Category Archives: About Nigeria
“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
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 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.
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.
It is always great to see my favourite creatives progress in their careers and one such creative is Julia Ese Otobo. Julia is a 23 year old Nigerian born Half Delta and Half Igbo model who has taken New York by storm after being signed by MSA Models.She is in love with Afros and black hair, something that is evident in her blog www.nappyese.com. The decision to keep her hair natural came about because of a guy that she was in love with, she started keeping her hair natural because of him and eventually fell in love with her natural hair, her brave stance back then was admirable as the modelling industry had not yet fully accepted natural hair. Besides modelling, blogging and vlogging, Julia is taking a course in Digital & Affiliate Marketing to up her game.
Julia decided to start modelling after she listened to her favourite fashion model Doyin Haastrup Olatokunbo talk about the Pearl Look Model Nigeria modelling competition that she was producing and Julia knew that was the time for her life to change. After having to drop out of University because of lack of funds, Julia enrolled in the Pearl Look Model Nigeria competition and knew that she needed to win in order to make her other dream- being a Victoria Secret Model come true. Being a part of the boot camp was very difficult but she was determined to win and win she did! As the winner of Pearl Look Model Nigeria she won an all-expenses paid trip and a contract to South Africa to work with Ice Model Management in South Africa.
I believe that Julia is one of the best models that Africa has to offer, she knows how to own the runway and her fashion editorials are always pleasing to the eye and I remember when I first saw her on the runway at Mercedes-Benz fashion Week Joburg, I was really captivated by her. I have been following her career ever since. In one of our talks she explains that although modelling takes a lot of hard work, patience and persistence, she is grateful for each and every opportunity that she has ever gotten as she’s had the opportunity to work with amazing brands and fashion designers.
She recalls one of her favourite shoots to date was when she worked with her twin sister Janet Otobo for Luminance Magazine in South Africa while also having graced the cover twice. Julia is currently living it up in ‘The Big Apple’ and has booked multiple shows for a number of designers like Chromat and Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week. The model’s ultimate goal is to walk for Victoria Secret in a glorious Afro (like Maria Borges recently did) in order to show the world that Black hair is beautiful. I can surely imagine that, can you?
Tim Hulme Photography
Steven Love Menendez
Luminance: Sivan Miller
Article originally published on Moon-Look Mag
I am so happy to announce that a couple of awesome human beings and I have been selected as Tropics Voices Ambassadors by South African based media group called Tropics Media.We will be sharing our stories on http://www.tropics-magazine.com stay tuned and follow our articles on different topics.
- To revive the African culture through fashion.
- To promote the dignity of womanhood.
- To open new windows of business opportunities.
- To encourage indigenous fashion designers.
- To redefine fashion shows by showcasing other fashion accessories.
- Encouraging the exportation of local designs in the region.
Ecowas Fashion Week will also have an awards segment where people who have made great contributions to the fashion industry.In this second edition, anticipation gets a step higher as the organizers – IBCNL, Lagos Nigeria team up with major corporate bodies in the Republic of Benin such as Trinity Events (handling the event) and Angels Modeling Agency to launch the 2nd edition of the ECOWAS Fashion Week. The event will be attended by many International Super Models, Celebrities, Renowned African Designers, and several other fashion brands.
I am overwhelmed and honored. I am excited about this event and I think, the West African people especially the people of Benin Republic are more excited than me. _ Joan Okorodudu