Buy African: Monochrome Home



As much as I love colour in design, black and white can be really interesting too – especially when texture and pattern come into play. Here, some furniture and home decor pieces, in black and white.

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Inspired: Furniture Design by Hamed Ouattara

Hamed Design Side Tables

I recently met Hamed Ouattara when he was in London for the Graphic Africa exhibition featuring designers from Design Network Africa. Along with my first experience talking through an interpreter (awkward!), it was a great opportunity to see Hamed's furniture in the flesh – or should I say metal!

Based in Burkina Faso, Hamed works primarily with recycled materials, creating pieces that marry culture and modernity. Functional design that reflects the reality of his environment and that can be integrated into daily life, all the while adding beauty to it. He is a man after my own heart when he says:

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The 2012 Film Africa Festival: Let’s Talk About Sex!


This year's Film Africa festival starts this Thursday and carries on for 10 days of 70 African films, 35 leading filmmakers offering Q&As, free professional workshops, and 9 African music nights. I'm really excited for this rare (and intense given the short timespan) opportunity to see so many African films that I may otherwise never have heard of. Asilia has been working with the festival team once again, to produce the print and digital communications materials so I've been looking at the great selection of films for a while now, trying to shorten my must-see list (hard!). One thing I've noticed is the number of films this year that in some way deal with sex.

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Interpretations of Africa: Football, Art and Design


You have just a few more days to rush over to the Design Museum for Interpretations of Africa: Football Art and Design.

10 African artists from PUMA.Creative's Creative Africa Network were commissioned to design their national football team's kit. Countries represented include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Togo.

Read more about the exercise and the artists' inspiration over on Design Week. I was particularly amused by the apparent fact that initial designs were toned down due to FIFA regulations that "decorative elements are not allowed to dominate playing equipment."

Exhibition ends 30th November.

Images: Senegal shirt (left) and Namibia shirt, via Design Week (see more here).

TGIF! with Diaspora: A Global Mixtape Movement


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Part II of the Independence Day round-up: August


During this blog's first year, I endeavored to celebrate the independence days of African countries through creating a dedicated post (you can browse them via this link). Continuing on from the July round-up, and from the general celebratory nature of this week, here are highlights from the August celebrations.

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An extended ‘quote’ of the week: water, spirit & journeying home


Long ago, before I owned a computer and when the internet was not yet a part of my daily life, I kept an A6-sized 'quote' book. In would go everything from inspiring quotes to song lyrics that delighted me in some way, from things overheard and seen scribbled on walls to sketches of interesting images and art ideas. I was leafing through one of these books today and was reminded of all the wonderful things I collected (and amused by some of the concerns of my youth, that I will not share!).

Below is one find: a piece of poetry from the book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, by Malidoma Patrice Somé. Abducted at the age of four and sent to a French missionary school, the book is an account of the Burkinabe Somé's journey back to his people, his culture and himself. I'll be looking for it at the library for a re-read…

I had a date in the bush
With all the gods,
So I went.

I had a date in the bush
With all the trees
So I went.
I had a date in the mountain with the Kondomblé
I went because I had to go.

I had to go away to learn
How to know.
I had to go away to learn
How to grow.
I had to go away to learn
How to stay here.

So I went and knocked at doors
Locked in front of me.
I craved to enter.
Oh, little did I know
The doors did not lead outside.

It was all in me.
I was the room and the door.
It was all in me.
I just had to remember.

And I learned that I lived
Always and everywhere.
I learned that I knew everything,
Only I had forgotten,
I learned that I grew
Only I had overlooked things.
Now I am back, remembering,

I want to be what I know I am
And take the road we always
Forget to take.
Because I heard the smell
Of the things forgotten
And my belly was touched.

That's why I had a date with the bush
That's why I had a date with the hill.
That's why I had a date with the world
Now, Father, I'll take you home.
I am back. 

Burkina Faso independence day

Today, Burkina Faso celebrates 50 years of independence (50 is a popular anniversary for the continent this year!)

In many ways the home of African cinema, Burkina Faso hosts the film festival FESPACO (Festival Panafrican du Cinéma et de la Télévison de Ouagadougou) every 2 years. Several Burkinabè have earned international recognition and acclaim, including Gaston Kaboré, Idrissa Ouedraogo, S. Pierre Yameogo and Dani Kouyaté.

The following are short clips from movies by Burkinabè filmmakers:


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