GHANA’S GIFT to the world is her people and this most precious asset will be celebrated in London next month at the glittering GUBA Awards – the Ghana UK-Based Achievement Awards.
Now in its fifth year, the event showcases the immense achievements of those with Ghanaian heritage, while also recognising people of all heritages who have made contributions to Ghana.
The event shines the spotlight on those from all spheres of British society – from the world of business, sport and politics to the arts and entertainment.
But none of these great achievements would have come to light without the vision of GUBA awards founder and CEO Dentaa Amoateng, an award-winning entrepreneur, who is also an actress, TV presenter and singer with a strong connection to the world of football.
Describing herself as a ‘proud Ghanaian’ Dentaa launched the showcase because she felt there was nothing in the UK that promoted and enriched the heritage she is so proud of.
The awards ceremony, to be held on Saturday, July 4, at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel in Edgware Road, west London, is endorsed by dignitaries and organisations including the Ghana High Commission to the UK & Ireland, the British High Commission in Ghana, and the Ghana Ministry of Tourism.
At least 600 people are already on the guest list, with numbers expected to increase to 1,000 with later ticket sales.
It also has the backing of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, MP Diane Abbott and Lord Paul Boateng, a former GUBA award winner.
Main sponsors include Blavo & Co Solicitors; Unibank Ghana; Vodafone; ABN TV; the Mendiata Hotel, Ghana; Ultimalt and the British High Commission in Accra.
Mother-of-three Dentaa, who is also a trained paediatric nurse, told The Voice: “It’s really important to recognise what people are doing and to encourage them. There are some fantastic role models out there so it’s vital to respect and honour what they have achieved.
“We take enormous pleasure and pride in unearthing a whole array of fantastic Ghanaians and Africans who are worthy of recognition. And we don’t have to look far. Our patron is the distinguished actor Hugh Quarshie and we also have support from Ghanaian heritage MPs such as Adam Afriyie and Kwasi Kwarteng.”
She added: “It’s also important to cement further the special relationship between the UK and Ghana which goes back to the days of colonialism. The two countries even share the same meridian line from Greenwich to Accra.”
Dentaa’s work with GUBA was recognised in 2011 when she was announced as one of the Young Social Entrepreneurs of the Year in the annual Future 100 Awards, and again in 2013 when she received the African Women in Europe (AWE) award, where she was described as an “icon and role model to all African women living and working in Europe”.
The 32-year-old who was born in Juaso, Ghana, and moved with her family to the UK at the age of five, explained that she was named Dentaa after her great-grandmother.
“My mother tells me that she was very courageous, strong-minded and tough and I apparently fulfil all these personality traits,” laughs the woman who spent nine months in Ghana last year as head of marketing for the country’s World Cup team.
The awards ceremony has a charitable offshoot in the GUBA Foundation, which until this year has focused on supporting families affected by autism. This year, the foundation will highlight Ghana’s high infant mortality rate and the need for more incubators at hospitals around the country.
“Our aim is to make sure we have sent at least 100 incubators to Ghana by the next GUBA Awards,” said Dentaa.
So what do the 2015 awards hold in store?
There are three categories this year where the public can vote for the winners. These include a ‘humanitarian award’, a ‘young and talented recognition’ and ‘artist extraordinaire’ award. Details on voting can be found on the GUBA website.
This year 14 Black Star awards will be presented, which have all been chosen by members of GUBA’s advisory board who include Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner for Ghana; John Blavo, the founder and senior partner of Blavo & Co Solicitors Ltd.
Some of the most high-profile Black Star award winners include actor Idris Elba, whose mother is Ghanaian. He will receive an entertainment icon award.
A sporting legend award will go to Azumah Nelson, a three-time world boxing champion, who will receive a special tribute at the ceremony from Barry McGuigan, former World Boxing Association featherweight champion.
Honours will also go to Amma Asante, an award-winning screenwriter and film director with thought-provoking plays such as A Way of Life and Belle to her credit.
In the community, senior Pastor Kingsley Appiagyei, the founder of the two largest Baptist churches in the UK, will be recognised for his outstanding work.
In the media, journalist Henry Bonsu will be thanked, along with a special posthumous award going to Komla Dumor, the much-respected presenter on the BBC World Service.
And what are Dentaa’s hopes for the future of the awards? “We would like to see the GUBA awards covered by mainstream media such as Channel 4 and the BBC,” she said. “Ghanaians continue to make huge contributions to this country and this must be recognised at a national level,” she replied.
With Dentaa at the helm it will surely happen.
Source: Voice-Online/Poppy Brady