is a must-see. Not only is it hilarious, but it provides a vibrant picture of life in the city. After watching the series, there’s a sense of urgency about visiting Accra.

I experienced Accra for the very first time while laying the ground work for a new route for that would connect Johannesburg, Accra, and Washington, DC. My first impression was of colour: beautiful colour, blended colour, rich colour; the vibrancy of how colour looks and moves.

This leads to a fashion frenzy regarding what to wear and how — and where to purchase these amazing fabrics. SAA produced a vibey fashion show as part of
the launch programme for the route, in collaboration with legendary fabric
manufacturer Woodin. This comprised a display of traditional fabrics, as well as
a showcase of how people were interpreting these patterns, and making bold fashion statements. I jumped with great excitement onto this printed fabric bandwagon, morphing it into a corporate version — as captured here with my kente pencil skirt. It is loads of fun to play with all the possible looks, because it’s all about colour, heritage, confidence, and feeling good.

Image: Supplied

What’s great is that you can find these fabrics at the upmarket Woodin Shop on Oxford Street for afropolitan flair, or feel the vibrancy of the local Makola Market. The market is bustling with friendly locals, who make you feel welcome; a selection of food stalls; and an endless frenzy of rich fabric, including indigenous Ghanaian kente cloth, which is irresistible. What’s really cool is that the market is dominated by women traders.

In 2016, I was fortunate to travel again to Accra with the Kaya FM Breakfast Show with Bob and Kuli to promote ongoing travel from Accra, focusing on a few urban travel hubs, ranging from the Kakum National Park to the glorious Labadi Beach Hotel for a sea view coupled with fine dining. This trip was also filled with a few night spots, such as the Coco Lounge (very chic, good food,
a place to be seen) and live music at the Holiday Inn.

In my opinion, Accra’s vibrancy has it all: history, fashion, food, music, beaches, and tranquillity. SAA flies to Accra eight times a week and onto Washington, DC four times. There are also connecting flights from Accra to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire three times a week. The Accra route will soon feature SAA’s new A330-300.

March 2017

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