Inspired: Tropical Flora from my East African Travels

Tropical-Flora-East-Africa

I recently returned from a wonderfully rejuvenating trip home to East Africa. Here’s the story of my trip, told through the tropical flora!

First stop was my hometown of Nairobi. I felt so lucky to wake up each morning to this – such a diverse, colourful collection of foliage. If you’ve been following my #plantsomethingdaily challenge, you know how much inspiration I derive from nature!

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The Best of Both Worlds: Asilia’s new site goes live!

Asilia-website-homepage-500px

It brings me great joy to share some news – the launch of Asilia's new website! It's almost 3 years since Andrew and I decided to co-run a full-time enterprise and this new site is testament to that journey. We've learned a lot along the way and have had great supporters, collaborators, suppliers and especially, clients, who have all helped to make it possible for us to keep doing what we love.  

In these few years – which have flown – we've come to appreciate, more and more, our identity as a company. We sum it up as, the best of both worlds. On one level, that reflects our physical presence – we have an office in London and in Nairobi and; our core offerings – design and digital, products and services. It also speaks to our company culture where, employees are expected to be entrepreneurial. But deeper than that, it has to do with our ethos of pooling inspiration, knowledge, skills and experience from various influences, cultures and sectors.

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Inspired: A Visit with Artists at Nairobi’s GoDown Arts Centre

Dickens Otieno Kenya Artist GoDown Arts Centre

The GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi houses a performance space, several creative businesses and artist studios. It's a multidisciplinary arts incubator of sorts, with a mission

"to develop independent artists across multiple art forms and to participate in the advancement of the cultural sector, thereby contributing to the establishment of a robust arts and culture sector with expanding receptive audiences" (emphasis mine and an intention after my own heart!)

While reintroducing Lus to Nairobi a few months ago, we decided to nose around the artist studios and we were so pleased to be so warmly welcomed by Dickens, Mary, Caroline and Michael.

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Asilia Training Series Debut: Project Web, 10th April, Nairobi

Over the past two and a half years at Asilia, we’ve learned a heck of a lot and we’ve always been keen to share that learning with other entrepreneurs and passionate people, so that they can avoid some of the pitfalls themselves. Increasingly, particularly with the Kenya side of the business, we’ve been approached by people who are frustrated by the whole website creation process. Whether it’s designers and developers gone rogue or a struggle to manage the various aspects that are involved in producing a great site.

We’ve conspired with some of our collaborators and are happy to announce the first session in Asilia’s new training series: Project Web – a one-day course in executing website projects. This is an opportunity for designers, developers, project managers, account managers, students and other web enthusiasts to learn from an international agency and professionals who have worked in the industry for over 10 years.

 

What will you get out of it?

  • An understanding of how to effectively manage website projects
  • An overview of the different components involved in website creation, from pre-project; planning and specifications; design; development; data entry and testing and; deployment and maintenance
  • Learning on how to manage enterprise-level projects across several teams and/or organisations
  • An introduction of how to coordinate and work with international clients and/or teams
  • A take-home course pack containing material covered on the day and additional resources that you can reference when working on your website projects

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Kenyan Grafitti Artists Spray for Change

Spray for Change Graffiti Art Kenya


Spray for Change Graffiti Art Entries

10 Kenyan graffiti artists are creating images of a 'New Kenya' at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as part of 'Spray for Change', sponsored by Basco Paints. You can vote for your favourite piece and simultaneously be entered for a cash prize draw. 

I think the project is a great idea but, I find that the entries are generally a bit cliché. Did the commercial element (i.e. sponsors, location) restrict the artists freedom of expression and style?

What do you think? Which artist has your vote?

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Adele Dejak + Katungulu Mwendwa: Tribe Hotel Fashion Pop Up Shop

Fashion designers Adele Dejak and Katungulu Mwendwa have partnered up for a pop up shop at Nairobi's Tribe Hotel, open until March 14th. I love how both designers draw from African culture and traditions of adornment and dress, in creating their exquisite accessories and clothing. Here are a few of their pieces that I'm digging right now.

Adele-Dejak-Katungulu-Mwendwa-Tribe-Hotel-Pop-Up-Shop-Nairobi-Fashion-Accessories-Jewellery-Design
Clothing by Katungulu Mwendwa, shoes and jewellery by Adele Dejak.

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Related posts:

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+.

Subscribe for monthly updates with Afri-love highlights and developments, as well as info on interesting events, must-reads and more for you to check out elsewhere.

Natural in Nairobi

Natural-in-Nairobi-Lulu-Naliaka
One observation from my long Nairobi trip a couple of months ago – more and more people are embracing their natural hair!

Which makes me happy because it means that more and more people are starting to accept that women who wear their hair natural can still operate as productive members of society. What do I mean by this? I have heard too many women talking about how they wish they could wear their hair natural but it won't be accepted at their place of work. There is this perception that natural hair = unkempt. An idea whose origins deserves interrogation … but not now.

Here are a few pictures from my trip (excuse the cameraphone-indoors-in-the-dark quality!).

Natural-in-Nairobi-Muthoni-Njoba
Natural-in-Nairobi
Natural-in-Nairobi-Two-Strand-Twists-Hair

Images from top: with my friend Naliaka; make-up artist Muthoni Njoba (love her accessorising!); We met a Ghanaian-American naturalista who was visiting Kenya; the weekly regimen included a wash, two-strand twists for around 4 days and then twist-outs for 3.

Be Part of the Story: Kickstart ‘My Africa Is’

My-Africa-Is-Kickstarter-Campaign

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. 

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Africa- and Diaspora-related events this March

Africa- and Diaspora-related events spanning Kenya, the UK and Switzerland. What's happening where you are this month?

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THURSDAY 1st

Kultura Film Club – Nights of Ethnographic Films
City: London, UK
Venue: Passing Clouds
Time: 7:00pm 

This week's installment of the Film Club features two short films about rhythm, negotiating identities, dance and belonging, including Temporary Sanity by Dan Brunn. The film tells about Jamaica’s dance music culture in New York and especially about the versatile disc jockey Skerrit Bwoy. Originally from St. Johns, Antigua, the youngster migrated to Bronx, New York in the mid 1990’s. Clubbing at a very young age, and hanging out on Creston Avenue, it did not take him long to fit into the fast pace life of the city. Skerrit Bwoy burst on the international dancehall scene this year, with his sound system Ghetto Life that he has molded into becoming an award winning sound that was crowned as 2005 – 2006 “Bronx Sound of The Year.” 

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FRIDAY 2nd 

Vibes and Pressure Shubeen featuring Natty, Tinashe and The Skints

Tinashe

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Africa- and Diaspora-related events this February

A short but exciting month, here are just a few Africa- and Diaspora-related events in Canada, Kenya, the UK and the US. What's happening where you are this month?

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ALL MONTH

African American History Month
Across the US
Various events

Zora Neale Hurston

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