In our own hands: an interview with Kesha Bruce for the 6×6 Summer Blog Tour

Keshabruce_I'll fly away

My exploration of Afri-love has tended to centre around creativity and the creative professions. Mainly because it's what I do and what I love but, also because of a strong belief that creativity is a powerful way of inspiring and creating positive change. I've also been going on and on (and you may be sick of it by now) about how everything starts with the self. Any change we can hope to encourage on a large scale is likely to be futile if we haven't also considered how to implement it for ourselves.

Enter artists and Baang+Burne directors, Kesha Bruce and Charlie Grosso, and their 6×6 project: their answer to the question “what if there were no more art galleries?” For 6 weeks starting in September this year, artists in New York City will take matters into their own hands and put on exhibitions to showcase their work. What an inspiring concept! What amazing potential such an idea could have in an African context, where the necessary infrastructure for a viable career as an artist is even more scarce …

I thought I'd get more wisdom from the source – the wonderful Kesha Bruce.

Continue reading “In our own hands: an interview with Kesha Bruce for the 6×6 Summer Blog Tour”

Rethinking Prosperity: Why I’m not embracing a mall per mile in Nairobi

Rethinking-prosperity

As Nakumatt malls pop up all over the place in Nairobi, large impersonal retailers in Western countries are hitting hard times. People in these countries are demanding experiences that: make communities vibrant; are architecturally harmonious with their surroundings; are small business friendly and; offer localised rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.

The late bird catches a break
Do we have to follow the same path that these countries have travelled to reach similar conclusions, decades from now? Can we learn from the experiences of the West and avoid this fate?

Continue reading “Rethinking Prosperity: Why I’m not embracing a mall per mile in Nairobi”

Do it for love: creating Epic Change for the mamas

TMWL-graphic

Today is Mother's Day in many parts of the world and in the US alone, $14.6 billion will be spent buying stuff for the occassion.

My family isn't a gift-giving family. On the days that people usually exchange gifts – birthdays, Christmas, Father's Day, Mother's Day etc. – we're more concerned with being together. So it's more about organising a meal or a party than shopping. Culture, socioeconomics … that's a discussion for another time. What I will say now is that it definitely relieves a lot of pressure to get that "perfect" gift, saving a lot of money and sanity too!

Continue reading “Do it for love: creating Epic Change for the mamas”

Tahrir Squared: multiplying the effect across the world

TahrirSquared

It is often said that in order for individuals to effect significant positive change in our communities and societies, we need to organise.

Yesterday marked the launch of a community portal that seeks to do just that. Inspired by the spirit of the uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, that took place on January 25th this year, Tahrir Squared is that online space that aims to multiply the Tahrir Effect, expand the Tahrir Region and build the Tahrir World. During the uprising, Egyptians came together despite differences in religion, class, age, gender and ability, creating an incredibly moving example of unity and the power that it can generate. Tahrir Squared aims to keep this amazing energy and momentum going and spread it to those across the world who are similarly organizing for justice and to improve their lives and those of their fellow citizens.

Asilia is proud to have partnered with the folks behind Tahrir Squared in designing and building the site. We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to contribute to such an honourable cause.

Explore Tahrir Squared for news, views and analysis; interviews; a library of images and video and; to find out about civil society initiatives in Egypt, the Arab region, the wider Middle East and internationally.

Logo designed by Asilia, photo by GeoEye

Week in review and a time for action

Whu25s

What about us?
This past Friday, young Nigerians around the world demanded of their presidential candidates, "what about us?"

Forming the majority of the population and over half of registered voters in the upcoming elections, Nigerian youth recognised and asserted their need to be heard and addressed. The What about us? campaign called for the first ever youth-focused Presidential Debate. Organised by Nigerian Youth empowerment groups in Nigeria and the Diaspora, though diverse, they share a common belief that the time for change in Nigeria is now. And that young people have the power to make it happen.

I missed the live streaming of the debate but I witnessed the momentum in advance of the event via social networks. Did you catch it? What were your thoughts?

Columbia University African Economic Forum
I also caught some snippets from the 8th annual Columbia University African Economic Forum, via Twitter. Below are a few from twitterer, Karen Attiah:

"We cannot just wait around for good leaders to emerge. We've got to start doing things today. Lets empower people – Deverajan"

"Audience comment: If Africans abroad stopped looking at ourselves as insignificant compared to our governments, we could make a difference"

"Financially, borrowing money maybe looks cheap, but the stigma of begging at the World Bank every year is more expensive – Moyo"

"Fundamental problem with aid is that it severs the social contract between people and the govts who are to provide public goods -Moyo"

 "What are we as educated Africans, and the intl community who cares about Africa, going to DO? -Moyo"

"This PR strategy of convincing us as Africans that we cannot contribute to global development -Moyo"

It's interesting to see how Africans (and especially the youth) are campaigning for change in different ways – and how technology is helping to engage Africans in the Diaspora and involve them more directly in what is going on at home. I for one, am very grateful for this!

So, what are we going to do in the way that we each can contribute to change?

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Last week on the blog

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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 copyright Sarah Markes

 

 

 

Women’s Week in review

Women's Week was fun! In celebration of the centenary of International Women's Day, on March 8th, all posts on Afri-love during the week, were especially in celebration of women and sisterhood. Fashion, literary inspiration, art, design, music and reflections on what sisterhood really is.

Of course the celebration will continue past this week. After all, every day is another opportunity to celebrate women, and beyond that, humanity, and the wonderful environment that we're honoured to exist within. Every day an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and each other. It's so easy to forget about appreciation when you're immersed in the day-to-day which increasingly has become so hectic for so many. I've found that forcing myself to pause and put things in perspective makes such a huge positive difference to my well-being.

I was reading an article over on Zen Habits this week and this statement by writer Leo Babauta was spot-on:

"Reflection is one of the most important tools for changing your life."

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On the lookout: Join FITE (Financial Independence through Enterpreneurship)



 

This past International Women's Day, Kiva.org and Dermalogica launched  joinFITE.org, to create financial independence for women all over the world, through enterpreneurship. 

The site features profiles of these enterprising women enabling donors to choose who they would like to support. And donors include you! You can start lending from as little as $25. The site helps you filter the enterpreneurs by sector and by region (yes, that's the creative professional in me appreciating the user experience of the website!).

And making a donation is not the only way that you can help fund a microloan. You can also buy specially-marked FITE products and redeem the FITE code on the site or, you can spread the word far and wide by telling friends, family, colleagues and liking FITE on Facebook. The choice is yours.

Thanks Vivian for telling me about the initiative.

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Last week on the blog

Les-Nubians-chilling

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: Les Nubians

 

 

New year, new mission, same big picture

Reflection

"2010 is all about doing and discovering." I am happy to say that this mantra worked better than any resolution I could have fooled myself into making. Vague enough to reduce the possibilities of failure and inspiring enough to pull me out of bed especially on dark, cold winter mornings. I started last year with an optimism and energy that propelled me through the tougher days. I did, a lot, and I learned a hell of a lot about myself, life, business and more.

It was exhausting!

Continue reading “New year, new mission, same big picture”

Week in review

Lesley-of-Ododo-Originals wir

Khadambi-Asalache-wir

Afrocubism-photo-wir

Ghadames wall design wir

Amani-ya-Juu-quilts-wir

I am fortunate to have spent Christmas with family and friends, eating good home-cooked food and sharing laughter. I hope that all of you who celebrate the holiday had a good one and that all of you who don't and had the opportunity to take a break, had a refreshing day. With just one week until we step into 2011, I find myself putting myself under pressure to properly take stock of the year and plan ahead for the next one. I'm making it a point to keep dragging myself back to the present moment and not stress toooooo much about all the expectations that come with the New Year milestone. We'll see what happens over this coming week though!

Here is a round-up of all of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the year
  • A round-up on the 9 most popular posts of the year
  • What satisfies you? I want to know…
  • Sudan Independence Day
  • An end of the year TGIF! special

Have a fantastic final week of 2010. Be proud of all you've learned, discovered and achieved and let it inspire the year ahead!

 :)

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Images from top: Lesley of Ododo Originals, Khadambi Asalache's house, AfroCubism artists, Ghadames wall art from Libya and Amani ya Juu quilts

 

Inspired by Swahili Imports

Swahili-Imports

I recently discovered Swahili Imports via tweeter, Papa Awori. Having built a network of artisans from across Africa, Swahili showcases their work to the wider world. Swahili's partnerships center on fair and sustainable profit generation, artisan advancement and modern, earth-friendly product development.

Above are just a few of pieces that I absolutely fell in love with. 

Giving Epic Thanks

Home

On Tuesday, non-profit Epic Change has launched a global campaign to change the world through the power of gratitude – Epic Thanks. In support of their great work and that of the amazing changemakers they work with, including Mama Lucy Kamptoni from Tanzania, I wanted to share a few things that I'm especially grateful for.

Having the opportunity to grow up in Africa is something that I'm eternally thankful for. Lying in the outdoors with the afternoon sun on my back. Walking barefoot on the dewy grass. Spending entire Decembers at my grandparents home, with twenty-odd other relatives. Struggling to get mangos down from the tree and then eating them right then and there. Sneaking off to the river at the bottom of the shamba to play in the cool and absolutely clear water. All of us kids cross-legged on the floor, eating from one big platter. Entertaining ourselves in the evenings with hand games and dance competitions. Playing with the baby goats and preventing the chickens from becoming dinner (on that day at least). Ocean waves to jump into, beaches to spend all day on. Family celebrations filled with laughter, drama and dancing. Every grown up being your mother or father – tough when you're naughty but oh-so-rewarding when you're good. Exploring the buzzing market and learning new sights and smells. A certain spirit, a certain savviness. Resilience. Joy. Belonging.

I am thankful for all these things that I have experienced and that have made me who I am. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share my love with you all. Thank you for reading; for sharing and spreading the love and; for inspiring and encouraging me! 

My-parents

Finally, I want to give extra thanks to my parents today. They have been exceptional examples of what it is to love where you're from, both in terms of home as a physical place and in terms of all that it represents. They has shown me the value of strength of character, of diligence and perhaps most significantly, of standing up for what you believe in and who you are, even when that means going against the grain. 

What are you thankful for? Come and join the global celebration on Epic Thanks.

 
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Images – things I'm grateful for: the tree outside my window, growing up; one of my favourite places to be – an African beach on the Indian Ocean; my parents and brother.