Republic Spirit… Advancing African Talent
Article written by PaJohn Bentsifie Dadson.
Born out of the passion for culture – art, music, fashion and food – that the Republic Bar and Grill in Accra expounds, here comes a movement that allows the experience of the “Republic Spirit” to flourish in a small business & creative arts conference and music festival. This December, beyond the business networking, artistes across various genres and geographies are billed to perform at the Music Festival, curated as a celebration of the unique expression of African culture in one space. PaJohn Bentsifi Dadson found out the lowdown from its originators.
For co-founder of the movement, Raja Owusu-Ansah, who also co-owns and runs the Republic Bar in Accra, “the ‘Republic Spirit’ was created to engender an expression and celebration of African arts, music & culture on a global level, curated in the form that it currently is with two main levels of engagement with a small business & creative arts conference, and a music festival.
On the cards since 2018, when they galavanting pubs and bars in urban districts across the globe from Accra to Washington DC to Paris on the invitation of like minded people, the Republic Spirit presented a global opportunity to advance African talent through the curating of a festival focused on business networking with touch points on music, art and food, worked into seminars, workshops and celebrations.
But the movement suffered a number of false starts, caused predominately by the onset of the COVID pandemic that shut down the world. With things easing now, the resilient African spirit is about to rise again.
“It is a celebration of Africa, a movement to progress African talent through the convergence of art, music, fashion, and food, creating an immersive experience that highlights the continents diversity, and promotes its progress,” says Raja.
The ‘Republic Spirit’ was a natural progression for the Republic Bar & Grill.
As a unique business concept and operation, Republic Bar and Grill is a pioneer in operating a sustainable business model within the creative ecosystem of a contemporary African city, and Republic’s model has led to the empowerment of other creative businesses and created a large value chain, allowing brand to build an extended network of several thousand professionals locally and internationally since it was established 2011.
Over the years, it leveraged on these relationships to create relevant networking opportunities and collaborations leading to a cross pollination of ideas and unparalleled innovations in this space.
The Conference will, therefore, run over 2 days (December 27 – 28) offering a unique networking opportunity for participants, providing relevant transfer of ideas and opportunities for collaborations.
Creating a platform for many mainstream as well as underground musicians and artists, it was only a matter of time before the Republic spirit would manifest. The bar becoming a major hub for the savvy traveller who took away good tidings from their experience there through word of mouth has been phenomenal, and powerful, and has drawn many people to put a visit to the Republic Bar on their “to do” list when visiting Ghana.
And visit they do, from all walks of life, including many from the world of finance and technology, to business and investment.
For many of this savvy crowd, the conversation very often ends with them looking for which areas to invest in in Ghana, even across the continent.
“Our guests, both Ghanaians and foreigners, some of who have become friends, always direct people who want to invest in Ghana to my brother and I because they see how we have been able to make Republic run all these years. They believe we can help point them in the right direction to where they can put their money and create something here in Ghana,” says Raja.
“We all know business deals are not made in the boardroom. They may be finalised and signed into being there, but the making of the deal itself would have been over a glass of beer, or wine, and in our case here at the Republic Bar, over a glass of Kokoroko – our iconic apketeshi cocktail ice slush!”
KOFI HARRIS OWUSU-ANSAH