For your Friday pleasure: sounds from "purveyor of rhythmic soul", London-based Ghanaian/Welsh singer/songwriter, Juliyaa.
Today it's all about the stylings of multi-instrumentalist, Esinam Dogbatse. Playing music since the age of five, Esinam's Ghanaian roots contribute to the African influences in her music. She is a member of several groups including the Diab Quintet, Kel Assuf and Azu-K. Here is a playful piece for your Friday enjoyment (RSS readers click here).
This post was inspired by a one entitled "Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know (Before She Reads Twilight)" by Molly of the blog, Molly Makes Do, recommending strong, relatable female characters. While Molly's list does indeed include some inspiring heroines that I recall from reading lists in my youth, it's missing the diversity that girls from world literature can offer us. My contribution to filling that gap is the following list of great girls and young women, from African literature, that all girls, young and old, should get to know.
In alphabetical order:
- Beatrice from Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
- Dikeledi from The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
- Kainene from Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Mhudi from Mhudi by Sol T. Plaatje
- Nyasha and Tambu from Nervous Conditions (and Tambu again in The Book of Not) by Tsitsi Dangaremba
- Phephelaphi from Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
- Sissie from Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo
- Efuru from Efuru by Flora Nwapa (thanks for sharing Belinda!)
Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group's series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN's African Journalist of the Year in 2011.
Africa Fashion Week London kicks off this Friday and I thought it would be fitting to dedicate this week to showcasing some exciting UK-based designers and other fashion-related things.
First up is designer Bestow Elan, who also took part in the "Africa on the Catwalk" show at Africa Utopia. I love how she experiments with shape and structure. There were so many beautiful pieces at the show of which these are just a few.
Purchase Bestow Elan designs online.
In London this Friday and Saturday? Grab your free tickets to the Africa Fashion Week shows here.
- Inspired: Fashion by Eki Orleans
- Dispatches from Africa Utopia: It's Complicated
- Dispatches from WOW 2012: On Fashion and being who we want to be
"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?
Stories about our continent and our experience are often distorted (if not totally untold) – and it's to be expected when the agents telling the tales are far removed. My Africa Is is a documentary series that aims to show a more complete narrative. Starting this autumn, the crew will embark on a 13 city, 10 country tour of our continent, spending time with young people who want to share the exciting things they're doing to improve their communities.
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:
A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!
Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.
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.
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.
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?
For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time:
- Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
- Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
- 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya
I spotted a great home decor idea via Pinterest – using African baskets as wall art.
Thinking of trying it out? Get the look with the help of online shop, Baskets of Africa. They have an amazing collection that spans creations from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, all handmade and fair trade. Here are some of my favourites in neutral colour combinations.
View more interior and architectural inspiration on my Places and Spaces board on Pinterest.