Diaspora ChangeMakers: the RSA’s New Leadership Project Needs You!

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RSA-Diaspora-ChangeMakers

A couple of months ago I went to the RSA to participate in a brainstorm for a project they had in the works and I'm so pleased that it is finally live. Diaspora ChangeMakers will identify and bring together the UK's most promising individuals of African origin with a desire to support African communities (on the continent and in the diaspora). 

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The Economist ‘Where Do You Stand’ Ad Campaign: On Chinese Investment in Africa

 

Economist Ad China Africa 2

 

Economist Ad China Africa 1

The current 'Where do you stand?' ad campaign from The Economist was brought to my attention during a team meeting.

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Interview with Writer and Editor, Nana Ocran (In Anticipation of Afrofuture at Milan Design Week)

Interview-Nana-Ocran-Afrofuture

Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group's series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN's African Journalist of the Year in 2011. 

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Afriapps: Inspired by and Inspiring Digital Africa

Afriapps Inspiring Inspired Digital Africa

Afriapps Website Digital Africa

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.

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UPDATE: Africa and Diaspora related Events in the UK this Summer

Desdemona Rokia Traoré Toni Morrison

Check out the post for new events. Some this week that you won't want to miss include Rokia Traoré and Toni Morrison's adaptation of Shakespeare's Desdemona (tomorrow and Friday) and the Africa Stage at the BT River of Music Festival (this weekend) and more down the line.

More events and details here.

Africa- and Diaspora-related events this November

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.

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TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER

Launch of Afriapps book: African Apps in a Global Marketplace
Everywhere

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!

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THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER

Film-Africa-2011

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Africa and Diaspora events this October

As September draws to a close, I'm getting geared up for a bunch of exciting events in October. I'm one of those people who plans her social calendar waaaay in advance and diligently researches to find Afri-love-inspiring events. Not always easy but definitely worth it! I thought that I'd spare you some of the time and effort and compile all the Africa and Diaspora related events that I find each month. I also hope to tap into the power of crowd-sourcing to create an even richer listing for all of us. I invite you to share the great discoveries that you make in your "yard" (see the bottom of this post for details). Enjoy!

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MONTH-LONG EVENTS

Black History Month (UK) events in Islington
London
Islington Council is organising a variety of free and low cost film screenings, exhibitions, talks, readings, poetry and performances inspiring and connecting communities to historical legacies and Black experience today
Download Islington Black History Month 2011- Arts and Culture events
Download Islington Black History Month 2011 – Business and Enterprise events
Download Islington Black History Month 2011 – Schools activities 

Afrika-Eye-Film-Festival

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Week in review

I'm writing this yesterday, on my way to London and looking forward to the night's Iamthenublack meetup (which I'll blog about next week). I'm really excited about meeting in person, passionate Afri-loving people who I've gotten to know via Twitter and Facebook. Including the subject of this past week's interview – Phiona Okumu. It's truly wonderful that in this day and age, location is not a barrier in terms of finding and exchanging with like-minded people.

The North and Sub debate

And speaking of the technology and platforms that make this possible, we are increasingly exposed to millions of voices and viewpoints and, if we choose to, can interact directly with them. This week, I saw a tweet by somebody predicting that this year, African countries will follow in the footsteps of Arab countries and protest against their governments. When the gentleman referred to African countries, he meant sub-saharan countries and he had included the Northern African nations of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, in the Arab countries category. 

I'm sure you've come across this before – Northern African countries not really being considered as part of Africa. Despite the undeniable geographic fact of the matter and, the fact that people have traveled across, up and down the sahara, so that influences from all sides stretch far and wide.

The aforementioned gentleman speaks of a united Africa but can't see how the Northern African countries can be considered part and parcel of the continent. I'm confused as to how this is reconciled. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter…

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On the lookout: WOW Arts Fair, 8th March

WOW-Arts-Fair-Asilia

International Women's Day is almost here and to celebrate, Old Spitalfield Market in London is holding a Women of the World (WOW) Arts Fair. Female artists and craftspeople from around the world will be exhibiting their wares. There will also be a sales and trading training workshop and an appearance by Mel B of Spice Girls fame. I/Asilia had the pleasure of working with Hatch Events to design promotional material for the event.

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Last week on the blog

Phiona-Okumu

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 courtesy Phiona Okumu

 

Defining Afri-love


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This post was originally posted on Lulu's blog, Pandemonium Today, in September 2009

Africa is in my veins … in my thoughts and in my actions. I don’t know how love for a continent is made. How the colours and rhythms from one far-off coast can resonate as loudly on the opposite side. How listening to strangers speaking a language I do not know (understanding is different for it often transcends linguistic boundaries) can bring sudden feelings of homesickness. How the rush of sights, sounds and smells, as I step out of a plane, has my being instantly relax in the knowledge: this is where I belong.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and it also teaches the heart a lesson about its self: about how it is made; about what dictates its pace; and what it requires for beating.

I used to think I was patriotic, I still do, but I believe what I was feeling deserved a different and more appropriate name. It transcends national borders – it goes back before the Scramble. It rises over the barriers of language for communication takes place on several planes.

Meeting people from around the world and sharing our common affinities for the continent has helped, over years, to formulate for me, a way to articulate that feeling I previously could not quite capture. I choose to name it Afri-love. Simple, says what it does on the tin and allows me to signpost the myriad expressions of that feeling that I observe, live and create. Naming is a powerful process – it allows one to lift up a thing, hold it to the light and study it closely. Naming can be dangerous too: it can limit the form and consistency of a thing. However, in this instance, naming is useful to me as an umbrella under which to formulate ideas and mobilize the kind of action that will expand itself. Afri-love breeding Afri-love.

And naming helps to create community. A community already exists but it is not always self-aware. The extensive take up of the Afropolitan idea/identity is proof that Afri-love exists in abundance. Its informal community of agents spread its beauty and energy across the globe, sharing good news about the continent; enlightening people about its diversity and cultural wealth; and destroying the barrage of misperceptions that exist within the minds of ignorant and “worldly” alike.

Perhaps most important is exchange. Bringing language, culture, art, knowledge, belief and music to meet with the language, culture, art, knowledge, belief and music of other continents. Creating something new, powerful and relevant that heralds all of its constituent parts while casting a wider net of inclusion. Respect, fundamentally, running through it all.

Afri-love is about that respect for what came before (to avoid the use of that contentious term “tradition”), learning and taking forward what is still germane and beneficial to growth; leaving behind what is inappropriate and counter-constructive; drawing knowledge and inspiration from whatever other sources are available in our experience; and using our imagination, creativity and passion to make something new.

Something that reflects our individual histories and journies first. When we zoom out and look at the greater tapestry of which we are a tiny but crucial thread, the collective story emerges. In perhaps the most interesting, eclectic and spontaneous fashion yet.

Undoubtedly, the most conspicuous pattern is the energy that connects every person who feels Afri-love. It’s almost irrelevant where you’re from. That yearning to touch the ground, smell the soil and feel the sun’s embrace. To join the dance, both invisible and real. To love your brodas and sistas despite their weaknesses and bad judgement. To be that village that is concerned with the growth of every child.  The village that hunts and gathers together and celebrates that collective action with a feast.

It may all sound quite utopian. Perhaps, the one truest sign of  the presence of Afri-love is the optimism that we can make our vision a reality: Africa rising to realise its full potential*.

* Borrowing from the stated vision of African-led UK charity Stand Up for Africa.

About this website

This website is the result of months, even years, of trying to articulate my relationship with my one great passion – Africa. A kind of relationship shared by  many people that I have come across in all corners of the globe. Talented, intelligent, vibrant, joyful people who channel their unique gifts to inspire even greater awareness and enjoyment of the myriad wonders of that beautiful continent.

In contrast to uninterrogated yearnings for all things from outside and a desire to be other than yourself, a narrative that reminds of the beauty and ability that exists right there inside.

Imagine Africans who love who they are, as they are, and so love each other and the environment that nurtures them. Confident and assertive, they are engaged in charting their growth and celebrating success as defined on their own terms.

In contrast to bleak stories on the news and learned (rather than experienced) preconceptions, a narrative that is filled with ingenuity, innovation and ambition. 

Imagine all who are inspirited by Africa – all whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of the continent – sharing their passion through collaboration, in the name of mutual empowerment.

Imagine all starting by looking inside themselves. Self-discovery, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect. And then true learning, understanding, love and respect of the other. Harnessing the power of emotion to influence great positive change.

This website is a place to document a growing idea. One that will be shaped by all who interact with, interrogate and contribute to it. Through commentary, stories, interviews, ideas for action, shared resources, reviews, news, art and much more, Afri-love hopes to become a community of creativity, knowledge, passion and ideas. 

Love is vital to growth and actualization. 

Be proud. Be inspired. Spread love. Blossom.

*The site will officially launch this Friday, 11 June.