Rooti Dolls create multicultural dolls that can teach children many words and phrases in various African ethnic languages, including Twi, Ga, Ewe, Krobo, Shona, Ndebele, Bemba, Nyanja, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans, Ijaw, Edo, Idoma, Tiv.
Oftentimes the desire to support African design – and production in general – is there but, the products aren't always very accessible. In this "Buy African" series, I'll be highlighting various outlets to help you turn your intentions into action.
The South is Blooming shares the creative talent of contemporary makers in southern Africa with the world. The online boutique showcases an eclectic range of craft and design including fashion accessories, books, music, toys and more.
I was asked to participate in a WOW Bites session during the Southbank Centre's 2012 Women of the World Festival. Bites are short talks, inspiring ideas, achievements, obsessions, stories, performances, manifestos and more. I thought I'd share the essence of my bite with you.
One of the most satisfying outcomes of spending so much time online is discovering interesting people doing exciting and amazing things. In my time internetting, I have discovered several women, around the world, using the digital space to tell their stories and through this: creating relationships that transcend barriers such as geographical distance and class; building supportive and collaborative networks and communities; and making things happen for themselves, for others and ultimately, for us all.
I asked Afri-love's Twitter followers and Facebook fans what classic songs they love from back in the day. Here is a curated Southern African selection …
I discovered Ezakwantu the other day – a gallery showcasing Central and Southern African Tribal Art.
From their website I learned that Ezakwantu means things from the house of the people.
"This is what Galerie Ezakwantu offers. Things from the people, created for everyday living, imbued with aesthetic, spiritual, ritual and personal value, in the Southern African way."
I love when 'everyday objects' are viewed as art. It gives them the much-ignored honour they deserve and reminds us to live in the now and appreciate every detail. I am reminded of something I read earlier today in The Artist's Way: about how what we want to do is what we are meant to do. About how the things that come easily to us are not to be discarded as flukes or chance results. Things going well are a sign that we are in alignment with the universe and our higher purpose.
I would love to get into the mind of the people who created these beautiful works of art, while they were creating them.
Images above from the Ezakwantu website. These are Ashanti combs showing that the Gallery's wide (and amazing – definitely worth checking out) collection stretches beyond Central and Southern Africa.
This year's Interregional Festival takes place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:
16-17 July @ TaSUBa in Bagamoyo
18 July @ Makumbusho Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam (the "chill-out concert")
With something for everyone, the festival will feature artists from Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as special guests from around the world.
It's all about youth empowerment as all performers are under 25. Drawing crowds in the six figures, this festival is "most renowned for its celebration of African heritage, whether pop or rock, jazz or reggae, all artists showcased at the festival pulsate a spirit and feel that is undoubtedly African."
Check out the festival blog for more info. And if you're in TZ, I'd love to see your pictures and to hear how it goes!