Why Ghanaian-Italian Joshua Kwaku Asiedu is living the green panther lifestyle off-grid in Ghana
Walking into what is a vast landscape, one can see the resourcefully made basketball rim that was made with a combination of wood planks for the blackboard and a woven basket for the hoop.
It’s innovative yet it’s also a simple solution to a problem – the need to create a basketball court in the forest. Joshua Kwaku Asiedu, a Ghanaian-Italian living off-grid in Ghana, is the mind behind that solution.
Living his green panther lifestyle on a piece of land he inherited from his great-grandfather, at this moment, has been a long time coming for eco-activist Joshua Kwaku Asiedu.
As a seasoned world traveller, he’s always wanted to be rooted on home soil. His journey to live the simple life began when he decided to radically leave Italy to globetrot.
“I was coming from a province near Milan and I just decided to leave. I went to Greece. I was there for three months and then I went to London. London was very interesting because it was a perfect representation of the cosmopolitan life and the capitalist consumerist place.
Then I heard about the indigenous people of Australia and went to Brisbane, Australia. I worked in a restaurant and changed jobs quite a bit. Then I finally ended up in a dairy farm.”
In his many travels in search of a connection to humanity and his roots, there was one place that did for him, exactly what he was after.
“There was one experience that eventually shaped my whole view that brought me here which is when I went to Northern Territory. Northern Territory is a region of Australia where all the Aborginal people have been pushed away to. It’s a very rough environment.”
It was among the Aboriginals of Australia that Joshua learnt a very valuable lesson.
“This kind of life brings connections all around and makes an individual, I believe, more loveable. In all the places I have been around the world, the more rural I was getting, the more simple I was getting and the more loveable and welcoming the people were.”
His travels then took him to the United States where he became a trained Mixed Martial Artist and even debuted and won his first fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Though after realising that that did not fulfil his life goal, he left MMA to continue his search.
His search finally led him to the mother of humanity, Africa and more specifically, to Ghana where his ancestors hailed from.
“What brought me to Ghana was to connect in a more rural and natural way of living. A way of living that is more simple than a western environment where I grew up in Italy; an environment that was not so suitable for me, an environment that was more towards a materialistic and superficial way of being.
Reconnecting to nature is always what was always that called to me. To the point that I decided to move back to the roots and which better place to root oneself than the land that gave birth to itself, Mother Africa.”
Living in the forest, off-grid he says is difficult but what also keeps him going is his goal to build an eco-village on the land. An eco-village that he hopes many will flock to, to experience the simple life. From time-to-time, he also gets help.
“I’ve been here mainly by myself and it’s not easy to be here by myself mainly because of the many tasks I need to accomplish in the day, everyday. But there are some villagers in the nearby villages so there are neighbours but it’s not.
Some people come through and help while others come to enjoy some sports tournaments with the various pitches we have here. We have volleyball, archery and basketball. So it’s not complete solitude but most of my time I am here alone.”
“I feel so privileged to be connected directly to the continent and to this beautiful area, in Ghana which is tremendously rich in resources. Not only in food but in minerals, and whatever we think may create our luxurious way of living that is actually coming from the land.”
Joshua believes in being one with the root of humanity and as such seeks to find why and how the things we take for granted come into existence. He asks the questions most would never think to conjure.
“All the nice things that we have on the other side of the ocean are mainly coming from resources from the land. Not only from natural resources but also from people, from labour and every little item, there’s a story behind it. Often we don’t ask ourselves what’s the story? It’s the same with cacao, what is the story behind a chocolate bar?”
And even if the stories we are told when we ask those intrinsic questions are not all positive, Joshua says asking gives you an opportunity to learn something new about how life has been lived.
“The stories are not bright. Most of the stories are quite exploitative and unethical. But it has to be understood that their lifestyle is a strict consequence of colonisation because colonistion is what brought globalisation and globalisation was a needed action from the Europeans from those days.”
For him, living off-grid is radical yes, it’s exactly where he wants to be and it’s far from lonely. “Feeling lonely is a concept.”
“I don’t see myself as one individual, I am the result of everything; of the air that I am breathing, a part of the plants that I am walking around, of the soil that I’m stepping on. Without it I wouldn’t be myself.”