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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Written By: MIM!
"Vital Voices: Kakenya" is a partly animated film based on the real-life story of Kakenya Ntaiya, who followed her dream of building the first primary school for girls in her Maasai villiage in Kenya. Watch the inspiring animated feature below which won's online film contest this month.

PISTACHIOS - Kakenya from POCKO on Vimeo.

For more information, visit

(Photo Credits: © PRNewsFoto/Vital Voices Global Partnership)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Written By: Fanele Chester @FaneleLoveThe end of 2010 will mark a successful decade in African fashion. More designers emerged with incredible talent, drawing from both the modern world and cultural heritage. There has been growing support for exposure in the number of fashion weeks held per year, in Africa and abroad. ARISE, AUDI and South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg and Cape Town have become highlight events for designers who want to establish themselves, and are held up as an industry standard all other fashion shows seek to emulate.

The ARISE African Collective during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week NY and ARISE L’Afrique-à-Porter during Paris Fashion Week, are both a world stage for successful African designers to further establish themselves globally. David Tlale, Deola Sagoe, Stoned Cherrie, Loin Cloth & Ashes, Tiffany Amber and KLUK CGdT are some examples of African designers that have enjoyed international exposure and local success, and have had a strong impact on African fashion this decade, and have significantly contributed to its progress.

As 2010 comes to a close, and another decade begins, what indicators can give us a clue about the nature of African fashion in the future? Here are my predictions:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Written By: Minna Salami @MsAfropolitanWith artists like Beyonce and Jessica Alba recently claiming to be feminists, it might be the case that we will soon see an F-word revival. That would be awesome.

Yet feminism is not simply about being an independent or successful woman. It is about recognizing and taking a critical engagement with structures that may oppress women such as the ‘institution’ of marriage or elements of religious doctrine or music videos. More than anything feminism is a lifestyle. As was recorded in the charter of African Feminists in 2006:
“…we define ourselves as feminists because we celebrate our feminist identities…Our feminist identity is not qualified with ‘Ifs’, ‘Buts’, or ‘Howevers’. We are feminists. Full stop.”
Or as novelist Chimamanda Adichie, who calls herself a feminist who likes lipgloss said:
“…being a feminist is about more than outrage; it is about being a woman who likes and stands up for other women.”
As for me, I’ve been a feminist since my early 20s. Since then my worldview, my relationships and my life choices have all been shaped by a conviction that gender structures should not limit personal and professional growth and that every woman should have that right.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Written By: MIM!Modahnik is a women’s contemporary clothing line influenced by the dichotomy of the vibrant African culture and landscape as well as modern contemporary West that was launched in 2009 by Congolese fashion designer Kahindo Mateene. Kahindo shares about the line, "the brightly colorful African print is the signature of Modahnik, fused with western design sensibilities, creates a multicultural feast of modern silhouettes that is refreshingly feminine and visually appealing with an underlying sexiness. Modahnik is a socially conscious line that aims to be ethical by producing in Africa using fair trade practices thus creating sustainable jobs for underprivileged communities within Africa." Take a look at their Spring/Summer 2011 collection below.

Written By: Jamelia MmariLaunched by the UN Development Group, 8 Goals for Africa, is a campaign song by eight of Africas best known musicians, calling for commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals—a set of eight internationally-agreed upon goals designed to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child deaths by 2015. 8 Goals for Africa features Yvonne Chaka Chaka from South Africa, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, Eric Wainaina from Kenya, and the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa with world renowned jazz musicians Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu from South Africa are instrumentalists on the track. Watch the inspiring music video below:

8 Goals for Africa from UNDP on Vimeo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Written By: Mimi TsianeThis weekend, I watched my first Nollywood film; well in its entirety. The DVD was simply entitled “Royal Battle: Part 1 and 2." The DVD was not an original (uhm, how do I say it delicately...) it was bootleg. I purchased my copy from the hair salon/clothing boutique/grocery store/beauty supply and social networking establishment. I also picked up some oranges with my purchase! I tell you, my African people are doing big things. I am in love with the industry that is Nollywood; here are some of the elements that I have observed.

1. Love story: Boy and girl meet, fall in love and live happily ever after, then a plague befalls the town, he dies and haunts the living hell out her. That is a love story.

2. Supernatural phenomena: Witches, random lightening on bright days, plagues, kings in FUBU outfits, ghosts, plastic hair weaves, and extraordinary circumstances.

3. Beautiful scenery: Although many are set in Nigeria and surrounding African countries (I am from Botswana); I cannot help but feel nostalgic when I see some of the landscape.
Written By: Jamelia MmariAn estimated 300,000 people were living with HIV, almost one-in-four adults, are believed to be living with HIV in Botswana; that is the second highest prevalence of HIV in the world. Convention dictated that women rather then men, be at the forefront of fighting HIV as they were seen as the face of the disease. But that was challenged in 2006 when the first Mr HIV Positive Living Beauty Pageant was held in Gaborone. The pageant was designed to reduce the country's accelerating rate of HIV infection by encouraging all men to test for their HIV status and to promote lifestyle changes needed to stop the spread of the disease. The film, Walk The Talk (sponsored by the University of Sydney) captured this event; watch the movie below.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Written By: Jamelia MmariEarlier this year, Afri-pop group Freshlyground made headlines, with what has to be the most talked about South African music video of the year, Chicken To Change, in which the group teamed up with ZA News to create a music video challenging Robert Mugabe's presidential reign. The video depicts Mugabe as a shining star, who somewhere lost his way, with scenes depicting an out of touch Mugabe riding in the back of a chauffeur-driven presidential car and reading a newspaper, “Bob's Times” with the headline: “Glorious victory for Zanu-PF.” Underscoring the political tone of the video, the Freshlyground chime in with pointed lyrics such as “An iridescent example of honour for the coming generation... You promised always to open the doors for us... Indeed it is you and only you who sleeps with the key... You are chicken to change!” In case you missed it, here's the video:

'Chicken to Change' Freshlyground / ZA NEWS music video from ZANEWS on Vimeo.

Freshlyground is comprised of seven members hailing from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Sarah Barnett, a spokeswoman for the group, said they “believe in freedom of speech and that people should be able to talk about topics that affect many civilians ... The video is not an attack on Mugabe at all. It is a tongue-in-cheek challenge for him to reflect on things and become the hero he used to be, to consider his actions and surprise us. We are not afraid of his reaction. Why should we be in a democratic world?”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Press ReleaseAn unprecedented exhibition exploring the broad spectrum of contemporary African art, design, and craft worldwide, The Global Africa Project premieres at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) today and running through May 15, 2011. Featuring the work over 60 artists working in Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States, and the Caribbean, The Global Africa Project surveys the rich pool of new talent emerging from the African continent and its influence on artists around the world. Through ceramics, basketry, textiles, jewelry, furniture, and fashion, as well as selective examples of architecture, photography, painting, and sculpture, the exhibition actively challenges conventional notions of a singular African aesthetic or identity, and reflects the integration of African art and design without making the usual distinctions between “professional” and “artisan.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Veuillez Veiller Sur Vos Reves from kantarama gahigiri on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Links: Talking About A Nu Revolution; New Wave Noir: Celia Faussart; New Wave Noir: Helene Faussart

Written By: MIMIDouye’ is a singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, USA with a spectacular debut album, Journey under her belt. Growing up influenced by such jazz and R&B legends as Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Billie Holliday, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Sade, the multi-faceted singer-songwriter's music is a contemporary throwback to the musical style of the artists Douye’ grew up listening to. Beautifully texturing her pure, sultry and smoky vocals with a sensual, jazzy musical style, Nigerian born, Los Angeles based singer-songwriter continues to broaden her base of appreciative and passionate fans all over the world. Listen to the track Fly Away below, and hear more from Douye’ by visiting or

Douye: Fly Away by MIMIMagazine

(Photo Credits: Provided Courtesy Of Gazelle PR)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Written By: MIMIFor an entire week, from 30 October to 6 November, Cotonou, Benin was awash in the world of Vlisco. The Palais de Congrès provided the setting for the exhibition "Vlisco et Moi; Une Poésie à Révéler." The entire story was told as a museum exhibition, starting with trade relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia during the time of the Dutch East India Company, followed by the shifting of trade relations to Africa and the establishment of Vlisco, and ending with the current and future strategies of the Vlisco brand. Take a look at runway photographs from the event below.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Press ReleaseOn Friday, October 22, 2010 at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Fashionjunkii (a fashion house run by Tanzanian stylista Rosemary Kokuhilwa) organized it's first ever Global Fashion Show to benefit the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project.

The Global Fashion show is one the most talked about fashion shows to ever happen in New York today due to it's huge success. A total of eight well established designers show cased their spectacular collections from different parts of the globe. The designers featured that evening were; Maatano who are based in the United states but of Ethiopian descent, Amparo Chorda from Spain, Louda Collection who is based in New York City but of Russian descent, African Mosaique from South Africa, Thula Sindi from South Africa, David Tlale from South Africa, Nike Kondakis who is based in Kenya but of Greek and Danish descent and Prajje Couture from Haiti but also based in the United States.
Written By: MIMILooking back at VLISCO's spring 2008 campaign, we are reminded why we love their fabrics oh so much!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Written By: Marian Kihogo (As Told To Lola K.)—I have always been fascinated by the way people wear their clothes. As a child as young as ten, I would watch people. I love all of fashion, from fashion history, design and media but what grips me is translating a design my own way. My motivation to become a fashion stylist was my inherent passion for throwing great designs together to create a coherent outfit. Thus, my design philosophy is "creating great style." My fashion icon is every person who knows what their style is and celebrates it unapologetically. My top five fashion rules:

1. It is imperative to know what one’s figure type is. Every woman’s body has flaws, the clever ones are those who know what theirs are. They thus dress to camouflage them and highlight the good. Be in the know. It is knowledge for life.

2. Unearth your personal style. Some are born with an innate sense of style, the majority are not but this can easily be developed with professional styling consultations.
Written By: MIMIWith his new album, Château Rouge, out today, it only seemed fitting that we post a video by Abd Al Malik to remind ourselves why we're big fans of his in the first place. Here's the video for Gilles Écoute Un Disque De Rap Et Fond En Larmes, from his album Dante.

Abd Al Malik - Gilles from Marc Gurung on Vimeo.

Written By: MIMIWith an unfailing artistic energy, Abd Al Malik decides to reinvent his music and surprise people by turning pop music codes upside down, blending african music with electro rock. Described as equal parts Congolese rumba, indie rock, electro pop, young French poetry, and radical world music, Abd Al Malik's latest 14-track album, Château Rouge, introduces us to a new side of the the revolutionary of French hip-hop who among other things, integrates English lyrics on some of his tracks, and even tries to sing. To read more about Château Rouge and hear some tracks, visit and

(Photo Credits: © CD Cover Art)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—Dare to Wear Love is an annual gala fashion event and fundraiser held in Toronto, Canada that was started by Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell, designers and founders of Hoax Couture, to raise funds and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation in its support of grass roots organizations woking to fight HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa. This year, 25 designers were tasked o create luxe gowns using 6 yards of African fabric with the goal of auctioning their creations. Take a look at footage from this year's event below.

Dare to Wear Love 2010 from Secret Level Films / Will Cyr on Vimeo.

For more information, visit

Written By: Jamelia Mmari—In Tanzania, maternal mortality rates vary tremendously between districts. The film, Mimba, shot in Kiswahili but accompanied by English subtitles explores why. But for the grace of God, any of these women could be me, it could be you, it could be your girlfriend, it could be your mother, it could be your sister, it could be your aunt. Mimba is not to be missed.

Mimba from Lars Johansson on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Links: Restoring Health And Dignity To Young African Women; The Truth About FGM

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Written By: MIMI"Hunt or become the hunted." Nikyatu Jusu's latest film, Black Swan Theory is about protagonist, Sonya, "a psychiatric casualty of war recently returned to the US" who finds her sense of normalcy crumbling before her. Watch the teaser trailer below.

Black Swan Theory-Short Film TEASER from Nikyatu Jusu on Vimeo.

MIMI Related Links: Directing Awareness: Nikyatu Jusu; African Booty Scratcher; Say Grace Before Drowning

Written By: Jamelia Mmari—This year Nigeria celebrated 50 years of independence, and fashion house Maki Oh created a special Nigeria at 50 collection to commemorate the event. Maki Oh shares about the collection:

The piece explores the concept of a "national dress" by incorporating elements from traditional garments worn by various Nigerian tribes. Each of the 6 items of clothing represents a woman from each decade since Nigeria’s independence who has positively affected the lives of women and society as a whole. Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, the women’s rights activist. Buchi Emecheta, the influential writer. Frances Kuboye, the philanthropic jazz singer. Rev. Dele George, the charity activist. Nike Okundaye, the artist and women’s empowerment advocate. Ify Aniebo, the malaria researcher. The works, style and spirit of these women weave together in this piece to encapsulate the essence of the Maki Oh woman.

Take a look at the video below to see how Maki Oh weaved together freedom and fashion to create its Nigeria at 50 collection.

Maki OH from 37thSTATE on Vimeo.

For more information about Maki Oh, visit

(Photo Credits: © Maki Oh)

Written By: MIMIJust in time for their holiday collection, Ann Taylor has announced that Liya Kebede is the freshest face to represent their brand. To see more of Liya Kebede's campaign for Ann Taylor, including behind the scenes footage from the photoshoot, visit

(Photo Credits: © Ann Taylor)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Written By: Nani Hapa—On October 23 of this year, Liberian model Tammie Garr launched her luxury fragrance line with the unveiling of her first fragrance, Royalty. Tammie's PR company claims that Tammie is "the first African to sucessfully launch a luxury fragrance line." (The operative word there being "line" as others, including supermodel Iman, have launched their own fragrances.)
Written By: MIM!Aspiring fashion designer SIKA describes herself as a "smiling, optimistic, crazy and sensitive . . . half Togolese and half French and yet half Ghanaian" person. We love her free spirited style, and hope to see her go far with her fashion aspirations. To see more from SIKA, visit her YouTube page: and to support her as she vies to become the next face of Benetton, visit

MIMI Related Stories: MIMI Muse: Fikile Moeti, MIMI Muse: Vanessa Mdee

(Photo Credits: SIKA)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Written By: MIM!Scalloped edging and a textured surface create dynamic drama on Korto Momolu's $38 goldtone cuff bracelet. For more information, visit

(Photo Credits: © Dillards)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Written By: MIM!VLISCO's latest collection, Gallery of Poems, is all about embellishment. The opulent collection is intensified by a flamboyant color palette. Shades of bright cerulean blue contrast with mellow red tones, with the new eye-catching lime brining out the best in both, and merging them into a mythical poetic rhyme. Here's your first look at the Gallery of Poems look book.