Category Archives: About Africa

The Sophie A Kanza Foundation at the Forefront OF Charity Work And Critical Youth Conversations.

Sophie and Louise Kanza

Sophie and Louise Kanza

“Millennials don’t want to work”, they said; “Millennials are lazy”, they said; yet significant social and economic changes in Africa will be and are being effected by Africa’s youth who have seen the gaps and the inabilities of their governments to provide for the people’s basic needs. Congolese born and South African raised sisters Sophie and Louise Kanza started the Sophie A Kanza Foundation in order to help bring changes in the lives of orphaned and poor children around and outside South Africa. In a space of 2 years the foundation has done more than the government has done through fundraising initiatives like Fabulous Female Fashion Show that raised enough money to supply hundreds of girls with sanitary pads. #CandyCraftsDay as the Sophie A Kanza Foundation is sometimes known is interactive and engages the children in making crafts and supplying clothes and sanitary towels to the girls who have reached puberty. A huge number of charities and schools benefit immensely from the Sophie A Kanza Foundation through sanitary pads donations, clothes and food; and matric dance packages for girls who cannot afford all the expenses of a matric dance.

Being Congolese born and living in South Africa, the Kanza sisters have been deeply hurt by the Afrophobia attacks that started in Rosettenville when service delivery protests erupted against drug dealing and prostitution in the area. Although the culprits where known Nigerians; the community turned against all foreign nationals and the attacks caught on in even some parts of South Africa. This meant that the sisters were not safe even though South Africa is the only home they have known which led to them producing and directing a video titled “Singabantu” which means we are people. The video featured young immigrants from other African countries and their flights as “Foreigners” in South Africa. The video went on to win the “I Am Migrant” award at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Plural plus Festival.

It is sad that Africans do not feel safe in Africa because of the harm that we inflict on them as South Africans. The harm is not only physical but it is emotional as well, from isolation to name calling. Despite the challenges, the sisters have brought together young people from different parts of Africa to engage on matters that affect us all and bring forward solutions and ways to work together. A conversation has been started and young South African are against Afrophobia which means the older generation is the one that institutes these attacks by painting everyone with the same dirty brush. One foreign person’s sins are paid for by all the foreign people who live in SA and that is not right at all. If the young cannot change the mindsets of the old then we will need ways to protect our brothers and sisters from outside South Africa from these senseless attacks.

The good work of the foundation has not gone unnoticed, Sophie Kanza has been nominated as one of 100 Most Influential South Africans for 2017/18 and Louise Kanza was nominated for “Advocate of the Year” at the Africa Youth Awards 2017. We really need more young people like Sophie and Louise Kanza.

Check out the Singabantu video 

 

 

 

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The Art Of Black Hair And The Women Whose Hair Inspires Us

 

In recent years, black women have been embracing and loving their natural hair, ditching chemicals and using protective hairstyles to diversify their hair. There was some kind of shift in the universe because black women started cutting short their relaxed her opting to start their natural hair journeys through locking their hair and letting it grow as it pleases. Consequently natural hair products started popping up everywhere because there was suddenly a demand for products that are specifically for black hair. There are some African women who are free with their hair in such a way that they create amazing masterpieces with it.

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky is a fashion designer from Cote d’ivoire who makes amazing  sculptures using her hair. Laetitia is a bigger part of her art that has gained her thousands and thousands of Instagram followers. To make her hair stand out she uses threads, needles, wires and wool among other things. I have never seen such amazing creativity with hair and I absolutely love all the shapes that Laetitia transforms her hair into. Black hair is beautiful as it is versatile.

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@laetitiaky

Laetitia Ky

@laetitiaky

Laetitia Ky

@laetitiaky

Nikiwe Dlova

Nix Dlova

@nix_idamix

Nix Dlova as Nikiwe is best known is a fashion, hair and cycling enthusiast from Johannesburg. Nix has a blog called Own Ur Crown where she has reinvented they way we view our  Betty hairstyles that we used to do in Primary school. Betty has evolved now, she had more bright colours, she is longer, she is creative and more importantly she is very adventurous and experimental. Nikiwe’s hair changes everything I see her and I love that no hairstyle of hers is ever the same and she is not shy to use bright colours (unlike me) and that is why I am living my #Hairgoals through her.

Nikiwe Dlova

@nix_idamix

Nix Dlova

@nix_idamix

Kwena Baloyi

Kwena is a fashion stylist and style icon from Limpopo and she is easy to spot in a crowd of fashionistas because she is fearless in her fashion and hair. She is always trying different hairstyles from different parts of the continent and if anyone can pull off a risky hairstyle then her name is Kwena Baloyi. She just doesn’t just know how to pull off great and unique hairstyles, she also knows how to dress well  and that is how she got the trendsetter title. Kwena is serious #Hairgoals and I am pretty sure future generations of black girls will learn about her and inspire to love their hair as fearlessly as she does.

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

kween-kwena

@kwenasays

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

African Artists That You Should Know

Art heals. art saves and art teaches; at least that is what I believe. I have been following a few artists whose work takes me to different worlds that I have imagined and the few that I have seen. I love how relatable all the painting are to me.

Michael Soi

Michael W. Soi (1972) is a Kenyan artist who has been working in Nairobi since 1995 after completion of his fine art and art history studies. His work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and other places. Michael Soi’s artwork satirically reflects some really interesting social, political and economical trends.

Read the rest of this entry

Black Magic At Abantu Book Festival

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Black people seldom have spaces to be unapologetically black, but Abantu Book Festival is one of the few spaces that has allowed us to enjoy our blackness and indulge in black literature by black African authors without any interruptions. Do not be fooled into thinking that black people don’t read, because we do, we enjoy it and we are even teaching our children to not only read but to love it. The first week of December saw Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto and Soweto Theater filled with Black African authors as well as the black people who read their books meet to have panel discussions on issues that affect us. The book festival was a safe space were we cried together, laughed together and danced together.

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Writers from different parts of Africa gave a few insights into their books as well as engaged in general discussions about different issues that affect us. What stood out for me is how the majority of discussions were on abuse, patriarchy and women as keeper of secrets. In a discussion with Marah Louw she talked about the cycle of abuse from her mother( who is actually her grandmother) , her sister (who is her real mother) and herself, the abuse they suffered at the hands of men they loved. Finding out that her sister was actually her mother and how nobody in her family was willing to tell her the truth. Family keeping secrets about a child’s biological parents is such a problem all over and it is damaging. In a separate discussion about Khwezi, Mmatshilo Motsei emphasized on the dangers of women keeping secrets when their kids and other women are raped by family members so as to not “disgrace” the family. Everyone who attended the discussion is in agreement that we need to stop protecting abusers and rapists in our families. Our mothers are huge supporters of patriarchy because that is all they know from their mothers and their mothers and they have protected patriarchy as way to survive in the world that has always been unfair to women and the change can only be brought by women of our generation who have already started to make great strides in dismantling patriarchy bit by bit.

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Our African cultures from 500 years ago are not the same cultures that we have today because culture evolves and as we go on every day we create our own African identity. I love the way we are loving our black African selves without apologizing, rocking our hair in its natural state, celebrating our cultures as well as the cultures of our fellow Africans.

Abantu Book Festival in its greatness also exposed the challenges for the black media worker when it comes to the compensation and managing the creative and business aspect of their trade. There is a need to established media institution that will enforce the fair treatment, fair compensation of media workers. Those institutions need to make media work for blacks sustainable.

I cannot wait wait for the 3rd annual Abantu Book Festival in 2018 because the festival is a great initiative and I am pretty sure that it will grow bigger and better, I am proud of the work that Thando Mgqolozana and his team have done for us. AMANDLA ABANTU BOOK FEST! AMANDLA

All images from Abantu Book Festival

Spree SS17 Celebration.

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Fashion lovers came out in large numbers to see the preview of the SPREE SS17 collection at the Tin Factory in Kramerville last night and we got to see the some gorgeous garments that will be trending this summer if they are not already trending. The coolest thing about the event setup was that 4 top fashion photographers, namely; Cedric Nzaka, Jeff Rikhotso, Austin Malema and Niquita Bento had the dopest photo booths with great concepts for the event attendees to take pictures and I absolutely loved posing for the pictures

MENSWEAR

 

The Spree man is keeping it casual this summer with statement T-shirts, colourful and happy socks and shoes. Statement T-shirts look pretty cool with denim and customized jackets. For the space lovers or science lovers, Spree has astronaut jumpsuits which I happen to love so much and I intend to get myself one. As we move closer to the festive season, there are some cool swimwear items to wear at the beach and at the pool parties. The trick really is to keep the clothing minimal but ultra cool.

WOMENSWEAR

Lately I have been wearing my dresses with caps and mostly it is to hide my bad hair days and sometimes its because I feel like it goes with my look. It was great to see that SPREE is embracing the caps and dresses trend and implementing it so well and in the most coolest way. Metallic caps with some shiny custom accessories to set you apart from the crowd and they go well with suits, dresses, swimwear basically anything you want to wear.

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Stripes ,lots of bright colours and of course caps dominated the ladies’ collection. Ladies if you are not wearing your panties with a cute dress then you are not doing this fashion thing right. Never forget your sling bag or a cute statement clutch bag to make sure that your look is complete. Obviously Spring/Summer is about cute florals and prints in good material that prevents one from sweating and ruining a good outfit. To shop these looks head to www.spree.co.za 

Suennel Original Clothing: The Afrikan Princess Edit

 

Sunnel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

Model: @telly_nthabi

Suennel Style : Afrikan Prnces Edit

Accessories by @lebo.visagie

Too few fashion brands celebrate the curvy and big boned people. I was delighted to be invited to Suennel Style Fashion Show for the curvy women. The fashion show was in Kagiso in the west of Johannesburg and as I watched a collection of spring/summer and autumn winter outfits, I immediately developed ideas on how to style the outfits for this platform. Suennel Original is owned by Neliswa Motsuenyane, a young black woman from Kagiso. The collection had some bridal gowns which were amazing.

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

Model: @xhosagodd

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

Accessories by @lebo.visagie

I fell in love with how these ordinary women looked in the amazing designs and how the unconventional fashion show was inclusive of everyone. To create this Afrikan Princess Edit, I decided to create the lookbook at an art studio owned by a good friend who is housed at August House in Johannesburg.

Suennel Style : Afrikan Princess Edit

@telly_nthabi Shot by @erem_malo

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

@xhosagodd Shot by @erem_malo

The lookbok was shot in an art studio because I wanted to merge painting and fashion design together as forms of art and show the beauty that they have separately as well as the beauty that comes out of their combination. The painter and artist Sanusi Olatunji  works mostly with paper in his painting and I loved how the outfits complemented the art work in the studio,

Suennel Style Afrikan Princess Edit

@telly_nthabi Shot by @erem_malo

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Designer: Neliswa Motsuenyane @suennel_style

Stylist: Vuyiso Tshabalala @vuyiso_afrikanprincess

Assistant Stylist: Thobeka Mbane  @thobekambane

Photographer: Vuyo Thloloe @erem_malo

Assistant to photographer:  Shana Nkosi @shana.king

Make-Up Artist : Siyabonga Motsuenyane @ceedazz

Models : Nthabi Sebota     @telly_nthabi & Nwabisa Tafane @xhosagodd

Accessories: Lebo Visagie    @lebo.visagie

Studio: Sanusi Olatunji Art @sanusiolatunjiart

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Threads Stitched By Standard Bank: The Business Of Fashion Accelerator Programme

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The global Fashion industry today is worth 3 trillion USD however, Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for only 1% of that.

Of all the potential obstacles to growing this market in South Africa, it seems creative talent and exposure are the least of what hinders upcoming fashion brands from thriving on the international scene, access to finance even less. There is a definite need for teaching the business of fashion – fashion entrepreneurs need to be supported in professionalizing their enterprises and running a truly profitable business.

There is real opportunity to take South Africa’s up-and-coming fashion designers and turn them into powerful fashion CEO’s. Given the appropriate support, these fashion entrepreneurs could be running profitable businesses capable of competing on the international apparel scene, creating jobs, and having an impact on the South African economy.That’s why purpose-driven marketing agency NONZēRO partnered with Standard Bank to create: the Business of Fashion accelerator programme “Threads – stitched by Standard Bank”:

What Standard Bank is looking to do is support the entrepreneurs’ creativity with the crucial business know-how, mentorship and support that’ll propel the business to the point where they’re experiencing real growth, and running like professional outfits. The partnership with Standard Bank is a key to delivering on this goal. In order to supplement the programme with an academic backbone, the team partnered with the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolico of Milan focussing on impact entrepreneurship. Together they created a 12-week curriculum that focuses on the business operations of a fashion enterprise: From financing and retaining employees, to lean manufacturing and eCommerce, as well as specialized procurement methods and marketing.

The programme is open to all fashion entrepreneurs with existing business operating in South Africa, and is taught simultaneously from four regional classroom hubs: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The programme takes place two evenings per week for a 12-week duration. The participants will also be taken on action learning field trips across South Africa designed to showcase best practices’ across the country in various fields.

Working together with the Standard Bank Incubator and a strong eco-system of partners in business (including Mercedes-Benz), government and civil society, the programme calls upon the expertise of some of South Africa’s top business minds and thought leaders as programme teachers. The programme uses real-life case studies and experiential learning exercises to reinforce the academic learnership of the programme with practical industry insights.

At the end of the programme, the participants will be invited to present their new business model in a business case presentation to a panel of judges, and the winning participant will be taken on an international trade trip to Europe. The key focus of this trade trip is a meeting with a high-impact private distribution network enabling the participant to liaise with and present their business/products to wholesale buyers and retailers, as well as attending trade fairs.

The winning participant will receive an SME start-up pack courtesy of Standard Bank, will become a Mercedes Benz brand ambassador and drive the brand new vehicle for a 12 month period, as well as benefit from continued mentorship by the Threads team.

To participate in the Threads programme, interested entrepreneurs can apply online, via Threads website, http://www.threadsonline.co.za. (Open to entrepreneurs with an existing business in operation in South Africa for at least one year). The application process opens on 11th September, 2017 for a one-month period, ending on 11 October, 2017.

 

“Ode To She”: Tony Gum’s Solo Exhibition To Launch At The Christopher Moller Gallery.

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Umfazi_MediaTony Gum, an artist who has  who has captured my attention with her unique art launches her first-ever solo exhibition in Cape Town at the Christopher Moller Gallery, Kloof Nek, Cape Town on Friday, 29 September, 2017. Titled, ‘Ode to She’, the solo exhibition centres around Tony Gum’s explorations, discoveries and understanding of the teachings by her elders of what it means to be a Xhosa woman. Through ‘Ode To She’ Tony Gum wants to reiterate the power and representation of Xhosa women, acknowledging their multifaceted roles, complex experiences of self, family and society.

Tony Gum_Milk the bok_Media‘Ode To She’ is presented as an intimate still life, an encounter with Tony Gum as her work transitions in different stages of a Xhosa woman. The exhibition is a story that is a poem, a song, a letter to She-She, the Being, who understands He/She/Them to be a force, like nature, a person who has been beaten, tried and tested yet is able to rise above it all, says Tony Gum.

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Intombi II_MediaAs young people and young women, we find it easy to relate to Tony Gum because of the way her art is presented, simply yet unique. I love that ‘Ode To She’ will not only celebrate and the different transitions but it will also celebrate those transitions in relation to technology and fusing the modern and the traditional. With it being Heritage Month, I love how the exhibition is centred on culture and heritage and I hope that when young people get to see the exhibition, they will get to see our cultures and heritages are beautiful and important.

Tony Gum_Land of milk & honey_MediaI believe in honouring our individual truths,” muses self-titled Creative Director, Tony Gum. “Our ability to pause, reflect, connect and celebrate that which makes each of us whole means we are better placed to recognize and respect this essence in others.- Tony Gum

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Umama omkhulu_MediaTony Gum’s Cape Town solo exhibition, ‘Ode to She’, is a combination of new work and past themes revisited with never before seen visuals. Experience this visual journey first-hand at the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town from Friday, 29th September, 2017 until 3rd November, 2017. The artist will be celebrating this milestone with an ‘All Red’ themed after party on the night, all you have to do is follow the hashtag #TonyGumCalling for details.

www.instagram.com/tony_gum/ – #tonygumcalling #odetoshe

Street Style at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg

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Fashion Weeks are not just about runway shows, they are also about the unique styles of the attendees and that is why the street style at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg was trending over the weekend. It is always great to see the people go all out and look beautiful and cool as they take snaps while waiting for runway shows to commence. Photographers are always on the lookout for the best and coolest looks. One such photographer is Ben Moyo who captured the best dressed this past weekend at #MBFWJ17 at the Mall of Africa.

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See more of Ben Moyo’s work here

#MBFWJ17: Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue

Orapeleng Modutle

Remembering where it all started for Orapeleng Modutle, I could not be anymore prouder of him as I was watching his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg at Mall of Africa. My favourite thing about Orapeleng is that he is diverse, he caters for the brides, for the working woman, for the everyday woman who loves to look good. The first to last look is presented with so much precision and Asanda Sizani really did an amazing job styling the collection.

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All images by SDR Photo for African Fashion International