In celebration of the two-year anniversary of our online platform, Afriapps, Asilia gave it a new identity and website makeover! Along with the new-look and responsive and mobile-friendly website design, we've developed the offering as well.
I am embarassed to say that Afri-love's 3rd anniversary just slipped by me! On June 11th, I was on a train back from London after modelling in the Shape Custom Creations Afrika Milele show (one of the most exciting fashion shows I've experienced – the epitomé of good vibes!). In my exhaustion, I forgot what a great moment it was.
As they say, better late than never. It's quite timely actually because, after 2 months or so of travelling, returning, catching up and getting back to 'normal' routine, I'm finally back in the groove of things. You may have noticed that post frequency is starting to pick up again! It's fitting that we get things going with, first, some thanks – a HUGE THANK YOU for reading and interacting with me, here on the blog, by subscribing and via Twitter and Facebook too – it all makes this labour of love so much more satisfying and; second, a little reflection with a look at the top 5 posts from the past year. In reverse order:
A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!
Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.
The passionate Amina, aka sheroxlox, is one of the lovliest people I've had the honour to meet in recent years. Find out what drives her.
I've been working with the East Africa-based designer for a little over a year now and I feel so lucky to be collaborating with somebody who creates beautiful things and has such a good spirit too. Today marks the launch of her new website and online shop, created by yours truly and the rest of the Asilia team.
One day I will finally visit Lamu in person (and hopefully before the new port is built as, I worry that it will change the nature of the town). Until then, I will lust over all the beautiful homes I've discovered, thanks to my best friend, the internet. More Lamu finds on the blog.
What posts did you enjoy most over the past 12 months?
For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time:
- Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
- Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
- 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya
Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …
Rise of the Afropolitan
The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".
Recently I launched an ebook titled African Apps in a Global Marketplace which is about the African app industry. From that, I got the following (summarised) response from Joel Selanikio, co-founder of DataDyne and an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University:
"I thought your book was 99% spot on, with my only quibble being in your analysis of aid. Although I doubt you know of any real sustainable tech innovation that was created by aid (I certainly can't think of any)"
It got me thinking..
We Africans have a many complaints about aid from the West. Rightly so. It has destroyed industries, kept dictators in power, fostered a begging culture among some communities and worse, created a entire industry that dependent on there being poor, hungry and needy Africans to be used to bait donors.
But, the problem of aid is two-fold. It is not a solo act, it is a duet between the West and Africa. African culture has contributed its share to this problem.
November's already here. A reminder that the year is almost through but, before we get ready to welcome in 2012, there are TONS of exciting events to attend. Here are just a few. They're very London-centric so I'd love to hear about all the interesting things going on in your corner of the globe – please share.
TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER
Launch of Afriapps book: African Apps in a Global Marketplace
You might remember Andrew Mugoya's guest posts about African apps ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African app powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). Today, Andrew launches an ebook on the subject that is free to download for a limited period. Get it while it's hot!
THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER
I have to admit, I have never really watched a Nollywood movie. At least not from start to finish. I first came across them whilst at university where Nigerian friends (and Kenyan ones who had already fallen under the influence) would pass me some from their vast collections. Increasingly since then, I have noticed them in more and more places. They come as part of my home TV satellite package; they are part of the in-flight entertainment on my flights to and from Kenya; they are one of the most popular sources of entertainment in Kenya ; and now in the UK (and I suspect in the US and many other countries) they are also breaking into the mainstream.
Check out my guest post over on Afriapps: "Is your app getting noticed? Presentation is everything, part I." Here's an excerpt:
"I judge books by their covers. It's the path I chose, as a visual communicator, and the unsettling realisation that years of experience and observation have brought me is that, presentation is often everything. I've seen mediocre ideas in shiny packaging be heralded as genius. I've seen excellent concepts not even given a second glance because, on the surface, they just weren't engaging enough … "
Read on at Afriapps.
I know I have a penchant for lists and if ever I needed an excuse to create one, surely today is the day. Tomorrow marks one year of Afri-love and as I reflect on all the people that I've come across and had the opportunity to meet (if even just virtually), I want to share with you the most popular posts. It so happens that indeed, most of them are interviews with some of these people. I am honoured to be a part of this army of creatives and change-makers and I look forward to meeting and collaborating with more of you.
At Asilia, Lulu and I have made it a principle to religiously devote time to pursue internal and personal projects. So Lulu has her Afri-love (a personal project) and I started and manage Afriapps (a platform showcasing apps from and for Africa), under the Asilia umbrella.
Afriapps has been live since November last year and in that time we have profiled over 60 African applications. In the process, I've noticed a trend that has me really excited – the emergence of Ghana as a promising place to watch for creative and exciting app development.
Five reasons why Ghana has got me buzzing: