The City Guide: Accra’s Hotspots with Travis Obeng-Casper of AJABENG
The term “Detty December” has gone from a playful phrase to a bona fide calendar event that occurs at the end of the year, when Africans from the diaspora return to the continent over the Christmas period for a time of partying and the kind of fun that can only be found in the motherland.
From Lagos in Nigeria to Ghana’s capital of Accra, December in these cities takes on a life of its own, full of festive house parties, clubbing events, beach hangouts and festivals such as Afrochella. The latter, finally happening once more after two years of disruption caused by the pandemic, is taking place right now in Ghana, offering live music concerts, fashion shows, and art exhibitions.
If you are one of the few who does not have a ticket to this year’s Afrochella, or would prefer a quiet and low-key December, then a local’s guide to Accra is just what you need. We asked Travis Obeng-Casper, the founder and creative director of AJABENG, an Afro-minimalist brand that’s inspired by African love stories and the DIY nature of Accra’s streetwear scene.
Read on to discover Obeng-Casper’s favorite restaurants, where he gets his inspiration from and his New Year plans.
Travis Obeng-Casper, founder and creative director of AJABENG
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a “wise father” [AJABENG is a combination of two words “agya” which means “father” and “obeng”, which means wise or intelligent. The words come together to mean “wise father”] and I use minimalism to tell the African story through clothes.
How are you planning to spend the holidays this year? What will you be doing for New Year?
I will be starting off with spending time with the family, attend a couple of events and recharge myself.
Where is the most memorable place you’ve been to, and why?
I think it’s the Bojo Beach. I love the whole serene. Every time I am there it’s a different feeling.
How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
I don’t really have a morning routine. However, I sleep close to the window and whenever I wake up, I draw the curtains to allow the morning sun to hit me for maybe a minute, then I work out if I must, and finally head to the studio.
What are your favourite restaurants in Accra, and why?
I enjoy going to Living Room restaurant to eat my favourite local food, fufu, and mostly on Sunday afternoons. It’s a calm environment and they make the best fufu. The Yellow Box and Chop Shop are other places I enjoy.
Jamestown Coffee Company in Accra, Ghana
Where would you recommend for the best breakfast?
For breakfast I’d say the Jamestown Coffee Roaster.
Where, or what, would you say is the best-kept secret in the city?
Personally, it’s the Republic Bar. I love the energy and freeness.
Where would you say is the best view in Accra?
For me, the best view is definitely at the beach, especially Bojo Beach.
Where do you go to unwind?
Mostly at the beach or my favourite bar, Republic Bar.
Accra is a very cultural city. Are there any museums, galleries, shows, clubs or markets that you enjoy visiting?
Yes, absolutely. The Noldor Artist Residency, Nukube Foundation and the Gallery 1957.
Gallery 1957 in Accra, Ghana
Where do you get the most inspiration from in the city and how does it influence your design process?
I mostly get inspiration in the city when I go to Makola market. I get inspired by the everyday lifestyle of the people. How they live, how they wish they’ll live and also the do-it-yourself aesthetic of the streetwear scene.
Where is your favourite place to stay, or where would you recommend someone stay on a trip to Accra?
It depends on what your vibe is like. If you want a quiet and peaceful place, East Legon is the best place to be and if you want to have fun and be all over the place, Osu is where you should be.
Name three things you don’t leave home without
My phone, perfume and earrings.
What is the best part of living in Accra?
The beach is always the best part, and the citizens are very welcoming as well.
If you could only wear one piece from AJABENG for the rest of the year, which one would you choose and why?
The All-Black Causal Set from the “Anthology” collection because it’s very free, easy and has a soft feel. I wear it almost every day.