Afri-love is 5

Afri-love-is-5

 

Today, Afri-love is 5 years old. 

I started the blog just after I left the world of employment so, this milestone not only marks the anniversary of an idea but also, of a completely different way of life! That of a self-employed creative entrepreneur. 

It’s so fitting then that the mission of this blog has evolved over the years to what it is now – a platform to showcase, encourage and support creative entrepreneurship. My experiences, and in particular, the things I’ve learned as I’ve dealt with the various (and many) challenges that have come my way, have inspired content ideas. My hope is that by sharing these stories and tips, others can avoid some of the setbacks I’ve faced and focus on excellence and striving.

 

Adele-Dejak-Lulu-Kitololo

[with client and Afri-love interviewee, fashion designer, Adele Dejak]

 

Constants

The ultimate vision with which I started Afri-love remains the same …

Imagine Africans who love who they are, as they are, and so love each other and the environment that nurtures them. Confident and assertive, they are engaged in charting their growth and celebrating success as defined on their own terms.

Imagine all who are inspirited by Africa – all whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of the continent – sharing their passion through collaboration, in the name of mutual empowerment.

Imagine all starting by looking inside themselves. Self-discovery, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect. And then true learning, understanding, love and respect of the other. Harnessing the power of emotion to influence great positive change.

 

Kitengela Glass Art Sculpture

[Sculpture at the Kitengela Glass studio in Kenya]

 

I’ve always seen creativity as a powerful vehicle for these aims. My beloved continent is responsible for so much of who I am. The sun, the natural beauty, the people’s spirit, the diversity of culture, the innovation, the resilient unrelenting joyfulness. I like to think that I express this influence – this richness, dynamism and even complexity – through my work. And I recognise a similar ‘language’ in the work of the many many creatives that I’ve come across on this Afri-love journey. Whether they reside on the continent or in the diaspora. Whether they identify as Africans or are simply inspired by Africa. The creative expression that Africa inspires is phenomenal and it feels like the world is taking proper note now (once again). Fittingly, Afri-love is also about celebration.

I recall the tagline that I came up with 5 years ago: Be proud. Be inspired. Spread love. Grow.

On a personal level, this is still appropriate today:

 

Lulu-Kitololo-Founder-Afri-love

 

  • I am proud to be who I am – every single piece of me
  • I continue to be inspired by the world, people and life in general but, as pertains to my heritage in particular
  • I aim to approach every situation, thing and everybody with love. And that starts with the self. It starts with approaching myself with love.
  • I am thankful of the opportunity to grow – with every experience and with every encounter (it what makes each day even better than the last – even though it can seem quite the opposite when we’re actually in the moment) 

 

V&A-Afropolitans-Friday-Late-Yemi-Hannah-Lulu-Minna-Tolu

[Panel at the V&A Afropolitans Friday Late in 2011. From left: Yemi Alade-Lawal of Afro-Pop Live; writer, editor and curator Hannah Pool (who is also a client); me; writer Minna Salami, aka MsAfropolitan and Afri-love interviewee; journalist, poet, photographer and fiction writer, Tolu Ogunlesi. My take on the discussion here. Photo by Barbara Muriungi/Them2k]

 

That’s why I’m so grateful to all of you who have read, commented, shared and participated in this Afri-love journey. I could never have imagined that I would get to know so many amazing people, let alone get to share prestigious stages and grace the pages of magazines, newspapers and blogs. From simply putting what I’m passionate about our there! I thought I believed in the transformative power of passion back then but, now, I’ve actually experienced it.

 

Changes

In life’s funny way of bringing things full circle, it’s now challenging me to take things a step further in the pursue-your-passion department. After years of providing a graphic design service to clients, it’s becoming clearer and clearer with each day that I need to let my self-directed work assume more of the spotlight. Work is in progress (previews and sneak peeks) as I find a balance that works. Now that I’ve voiced it – I have thousands of witnesses! Sometimes it feels like I’m quitting my day job, all over again. 

 

Lulu Kitololo Asilia Work in Progress

 

Juggling these new ambitions with my existing commitments, and trying to focus on staying healthy at the same time, means that I haven’t been able to make the anniversary splash that I would have liked to make today. Thankfully, self-love mode kicked in (kicking out unrealistic-high-expectations mode), and I realised that the celebration is so much bigger than one day. And so, I will be stretching it out across several. Maybe even several months … A live event is definitely a part of it so, stay tuned.

 

Again, thank you for being here with me – now, then and later. 

Big big love!
Lulu

Continue reading “Afri-love is 5”

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.

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

The best of 2011: Afri-love interviews

The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.

Here’s a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:

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Interview with author and black film aficionado, Nadia Denton (left), and accessories designer Adele Dejak.

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Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.

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Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty aka sheroxlox (left) and multi-dimensional creative, Ann aka afrolicious.

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Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.

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Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.

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Interview with artist and creative consultant, Kesha Bruce (left) and artist, photographer and writer, Kameelah Rasheed.

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Interview with blogger, writer and commentator, Minna Salami, aka MsAfropolitan (left) and developer, author and entrepreneur, Andrew Mugoya.

What was your favourite interview?

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If you missed yesterday’s best of 2011 installment, “African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design,” here it is.

Tune in for the rest of week for:

  • Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
  • Friday – Top music finds of 2011

Get almost-daily Afri-love direct via RSS or straight to your email inbox. Want it less often? Subscribe for juicy extra content (2-4 emails per month). 

Saluting the efforts to showcase another side to Africa

The following is a guest post from Andrew Mugoya of Asilia and Afriapps.

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Recent events in the UK (riots, looting, etc) have inevitably brought back the black vs white debate with some pundits implying that the disturbances were due to racial tensions. The fact that a significant number of the looters were white is being explained by some as 'The whites have become black" with the implication being that white people who act bad are merely under the influence of black culture and black people acting well are imitating white culture.

It is at times like these that we should be grateful for the many efforts to highlight and celebrate the numerous positives of African and black culture. And it is with this in mind that I salute Afri-love and the many other blogs like it. May your work continue to shine a light to a side of Africa that rarely gets the attention it deserves. 

Thank you Lulu. 

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Thanks Andrew! I would like to salute the following blogs and sites that are helping to stretch narrow perceptions when it comes to African and black culture:

Another Africa
Africa is a Country 
African Digital Art 
AfriPOP!
Afroklectic
Afrolicious
Annansi Chronicles
Dunia ni Duara
I am the Nu Black
Kate Bomz
MsAfropolitan
MyWeku
Out and About Africa
Pop'Africana
That African Girl
Timbuktu Chronicles

What other great sites do you know of?

How does Africa inspire you? My 10 favourite interview responses to date

Over the last year, I've had the privilege to interview 21 passionate, talented and inspiring people whose vision and work embodies the Afri-love spirit. All of them reminded me of the value in doing what you love. I hope that they've given you encouragement, opened your eyes to new possibilities and that you've discovered new music, art and ideas in the process. My favourite question to ask is, "how does Africa inspire you?" It was a difficult decision but here are 10 of my favourite responses.

Ihsani-Culture-models

"Africa is who I am and it's Africa that raised me – the rest of the world just barely touched me. So everything that flows out of me is Africa – whether its basic components look or do not look overtly or stereotypically African." 

— The Design Director of Ihsani Culture, Kenya-based

Continue reading “How does Africa inspire you? My 10 favourite interview responses to date”