The first ever Afri-love Fest was held in Nairobi on Sunday 18th November, 2018.
I am still overwhelmed – in the most joyful way ever – by the turnout of almost 700 people who came and contributed to the magic of the day!
[Photos by Imeldah Kondo]
The roots of Afri-love Fest
I’d dreamed about putting on an event like this for years. Ever since I started this blog, in 2010, I wanted to create real-life spaces to share its discussions, questions, discoveries, experiments and ideas.
The blog started as a place to celebrate African creativity – and what that means for our sense of pride and self-esteem. It’s evolved as I’ve become more and more interested in how we can all live more creatively, more slowly, more healthily, more sustainably.
So creativity, learning from each other, buying African, business and wellness have all been key themes.
I saw Afri-love Fest as an opportunity to bring these things together through a creative market and a programme of workshops, talks and other experiences.
The perfect venue
When I decided to go for it (in huge part thanks to my mentor Joanne Mwangi, who I connected with through my Lion’s Den experience), a venue immediately came to mind, Ikigai’s Westlands location. The founders of these coworking spaces share our love of nature and passion for art, design and wellness. It was a perfect match!
The crafty ladies at Provisions, as well as tailor Irene Atalala, created some upcycled decor for us which, included bottle signage, a giant curtain made of fabric offcuts and newspaper “wreaths”.
[Illustrations by Lulu Kitololo]
We invited some of our favourite creative vendors, spanning beauty, crafts, fashion, food, furniture, literature, stationery, toys and wellness (check out the full list below).
[Photo by Joe Were]
The events programme
We also curated the following experiences:
- A self-care circle with Amélie Muthundo: a workshop to help people free their creativity using visualisation, meditation and coaching
- A workshop with Tricia of the epic Tricia’s Naturals, teaching creatively simple natural hair and wellness routines for the entire family
- DIY face masks with Maitha of Selenkei Natural
- Hand-lettering basics with Nzilani of Kulula
- How to make a smash book with Martina of Riko Love Crafts
- Furniture-making with Love Artisan
- Pom Pom Party with Provisions where participants got to create holiday decor and gifts using pom poms made with 100% natural Kenyan wool
- Kali Media presents: the Money Matt(hers) series (DESIGN). A panel discussion with interior and furniture designer, Wamuyu Tira of Tira Studio, and myself. Sharing our journey, challenges and triumphs, when it comes to bringing in the dough while doing what we love
- Portrait studio by professional photographer, Joe Were
- Soulful Branding speed clinics with me, Lulu Kitololo
- Rhythm and Spoken – an open mic poetry and music jam, hosted by Naliaka
- A special session of The Nairobi Soapbox Club Night – a fun and interactive workshop for leaders, influencers and founders looking for opportunities to practise public speaking in a non-judgemental environment.
- An Alteration Station run by tailor, Irene Atalala – an opportunity to jazz up (or simply mend) your clothes
- And the perfect playlist for the day, curated by Patricia Kihoro
[Portraits by Joe Were, embellishments by Lulu Kitololo]
“One of the best festivals I have ever been to”
Our visitors had some lovely feedback for us. Here, in their own words, is some of what they loved:
- The relaxed atmosphere and love for details
- It was intimate and gave a feel of a family hang out in Africa
- The vibe and that it was so kid-friendly/homey
- It was fun, interactive, fresh
- The variety of things to see and do!
- The accessibility of amazing workshops that aren’t usually this readily open to people
- A different bazaar experience
- Introduction to new brands and innovation
- The fact that there was more to do at the festival rather than just shop
- It was part craft fair, part skills sharing, part socializing
- It was a great and beautiful setup. A nice mix of workshops, shopping and hanging out
- The atmosphere!
View more photos from the day here.
[Photo by Joe Were]
On the day, we had four university students join us – Jeska, Michelle, Stephen and Quinter – to help keep our vendors and visitors happy. And Joe Were ended up lending a much-appreciated helping hand (well, several hands!).⠀
I’m so grateful to these guys for helping to bring the vision alive and for treating all our vendors and visitors with such love :).
Thanks to the success of this first festival, we’re organising a second celebration of creativity.
Save the date: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May, 2019.
This time expect 2 days of creative workshops, talks and experiences, alongside our market of creative vendors spanning fashion, furniture, stationery and more. Expect a family-friendly weekend of creative PLAY.
If you’d like to get first dibs on early-bird tickets and workshop bookings, join our mailing list.
If you’d like to be a vendor, or to run a workshop/experience, please join this list. Applications open on Tuesday 2nd April and close on Sunday 14th April.
- Ah This
- Alive with Amélie
- Delia’s Ice Cream
- Fatsos Swahili Food
- Furaha Creatives
- Gora Studio
- Joyce Grace
- Leo and Coco
- Love Artisan
- Lulu Kitololo Studio
- Maua Jua Crowns
- My Snack Cupcakes
- Pino Nord
- Riko Love Crafts
- Rozana Beauty
- Sandstorm Kenya
- Seedling Kenya
- Selenkei Naturals
- Terra Cold Pressed
- Tira Studio
- Tricia’s Naturals
- Umba Creations
- Waithira Ceramics
- White Bull
- Workshop Nairobi