3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year

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:

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5. Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori

A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!

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4. African inspiration on Pinterest from artist Robyn Gordon

Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.

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3. Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty

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. 

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2. Interview with fashion designer Adele Dejak

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.

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1. Dream Homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

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?

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For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time: 

  1. Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
  2. Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
  3. 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya

The best of 2011: Afri-love interviews

The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.

Here's a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:

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Interview with author and black film aficionado, Nadia Denton (left), and accessories designer Adele Dejak.

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Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.

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Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty aka sheroxlox (left) and multi-dimensional creative, Ann aka afrolicious.

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Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.

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Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.

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Interview with artist and creative consultant, Kesha Bruce (left) and artist, photographer and writer, Kameelah Rasheed.

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Interview with blogger, writer and commentator, Minna Salami, aka MsAfropolitan (left) and developer, author and entrepreneur, Andrew Mugoya.

What was your favourite interview?

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If you missed yesterday's best of 2011 installment, "African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design," here it is.

Tune in for the rest of week for:

  • Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
  • Friday – Top music finds of 2011

Get almost-daily Afri-love direct via RSS or straight to your email inbox. Want it less often? Subscribe for juicy extra content (2-4 emails per month). 

Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty (aka sheroxlox!)

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I haven't yet met Amina Doherty in person but I love this woman! This 27 year old Nigerian feminist activist is inspiring as inspiring gets. Her work and her life is guided by a passion for creativity and an unshakable belief in the powerful agency we each have to make positive changes in our lives, our communities and the world.

Amina holds a BA in Political Science & Women’s Studies from McGill University and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics. Currently setting up FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Amina has a range of experience working with organisations such as human rights funder The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, Feminist Majority Foundation and Arts & Business.

A daughter of the Diaspora, London-based Amina has lived and studied in Africa. Here's her story, in her own words …

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What's your passion?
Over the years I have worked as a researcher, grantmaker, freelance writer, and community activist and in all of those roles, I have made a conscious effort to infuse my love for all forms of creative expression. I am passionate about music, poetry and spoken word, art, fashion and seeing new places. Driving all of these things however, is a love for life and an overwhelming belief that we should seek to live our lives with as much courage, adventure and love as we possibly can. My passion is Life itself.

What inspired you to be an activist in general, and specifically, to work on feminist issues?
For many years I struggled to call myself an “activist” in large part because I felt as though I wasn’t “activist” enough; as though the contributions I was making would never be enough to bring about the kinds of substantive social change that I wanted to see in the world. A world wherein people continue to be discriminated against on the basis of their race, gender, class, sexual preference, socio-economic position and other varying axes of inequality. 

However, over the years I have come to understand that what actually makes someone “activist” is a heartfelt and genuine commitment to change. Simply knowing that, as an individual, I have the potential to be powerful in whatever it is that I set my mind to, motivates me. I am driven by the understanding that the smallest acts can bring about the biggest changes … being an activist is simply about taking a stand (or a seat) and refusing to move to the back of the bus. 

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