Africa Gathering Festival of Technologies: Friday 15 June, London, UK

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Another great event this year celebrating African creativity and innovation! The annual Africa Gathering conference returns to London this Friday with the theme Festival of Technologies: "Start it, Build It"

Set to explore start-up cultures across Africa and to showcase some of the great start-up ideas that have emerged recently on the continent. The event will incubate new ideas and perspectives regarding technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and show how Africans are imagining and creating solutions that are changing and improving our lives.

The one-day programme will include:

  • Keynotes and hands-on presentation from a heavy list of speakers including Africa's Hub managers, Apps4Africa winners,  Google UK, Indigo Trust, Thomson Reuters and the World Bank
  • 3 workshops and breakout think groups including one titled "Africa’s Start Up Future (Who is starting and building it in Africa?)".

It's not too late to register online or via contacting info[at]africathering.org or julani[at]africathering.org (replace [at] with @).

Details:
Thomson Reuters Foundation, London
15th June
9am – 6:30pm

Here's Africa Gathering Founder Mariéme Jamme discussing last year's event

AG London – Mariéme Jamme from Africa Gathering on Vimeo.

 

The Afrika Milele Caribbean Footprints show: Introducing wearable art from Guyanese design house, Shape Custom Creations.

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On Sunday 10th June, Guyanese designer, Donna Ramsammy James, will be launching a bespoke Shape Custom Creations UK collection, at London's stunning Drift Bar

The Afrika Milele (Africa Forever): Caribbean Footprints line expresses "the softness of Asia, the depth of Africa and the colour of the Caribbean". Expect to see over 100 unique outfits and get a chance to buy the one-of-a-kind pieces too (all over a delicious cocktail no-less)!

Tickets are available at www.shapefashionshow.eventbrite.com. See you there! 

 

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries

I was asked to participate in a WOW Bites session during the Southbank Centre's 2012 Women of the World Festival. Bites are short talks, inspiring ideas, achievements, obsessions, stories, performances, manifestos and more. I thought I'd share the essence of my bite with you.

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One of the most satisfying outcomes of spending so much time online is discovering interesting people doing exciting and amazing things. In my time internetting, I have discovered several women, around the world, using the digital space to tell their stories and through this: creating relationships that transcend barriers such as geographical distance and class; building supportive and collaborative networks and communities; and making things happen for themselves, for others and ultimately, for us all.

Continue reading “Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries”

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Highlights from the 2012 Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

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I spent this past weekend at the Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre and enjoyed the most satisfying two days I've had all year. I left a little knackered and overwhelmed but also, and more importantly, inspired, rejuvenated, excited, blessed, grateful and generally feeling that I need to be spending more time around lots of women.

When I got home, I spent a couple of hours downloading all of this information to my partner and thought that breaking it down into chunks would be a better approach for the blog. Every day this week, I'll be sharing highlights from my time at the festival. You can look forward to:

  • Some great discoveries: organisations, artists, sites and people that you need to check out
  • Highlights from my WOW Bites presentation, Digital Tapestries
  • Celebrating fashion and why it's not frivolous
  • Female sexuality (from gender violence to being a lady, from racism to reclaiming the magazine stand!)
  • Food, identity and feminism

 

A funny anecdote antidote

One of the best moments I had at WOW was participating in a Funny Women workshop. Imagine a room full of 50 odd women, from different continents and varied backgrounds, probably ranging in age from 10 to 70. Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker, challenged us to drop our inhibitions for one hour, to be whoever we wanted to be and to look at ourselves through the eyes of the women who know us best. It was frightening, liberating and ultimately reaffirming. 

In one exercise, we had to impersonate our mothers, sisters or best friends and talk, in that character, about ourselves. To a complete stranger. It was amazing to find out that pretty much every woman in the room saw these mothers, sisters and friends as being proud of them. Enlightening how stepping outside yourself makes it so much easier to really see yourself. 

The candour and the vulnerability that was shared between this group of strangers shows just how much of a safe space a group of positive women can provide. A platform for you to jump forth, past doubt, fear and imagined barriers, through to making the life you want. As Lori Halford shares in things she learned this weekend, over on the official WOW blog:

"The best way to recover from the hardest times in your life is by finding support from those who truly understand what you’re going through."

 

Many narratives, one anthology

Throughout the weekend, it was interesting to see similar themes popping up at very diverse events. Themes like how our societies allow very narrow spaces in which we are 'allowed' to exist. Themes like the need for more awareness, especially when it comes to the subtle prejudices (to do with gender, race, religion, heritage and so much more) that so many of us (people, including women) can be complicit in propagating. It all reinforces that, as different as our backgrounds, experiences and lives may be, ultimately, we have a huge amount in common. And if that isn't a reason for solidarity … 

Stay tuned for more dispatches this week.

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

Women of the World Festival Southbank

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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.

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

Reporting back from A Tropical Christmas

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I anticipated, I wished and then I … thoroughly enjoyed!

Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful day at The Drift Bar in London, celebrating creativity and good company at the Asilia and Afri-love Tropical Christmas celebration. 

Continue reading “Reporting back from A Tropical Christmas”

A Tropical Christmas (in London): Saturday 17th December

I haven't celebrated the festive season at home (Kenya) since the year 2000. Instead, I've gathered with similarly displaced friends and enjoyed eclectic celebrations comprising of the best from all our worlds. Pot-luck Christmas dinners where bread sauce and mac n' cheese sit next to bread fruit and mtori; music spanning from across the tropics and; … dancing, always.

Regardless of the cold and sun-starved winter and despite being far from family, these holidays have been fantastic because I've been in such good company. This year, Afri-love and Asilia, the creative agency I co-own, are hosting a Christmas celebration in this same spirit.

A Tropical Christmas

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A celebration of creativity and good company, a Tropical Christmas will be a laidback afternoon to: unload some of the holiday stress; get some last minute Christmas shopping done, away from the hustle and; support quality African and African Diaspora design.

You can expect:

Don't forget to bring some business cards for the "collaboration board" – share your passion and make exciting connections for 2012!

The Details

Date: Saturday 17th December
Time: 12:00 – 8:00pm
Venue: The Drift Bar, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

If you're on Facebook, you can RSVP via the event page. There's no need to RSVP though, just come along.

Looking forward to seeing you! 

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

Continue reading “Africa and Diaspora events this October”