Interregional Festival (IRF) 2010, July 16-17, TZ


This year's Interregional Festival takes place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

16-17 July @ TaSUBa in Bagamoyo
18 July @ Makumbusho Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam (the "chill-out concert")

With something for everyone, the festival will feature artists from Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as special guests from around the world.

It's all about youth empowerment as all performers are under 25. Drawing crowds in the six figures, this festival is "most renowned for its celebration of African heritage, whether pop or rock, jazz or reggae, all artists showcased at the festival pulsate a spirit and feel that is undoubtedly African."

Check out the festival blog for more info. And if you're in TZ, I'd love to see your pictures and to hear how it goes!

São Tomé and Príncipe independence day

Excuse the slight tardiness but, São Tomé and Príncipe celebrated 35 years of independence yesterday. 

Here are some sounds from the 2 island nation:



… And a video showing an example of Tchiloli, a dance performance that tells a story:

Continue reading “São Tomé and Príncipe independence day”

Humanitarian design and imperialism


Interesting article by Bruce Nussbaum discussing humanitarian design and imperialism.

An excerpt:  
"But should we take a moment now that the movement is gathering speed to ask whether or not American and European designers are collaborating with the right partners, learning from the best local people, and being as sensitive as they might to the colonial legacies of the countries they want to do good in. Do designers need to better see themselves through the eyes of the local professional and business classes who believe their countries are rising as the U.S. and Europe fall and wonder who, in the end, has the right answers? Might Indian, Brazilian and African designers have important design lessons to teach Western designers?"

And a response to his article suggests:

"The worst thing to do patronize low-income earners by succumbing to nationalistic and inward-looking design. Lets keep sharing, exchanging, and working together and enable the best designs to play out, regardless of origin."

Thanks to @whiteafrican for tweeting the links!

Anything we love can be saved

Emotion is often relegated to the realm of "fluffy", soft or irrational things. Away from the arenas of success and progress. When we talk about change we often concentrate on statistics or intellectualise the issue to the point of distancing ourselves from the human element behind the endeavour. Rarely do we connect our individual selves to the place, people, or living things at the heart of the change. It is as if we are external actors who are in no way connected except for the intervention we are wishing or planning. 

But when we engage our emotions, when we allow our passion to move us, we can empathise. We can truly affect change. If you believe in such, it is as if we finally align with the universal spirit and our actions become more powerful and effective.

Napoleon Hill, author of the classic bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, asserts that emotion is necessary in order to engage the subconcious and, once engaged the subconscious helps create opportunities for success. He states:

"Thoughts, mixed with emotions, amplify and grow until they become a dominating and motivating force."

The force of passion

I observe that most people who excel in their careers, are people who follow their passion. When you look at artists, athletes and other people who pursued "alternative" careers, they did so because of love, because of passion. No one decides to become a singer in order to pay the bills. Such careers do not guarantee a comfortable life. That's why so many parents discourage their children from following such and instead encourage law, medicine, business and so forth. 

The irony is that, when you look at it, anyone who is a truly great success, whether they are artists, athletes, doctors, lawyers or businesswomen and -men, they truly love what they do and that passion drives them. So if your passion is painting and instead you choose a "sensible" engineering path – you might have a comfortable life but, had you painted, you might have had an exceptional life where you are more than comfortable and most importantly, you are fulfilled inside – true success!

"Success follows doing what you want to do. There's is no other way to be successful."
— Malcolm S. Forbes

Emotion and change

In conclusion, emotion can influence change and passion can be channeled into progress and success. True love creates the necessary conditions for it to endure and even thrive. If we harness our love for Africa – if we let it shine and allow it to influence our actions – we can contribute to the advancement of the continent. 

Title inspired by Alice Walker's book of the same name.

Art Moves Africa: grants available!


Calling all African artists and cultural operators living and working in Africa! Art Moves Africa is awarding grants for travel within the continent to participate in residencies, festivals, workshops and more.

1 September (before midnight GMT) : for the travels starting from 1st of November
1 January (before midnight GMT) : for the travels starting from 1st March
1 May (before midnight GMT): for the travels starting from 1st of July

(Art Moves Africa (AMA) is an international none for profit organisation aiming to facilitate cultural and artistic exchanges within the African continent. AMA offers travel funds to artists, arts professionals and cultural operators living and working in Africa to travel within the African continent in order to engage in the exchange of information, the enhancement of skills, the development of informal networks and the pursuit of cooperation.

Not practicing on the continent or not an artist? You too can support the initiative

Comoros independence day

The Comoros celebrates its independence today. Consisting of four islands in an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, between the mainland Africa and Madagascar, the island has a diverse history and culture with African, Asian and European influences.

A matriarchal society still survives in the Comoros and in celebration of independence and sisterhood, here are the vocal stylings of Comorian women:


Continue reading “Comoros independence day”

Malawi independence day


Malawi celebrates its independence day today.

I remember going to an Afrolution event a few years back. The show was totally taken away by Malawi's own MC, Kimba 'chellam' Mutanda. I absolutely love his clever track "Dearest Child" (listen to it on his myspace page). You can read an interview with Kimba on Mmalawi Blog, "the Ultimate Infotainment Directory." Here's a snippet of his lyrical stylings:

I came across another interesting artistic talent from Malawi, Samson Kambalu. You can read more here and here about his thought-provoking interactive installations and experience holyballism for yourself on his website. Kambalu is also author of an autobiographical book, The Jive Talker: Or, How to get a British Passport, one of the Sunday Telegraph's Books of The Year, 2008.

Check out the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi, this October. An award winning festival, it brings international talents together with local artists and helps to promote the arts, tourism and development in Malawi. This year's line up includes: The Noisettes, Peter Mawanga, Sally Nyundo, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., Tinashe, Eddy Temple-Morris, John McClure, Afrikan Boy, Goldierocks and more. The festival is powered by volunteers so you can get involved and experience this great event and beautiful lake-side setting.

Image at top: Samson Kambalu signing his Sunny Side Up silkscreen prints, available at the Jealous Print Studio.

Algeria Independence day

El Kantara

Algeria celebrates their independence today. 

This North African country is home to the first African-born winner of the Literature Nobel Prize, Albert Camus. Perhaps most famous for his novel, The Stranger, Camus is also regarded as a key philosopher of the 20th century. Philosopher and founder of deconstruction, Jacques Derrida was also born in Algeria. Martinique philosopher and psychiatrist, Frantz Fanon, spent a great part of his life in Algeria and his work there constitutes a great part of his famous revolutionary book, The Wretched of the Earth.

Algerian art

Along with a centuries old tradition of arts and crafts, there is a significant contemporary art scene which is well documented. Read this insightful article on Algeria's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Algiers (MAMA) and how it is facilitating new relationships between "culture and memory, public space and sense space, urbanity and citizenship."


Images above:
Top – Barrage d'El Kantara à Biskra by Astonar.
Middle – Art work by  Ammar Bouras, Samta Benyahia and Mohammed Khadda