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?

Week in review and celebrating sisterhood

I'm really excited about International Women's Day next week.

There are never too many opportunities for us (women and men) to celebrate sisterhood and the women in our lives. Let me warn you, it's going to be women's WEEK on the blog, with posts on fashion, thoughts and reflections on sisterhood, exciting events, literature etc. I've been so swamped with work lately that my posting frequency has been less than desired but, there's no greater inspiration to amp it up than to celebrate women and being a woman. So, watch this space!

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On the lookout: London via Lagos!

London-via-Lagos-Asilia-teaser

And speaking of watching this space, here is an early warning about a fantastic season of plays coming to London's Oval House Theatre this Spring. London via Lagos is a celebration of new British-Nigerian playwrighting.

From the streets of Hackney to the English countryside; from the mansions of the Lagos elite to the oil pipelines of Northern Nigeria, three remarkable plays burst with the stories of the diaspora. Londoners in Lagos, Lagotians in London; Afropolitans, Africans and Europeans – a heady mix of characters and stories revealing our inter-connected world. 

Presented by Oval House Theatre, BEcreative and Spora Stories, the festival celebrates the work of three African-heritage, UK-based, world-class playwrights: Ade Solanke, Arinze Kene and Lydia Adetunji. We (Asilia) have the great pleasure of working with them all to design the promotional material for the festival (such as the teaser flyer seen above). I'll be unveiling more of the work as we draw closer to Spring and sharing with you as well, the playwrights talking about their passion and inspiration.

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Last week on the blog

Nancie-Mwai-railway-shoot

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 courtesy Nancie Mwai. Styling by Nancie, photography by Emukule Ekirapa (more images and full shoot credits here).