Category Archives: About Zambia

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 





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, (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.


Esnoko Shines At SA Fashion Week

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Zambian designer Chiza Ngulube showcased his latest collection at South African Fashion Week. His brand Esnoko prides itself in creating unique garments and accessories using African print. This year was Esnoko’s second appearance at SA Fashion Week and I must say that I personally loved the collection and the collaboration with Palladium Boots was a great one even though some people would have preferred  more formal shoes. I appreciated the unpredictability of the entire collection. Esnoko is for the sophisticated man who loves to stand out and was inspired by culture and music. And yes an Esnoko man also does not mind carrying a bag. The bag range is really trendy and can be paired with any outfit even for us ladies.

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Photo Credit Planet Ivan

African Cultures By Young Africans: Namwanga Tribe

A few months back while having a Whatsapp conversation with a Ugandan friend on the language she thought I spoke at home. That conversation led to me deciding to run a blog series on African Cultures told by young Africans. So I talked to a few people and they loved the idea and so I am hoping that the series will grow bigger as we cover more and more cultures.


NAMWANGA TRIBE written by Mukandi Siame


Twitter: @MissMukandi


Only one person in the world still speaks Yagan, isn’t that amazing and sad all at once. If I was the last Namwanga alive I don’t know if I would be the right guardian of the language.  So I don’t know what to say about my tribe, I don’t know if this will be a just representation but I hope it gives a glimpse. I am writing this because Namwanga must live. I was born and raised in the Zambia version of the city, Lusaka. Lusaka is a twelve hour drive from Northern Province where my people, Namwanga people are from.

Namwanga is an amusing language. It sounds like it has borrowed words from the other seventy two tribes in Zambia but still manages to maintain its identity. I first heard it from my father, my mother says he spoke to me in the language when I was a toddler and I spoke it back, I called him “Baba”. So when I hear the language I don’t think of the Northern Province as the distant place that it is, I think of my father and I think of the value of legacy.

The Namwanga tribe is small, so small that I don’t date within my tribe because somehow I have ended up related to every Namwanga guy I have flirted with. Incest isn’t on my bucket list. All of our grandparents claim to be related to the Chiefteness Waitwika and because of that somehow we are all one blood. I have said my name many times to people and they don’t know where it is from, from my looks they think I am Lozi; Lozi is a prominent tribe in Zambia with its people known by their confidence, dark skin and height. I am tall, I am dark and confident but it has nothing to do with tribe, I am as Namwanga as they come. You see those are the lessons learned from a nation with many tribes, we learn to just accept people as part of us because there are no visual cues to tell us apart. Because of migration we speak each other’s languages and borrow each other’s practices and every single day we see the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ mantra manifest.

My father died three years ago, it feels like yesterday not because of the pain but because of how his presence is still felt. He made the whole family sing Namwanga hymns before bed, he lectured us in Namwanga even when we couldn’t understand it and every year he took us on the twelve hour road trip to the village. In a nation where going abroad and forgetting your culture is deemed ‘cool’, my father made it cool to be Namwanga. I remember the long road trips, playing music by Kalambo Hit Parade. They were a string quartet that played Namwanga, Mambwe and Lungu songs, they have one album that I now know backwards front.

I like being Namwanga because we are unknown and under rated, every day is an opportunity to learn who I am as a Namwanga lady and to live free of stereotype. I like being Namwanga because we are right at the border, we have learned how to hustle and we speak languages from both here and across the border. I like being Namwanga because of the exaggeration and the flair of the language, how it rolls off the tongue and how everything has a specific sound effect. The funny words remind me of my father and my grandmother who uses hyperbole like her life depends on it.

If I was the last Namwanga alive I don’t know if that would increase the pressure or increase my pride in my heritage. I want to tell you so much. I want to tell you about the road that comes from Lusaka Province where I live to the Northern Province where Namwanga people are from; the road is twelve hours long. Twelve hours of scenery and some pot holes. I want to tell you about how the development seems to disappear and how the little children get poorer and happier the further you go up the road. I want to tell you about Muchinga Escarpment and how its boldness is something you can’t miss. I want to tell you about the sign post that shows the spot where David Livingstone and his friend Chuma passed through as they explored. I want to tell you about the Nachifuku caves where Bushmen drew on the cave walls about their culture. They were the last of their kind and they told their story even when they didn’t know they were the last of their kind.

I don’t have a cave, I have a laptop and some English words but somehow I want to tell you about my tribe. The places I just mentioned must seem like random words thrown around for sport but they are real and if I had the time I would have loved to share about each of them. They are all signs that you have arrived in the Northern part of Zambia, the place where Namwanga people are from. Because Zambia has so many languages, Nyanja and Bemba somehow arose above the rest and became the two languages you will find someone speaking at every point of the country. Not the Northern Province. Sure, because of geography some people speak a more complex dialect of Bemba as well as Namwanga, Mambwe, Lungu and Nyika. But the nature of the Namwanga language makes Bemba an exhausting language to speak for most Namwanga people. You see Bembas most pronounced consonant is the soft B sound, Namwanga has no soft B sound so Namwanga people chose not to speak Bemba and learned Swahili; a language spoken in the neighbouring country Tanzania. Tanzania is closer to Namwanga people and their villages than most parts of Zambia so it makes sense; geographically it makes sense that the languages and cultures of Tanzanian people at the border and the Zambian people at the border have meshed. Namwanga people learned how to trade and still have an eye for a good business deal to date. Another aspect of Namwanga people that even Zambians don’t understand is that we have a patrilineal society but women still get their own surnames and get to be Chief. There is a Chiefteness instead of a Chief. Her name is Waitwika or Nawaitwika. There are other chiefs within the province like Kafwimbi, Muyombe and Mwenechifungwe. All the chiefs have their headquarters in Isoka district while Waitwika’s headquarters is in Nakonde. A Namwanga person; also known as Mwinamwanga inherits their name, property and titles through their father’s line.  Namwanga last names are unique in that the have gender signifiers. A female last name begins with “Na” while a male begins with “Si”.  These prefixes are fixed to the names. For example; if a man named Silwimba had a daughter, her last name would be Nalwimba; woman born of Silwimba but the sons would be Silwimba as men. Sikapizye becomes Nakapizye, Sichalwe become Nachalwe and so on. The concept is actually simple when you grasp it. This is the same for the Mambwe and Lungu tribes. Among Namwanga people however, women belonging to the royal clan may have surnames totally different from their male counterparts. For example, males of the current royal clan are called Siame and the females are called Nakamba. Among the Mambwe and Lungu tribes, the females are called Niame.

There are various traditional ceremonies with different purposes. There is the Vikamkanimba, Ngondo, Chambo Chalutanga and the Mulasa. The most popular traditional ceremony is called Umutomolo. It is usually held at the banks of the Lake Chila. The lake is tiny but incredibly beautiful. There are many legends about the formation of the Lake and there are dances and songs performed to illustrate the tales. Some say the lake was formed when Chila and wild fruit gatherers refused to give some of that food to a hungry woman then the earth swallowed up the greedy Chila and his village and a lake was placed where they used to be. The lake is not big but he has sparked great interest and mystery. Military wares and relics from World War one where dumped in it and can be found settling at the bottom.  It also has the tendency to disappear and reappear. It is currently still there and the ceremony is performed on its banks. Here the spirits are appeased and thanked for the good year. There also dances and songs that depict how the tribes were separated and how the Mambwe, Lungu and Namwanga established their kingdom from their migrations. My favourite part of the ceremony is the food, the traditional brew and the songs. Northerners are such flamboyant people, they carry themselves with a pride that is forgiving of flaws and hard times. They just laugh and sing and tease each other. Namwanga is a colourful language and it is full of sayings and jokes and has an aged quality about it. Namwanga people love beans; different kinds of it and they grow it the most, they also grow a very aromatic and starchy rice. They also love pupwe, a vegetable leaf form of okra that is green and slimy, they mix it with beans and eat it with nsima. Nsima is a thick porridge starch made from maize meal throughout Africa and has many names and variances. There is a traditional beer brewed of millet called Katubi. It must be drank while its boiling through a wooden straw, it is intoxicating and only for ‘real men and women’. Probably why the ceremony is colourful.

I am glad I am Namwanga, yes stereotypes are usually wrong but I like to believe that Namwanga people are artistic, have a relaxed view of people and the world, they are almost born lovers of life. Because the language itself demands that one be vocal, Namwanga people are usually not shy, they are perceptive and slow to jump into a situation but they are not shy. My grandmother, the zaniest old lady I know is illiterate but she manages to save her contacts in her phone and knows who is calling and when. She is also dressed to the nines even when she is just home all day and refuses to gain weight or buy counterfeit products. She was my main reference when I wrote this and I am glad I asked her because now Namwanga history lives on and is passed from one person to several others.

It is hard to stay current, to look behind at the past and at the same time to think of the future. Rural-urban migration has made us all one people, aspiring for the advanced pleasures of city life. Every day presents opportunities that draw me further away from my original culture and I will admit that I am scared. I don’t want the flavour of being different to ever wear out. Being different and yet co-existing makes life a special experience. So writing this piece made me want to call my grandmother, she is the only person I know who speaks Namwanga fluently. It made me mark the calendar for next year’s Umutomolo in July. It made me play the Kalambo Hit Parade tape that has been playing songs sang in Namwanga since I was five years old. Namwanga was my second language, my grandmother and father made sure I knew where I was from, they made sure I knew the riddles and parables they knew when they were my age. My father has been dead for years but when I think about my culture I think about him, the source of my heritage. We bonded through culture and created memories on our many road trips to the village. I hope that one day I can share the same moments and experiences with more people.





“Create, Design, Empower And Love Local” by Zambia Fashion Week


The Zambia Fashion Week is once again upon us with the 2015 edition to take place from 15-17 October. This year’s theme is “create, design, empower….love local” and all roads lead to the Mulungushi International conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia. The Zambia Fashion Week can arguably boast to be a platform that has contributed to the growth of fashion, glamour and glitz.

Zambia Fashion Week 2014

Zambia Fashion Week 2014

50 designers took part in celebrating what was Zambia’s Jubilee independence anniversary last year with special guest Mustafa Hassanali from Tanzania. This year over 50 designers will be showcasing including 4 designers from Zimbabwe and the renowned David Tlale.

The show is about reaching out to the public, to emphasize and promote talents in the fashion industry. It’s more about valuing our own designers and building brands and taking them to greater heights each year. Their long-term goal as Zambia Fashion Week is to promote “fashion as a trade”, a concept whereby the fashion industry is seen locally as an income generating trade that creates direct and indirect revenue for both individuals and the country as whole, leading in part to poverty alleviation.


So if you are in Lusaka from tomorrow make sure that you attend the fashion week.

For more info contact Zambia Fashion Week on

Press Release: RVK Africa Fashion Week S/S


The city of Tshwane will be buzzing with­ models and designers from all parts of Africa, not forgetting fashionistas at the forth coming Retro Vintage Kolektion Africa Fashion­ week.

The popular fashion event has managed to ­attract designers not only from all parts of Africa but also Europe. Some of the designers who will be landing in the Capital city for this big fashion event are Onyansani from Ghana, Mary Martin London from London, Prince from Togo, Chimwemwe from Kenya, Malawi, Maria Emmanuel from Namibia, Joseph from Nigeria­, Gazibo from Swaziland, Martin Mokena from Tanzania and 10 best local designers from Gauteng and surrounding areas.

The monumental Ditsong National Museum of cultural history (in Tshwane) will be the host of this event. The event will be spiced up with some performances by brave D from Nigeria, Tinashe also known as Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe and not forgetting our own local hip hop stars from Gauteng.

A kaleidoscope of artists, fashion and e­xhibition will be a feast for the two ­days

Date 11-12 September 2015­

Venue Ditsong National museum of cultural his­tory

Time 18hrs -21hrs ­

Tickets are available at Computicket fro­m R100 standard and R150 VIP­.

The main aim of this event is to bring young Africans together as they share cultures and love.

For those who wish to take part or know more about this event.

Social Media Pages­

Instagram; @retrovintagekolektion

Facebook; retro vintage Kolektion or rvk fashion week

Twitter: @retrovintage2

#SAMenswearWeek : Putting African Menswear Designers On The Map

His Closet “Our Closet”

SA Menswear Week is putting African menswear designers on the international map. First of its kind in Africa it is surely going to encourage more young designers to get into designing for men as there are already a whole lot of womenswear fashion designers.  Designers from Nigerian, South Africa, Tanzania, Angola and Zimbabwe presented the best of their collections at SA Menswear Week in Cape Town.

I am so excited and I am looking forward to see SA Menswear Week grow and to see more Africa designers take part.

There are obvious designers that I follow who always bring their best to the table. I always love seeing Rich Mnisi’s collection and I never run out of imagining ways I would rock certain pieces ( Yes I love menswear)

Rich Mnisi

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I love how Rich used his colours. The Orange, navy, blacks and the whites blended in together so well. It’s the easy to put on and take off outfits that got me going. So free flowing I could definitely see myself in all those pieces ( altered of course). My favourite item was the orange leather sleeveless jacket ( there might be a more appropriate technical term for it). Also the light coats are a super win for me. Who says you can’t wear coats in spring and summer?

Lukhanyo Mdingi

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Lukhanyo stuck to Navy blue and I must say that it looked amazing. His use of chiffon and silk is a different and a much welcome perspective of the overly masculine man. My favourite item is the jumpsuit that I will rock with a bright pair of heels.

Martin Kadinda

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Nothing wrong will a little bit of formal. I love how Martin played around with his colours, nothing was too much the bright were not too bright and dark not too dark. Of course this is for the dapper gentlemen who like to dress up and look good and still look relaxed and laid back. Would I suit up? Of course I will. that Maroon suit (it could be another colour, magenta or red, who knows) would look absolutely great on me. Maybe I could take it further and rock a bow-tie.

Projecto Mental

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One look at the set then I knew that something amazing was about to happen. A man who wear Projecto Mental is a kind of man who is ready for anything. His boys can call him up for a drink and he would leave the office and head straight to the club without change. I feel like this collection was simple, comfortable and really trendy. I love the pop of colour that comes in here and there among the grey, it just blends so well together.

Imprints By Mzukisi Mbane

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Imprints By Mzukisi took me to a very cool summer day at a beach somewhere in Africa enjoying a cold refreshment while looking on as some eye candy struts around. The choice of prints chosen are so rich and an eye catcher ( also the models were super fine if I might add). This collection made me miss spring even more. I love the accessories: the oversize straw hats, the neck pieces made from all sorts of interesting things.

Julia Mpoko

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I love the simplicity of Julia Mpoko’s collection. Its for a chilled guy who loves looking good but he still wants to feel comfortable in his clothes. The contrasts between white, navy blue and green got me all excited (as a visual being, that was a total visualgasm for me)

Kola Kuddus

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An Eastern inspired collection from Kola Kuddus. I loved the colours, the material and the complementing scandals. The head gear was also on point.

Orange Culture

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Obvioulsy this collection is for the man who is not afraid to be different. In fact he lives on being different, what I would like to call “Expressing his softer side”.

Simon Deporres

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For the cool and laid back gentleman.

All photos by SDR Photo


Ideas Expo 2015

“It all starts with an idea, right?” I believe that this is exactly the statement that sparked the creation of the Ideas Expo 5 years ago founded by young Africans from Botswana Calvin and Tumiso. When opening the expo Tumiso highlighted that they wanted to use creativity to provide solutions. The world has become so connected, but are the ideas? Gabriel Mothibedi one of the speaker’s presentation focused more on design and he highlighted that Design is a driver of innovation and that nowadays it is difficult to make money off people’s ignorance because the world is so connected.

Kelvin Twissa Photo credit: Elvis Dambe

Kelvin Twissa
Photo credit: Elvis Dambe

Kelvin Twissa the HOD of Branding and Communications at Vodacom Tanzania also attested to that wherever there is a problem there is always an opportunity. He took us on a journey of how Mobile Money is succeeding where the banks are failing in Tanzania. To solve the cumbersome distribution of music for Tanzanian musicians an app called was created and it has been a booming success as users joined plus 99% of the downloads are free.

In order for an idea to be effective communication must be kept simple.- Kelvin Twissa

Dr Carla Enslin Photo Cred: Elvis Dambe

Dr Carla Enslin
Photo Cred: Elvis Dambe

Dr Carla Enslin National Academic Head at Vega School of Brand Leadership highlighted the importance of branding and leadership. As business people in Africa we need to build businesses that will always matter to the people so much so that should your business disappear then care should be aroused in your consumers. It should be clear what a brand stands for, the sense of being, the value it brings and decisions taken.

Understand why you matter- employ people who matter.- Dr Carla

As creatives it is very important to invest. Bakang Sereste from Afena Capital touched on the importance of collaborations and investments. His advice was for creatives to setup an innovation fund and develop an Index to measure brands and businesses.

Get professional advice and buy a lot of shares- Bakang

A Young Khaya Dlanga

A Young Khaya Dlanga

Khaya Dlanga’s presentation was on the importance of borderless ideas that not only transcends borders but cultures, individuals, differences and time. Borderless ideas have an impact globally even thought they are intended for a local market and they work on single, strong, powerful and emotive insight. It is important for us as creatives to be what we say we are and to the things that we say we do.

Africa needs to create, control, own and export borderless ideas.- Khaya Dlanga

Didier Co-founder of Magents

Co-founder of Magents

Didier the Co-founder and Creative Director of Magents Lifestyle Apparel told the story of Magents, where it started, where it went and why it had to regroup. He emphasized the importance of staying true to yourself and your brand.

Learn from the East and the West but make sure that your DNA is Afrikan.-Didier

Pretty much all the speakers agreed on a number of issues including that we can use ideas to solve problems and that greatness is born from very bad situations. Most of us are starting businesses because we couldn’t find jobs or because we were not happy at our jobs. We can start business but we also need to know the importance of investing and finding the right investors.

Nothing drives anything like purpose- Pepe Marais

Musa Kalenga’s presentation was based on change, we need to accept that things change and be able to adapt to it. America and Asia have plans for Africa, but what is Africa’s plan for Africa?. Young Africans need to start taking charge of Africa and devise clear plans for Africa.

Learn. Unlearn and relearn- Musa Kalenga

Words that were left ringing in my head till this day are: What is YOUR plan for Africa? Even now as I type this I can hear Musa Kalenga’s voice. So I ask myself: What is MY plan for Africa? Hyping each other at these type of gatherings is great but we need to start doing instead of just talking about changing things.

More from the Exhibition shot by Elvis Dambe- @LordElvo on Twitter

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