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Pt1: Non-Ghanaian brands with Ghanaian names

You'd be amazed at how much of what we connect to Ghana you'll find outside of the country. The list below by Abena Serwaa is a snapshot of common names in Ghana that have taken root outside of the Motherland.

1. ABENA in Denmark

Abena might be the name given to some girl children born on Tuesday in Ghana but in Denmark, the name is better associated with a family-owned manufacturer and wholesaler.

Founded in 1953, ABENA produces healthcare and industry products, including sanitary products, nappies, skin and wound care, and cleaning products, according to the company's website.

The company is headquartered in Aabenraa, in southern Denmark.

We reached out to the company to find out the origins of their use of ABENA. However, no one from the company has responded at the time that this article was published.

2. Mamle Restaurant in London

Mamle is a name in Ghana reserved for females but in the heart of North End, South Croydon, Mamle is the name of a restaurant.

The Mamle Restaurant serves Kurdish cuisine and is recommended for its kebabs.

3. Dark Ghana in New Zealand

Did you know that in New Zealand, there is a brand of chocolate called Dark Ghana?

The company is called Whittaker’s and all their products are made in the company’s factory in Porirua, a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island.

The company says its Dark Ghana is made from “the finest Ghanaian cocoa beans”.

This range includes the 72% Dark Ghana bar, the Ghana Peppermint, the 86% Ghana Extra Dark and the 92% Ghana Intense Dark. Despite most of the cocoa used in the production of chocolate coming from Ghana, the source of the bean (in Ghana) gets a minor mention. Have a look for yourself.

4. Ghana in South Korea

Sticking with the chocolate theme, we also have another Ghana-branded chocolate manufactured by Lotte Wellfood, a South Korean international confectionery company headquartered in Seoul.

The company was established in 1967. The Ghana brand was introduced to the South Korean market in 1975. Although the chocolate is branded with the Ghana name, I struggled to find any information about the source of the chocolate in Ghana apart from this single sentence: ‘LOTTE Wellfood began producing chocolate with the launch of Ghana Chocolate in 1975’. Read more here.

5. Kwaku Summer Festival in the Netherlands

The Kwaku Summer Festival is a summer music festival that occurs annually in the Nelson Mandela Park in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. The 2023 festival took place over July and August, and brought together musicians and food.

This year, musicians including Lamisi, Peter Somuah, Tombotch Nii Lantey and Wanlov performed. From the festival’s name, I expected to see a direct link back to Ghana or Suriname since both countries have a shared history and shared cultures, including the use of the Akan name Kwaku.

However, if you visit the company’s website under the ‘history’ heading, the history of the festival is focussed on its early beginnings as a small-scale football tournament.

The final paragraph from the history section makes a scant reference to Suriname: ‘The Kwaku Summer Festival is a grand celebration of cultural diversity and identity in the Southeast district with culture, sports and food as the most important expressions and where broad (social) participation and Surinamese origins are the most important pillars.’

The festival was originally a Surinamese festival and the original name was Kwakoe – the Akan name in Ghana given to a male born on Wednesday. It is said that the name does not represent a historical figure although the claim is that Kwakoe would have been the first black landowner of Suriname.

We reached out to the company to find out the origins of their use of the Kwaku name. However, no one from the company has responded at the time that this article was published. You can read it for yourself here.

6. Nana in Colombo, Sri Lanka

While in Sri Lanka's capital, I came upon this street food stall called Nana selling a deep-fried lentil patty topped with small prawns. This late-night snack sold by the beach is called isso (prawn) vadai.

Is there a company, brand or service that you know of that is non-Ghanaian but has a Ghanaian name? If so, let us know and we will feature it here.

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