I got an email recently from Terry Ng, who writes at Kineda letting me know that Annansi Chronicles is ranked as one of the top 100 lifestyle blogs. To tell the truth I had never realized that this was a sector of the blogosphere this blog even ranked in. But with company like LifeHack, Tim Ferris , and PSFK, I’m pleasantly surprised. Read the full list.
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As much as we hate to believe it, Africa is still the charity case of choice for celebrities looking to get public sympathy. Time and time again the African brand gives instant credibility and humanizes the privileged and their brand image. With every case in the news I am reminded of how much work we still have to do to get to a point where the African brand means more than charity. As serious as the work may be, humor is always welcome. (via AfricaBeat)
The BBC reports , one of Africa’s most loved musicians, South African reggae star Lucky Dube, has died from gun shot wounds in Johannesburg. It’s a VERY sad day for world music.
He had been dropping his teenage son and daughter off in the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening. Police say they were already out of the car when three shots were fired through a car window killing their father. Alongside Bob Marley, he was thought of as one of the great reggae artists – singing about social problems. He was also one of the apartheid regime’s most outspoken critics.
As the the world goes online by the millions, the possibilities for domain names grows. The internet naming governing body, ICAAN, has been doing a good job so far of keeping up with the demands of online activity and creating standard practices. But while ICAAN considers the creation of non-english domains, Andrew Mack asks, “In a world of .com and .org, why not .Africa?”. Andrew raises a good point as the African continent attempts to attract investment; what better way to reach as many people as possible than organizing around a similar domain. From a business and tourism stand point I can see the .africa domain working as it will help foreign consumers identify services available within countries on the content. Imagine if there was a www.tourism.tz.africa for Tanzanian tourism information instead of the current www.tanzaniatouristboard.com. As Andrew points out, many southern African businesses have currently adopted the .za domain in an attempt to create an association with the strong South African economy and brand. But why not eliminate the regional segmentation and create a continental domain that would aggregate the strengths of the various economies. A .africa domain will also allow the centralization of many African content, business or otherwise, and more accurately reflect the size and depth of content about the continent strengthening the Africa’s brand image. So what do you think? What are the pros or cons of a .africa domain? Would you change your domain? Read more about the .africa efforts at www.dotafrica.blogspot.com.
Recently, MTVU, the university station of MTV, organized a visit by best selling author Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking) and Ethiopian-born American musician Kenna to a University of Pennsylvania sociology class. The class was in the process of studying the chapter “Kenna’s Dilemma” from Gladwell’s book Blinkand the two men made an appearance to discuss the dilemma Kenna faces as an artist who, though heralded by many in the music industry as the next big thing, has yet to connect with a large enough fan base.
If you haven’t heard Kenna’s music yet, I encourage you to get familiar. Kenna, born Kenna Zemedkun, makes some of the most inspiring left of center music today. As a member of the Neptunes production duo’s (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) extended StarTrak family, Kenna’s sound is not what you’d expect pop music to be. Though his previous album New Sacred Cow, the subject of Gladwell’s chapter, had a creative video for the single “Freetime” and gained a 3 star review from Rolling Stone Magazine, it has not made Kenna the superstar he needs to be. Not one to be deterred, Kenna returns this time around with a new marketing strategy for his new cd Make Sure They See My Face. As with similar African-born western-raised artists such as K’Naan, Akon, Somi, and Chosan, Kenna’s comfort with balancing his African and western identities make his music uncategorizable for many. This time around though the combination of re-newed interest in ’80s-style music and fashion, the growth of the popular black nerd trend (Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West) as an alternative to the blinged out hip-hop stereotype, and Kenna’s own growth as an artist and business man, position’s Kenna and his music for better commercial success. Kenna’s image and music adds another dynamic to the growing Afropolitan demographic. As Kenna and the Afropolitan demographic grows more confident in his/her own identity they are exerting incresing influence on popular culture through their art. Hopefully the only dilemma Kenna will face this time around will be how to live with his celebrity. I’ll be watching his rise, and so should you. NPR on Kenna’s career
Two weeks ago I attended the African Travel Association‘s Second Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism at New York University. The forum, organized by the ATA – a global travel trade association promoting tourism to Africa – and hosted by NYU’s Africa House, was put together to provide African leaders from Tanzania, Ghana, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda with the opportunity to “present the continentâ€™s rich travel opportunities to almost 200 leaders from government, non-government and business communities, the tourism industry, travel trade media, and education”. As we waited for the Presidents and representatives to arrive, I spoke to Maria Mmari, Tanzania’s Assistant Director of Tourism Development, who told me about her country’s efforts to encourage tourism. Ms. Mmari informed me that the week prior, Tanzania had launched it’s first ever television campaign â€œTanzania: Land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and The Serengetiâ€ with an event at at Tavern on the Green. In line with the ATA’s current theme of promoting “Destination Africa“, Tanzania’s campaign focuses on positioning the nation as the home of some of Africa’s most recognized destinations, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti, Speaking to Ms. Mmari, I got the feeling that the Tanzanian tourism board had the right idea about what steps to take to encourage American tourism. As Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent, said during his presentation at forum, “American tourists are concerned with safety, reliable communications, stable governance, reliable banking, and luxury”, and African countries hoping to attract these high-spending tourists need to find ways of alleviating these fears. Though I haven’t yet seen Tanzania’s television spot on CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN Airport and CNN.com where it is currently running, I applaud the Tanzanian government for taking the steps to create a brand association for their country. I would encourage the tourism board to continue their efforts. It’s good to see that African governments are taking branding and marketing seriously. I’ve long argued that African countries needs to work on their brand image at the same time as it is working on it’s other problems. While everything might not be perfect on the ground, there is no reason not to start the process of repairing the global image and get interested parties involved in our successes early on.
Bradford Global Marketing, New York, is handling the campaign, which will run through the year-end holidays on CNNâ€™s airport network. Placement also includes CNNâ€™s â€œHeadline News and CNN.com through next March and resumes again next fall. Budget was not disclosed. The outreach also will include on online training program to train travel agents as destination specialists. The U.S. is Tanzaniaâ€™s No. 2 source market behind the U.K. More on the campaign at BrandWeek
Slate posts a hilarious story on a Malawian family’s adoption of Britney Spears’ children. A must read!
“Los Angeles, where the Federline children have been living, is one of the richest cities in the world, trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of depravity, narcissism, and veganism. Nearly 27 percent of the children in Los Angeles suffer the misfortune of having celebrity parents. Mr. and Mrs. M were stunned by the deplorable conditions these victims live in. Children are subject to verbal abuse via cell phone, and babies are dangled over balcony railings. “Fathers kill mothers, and then put out badly written books about it,” Mr. M said. “And the names these children must bear,” said Mrs. M. “Apple, Fifi Trixibell, Fuchsia, Moxie CrimeFighter, Pilot Inspektor, Sage Moonbloodâ€”what kind of future can these poor children have?” – Slate.com