Quote of the week


"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. 
Now put the foundations under them."

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

On this last day of January, we're now properly into the year. Let the designs you've draughted, and gotten excited about in the past month, inspire you to see the entire project through. Here's to a great week, and year, of foundation building!

Week in review and protecting time

Last week's plans to make more of a conscious effort to make time for myself were seriously thwarted this week. One result being that I didn't get to post as much as I usually do. I accept that I'm the kind of person who finds it very hard to say no and a lot of it has to do with overestimating my capacity for doing. I've decided on a new strategy as a solution to all of the above: if unsure as to whether to say "yes", I should simply just say "no". It's going to be hard but, it's absolutely necessary if I'm going to be able to continue creating, blogging and devoting time to being healthy and to continued self-discovery.

I'm always interested in exploring different approaches to jump-start my momentum and  and this week I'll be trying out Katie Tallo's Life Cleanse Starter Kit – a one week guide to gathering momentum (check it out here. Bonus: it's free). She quotes The Road Less Travelled author, M. Scott Peck, M.D.: 

"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time.
Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."

How appropriate! What strategies have you used to protect your time?


On the lookout

This week I had the honour of being interviewed by Kathryn Buford, one of the founders of Live Unchained, a collaborative art project for black women across the African Diaspora. Kathryn and her co-founder, Miriam, have great ambitions for creating a rich platform for black female artists to express their diverse talents, identities and perspectives. One that will live online as well as through physical showcases and in print.

Not only is Kathryn such a positive, inspired  and inspiring person but, her questions were so valuable in that they reminded me why I do what I do, and reignited again, my passion for it. I think us human beings can be very forgetful this way so, it's great to give ourselves opportunities to check in with our hearts and remember our dreams and visions.

Support this great initiative by voting for Kathryn and Miriam to win support to develop Live Unchained as a non-profit organization.

I'll let you know when the interview is up and in the meantime check out their blog.


Last week on the blog


Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image above: designs by Lola Faturoti (see post for more details)



Quote of the week – keeping it local


"If the herb we seek in the bush grows in the very backyard, are we not saved a journey?"

— from Chinua Achebe's A Man of the People

This week I'm going to try to be especially conscious of looking inward rather than outward for all things.

(I'm digging the book cover design above! It so well captures the era that the book is set in. I did not enjoy this sequel to Things Fall Apart as much as I have other Achebe books but, it is worth reading, if at least to understand that particular moment in our history, from the individual's perspective and experience.)

Week in review and refreshing “resolutions”

It's reached that point of the year where the beginning is blurring out of sight, along with all the resolutions to  do things differently. After an incredibly busy week, on the verge of being out of comfortable control, I find myself needing to pause and reaffirm my mantra for the year. Making time for myself. Thanks to an insightful gift from a friend, daily doses from the book, The Artist's Way Every Day, are helping to remind me of the importance of giving my creativity play time and, giving myself quiet, solitary time. This coming week, I'll be making more of a conscious effort to put myself first. 

How are your good intentions for 2011 panning out?


On the lookout


This week I treated myself to the current issue of Arise, Africa's Global Style and Culture Magazine. I can't wait to sit down, undisturbed, and soak it all in. There's loads in there, including an article on one of my role models, artist Wangechi Mutu, and Gordon Brown talking about Nigeria's future … hmmm, should be interesting …


Last week on the blog


Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image above: Adidas ad


Quote of the week


"Most people want to change their behaviors or more commonly the behaviors of others. Without first understanding themselves."

Lolly Daskal

Came across this quote last week (as a tweet actually) and, it perfectly summed up one of the beliefs behind this blog. The idea that, in order to create positive change in our communities and for our beloved continent, we need to look inwards first.

Week in review and people power

I hope you've all had a good week. It's been quite a momentous one for Tunisia with the ousting of dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after  more than two decades in power. Powered by the people, the revolt that led to this result is a reminder that we, the people, can stand up and be heard. That we, African people, do not have to endure our so-called leaders disregard of our humanity. The questions that remain though are to do with the how. How do we best and most effectively campaign for what we deserve? Can we avoid violence?

I read a great article by Kate Bomz this week that I recommend to all: "Isle of Peace into Peaces: A Call to Disarm." Two of our continents most peaceful nations, Tunisia and Tanzania, have been sites of unprecedented violence this year (as "new" as it is). Bomz investigates the meaning of patriotism, apathy and challenges us to get up off our fences.

Interesting also, are discussions around how media was instrumental in the cause of the Tunisian people, including social media such as Twitter, and how US media networks were AWOL in covering such an important event.


On the lookout
Speaking of campaigning for the change we desire, I came across this children's book, again in Essence magazine:

  Mama Miti

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by  Donna Jo Napoli, with illustration by Kadir Nelsontells the tale of Kenyan, Nobel Prize-winning, environmental and political activist, Wangari Maathai.

I don't remember reading children's book much as a child so it's going to be a whole new experience when I have kids of my own. It will be interesting seeking out books that show characters that look like them and heroic, inspiring ones at that. I do remember my parents telling me bedtime stories (rather than reading books to me). What particularly stands out in my memory is my Dad's re-telling of the adventures of the heroic Abunuwasi.


Afri-love on Tumblr
Following last week's foray into the wider world of online social network with the set up of an Afri-love YouTube channel, this week I set up an Afri-love Tumblr site (yes I do make a lot of time for internetting!). I thought it was about time to see what all this Tumblr hype is about. 


Last week on the blog
Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:



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


Image above: collage by Jasmine Rose

An extended ‘quote’ of the week: water, spirit & journeying home


Long ago, before I owned a computer and when the internet was not yet a part of my daily life, I kept an A6-sized 'quote' book. In would go everything from inspiring quotes to song lyrics that delighted me in some way, from things overheard and seen scribbled on walls to sketches of interesting images and art ideas. I was leafing through one of these books today and was reminded of all the wonderful things I collected (and amused by some of the concerns of my youth, that I will not share!).

Below is one find: a piece of poetry from the book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, by Malidoma Patrice Somé. Abducted at the age of four and sent to a French missionary school, the book is an account of the Burkinabe Somé's journey back to his people, his culture and himself. I'll be looking for it at the library for a re-read…

I had a date in the bush
With all the gods,
So I went.

I had a date in the bush
With all the trees
So I went.
I had a date in the mountain with the Kondomblé
I went because I had to go.

I had to go away to learn
How to know.
I had to go away to learn
How to grow.
I had to go away to learn
How to stay here.

So I went and knocked at doors
Locked in front of me.
I craved to enter.
Oh, little did I know
The doors did not lead outside.

It was all in me.
I was the room and the door.
It was all in me.
I just had to remember.

And I learned that I lived
Always and everywhere.
I learned that I knew everything,
Only I had forgotten,
I learned that I grew
Only I had overlooked things.
Now I am back, remembering,

I want to be what I know I am
And take the road we always
Forget to take.
Because I heard the smell
Of the things forgotten
And my belly was touched.

That's why I had a date with the bush
That's why I had a date with the hill.
That's why I had a date with the world
Now, Father, I'll take you home.
I am back. 

Week in review & bringing in the newness

New year, new perspective, new choices, new approaches and renewed energy.

I'll be making some changes to the format of regular posts such as the "Week in review," as well as introducing new regular features such as the natural hair journey updates and Afri-love spotted on Etsy.

I'll also be focusing more on action: developing spaces and opportunities for people to give tangible form to the Afri-love spirit. Stay tuned for more…

For today, here is a quick recap of what went on last week:


Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebook (afriloveblog), twitter (@afrilove) and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Happy new year everybody. Have a great week, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x


Image above: Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek, photo via Refinery 29 – check out the link for more beautiful pictures from the shoot;


Quote of the year


"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."

Henry D. Thoreau

This quote remains the one I cite the most. It's relevant to me in so many ways.

In my professional life, this year I've heeded Thoreau's advice and ventured into a business partnership where we're defining our own path. The independence is liberating and I feel more creative than ever!

When interpreted more widely, I take the quote to simply guard against not being yourself. That's one of the main reasons for this blog: to value and celebrate Africa,  as a place and as an identifier. Accepting that it's not that simple, this journey aims to value and celebrate our selves and all the many complex pieces and experiences that make up who we are. 

To know our selves and to love our selves; to let our passions speak to us and then let them speak to the world; to share with each other and; to grow. All in the absence of ill-fitting expectations and shiny shoes that don't suit the ground we are destined to walk on!

Happy last Monday of the year all.

Week in review

Lesley-of-Ododo-Originals wir



Ghadames wall design wir


I am fortunate to have spent Christmas with family and friends, eating good home-cooked food and sharing laughter. I hope that all of you who celebrate the holiday had a good one and that all of you who don't and had the opportunity to take a break, had a refreshing day. With just one week until we step into 2011, I find myself putting myself under pressure to properly take stock of the year and plan ahead for the next one. I'm making it a point to keep dragging myself back to the present moment and not stress toooooo much about all the expectations that come with the New Year milestone. We'll see what happens over this coming week though!

Here is a round-up of all of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the year
  • A round-up on the 9 most popular posts of the year
  • What satisfies you? I want to know…
  • Sudan Independence Day
  • An end of the year TGIF! special

Have a fantastic final week of 2010. Be proud of all you've learned, discovered and achieved and let it inspire the year ahead!



Images from top: Lesley of Ododo Originals, Khadambi Asalache's house, AfroCubism artists, Ghadames wall art from Libya and Amani ya Juu quilts