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.

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Project Stories: African Women’s Development Fund Logo and Website Revamp

Every now and again, a project comes along that speaks to my heart, mind and soul (I’m really grateful that, after almost 5 years in business, this is becoming the rule rather than an exception!).

Working with the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) has been one of those projects. It’s merged the things I care about:

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Buy African: Stitch Sainte Luce Embroidered Fashion and Home Furnishings

I managed to escape my stand at the Women of the World festival marketplace last weekend, to have a look at all the other beautiful crafts on offer. I was particularly mesmerised by one incredibly vibrant table – the photo above represents merely a quarter of the space!

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Stitch Sainte Luce produces hand-embroidered belts, bracelets, cushion covers, tablet and e-reader cases, bags, purses, cards and more.

 

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Black Yoginis

Black Yoginis

I first took a yoga class when I was in university, around 15 years ago, and I’ve been in love ever since.

In the many different classes that I’ve taken over the years, I am often the only black person, let alone black woman, in the room. Fair enough I live in England but, London is a diverse and multi-cultural place.

I have come across several people, with complexions similar to mine, who have misconceptions about yoga that prevent them from trying it. Some feel that it’s in conflict with their religious beliefs and some feel that it’s something that only ‘privileged people’ do. I think it’s a shame for barriers such as these to prevent the discovery of the amazing benefits of yoga – physical, emotional and yes, spiritual too.

I’m always excited to discover black female yogis who are breaking the mould (and hopefully some of those barriers). Here are 3 women I’ve come across, via beloved Instagram (which, over the past year, has really encouraged me to concentrate on truly creating the life that I desire). They have inspired me to get serious about something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: develop a consistent, regular practice.

They are, from top: Yoga Racheal (@yogaracheal) is a yoga instructor who describes herself as a ‘lover – encourager – giver – believer’; Wasia Wasia (@wasiawasia) is an artist, musician and yogi; Koya Webb (@koyawebb) is an international holistic health coach and yoga instructor; Racheal and Koya are run Acroyoga workshops together, in Los Angeles, CA (There’s one tonight!).

 

Resources + inspiration

For those of you interested in practising yoga, here are some other useful resources and inspirational people:

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How to: Create a Great Web Presence + Other Top WOW Festival Picks

WOW-Women-of-the-World-Festival-Southbank

It's that time again – the annual Southbank Centre Women of the World Festival takes place this week, in London.

A couple of years ago, I presented on Digital Tapestries and, taking that theme to another level, this year I will be running a workshop entitled 'How to: Create a Great Web Presence'.

Most of us want to spend most of our time honing our craft – doing what we love most. However, for most of us to continue doing this, somebody's got to buy.

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13 of your Favourite Afri-love Posts in 2013

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading these posts and engaging with me. I’m so happy that this blog has given me a platform to meet so many incredible people; to be continuously inspired and; to share the sometimes tough, but always enlightening, lessons that business and life in general throw my way. I look forward to more great discoveries and learning, new relationships and further exchange in 2014!

For this year’s round-up, I’ve decided to do things a little bit different and feature the posts that were most popular each month. Enjoy.

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Inspired: Robert Pruitt’s Women at Studio Museum Harlem

Robert-Pruitt-Art-Free

While in New York earlier this month, I made sure to pay a visit to Studio Museum Harlem, an institution dedicated to showing the work of artists of African descent and work inspired and influenced by black culture. So, if Afri-love were a brick-and-mortar space …

Dreams aside (for now), the feature exhibition was Robert Pruitt: Women – a series of larger-than-life conté drawings of black women. As the official description goes: 

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Buy African: Pretty, Funky Accessories from 31 Bits

1-Buy-African-Fashion-Accessories-31-Bits-Necklace

31 Bits is a business using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty by equipping them with the tools to earn a sustainable income. They currently work with 108 women in Gulu, Uganda. They work with each woman by purchasing jewellery from her on a monthly basis, providing a consistent income. They will work with the woman until she has graduated from the from the programme and attained a sustainable means of income in her community. The programme includes finance training, vocational training, community groups, AIDS and health education and English and literacy lessons.

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Great Girls in African Literature that Your Daughter Should Know

Great-Girls-in-African-Literature

This post was inspired by a one entitled "Great Girls Your Daughter Should Know (Before She Reads Twilight)" by Molly of the blog, Molly Makes Do, recommending strong, relatable female characters. While Molly's list does indeed include some inspiring heroines that I recall from reading lists in my youth, it's missing the diversity that girls from world literature can offer us. My contribution to filling that gap is the following list of great girls and young women, from African literature, that all girls, young and old, should get to know. 

 

In alphabetical order:

  1. Beatrice from Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
  2. Dikeledi from The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
  3. Kainene from Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Mhudi from Mhudi by Sol T. Plaatje
  5. Nyasha and Tambu from Nervous Conditions (and Tambu again in The Book of Not) by Tsitsi Dangaremba
  6. Phephelaphi from Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera
  7. Sissie from Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo
  8. Efuru from Efuru by Flora Nwapa (thanks for sharing Belinda!)

 

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TGIF! Amira Kheir and Birds Eye View Sounds and Silents

Amira-Kheir-Birds-Eye-View-Sound-Silents

Birds-Eye-View-One-Arabian-Night

Birds Eye View presents a cross-cultural live music commission by East African-influenced jazz musician, Amira Kheir for their 2013 Film Festival: Celebrating Arab Women Filmmakers. Singer, musician, somgwriter (and Afri-love interviewee), Amira will score a landmark silent film, Sumurun (One Arabian Night).

Of the film, a fantasy-drama of forbidden love, the NY Times says: ‘brilliant’.  

Of Amira's critically acclaimed first album, View from SomewhereSonglines says: ‘beautiful and fearless'. I own it and must agree.

Get a taste of Amira's music via today's video (RSS readers click here)

 

  

 

Event details

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