Real talk for creative African women – join in!

Last week I launched the Afri-love Women Facebook group, for creative African women balancing self-care and professional excellence.

When I started this blog, almost 7 years ago, I always had a vision that it would be more than just a one-way conversation. That it would lead to activities and initiatives in the real world. In late 2015, I held the Afri-love Sundown Sessions – 3 intimate evenings of live music, co-hosted with musician Sirena Riley. Late last year, I co-hosted a Nairobi brunch for women creatives, together with the Nzinga Effect. Both events were successful in many ways and, I received such great feedback from attendees. I knew that I wanted to create more opportunities for interaction with like-minded people – in real life and virtually as well – and the Afri-love Women Facebook group is step one.

Continue reading “Real talk for creative African women – join in!”

Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries

I was asked to participate in a WOW Bites session during the Southbank Centre's 2012 Women of the World Festival. Bites are short talks, inspiring ideas, achievements, obsessions, stories, performances, manifestos and more. I thought I'd share the essence of my bite with you.

Women-of-the-World-Digital-Tapestries-Pinterest

 

One of the most satisfying outcomes of spending so much time online is discovering interesting people doing exciting and amazing things. In my time internetting, I have discovered several women, around the world, using the digital space to tell their stories and through this: creating relationships that transcend barriers such as geographical distance and class; building supportive and collaborative networks and communities; and making things happen for themselves, for others and ultimately, for us all.

Continue reading “Dispatches from WOW 2012: Digital Tapestries”

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

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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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Women’s Week in review

Women's Week was fun! In celebration of the centenary of International Women's Day, on March 8th, all posts on Afri-love during the week, were especially in celebration of women and sisterhood. Fashion, literary inspiration, art, design, music and reflections on what sisterhood really is.

Of course the celebration will continue past this week. After all, every day is another opportunity to celebrate women, and beyond that, humanity, and the wonderful environment that we're honoured to exist within. Every day an opportunity to celebrate ourselves and each other. It's so easy to forget about appreciation when you're immersed in the day-to-day which increasingly has become so hectic for so many. I've found that forcing myself to pause and put things in perspective makes such a huge positive difference to my well-being.

I was reading an article over on Zen Habits this week and this statement by writer Leo Babauta was spot-on:

"Reflection is one of the most important tools for changing your life."

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On the lookout: Join FITE (Financial Independence through Enterpreneurship)



 

This past International Women's Day, Kiva.org and Dermalogica launched  joinFITE.org, to create financial independence for women all over the world, through enterpreneurship. 

The site features profiles of these enterprising women enabling donors to choose who they would like to support. And donors include you! You can start lending from as little as $25. The site helps you filter the enterpreneurs by sector and by region (yes, that's the creative professional in me appreciating the user experience of the website!).

And making a donation is not the only way that you can help fund a microloan. You can also buy specially-marked FITE products and redeem the FITE code on the site or, you can spread the word far and wide by telling friends, family, colleagues and liking FITE on Facebook. The choice is yours.

Thanks Vivian for telling me about the initiative.

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Last week on the blog

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Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:

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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

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Image: Les Nubians