Interview with artist, photographer & writer, Kameelah Rasheed

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Today I'm really happy to bring you this interview with artist, documentary photographer, writer and youth educator, Kameelah Rasheed. Along with participating in several groups exhibitions across the US and having her photography and writing featured in a number of print and online publications, Kameelah is also the co-founder of Mambu Badu, a photography collective for emerging female photographers of African descent.

Here, Kameelah discusses her ambitions, the challenge of perfectionism and the power of storytelling. I am super inspired by this driven woman!

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5 reasons why design matters: An argument for African parents, businesses & other skeptics

Last week I attended the inaugral Manchester Design Symposium (MDS), an event great for inspiration and rejuvenating creativity. As far as I could see though, I was the only black person in an auditorium of hundreds and it’s likely that I was the only African too.

It had me questioning why. Is it geography? Are there just not enough black/African designers and people interested in design who live in Manchester/who heard about the event/who were willing to pay for the event? Or does it have something more to do with our culture? Are there just not that many black/African people who are exposed to design as being a viable profession or worse, are there just not enough black/African people willing to go against the grain enough to pursue a career in the creative industry?

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Tahrir Squared: multiplying the effect across the world

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It is often said that in order for individuals to effect significant positive change in our communities and societies, we need to organise.

Yesterday marked the launch of a community portal that seeks to do just that. Inspired by the spirit of the uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, that took place on January 25th this year, Tahrir Squared is that online space that aims to multiply the Tahrir Effect, expand the Tahrir Region and build the Tahrir World. During the uprising, Egyptians came together despite differences in religion, class, age, gender and ability, creating an incredibly moving example of unity and the power that it can generate. Tahrir Squared aims to keep this amazing energy and momentum going and spread it to those across the world who are similarly organizing for justice and to improve their lives and those of their fellow citizens.

Asilia is proud to have partnered with the folks behind Tahrir Squared in designing and building the site. We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to contribute to such an honourable cause.

Explore Tahrir Squared for news, views and analysis; interviews; a library of images and video and; to find out about civil society initiatives in Egypt, the Arab region, the wider Middle East and internationally.

Logo designed by Asilia, photo by GeoEye

Week in review and a time for action

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What about us?
This past Friday, young Nigerians around the world demanded of their presidential candidates, "what about us?"

Forming the majority of the population and over half of registered voters in the upcoming elections, Nigerian youth recognised and asserted their need to be heard and addressed. The What about us? campaign called for the first ever youth-focused Presidential Debate. Organised by Nigerian Youth empowerment groups in Nigeria and the Diaspora, though diverse, they share a common belief that the time for change in Nigeria is now. And that young people have the power to make it happen.

I missed the live streaming of the debate but I witnessed the momentum in advance of the event via social networks. Did you catch it? What were your thoughts?

Columbia University African Economic Forum
I also caught some snippets from the 8th annual Columbia University African Economic Forum, via Twitter. Below are a few from twitterer, Karen Attiah:

"We cannot just wait around for good leaders to emerge. We've got to start doing things today. Lets empower people – Deverajan"

"Audience comment: If Africans abroad stopped looking at ourselves as insignificant compared to our governments, we could make a difference"

"Financially, borrowing money maybe looks cheap, but the stigma of begging at the World Bank every year is more expensive – Moyo"

"Fundamental problem with aid is that it severs the social contract between people and the govts who are to provide public goods -Moyo"

 "What are we as educated Africans, and the intl community who cares about Africa, going to DO? -Moyo"

"This PR strategy of convincing us as Africans that we cannot contribute to global development -Moyo"

It's interesting to see how Africans (and especially the youth) are campaigning for change in different ways – and how technology is helping to engage Africans in the Diaspora and involve them more directly in what is going on at home. I for one, am very grateful for this!

So, what are we going to do in the way that we each can contribute to change?

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Last week on the blog

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Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:

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Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).

Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x

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Image copyright Sarah Markes

 

 

 

Interview with Sarah Markes, the artist behind Street Level Dar

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My mother comes from Tanzania and with a lot of family living in Dar es Salaam, it's a city that I have spent some time in over the years. I always love visiting Dar. Having grown up in Nairobi, I am always struck by the contrast I see in Dar in terms of the more communal nature of life. I am always delighted by how Dar neighbourhoods come alive, especially at night, with people sitting outside, catching up and interacting. 

Today, I am happy to share with you an interview with an artist who is celebrating this vibrant spirit of Dar es Salaam and specifically, its street life. After leading a nomadic lifestyle travelling in Asia and South America, Sarah Markes decided to apply her creative skills in the international development context. This led her to voluntary work in Malawi and years later, to a job in Dar. There, she fell in love with the city and has been putting her artistic talents to use  in documenting its culture and heritage, in a project called Street Level Dar.

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Namibia Independence Day: Celebrating Social Design

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21 years ago on this 21st day of March (I couldn't resist), Namibia gained independence from South Africa.

Interesting facts: Namibia is the world's thirty-fourth largest country as well as being, after Mongolia, the least densely populated country in the world. Home to the Namib, Kalahari and Coastal Deserts, it's no wonder why.

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Tunisia Independence Day: Celebrating beauty and design

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Yesterday, Tunisia celebrated 55 years of Independence from France, no doubt made sweeter by the recent triumph in toppling authoritarian president, Ben Ali, after 23 years in power. Rather than spend this post further commemorating this revolution (I'm sure several others have done this well so I would like to share something different), I would like to draw your attention to beauty and design.

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Women’s Week in review

Women's Week was fun! In celebration of the centenary of International Women's Day, on March 8th, all posts on Afri-love during the week, were especially in celebration of women and sisterhood. Fashion, literary inspiration, art, design, music and reflections on what sisterhood really is.

Of course the celebration will continue past this week. After all, every day is another opportunity to celebrate women, and beyond that, humanity, and the wonderful environment that we're honoured to exist within. Every day an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and each other. It's so easy to forget about appreciation when you're immersed in the day-to-day which increasingly has become so hectic for so many. I've found that forcing myself to pause and put things in perspective makes such a huge positive difference to my well-being.

I was reading an article over on Zen Habits this week and this statement by writer Leo Babauta was spot-on:

"Reflection is one of the most important tools for changing your life."

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On the lookout: Join FITE (Financial Independence through Enterpreneurship)



 

This past International Women's Day, Kiva.org and Dermalogica launched  joinFITE.org, to create financial independence for women all over the world, through enterpreneurship. 

The site features profiles of these enterprising women enabling donors to choose who they would like to support. And donors include you! You can start lending from as little as $25. The site helps you filter the enterpreneurs by sector and by region (yes, that's the creative professional in me appreciating the user experience of the website!).

And making a donation is not the only way that you can help fund a microloan. You can also buy specially-marked FITE products and redeem the FITE code on the site or, you can spread the word far and wide by telling friends, family, colleagues and liking FITE on Facebook. The choice is yours.

Thanks Vivian for telling me about the initiative.

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Last week on the blog

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Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:

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Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).

Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x

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Image: Les Nubians

 

 

TGIF! Women’s Week Special with Les Nubians: Visual & musical treats including a free download

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Who better to bring us to the close of Women's Week than, sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart of Les Nubians. Beautiful, talented and proud to express their African origins in every way, here are a few goodies from the super-stylin' ladies …

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Reflections on the Self – Five African Women Photographers

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Celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and part of the Southbank Centres WOW festival, Reflections of the Self features five contemporary African women photographers whose work deals with women’s narratives, either through self-portraits or portraits of others: Hélène Amouzou (Togo, Belgium); Majida Khattari (Morocco, France); Zanele Muholi (South Africa); Senayt Samuel (Eritrea, UK); Lolo Veleko (South Africa).

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