AFROELLE Celebrating Women of African Heritage
Anniversary Issue 2013
INSIDE: OUR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE POWER LIST
FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Patricia Miswa ONLINE www.afroellemagazine.com WE ARE SOCIAL
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AFROELLE MAGAZINE | Encourage. Empower. Entertain. Elevate
Thank you to all our contributors who helped make this issue possible!
JoVonna Rodriguez, GEORGIA
MsK NY, NEW YORK
Jennifer, NEW YORK
JoVonna is a vessel for words and emotions. She is a native New Yorker who now resides in Atlanta, Georgia since graduating from Emory University. She is AmeriCorps alum whose commitment to service is now bridged with being a life long educator. She makes sure to incorporate creative and innovative ways of learning how to love reading and writing in her classroom.
MsK NY runs the blog African Prints in Fashion. With her blog she tries to explore the imprint of the African Diaspora on the fashion industry. Of GermanGhanaian heritage she lives and blogs in Brooklyn, NY. MsK works as a Marketing Expert and aspires to create Marketing/Social Media consulting services for emerging designers.
Born and raised in the suburbs of a metropolitan Nigerian city, Jennifer uses fashion as a medium for self expression. She started Beau Monde Society a creative hub for artistic and fashion forward inclined individuals that view fashion not only as a career but as a raw art form. BMS specializes in services ranging from Fashion show coordination, production, PR, to Styling and Personal Shopping.
Carol Stewart, LONDON
Iman Folayan, Texas
Coach P, NEW JERSEY
Carol Stewart helps women to transform their careers so that they have the confidence to achieve their full potential in their professional lives. She is a Personal Development, Career and Business coach and owner of Abounding Solutions.
Iman hails from Houston, Texas but considers herself a world citizen. As an active member of the West End Community in Atlanta, GA she uses her writing to promote change.
Coach P is a Wellness Coach and Nutrition Expert . She is WEGO Health, Health Activist and a member of The American Nutrition Association. “Healthy living isn’t about perfection. It’s all about balance; Besides, I appreciate cheat days.”
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Happy Anniversary, AfroElle!
he world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. When I came across this quote from the Rocky series, I immediately thought about Anna. Anna was the cleaning lady at an organization I once interned for. She was nice and quiet and always had a certain radiance about her, you wouldn't know about the invisible load she was carrying.
Every morning I’d meet Anna by the stairs leading to our office, mopping the floor and on some days, in the washrooms cleaning the toilets. One day I met her dusting our office windows and between the dusting and cleaning she shared her story. She used to be a housewife with two kids and her husband worked at the power company. Life changed for Anna when her husband died in a fatal car accident, her husband’s side of the family came for all their possessions and pressured her to be inherited as a second wife. With two kids and no job, she hit rock bottom but didn’t let the situation get the best of her. Anna started looking for work and was willing to take any job available , even if it meant scrubbing toilets to put food on the table. So by day Anna cleaned our offices and washrooms, brought tea to the office, ran errands, and during her breaks you’d find her studying because in the evenings she was attending classes to earn her diploma. Over the weekends Anna offered catering services at weddings. With all that she was able to take her kids to good schools and make sure they have what they need. At the end of the conversation she mentioned that when her husband died, all the odds were against her but she never gave up. As I prepared this anniversary issue, I remembered Anna and wanted to celebrate our issue by sharing her story. Her courage, strength and wisdom encompass the heart of AfroElle; celebrating women and their stories and creating a platform where other women are encouraged and empowered by these stories. As we celebrate 3 years, we have a special Power List featuring movers and shakers that you nominated. These are women who are making significant moves is their fields, influencing lives and paving the way for other women. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Feel free to email your feedback and suggestions. Being that we are in the second half of the year, I leave you with the words of Eric Roth “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Patricia Miswa Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTENTS Music, Books, Art & Culture
8 Books to Read: Chika Oduah
18 Pearls Heels and Dreams
9 Good Reads With Ronke Adeyemi
19 How to Live Fearlessly
10 SUKOLUHLE ‘SUE’ NYATHI
19 Things We Need to Let Go Of
12 Creative finds with Adiya 14 Musicians You Should Know
20 Q& A With ‘GET UP & GO HARDER’ Queen, Tiphani Montgomery
15 5 Minutes with Vocalist Selam
22 Think & Grow Chick; Courtney Powell
16 Pepe Oleka
24 Financial Resolutions 24 How to Stay on Track with Your
Music, Books, Art & Culture 33 Around the (Fashion) World 34 Sharlendipity 36 Through Her Lens 38 Studio 29 40 Diana Opoti ; On Fashion and Designing Africa 42 At Home with Yemi Onibiyo 52 In the Kitchen with Atim Ukoh
Special Feature Power List [Pg 54-73] “Do not fear the sound of your own voice and have the courage to be your most authentic self regardless of how quirky and ‘different’ that self might feel.” ~ Amina Doherty
53 Healthy Tips 7| www.afroellemagazine.com
Books to Read For Nigerian-American Chika Oduah, words were always her escape. At an early age she began writing and using words to express sentiments and ideas she found difficult to share with others in dialogue. Chika became an avid reader of novels and in her childhood and adolescence and was seldom without a book. As a journalist she has been reporting for 10 years, most of her work covers news concerning Africa and the African Diaspora and has appeared in CNN, The Huffington Post, National Public Radio, Religion News Service, McClatchy News, MSNBC and other media outlets. “I am fascinated by culture, the culture of indigenous people, the way we are, as Africans. I like to explore who we are and present that truth to the world. Africa is full of untold stories and it’s time for us to tell them.” Chika shares her list of books you should read .
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo Women journalists are awesome! Especially the ones who care and are willing to go down to the people. That’s what Katherine Book, the awardwinning journalist, did in her pursuit to write this captivating book.
We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo This debut novel by the Zimbabwean writer and winner of the Caine Prize for African writing in 2011 has already stirred interest. I met Noviolet Bulawayo in New York and I found her to be a sturdy artist with a gentle persona. I look forward to reading this book.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neal Hurston was a woman after my own heart, as the saying goes. One of the African-American writers that emerged during the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston was a true individual. She was an anthropologist. Zora’s works embodied the spirit of the times. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a stirring story of a woman’s journey to self-discovery.
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama I want to suggest Barack Obama’s second book. Barack Obama has earned his place in history. This book reveals how it was done. It’s not about making you become the next president; it’s about how to understand and carry out your purpose in life. A good book.
Good Reads With Ronke Adeyemi Blogger and Digital Marketer Ronke Adeyemi has been working in marketing for over ten years, focusing on online marketing and social media which involves writing and implementing digital marketing campaigns. She is the founder of Ondolady.com, an award winning blog that covers style and culture in the form of films, magazines, books, TV, fashion and music. Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger The original book caused a sensation back in 2003 when it was released, spending six months on the New York Times Bestseller List. It was turned into a very successful film that made stars of Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt. The book has also been an inspiration for films and shows such as Ugly Betty, The September Issue and to a certain extent, Gossip Girl. Revenge Wears Prada was released in June. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi This book is about a close knit Ghanaian family living in Massachusetts who are torn apart by lies but reunited by their grief. British-born Taiye Selasi has been touted as one to watch for 2013 and with the likes of Toni Morrison and Salmon Rushdie in her corner it is of no surprise. Afropolitan is the word she used to describe the characters in her debut novel.
The Naughty Girl's Guide Book Club by Sophie Hart Last year was the birth of erotica in an acceptable form and 2013 will be nothing different as publishers ride the wave. The Naughty Girl'sGuide Book Club is the story of Estelle who sets up a book club in order to increase custom to her struggling cafĂŠ. However, instead of being interested in books the members are more occupied in spicing up their sex lives.
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella Ever heard about those girls who make a pact with an ex that if they are not married within a certain time that they will marry each other. This book is about a lady called Lottie who has thrown in the towel with guys who don't want to commit to marriage. So when her old boyfriend pops up to remind her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. Sadly not everyone is as thrilled about their wedding as they are. The book was released in April. Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding Another installment to look out for is the third book in the Bridget Jones series. Yes, dippy Bridget is back (big panties and all) and still seeking her happy ever after. The word is that she is somewhat more mature and level headed but with the occasional faux par and in this book she will be trying her hand at internet dating. The book which is un-named will be released in the autumn.
a few words with
SUKOLUHLE ‘SUE’ NYATHI author of The Polygamist
here did it all begin, the writing? The writing began at a very young age. Scrap booking from the age of 10 and finally it graduated into a fully fledged novel when I was 13 entitled “Crazy Over You.” It was a frivolous teenage love story influenced by the Sweet Valley High Series which we were reading as school children at the time. My “books” were always written on A4 exercises books and were circulated from one high school to another like a hot DVD. Since there was only one copy, it was always a one night only affair. I know a lot of kids didn’t do their homework because they were reading “Sue’s books” and I didn’t do my homework either because I was busy “writing” them! Did you pursue a degree in something writing related after high school? The intention was to study Journalism after I finished high school. It seemed like the natural progression considering my passion for writing. However none of the local universities had that course on offer so ironically I enrolled for a course in Finance. A decision I don’t regret considering how long it has taken me to make a break through into writing I would have perished a pauper by now! So are you now a fulltime writer? At this point it’s safe to say I’m a part time writer. Prior to the Polygamist I had not written anything new in like 2 years. My writing got overtaken by my day job. I work as a consultant for an economic development and strategic planning firm. The job is mentally taxing and the hours can be long and gruelling. So when that happens, the creative side switches off.
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What I am trying to do is to develop some sort of writing routine that I can stick to so that we don’t have another 2 year hiatus between The Polygamist and my next book. The Polygamist, the title is eye-catching. For those who haven’t read the book, can you give us a brief summary of it? The Polygamist was the working title of the book. However, on completion of the novel, it seemed like the best title for the book. Jonasi Gomora is the Polygamist. He is a wealthy banking magnate who oozes charm and sex appeal. The story centres around him but is narrated by four female protagonists: Joyce is the first wife who lives the “Desperate Housewife” dream. However the dream becomes a nightmare when Matipa, an ambitious career driven woman steps into Jonasi’s boardroom and eventually his bedroom with intentions of initiating a hostile takeover. Unknown to both women, is Essie, Jonasi’s childhood sweetheart who lingers in the background of his life but is at the foreground of most of his decisions. She has always been there and has no intentions of leaving. However unphased by all these other women is the young and vivacious Lindani who has nothing going for her except her beauty and body. Her life goal is to be upgraded from whore to housewife. And so their lives become intertwined and entangled in Jonasi’s polygamous web of deceit with severe repercussions. How did you come up with the female characters? The female characters are fictional but they represent stereotypes. For example Joyce is an archetype of a trophy wife of a rich successful man whilst Matipa represents a go getter career driven woman. Then I used my creative abilities to flesh them out. Characterisation was extremely important in developing each of their individual personalities. Almost everyone who has read the book will attest to knowing someone who resembles one of those women.
Almost every time they are able to put a name of someone they know to those characters. For me that is the strength of the story because it’s so believable. The only character that was inspired by someone I know personally is that of Joyce’s mum. What was the inspiration behind writing this book and how long did it take you to complete it? The prevalence of what I term “underground” polygamy was the inspiration behind the book. It’s a phenomena I had observed over several years. We are not talking about President Jacob Zuma’s brand of polygamy which is culturally rooted and openly practiced, rather the undercover kind of polygamy which is shrouded in secrecy and fraught with lies. We live in a society where men purport to be monogamous yet they live polygamous lives. Polygamy might have its roots in African culture but the kind of polygamy practiced today is motivated by greed and other selfish motives. Moreover I feel the practice is moribund especially now with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. So against this background the book took root and six months later I was done writing it. Then I’ll get readers who says they completed it in a day! Wow!
There is also a much bigger market here for buying books as compared to home. I would not say that this is because people in Zimbabwe don’t read, they do. Public libraries have burgeoning memberships. Issues of affordability and priorities mean that buying of books is seen as a luxury as opposed to a necessity. In South Africa there are also initiatives being taken to encourage reading e.g. Readabook SA. I think ultimately we need to cultivate a culture of reading beyond the high school years. We need to actively encourage reading for pleasure and as a leisure pursuit.
So what advice can you give to someone who wants to cultivate a reading culture? You need to be disciplined and make time for it like everything else in your life. Finding time to read is becoming elusive. You are competing with social media, television and other pursuits. However if you have a passion for it, you will set aside time for it like you would going to the gym. If you can’t afford to buy books then join a library or form a book club and exchange books. There are also second hand bookshops. Moreover with the advent of eBooks, some are available for free or almost next to nothing. So if you are thirsty enough for the word 6 months! Did you have a deadline or was it creative impulse? you will seek it and find it! What do you find challenging about your creative process? What books are you currently reading? I did not have a deadline but the creative energy was flowing. I am currently reading “How to be a Woman” by Sometimes I would start writing in the morning and it would be Caitlin Moran. It was a gift from a friend. A hilarious 11pm and I would realise I had forgotten to eat. When I start writing I want to do nothing but write. I only stop when I get book. Perfect holiday reading. Before this, I was stuck (mental block) then I leave it alone for a while and return reading “The Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda when I feel inspired once more. Ngozie Adiche. It is a beautifully written, thought Are you working on any book project this year ? provoking emotive story. In 2013, my goal is to read There is definitely a story in the making for 2013. The working title is “The Gold Diggers”. It’s a story about migrants who come more works from other African writers. Who are some of your favorite authors? to South Africa in search of the elusive gold. The Polygamist is not my first work of fiction, rather the first to get published. I I have several favorites and this list is by no means am also flirting with the idea of getting some of my other unpublished works in print. exhaustive, it will continue grow! I love Jane Austen. She writes about 19th century English society in a Being a native of Zimbabwe but currently residing in South way that I write about 21st century African society. Africa, are the literary markets significantly different? Marian Keyes & Kathy Lette. They both have a I was born and raised in Bulawayo together with my three wicked sense of humour. Martina Cole because she siblings. Its during my childhood that I developed a love for is forthright and bold in her expression. I would like reading that transported me beyond the borders of Bulawayo. to add Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi to my list as she The literary markets between the two countries are significantly represents the young emerging voices in literature. different. The publishing industry in South Africa is more vibrant Yvonne Vera and Tsitsi Dangaremba. They inspired with a lot of publishing houses like Jacana, Penguin, Random many female aspirant writers, myself included. The Struik, Pan Macmillan etc. Moreover here you find more fiction authors of the Bible which I believe is an intriguing titles being put out. Back home, the emphasis is more on mix of love, betrayal, sex and murder with a potent publishing of educational books because that is where the overriding message. market is and I suppose the money as well.
Founder of creative organization Muse Origins, Adiya shares her favorite creative finds around the web. 1
2 Designer, Maki Oh I have always had a ‘thing’ for Maki Oh collections. The simplicity and minimalist art that each piece showcases always leaves me pleased, and eager to see more. Sometimes I wonder how they don’t run out of creative designs. I definitely want to see more of the brand this year. http://maki-oh.com/
Photographer, Mambu Bayoh Photographer, Mambo Bayoh, was one of the reasons I started Muse Origins. His love of the Black African Woman leaves me with a warm feeling in my belly. He captures them both on set and in their daily urban lives. And he captures them perfectly, in celebration of their black skin.
I love the way that Kushn mixes leather and the Ghanaian Kente fabric to create beautiful leather works. Leather has always been known as classy, but Kushn adds that unique style to it with beautiful touches of an African fabric that is not Ankara as usual. I would love to see how they play it up this year. http://blog.kushn.co.za/
Stylists, Street Etiquette
Virgos Lounge has gotten very popular among young women that want to add that classy elegance of days past in their wardrobes. I have loved each and every piece from each and every Virgos Lounge collection. Their beadworks too cannot be underestimated! And I still want more.
Street Etiquette is made up of two extraordinary male style bloggers. It’s not every time that male style bloggers get it right, but these two have made a name for themselves, and are definitely role models for their look – the stylish young gentleman that mixes up urban looks with that ‘70’s look. I always look forward to what they’re coming up with next.
Designer, Virgos lounge
Designer, Jewel by Lisa
The brand, Jewel by Lisa, has undoubtedly established a name for itself in the African fashion industry as a whole. They have a unique fabric design and come up with such different and beautiful pieces for each collection. I’m always left wanting more. http://jewelbylisa.com/
Musician, Fatoumata Diawar is beautiful musician with a story to tell and with such a soothing voice. I discovered her quite by accident on the net, and boy am I glad I clicked ‘Play’. I look forward to listening to new albums from her.
Unfortunately, it’s mostly Nigerians that understand the twisted hilarity of cartoonists, OurOwnArea. They take random everyday life and culture in Nigeria and make hilarious jokes about them. It’s always fun to watch their cartoons and I always look forward to their latest uploads. http://www.facebook.com/pages/OurOwnAREA/197667290265388
10 Photographer, Glenford Nunez
Nunez started The Coiffure Project to celebrate the natural kinky African hair. It caused quite a wave amongst bloggers, and for good reason. I’m looking forward to more images on the project, and will be checking up regularly for updates. http://trustyourphotographer.com
Designer, Ozwald Boateng With all the press and success that designer, Ozwald Boateng has enjoyed this past year, it’s no wonder I’m looking forward to new works from him. It’s always interesting seeing his work, especially his womenswear, and I can’t wait http://ozwaldboateng.co.uk/
Muse Origins is a creative blog with the main aim of showcasing African creativity through photography, fashion, music, art and culture. http://museorigins.net 13| www.afroellemagazine.com
Courtesy of naomiwachira.com
Courtesy of kadijakamara.co.uk
Courtesy of www.kaytegracemusic.com
Musicians You Should Know
Kayte Grace Kayte Grace is known for her pop, rock & roll, soul, folk and blues music. The Maryland native began her musical journey after stumbling upon a $50 guitar at the corner of Linens N' Things. She bought it and began writing her music. She has since been featured as YouTube’s "Unsigned Pick", released 3 albums and two singles and has songs playing on over 130 college & independent radio stations. She's also played in nearly 200 shows in 19 states. Kayte’s songs are rich in story and reflections of what lies at the heart of her music, community. This Summer she will be releasing the first EP of a year long, five-part project called "Set Fire to Separate Lives,". www.kaytegracemusic.com
After years of experience as a backing vocalist and group work, singer – songwriter and composer Kadija Kamara stepped into the music front line in 2005.
Recently she did a cover of The Young Rascals’ hit Groovin’ which was also recorded by Aretha Franklin for her 1967 album Lady Soul.
Raised in a musical family, at age 5, Kenyan born, Seattle based singer– songwriter Naomi Wachira joined her parents’ choir and from then on her love for music became an outlet to express herself. Her music; a blend of African rhythm, American folk and soul takes on issues at the core of society and shares her story as an African woman living in the Diaspora. Naomi draws inspiration from musical greats such as Tracy Chapman and Miriam Makeba because of how they empowered people with their music. Naomi hopes that her music relates to anyone regardless of their education, beliefs, or socio-economic status. Early in the year Naomi released her first 3 song EP “African Girl”.
The London-based singer is known for her stunning vocals and alternative soul music and has since composed and co-produced her own music while working with the likes of Joey Negro, Mark De Clive Lowe, Zed Bias, Fanatix and Chris Samba.
Photography by Richard Barr
Bumi Thomas Bumi Thomas is a dynamic contemporary African, acoustic Jazz-folk-soul singer and songwriter based the London. Elements of jazz, folklore, high life, Afro-beat rhythms, reggae grooves and tribal nuances run through her music which is a representation the journey of a modern African creative in the Diaspora. She describes her work as also encapsulating her evolution as a woman. In 2011, Bumi received the Womatt Best of British (BOB) Award for Best Solo Newcomer and was also nominated for two BEFFTA awards "Best Female Act" and "Best Female UK Based Afro-Caribbean Act" www.bumithomas.com
5 Minutes with Vocalist Selam
â€™ve been singing since I was 4 years old. I use to carry a krar, which is an Ethiopian guitar-like instrument, and freestyle and sing. Actually, my father had several recordings of me on cassette tapes (yes, remember those?) doing that. I remember loving the sound, how it felt when I sang, the limitless stories I could tell with my voice. It was definitely a freeing experience. My music is Honest.Eclectic.Soulful. I would say that the music I am creating is founded on strong songwriting and soulfully eclectic productions. My sound is rooted in jazz but there are definitely elements of soul and pop. When I listen to music I imagine an entire scene and/or film, so when people listen to my music I want you to see vivid and it to feel real. My songs are about my experiences in life, love, events, and different emotions. It also is very much inspired by the people around me and their lives. The news, films, artwork, and even other artistâ€™s songs. I always carry a notebook with me because I never know when a single word, story or moment may inspire me to write. I am inspired and influenced by vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Whitney Houston, Maria Callas, and Barbra Streisand. I am influenced by many different musical artists such as Tina Turner, James Brown, Otis Redding, Cannonball Adderley, All of Motown, Bob Dylan, The Who, Bjork, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Mahmoud Ahmed, Ayalew Mesfin, Michael Jackson, NERD, The Black Keys, PRINCE, Sade, the list can truly go on and on. Currently I have been listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Solange, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar, and Emeli Sande. Currently I am in a group with another VA-based producer musician named DaRon Jones. We go by the group name DaRon Selam . We have been working to meld our love of jazz, soul, hip/hop, and pop music. We have released 3 songs thus far that are covers and mashups of songs we love which you can listen to and download here: daronselam.bandcamp.com or here: soundcloud.com/daronselam . We are in the works of putting together our first EP and hope to have it released this summer and it will be available on both the bandcamp and souncloud sites. 15| www.afroellemagazine.com
epe Oleka was immersed in a rich music heritage from a young age. Born in Badagry, Nigeria border to a Beninese mother who loved country music and a Bob Marley music lover, Nigerian father, she attributes her training to a cocktail of influences from voodoo rituals songs, Sunday Mass liturgies and Agbadja played at women monthly gatherings in Lome, where she moved to stay with her mother, to listening to Billie Holiday on the radio on Saturday nights. Pepe also plays the Udu, an earthenware jar with a hole on the side. She currently resides in France where she is a well sought Beninese artist and recently released her album "TchitĂŠ". We connected with Pepe to find out more about her music, inspirations and new album. 16| www.afroellemagazine.com
For those who have not heard your music, how can you describe it? I describe my music as afro-soul-alternative. I have a reputation of singing sad melancholy songs , but for me, what matters is sharing of the emotions through words, a melody, the state of soul. Its allowing the other person to experience my way of thinking through my music.
Looking back to your childhood, what was your first influence of music? I had the chance to listen to music very early in my childhood. My late dad was a hardcore fan Bob Marley. My mother and almost all women born to sixties in Africa loved country music. It was quite melodious at home. Then again later, I became interested in African American music from artists like Etta James, Billie holiday, The Temptations, Otis Reding and Sam Cooke. But African music is what stands out among many singers of my generation.
Tell me about your first performance, where was it and how did you feel? My first performance was in high school. I participated in a music competition. It was one of Angelique Kidjo’s songs and it won me the first prize. It was a great time performing alongside other amazing singers.
Being exposed to different cultures, Nigeria, Togo, France, what music scene do you like most? Every scene is unique. Often the show and quality also depends on the public. I love where I can communicate with my audience best. No scene is equal and I love the experiences I get in different places, whatever the place.
What your songs talk about? Whether melancholy or hard, my songs always end up with a message of hope. I sing about the value of our African culture, about the every day life of women, their independence and relationship with men. Some songs are directly inspired by my personal life. I sing the songs to help others through their situations.
My favorite song has to be "éDiyé" What is the story behind this song? I wrote éDiyé shortly after moving to France. As a young African I had a picture of Europe which was not completely true. This song is inspired by the problems that I never thought I would ever face. I found myself in the streets of France having to look for
ou have a new album out, can you tell us more about Tchité?
"Tchité" means you raise or hang up. It’s a word from my mother tongue "fon" that I practice a lot. This is a very deep album , you will hear a mixture of sensitivity. It's an album you need to listen to make his own opinion.
What plans do you have for your music this year? All major projects or performances scheduled? I’ve come back from Cotonou (Benin) where I released my album. It was beautifully received. We are preparing shows in several cities then later on we may head to Africa and America. There are collaborations planned with different artists on various projects.
earls Heels and Dreams( PHND) is the 'lovechild' of two dreamers who created a platform to empower, educate, expose women from all walks of life to the power of dreaming in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world. Norma Ndove , a blogger and facilitator with Map 4 Life and Leone Nezi Founder of Ifunanya Trust, a facilitator with The Pacific Institute and legal background foundation are the fire brands behind PHND. Both women share their boundless, infectious energy that borders on a shared passion to change lives and the ability to laugh and embrace life. â€œAs Pearls Heels and Dreams we believe that each person must be granted the opportunity to explore their dreams. We aim to touch one life at a time and unleash the potential and dream that maybe dormant or forgotten. We believe in women building a network to help each other, support and celebrate each other in our individual spheres. We are inspired by the desire to just touch one life and leave it changed forever.â€? says Norma. PHND has hosted three successful events in Harare and Johannesburg creating an open platform for women to empower each other by sharing their personal journeys to realising their dreams or their own strengths in their areas of expertise. Past speakers include Tsitsi Mutendi, Founder of Jewel Magazine Sue Nyathi the author of The Polygamist and Josephine Kanengoni the Founder of Divas Online Inc. In 2013, PHND are planning on taking the PHND philosophy to a few Africa countries and also launching the PHND Network of ladies in every country and city we host an event so as to allow continuity. www.pearlsheelsanddreams.com
Pearls Heels and Dreams
Pic Source: Shutterstock.com
Things We Need to Let Go Of Words: JoVonna Rodriguez
H How to Live Fearlessly Words: JoVonna Rodriguez
We live in a world where chasing your dreams has become cliché, which at times can impede on your current reality and unravel everything. However, going against the grain can be the determining factor of your life. Being able to live fearlessly, full of vigor, and tunnel your passions can be life changing. My advice: Be True! Be Bold! Be Free! Be True! Align your passions, goals, and desires with who you are. Humble yourself. Stay in constant reflection in order to continually develop and evolve. Project a path for yourself and aim high. Don’t hesitate to go against the advice of other’s who have not accomplished what you hope to achieve. Be Bold! Be a trailblazer determined to take the greatness from others, twisting and molding it into your own. Be willing to embrace ideas, but be bold enough to stand on your own. Network to learn from those you admire and adapt what you learn to fit your life. Be bold enough to be secure the now but still chase tomorrow. Be Free! Be free of limitations, constraints, and expectations. Limitations, whether mental or physical, can be detrimental to your level of hope and inspiration. Constraints include friends, relationships, and responsibilities that distract you from your purpose. Expectations will let you down; let go of them now. Be free in every sense of the concept to fearless.
alf the year is gone, so everyone is focused on trying to maintain positive energy, making changes, and gearing up for the months ahead. Entering the second half of the year can certainly serve as an excellent time for reflection. Seeing every day as a blessing can help you feel empowered to make some changes. At the end of 2012, I started a Confession project designed to collect anonymous confessions to be used in my future book. More importantly, the project was supposed to serve as an outlet for others to release energy into the universe and let go. So many people hold on to family secrets or personal revelations that end up eating them alive. Release such into the universe ignites a sense of freedom. Sometimes, when you’re within the bubble it’s hard to see it. Sometimes, when you are in love, it’s hard for you to see the negative in your partner. Sometimes, when you are consumed with life, it’s hard for you to accept that your friends may not be on board with your life changes. Sometimes, you have to be mindful of the importance and process of letting go things you cannot control and taking control over those you can. Sometimes, we don’t realize how powerful it is to let go. Things to Let Go:
False Positives, broken Relationships, negative habits or thinking, bitter friends, denial, obligations, expectations, clouded visions, perfection, assimilation, arrogance, guilt, need for acceptance or approval, procrastination, time and doubt. Change creates outlets for growth. Letting go creates outlets for strength. Combined, the two produce moments of clarity. Release all that is holding you back. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable. Be prepared to experience mixed emotions. Be prepared to transcend to another level of no limitations.
Being Fearless is a state a mind. 19| www.afroellemagazine.com
Q& A With ‘GET UP & GO HARDER’ Queen, Tiphani Montgomery Tiphani Montgomery’s childhood dream was to become a best selling author, in the 4th grade she practiced signing her autograph because something inside of her knew it was going to happen. Against all odds, pregnant at 17, being told she would amount to nothing and later dropping out of college, Tiphani decided to ’Get up and Go Harder’ and turned her life around. At 21 she become a self published author and within one month of publishing her book, she managed to sell 2,500 copies and generate close to $40,000 dollars . Tiphani is now a best-selling author and has been on Essence Magazine’s best sellers list SEVEN times, she is also a motivational speaker and strategist for single mothers who want to become entrepreneurs. Through her ‘Get Up and Go Harder’ empire she is helping people believe in themselves and realize their dreams. She shares with AfroElle her life story, mission and how she overcame adversity.
lease share your life story with us. I was never good in school. They diagnosed me with A.D.D when I was 9 and so I've always been an extreme doodler. I left high school at 16 with a 1.7 GPA and my principal wouldn't let me graduate unless I took anger management. By the time I was 17, I got knocked up. Everyone around me told me that I had ruined my life because I was having a child so I entered into college to make everyone else happy. I was a freshman in college for 3 years straight and I dropped out with a 0.0 GPA. At that moment I realized that I was not only failing myself but my daughter as well. That's when I decided to self-publish my first book. I learned how to write in anger management and I used those tools to produce my product. I used my tax refund check to finance my book and sold my first 2,500 copies in 30 days. Since that time I've written four novels and have been a Essence Magazine best selling author seven times.
and that's where I learned how to write. So when I self published my first poetry book, it was called: HATE ME BITCH! because I was still sorta angry at life. At the time I was managing a popular night club and that was like my make shift bookstore. I grew up around hustlers so selling something wasn't a problem. I targeted all the local drug dealers and they would buy my books by case loads and they would give them to my real target market which were women.
What has been your most proud moment in your journey to success? I wrote down how much money I wanted to make monthly. When I reached that goal of being able to live the life of my dreams and provide for my children with a business that I love, that was my definition of success. I didn't want to go to college or work a 9-5 and because I didn't give up when everyone around me told me I should, I made my dreams come true.
What kept you motivated despite your challenges? I felt like my daughter deserved to have more than what I was offering her. She didn't ask to be here. I also didn't want to give my naysayers the satisfaction to watch me fail. Success was my only option. Always will be.
Who or what inspires you to be greater, to aim higher and achieve more in life? I inspire myself to do so. Along the way I stopped listening to not only criticisms, but also validations from other people. My only competitor is me, so as long as I'm doing better than I did yesterday, I'm good.
What did you start doing differently that led you to where you are now? I changed my perception about a lot of things. I started to learn that I deserved to succeed. I deserved to have EVERYTHING I wanted. I was worthy of love. I built up my self esteem and developed healthy boundaries. I also stopped befriending people who weren't motivated, gossipers and naysayers.
What's your life mission and what legacy would you want to leave on earth? My life's mission is to teach single moms and single women how to love themselves so much that they raise a generation of strong children instead of repairing broken men.
What is your message for anyone who is a bad situation; lost job, bad relationship etc? My message for those who find themselves in bad situations is to get on a journey of learning how to love yourself. It may sound lame, but the truth is, you wouldn't stay in a bad relationship if you loved yourself and thought you deserved more. You stay because you believe that there is nothing better out there for you. When you increase your self love, you begin to not tolerate situations that are abusive (mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically). Learn how to love yourself and those bad situations will begin to fix themselves. You have been on Essence magazine bestseller list seven separate times, did you ever imagine that your books would be a success when you started selling? Yes. I absolutely knew without a doubt that I was going to be an Essence Magazine Bestseller before I had even wrote the book. I visualized how I would feel when I saw my name in the magazine for the first time and when it actually happened, I had all the feelings that I imagined. How did you sell 2500 copies of your book in 30 days? what was your first book about and what was your strategy? I was forced to take anger management when I was in high school
How do you help single mothers become entrepreneurs and what have you learned about yourself through the process? Through my signature offering called, GET UP + GO HARDER STRATEGY SESSION, we figure out what it is they actually want to do and we get very specific about HOW the money is going to be made. A lot of women don't feel like making money can be easy and fun, but I'm a great example of that being untrue. I also help them create a personal brand, online marketing and promotion strategy. What I've learned about myself is that there is always something to learn. I'm big on personal development and becoming a better woman and working with these passionate moms makes me want to learn all I can so that they will succeed. At this point, how would you describe success? I'd describe success with having a peace of mind, a great relationship with God, a healthy lifestyle/body and lot's of money! But even if you don't have those things yet, you're also successful but for the mere fact that you haven't given up!
Think & Grow Chick; Courtney Powell On Being Financially Free and the Lessons Learnt I am a 24 year old young professional and recent graduate who lives and works in Dallas, TX. I love natural hair, thrift and consignment stores, podcasts about entrepreneurship, delicious organic food, heavy weights at the gym, paper books (not eBooks!), and black yoga pants, among other things. In other words, I am a huge nerd with lot of different interests! More specifically, I am passionate about personal development and becoming a success, however you define both success and improvement. My obsession with all things self-improvement, in fact, led me directly to my blog, Think & Grow Chick.
like me, accomplish various things in our lives. I wanted to try my hand at these steps not only to get wealthy, but also to grow my natural hair, start a business, get in shape and so much more. In other words, I wanted to be a Think & Grow Chick! Thus, the blog was born.
On being 19 and with a $4500 debt The idea for Think & Grow Chick came from a combination of several things that had been brewing in the back of my head for years, but it didn't truly spark until I attended a women's entrepreneurship conference in 2009. At this conference I had the chance to participate in a group life coaching session that really changed my perspective on accomplishing goals. During the session, the speaker told a story about how she stumbled upon the book "Think and Grow Rich" and it changed her life. She described how in Chapter 2 of the book, the author lays out a simple but specific plan that all the wealthy people he chronicled followed in order to become rich. When I flipped to that chapter in the book to see this "magical" formula that was supposed to make any person rich, I immediately realized that the prescribed steps could help someone accomplish anything they wanted to do, not just be rich. Pretty soon, I was brainstorming all the ways that these "Think and Grow Rich" steps could help me, and other young women 22| www.afroellemagazine.com
The almost-destruction of my financial life began right around the time I almost destroyed my college career. When I first enrolled in school, I was brought into my university on a full-ride scholarship to study Chemical Engineering. All went well in my freshman year, but by my sophomore year, I had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and I was convinced that in order to "make it," I had to throw formal schooling to the wind and go after my dreams Mark Zuckerberg-style. In short, I all but quit going to class in favor of attending business events around the city and meeting with other wanna-be entrepreneurs. Needless to say, by the end of my sophomore year, I had lost my scholarship and gained a rapidly tanking GPA. School loans were the only hope I had in continuing my
“I started to get real serious about getting my spending habits in check because I knew that if I didn't, it wouldn't matter how much money I'd make in the future—I would always be broke.
education but much to my dismay, I couldn't apply for one because I had no established credit. My solution? I applied for a credit card. My first card had a $500 limit or something low like that. Common sense would have told me to use it responsibly and pay it off every month, but of course I was too hard-headed to do that. It wasn't long before my first credit card turned into three, with all of them maxed out. By the time I was 20, I was in debt to the tune of $4,500 and had no way to repay it.
On getting the wake-up call My wake-up call to get my financial life together came one dreary October in the administration building of my school. In utter disbelief that yes, this was in fact my life, I met with counselors that morning to finalize my withdrawal from school. My scholarship was gone, the student loans had run out and I was standing at a dead end. The only hope I had at that point in life was to take a waitressing job, work to pay off the remaining $3,000 in tuition I still owed the university, and try to rebuild my life. While working that waitressing job, I completely busted my butt to try to get things back on track.
By the sheer grace of God, I was able to transfer to a cheaper university on the other side of town just in time for the spring semester. Given a new opportunity, I was completely determined to do things right this time. Not only did I want to make stellar grades so that I could apply for new scholarships, but I wanted to pay off all of my credit card debt by the time I graduated. As a recent graduate, I am proud to say I did both—I departed school with magna cum laude on my transcript and a $0 balance on my credit card statement.
On damage control To pay off all my debt , I had to give up pretty much all extras in. I didn't have cable. I lived with roommates in soso parts of town in order to keep my housing costs low. I not only took public transportation, but I often took the bus instead of the train because it was cheaper. I bought all my groceries at discount stores like Save-a-lot and cooked at home only. If I needed new clothes or even a winter coat, I went to the thrift store. I even sold many of the clothes I had originally bought with my credit card on eBay just to recoup some of the cost.
On the debt snowball method With my extreme penny pinching, however, I would say the top two things that helped me get my finances back in order were (1) saving 10% of all of my income ( even $25 gifts from Grandma) and (2) attacking one debt at a time using the "debt snowball" method. The debt snowball method is a way to pay off debt popularized by Dave Ramsey.
his goes back to our societal values and not being able to find contentment with the material possessions we already have or not practicing patience in saving for (versus charging) the things that we want. When I learned that, it really opened my eyes. I started to get real serious about getting my spending habits in check because I knew that if I didn't, it wouldn't matter how much money I'd make in the future—I would always be broke.
With this method, you throw all the money you have left after necessary expenses towards your smallest debt, while just paying the minimum on your larger ones. Once the On financial literacy smallest debt is paid off, you repeat the process on the next smallest debt until all your debts are paid off. This is how I paid off my 3 credit cards on a $14/hour, 18 hour/week salary The educational system should absolutely teach students while in school. about money, preferably before they even get to college! In my perfect world, financial concepts would be taught as On managing finances early as middle school so that students would not continuously run into these problems when they become Women in their early 20s are not as knowledgeable and young adults. Middle school may seem like a really young aware of their finances, generally speaking, of course, as they age but many wealthy families informally begin educating should be, which is a complete shame. I think women in their their children about the family’s finances that early. We early 20s have some general understanding of what a spend so much time worrying about going to the right person should do with their finances, but the reality of school and training for the right career but we spend needing to actually implement those actions has not yet set in. The number one advice that I would give to women trying virtually no time learning how to manage the financial to gain control of their finances is to just start, even if they success we hope our careers will bring us. start small. I think a lot of women feel inept at taking control I truly do believe our current educational system is lacking in of their financial situation because maybe they don't make a this area but truth be told, I think this is a reflection of many lot of money right now or they feel overwhelmed by things "adults" not having their finances together. How can the like debt, poor credit, etc. educational system teach students to be successful with money if the educational system is full of teachers that need None of those reasons are a reason not to at least start, big things can happen with even the smallest changes. As I the training themselves? Ultimately, I think our issues with mentioned earlier, I would save 10% of EVERY bit of income money stem from societal problems such as materialism, that I received, even $25 gifts in the mail from my impatience, and the overall "YOLO" (You Only Live Once) grandmother. Doing that alone allowed me to build up a $500 lifestyle. I think the values portrayed to young adults in the mini-emergency fund in a matter of months and I was a lowly media concerning money are just as important as whether intern paid hourly while in college. That small step or not schools teach financial literacy. snowballed into other larger steps that I was able to take, so never underestimate the power of just starting. The best advice—or concept, rather—that I ever received concerning money is "it doesn't matter how much you make, it matters how much you keep." I first came across this advice when reading my favorite personal finance book of all time, The Millionaire Next Door. I was utterly amazed when reading that book at how ordinary people—school teachers, mid-level managers, etc.—could become millionaire simply by saving and investing 10, 15 or even 20 percent of what they had over the long run. Many of the people featured in the millionaire next door never even had salaries of more than five-figures per year, yet they were able to become wealthy. Many people who make extraordinarily high incomes, however, end up having very little to show for it in the end because they end up spending as much , or sometimes more, yikes!, as they make every year. 24| www.afroellemagazine.com
On being debt free and lessons learnt Through my journey of becoming debt free, I've learned (1) not to envy what other people have because you never know if they got in debt in order to obtain them, (2) to be more creative with and appreciative of things I already have and (3) to never stop learning about personal finance, as being knowledgeable about it gives you an edge in so many situations. I've only scratched the surface in terms of improving my finances so I love learning more. Right now I'm learning a lot about loans, mortgages and the U.S. banking/monetary system in general. It is really hard to empower yourself if you don't have knowledge so I'm trying to learn as much as I can.
Financial Resolutions Words by Carol Stewart Many of us set goals concerning our personal lives or our businesses but how many of you actually make resolutions or goals concerning your finances that will set you on the road to achieving the financial security that you desire? If you find that your financial situation just does not get any better, here are five financial resolutions that everyone should think about making: -
How to Stay on Track with Your Budget Words by Carol Stewart
Plan for the future Have you given any thought to your retirement? When you are in your 20s and 30s, the thought of retirement seems like a distant memory but it is amazing how quickly the years go by. If you have not already done so, get some advice and start planning. It is never too late or too early to start.
Establish a budget Set a budget and keep reviewing it. What will your income be? How much do you need to pay the bills, the mortgage or rent etc. Match your expenditure with your income.
Track your spending Tracking your spending will enable you to have a clear picture of just what your money is going on and whether it is necessary. You can also keep a diary that will enable you to track and evaluate your finances. This way you will know how much money you use each month and see if you are saving responsibly.
Setting a budget and sticking to it is not always easy and a lot of people shy away from doing it properly. It is however necessary if you are to have control over your finances as having a business and keeping it running are two totally different things. This is one area that many business owners put off when they are pushed for time but this should not be the case. Your finances are the pulse of your business because without money, your business is dead. The following four steps will help you stay on track with your budget. List your expenses Make a list of all the expenses for your business such as utilities, rent, advertising etc. and work out how much you need to spend on these. Separate your fixed expenses from those that vary. It is easier to budget amounts for fixed expenses first. Expenses that vary will require more creative thinking. One way is to do an estimate of the average of the previous 12 months (if applicable) and add on a small percentage for inflation. Forecast your income realistically
Your budget will be partially based on your projected or estimated income. When determining the amount, be realistic Save and rational so that your budget will actually work for your Even if it is only a small amount, save some money each business. month. Once you get in to the habit of doing it, you will not miss spending that money. You will be surprised at Track your budget for the week and month Know what your weekly and monthly outgoings are and keep a how this builds up over the years. record of your expenditure. There are a lot of websites or phone Pay off your credit card debt apps where you can get tools that will help you to keep a track. Pay more than the minimum payment each month. Did Update your records daily so that you keep on top of things. you realize that if you had £5,000 outstanding on a Likewise, keep a record of your daily, weekly and monthly income. credit card with an APR of 18.9% and paid a minimum Know what the state of your budget is at all times. repayment of £80, it would take you 267 months to Review, Review, Review repay it all. You would end up paying £21290.48 in total Review your budget weekly, monthly and yearly. You want to with £16290.48 of it in interest alone. know where your money is going and if you are spending too much, reviewing it frequently allows you to cut back on things To stick to these resolutions requires commitment but that are not necessary and get back on track. it will be worth it in the long run. Finally If numbers and budgeting are just not your thing. Seek the advice of an Independent Financial Adviser or an Accountant.
Fashion Envieâ€™S Midsummer Jungle
The Nomadic Chic Inspired by nature, the nomadic tribe in Africa, and the classic cut, The Nomadic Chic describes a young woman looking for alternative ways to remain trendy but at the same time keeping the environment in mind. This look was completed by a few statement jewelry pieces to bring the earthy tones to the forefront. Top-Upcycled Tunic & poncho jacket by Amy Decew Designs Necklace and Belt by Bunm-I Jewelry Bracelet- Stylistâ€™s own Below- Models are wearing tunics upcycled from previously worn garments Bracelets by Design by U Jewelry
Fabric Harvest The inspiration behind Fabric Harvest is celebrating the beauty of nature through vibrant colors. By placing the scraps of fabric on withered branches, we are reminded the sourceof these materials. The joy that time of harvest brings and the importance to reconnect with nature. Tanks, Scarves, Blue turban and Dress designed by JWhite Mustard scarf- Stylistâ€™s own Necklace Belt by Bunm-I Jewelry Bracelets- Design by U Jewelry
Fashion Envieâ€™S Midsummer Jungle Designer Credits Clothing Designers Amy Decew Designs: www.amydecewdesigns.com JWhite: www.facebook.com/jwhite Tamara Leacock for ReciclaGem NY: www.reciclagemny.com Accessory Designers Bunm-I Jewelry Designs: www.facebook.com/pages/Bunm-i-jewelry Design by U by Fatima Samad: www.dbufashion.com Styling/Creative Direction by: Jennifer Nnamani for Beau Monde Society Photography by Oye Diran for Arista imagery Makeup by Moshoodat Sanni Hairstyling by Kathy Clarke Louis Models: Ney, Sylvia, and T-age To learn more about Fashion Envie or to join the ecoventure, please visit: http://www.lebeaumondesociety.com
Around the (Fashion) World with Tan Celebrity Stylist shares her love for fashion and life, plus a few tips! Words by Iman Folayan No matter the language, like a smile, fashion is understood worldwide. As a culture within a culture, the fashion industry thrives on diversity, evolution and creativity. For designers and models notoriety is as simple as a stroll down the runway. Stylists, on the other hand, gain notoriety by tapping into the individual and discovering their ‘look’. Sounds simple but the art of styling is like any other work of art, meticulous, challenging and ultimately breathtaking. Tan, Celebrity Stylist by trade and Art Director by profession, had humble beginnings before she dived headfirst into fulfilling her personal passions. While freelancing as a stylist in 2007 she worked on music video sets and other smaller projects often taking a background role. She recollects her early days comparing it to Chanel, who first began designing hats and later evolved to a globally renowned designer with products ranging from shoes to fragrance. Another of her inspirations, Basquiat, probably best gives way to her individual quirky style. “He channeled his inner-child and remained true, and with each look I hope to do the same.” Most people have the misconception that styling is just about putting an outfit together, but “knowing the education behind it” is what’s important says Tan. Studying the person (personality and body type) and knowledge of the color wheel and color blocking are essential tools used with every client. Balancing vibrant prints and ornate jewelry is just one of her specialties, and whether she’s writing a treatment or directing a production the goal is to “alway keep my client happy and still show my vision”. She also offers clients a unique experience through her various hand-made accessories including shoes, rings, and headpieces, to name a few. The brand ambassador has worked with model and Real Housewives star Cynthia Bailey as well as Recording artist Tweet, and Shanell (Young Money artist), just to name a few. For the everyday lady that expresses her style as a mother, entrepreneur, teacher, businesswoman, or fierce diva here are a few tips to have a fabulous style no matter where you are in the world.
1. Say NO to MatchyMatchy: There should always be at least three colors in the same family. Get a color wheel and have fun with color combinations! 2. The First Fit Sticks: We’ve all changed our outfit several times only to arrive at our first choice. Trust your inner fashionista she won’t steer you wrong. 3. Let Your Clothes Talk: Be comfortable with you and understand that your clothing is an expression. Your outfit should be a conversation without you ever opening your mouth. 4. Be Random: Tops, Bottoms, Shoes- grab three choices randomly and notice your trend. Be confident in your selection and rock it to perfection. 5. Accessorize: Transform ordinary to Extraordinary; accessories are the best way to add that little splash of color your outfit needs. Be sure to check out her upcoming webisode and vintage tour where she’ll be highlighting the best fashions finds worldwide.
When vintage lover Sharlene Wilson Ottley accidentally discovered her love for vintage inspired outfits and overall style, she immediately began receiving numerous requests from family members and friends asking her to help them discover their own styles and tackle the mystery of “thrifting”. It was there that Sharlene brought her site, Sharlendipity to life. Sharlendipity, which is a place where primarily vintage fashion is showcased as well as a modern twist on vintage themes, has a unique connection to the term serendipity-”an aptitude of making desirable discoveries by accident.” Sharlene chats with AfroElle about her love for vintage clothing and advice on personal style. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you do? I grew up in the Mid-Western States. currently live in the District of Columbia (D.C.) Metropolitan area. However, I have strong Caribbean roots, as I am the first generation American in my family. I am a speech-language pathologist by profession and I am currently pursing doctoral studies.
What three words define your personal style? Vintage. Eclectic. Eccentric.
First Love? I think the first time that I went thrift shopping was with my mother when I was about 6 or 7. I remember begging her not to buy me clothes from the “second hand” store. However, little did I realize that these little trips to the thrift stores would turn into one of my favorite past times. I began to realize the value of thrift shopping when I became a little older—probably around high school. I saw how much I could obtain for so much less in terms of money. But what really attracted me were the things that I could find from different eras, things I couldn’t find in typical retail stores. 34| www.afroellemagazine.com
How do you go about collecting vintage clothing? I find the majority of my vintage pieces from thrift stores and consignment shops. I typically will collect a new piece, depending on need or inspiration, on one of my monthly trips. I have also collected a few things from my mother, who held on to a few of her pieces from when she was younger. Sometimes I will purchase items online at sites such as Etsy.
What are a few of your favourite pieces? I cannot think of a particular piece that is my favorite. What I do enjoy is taking a variety of pieces and mixing them with other pieces to create unique outfits.
If you were born again in a certain era, which era would it be? What era do you think had the best fashion? When I find myself drawn to a particular vintage piece it usually originates from the 50s and 60s. These have become my favorite eras of fashion, although I also incorporate items from the 40s, 70s, and 80s.
It feels like fashion has a way of moving forward and then coming back decades later, do you think vintage clothing, is coming back? I strongly believe that fashion is constantly evolving and that clothing and styles that were popular in previous eras always come full circle, with styles being replicated with modern twists.
Who are your fashion icons? I love Audrey Hepburn’s style, as she was popular in the 50s. I find myself referring to a lot of her movies for classic style inspirations. Also ,Phylicia Rashad’s style on the “Cosby Show” is another one of my favorites. Generally I will look at fashion books and images from various eras, then I'll put together outfits rather than looking at one particular fashion icon.
Any advice on personal style? I think the most important thing is to know your body shape. Knowing what pieces look good on your body shape is key to feeling and looking your best. I provided some information regarding body shape on my website and will be providing information on how to put pieces together for the various shapes mentioned.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Feel free to stop by my blog at www.sharlendipity.com. I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your feedback. Photo Credits: www.cthrulens.com www.scrolevision.com JAR Media & Design
I Amina Touray;
Through Her Lens
nternational Los Angeles based photographer Amina Touray’s first photography experience was at 11 years old when she received her first compact camera. “My friends would often call me the paparazzi since I would always take candid photos. I also had visual ideas in my mind of scenes I wanted to create, and so I did. A few years later when I had experienced some ups and downs in life, I found an old yet new way of expressing myself as an artist and I took my photography to a new more mature level.” From a young age, Amina was exposed to world of various cultures. Coming from a family of Swedish and Gambian heritage she travelled a lot and basically grew up in photo studios as a child model. “ This allowed me to be around creative and fun artists,” she says, adding “Now I live in Los Angeles since a little over a year back which is a huge playground for all of my photography ideas. It's also given me great opportunities to collaborate with inspirational people such as makeup artist Hary Villarreal who's a great team mate. She has done all the makeup in the photos you can see here.” Amina is currently drawn towards editorials and fashion photography and hoping to focus on traveling photography, capturing different images from different cultures and people caught in the moment . She believes there is so much more to be explored and creative people to collaborate with and that is what keeps her excited about photography. Amina hopes to one day photograph in the Zahara desert or at one of the great wonders of the world such as the great wall in China or by the pyramids in Egypt.
Studio 29: Creating a one-stop hub for African Designers Words by MsK NY
If you have been an avid follower of emerging African Designers and tried to get your hands on some of their designs, you might have noticed, that connecting with them isn't always so easy! Some designers struggle to focus on Social Media, an updated website and customer communication besides their creative work. Sometimes they are not able to ship any of their showcased items immediately, because they don't have the designs in stock and no seamless delivery process in place. Ronke Ademiluyi, CEO of Africa Fashion Week London, together with Suby and Sinem BilenOnabanjo of S TWO PR, are trying to bridge the gap between designers and their market by offering a space to stock and sell their designs: Studio 29. AfroElle connected with the team to learn more about the concept and the services offered for designers.
AfroElle: What is Studio 29? Studio 29: Studio 29 is the first Africa Fashion Week London concession store stocking African and Africainspired designers. With our Ikeja branch (29 Opebi Road) launched in April and a further branch opened in Lekki shortly after, we aim to bring a one-stop designers' hub to all stockists who choose to stock with us. Not only will they have retail space at Studio 29, but access to the venue for fittings, meetings, photo shoots. We will also use the AFWL resources to ensure we promote their work on all Studio 29 platforms, via newsletters, product placement, celebrity endorsement, regular press and shopping events at our boutiques.
AfroElle: What is the objective of Studio 29? Studio 29: Much like Africa Fashion Week London which aims to provide an international platform for African and Africainspired designers from around the world, Studio 29 aims to create a retail platform to bridge the gap between the designers and their market. Our founder Ronke Ademiluyi noticed that there are often financial obstacles which get in the way of emerging designers in reaching out to their market in terms of publicity and retail. Thus he decided to set up Studio 29 to address these issues and create a designers' hub.
AfroElle: What does 29 stand for? Studio 29: 29 stands for 29 Opebi Road, the address of the first boutique on one of busiest commercial streets in Ikeja, Lagos. We also aim to stock 29 designers in total, from garments to accessories, to bags, shoes and hats as well as cosmetics.
AfroElle: Which designers are selling their designs in Studio 29? Studio 29: Currently we are stocking Yutees, Bebe Grafiti, Violet Couture, Crown Natures from Nigeria, UK-based Nigerian designers Adebayo Jones and Asake Oge and UK/ Ghanaian label Rosinta Couture.
AfroElle: Are you focusing on Nigerian designers predominantly or designers from across the Diaspora? Studio 29: We are definitely interested in labels from both Africa and the Diaspora. While giving emerging designers from Nigeria a retail space, we also want to create a boutique of international standards for designers from the diaspora and the continent where they will be able to not only stock their designs, but also set up meetings and fittings with clients when they are visiting Lagos.
AfroElle: What trends do you see emerging ?
AfroElle: Besides Lagos, where else can we expect to see a Studio 29 store? Studio 29: You are most likely to see Studio 29 coming to London later in 2013.
Studio 29: Most certainly the world is taking note of African fashion and its diversity. It is great to see that some long-established misconceptions about Africa and African fashion in particular are slowly but surely changing and the Western World is keeping an open mind about what Africa has to offer. Looking at the AFWL 2012 runway which saw 50 designers showcase over two days, prints are still popular for both men and women - while some designers went for all-over print, some opted for subtler embellishments. In womenâ€™s wear, metallic ranging from gold to bronze are big, while opulence, with sheer fabrics, lace, silk, chiffon, is still going strong. Most African designers played with feminine silhouettes from prim pencil skirts to pretty peplums to vintage-inspired A-line tea dresses.
AfroElle: Will there be an online presence? AfroElle: What tips would you give aspiring designers? Studio 29: There will be an online presence, but we are first and foremost focusing on getting the bricks and mortar space right before expanding online.
AfroElle: There are several collaborations of retailers with African designers - what are the benefits for African designers? Studio 29: We feel partnerships and collaborations are always useful, especially when emerging or established brands can benefit from an international name's support to get wider publicity and can see the return - in terms of business sense - of their collaboration, and we are delighted there is so much going on in African fashion at present.
Studio 29: The advice I have is to ensure they work hard to develop their craft. Most see fashion as a glamorous job but it involves a lot of hard work, creative pains and sleepless nights. You cannot expect to become an overnight sensation before putting in the work. Also ensure, however small your budget, when it comes to your brand awareness and publicity, never settle for mediocre, as a badly created website or look book is more likely to put off potential clientele than entice them to give your designs a chance. Find out more: http://www.africafashionweeklondon.com/
Diana Opoti On Fashion and Designing Africa As the name suggests, Designing Africa with Diana Opoti is the brain child of content producer Diana Opoti, who creates stories and curates them through features on television magazines. Some of her most notable experiences in television include serving as a senior content and studio producer for Africa’s top talk show – The Patricia Show (MNET), a show that was broadcast in over 42 countries in Africa as well as the panAsian region, the US and the UK. More recently, Diana was series producer for East Africa’s only magazine lifestyle show – Mashariki Mix. She headed the team that created the show and brought it mid-season before she left to create her own programming. In her current project that premiers on August26th on Africa Magic Entertainment (across africa) and in the UK on Africa Channel (UK), Diana speaks to leading African personalities shaping the fashion scene on the continent and the What inspired you to start Designing Africa? diaspora. Starting Designing Africa with Diana Opoti was an easy decision. The Diana shares with AfroElle about the growth and new wave of African fashion designers on the global scene created future of the fashion industry. an opportunity and I jumped at it – but this would prove to be tougher than filming the glamour of catwalks. We are making programming that in concept has existed for years but this time around making the designers the focus of attention. I feel that only when designers become brand names can consumers on the continent show their real appreciation of African fashion design by shopping and promoting the local fashion retail industry. Can you tell us a little bit more about what we should expect from Designing Africa? Designing Africa with Diana Opoti is a series of conversations with top names in African fashion as well as profiles of some of Africa’s most successful top fashion events. The show, through profiling designers from different countries on the continent will open up retail consumer bases beyond regions. In our first run we travelled to South Africa for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa both under the Africa Fashion International (AFI). We also covered the Festival for African Fashion and the Arts (FAFA) in Nairobi, headed out to Ethiopia and discovered a luxury footwear brand for men (ENZI), the Hub of Africa in Ethiopia to the Ghana Fashion and Design Week in Accra and the Swahili Fashion Week in Dar-esSalaam, as well as interviews with top designers such as Gloria Wavamunno and John Kaveke, Stiaan Louw, Titi Ademola , Nelly Aboagye, among others. Next season has an even more exciting line –up. African Fashion – To print or not to print? Fashion in Africa is rich in how contemporary brands seek inspiration from traditional cultures, textiles, colours and symbols, interpreting
it into modern fashion collections, and then placing this in the heart of global cities – fashion for all, made in Africa. Arguably, Africa enjoyed the center of attention for its vibrant prints made by companies such as Vlisco or Woodin among other names, consumers and designers are shying away from the cliché’ of how African fashion design is defined. Beyond the print, we have to be critical of African fashion. Take a look at the design, signature styles, inspiration and functionality to determine the top names in the industry. Some designers expressively shy away from prints and others like South African Sindiso Khumalo create their own graphics, still designers have managed to create a balance while keeping true to what’s important – their design aesthetic. What are you learning about fashion from one country to another? There are two ways to address the question of how countries compare in reference to fashion. First way is through fashion weeks and the other is through retail and distribution of African brands. Fashion weeks across the continent show an almost even representation of global awareness of catwalk production, modeling industry and amazing design talent. Iconic events include – Arise Magazine Fashion Week – perhaps the most iconic and glamorous event on the continent is held in Lagos, Nigeria. The event boasts of the best African Designers on the continent and in the diaspora. Last years event invited the iconic Ozwald Boateng to showcase on their platform.
Africa Fashion International boasts of three Mercedes Benz tiles, Fashion Weeks Cape Town, Johannesburg and Africa, offering platforms for emerging designers, a wonderful hospitality package for fashion retailers looking to buy African designers and well as exhibition spaces for designers. Heads up to Dr. Precious MoloiMotsepe.
from Nigeria , Ghana and South Africa for their retail structures for local designers. Boutique and specialty stores where you can buy local designers of your choice. Then Africa will begin to see the business of fashion.
Ghana Fashion and Design Week is another brilliant event attracting top Ghanaian designers on the continent and in the diaspora to showcase their work across three days.
The fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds, what do you attribute to that?
The Swahili Fashion Week represents the entire Swahili speaking countries on this side of the Indian Ocean. The event was created by Mustapha Hasanali and now into it’s sixth year. The show engages top event producer Jan Malan and his team for its entire production. The show has a fair representation of East African Models as pulls designers from over 7 countries. Kenya’s’ flagship event, Festival for African Fashion and the Arts (FAFA) celebrates 5 years this year. Once a coveted gala fashion event, attracting top names in African fashion such as Kofi Ansah, Nkwo, Doreen Mashika, Tiffany Amber and models such as Ajuma Nasenyana and Tess Njuhi the event seems to have lost its glamour and appeal. Its 2012 event offered a handful of noteworthy designers - the majority of the rest being Kenyan emerging designers. Ethiopia’s Hub of Africa, the youngest of all events got people talking in its first two years. The Mataano sisters, John Kaveke, Mafi Afework and Doreen Mashika being some of the designers who showcased at the event. As far as retail goes, the rest of the continent can certainly borrow a leaf
To gauge a fashion event in status – one must factor the status of designers at an event as well as a representation of nations for those events that tag themselves as AFRICAN. The models strutting the catwalk as well as the choreography, the quality of show production, the buyers at these events as well as top BRANDS affiliated with the event.
The African continent offers a wealth of inspiration for global fashion trends, but we are fast seeing a shift – designers on the continent are creating trends that are fast catching on in street style and runways. There’s certainly no lack in creativity across the continent, so I’d like to challenge the business of fashion right from the manufacturing and production of textile through to the quality in design production and then retail – all these issues must be addressed from an industry sector first before we look at personal fashion brand strategies and distribution. “Made in Africa” is a phrase I throw out as a challenge with every interview and designers are quick to acknowledge how important it is for the industry to have manufacturing capacity on the continent, for accessibility to production plants. These things they say will influence retail costing and make their clothes more affordable to the masses.
At Home with
Yemi Onibiyo House of Arike is a London based interior company founded by Yemi Onibiyo. The company specializes in creating avant-garde, luxury, African print home décor blending African heritage and Western culture to create statement interior pieces for the discerning client. Nigerian born - London raised, Yemi’s love for interior design and vibrancy of African print inspired her unique collection. With the word ‘Arike’, pronounced "Ah-Ri-Keh", Yemi pays homage to her parents and her African heritage. "Ah-Ri-Keh" is a Yoruba name given to Yemi at birth by her parents that means "one who is blessed on sight".
So I did and here we are with HOA. What was the process like, getting your business off the ground? It’s taken me some years to get to the point I'm at, and there is still so much I want to do. At the beginning I spent a lot of time researching, researching and more researching. It’s not just about having the financial backing but about knowing your craft, your target audience, the industry, and how you can grow your business, not for three years but for many years. Basically I didn't contemplate about starting anything without doing my homework.
With no prior experience in design or fashion, but with an undying love for interior design, Yemi immersed herself in research, studying fashion and specifically interior design.
You entered into a fashion/design with no prior experience, what’s the best business advice you received before embarking on that journey?
Read on for our interview with Yemi.
I must say the story of designer Ugonna Hosten gave me a lot of inspiration. Like me when she started she didn’t have any design or fashion experience, in fact she studied Criminology at University ,same as me. I mostly identified with her story most and it gave me so much encouragement. It's not easy to just decide to change your career path, but having the determination, passion and drive proves that nothing is impossible.
As a child did you love fashion and design? As a child I was actually more of a tom-boy, it wasn’t until my early teens that I grew out of that phase. Then came fashion and design and I was hooked. I have never studied fashion or design but it’s been something that I've been passionate about. I love the different styles and how you define your own fashion, mixing the different influences. This also goes with interior design. You create your own fashion; your own world. I believe you can tell a lot about a person through their fashion or home.
Tell us about that defining moment that pushed you into starting HOA. Anyone that knows me knows that I love African print, so when I bought my flat years ago I was really excited about having my own place but it was the decorating aspect that got me really fired up. I knew that African print needed to feature, so I incorporated little accents here and there. When family and friends came round they gave some positive comments about the placements of the prints and asked me why I wasn’t looking into interior designing using African prints as my unique spin.
Before my business I was not a big social media buff. I knew about the different platforms but never really used them to their full potential, however, thanks to my business friend Fikayo Giwa (Founder/CEO of SimplyKayo) I saw the "social media light". I kick myself thinking why I didn’t use them (social media) sooner. Designer Adebayo Jones has been an amazing mentor. I was privileged to have met him a few months ago at an award ceremony and ever since he has been so helpful in my journey in overtaking the interior world. He has given me so many great solid advices and has been such a source of inspiration. I truly admire this man. At the time were there any African designers doing the same? 43| www.afroellemagazine.com
Take us through a day at work with HOA.
There are a handful of successful African print designers already doing home décor and I greatly admire them – Eva Sonaike, Banke Kuku, La Petite Congolaise, H is for Home, Binta, Atelier Africa, Samson Soboye, and Yinka Ilori. What sets your brand apart from other African home decor brands? I think that House of Arike already has a unique tone. My brand gives the customer a complete home experience, this means unlike others we are not only focusing on soft furnishing or furniture, we are creating staple print pieces for each space of the home - from the lounge to the dining room to the bedroom. Also no longer are customers limited to ordinary square cushions, they can now get their favorite prints in the different shapes and sizes we offer. Basically we offer a bespoke service for our discerning clients. What was the first product you created? The first ever created HOA product was a plain square cushion using some Ankara that was bought whilst in Nigeria early last year. This material or design is now part of the collection.
At present I still have a full-time job so I have to work on HOA during any available hours I have. Fortunately my job has been extremely understanding and flexible. In that regards I am truly blessed. A typical day involves waking up really early to check the blogosphere and respond to urgent emails. After all that I’m getting ready for work. On my train journey I’m tweeting away and reviewing my todo list. When I get to work, I focus on my job, and for that time it’s my first priority however when I get any break I’m back to HOA mode. In the evening my main focus is HOA, I don’t finish until all the daily tasks have been accomplished, and that often means late nights. Its hard work but I’m definitely enjoying the great adventure. With African Prints becoming popular, is there a market for interior products as it is for fashion? Funny you asked that question as it was the main question that I asked myself when I started. I definitely believe there is a market for African print home decor. Everyone is always looking for ways to change their home without having a complete revamp and paying a lot for it. You don't have to drape your entire home in print but bring to life your home with a few accents. Prints definitely add a fashionable element to your home; from cushions to furniture to tableware to bedding. The list is endless. Do you think its popularity is something that will fade way? I genuinely believe African print is here to stay. What some people don't know or understand is that African print has been around for many years. Since I can remember my parents have wore African print for parties, church or general occasions. With the emergence of non-African
designers using prints in haute couture this has shown how influential African print has become and will continue to be for decades to come. What advice would you give someone looking to get into home decor? With all start up, not just home décor you can’t start any business without knowing your craft, you need to know whether your product or service is needed; basically what can you bring to the table that’s new and innovative. A very useful tool for me was writing a detailed business plan which outlined my main objectives, where I saw my business in 1, 3, 5 , 10yrs. At first it was daunting and took some time but it was essential. You have to think you are investing your time and money into this business so you need to be sure you know it inside-out. What’s next for HOA? Right now we have a few projects going on simultaneously, so HOA headquarters is constantly buzzing. We are in talks with a renowned textile designer to create our own African print, which will be exclusive to HOA. We have a few Pop Up events coming up in the summer, working in conjunction with some of our stockists; dates and location will be announced very soon. There are a few other things in the background but for now they will remain top secret. So as you can see HOA has a very busy and productive year ahead. Definitely all hands on deck!
9 year old Mary Tataw Eyere was born and raised in Douala, Cameroon and came to Europe 6 years ago to study fashion. Her label, M.A.F Couture which stands for Mixed.African.Fashion Couture , was founded in 2009. Mary uses the beauty from Europe with African prints and mixes them together to get the exclusive pieces. She's known for designing cultural outfits with a modern twist. The following editorial consists of collections that M.A.F Couture has produced over the years. Credits Photography by Remon van den Kommer Designer pieces M.A.F Couture by Mary Tataw Eyere (Cameroon). Styling by Marlon Hoekerswever. Make up by Vivian de Wolf Hairstyling by Fleur Ruijl & Elaine Garnaat @ Haar in de Wind Model Sippora Jackson.
Designer Mary Tataw Eyere
In the Kitchen
with Atim Ukoh of Afrolems 26 year old Atim Ukoh is the CEO of Afrolems a catering business in Canada that specializes in Nigerian cuisine and continental dishes. Atim also serves as a social media trainer for real estate professionals and handles other social media accounts but states that cooking is where her real passion lies.
In September 2009 while still an undergraduate student, Atim started her blog Afrolems as a platform to share recipes to help people interested in trying new recipes and even familiar recipes , the Afrolems way.
Toronto Area? Ever since I started, I have always had a lot of positive feedback from people in the GTA and beyond. I have had several requests to cater events, weddings, baby showers and all kinds of events. I have also had a lot of reception from women that are newly married and never knew how to cook that are learning the staple recipes from my blog. I have also had people from inter-racial marriages send me emails saying how much they appreciate me posting up these recipes as now they can cook for their husbands with ease. I recently exhibited at a conference and when I got up to present my business, I got a standing ovation from people that I wasn't even sure knew my business. It has been great so far.
â€œI grew up in a household where cooking was portrayed as an art and my mother made and still makes a fuss about presentation of dishes. This grew on me and influenced me when I started my blog. Afrolems in simple terms means African food. Lems is not particularly from any language, it was more a slang that we used to call food in school. When I was about to set up my business and I was brainstorming with my mum on what name to call the business, I said to her "I know it must be something catchy." There were already a number of food blogs out when I started so I needed to stand out and What kinds of food to you prepare? that's how the name Afrolems came I mostly prepare Nigerian foods about.â€? because that's what I grew up learning how to make but this year it Afrolems blog evolved and Atim decided is my mission to explore other African to push it to another level; a catering foods and learn how to make and business targeting students that did not present them perfectly being that the have time to cook. Atim works with a name of my business is Afrolems. I team of 5 people that assist in big also get inspired by other cultures orders for events, handle administration that are not necessarily African and and blogging. try to make dishes from them but modify them to fit my taste buds. How has been the reception to Afrolems' food been like in the Greater
Is there a particular dish that is the customers favorite? There are a bunch of dishes that are favourites by my customers; Gizdo(DodoGizzard), Jollof Rice, Puff Puff, Moi-Moi, EfoRiro, Designer Stew, Scotch Egg and my Pepper Chicken. These dishes have been ordered over and over again and sometimes it doesn't give me a chance to feature other dishes at parties. Based on the orders that I make, other people that attend the parties and end up ordering the same set of things for their events as well. What is your definition of a great meal? A great meal in my opinion is one that keeps people talking for days, months and even years after they had it and they always bring it up in conversation with you long after they have had it. A great meal is memorable and some may even call it soul food.
Healthy Tips Ingredients 10 Medium pieces of Beef 1 cup of coconut milk 2 Tablespoons of Curry 1 bulb of onion 5 Scotch Bonnet peppers (Moderate for your spice level) 2.5 Tablespoons of salt 4 cubes of Maggi cube 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon of thyme A handful of cherry tomatoes A handful of raisins A handful of roasted peanuts
Method *Wash beef, season with 1 Tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, ½ bulb of onion, 2 cubes of Maggi and 2 scotch bonnet peppers. *Bring to boil till beef is soft. If there is any stock left, keep aside as this would be used in the sauce. * Pour in the coconut milk into a pot add the salt, Maggi cube, cayenne pepper, onion slices, scotch bonnet peppers, curry and thyme and bring to boil over medium heat. *Pour in the beef stock and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. *Pour in the beef in the sauce and add the cherry tomatoes, peanuts and raisins. Stir and allow the sauce to simmer for another 2 minutes. *Serve with white rice.
With Coach P It’s so much easier to commit to slow small changes. This time I want you to stay persistent and commit to making full-circle permanent changes. Let’s get you started with these Healthy tips: 1. Log off! With scientific research constantly evolving, things are becoming more obscure. One minute something is deemed healthy but in a split second you may read a post that it is unhealthy. A large sum of the articles floating around is LOOSELY based on scientific evidence. In fact, most are heresy and opinion. Do your own research from accredited and reputable sources. Consult with your physician and or Nutritionist before making drastic dietary changes. 2. Eat every two hours. Eating smaller, more regular fiber-filled meals is better for your digestion, reduces acid indigestion and constipation and aids in weight loss. Sixty percent of what you eat in a day should be fiber-filled veggies. 3. Stay Active. The more you move around physically, the more calories you burn which increases your ability to lose fat. The best physical activity is the one that is enjoyable enough to do regularly. Aim for two hours a week of structured (Fitness session with a trainer or instructor, fitness program) and non-structured (dancing, jogging, skating etc.). 4. Write the weight off. Keep a food and fitness journal. Journaling is not only good for your mental and emotional health but it is essential for you overall health. Seeing things on paper puts them in perspective. "Seeing is believing". 5. Believe that you can! Losing weight or reaching any goal can seem daunting but remember you are your strongest support system. Remind others how fabulous you are by believing in you. 53| www.afroellemagazine.com
Game Changers | Top Influ
uencers | Emerging Leaders
Rainatou Sow , London - UK Founder and Executive Director of Make Every Woman Count “Women represent half of the population in Africa; we simply cannot develop a continent if half of its population is left out . I see a bright future of young African women who are showing themselves to be leaders in their own equal rights movements and through MEWC I hope to help them add strength in their voices while raising awareness of their issues and their work on the international stage. I would like to be a role model for young African women, to inspire, to motivate them to stand out, to make a difference in whatever they choose to do, so that young African women and African youth in general, will be the great leaders of tomorrow. My vision in starting MEWC was to ensure that African women and girls have a real voice in all governance institutions, from the judiciary to the civil service, as well as in the private sector and civil society, so that they can fully participate equally with men in the public dialogue and decisionsRai is the founder and executive making and influence the decisions that will determine the future of director of Make Every Woman their families, communities and countries.” Count (MEWC), an organisation based in London, that promotes African women and girl’s rights by putting it at the heart of the continent’s socio-economic development strategy. Originally from the West African country of Guinea, Rai is an advocate of human rights, women's issues and social justice. She is a resilient advocate for a peaceful and equitable world. She has been working and advocating to promote African women and girls rights since she was 12years-old.
Courtesy of rootsofsouthsudan.org
Rai holds a MA in International Relations as well as a MA in Law, she has worked with several organization such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, UNECA, PeaceWomen and grassroots organizations in areas of peace, development and human rights focusing on women and youth. Rai was Awarded as the "Most Inspirational Woman of the Year 2012" by Women4Africa, and named of the "20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012" by Forbes Magazine. She was also featured on CNN's African Voices . www.makeeverywomancount.org
Anyieth D’Awol, , Sudan Founder the ROOTS PROJECT
In 2009, Anyieth D’Awol founded the Roots Project as a means for providing the women of Southern Sudan a secure environment to pursue economic independence through tribal crafts. By 2011 56 women and 4 men from sixteen tribes were working and attending classes together in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Apart from social and economic empowernment, the project also demobilizes women associated with armed forces, young mothers, returnees, orphans, widows and the elderly. Anyieth has previously worked as a Human Rights Officer for UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan). www.rootsofsouthsudan.org 56| www.afroellemagazine.com
Amina Doherty, 29, Kingston, Jamaica Women's Rights Consultant
mina is a Nigerian feminist activist and artist whose work focuses on feminist philanthropy and creative arts for advocacy. She holds a BA in Political Science & Women’s Studies from McGill University (Distinction) and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics (LSE). Prior to her role as founding member and general coordinator of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Amina worked in the women’s rights grantmaking program at the Sigrid Rausing Trust and has also worked as a research and youth organizer at the Directorate of Gender Affairs in Antigua and Barbuda. Amina brings to her activism a passion for music, art, travel, photography, fashion and poetry. She has facilitated learning programs on women’s rights, resource mobilization and economic justice, youth development and the arts. She actively supports several community-led media platforms including the Sylvia Global Media Network and Interrupt Magazine. In 2012 Amina was recognised by singer Annie Lennox as a women’s rights champion for change at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival in London.
“If I could share any advice with other young women I’d share the following: “do not fear the sound of your own voice and have the courage to be your most authentic self regardless of how quirky and ‘different’ that self might feel.” When I began in my role as the founding coordinator of FRIDA, I often found myself struggling as the new kid on the block in many high-level donor spaces and among inspiring activists who I’d only ever read about and admired from afar. I was often too shy to speak out – but I learned very quickly not to doubt the power of my truth and to understand that I was where I was because I too was important; and because I too had valuable knowledge and new ideas to share. I learned not to fear doing things differently and to take risks, I learned to ask for help when I needed it, and I learned not to fear the unknown...but above all I learned to be myself.” 57| www.afroellemagazine.com
Imat Akelo-Opio is the Founder and a director of Otino-International. She is a social entrepreneur in philanthropy specifically in empowerment and generational change. Imat also is better known globally as an actor having worked in predominantly in theatre where she has worked off Broadway in the USA and in Australia and the South Pacific and with credits also in television and film. She also currently hosts the radio show Global Woman forward through the CNE Network in Los Angeles that interviews Women who are leaders in their communities around the globe that are fostering change in their communities and empowering their nations through various fields of expertise. Additionally Imat’s background stems from an academic foundation in which she has a degree in Biomedical Science and a Masters in Clinical Data Management that was utilised as her role as a Project Manager in the International Pharmaceutical Industry. Severally Imat originally from Uganda and has always had a passion for medicine and health and founded Otino-International in order to reach out and give life to the innocents (women and children), that are recently returned internally displaced peoples regardless of nationality, creed, religion, race and background.
“My motivation stems from witnessing firsthand the trauma, pain and atrocities that both women and children have faced and that have had a pronounced affect on who they are, what they have and even limiting the basic of human health rights and opportunities for education and economic growth. I am motivated, simply because I believe in humanity, I am touched, I am moved by what I have seen and I have been given more, that is able to change, empower and encourage generations with my simple act of being who I am and doing what I can do. It is a powerful reminder for me of the most fundamental foundation of humanity; that is the true essence of LOVE. It’s what drives me and urges me on; in its simplicity of that four letter word there is an immeasurable unstoppable force in human kind once activated- LOVE. Therefore it excites me to even try to contemplate and imagine what LOVE can do; it’s an exciting and most fulfilling journey.”
Photographer – Aimee Bosnar and Stylist Jess and Make-Up Selma-K
Imat Akelo-Opio, 30’s, Africa | South Pacific |Australia |US
Josephine Kulea, 29, Kenya Child Rights Activist Since 2008, Child Rights Activist Josephine Kulea Leseita has been on a mission to rescue girls who face early forced marriages and female genital mutilation. She started the Samburu Girls Foundation with a hope of building a home for the rescued. A registered community health nurse (KRCHN) Josephine has a wide range of experience working with NGO's within Samburu County. From the beginning of 2012, Josephine rescued 46 girls and 11 babies and managed to keep them safe in boarding schools and homes in various towns. Josephine hopes to build a home in the long term but her short term plan has been to keep the girls she’s rescued in school. www.samburugirlsfoundation.org
“What motivates me every day to continue the fight for the Samburu girls is the passion of seeing girls in my community move from the slavery of harmful cultural practices which include female genital mutilation which is still at 100%, early forced marriages, where 8 year old get married to very old men as 4th or 5th wives and the beading culture where young girls get engaged to relatives for sex only. The aim is have the girls to access education, my community the Samburu are at 90% illiteracy and girls do not have an opportunity to go to school since they are meant for marriage to fetch dowry for their families.”
Abigail Ony Nwaohuocha, 29, | NYC | Accra | Lagos Founder and Attorney of Ony Nwaohuocha Law Ony is the founder and principle attorney of Ony Nwaohuocha Law also known as Onylaw, a law practice that empowers Afropolitians - which she coins as Africa conscious entrepreneurs and humanitarians - who wish to use their businesses and talents to positively impact Africa and their communities She is a savvy international lawyer, speaker and strategist, who loves helping people to reach their full potential. She is passionate about fostering the idea that for-profits can advance social good. Her passion has led her to work in Africa and other parts of the world with individuals and nonprofits advancing social change in creative ways. Ony has worked as a communications consultant and advocate in human rights and economic policy with organizations such as the African Women’s Development Fund in Ghana, The U.S. State Department in Nairobi Kenya, The United Nations Headquarters, in New York City, and on Capital Hill in Washington D.C. She is a native of the Bronx, NY and Nigeria, and enjoys classical ballet and modern dance. She currently spends her time between NYC, Accra and Lagos. www.onylaw.com 59| www.afroellemagazine.com
Sylvie Bello , , Washington, DC Founder/CEO of the Cameroon American Council Sylvie Bello, is the dynamic Founder/CEO of the Cameroon American Council, America’s leading African Immigrant Advocacy Organization. She shapes CAC’s mission, which is to build capacity, build relevance and build visibility in African communities in America. Sylvie leads the Cameroon American Council into crafting culturally sensitive and language appropriate messages and in initiating partnerships with government entities such as The White House, and national institutions such as NAACP. The Washington Post called CAC “The First Program of its Kind’. In 2011 Sylvie was selected by African Immigrant Magazine as part of ‘The 100 Africans Making in Difference in America’, that same year she was a Community Leader award from the Cameroon Student Association USA . www.cameroonamericancouncil.org 60| www.afroellemagazine.com
“ My African dream has always been about engaging, empowering and elevating African people at home and abroad. I am blessed that work with the Cameroon American Council allows me to take action on my dream rather than it just being wishful thought. I envision Africa growing, learning from others and sharing its knowledge and capacities with the world. I envision a stronger Africa diaspora joining forces with those back home for meaningful collaborations that sustains future generations of Africans.”
Tola Onigbanjo, 43, Award winning presenter, Published Author & Speaker Tola Onigbanjo, Is many things to many people, but her best known title is that of ‘The Visionary’ behind the most phenomenal platform for African Women, ‘Women4Africa’. The Women4Africa awards have been described as the most entertaining, diverse, largest and most successful gathering of African Women in Europe, truly giving other African Women the opportunity to be profiled across the world. Tola is a gifted speaker and facilitator. She is easily able to hold her audience right to the very end of her talks as this has been noted on many occasions. A published author and a multi-media personality for over 6 years Tola is fast becoming a leading household name. www.women4africa.com
Laurin Hodge , 28, Washington, D.C. Founder of Mission: Launch, Inc With nearly 6 years of nonprofit experience, her formal education and life experience, social entrepreneur, Laurin Hodge is committed to building a path to entrepreneurship, information and community for women post incarceration. Laurin launched her non-profit, Mission: Launch, Inc., to creatively help women and men advance their lives after prison. “The sole purpose of was to use technology and entrepreneurship as economic empowerment tools for ex-offenders” she says. Her non-profit launched its first initiative -The Returning Citizens Project – to create specific tools as means to empower women to recover and reconnect back to society. The barriers to successful re-entry are very high, causing direct and indirect conflicts. It is Laurin’s vision to shape the future so citizens are restored to productive participation after prison. www.mission-launch.org 61| www.afroellemagazine.com
Lindsey C Holmes, 30, Newark, NJ CEO at LCH Business SM & Tech “To a young woman who wants to pursue a career in the technology sector lean in at the table, find a mentor and make sure you know 150% about your industry at all times. Like with anything that you do, make sure you really love it (technology) and have the faith, perseverance and hustle to make this very hard industry your career. You will be one of few. You will see colleagues that are no smarter than you, excel, simply because they don't look like you. You will create concepts that will be stolen because you don't have the seed money to execute your project. One day, however, you will develop others. You will learn to protect your intellectual property. You will learn to keep trying and understand that what's yours is yours. You will find an investor for your startup, or a client to bring your vision to fruition simply because they believe in you and this is what you were meant to do.” Lindsey is the owner of Usable Tech Co, formerly LCH Business SM & Tech, a Digital Marketing and Tech Firm specializing in Social Media Campaign Strategy and Management, Mobile App Development and Tech Workflows. She is the author of 3 books - "INTEGRATE: Evernote,' 'Blogging w/ Evernote,' and 'Notable Healthcare' around one of her specialties and obsessions: Evernote. lindseycholmes.com
Clarisse Iribagiza, 25, Rwanda CEO of HeHe Limited Clarisse Iribagiza is the CEO of HeHe Limited, a mobile technologies company that she co-founded in August of 2010 while pursuing her Computer Engineering degree at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. “In my 3rd year at KIST, I was selected to attend a 6 week mobile applications development and entrepreneurship training run by MIT. It is through this program that we were encouraged to form teams and build an application to solve a problem in our society. Our team picked the lack of information on local businesses, their services and locations as a problem we would like to solve, that is how we came up with the name HeHe which means Where in Kinyarwanda.” says. Clarisse who was also the winner of the East African entrepreneur reality TV show, Inspire Africa Season 1 where she walked away with 50,000USD. Some of HeHe’s clients include international brands like Nike, local companies and Government institutions all looking to leverage the power of mobile technologies to reach mass audiences. HeHe also launched their flagship product, onhehe.com, a digital platform for businesses to engage with their customers. They have built applications for Nike’s GirlHub project to connect to teenage girls all over Rwanda to mentors, access to educational and entertaining information, a youth platform through the Ministry of youth and ICT, allowing youth to engage with leaders via SMS and social media and a similar application for the Ministry of the East African Community for traders in the EAC region to have access to information relating to policy changes.
www.heheltd.com 62| www.afroellemagazine.com
Shiko Gitau, 32, Nairobi, Kenya Founder of Ummeli.com, Guitings Education Trust and iNTLE Group
“ When you start to think about Technology, think about English or Kiswahili, it is a means through which people communicate and get things done. It is a channel to help people achieve their goals. When you create relevant and useful technology, you are actually helping people achieve their goals, it is changing the world. The more fulfilling of this, is when you create tech that has impact on people’s lives. That is what i do, i know that my research, ideas and efforts will in one way contribute to changing people’s lives.”
Shikoh Gitau terms herself as blessed, she is a Computer Scientist, holds a PhD and and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is the founder of Ummeli.com and Guitings Education Trust (ge-trust.org) and iNTLE Group www.intle.it . Shikoh is a User Experience Researcher with Google primarily focusing on Emerging Market Users. In this role, she uses insights drawn from continuous and constant interaction with users to inform design and product development of Google products for this market and users. Passionate about technology especially mobile phones and their possible catalyst effect in empowerment and development, Shikoh provides mentorship and support to various start-ups and research efforts in Africa both in the academia and industry that strive to make technology relevant, usable and useful in the everyday life of African users. Prior to Google, Shikoh worked in various capacities both with the private sector and non-government organizations in Kenya and South Africa. She worked as a business analyst before joining an NGO working on democracy, human rights and governance. Shikoh is a member of the GSMA mWomen steering group, UNWomen, Women in ICTD group, and the Clinton Global Initiative on Women Leading Women in ICT.
Rapelang Rabana, 28 , South Africa Co-founder and CEO of Yeigo
Courtesy of www.itheroes.org.za
Rapelang graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Business Science degree , Computer Science Honours from the University of Cape Town. Thereafter she cofounded Yeigo Communications – an innovative Technology Top 100 company that develops software for telecoms-related services. Rapelang was widely recognized, she was on 2012 Oprah Magazine’s Power List and selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. 63| www.afroellemagazine.com
Chenaimoyo Mudede, Tendai Mufunda
Founders of With Love Fou
With Love Foundation was started after Chenaimoyo Mudede, Tendai Mufunda and Lynnette Mahlaba got together a community. They all had different passions and strengths but the common thing was that we were all sick and tired o responsibility to effect positive, sustainable programmes in their community. â€œOur love for Africa is what drove all th solutions to the communities. â€œ says Lynette.
With Love's mission is to improve the quality of life and uplift marginalized communities through means of sustainab opportunities through programmes that change lives for the better. www.withlove.co.zw 64| www.afroellemagazine.com
Chenaimoyo Sasha Mudede 30, Harare, Zimbabwe Giving back is important to me because everyone deserves to have access to food, clothing, shelter, safety and love. To create a strong nation, we need to come together and help lift those less fortunate than us to achieve that.
Tendai Mufunda, 29, Zimbabwe My motivation and inspiration lie in Jesus Christ. Since childhood I have always tried to embody the characteristics of a Christian, caring widows and orphans, advocating for those in need. Giving back is important to me because it gives hope for a better tomorrow for those in need. It can actually give someone a reason to live.
Lynnette Mahlaba, 25
& Lynnette Mahlaba
and decided they wanted to see some positive changes in their of waiting for someone to fix Zimbabwe. They decided it was their hree of us to have the passion for implementing simple and sustainable
ble development, bridging the gap to the community and providing
Giving back is important to me because I was raised by givers. My parents both grew up with very humble backgrounds in the rural areas. For them to get an education they were given the opportunity to do that by others. Throughout my adolescent years I saw them paying school fess for many individuals. They would stay in our house, sometimes I would have to share a bed with them and that is where I learnt the importance of giving. It is now a part of my DNA to give to those in need. I believe we can all make a difference if we lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate and ensure we all have a better tomorrow. 65| www.afroellemagazine.com
Skyy Banks, 36, - Atlanta, GA Health Communication Specialist
Dr. OlaOrekunrin , 27 , United Kingdom/ Nigeria Managing director of the Flying Doctors Nigeria Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the managing director of the Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd, West Africa’s first air ambulance service that provides urgent airplane and helicopter ambulance and evacuation services in Nigeria and other West African countries.
Ms. Banks has been active throughout the city of Atlanta, GA raising awareness of HIV/AIDS among women of color, promoting self-empowerment of young women, and speaking out about issues of physical and mental health. Presently, she serves as “ambassador’ of Atlanta for the Red Pump Project, a women-centric HIV/AIDS Awareness campaign. Skyy Banks, is a health communication specialist and staunch advocate for improving the quality of life for the underserved. She holds dual master’s degrees in both Public and Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. She has over five years of experience in public health where she has worked with several notable community-based organizations managing local-level public health projects and providing technical assistance for state- and federally-funded programs.
skyybanks.com 66| www.afroellemagazine.com
Ola became interested in healthcare when her 12 year old sister, a sickle cell sufferer, died because she could not get urgent medical care while in Nigeria. Graduating from the University Of York at 21, she made history by becoming the youngest doctor in England. In 2009, Ola left for Nigeria with a passion to improving standards of healthcare across Africa. Now in its third year, the Flying Doctors Nigeria has transported 500 people using a fleet of planes and helicopters to transport injured workers and critically ill people from remote areas to hospitals. Ola’s specialist interests are in Trauma and Pre-hospital Care. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship, she has published her own book ‘Revision Questions for Pediatrics’ , along with several articles in high-profile medical journals and has sat on various influential boards at the British Medical Association. Recently Ola was among 19 young Africans leaders honored at World Economic Forum for her professional accomplishments and commitment to society.
Minna Salami,  London Blogger and Commentator Minna Salami is an award-winning writer, blogger and commentator. Her work focuses on African feminism, society and popular culture and as such she has written for various publications including The Guardian, The Independent and The Huffington Post. She is a contributor to the Guardian Africa Network. Minna is a guest speaker at settings such as the Southbank Centre, The V&A Museum, University of Northampton (keynote), Channel 4. She blogs at www.msafropolitan.com.
“One of the many women leaders whose work I find aweinspiring is Joyce Banda, president of Malawi. I would call her leadership style unapologetically feminine, which is not to any extent to say that she leads in a soft, passive way. Rather, feminine leadership in this instance is determined, intelligent and utterly compassionate.”
Rosebell Kagumire, 30, Uganda Journalist and Communications Consultant Africans Act for Africa Uganda Rosebell Kagumire is a multimedia journalist working on peace and conflict issues in the Eastern Africa region. She currently works as the Coordinator for Africans Act for Africa, a network of citizens and activists from across the continent to put pressure on African governments to step up to various challenges. Rosebell has experience in documenting and communicating women’s war experiences in Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo. She has also worked with Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (IsisWICCE) as a communications assistant writing on women in conflict and post conflict settings on the African continent. Her blog won the Waxal - Blogging Africa Awards and in 2009, the first African journalist blogging awards hosted by Panos Institute of West Africa in 2009. Rosebell is an Internet Freedom Fellow with U.S Department of State Human rights program designed to promote the work of online activists and journalists to enhance human rights coverage. She was recently honored by the World Economic Forum among 200 Young Global Leaders under 40.
Deborah Ahenkorah is the co-founder and executive director of Golden Baobab, a social enterprise whose vision is to present African children with a world filled with wonder and possibilities one African children's book at a time. Golden Baobab is renowned for its annual Golden Baobab Literary Prize. Deborah created this prize with one mission in mind: to inspire African writers to create stories that will captivate the imaginations of young readers. In the past four years, this literary award has inspired the creation of over 850 children and young adult stories from 19 countries. Deborah has been named by the Echoing Green Fellowship as one of twenty-two of the most “game changing social innovators in the world today.” In 2011, she was identified by Playing for Change as one of Ghana’s leading social entrepreneurs working to make the world a better place for children and youth. Deborah studied political science at Bryn Mawr College and pursued her passion for global issues by gaining experience in the European Union Parliament and The Global Fund for Children. Deborah is a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. 68| www.afroellemagazine.com
“Anne of Green Gables is a book that made a tremendous impact in my life. It made me want to be imaginative. It made me want my "head to be a very interesting place to live inside of for the rest of my life." It made me want to be the best I can be. I'm a big groupie, in case that's not obvious yet.”
Vickie Remoe, 28, A Sierra Leonean Nigerian half breed living in Accra, Ghana Publisher of GoWoman Magazine “ My dream dinner date is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have read all her books including the latest ‘Americanah’. Then I heard her on the BBC talking about the moment she decided to stop speaking with an accent and I thought ‘gosh I love this woman’. If ever I could be a groupie it with be for Chimamanda. I wonder what she is like and would love to just spend time with her. Did I already say that I love this woman?” Vickie Remoe is the poster child for the Sierra Leone returnee movement although she no longer lives there, she was one of the first amongst her peers to move back home. A blogger, photographer, journalist, videographer, TV talk show host, producer and most recently publisher of GoWoman Magazine, Vickie states her proudest moments being the day she held the first print issue of GoWoman Magazine, and being asked to speak on a panel on doing business in Africa at the 2012 Harvard Africa Business Conference. With a BA in Political Science from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and a Masters of Science in Journalism from Columbia Journalism School, Vickie owns and runs Vickie Remoe and Company a market research and corporate communications firm with clients in Ghana and in Sierra Leone. She is passionate about telling stories about Africa that are a fair representation of the way people live. She believes its not about showing that things are good or bad, rather about highlighting the shadows, and showing our humanity. www.GoWomanAfrica.com
Sandra Appiah, 23, New York Sandra Appiah is the co-founder of Face2Face (F2F2) a new media company with a mission to restore Africa’s image within the global community. The New York based Ghanaian national graduated with honors from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and spent time working in the media industry working with companies such as MTV, HBO and the New York Times. She has been called a media mogul in the making and one to watch. www.Face2FaceAfrica.com Courtesy of www3.law.harvard.edu
Dumebi Agbakoba, 30, London
Courtesy of dumebiagbakoba.com
CEO of Bulb Ideas Limited & Editor Side View Magazine Dumebi Agbakoba was brought up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to England to study at Rye St Antony in Oxford and later moved back to London in 2008 to start her career in Fashion and Magazine Publishing. At 22, she set up a non-governmental organisation Do Sumthing Positive Africa (DSPA) as a response to the poverty of resources and prospects she had witnessed in Nigeria and a mission to unite Nigerians and help in channeling their collective efforts towards the socio-economic development of Nigeria. After setting up the Do Sumthing Positive for Africa project, she decided to develop her creative talents through fashion and arts. Dumebi is the editor of Side View Magazine, an international magazine currently distributed in London, USA, Nigeria, Ghana among others.
Mazuba Kapambwe, 24, Zambia Afro -Entertainment Guru & Co-Founder of C1rca 1964 Born in Washington DC and raised by diplomat parents in Germany, Ethiopia, Zambia and New York. Mazuba started her career in Afro-entertaiment reporting in New York in 2008 with site jamati.com where she interviewed celebrities like the first African face of dark and lovely Nonhle Thema. She has for sites like Africa Style Daily, Afripop Mag, Mimi and Applause Africa magazine, interned for Pop Africana magazine, Luxury womenswear brand Mimi Plange which has been worn by Michelle Obama and was social media/public relations intern, then community manager for African inspired retail site Heritage 1960. Currently, Mazuba is a radio correspondent for Australian based radio show Radio Afro. She serves as Afro-Entertaiment Guru and shares African inspired events happening across the globe, as well as AfroEntertainment news. In 2012 she graduated with a degree in Africana Studies. She was featured as a panelist for Mtv Base show 'Mtv Base Meets Alek Wek. In the same month moderated on a social media panel for the third annual Nigerian Leadership summit in New York. In October 2012, Mazuba moved back to Lusaka, Zambia where she co-founded Zambia's first Social Media Management + Content Generation Firm C1rca 1964. Her clients include The National Arts Council, The Best of Zambia, Barefeet Theatre and more. Mazuba is the co- host of a new unreleased TV show called 'The Fest Guru's' which consists of attending cultural festivals in different African countries in an effort to spotlight the creativity of the continent and promoting cultural preservation.
http://afrosocialiting.wordpress.com/ 70| www.afroellemagazine.com
Former Executive Producer & Sports Operations Manager of London2012 Olympics Benny Bonsu has taken up a new portfolio as Head of Own Productions at Viasat1 Ghana. Benny is well established in the media & sports environment with over 10 years experience. Starting off as a journalist for MVP24/7, a successful online magazine entertainment strand, Benny became part of the groundbreaking team of journalists who wrote and interviewed some of the world well loved celebrities when inLondon such as Tony Parker, Dwayne Wade, Demar DeRozan, Abou Diaby, Kevin Prince-Boateng, Andrey Arshavin, Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe, Kolo Toure, John Pantsil, Derek Safo, David Lammy, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. She has also gained notoriety as a talented writer and a fashion designer. Her writing gained popularity due to the upfront and straight to the point approach she adopts when writing her blog “Bedroom Diaries Of A Black Benny Bonsu, 31, Ghana Woman” which made her an overnight sensation in the UK & USA, she was also the editor for the entertainment magazine “AKWAABAUK” and Executive TV/ Radio have been involved in TV as the presenter of the Bedroom Diaries Of A Producer | Presenter Black Woman Season 1 & 2 and various other shows for OHTV, BBC, NBA Europe and also gained her own radio show on Break London as the “Lady of chat & soul” which aired three times a day during drive time in London. All leading up to Benny’s latest endeavor before joining Viasat1, London2012 Olympics! Benny was in charge of the Olympic basketball TV production for the worldwide media. Benny is also the founder of iPresent Academy which trains and develops up and coming TV presenters. She is a graduate of Brunel University in MA International Business with a BA Hons Media & Advertising from University of East London .
Manka S. Angwafo , 27, Kenya Director of Hadithi Manka Angwafo is the founder and director of Hadithi (www.hadithi.org), an online repository of open access (OA) research for university students, academics and researchers. A young entrepreneur, Manka is passionate about education and knowledge sharing. She began her career in the financial services industry as a merger and acquisition’s analyst, where she became seasoned in company valuations and market analysis.
“When you are told there's no market or demand for your product because there is no apparent competing/substitute product already in existence, then that is precisely when there is a strong market for your product.”
For the last three years, she served as core staff at the Chief Economist for Africa’s office at the World Bank’s Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she co- authored several volumes of Africa’s Pulse—a regional flagship report analyzingrecent economic trends across Sub Saharan Africa. Ms. Angwafo also co-edited Yes Africa Can: Success Stories from a Dynamic Continent. She is a graduate of Tufts University where she did a double major in Economics and International Relations. Ms. Angwafo is an American national of Cameroonian and Jamaican origin.
Erica Nicole, Dallas, TX Founder and CEO, YFS Magazine
“There are many valuable business lessons I've learned as a serial entrepreneur. But if I had to prioritize the most important business lesson it is this: "Vision without execution is hallucination (Thomas Edison)." If you want to be successful, gain traction, validate your business ideas and take them "to market" it is essential to execute non-stop. While vision, imagination, creativity and passion are great attributes to possess, as an entrepreneur, you have to make these things tangible. Non-stop diligent, courageous and relentless execution on business ideas will bring about the clarity, experience, metrics, and validation you need to turn a wish or a plan into a viable business opportunity. You can’t build a business on what you are going to do – you must act now and seize the opportunities in front of you.”
Erica Nicole is the founder and CEO of YFS (Young, Fabulous and Self Employed) Magazine, an internationally acclaimed and award winning small business news site- the definitive digital magazine for startup, small business news and entrepreneurial culture. As an accomplished serial entrepreneur, acclaimed entrepreneurship expert, dynamic conference speaker, syndicated columnist, philanthropist and Christian thought leader. Erica leads diverse business portfolio across digital media, national speaking, global business development, and electronic equipment industries. Her passion for global entrepreneurship is at the core of her business and life philosophy. She is committed to helping entrepreneurs via her ‘Fortune 500 Simplified,’ business approach. And leading Gen Y entrepreneurs to success, by helping them reach their highest potential and develop smart, sustainable and profitable small businesses. www.ericanicoleinternational.com
Krystal Harrell, 25, Charlotte, North Carolina Founder of Create Exposure Krystal started her 1st business at the age of 13 with a $20 loan from her mother. She sold pajamas door-to-door and later expanded to customized apparel and accessories before selling her business in 2009. In 2010, she founded Create Exposure, a youth marketing agency helping clients understand and connect with young consumers, through marketing research, development and design. Within 10 months of launching Create Exposure, FORTUNE Magazine named Krystal ‘the Next-Generation Female Entrepreneur’ during their annual Most Powerful Women Coverage. Krystal served in the United States Army-Reserve training as a Broadcast Journalist. And studied Communications at Columbia College and Fashion Marketing and Management at The Art Institute of Charlotte.
“The most valuable business lesson that I have learned is how to confidently look someone in the eyes and give them a firm handshake. Eye contact builds trust and confidence sets your apart.”
krystalharrell.com 72| www.afroellemagazine.com
Folashade Adiat Disu, 26, New York Founder of Adiree PR Adiat Disu is the President of Adirée TM an international public relations and brand development firm, based in New York, New York that founded and manages Africa Fashion Week New York in addition to established platforms Africa Fashion Week London, Paris, Milan, Berlin and Tokyo. Before launching Adiree at 21, the Bentley University graduate was an operations and communications specialist at a major technology firm. She decided to launch her company to provide brands from Africa with a global competitive edge. In less than one year under Disu’s leadership Adirée secured a proclamation from Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, declaring the week of July 12-18 as the official date for Africa Fashion Week.Since its conception the show has increased awareness of African fashion by 8.5 million views, generating finance for designers and artisans marketing initiative, created 100 jobs and caught the attention of international media outlets such as CNN, Washington Post, Huffington Post ,Black Enterprise, Los Angeles Times , Destiny Magazine (South Africa) and Elle (Bulgaria).
Adiat’s advice to upcoming fashion designer looking to break into the fashion industry. 1. Build spiritual, mental and physical endurance. These are all building blocks of a sound and successful entrepreneur in any industry. "Your foundation if weak, cannot sustain your empire" 2. Attract and invest in forward thinking, quick-minded, passionate, and honest partners/team mates. Each individual, should support you in areas that you are truly weak (i.e. Financial management/planning, Traditional Marketing and/or Digital Marketing, Branding etc) 3. When you only look at what you can achieve with your own hand, you've limited yourself.
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