I know I have a penchant for lists and if ever I needed an excuse to create one, surely today is the day. Tomorrow marks one year of Afri-love and as I reflect on all the people that I've come across and had the opportunity to meet (if even just virtually), I want to share with you the most popular posts. It so happens that indeed, most of them are interviews with some of these people. I am honoured to be a part of this army of creatives and change-makers and I look forward to meeting and collaborating with more of you.
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.
"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
I'm writing this yesterday, on my way to London and looking forward to the night's Iamthenublack meetup (which I'll blog about next week). I'm really excited about meeting in person, passionate Afri-loving people who I've gotten to know via Twitter and Facebook. Including the subject of this past week's interview – Phiona Okumu. It's truly wonderful that in this day and age, location is not a barrier in terms of finding and exchanging with like-minded people.
The North and Sub debate
And speaking of the technology and platforms that make this possible, we are increasingly exposed to millions of voices and viewpoints and, if we choose to, can interact directly with them. This week, I saw a tweet by somebody predicting that this year, African countries will follow in the footsteps of Arab countries and protest against their governments. When the gentleman referred to African countries, he meant sub-saharan countries and he had included the Northern African nations of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, in the Arab countries category.
I'm sure you've come across this before – Northern African countries not really being considered as part of Africa. Despite the undeniable geographic fact of the matter and, the fact that people have traveled across, up and down the sahara, so that influences from all sides stretch far and wide.
The aforementioned gentleman speaks of a united Africa but can't see how the Northern African countries can be considered part and parcel of the continent. I'm confused as to how this is reconciled. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter…
On the lookout: WOW Arts Fair, 8th March
International Women's Day is almost here and to celebrate, Old Spitalfield Market in London is holding a Women of the World (WOW) Arts Fair. Female artists and craftspeople from around the world will be exhibiting their wares. There will also be a sales and trading training workshop and an appearance by Mel B of Spice Girls fame. I/Asilia had the pleasure of working with Hatch Events to design promotional material for the event.
Last week on the blog
Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:
- New African cartoon Bino and Fino
- An interview with pop culture queen, Phiona Okumu
- Paula Scher maps Africa – painting from the renowned designer
- TGIF! with Sara Mitaru and the Naija Boyz
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!
Image courtesy Phiona Okumu
Phiona Okumu is one of those women whose energy is envious. She is constantly travelling, curating an eclectic collection of pop culture goodness and is a self-professed "quiet storm lover" and "digital hustler." If you ever need to know what's hot and happening, wherever you are, Phiona is your go-to girl. I managed to track this true Afropolitan down, to find out what drives her.