In Pictures: When Darkness Meets the Light




Over a decade ago, I came across a quote which has stayed in my memory since:

"Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen.
Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light"

The quote has special resonance for me now, given how good I feel about this year, in contrast to the last. Incidentally, as I look back through my Instagram feed from the past couple of months, there are quite a few photos that play with this contrast between darkness and light. Above and below are a few – catch the full story behind each, over on Instagram.

Continue reading “In Pictures: When Darkness Meets the Light”

RIP to the Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou



Maya Angelou lived such a full and creative life: poet, dancer, film and television producer, playwright, film director, author and actress. Not to forget the creative acts of educating and changemaking, in her work as a teacher and civil rights activist.

I remember reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings when I was younger and feeling like I'd found a role model who I could relate to. Maya Angelou's spirit of adventure, her prolific creative output and her positive mindset are all things that inspire me and that I aspire to.


Above – an illustrated tribute that I made today – to the phenomenal woman. Below – some more of my favourite Maya quotes:

"Nothing will work unless you do." 

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." 

"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." 


(Check out more powerful Maya Angelou quotes on
Illustration by Lulu Kitololo



Continue reading “RIP to the Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou”

One year doing nothing but working on myself (plus giving away a film!)


Happy Monday everybody! I hope you're as charged for this new week as I am. This Saturday, Afri-love celebrates its one year anniversary! I can't believe it's arrived so quickly. I am so happy that I've maintained the momentum for this long – though there have been some busy times where I've posted less than I've wanted. I'm so grateful to all of you who read, take the time to comment, interact via Facebook or Twitter and sign up to the mailing list. 

I came across this poignant quote last night:

Continue reading “One year doing nothing but working on myself (plus giving away a film!)”

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."


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


This past International Women's Day, and Dermalogica launched, 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.


Last week on the blog


Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image: Les Nubians



Quote of Women’s Week

"But please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. Or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labour so to bring into the world."

Alice Walker, In Search of our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose

Who better than Alice Walker to kick-off Women's Week! How to describe her work? Many would say feminist, activist etc. … but I think ultimately, her work celebrates humanity in all of it's complex, layered, conflicted, hypocritical, beautiful, disturbing, amazing glory. That often involves talking about what a lot of other people don't talk about and it is there that I have found myself reflected in her work. As a woman, as a black woman, as an artist, as a seeker, as a complicated human being.

Her work reminds me that I am special, significant and interesting, just the way I am. It is with this same affirmation in mind that I have chosen today's quote. A reminder that we are all wonderful the way we are and that nobody should ever succeed in convincing us otherwise. Nor should we give them opportunity to try!

Here's to a fantastic week spent remembering our beauty and strength.

PS There are some truly beautiful photos of Alice Walker here.
In Search of our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose is a great Women's Week read. It is a collection of essays celebrating women's stories and spirituality through the ages, their culture and their strength. From continent to continent and generation to generation, she explores the thread linking women writers through history. 

Week in review and putting in the work

Back in business indeed! It's been a great week. I've been working 12 hour days and I can still say that because, I changed my attitude. Ultimately, I love what I do and, from that perspective, all the time I put into it is enjoyment rather than chore. Sure I don't think 12 hour days are sustainable (nor desirable) in the long-run but, sometimes you have to put in that extra effort/time/energy/sweat/sacrifice to get to where you want. That's what thousands of people across our continent (and further afield) are demonstrating by actively demanding change.

It's not even March and we've seen results such as many never expected. Two dictatorial regimes toppled in Tunisia and Egypt and, Libyans and Algerians standing up to their governments too. You can't help but wonder where this revolutionary momentum will blow to next. Some Sub-Saharan governments, in what cannot be considered anything but an admission of tyranny, are rushing to censor information* about the aforementioned protests up North. What in their minds must seem like prevention, will surely further fuel the fire within the hearts of dissatisfied citizens. 

I've found it to be true that, once you start doing something, you generate the awareness, insight and energy to do so much more. Idleness begets idleness and action becomes exponential. It is with this attitude, that I plan to approach the rest of 2011 and I hope you will too! Let's go create the lives we want.

(* Thanks for the link @Mwistar)


On the lookout: Afriapps

Picture 12

Afriapps is a new Asilia initiative to showcase apps from and for Africa. We are  looking forward to further developing this platform for exposure, for both developers and users alike. The work will involve helping to establish industry standards, with the aim of increasing the quality (and competitiveness) of apps from and for Africa. My business partner, Andrew Mugoya, talks more about it here and discusses it with Afrinnovator here.


Last week on the blog


A full week it was. Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image copyright Mutua Matheka

Quote of the week & talk of love


To jump on the Valentine's Day bandwagon somewhat, I chose a quote that talks of love. Then again, ultimately, everything on this blog talks of love. Particularly, self-love. It is with that focus that I share with you this week's quote:

"When we can meet ourselves where we are and treat ourselves with compassion, then we are able to meet others where they are and to engage with the world with compassion.
… We are all capable of great things when we find our own authentic and unique place in the world."

Marianne Elliot, Zen Peace-keeper and change-maker (definitely check her out)

Reflecting in my morning pages earlier, I came up with a new mantra for myself that is quite appropriate here. The context was largely work-related, being that my services are charged according to time spent. People who are not used to thinking of their time in terms of money, sometimes don't appreciate that mine is literally worth money. One related consequence is being shortchanged and another is that it's often challenging to find enough time for myself. So, by heaping and asserting all this value around my time, I can hopefully get across just how valuable it is. Long story short, this is the mantra and I think it applies to several other contexts as well: "By valuing myself, I confirm that I am valuable." 

Indeed, by valuing ourselves, we confirm, assert even, that we are valuable. As our comrades in Tunisia and Egypt have recently shown!

Week in review and back to business

Thanks to all readers, new and old. The post count has been relatively quite low in the past couple of weeks but it's good to know that you're still feeling the love and coming back for more. 

After an overwhelming few weeks and the workaholic inside getting the better of me, I am happy to say that you can expect a healthier dosage of content this week. I won't give you specifics but expect interview goodness, some visual inspiration, music, quotes and more.


On the lookout


Last week, I visited Open the Gate, "The Black Culture Cafe" in East London. I felt right at home! A tasty menu of eclectic African and Caribbean dishes; a comfortable lounge area with a wax print tapestry ceiling and bathrooms painted, from top to bottom, in a Ndebele-inspired design; art on display (currently a collection of several rasta portraits by Lois Cordelia that made me seriously miss my locks) and a basement concert/club space.

I was there for a night of music featuring: my friend, musician and photographer, Namvula Rennie, performing with her band, Nsoromma; Manding griot, Jally Kebba Susso and; DJs Africathy and Volta 45. Open the Gate also hosts screenings, children's activities, an African market and more. Unpretentious, cosy and full of good vibes – it's definitely a venue I will be visiting again. 


Last week on the blog


Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image above: in technicolour




Quote of the week – connectedness & self-reliance

"If it is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn't it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived?"

— Maya Angelou, global renaissance woman

These words bring to mind two things:

  1. Each of us is an integral part in our society, and the universe at large. We all have a role and a purpose. And we are all connected. A nice thought to remember if you ever feel slighted or unheard. The well-being of everyone and everything, depends on the well-being of someone and something else. That's definitely a good one to remember next time you're about to do something you think will have no consequence!
  2. Charity begins at home and everything starts from the self. For example, launching a big effort to get people to take better care of themselves is an unsustainable feat if you haven't first worked on doing that for yourself. I have observed and experienced this kind of thing firsthand. Reminds me also of something I read last week, about relationships being easy. That, rather than frustrate ourselves attempting to change things that are out of our control, it is wiser to focus on the thing that we canchange – ourselves. If everybody subscribes to this, all the links will be taken care of. 
So while this quote appears to talk of selflessness, I think it can be read to speak more about self-reliance. Whether on the individual scale or, in terms of nations focusing on ensuring that the needs of all its people are met before letting complacency set in.

Do you agree or disagree?



Week in review

Hope you've all had a fab week! Today, just a quick round-up of last week's posts … 


Last week on the blog


Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:


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


Image above: M3NSA's album cover for No. 1 Mango Street