Today, Afri-love is 4! To celebrate, I've curated a list of 56 nuggets of insight, opinion and observation, garnered on Afri-love over the past 4 years. Why 56? Two reasons really: 1) that's the number of recognised states and de facto states on the continent and 2) I wanted a good healthy number. I'll be sharing the nuggets over the next 3 days so stay tuned (or subscribe to get them via email or read via RSS). Here's batch number 1 …
(1 – 8) It starts with self
- With most things in life, the problem and solution is usually yourself. There is a Swahili saying that captures this well: 'kikulacho ki nguoni mwako' – what's eating at you is in your own clothes — Andrew Mugoya, "Interview with Developer, Author & Entrepreneur, Andrew Mugoya"
- Politics is not something that is separate from us – something that is solely conducted by designated officials far removed from the experience of our daily lives. As individuals, as citizens, we are constantly making political decisions through what we say and what we do … If seeing yourself in a positive light means that you are less likely to accept being treated without respect – that's politics right there — "Is There Any Use for the Term 'Afropolitan'"
- The destruction of one's own self-respect and standards can surely never be justified by any tradition or culture — "Our Standards will Only be Met When we Assert Them"
- If I value my self, I value the planet that sustains me and I value the contribution, and necessarily the well-being, of others – "The Selfish African"
- You complain about this and whine about that but, ultimately, it must be perfectly bearable if you do nothing to change it — "Our Standards will Only be Met When we Assert Them"
- I guess being realistic with myself is probably the most important change that has facilitated all the other changes — "Readiness (Aka Hair, Health & Wholeness)"
- Your mind has immense power over your reality — "29 Lessons from 29 Years"
- You already know what you need to do before you can articulate it in your mind – "You Already Know What You Need to Do"
(9 – 21) And self-definition
- I celebrate African and African-inspired creativity and initiative because, I believe that there is a place for that in terms of inspiring and encouraging more Africans to stop living somebody else's dream, as well as to showcase to the world the diversity and complexity of 'African' and of the African experience — "Is it African? Questions of Aesthetics, Authenticity and Classification"
- We have to create our realities for ourselves rather than accept other people's, usually shoddy, constructions for us — "There are so many ways to get to Mombasa and so Many Stories to Tell"
- The dominant ideology in societies throughout the world would have us think that everything and everyone that is not Western is backwards or less than. I'm grateful for everyone that challenged the status quo and set their own definitions of blackness — Kathryn Buford, "Interview with Live Unchained Co-Founder Kathryn Buford"
- Sometimes we have to step back and beware that we do not fall into the thinking of those who don't know better and those who would rather see the continent as a forsaken place in need of enlightenment from outside — "Is There Any Use for the Term 'Afropolitan'"
- I've been ingesting Western culture all my life, despite growing up in Kenya, and starting this blog is just one reaction to that. One attempt to explore a different story — "There are so many ways to get to Mombasa and so Many Stories to Tell"
- Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am, and what I need, is something I have to find out myself — Chinua Achebe, quoted in "Inspired: Chinua Achebe Book Covers"
- In accepting yourself, you free yourself to go with you flow. To appreciate your idiosyncrasies and trust that they exist to help, not hinder you — "3 Ideas That Have Helped Me Abolish 'Should'"
- It is isolating being different, but then I have never known it any other way … When you do well and achieve significant milestones, you realise that you can’t be so strange after all — Nadia Denton, "Interview with Author, Photographer and Black Film Aficianado, Nadia Denton"
- It's important to never forget where you come from. A tree falls down without it's roots. So would I — Ntjam Rosie, "Interview with Musician Ntjam Rosie"
- Africa doesn't "inspire" me as though it was some entity apart from myself. It's part of who I am, my upbringing, my past, my future. It's like trying to figure out how my leg inspires me. It doesn't, it's just wholly a part of my being — Lesley in "Interview with Lesley of Ododo Originals"
- I am constantly challenged by its complexity and wowed by its beauty. Africa, to me will always be home. Home is our point of reference and the place where we always come back to replenish our souls — Zaki Ibrahim in "Interview with Music Maker Zaki Ibrahim"
- As we are exposed to different people, places and ideas, we give and take and everybody involved evolves in some way. To hark after an 'authentic' and untouched tradition or culture is to be a very frustrated seeker who will never arrive — "Is it African? Questions of Aesthetics, Authenticity and Classification"
- I think it becomes interesting when one fuses their own sensibilities with what their environment throws at them — Mkuki Bgoya, "Interview with Designer and Entrepreneur, Mkuki Bgoya, of Kina Klothing"
Illustrations by yours truly. Bottom image from "There are So Many Ways to Get to Mombasa and So Many Stories to Tell".
- The Wisdom of Crowds: A Collection of Treasures from 4 Years of Afri-love, Part II
- The Wisdom of Crowds: A Collection of Treasures from 4 Years of Afri-love, Part III
- 3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year
- The Best of 2012: Art, Design, Interviews, Commentary and Music
- How Does Africa Inspire You: My 10 Favourite Interview Responses to Date
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