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Thursday, March 20, 2014

((  Written By:  Mia Leheluka  ))  If you don’t know bespoke jewelry curator Anita Quansah, you should.  Her multi-textured costume jewelry pieces make us dream of being transformed into African royalty, and then aspire to acquire all of her looks so that our dreams become a reality. Take a look at these stunners from Anita Quansah's Spring Summer 2014 lookbook, and then for more, visit

((  Written By: Nani Hapa ))  Six years ago,
when Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone) published his bestselling memoir A Long Way Gone, readers were exposed to a harrowing account of Sierra Leone’s civil war and the horrific abuse child soldiers both endure and perpetrate.  Radiance of Tomorrow, Ishmael’s first novel, explores what happens once the civil war is over when victims and perpetrators seeking to restore peace in a country they share are required to reconcile with what they did and what was done to them.

At the center of Radiance of Tomorrow are Benjamin and Bockarie, two longtime friends who return to their hometown, Imperi, that is left in ruins after the civil war.  Despite uncertain times, Benjamin and Bockarie try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers, but they’re plagued by one obstacle after the other as more villagers return to Imperi:  a scarcity of food; a rash of serious crimes (including murders, theft, rape); and the depredations of a foreign mining company intent on sullying the town’s water supply and blocking its paths with electric wires.  Still, armed with an improbable sense of hope, Benjamin and Bockarie work against the odds to preserve, and in some cases restore, what means the most to them.

Radiance of Tomorrow is a moving novel that will leave you thinking critically about postwar life in those regions of Africa still reeling from conflict.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

((  Written By:  Mia Leheluka  ))  A brilliant award-winning Ghanaian filmmaker with a small cult following, Akosua Adoma Owusu has made the world her stage with films like me broni ba and Kwaku Ananse.  But taking on the role of reviving Accra, Ghana’s dilapidated REX Cinema, may be her greatest accomplishment to date as it symbolizes her indelible mark in the resurgence of Ghana’s creative community.  The REX Cinema was built by Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, who had a vision of creating a Ghanaian cinema industry that could be shared with the world.  With time, however, the theatre—like many others in Accra—stopped being used as a theater in part due to increasing (bootleg) DVD sales that decreased the cost of movie watching and brought movies to the comfort of the home.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

((  Written By: Mia Leheluka  ))  Following the the critical acclaim and success of Aya de Yopougon, Marguerite Abouet (Ivory Coast) is now dedicating all of her time to writing.  (Even more impressive, she is also the director of a charity that she created to help children in Africa get better access to books.)  Earlier this summer, Abouet teamed up with long-time collaborator, illustrator Mathieu Sapin (France), to release another beautifully illustrated graphic novel—Akissi: Feline Invasion—a series of vignettes aimed at a younger audience.

The children’s book follows Akissi, “a true adventurer, full of silliness and fun,” her brother Fofana and her friends as they get into trouble for their neighborhood exploits.  In the vignette “Good Mums,” for example, Akissi borrows a neighbor’s baby and tenderly feeds it a stew concocted from discarded scraps found in the market.  According to the publisher, readers can expect this and other vignettes where: “the neighborhood cats are pursuing [Akissi] to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan, and she’s nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana, but ... nothing will scare her for long!”

I thoroughly enjoyed the Aya de Yopougon series, and am looking forward to sharing this one with my younger nieces.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

((  Written By: Staff Writer  ))  From boarding school in Nigeria, Africa to grinding in Hollywood, California, as a recording artist and songwriter, Celestina brings a unique merge of an exotic African flair and pop/electronic sounds.  Celestina is now on the scene with a slamming buzz record, “BOOMTION.”  Watch the video for Boomtion on Celestina’s YouTube channel, TheCelestinaChannel, and if you like what you hear, the single is available on iTunes and other digital stores.