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.
Yesterday I had the honour of celebrating the first every International Day of the Girl with hundreds of amazing women and girls at London's Southbank Centre. I was one of a group of around 180 mentors including physicists, authors, fashion designers, airline pilots, radio presenters, Team GB olympians, entrepreneurs, reverends, activists, bloggers and more – a very diverse and interesting group of women! We mentored 11-18 year olds while on the London Eye. Elsewhere in the world, nations showed their solidarity with girls by turning their landmarks pink (including the pyramids in Egypt).
Because I am a Girl
The event was related to the Women of the World (WOW) festival which you'll have read me go on about earlier this year. It was driven by charity Plan UK who are campaigning for the education of girls to be a top development priority (you can find out more about Because I am a Girl and sign their petition).
For the occassion, I thought I'd share some other girl-dedicated initiatives:
The Girl Effect
The Girl Effect is a MOVEMENT. It's about about ending poverty. And it's about doing so by investing in girls: "The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads and villages and towns and countries"
View more great Girl Effect videos.
Here's a girl (a woman actually) I know who's on a mission to inspire girls and young women in Kenya that they can pursue their dream careers with confidence. Afri-girl aims to open girls up to the opportunities available to them by sharing the stories of those who have gone for it already.
I had a few interesting discussions yesterday, about feminism, activism and an observed apathy towards pushing for change. It's been the theme of my week actually. We get frustrated about things and sometimes we ignore the things we wish were different, sometimes we just complain but, why don't we get up and DO? Why don't we act on creating the change we want? I've been reflecting about how I can be more active in the interest of the things that I stand for.
What's been frustrating you lately?
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: On Fashion and Being who we want to be
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: Highlights from the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre
Don't miss an installment – different ways to get your Afri-love delivered. You can also stay up to date by liking the Afri-love Facebook page or following Afri-love (@afrilove) on Twitter or on Google+.
We're well in to Black History Month in the UK now. If you follow Afri-love on Facebook or Google+, you'll have already seen some of related links and event notices from me. Here are some more that have caught my eye …
WEDNESDAY 17th OCTOBER
Venue: Dulwich Library, Southwark
With rhythmic movements and a focus on breath, Afrikan yoga is noted as a system of healing and transformational self-development with its origins rooted in ancient Egypt. Its emphasis is on movement, dance, and the awareness of muscles and internal organs.
The 10th London African Music Festival began on Friday 14th September and if you haven't yet had a chance to check out any of the performances, you still have time. The following shows are taking place between now and the festival close on Saturday 29th September:
TONIGHT: SATURDAY 22 SEPTEMBER | 7.30pm
Digital by Design explored this question in the first of a series of sessions for Visible by Design. With participants with us in the Victoria & Albert Museum's Sackler Centre as well as people joining us virtually from as far away as Nairobi, we had a range of professions/disciplines covered – from medical science to structural engineering (oh, and design thrown in the mix too!).
There was a lot of discussion about observation, stimulation and capturing inspiration in order to facilitate and develop ideas but, I found the following 3 lines of enquiry particularly interesting:
Next week I'll be hanging out at London's prestigious V&A museum for the VISIBLE by DESIGN series of events. Part of the London Design Festival, from Monday 17th to Friday 21st September, VISIBLE by DESIGN will be celebrating the creativity of women who practice design around the world and showcasing a fresh perspective on women in design. Through a combination of a creativity lab (The Design Lab in association with Global Color), dialogues (Digital by Design – see below) and talks featuring successful women designers (The Design Salon), VISIBLE by DESIGN will explore innovation and design dialogues across the creative sectors of interior design, textiles and the visual arts.
"Africa is all too often written off as an intractable "problem" for the world to solve. I hope this festival will reveal just some of what Africa has to offer the rest of the world: the energy of our youth and their desire to engage with the world; the transformative potential of culture and, perhaps most potently, the power of community to bind people together."
Indeed the festival's main question was, in what ways can the continent lead the way in thinking about culture, community, sustainability and ethical wealth creation? In short, what can the rest of the world learn from Africa?
I had a fantastic weekend thanks to all the intellectual stimulation and creative inspiration from Africa Utopia at the Southbank Centre in London, part of the Festival of the World.
I'll be posting more about that, later on this week. Today I wanted to share the beautiful work of fashion house Eki Orleans, fusing vibrant prints with delicate silk. Designed by Hazel Aggrey-Orleans, Eki Orleans was part of the 'Africa on the Catwalk' event which was put together by Ola Shobowale, Creative Director of Infinite Beauty Factory, and ARISE Magazine Fashion Director, Sabrina Henry.
The month-long series of events is not yet over, check out what's on in these final few days.
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.