Jewellery by Katra Awad: Artist of Love

I recently came across jewellery designer, global nomad and artist of love, Katra Awad.

Born in California, raised in Europe and the Caribbean and of Egyptian and Hispanic roots, I love her perspective on creativity, in the grander scheme of wellness and love:

 

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During one of my travels someone once said to me, “It is our responsibility in life to pursue our talents to the fullest extent & make every second count.” 

 

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TGIF! with the London African African Music Festival 2013 (September 13th – 22nd)

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The eclectic and critically acclaimed London African Music Festival returns for an 11th instalment, running from September 13th – 22nd, across 11 venues. 

From Congolese soul to Senegalese rap; from Somali poet to Cuban band; afrobeat, jazz, blues and more. Seriously, it's going to be a hectic 10 days!

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The 2012 Film Africa Festival: Let’s Talk About Sex!

Film-Africa-2012-Festival-Celebrating-African-Cinema

This year's Film Africa festival starts this Thursday and carries on for 10 days of 70 African films, 35 leading filmmakers offering Q&As, free professional workshops, and 9 African music nights. I'm really excited for this rare (and intense given the short timespan) opportunity to see so many African films that I may otherwise never have heard of. Asilia has been working with the festival team once again, to produce the print and digital communications materials so I've been looking at the great selection of films for a while now, trying to shorten my must-see list (hard!). One thing I've noticed is the number of films this year that in some way deal with sex.

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Top Afri-love picks for the Women at the World Festival 2012, at London’s Southbank Centre

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The Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival returns this month to coincide with International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th March. Celebrating the formidable strength and inventiveness of women, there is an even more exciting line-up of activities, talks, debates and performances than last year.

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The faces of African film: Film Africa 2011

1-Film-Africa-2011-Phyllis
2-Tinye-So-Film-Africa-2011
3-Shirley-Adams-Film-Africa-2011
4-The-Deliverance-of-Comfort-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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Part I of the Independence Day round-up: July

During this blog’s first year, I endeavored to celebrate the independence days of African countries through creating a dedicated post (you can browse them via this link). I’m not doing that this year but, as several of those celebrations take place in July and August, I thought I’d do a round-up of highlights. I hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned for part 2 – August celebrations – next week.

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Ghana – 1st July

Something for the pundits and technology geeks, something for the music-lovers and something for the fashionistas:
5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African App Powerhouse
Interview with lyrical genius M3NSA
Interview with Fashion Designer Naana B

Continue reading “Part I of the Independence Day round-up: July”

Theme of the week: Diaspora (days, plays, must-reads & more)

London-via-Lagos---Lulu-with-the-poster

The theme of my week has been "Diaspora."* Here are a few reasons why:

Is a day enough?
Africa Day was on Wednesday and the theme for this year is "Africa and the Diaspora." The fact that so many people were not aware that it was even Africa Day, and that there were few visible/known celebrations of the event, led to a discussion about the point of World fill-in-the-gap-as-you-like Days in the first place! Follow the thread on the Afri-love Facebook page.

Lagos in inner-city London
On Friday, I took my self down to London to watch Little Baby Jesus, Arinze Kene's fantastic play. It's showing as part of London via Lagos, a festival celebrating British-Nigerian playwrighting. So far, Little Baby Jesus has been sold out every night so get your tickets quick. The writing, the cast, the direction, the vibe in Oval Theatre that night – all made for a truly wonderful evening. It was also a delight to see all the materials that I'd designed in situ and, how Oval got creative taking the African theme to the max. View some photos on Asilia's Facebook page. I'm now really looking forward to the next play in the festival, Fixer, by Lydia Adetunji.

Little-Baby-Jesus-actors

Light out of darkness
Ever-entertaining UK-based musician, M3NSA, shared with Afri-love in this week's interview. Amongst many things, he talked about why "the Dark Continent is actually the beaming light" and why he won't still be in the UK, 10 years from now. AND, M3NSA shared a couple of his fantastic No.1 Mango Street CDs with me to give away to 2 lucky readers. Find out how one can be yours here (competition closes this Wednesday 1st June).

M3NSA-No.-1-Mango-Street-Track-listing

Multifarious identities
Minna, aka MsAfropolitan, gave me the heads up about the Afropolitan Friday Late, coming up at London's V&A museum on the 24th June: "A fun and celebratory evening of modern, iconic African aesthetics reflecting how Africans living across the continent (and beyond) view themselves and their cultural heritage."

Blog loving
And perhaps not fully in following with the theme but something that I was really honoured by and wanted to share nonetheless: I discovered that Afri-love was noted as one of "10 Africa blogs you'll love" by the popular Travelling Green blog. Check out the great blogs she listed, including Dar Sketches, the blog of Sarah Markes who I interviewed a few months ago.

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Must-read article for the week
"Egypt's Next Crisis" – a great New York Times article that explores the challenges of sustaining revolution, after the revolt. What was very interesting to me is how a lot of the issues relate to so many other African nations, even if we have not yet experienced so dramatic a political event. We would do well to learn from, be warned by and draw inspiration from the situation of our Egyptian comrades.

*Thinking about it, Diaspora is probably a strong theme for me every week, being that it is my present experience. So … what did you get up to on Africa Day?

Quote of the week & last week in review

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"I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me."

Kwame Nkrumah

I'm currently stuck in an airport hotel, after my flight yesterday was cancelled. Still, I am super excited because, I am going home! I am looking forward to family (including little ones I haven't yet met), sun (all 30 degrees of it) and that feeling of groundedness that is elusive everywhere else. 

I look forward to meeting in person, a bunch of interesting and inspiring people who I've virtually met along this Afri-love journey. Including some who've shared their passions in interviews. And I look forward to sharing some juicy discoveries and insights "from the ground". 

Nkrumah's quote is especially poignant for me today, as I sit here in anticipation. He captures so well, that hard-to-describe feeling that I've resorted to referring to as … Afri-love.

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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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Nkrumah Times cover found via Kintespace.com. Photo copyright Kameelah Rasheed.

 

 

 

 

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