In 2019, the government of Ghana produced a world wide splash with its 12 months of Return initiative – the marketing campaign sought to persuade the African diaspora to return home to the continent, particularly to Ghana.
Joined to the 400th calendar year commemoration of the first recorded landing of slaves in the United States, it became a launchpad for the Ghanaian federal government to encourage Black individuals around the globe to completely settle in the West African nation.
Aisha Asamany, a company administration specialist for substantial-profile British isles fiscal establishments turned self-taught luxurious jewelry designer was just one of quite a few who heeded the call, trading in the corporate lifetime for a spiritual and an entrepreneurial journey – a single of joy, appreciation, and illustration in her fatherland.
“England can be definitely isolating so I assume building the final decision to have kids was a massive driver for shifting to Ghana. We have plenty of people below. We have incredible aid and we definitely wanted that feeling of community and for our little ones to develop up in the culture that we know,” Asamany told OkayAfrica.
Considering the fact that her relocation to Ghana, Asamany’s luxury jewellery model, SAHMANI, has expanded on its tradition of telling genuine Ghanaian stories with bespoke items. Initially named Lonam, the model built its debut at the 2016 Africa Trend Week London, whilst Asamany was doing work for Barclays Financial institution. A 2018 collaboration with Fairtrade chocolate producer Divine, to celebrate women’s empowerment, kick-commenced the reinvention of the brand. A year later on, its identify was formally changed to SAHMANI (loosely derived from her loved ones surname) – a alter that coincided with Asamany and her family’s relocation to Ghana.
Asamany was born to a Ghanaian businessman father and a British Caribbean lecturer mom who instilled a “aspiration big” spirit in her. With that sort of determination, a younger Asamany began crafting demi-fantastic rings and pendants with a present-day get on Adinkra symbols that represented her cultural identity. In her former lifetime, she worked her way up from a private assistant to a administration expert for HSBC, Barclays, private prosperity asset supervisor Northern Belief and other massive-title money institutions.
In an interview with OkayAfrica, Asamany talked about selecting to relocate to Ghana, working with her style accessories to tell the tale of Ghana, and her passion for empowering women.Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Aisha Asamany’s luxury jewelry brand is steeped in the tradition of telling authentic Ghanaian tales with bespoke parts.Photograph: Aisha Asamany
It’s been about two a long time because you relocated to Ghana from London. Can you share your encounters so considerably? Are you content you built the choice?
Yeah, just about. I feel it’s been interesting simply because the Coronavirus hit so the total 2020 was just a bit mad, but, yeah, formally it’s been about 2 many years. I am seriously genuinely satisfied. I feel that Ghana is remarkable, naturally. I am fifty percent Ghanaian so it is very a great deal coming house to me. I appear to Ghana each and every calendar year, two times a yr, 3 periods a year, from time to time just for a weekend. I know it sounds insane but I genuinely appreciate Ghana. Visiting is so distinctive from residing in this article, and I am not heading to lie to you and inform you every single working day is like ‘oh yes, I enjoy It’. No. I have experienced a lot of times the place I am like ‘Oh my gosh, what have I accomplished? Who despatched me? This is insane.’ ” I am dwelling my ideal life right now so I am satisfied.
Is there anything you learnt about permanently living in Ghana that you did not know about before relocating from the United kingdom?
There are heaps. I think a person of my largest challenges, I would say, transferring listed here, was that I have my perceptions of how I wanted to reside my lifestyle and how Ghana was going to in shape close to me. It’s possible it is really pretty much a little bit of arrogance, like, ‘well, Ghana is my household, and this is how I live in England so I’m just likely to copy and paste my existence from England about to Ghana.’ And it just doesn’t get the job done that way. It is really these types of a distinctive program. Almost everything works in a different way, and for me sometimes it can sense like items are broken but they are not broken, they are just distinct.
So for me, it was about discovering a entire new way of doing points and comforting a little bit simply because every little thing is not as quickly-paced as I was utilised to, which, I was mindful of a very little little bit coming on holidays, but you know when you have to open up bank accounts and then you have to get a driver’s license and all of these items. There are other pieces of the process and other ways in which things work that if you might be not listed here and you don’t fully grasp it or you should not have a person to guideline you as a result of it, you can expect to just have no notion, so there are plenty of matters.
Can you converse about what it implies to you to be dwelling in the state that evokes the parts you get the job done on for your luxurious Jewelry brand, SAHMANI?
It is unbelievable. Just staying in Ghana is so full of everyday living and color, almost everything is musical, like dance and poetry and arts. I know not every person feels like that but for me, I get so substantially inspiration from my surroundings. Definitely, shifting from England just the sunshine and the wonderful temperature helps as nicely. We have lovely nature, we have lovely language, we have beautiful foodstuff and so a lot.
And then on top of that, I started the whole model with Adinkra symbols and I however do Adinkra symbols. Just finding out the history and that each and every symbol has a title, meaning and record. You can choose a easy indicating and develop a total tale and distinctive people connect to those stories and those meanings that are inspirational in such unique means. For me, I am so blessed to seriously be in this article. I am reminded each and every working day.
We applied ‘Gye Nyame’ for case in point, I know it really is not officially the king of Adinkra symbols but I feel it truly is the most regarded. It really is in logos. It can be on packaging. It’s just about everywhere. It’s these a sense of delight that we have one thing that’s Ghanaian from history brought from the Golden Stool, if you want to go again to the origin tale. We use it each individual day and everybody utilizes it every day in their day-to-day lives. It truly is awesome for me. I consider it is really so lovely and I consider I am so lucky to have so substantially inspiration all-around me. And to have so significantly prosperous heritage to choose into my items, and to assist encourage other folks as well.
Aisha Asamany began her brand with Adinkra symbols.Picture: Aisha Asamany
Can you share how you use SAHMANI to inform the stories of Ghana?
Anything is about the attractiveness and the richness, the society. From the products I choose, from the Adinkra symbols to how every little thing is photographed, and how I identify the pieces. A large amount of what I do is discuss to people today one-on-one. I like to test and teach people today about the symbols, about the history, and by default, about Ghana. I am often so happy that these are our symbols. Even if you might be not Ghanaian, if you’ve got by no means listened to of Adinkra symbols prior to, or by no means been to Africa or just about anything in advance of, with any luck ,, by means of my items, you get a minimal bit of spice and a small bit of understanding about Ghana, our society and how we do things.
Talking of representation, can you talk about why women of all ages empowerment is important to you and how you are utilizing your system to do that?
Women empowerment is needed mainly because it really is just the proper factor to do. We are mothers. We are sisters. We nurture, we establish, we work. It really is crucial. We are worthy of to have a voice. It’s insane on just one hand that it truly is even a dialogue at all that needs to be experienced. It should really be by default that we have a seat at the table. Every little thing starts off at dwelling. Every little thing begins with the mom. None of us exists with out the maternal woman figure. In terms of me, ideally, I am in a position to explain to my tale. I am married, have a small boy, I am running a enterprise and I am undertaking my point as a female and as a business proprietor in my have suitable. And you can be that maternal determine and be a business enterprise proprietor at the exact time. We bring a whole diverse viewpoint to all types of areas of the planet, and so it really is vital and we ought to have a seat at the desk.
You worked for some of the most important economical establishments in the entire world as a administration consultant. Can you chat about the transition from the corporate planet to currently being an entrepreneur and how those encounters help on your current journey?
Yeah, again heading back to women of all ages empowerment for a second, I labored in a pretty male-dominated sector. So banking and financing is customarily a pretty masculine purpose and so that experienced its personal issues but regardless, I chose nothing but greatness from it. I learned so considerably. The company place will work quite in a different way from the style and jewellery area, of system, but the principles, the studying and the abilities are the same. If I have to have to go and make a presentation to a board of administrators about this price range, it can be not that distinct from me owning to speak to buyers and make clear stuff to them. In educational facilities, you discover about how to converse to folks and how to regulate your style in accordance to distinct men and women. It can be the exact same as likely to present in a financial institution in diverse boards, as talking to various clients.
I feel it was so important for me to go by way of these ordeals. Items I have figured out about task management, time administration, finance, budgeting and currently being able to get the job done under stress. All of these techniques are tremendous essential primarily when you run your own small business. And when you happen to be commencing out, you have to be all of these persons. You have to be the head of HR, you have to be a consumer support agent, you have to be the accountant, and I also have to do the innovative.
So discovering how to harmony distinctive priorities is just the identical talent in the company entire world as it is in the entrepreneurial environment. To me, the transition was simple and it truly is normally astounding when you happen to be undertaking a thing that you really like and you have those established of expertise. I’m not expressing I can do everything perfectly. And that is component of task management as perfectly. Understanding that these are my skills and where I will need enable and wherever I am missing, I employ people or get assistance or seek the advice of with men and women who know greater than me. And again which is cross-in excess of capabilities for both of those and, so to me, the changeover was tremendous quick and genuinely satisfying.