Online store, Soko, sells handcrafted jewellery made by artisans in emerging economies, using natural and upcycled materials. They "fashion a better world" through craft, technology and trade. I'm loving the technological angle – leveraging the fact that online sales overtook retail sales years ago and leveraging how empowering mobile money has been in Africa. An apparent win-win for everybody.
I'm also enjoying the bold geometric nature of the accessories above from Soko's 'Kenyan collection'.
Watch the animation below for the Soko model. I'm looking forward to checking them out at PURE London today.
Getting a website is pointless …
We can all agree that, if you've got something to share with others – be it a product, service, idea or philosophy – you need to make it accessible to your audience.
… Unless your audience lives more than 2 miles away.
I think the majority of us can also agree that, in this day and age, having some kind of online presence is a no-brainer. Especially if your product, service, idea or philosophy is one that can add value for people who may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where you are.
Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group's series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN's African Journalist of the Year in 2011.
In celebration of the two-year anniversary of our online platform, Afriapps, Asilia gave it a new identity and website makeover! Along with the new-look and responsive and mobile-friendly website design, we've developed the offering as well.
Another great event this year celebrating African creativity and innovation! The annual Africa Gathering conference returns to London this Friday with the theme Festival of Technologies: "Start it, Build It".
Set to explore start-up cultures across Africa and to showcase some of the great start-up ideas that have emerged recently on the continent. The event will incubate new ideas and perspectives regarding technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and show how Africans are imagining and creating solutions that are changing and improving our lives.
The one-day programme will include:
- Keynotes and hands-on presentation from a heavy list of speakers including Africa's Hub managers, Apps4Africa winners, Google UK, Indigo Trust, Thomson Reuters and the World Bank
- 3 workshops and breakout think groups including one titled "Africa’s Start Up Future (Who is starting and building it in Africa?)".
It's not too late to register online or via contacting info[at]africathering.org or julani[at]africathering.org (replace [at] with @).
Thomson Reuters Foundation, London
9am – 6:30pm
Here's Africa Gathering Founder Mariéme Jamme discussing last year's event
Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …
Rise of the Afropolitan
The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".
The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.
Here's a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:
Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.
Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.
Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.
What was your favourite interview?
If you missed yesterday's best of 2011 installment, "African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design," here it is.
Tune in for the rest of week for:
- Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
- Friday – Top music finds of 2011
I discovered shrine to all things brown and beautiful, Afrolicious, about 2 years ago and I've been crossing paths with the woman behind the screen name, Ann Daramola, ever since! We've collaborated across continents and oceans – working with Epic Change to create To Mama with Love and most recently, Asilia worked with Ann to design the logo for her accessory line, Ankara & Lace. One thing I absolutely love about following Ann on Twitter is the boundless energy, passion and positivity she exudes. This is one lady you need to follow/exchange with/know.
I have to admit, I have never really watched a Nollywood movie. At least not from start to finish. I first came across them whilst at university where Nigerian friends (and Kenyan ones who had already fallen under the influence) would pass me some from their vast collections. Increasingly since then, I have noticed them in more and more places. They come as part of my home TV satellite package; they are part of the in-flight entertainment on my flights to and from Kenya; they are one of the most popular sources of entertainment in Kenya ; and now in the UK (and I suspect in the US and many other countries) they are also breaking into the mainstream.