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Taking a break

May 29th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Editor's Note, General

I’m taking a much needed vacation this week. I’ll be returning to posting on Annansi Chronicles next week. In the meantime check out these excellent African blogs:
BeninMwangi.com (African Entrepreneurship & international media)
Africaincorp (Following the Money Trailing the Afri-urban Movement )
Bankelele (Banking analysis and the financial sector in Kenya)
African Path (View of Africans in the Diaspora)
Deoluakinyemi.com (Daily Motivations & Development for people and organizations)
Tech Mambo (Profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies)
Odegele Nyang Investments (Business and investment news in Kenya and East Africa)
Kenya Startup (Start Ups in Kenya)
WhiteAfrican (Where Africa and Tech Collide)
Afriville (Community Portal)
Grandiose Parlor (Thoughts on Issues)
Yemma (nspiring Excellence)
Alt Nigeria (Nigerian Business)
Upnaira (Consumer Investments)
Rafiq Phillips (South Africa Technology and Web Addicts)
Ryan Shen-Hoover (Investing in Africa)
Leonard Nelson (Web 2.0 with a Zambian Twist)
Whythawk (Sustainable Business and Economic Development)
My Global Hustle

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Agree on the problem first

May 24th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Business, General

In the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of an important business lesson: always make sure everyone agrees on the problem before you set out to define a solution. When neglected, that simple step can derail a good effort; and if that effort involves other parties who are unfamiliar with your inner workings, you stand a chance of looking clueless. Agreeing on the problem , or even that there IS a problem, is one of the main points that creep up in building/strengthening African industries. Individual perspectives and experiences have everything to do with business and without understanding them you can lose a lot of time AND money. Luckily I’ve been reminded of this fact without losing either. So make a note to yourself too.

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Vogue, Keira Knightley donate food & Louis Vuitton to African elephant’s rehab

May 24th, 2007 | 10 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Fashion, General, Travel

Keira Knightley gives baby elephant Louis Vuitton fro VogueThe concept for the June 2007 Vogue magazine cover story is a diary of British actress Keira Knightley’s “vacation in Africa” – more specifically Kenya. While the idea was probably someone’s eureka moment for an interesting feature, the resulting shoot and story is another re-hashing of Out of Africa. The fashion blogosphere has taken issue with one image in particular where the actress is photographed feeding a baby elephant which has been draped with a leather Louis Vuitton blanket.

After lunch at the Giraffe Manor, a hotel near Nairobi where giraffes roam the grounds, Keira donned a chic gray Bottega Veneta frock to visit the baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Mbagathi, the only successful project in the world at rehabilitating orphaned elephants into the wild. Her diary entry for that day reads, “Today everyone tried to catch the baby elephants so we could put Louis Vuitton blankets on their backs. I’ve never seen anything more brilliantly stupid. I hope Louis Vuitton like it; they should definitely give the elephant a modeling contract.” – via Style.com

The fashion spread also includes a photo of the actress “roughing it” with some Maasai herdsmen- how original -, and some other shots of Ms. Knightley living out her rugged Africa dreams (circa 1910). I know Vogue is not the most progressive magazine, however you’d think that with all the resources they have the editors can find a creative way to tie in the Africa theme. They could have at least hired a photographer like Andrew Dosunmu, Marc Baptiste, or Stanley Lumax to lend their unique talent to the idea. But it just goes to prove how the perspective of Africa in popular culture is so limited. We can say that the editors at Vogue are at fault but, the true failure of the whole feature is with the Africans involved in the shoot who perhaps felt they had no choice but to offer their resources up to strengthen an image of Africa which ultimately would limit their ability to grow out of the early 1900′s image of the continent. This is why I place so much weight on the shoulders of those of us who live and work abroad to act as ambassadors and communicate our experiences constantly. One might say that the Vogue spread is just poor execution, however, the underlying theme is the real problem. The campaign to re-brand Africa has to take place both on the continent and abroad in order for it to be a success. It’s a tough job but the alternative is worse.

more images via imnotobsessed
2007VogueKeiraKnightley1

2007VogueKeira Knightley62007VogueKeira Knightley52007VogueKeira Knightley3

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Ghana 50 Fashion Show: V&A Museum, London

May 23rd, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Art, Business, Events, Fashion, General

Tima Atiemo CatwalkHere’s an exciting special event for all my London folks. Ghanaian designer Tina Atiemo is bringing her Avante Garde fashions to a show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington – London on the 1st of June 2007. The Ghana 50 Fashion Show is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s event series celebrating 50 years of Ghanaian art and design. I’m sure Tina will bring some great designs as she did when she joined Ozwald Boateng, Deola Segoe and other African designers in the CatWALK the World event in Ghana last year. If you’re in London on June 1st check out the show and the exhibit.

Details
SPECIAL EVENT: Ghana 50 Fashion Show at the V&A Museum
Show Times: 16.00pm and 18.30–22.00
Location: Raphael, Room 48a
Price: Free entry to the show, but tickets must be collected for this event outside the Raphael, Room 48a between 15.30 – 19.00.

Join us for the Ghana 50 launch party with celebratory speeches by leading Ghanaian’s, be amazed by the dazzling fashion showcase of the best in rising Ghanaian talent, discover what’s on the Ghana, Gold and Slaves trail, view the special commemorative display of Asante Goldweights, and meet British Ghanaian visual artists and view their Asafo Flag project Forward Africa. In collaboration with cultural partners Africa Image Alliance.

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Age, authority and why Africans wear suits

May 21st, 2007 | 3 Comments | Posted in Fashion, General, Politics, Technology, Travel

Respect is deeply rooted in African cultures. We’re taught to refer to anyone who is older than us as “auntie” or ‘uncle”, regardless of whether they are even related to you. In the past it was understood that your “uncle” or “auntie” had years of experience and knowledge over you; that translated into respect and authority. When an elder spoke you didn’t argue or question him/her. You, as the younger person, were regulated to taking the elder person on their word. But somewhere along the line that authority model has become one of Africa’s biggest problems. More and more, as we are inundated with information at a younger age, we begin to question authority. Soon a “Because I said so” is not enough in the household. We begin to ask that people prove themselves before we respect them and grant authority. In societies which are individual-centered technology’s effect on the relationship between the older and younger generations is not as drastic; but in African societies where respect for your elders, to this day, is ingrained in all facets of our lives, the barrage of information has created a serious rift between the generations. There is a large communication gap between the older Africans who are used to age and respect-based authority and the younger Africans who are beginning to ask a lot of questions about our current society. In various African communities it’s a standoff of sorts between the older generation who still remember pre-independence Africa and are insistent on the idea of a 3-piece suit and the authority they should get because of it, and a younger generation who believes that the suit doesn’t make the man, the man makes the suit. Unfortunately our understanding on respect and authority is caught between multiple worlds. And that is reflected in the bureaucracy that stunts many African nations’ growth. How do we maintain our values and traditions of respect and authority and use our knowledge to rid ourselves of the practices that are preventing us from moving forward?

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Dior puts a little soul in it’s Marrakech Express

May 16th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Fashion, General, Music, Travel

Alek Wek on Dior Cruise 2008 NYC runway Alek Wek's shoes on Dior Cruise 2008 NYC runway

On Monday evening, designer John Galliano showed his Christian Dior Cruise 2008 collection in New York City. Going into the event I expected the normal couture runway spectacle, including the absence of anything or anyone African (or black). I was delighted to see though that Galliano did his part to at least acknowledge the diversity of the times by including Alek Wek and “it girl” Chanel Iman. While the collection and scenery channeled the 60′s-era, the Parisian fashion house designs and choice of music impressed me with it’s updated view of what luxury lifestyle is today. While the inclusion of only two ethnic models in a show themed “Marrakech Express” is not the best case scenario (hellooo! Moroccans have a unique African culture), I am happy to see that the trends I observed in last season’s shows is not catching on throughout the industry. Hopefully more African models can soon get a chance to lend their authenticity to couture runway shows. Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kabede was also in attendance.

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David S. Fick interview on Beninmwangi.com

May 16th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General, Politics, Travel

David S. FickBenin has posted another great interview on beninmwangi.com. This time the subject is David S. Fick, author of Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes. The second part of the interview will be posted on African Path.

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Inspiring the journey

May 7th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, Charity, General, Travel
FastCompany.com: Sibusiso Vilane climbs MT Everest
The main reason I began this blog was to provide inspiration for those people who see the success of Africa as a success for us all. I for one find inspiration in hearing about Africans who are making an impact in the world we live in. Here are two people who are doing what others seem to think is impossible:

Thanks to Benin and John for the inspiration. A good way to start the week.

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Changing “Brand Africa”, an International Trade Forum magazine feature

International Trade Forum magazine: Changing The recent issue of the quarterly magazine International Trade Forum, published by the International Trade Centre (ITC), has some great articles on the cover story Changing “Brand Africa”. The online edition of the print publication, delves into the different areas that the ITC sees are integral in re-branding Africa through trade. Of particular interest is the In Pictures: Changing “Brand Africa” article which touches on various areas where change is occurring on the continent. The areas are A Stronger Role for Women, Services: A World of Potential, Upgrading Traditional Products, and Foundations for Prosperity. Articles titled Made in Africa, Investment in Africa: The Challenges Ahead, Facts & Figures: Africa’s Trade, and ITC’s Programme for Africa, join the In Pictures: Changing “Brand Africa” article, in what looks to be a promising, growing informational feature. The site says, “The articles below, from ITC, UNCTAD and IMF contributors, are the first in the series of stories on Changing “Brand Africa” that will be featured on this site.”

In tourist offices, the most frequent images of Africa are those of safari animals. In the news, the tragedy of several conflicts lingers. On film screens, African conflict diamonds take centre stage in a Hollywood movie.
This image of Africa does not reflect its economic diversity, entrepreneurial aspirations or the optimism that goes with rising investment, growth and greater stability. “Brand Africa” is in need of a change if Africa is to take its rightful place in world markets.

Check out the site features here, and you can also order the print publication. The International Trade Forum magazine focuses on trade promotion and export development, as part of ITC’s technical cooperation programme with developing countries and economies in transition. The magazine is published quarterly in English, French and Spanish.

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Africans on TIME’s 100 most influential people list

May 3rd, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Business, Charity, General, Music, Politics, Religion, Technology

Youssou Ndour TIME influentials 2007TIME magazine has released it’s annual picks of the 100 most influential men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. The list is broken up into groups of Artists & Entertainers, Scientists & Thinkers, Leaders & Revolutionaries, Builders & Titans, Heroes & Pioneers. Here are the Africans who made TIME 100 most influential people list. The African country represented and the categories they appear in are in parentheses.

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