Afri-love Picks: Culture, Activism and Social Debate Events at WOW 2013

Alice Walker Women of the World Festival 2013 London


The last batch of my top picks for this year's Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre covers events to do with culture, activism and social issues and debates. I don't know about you but, between this list; the business, entrepreneurship and career development one I shared last week and; the music, poetry and spoken word events, it's going to be tough deciding what to actually attend! It's the kind of tough decision that's a joy to make. To those planning to attend the Festival, I hope you have a wonderful time and perhaps I'll bump into you. To everybody else, I look forward to reporting back.

 

Alice Walker
WHAT: A world exclusive premiere of ‘Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth’, a feature documentary film by Pratibha Parmar, about the life and art of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Color Purple’.
The 6:30pm screening will be followed by a conversation with Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar. The 9.30pm screening is introduced by Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar.
WHEN: Sunday, 6:30pm and 9:30pm

What's new in African Feminisms
WHAT: Looking at what is fresh in African feminist thought and action. African women are gaining force in music, writing and film, offering powerful and subversive views on gender, power and the future.
WHEN: Sunday, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Continue reading “Afri-love Picks: Culture, Activism and Social Debate Events at WOW 2013”

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Highlights from the 2012 Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

Highlights-from-Women-of-the-World-Festival-2012-Southbank-Centre

I spent this past weekend at the Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre and enjoyed the most satisfying two days I've had all year. I left a little knackered and overwhelmed but also, and more importantly, inspired, rejuvenated, excited, blessed, grateful and generally feeling that I need to be spending more time around lots of women.

When I got home, I spent a couple of hours downloading all of this information to my partner and thought that breaking it down into chunks would be a better approach for the blog. Every day this week, I'll be sharing highlights from my time at the festival. You can look forward to:

  • Some great discoveries: organisations, artists, sites and people that you need to check out
  • Highlights from my WOW Bites presentation, Digital Tapestries
  • Celebrating fashion and why it's not frivolous
  • Female sexuality (from gender violence to being a lady, from racism to reclaiming the magazine stand!)
  • Food, identity and feminism

 

A funny anecdote antidote

One of the best moments I had at WOW was participating in a Funny Women workshop. Imagine a room full of 50 odd women, from different continents and varied backgrounds, probably ranging in age from 10 to 70. Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker, challenged us to drop our inhibitions for one hour, to be whoever we wanted to be and to look at ourselves through the eyes of the women who know us best. It was frightening, liberating and ultimately reaffirming. 

In one exercise, we had to impersonate our mothers, sisters or best friends and talk, in that character, about ourselves. To a complete stranger. It was amazing to find out that pretty much every woman in the room saw these mothers, sisters and friends as being proud of them. Enlightening how stepping outside yourself makes it so much easier to really see yourself. 

The candour and the vulnerability that was shared between this group of strangers shows just how much of a safe space a group of positive women can provide. A platform for you to jump forth, past doubt, fear and imagined barriers, through to making the life you want. As Lori Halford shares in things she learned this weekend, over on the official WOW blog:

"The best way to recover from the hardest times in your life is by finding support from those who truly understand what you’re going through."

 

Many narratives, one anthology

Throughout the weekend, it was interesting to see similar themes popping up at very diverse events. Themes like how our societies allow very narrow spaces in which we are 'allowed' to exist. Themes like the need for more awareness, especially when it comes to the subtle prejudices (to do with gender, race, religion, heritage and so much more) that so many of us (people, including women) can be complicit in propagating. It all reinforces that, as different as our backgrounds, experiences and lives may be, ultimately, we have a huge amount in common. And if that isn't a reason for solidarity … 

Stay tuned for more dispatches this week.

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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?