TGIF! Bongo flava celebration for Tanzania’s Independence Day

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Today is Tanzania's Independence Day and here's some bongo flava to celebrate the occasion. Happy Friday to my Tanzanian fam and to everybody!

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Africa- and Diaspora-related events this November

November's already here. A reminder that the year is almost through but, before we get ready to welcome in 2012, there are TONS of exciting events to attend. Here are just a few. They're very London-centric so I'd love to hear about all the interesting things going on in your corner of the globe – please share.

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TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER

Launch of Afriapps book: African Apps in a Global Marketplace
Everywhere

You might remember Andrew Mugoya's guest posts about African apps ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African app powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). Today, Andrew launches an ebook on the subject that is free to download for a limited period. Get it while it's hot!

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THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER

Film-Africa-2011

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Tuko Pamoja bags

Tuko-Pamoja-bags

Although often associated with our continent, HIV and AIDS are suffered universally. The Tuko Pamoja Sponsorship Program is an unusual initiative in that it exists to support women living with HIV/AIDS by celebrating unity. It's strange to use the word "celebration" in the context of a disease that is associated with so much suffering but I think that it's through acknowledging and embracing our interconnectedness that we begin to properly value, respect and love each other. A swahili phrase, "Tuko Pamoja" means "we are together/united". By purchasing a Tuko Pamoja bag, you provide a gift for a woman living with HIV/AIDS in Arizona, USA while at the same time, support a woman living with HIV/AIDS in rural Tanzania.

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12 months, 12 posts you loved

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.

Ododo-Originals-flowers

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Do it for love: creating Epic Change for the mamas

TMWL-graphic

Today is Mother's Day in many parts of the world and in the US alone, $14.6 billion will be spent buying stuff for the occassion.

My family isn't a gift-giving family. On the days that people usually exchange gifts – birthdays, Christmas, Father's Day, Mother's Day etc. – we're more concerned with being together. So it's more about organising a meal or a party than shopping. Culture, socioeconomics … that's a discussion for another time. What I will say now is that it definitely relieves a lot of pressure to get that "perfect" gift, saving a lot of money and sanity too!

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With design like this, who wouldn’t go?: Pen and Mic II, Tanzania

Pen and Mic Tanzania

I love this flyer for Pen & Mic II, taking place next Wednesday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. An evening of music, poetry and prose. For all you lucky "kool kats" in Dar, here are the details.

And for the first Pen & Mic which was a full-house success:

Pen and Mic I

(National icon and poet Shaaban Robert has never looked so cool!)

Week in review and a time for action

Whu25s

What about us?
This past Friday, young Nigerians around the world demanded of their presidential candidates, "what about us?"

Forming the majority of the population and over half of registered voters in the upcoming elections, Nigerian youth recognised and asserted their need to be heard and addressed. The What about us? campaign called for the first ever youth-focused Presidential Debate. Organised by Nigerian Youth empowerment groups in Nigeria and the Diaspora, though diverse, they share a common belief that the time for change in Nigeria is now. And that young people have the power to make it happen.

I missed the live streaming of the debate but I witnessed the momentum in advance of the event via social networks. Did you catch it? What were your thoughts?

Columbia University African Economic Forum
I also caught some snippets from the 8th annual Columbia University African Economic Forum, via Twitter. Below are a few from twitterer, Karen Attiah:

"We cannot just wait around for good leaders to emerge. We've got to start doing things today. Lets empower people – Deverajan"

"Audience comment: If Africans abroad stopped looking at ourselves as insignificant compared to our governments, we could make a difference"

"Financially, borrowing money maybe looks cheap, but the stigma of begging at the World Bank every year is more expensive – Moyo"

"Fundamental problem with aid is that it severs the social contract between people and the govts who are to provide public goods -Moyo"

 "What are we as educated Africans, and the intl community who cares about Africa, going to DO? -Moyo"

"This PR strategy of convincing us as Africans that we cannot contribute to global development -Moyo"

It's interesting to see how Africans (and especially the youth) are campaigning for change in different ways – and how technology is helping to engage Africans in the Diaspora and involve them more directly in what is going on at home. I for one, am very grateful for this!

So, what are we going to do in the way that we each can contribute to change?

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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 copyright Sarah Markes

 

 

 

Interview with Sarah Markes, the artist behind Street Level Dar

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My mother comes from Tanzania and with a lot of family living in Dar es Salaam, it's a city that I have spent some time in over the years. I always love visiting Dar. Having grown up in Nairobi, I am always struck by the contrast I see in Dar in terms of the more communal nature of life. I am always delighted by how Dar neighbourhoods come alive, especially at night, with people sitting outside, catching up and interacting. 

Today, I am happy to share with you an interview with an artist who is celebrating this vibrant spirit of Dar es Salaam and specifically, its street life. After leading a nomadic lifestyle travelling in Asia and South America, Sarah Markes decided to apply her creative skills in the international development context. This led her to voluntary work in Malawi and years later, to a job in Dar. There, she fell in love with the city and has been putting her artistic talents to use  in documenting its culture and heritage, in a project called Street Level Dar.

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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?

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On the lookout

Live-unchained
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.

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Last week on the blog

Lola-Faturoti

Here is a quick 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 above: designs by Lola Faturoti (see post for more details)

 

 

Interview with Erika Freund of Mikuti

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Banana bracelets CU

I was recently ogling, as I do, some bracelets made from banana trees (a true Chagga girl am I!). It was then that I discovered Mikuti, a socially active company that creates unique pieces of jewelry, as well as an income for people living in the Meru District of Tanzania. I had the opportunity to interview the project's founder, Erika Freund.

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