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AFROELLE Celebrating Women of African Heritage

INSIDE Afropolitan Chef The Hip Life in Ghana Adaku Hannah Pool Healthy Forecast Defining Moments Passion of Fashion Not Business as Usual ‌...and so much more!!

Encourage. Empower. Entertain. Elevate

FĂŠeUhssi Multicultural & Ethical Fashion 4 Elements photography: CarineLucchese Models: Coco Jean-Jacque, Estelle Met, Fatima Sky L'Homme, Soraya Khalil Make up & hair by Amy Sey Stylists: Amy Sey assisted by Lana Ramsay for Fee Uhssi



Celebrating Women of African Heritage





Surface and Fashion Designer, Tanya Mushayi on everything fashion

Retrospective is Nigeria’s first vintage fashion boutique

IN EVERY ISSUE Inspiration 14 AfroElle team share their favorite moments 2012

18 Defining moments 19 Turning Your Vision into A Reality


singer and songwriter Adaku

19 How to Make More Room for Happiness in Your Life

Music, Books, Art & Culture 22 Adaku 23 Sophia Domeville, Haitian American Abstract Expressionist

20 Hannah Pool, on Reading Habits 21 Good Reads with Akudo Chigozie 21 The Hiplife in Ghana 21 How to Enhance the Reading Culture in Africa Celebrating Women of African Heritage 12|

60 Bags with a Conscience


Yetunde Taiwo on teaching people how to cook and eat like a Cosmopolitan African

34 A Healthy Forecast for 2012 and Beyond

Business Insert [ pg. 40-61]

Fashion 63 Suzan Mutesi of Achea-Mpong 64 Adiat Disu and the Africa Fashion Week franchise

72 Retrospective 76 GaTsh Fros 77 Tanya Mushayi Celebrating Women of African Heritage 13|

What Were Your Favorite Moments 2012?

We asked this question to the team that helped put this issue together.

Phenyo Otukile BOTSWANA I'm thankful for the whole year; the challenges have made me stronger and wiser. I have built relationships with amazing women who are not just friends but 'prayer militants'. I rediscovered the simple pleasure of ice cream shared amongst friends. It hasn't been an easy year but I am thankful for all the good and the bad for they've made me better.

Phenyo Faith Otukile is a life learner and dreamer from Botswana who writes to touch and change lives. She believes words have the power to build and empower. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and draw closer to your dreams.

JoVonna Rodriguez ATLANTA, GEORGIA On August 23rd, I joined a gym for the first time in my life. For so long, I made up excuse after excuse, phobia after phobia to not have to work out. I envisioned myself being healthy and lighter but was not putting in the work to accomplish what I desired. And so it's been 2 months of going to trainer sessions, and working out on my own. I feel great, not because I am losing weight and inches, but because I'm finally investing in me. I'm looking forward to the day when my outside matches my inside. 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 NEW YORK I am really proud and happy about the way that my blog "African Prints in Fashion" (APiF) has developed. Last December, I had 200 followers on Facebook, now I have close to 8,000. This shows me that everyone can create something out of a dream or vision that they have. You just have to start doing it and put some energy and time behind it. This is only the beginning. I am looking forward to all the other opportunities that might transpire from the APiF platform in the future.

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 German-Ghanaian 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. 14|

Moiyattu Banya SIERRA LEONE

Carol Stewart LONDON

My favorite moment of 2012 was following my passion and launching WomenChangeAfrica (wca) I have always enjoyed telling others about the stories of African women in Africa and the Diaspora who are making big moves as I felt it was important to celebrate them and also to motivate other women to make change as well. Through the WCA media platform I have been able to share success stories of these women who are entrepreneurs and humanitarians and look forward to continue sharing their stories to the world.

There have been many favorite moments for me in 2012 as this year has been a year of self-discovery as I have finally got to know and understand the real me and the woman I am meant to be. One has to be when I received payment from my first client as a self-employed business owner at the beginning of the year. Prior to that, I had worked for an organization as an employee for 28 years, since the age of 16. Receiving that first payment felt so much more satisfying than receiving the pay cheques I received as an employee over the years.

Moiyattu Banya is originally from Sierra Leone West Africa. With a background in Social Entrepreneurship from Columbia University, She is founder of WomenChange Africa (WCA) a media platform which focuses on celebrating the successes of young African women, connecting these women to resources via human capital and cultivating young African women to rebuild their communities. Women Change Africa's change theory is that if women are celebrated, connected and cultivated change will occur in our communities.

The other moment was reaping the rewards of all the years of hard work and sacrifice from my greatest job to date, that of a mother (being single mum for many years), when my son not only graduated from law school, secured a job in a law firm and was offered a training contract at a UK top 50 city law firm. PLUS, he was shortlisted as one of the top 100 UK black future leaders. 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 Folayan HOUSTON , TEXAS Some of my favorite moments would have to revolve around my blossoming career as a writer and model. This year I had the opportunity to interview several major artists in the industry including Verse Simmonds, Trinidad James, as well as a slew of indie artists. Not only was I able to connect with these artists but I was able to get a more clarified vision of where I want to be in the future. This year I also gave a lot of attention to building my modeling portfolio and was able to connect with a few agencies, photographers, and stylists. I find that sometimes our dreams and visions and can seem out of reach because we take baby steps to get there and not gallops. This year I felt like my baby steps were gallops instead, even though I couldn’t see how far I was stepping. This year has been all about relationships and the highlight of the year for me isn’t just one single moment but the realization that we are all family. No matter how different we are, there’s always some commonality and the beauty in life is finding it and embracing it. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’m craving for more. Surprise yourself next year by opening yourself to all possibilities, I know I am. My new mantra is simply Be You, Be True, and Be Blessed… and don’t forget it’s all about the Love! 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.


AFROELLE MAGAZINE | Encourage. Empower. Entertain. Elevate


FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Patricia Miswa ONLINE To subscribe, visit For inquiries regarding general information, advertising, contribution or feedback email AfroElle Magazine is published monthly. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited.

ON THE COVER Photography – Hakeem Salaam Retouching: Asiko Styling and Art Direction – Yoanna Pepper OkwesaChikezie Hair – Samantha @ Make Me Make Up – Oriton Faloughi Model- Funola Animashaun


Editors Note


December again, I say this will a lot of mixed emotions. Just the other day we were writing goals and toasting to fresh beginnings. Where did the year go? December for me has always been a time of reflection and taking stock. As I reflect on 2012, I can’t help but wonder; Did I do my best? Did I accomplish everything I purposed to do? What do I need to say goodbye to? What lessons am I taking away? Yes, 2012 didn’t leave me empty handed, one of the most important lessons I learned this year was to stop waiting for situations to be perfect in order to go out and make my dreams come true. “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.” Mark Victor Hansen‘s words resonates with me. Truth is, situations are never 100% perfect; there will always be some obstacle or reason as to why you shouldn’t pursue your dreams. This is a lesson shared by many of the female entrepreneurs we’ve featured in our Business Insert [pg. 40-61] . I’ve learned that as we make excuses and marking time, opportunities escape and time flies. The year has flown alright, but every ending ushers in a new beginning; an opportunity to start over. I admit there are those things I set out to do but didn’t accomplish but I’ve also learned that I can’t get stuck in mistakes made yesterday or the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. The show must go on; I must keep it moving. Right now I'm already thinking about the New Year awaiting us, planning the next issue and setting new goals. And to imagine a whole New Year ahead of us; a clean slate, another chance to try again and make it right, makes me grateful. Grateful that this far we have come. Grateful that I didn’t give up on this dream along the way. Grateful for our team; their dedication and efforts. And grateful for you, our readers for supporting our vision. I’m really excited to bring you this issue. As always thank you for reading and when you are done, join us on Facebook and Twitter (if you haven’t already) and email us your feedback to let us know how we are doing so far. Until next time, Peace, Love and God’s Blessings.



Defining Moments Our readers share moments that changed their lives.

Ebonie-Jones, New York Founder - The New Woman

“A few years ago I lost everything and this drove me to the brink of a nervous breakdown.”


his year I resolved to be unattached to material possessions. I've come to terms with the fact that I own nothing. A few years ago I lost everything and this drove me to the brink of a nervous breakdown. I felt like a failure, and it was a long process to forgiving myself, and starting the process of moving forward. I never want my joy, my value or the definition of my being to be attached to anything material or temporary. What do I own? I own the core elements of my soul. My desire to operate in love, my resolution to be authentic, my choices, my experiences, my journey, my actions, my speech, my purpose, and all the other intangible, intrinsic elements of my being. Is it great to be wealthy and successful? Yes. Absolutely. However, money, titles, and material possessions shouldn’t define us. Temporary things shouldn't be our driving force. It is how we use our blessings that make life worth living. We shouldn't feel as though we have no hope, if these things should be snatched away because we are always equipped to fulfill our purpose. I am now defined by the content of my character. If I should lose everything again, I would still be my authentic self. I would still find joy in living, and faith to persevere on my journey. I would still be relentless in making my corner of the world a better place. This year I decided to focus on the permanent things in life, and this made me a happy warrior. 18|


was a senior in high school when my life changed forever. One day I came home from school and noticed my family gathered in my parent’s room. That’s when I was told my mom was at stage 4 of cancer. My world came tumbling down right before my eyes. I tried to fight the tears and be strong for my mom but all I heard and saw was my mother dying. My mom, dad and brother began to speak faith to me and we all prayed. For months I watched my mom suffer in silence. Only my immediate family knew of my mom’s condition. My mother believed that God would heal her body and send her the right help. And He did. My mom saw a naturopathy physician who showed how to eat for healing. My mom ate only raw fruits and veggies for about six months and she prayed/meditated daily. She did not take any chemotherapy or “Today, eight years later and my medication; it was all faith mom is cancer free and healthy.” and food. Six months later, my mom went back to four different doctors and there were no signs of cancer. Today, eight years later and my mom is cancer free and healthy. She eats a balanced diet and exercises regularly. She continues on her journey to complete wellness. I wanted to be in the beauty or fashion industry until I experienced this situation. This was a defining moment in my life. I knew I had to spread a message of healing through Faith, Food and Fitness. “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food.” ~ Hippocrates I am now a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach. I will forever use my mom’s testimony as motivation and inspiration. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 – Coach Princess

Turning Your Vision into A Reality JoVonna Rodriguez tells us how turning your visions into reality begins with believing, but progresses with desire. When we were little, we dreamed of being artists, astronauts, doctors, and heroes. As we got older, we slowly learned that every dream requires a great deal of work to become reality. And now, we push ourselves everyday to accomplish small tasks, to defeat large obstacles, and achieve our goals. Turning your visions into reality requires three fundamentals: Believe: You must have the confidence to start your journey. Desire: You must have the passion to back your journey. Apply: You must apply action to stay on your journey. The seemingly impossible is possible if you believe. When we were younger we had the energy and eagerness to try everything without doubt or fear. As we grow older we start to limit ourselves based on our life experiences, interactions, and emotions. Flashback to the innocent days of your childhood, incorporate this essence of fearlessness into your daily life. Believe that you can achieve your goals. Believe that you can be different from standard perception, create your own avenue, and follow your faith. Turning your visions into reality starts with believing in yourself. How bad do you want to achieve your goals? What are you willing to sacrifice along the way? What will you do when things get rough? Turning your visions into reality begins with believing, but progresses with desire. Confidence is greater when coupled with passion. Ask yourself, do you really have the passion to follow your visions or are they just fantasies? Sometimes, we have goals and dreams but never really imagine putting in the work to achieve them. In order for you to visualize your success and turn your visions into reality you must have continuous desire and passion to do so. How many times have you started something and never finished? How many times have you desired something but never started? Well now, with full confidence in yourself, you can make those visions a reality. With a continuous supply of desire and passion you can push forward on your journey. Fully commit to yourself, back up your visions with research, planning, reflecting, and physical action in order to make your dreams a reality. But there will come moments when you simply start to question yourself and your vision and application is essential. Never hesitate to review your initial goals and rejuvenate your energy to be proactive. Turning your vision into reality is certainly easier with applied ongoing action. Take the time to plan out your route and take the necessary steps to make the seemingly impossible possible. Remember, be confident in your goals, fully analyze your desire and passions, and commit to your success with action!

How to Make More Room for

Happiness in Your Life Words by JoVonna Rodriguez Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine you are at your favorite place in the world, dressed in your favorite outfit. Everything is perfect as you dreamed. The air is clean, crisp, fresh, and freeing. The scene is bright, full of nature and life as you experience the beauties of the world. You’re surrounded by the most delicate of foods while your day is full of relaxation and scheduled events. Everything is as it should be just how you like it, full of joy and happiness. Open your eyes. Realize you are back to reality. Your dreams float away as figments of your imagination. All of your priorities slip back into place, forcing you to desire your dream place again. But you can have the same feeling on a daily basis, its called happiness. Happiness feels like a fresh water breeze. Happiness is crisp, bright like yellow tulips, warming to the soul, comforting to the ego, and unconditional with self-love. Happiness is all encompassing, omniscient, and everlasting. It’s a feeling of contentment, internal satisfaction, physical elation, and peace. It can last for seconds, come in spurts, or be a realm that you return to when necessary. How do you make room for happiness in your life? What do you consciously do to plan happiness into your life? Why do you make room for everything and everyone else but your own happiness? Here are some tips on how to create your realm of peace, your seconds of serenity, and minutes of endless memories: Question yourself: What makes you happy? What areas in your life would you like to be happier? Be Appreciative: Identify what areas of your life that you are content and satisfied with. Make a list of things, people, aspects, and items that you appreciate. As you progress, continue with a gratitude journal to keep you focused on positive things in life. Claim Happiness: Recognize that you are worthy and desire happiness in all areas of your life that you wish. Clean up: Let go of dead weight, burdens, and drama. Severe ties with negative individuals and thoughts. Monitor your progress: Reflect on your happiness and evaluate whether or not your efforts are working, modify or add to them if necessary.

Be conscious of your dreams. Allow time for your imagination and reality to collide. Invest in your mental health and create a place of happiness within your soul, a place that no one can touch, steal, or fracture. Create visions of your happy place, understand what it means to be happy, what it feels, smells, and taste like. Your walk and smile will change. Your perception of others will change. Your world may seem different now that you’ve become more in tune with yourself and desires. Stay hopeful, as the more you focus on yourself it will feel like others around you are out of focus. Be mindful that you matter the most. Build on your happiness; question it. Don’t be afraid to grow. 19 |


Credit: Jackie King-I'mPOSSIBLE

In her book My Fathers' Daughter (published by Penguin), Hannah Pool shares the story of her journey back to Eritrea to meet her birth family. Hannah shares with AfroElle about her love for books.


hat experience led you to your passion for reading and writing? I was lucky to grow up in a house where literature and reading were considered important, vital even. My dad is an academic and his house is bursting with books, mine is now the same. I spent a lot of time on my own as a child, so I'd retreat into the world of books. I'd sit for hours reading in the local library and constantly try to take out books that were labeled 'young adult' when I was in my early teens. What is the oldest book you have in your collection? The Adoption Papers, by Jackie Kay (published in 1991). It's a collection of poetry that tells the story of a black girl adopted by a white family, from the point of view of the daughter, the birth mother and the adoptive mother. I still remember the intense feeling when I first read it and realized there was at least one other person who was having the same thoughts and emotions as me. I met Jackie Kay many years later and just wanted to hug her and thank her for 'speaking' to me all those years ago. I also have an old copy of "The Bed book" an extended children's poem by Sylvia Plath, which my dad used to read to me when I was 7, and learning English. It's not the original but it's 20|

What book has made the greatest impact in your life?

London, I'm look forward to reading it on a long flight this week.

It's impossible to choose just one. I'm sure there are books which have impacted my subconscious in ways I have not realized - that's their unique power. Toni Morrison's Beloved completely blew my mind when I first read it. Every time I return to it I discover new meanings and yet more powerful imagery.

Who are some of your favorite African authors?

It changes almost daily but I'm incredibly excited and inspired by the current generation of African women novelists taking ownership of telling our own stories; Women like Chika Unigwe, Maaza Mengiste, Aminatta Forna and Chimamanda Quicksand and Passing, two novels Ngozi Adichie are all changing published by Nella Larsen in the late perceptions of what it means to be 1920s, also deeply affected me. I'm still an African woman author. thinking about Nervous Conditions (by Tsitsi Dangarembga) which I read in two days a couple of months ago, after someone recommended it to me on Twitter. What book/s are you currently reading? I've just finished Night Dancer, the new book by Chika Unigwe. Unigwe's storytelling is warm and engaging with a light touch that's deceptively accessible. Her stories are political but never at the expense of the narrative. I've just started Zadie Smith's new novel NW, which tells the story of a group of friends in multi-cultural

Hannah is a features editor at ARISE magazine and was a co-curator of the Africa Utopia festival at the Southbank Centre, London. You can follow Hannah on Twitter: @hannahpool

Good Reads

Akudo Chigozie is a 20something first generation AmericanIgbo, born and raised in Chicago. She’s a writer-in residence at ‘she’s gotta write it’ where you’ll find her collection of essays, poems and short stories. She shares with us some of her good reads.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Outliers is such a wonderful book. It is packaged as a story of successes with Malcolm Gladwell artfully recounting details of the lives of the world’s geniuses and innovators. Gladwell deconstructs the mythology that makes successful people into extraordinary beings, by revealing the very ordinary circumstances that contributed to their success. The book helped me re-imagine success as something attainable through work (and luck) and not exclusive to a select few privileged (and lucky).

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar As an indecisive person, I hoped this book would provide a framework for better decision-making and it did in the unlikeliest way. Sheena Iyengar, a research expert on choice, explores how people make choices and how having choices (or not) affects us. The book did not give definitive answers but helped me realize that there are limitations to choice. It freed me from paralysis that comes from decision-making, which allowed me to make a big move this year.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adiche Half of a Yellow Sun is the story of the Biafra-Nigerian war. Author Chimamanda Adichie offers a fictional, yet historically accurate account of that period and the impact it had on Igbo people. It was influential to me because as a 1st generation American-Igbo woman I have this natural disconnect with my parents who lived through the war. They never discuss it, so the novel revealed the events that shaped their outlooks on life and ultimately led them to America.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch I enjoyed this book because it encompasses all things great from celebrating life even though facing trials and tribulations to striving to make dreams a reality. Oprah was definitely onto something when she said "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Randy Pausch's book is testimony to that. Sedilame Ntshingane, Botswana

In her new book The Hiplife in Ghana, Global hip-hop scholar Halifu Osumare, Ph.D. explores how hip-hop music and culture in Ghana, West Africa has transformed over two decades into a whole new form of world music called hiplife. The book looks into hiplife music as more than just an adaptation of hiphop, but as a revision of Ghana’s own century-old popular music known globally as highlife. The Hiplife in Ghana also illuminates many of hiplife’s well-known artists, such as Reggie Rockstone, Batman Samini, Tic Tac, and Okyeame Kwame, who are perched for international notoriety, along with close readings of selected hiplife lyrics. Osumare has been involved with black popular culture and dance for more than thirty years. She is currently Associate Professor and Director of African American and African Studies at University of California, Davis and is internationally established as one of the few U.S. based hip-hop scholars focusing exclusively on the youth culture’s globalization.

How to Enhance the Reading Culture in Africa Africa is a great continent with massive potential, however our reading culture is limited to school and academic based material. Seldom do you see people especially of the younger generation reading a book out of interest, this can however be changed by upgrading the national libraries we have in our respective countries and moving to digital platforms such as the exchange of eBooks Creative and consistent book clubs can be an added plus. To make it interesting, people read different books themed around a pivot goal and at the end of a stipulated period hold a teleconference to share and recommend more books. Book club ideas can be started as early as primary school so that interest I reading can be encouraged from a tender age.~ Amine Vivienne 21|


New Sound

ifted with an amazing voice, singer and songwriter Adaku has had to hide her talent and passion for singing in order to fully complete her degree in Electrical Engineering, a path that finally culminated in a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering. Throughout her studies however, Adaku continued to immerse herself in music whenever and wherever she could. “I started singing ever since I could hear myself sing and it didn’t sound that bad. And then I discovered the acoustics in my bathroom and the distortion the standing fan gave my voice. Then no one could stop me. I became a nuisance in my parents’ house. Bless them.” says the 25 year old US based Nigerian. Adaku’s soothing, raw and lyrical music speaks about life, love, loss, grace, philosophy, God and ‘pieces of reality that create fiction in her head.’ On her musical influences; “I am a music junkie. I listen to everything from the so called ratchet music to Mozart. But I am really inspired by those who make music with their DNA in it. Musicians who are creating not duplicating. I’m currently listening to this amazing musician from Australia called Gotye, an American called Glen Hansard and a Nigerian called Soji.” Adaku who also plays the guitar is set to storm the world with her uniquely sublime talents and is certainly well on her way on this journey. Keep updated with Adaku’s music on Facebook.

Art&Culture In July, one of Sophia’s art projects involved a trip in July to Haiti where she was sponsored as a teaching artist for Art Day Celebration, a program which cultivates and empowers impoverished and underprivileged children through the Arts in Haiti. During the celebrations, Sophia and her colleagues taught 150 children from three different orphanages on the power of Art. “My work was so well received by Art Day Celebration that I’ve been asked to continue working with the organization on various projects and redevelop the artwork shop in Haiti.”

Haitian American Abstract Expressionist Sophia Domeville, believes that artists are here to change the world through the usage of Art and she is a living example of that belief. Photo credit: Eleven 203 Productions


ophia Domeville, a Haitian American Abstract Expressionist started painting at the age of 5. What started with an obsession of drawing on the walls in her home led to the creation of her first art work in kindergarten where she was introduced to water colors. The teaching artist remembers mixing colors just to get the right shade of green for the leaves on her tree, adding orange to the yellow of the sun and a dash of white to the sky. At that point Sophia didn’t realize that art was something she loved until her freshman year in high school in her art class. “While all of the other students were drawing geometric, I was experimenting with contrasting shades in adding depth to my shapes. I personally didn’t think anything of it but my art teacher, Mrs. Whitney noticed.” It was her art teacher who advised Sophia to switch her major from English to Art. “Funny thing, at first writing was my passion; I wrote short stories since elementary school but would bind my own handmade books with ribbon and draw an elaborate illustration as the

book cover. For next 3 years in High School, Sophia pursued Advanced Art. But it was in her first year at The College of New Rochelle, School of Arts & Science that art became her true passion. “Being away from my dad, having the room to just be myself without any restrictions, being advised by one of the best art department I know and creating into wee hours of the morning, helped carve out my craft immensely.” She says. “I actually still remember drawing on 6ft by 6ft parchment within the halls of dorm, feverishly creating the images that were in my head. The title of my piece was, “Black Skin, White Mask”. Sophia is currently involved in many art projects; she is the co-creator of “Artist Recession”, a monthly social networking exhibition that showcases work from up-in-coming artists from various genres such as photography, hip hop, spoken word, acting and writing. Artist Recession is on a mission to promote the message of Artists supporting Artists located in Bushwhick, Brooklyn.

Outside of creating art, Sophia is the founding member and mentor herDIVASpot, a nonprofit organization that promotes the value and self-development of school aged young ladies. Through mentoring, educational and cultural exposure, herDIVESpot aims to produce civic and socially minded, financially literate, and spiritually grounded young women. Sophia has a workshop within the organization called DIVINE in which as a teaching artist she teaches art-integrated projects and lesson plans that teach students specific skills on one’s personal value, selfidentity and analyze the impact that family genealogy can have on self-worth. On how she weaves together her passion for philanthropy, art, events and her non-profit for social good, Sophia says, “Everything just happens by Faith, Action and Dedication. I have met so many wonderful individuals within my life to which our passions are interconnected; I just somehow make it work. I believe everything I do should be connected to my purpose, my passion and my heart. I believe along with other artists that we are here to change the world through the usage of Art. One of my favorite quotes encompasses my belief, “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s anchor. We are the compass for humanity’s conscience.” - Paul Roberson

You can follow Sophia on Twitter: @SophiaDomeville 23|

Readers say

Rise South Africa, Rise… “According to the World Health Organisation, 60 000 women and children in South Africa are victims of domestic violence every month.” Koketso Moeti explains why the society cannot continue to turn a blind eye to violence against women in South Africa and why every South African should join the One Billion Rising campaign.


he 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international campaign, which takes place every year from the 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to the 10th December (International Human Rights Day). During this time, in South Africa a 16 Days of Activism Campaign takes place to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse. During this time, civil society, government and the business sector work together to broaden the impact of the campaign. Despite the great effort put into highlighting gender based violence during this period, it is without a doubt an effort that should extend beyond this period, with meaningful action being put in to change the reality of many women in South Africa. A war on women has been declared in South Africa. It is a war so insidious that many, including the media, law enforcement officials, politicians and even we as a society choose to overlook it. After all, there are ‘bigger’ things to worry about in our country. 24|

The statistics speak for themselves though; the war on women is big, very big and to continue to turn a blind eye further entrenches it into our society. “According to the World Health Organisation, 60 000 women and children in South Africa are victims of domestic violence every month. The country has the highest incidence of domestic violence in the world - and those are just the cases that are reported. Research by Gender Links and the Medical Research Council conducted in Gauteng found that although 51.2% of women had experienced some form of physical, sexual or psychological violence at some point, only 0.3% had reported cases of domestic violence to the police”. This in turn suggests that 60 000 per month is but only a tip in the ice-berg of the actual number of domestic violence cases in the country. Apart from domestic violence women also face sexual assault, rape, ‘jackrolling’ (leisure gang rape) and “corrective rape”. These atrocities however only make up a small number of the horrors faced by women daily in South Africa.

inequalities further deepen the abuse faced by South African women. Whether we are in the street, at church and even in our own homes, we face some kind of abuse and very little is being done to protect us. According to Chandre Gould, “every year, public attention focuses on crimes that grab the headlines, yet there are significant crimes that don't feature in the annual police statistics”. She goes on to argue that, “since nearly eight males are murdered in South Africa for every female murder victim, a reduction in the murder rate doesn't tell us much about whether women are any safer now than they were a year ago. The crime statistics, for example, tell us nothing about levels of domestic violence, hate crimes and human trafficking. These crimes are inherently harmful to society”. The exclusion of these statistics reveal that violence against women is considered a norm in South Africa and is treated as something that is givensomething to just put up with. Yet, all oppress, discriminate and abuse women to varying degrees. Because of this, all South Africans are being called upon to join the One Billion Rising campaign. This is a campaign aiming to end violence against women and have us showing our solidarity, not only with the abused in our country, but all across the world.

Koketso Moeti is an African woman, two parts of her being that are inseparable. Based in South Africa, she dedicates her time to Operation: ROOIGROND (; serves as the South African correspondent of A Safe This coupled with prejudice, World for Women misogyny and the structural ( and is violence women endure as a result also a part of the Activate! Leadership of poverty and socio-economic and Public Innovation network

ONE BILLION RISING On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, on the 14th February 2013, one billion women and those who love them are being invited to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers and our solidarity across borders. ONE BILLION RISING IS: A global strike;

Vivian Onano; Young Emerging Leader

An invitation to dance; A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends; An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of our struggles and our power in numbers; A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given and A new time and a new way of being

Southern African organizations and movements that have signed up in solidarity with this campaign include. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) Women's Net SANAC Women's Sector; Positive Women's Network Sonke Gender Justice Feminists SA One Man Can Childline Rural Women's Network Women of Wentworth This is a call to every organization and individual in South Africa, to join this campaign. We cannot continue to silently sit back and witness the abuse of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends. The call to rise has been made, how will you respond? To sign up to be a part of this campaign, visit and see One Billion Rising (Short Film) References and further reading: Launch of One Billion Rising - South Africa (Video): Gould, C. 2011. Gender Violence Disappears in the Stats:

“I believe Africa is a rich continent full of resources and opportunities for its people. I have a big dream and vision for African women but the first thing is to make sure that each and every child can be able to access quality education despite of their gender and also create sustainable healthcare system in the rural parts of Africa. With a society that is literate we can be able to eradicate poverty and also address effectively some of the root causes of the global issues. Health care in rural parts of Africa is very necessary more so for women and children and this at the moment has been neglected. If we can educate our women and help them access healthcare, they will be able to give birth to healthy babies who will later on have access to education. This is more of a cycle that will help move Africa's economy to another level. Women empowerment is very fundamental because it plays a great role in the sustainability of the economy and also addresses some of the problems with passion. African women now also have a greater chance of developing themselves because of the so much attention that they have been given and opportunities made available compared to the past. I believe there is so much potential in our women and they can give great results if given room to perform." Vivian Adhiambo Onano is a young Kenyan leader and a recipient of the Zawadi Africa Scholarship to Carthage College in Wisconsin. She is currently a sophomore with a major in Pre-med and a minor in Computer Science. Vivian is also passionate about Girl Child empowerment through education and health care for women and children in developing countries. Vivian aspires to be a humanitarian doctor so that she can be able to impact many more lives in the developing countries. Her main goal is to build sustainable health care systems in Africa and Asia.


MINA EVANS Finura capsule collection Photographer: Charlene Asare Model: Jennifer MUA: Mina Ebela Styling: Mina Evans-Anfom (with assistance from Supriya Wassiamal & Arieta Mujay)

Health &Food A Healthy Forecast for 2012 and Beyond Iman Folayan talks to women from different walks of life who share about the healthy habits they’ve adopted and new goals they’ve set for the future. Health is often attributed to the physical but the interconnected nature of life almost never allows your body to be affected without your mind and spirit being affected in the process. Many people set goals at the beginning of the year and by March they’ve changed their mind and their body follows. Sometimes the greatest challenge is not in achieving the goal itself but having the discipline to act on the idea. There are so many factors like work, children, age, and lifestyle, which influence our decisions and can seem like distraction. However these three women serve as a living example that despite all of these factors many of your health goals can be achieved without breaking a sweat.

Jasmine Jenkins, 23, Chicago


s a recent college grad and young woman, most would assume that health wouldn’t be a big issue. Yet contrary to popular belief, younger adults under thirty are suffering from illnesses usually associated with older ages and at an alarming rate. With fast food restaurants at an all-time high and no signs of business slowing down, no one is exempt. With this in mind Jasmine, who already practices a strict pescatarian diet decided to adopt a new trait to her health regimen. About the three months ago she rid her diet of all foods containing white flour and refined sugar and reduced her intake of processed foods. “Instead of buying certain foods, I’ll make it myself” she says, “and I noticed my energy levels increasing tremendously.” Moving forward she plans on giving a lot more attention to her mental and spiritual health proving that the mind and body are usually always on the same accord. You may not be ready to make this drastic of a change but every little bite in that direction helps.




losing her father to diabetes and becoming recently diagnosed as a diabetic, her fortieth birthday was especially important this Dawn year. Diabetes is a Wooten-,40, disease that affects over 62 million people in the U.S. alone, and though its complications can be life threatening, with proper lifestyle changes the disease can be reversed. More often it is easier for people to take a pill and suppress the symptoms rather than change their lifestyle, but Dawn took a different route.

Eva ‘Asha’ Hill- 53,


espite her age, Ms. Hill keeps a beat in her step and a smile on her face. At her age most women have accepted and embraced the beauty that comes in aging. But just as in your youth, lifestyle is everything. Running a mile up the street may be too grand of a feat for those over 50 but follow Ms. Hill’s example and walk about a mile every day, three or four times out of the week. Four miles a week may not sound like a lot but when you consider the aerobic conditioning your body receives while you take in the scenery, this is a pretty good deal. In 2013 she plans on cutting back on coffee and caffeine, a challenge many people face around the world. No matter how old you are it matters more so on how you feel. And in following the footsteps of Ms. Hill, progress is a process so take it one step at a time.

Several of her peers died earlier this year due to health complication and after her diagnosis it her, “Life is too short” she exclaimed. Visiting a dietician and nutritionist was her first step, and she admits “it was a deep awakening”. With more attention given to the foods she ate and how they chemically affect her body she was able to make positive steps forward. “It was a test of faith being diagnosed, but it made me revert back to what I knew, Prayer”. The spiritual affect this had on her led her to the conclusion that in the years ahead she would take more healthy risks and align her finances. Our financial health is just as important to overall wellbeing because the stress and worry caused by financial instability can be extremely adverse to our mental health. This mother and full-time employee could complain about not having time but with the time she has, she rather enjoy it by leading a healthy life.


Fashion and Entertainment Entrepreneur, Yetunde Taiwo, turned Afropolitan Chef is on a mission is to teach people how to cook and eat like a Cosmopolitan African...


et’s start from the beginning for the readers who are just meeting you, who is Yetunde Taiwo? Tell us a bit about who you are, where you are from and what you do. Hello everyone. I am a passionate creative energy who absolutely enjoys helping and connecting with people. I was born in Chicago, IL and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I consider myself a Fashion and Entertainment Entrepreneur. I have a boutique PR agency in Miami, Florida called ICY Public Relations but, I also have a passion for food and so I created the Culinary Lifestyle brand, Afropolitan Chef. From a fashion entrepreneur to owning your own culinary lifestyle brand, when did you get that aha moment to venture into the food industry? It’s interesting because I used to not like food at about age 4, 5, but I began cooking when I was 6 years old. If anyone told me then that I would be this passionate about food. I wouldn’t have believed them. In 2009, I started posting images of my meals as I ate on Facebook, and a magazine editor approached me to write a food column in their European publication. I thought she was kidding and then she paid me for it? Even better. People would post comments and even ask me to mail them food and even suggest that I icepack it for them. It was an absolute “hey you love food, why don’t you put a spin on African food?” It was a perfect God thought. I’ve been riding on it since then. Is there a special meaning to the name ‘Afropolitan’ chef and what is the concept behind it? Afropolitan Chef is the Culinary Lifestyle Brand for busy passionate professionals who crave budget friendly, flavorful eating with flare. It is a concept I created that focuses on the eating habits of a

It’s a hybrid of meals inspired by African and Western foods infused with flavors, techniques and spices from different parts of the world. The mission is to teach people how to cook and eat like a Cosmopolitan African. My influence is West African, but the food perspective is global. Modern African cuisine finds inspiration in an abundance of cultures giving birth to its unique cuisine. Food is a part of all our lives, so it certainly is something I do regularly and often. I enjoy cooking, experimenting with food, styling it and then eating it. 37 |

Have you chosen to focus primarily focus on Afropolitan chef or do you still run your PR company full time? PR is in my DNA. I live think and dream PR. That is never going to stop. Everything we say or do is public relations. Everyone however, has to eat. So do doctors, lawyers, I simply have another passion that I am sharing with the world. It happens to be something every one loves FOOD. It absolutely gets me giddy. So when did you discover your passion for cooking? I started cooking when I was 6 years old, but the passion came when I was in College and I would invite friends over for dinner. It was a fine experience. I noticed that people were generally happier around food. I wanted to keep that joy going, so now I host multiple dinner parties all year. What is your absolute favorite dish?

Quinoa with baked chicken and apple sauce

Oh my. That’s like asking a mother who is your favorite child. If I have to pick, my favorite meal is Ikokore. It is a traditional Ijebu Dish from the Southern part of Nigeria made with water yam and pureed peppers. My mother still makes it best. I always ask her to make it when I head home to Chicago. What about a signature dish? My signature dish which I have now made about 10 times, is my pan seared Yam Porridge steak and mushroom dish, that pairs well with Rice, Quinoa, CousCous or Potatoes. Is there a particular cooking tip that you got from your mother that you apply in your cooking now?

Sautéed beef pan seared in red wine with portobello mushrooms served with couscous 38|

Oh absolutely. There are so many of them, but the biggest tip is: The ability to know how to season a dish. My mother can make a stick taste so good. With the right seasoning, you’ll be eating it with a glass of wine. Always taste it with your fingers.

Seasoning your dish is important in my home. It has to be flavorful. You recently filmed a pilot show for Afropolitan Chef, how did that opportunity come about? It’s funny, but my initial excitement was about writing a cookbook. I always thought about a show, but that just seemed far away. I had sent the concept and food articles I had written to my mentor and she just about screamed at me for not pushing harder. Next thing I know, I am flying to Los Angeles to shoot a pilot. Having people, who see your vision even bigger than you do, goes a long way to help your dreams be realized. I am so grateful for her. You are currently working on a cookbook, how has the journey been like and when should it be out?

Salmon, Jasmine Rice with Peppers 1 cup of Jasmine rice 1 sliced red bell pepper 1 sliced red onions 1/2 a lemon 1 Salmon ½ a teaspoon of black pepper ½ a teaspoon of salt (your choice of seasoning- I use Maggie cubes) 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper or your own seasoning to taste

I can sincerely say I absolutely underestimated the complexity of writing a cookbook. It’s more tedious than I anticipated, and it’s quit humbling. I have a newfound respect for cookbook writers. The journey has been amazing though. I have over 100 cookbooks in my house. I stay inspired by reading them at least once a week and letting them keep me inspired in my journey to finish this book. I will be sure to let you know when it’s all done.

Suggested fruit -strawberries

What can you say has been the secret ingredient to your success?

4. Pan sear the red pepper and onions in a small frying pan and bask in olive oil (this will serve as your source) season with salt an pepper for 6 minutes

[Laughs] Is there a secret? I believe in God and God’s purpose for my life. I think just being myself, giving myself permission to make mistakes and learning from them. And sincerely, trying hard to be my best self-everyday and LIVING. I LIVE and I love every second of it even the crummy and challenging parts. Can you share with us one of your recipes? Absolutely. I will share my Salmon Jasmine Rice and Peppers recipe with you. Thank you. Find out more about Afropolitan Chef on Facebook.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degree. 2. Cook rice on stove or rice cooker for 25-30 minutes. Season your salmon with your favorite seasonings. Slice red pepper and onions while rice is cooking. 3. In a skillet put in 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Sauté the Salmon for 2 minutes on each side, remove then move to the oven for 6minutes rotate to other side in another 6minutes.

5. Once rice is ready, serve in a compact bowl to give you desired shape. Add pan seared vegetables, put on Salmon and add garnish ( cilantro, spinach leaves) for aesthetics 6. Best enjoyed with a glass of white or red wine or for a tart flavor, use fresh or 100% grapefruit juice. Tip: Fruits are a great source of antioxidants. Your skin glows when you nourish very well with the right fruits. Kiwi is RICH in antioxidants. That is why the Kiwi is part of the Afropolitan Chef Logo. When it comes to your juices, ALWAYS get 100% juice. It’s probably healthier. 39|

AFROELLE Celebrating Women of African Heritage


Entrepreneurs Share their Top Tips for Startup Success

Amanda Miller Littlejohn idea oven, brand problem solver, and creative powerhouse

Mistakes Made by Women Entrepreneurs

Business ISSUE

CONTENTS INSIDE 46 Business Start-Up Checklist 47 Steps to Getting a Mentor 47 Mistakes Made by Women Entrepreneurs 48 8 Entrepreneurs Share their Top Tips for Startup Success 50 Amanda Miller Littlejohn 52 Hadithi Store 52 Butterflies 53 Craft Afrika 54 Nakate 56 Sarafina 58 ZeroByZawadi 64 The Business of African Fashion Week 60 Bags with a conscience

ON THE COVER Photographer – DarkLens Photography Clothing provided by- Trends of Africa Model- Deanna Santiago

Photographer – Darklens Photography Clothing provided by- Trends of Africa Model- Holly Ajala

Taking Care of Business

Photographer – Darklens Photography Clothing provided by- Trends of Africa Model- Deanna Santiago

Business Start-Up Checklist Personal Development, Career and Business coach Carol Stewart shares her checklist for business start ups.


etting up a new business can be overwhelming and the following checklist will point you in the right direction of how to start.

insurance cover if you employ staff to customers entering your premises. If you provide a professional service you may also need professional indemnity insurance.

Market Research Will your business idea produce a viable business or will it just be an expensive hobby? You need to research your business idea. Who are your customers? What demand is there for your product or service? Who are your competitors? What is it that sets you aside from your competitors and will make customers choose you over the competition? How much will you charge for your goods/service? Business Planning Write a business plan setting out your vision for your business and the steps needed to get there. Define what your business is and explain how it will operate. A business plan enables you to identify potential problems and work out solutions before exposing your business to the world. It will help to keep you focused on your objectives and should be reviewed regularly. If you intend to apply for finance to set up your business, prospective lenders or investors will ask to see your business plan. Financing your Business What will it cost to set up your business? Do you have sufficient funds? If not, where will you get funds from? Assess the cost of starting up your business and how it will be funded. Set up a business bank account. Develop a system for managing your business accounts. Registering Your Business Register your business according to the laws of the country/state that you are going to operate in, for tax and other related purposes. Will you operate as a sole trader/proprietor, partnership, corporation or limited company? If you are unsure, your government provides information relating to your specific country or state. Intellectual Property This allows you to protect your inventions or creations and may be necessary if you have created or invented something that you do not want someone else to copy and pass for their own work. Each country has its own intellectual property department or office that will provide you with the information you need to protect your work. Insurance Take out appropriate insurance for your business. Find out what is required for your type of business. This can range from


Business premises Where you will operate from? Will you operate from home or business premises? If you plan to operate from business premises, consider the location and whether it is suitable for the type of business you are setting up. For example, if setting up a retail store, you may want to consider a location where there is a high throughput of people passing by, whereas, if you are manufacturing a product, this may not be necessary.

Steps to Getting a Mentor Words by Moiyattu Banya 1. Make a list of the areas you need to grow in Create a list of the things which you need help with to advance you in your career (for e.g., public speaking, negotiating etc.) When making this list, think about the things you can get from going online versus those things that you need an actual person. 2. Pick three women who are in your professional niche Once you have created this list, think of a woman who can help you grow in the things you wrote down on your list. This woman should be where you want to be whether it is professionally, in your current career track or in life, or a combination of things. You can ask people you trust to suggest women for you based on your list or even look around in your workplace for women. Make a list of your top 3 women and create your outreach plan of how you are going to make a connection with them. You can start with reaching out to one woman and see how things go and then keep going down your list. Your plan can involve setting up a coffee date, email, phone call etc. 3. Initiate contact Initiate a connection with that person via emailing them, attending an event they are hosting or speaking at, or setting up a coffee meet-up to find out more about them. I would strongly encourage a face to face meeting if you can make this happen, even Skype works as well. Meetings are very important and can happen multiple times. You should not rush to solidify a relationship with a mentor, as this person will play such a critical role in helping you along the way so you want to make sure you both are right for each other. 4.

Initiate a first meeting

During your meeting, get to know the person more and have an organic conversation with them, express what type of guidance you are looking for and see if this person has resources to help guide you. If they seem like a good fit for what you are looking for then you can begin to mention your need for a mentor even in your first meeting, this is totally your call and

your comfort level. After your meeting, ensure that you send a hand written Thank You card to that person. 5.

Set up follow up meetings

If you feel that after your first meeting there is good chemistry with your potential mentor, set up a follow up meet up or a series of ways you would like to stay in touch. If you don’t sense good chemistry, decide if you want to give it one more try, or just maintain a professional relationship with that person. The last thing you want to do is waste your time and the other person’s time if you don’t think the relationship will be a good fit for a mentor. 6.

Solidify the relationship

This can take a long time or it can be brief. After a few meetings you should propose to your potential mentor that you would like to have them as a mentor and what you need help with. The key in this phase is to continuously keep meeting your mentor around the areas you need support in even if it is once a month. Remember this is a win-win relationship and you want to be able to grow in the relationship, so nurturing your mentor relationship is important. As you continue to build your relationship think of ways to support your mentor as they support you, in order to both ultimately feel invested in the relationship.

“The number of women entrepreneurs is on the increase; however, the number of businesses that fail within the first 2 years of starting up is high”

Carol Stewart on Mistakes

Made by Female Entrepreneurs

Running your own business can be very satisfying and there are many benefits to be gained from being your own boss. The number of women entrepreneurs is on the increase; however, the number of businesses that fail within the first 2 years of starting up is high. Listed below are ten of the common mistakes made by women entrepreneurs and how you can avoid them. #Failing to Plan Lack of vision and a clear plan of what you need to achieve and not knowing how you will get there. You need to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed) and regularly review and adjust accordingly. Remember, she who fails to plan, plans to fail. #Inadequate Market Research Failing to research who your customers are and how to target them will not enable you to focus on what it is that your customer needs. Not measuring marketing activities means you will be unaware if you are focusing your efforts in the right way. Test, measure and monitor all marketing activities. Do not waste money on marketing promotions that do not give you a positive return.

Develop a USP (unique selling point) that sets you apart from your competitors that will make your customers want to choose you over them. #Selling Everything to Everybody Trying to be everything to everybody can be pretty damaging, leaving potential customers unclear as to what exactly it is that you are offering, causing them to go elsewhere. Define your niche and focus on what value you add to your customers, clearly targeting what your market demands. #Failing to Evolve Doing the same thing that you have always done will only give you the same results. Look at ways of doing things more efficiently and effectively that add value to your customer. Look at your own development and what you need to learn in order to grow as an entrepreneur. #Not Letting Go Some women want to do it all, but as your business grows, you need to take on assistance to perform tasks that can be done by somebody else. Failure to do so means that you will run yourself ragged trying to do everything, getting bogged down in mundane tasks rather than focusing on what needs to be done to ensure business growth and sustainability. #Hiring the Wrong People If someone is not up for the job, do not take them on in the first place. It is better to wait until you find someone whom you are satisfied meets your criteria, rather than taking on someone who you hope will get by until you find that ‘perfect’ person. #Trying to Act Like a Man Some women think they have to resort to the more stereotypical male traits in order to succeed as leaders. Studies show that instead of fighting their 'natural instincts' women should embrace them because displaying emotional intelligence is the key to being a better leader. So be yourself, whilst being assertive. #Lacking Confidence Be confident in what you do and have faith in your abilities. Failure to do so will fail to instill a confidence in business for your customers. #Limited Financial Controls and Performance Monitoring If you think that you can get away with not monitoring the performance of your business, think again. Not budgeting or monitoring your costs against sales means you are not in a position to determine how your business is doing. If you do not know how you are doing, how can you improve and how are you going to stay in business. #Lack of Business Expertise Whilst you may be very good at the service you provide or making the goods you make, running your own business takes on a new entirety. Often people who are very good at what they do, decide to set up their own business without knowledge of what running a business entails. You need to understand all that it entails to run a business. 47|

9 Women Share Tips for Business Start Start--up Success We ask nine women who have started their on businesses to share tips that helped them succeed when starting out. One of the fundamental ingredients to my success has been being kind to my clients, colleagues, media contacts, vendors, strategic partners etc. Showing kindness could be a handwritten note, lunch, dinner or sending a custom email. Not only does it show your appreciation for their business but allows them to refer you to other potential clients. That helps to build brand equity and loyalty.


Larvetta Loftin, Founder of L3 Eventeurs Focus your business on what you love doing the most! When you are passionate about something i.e. making jewelry, doing hair, designing clothes, whatever it may be its essential that you enjoy what you’re doing which will reflect in your business and pave the way to success.


Vera Acheampon, Owner at Vekras Accessories Take a long look at the beginning. Know where you’d like to end up. It doesn’t matter if you are still in the thought stage or if you're actually writing your business plan, think about how your actions will affect your business in 5 or 10 years. It's easy to only think about 'today' at the beginning of an endeavor but by having a crystal clear vision of what your long-term goal is; you effectively shape your current and ongoing reality.


Melissa Fortune, Owner at Full Service Marketing Agency, There will be moments of fear. Fear in forms you never knew existed, that will try to keep you from your business by any means necessary. When this happens, 4 acknowledge it, call it by name and then conquer it. Conquer it with its counter action. It is only then, that fear, against its wishes, turns into fuel for you to push through, to continue until you accomplish your goal. Nichole Dossous, CEO at Saving Face, Surround yourself with other female entrepreneurs with whom you can celebrate your successes and serve as a sounding board or peer mentor in challenging times. Trials are inevitable along any entrepreneurial journey, so cultivating a community in which every member is genuinely committed to each other's success is very helpful. When identifying possible members, choose wisely!


Veronica Chapman, Co-founder of My Crowning Jewel 48

Take care of yourself first. When you are running your own business, especially in the early stages, if you're sick, your business is sick. So, make sure you take the time to get adequate rest, exercise and eat properly to ensure your body is healthy. This will keep your business in tip top shape.



Running a business is also about community and networking. Knowing about your industry and becoming not just an expert but immersing yourself as a key player will keep you relevant in your field.

Scarlett Rocourt, Creator of Wonder Curlnatural hair products

Assemble a top-notch team to support our business. It might seem costly but its worth the expense and you might even be able to barter for services such as accounting, graphic design or administrative support.


Adrena Ifill, Founder of DoubleBack Productions


Presentation is key. From the way your promotional material looks to your website to the clothes that you wear whenever you see a customer or client, you have to give a consistent positive message about you and your business. Even the way you answer your phone or how quickly you answer an email all reassures people investing their money with you. You want them to leave thinking 'I really want to work with them'. Juanita Rosenior, Afrobase


Find an accomplished mentor who you can trust. Striking out on a new path can be overwhelming, to say the very least. Let someone who has successfully navigated a similar course guide you. Select your mentor (or mentors) wisely. Choose someone who is positive-minded, insightful, and has expressed an interest in your success. Having a mentor doesn't mean that you must copy every move they have made. You are an individual and it's likely that you chose entrepreneurship because you have an independent spirit. Having a mentor means that you learn from their experiences, and adapt their favorable attitudes and behaviors to fit your circumstances. Communicating with someone who has already triumphed in their career can inspire you and keep you motivated to turn your start-up idea into a masterpiece of accomplishment! Mercedes Bankston-Jackson, President & CEO FreeStone Personnel Solutions 49|

In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur? I was drawn to entrepreneurship by the prospect of a flexible schedule and the ability to determine my own income when my first son was an infant. I realized that entrepreneurship is limitless - you get out what you put into it. I thrive on being able to see direct results from my hard work - it drives me to work hard and continue to challenge myself to remain creative and forward thinking. What have you been doing on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

“I realized that entrepreneurship is limitless - you get out what you put into it.” Amanda Miller Littlejohn is an idea oven, brand problem solver, and creative powerhouse working at the intersection of public relations, journalism, marketing and social media. A former print journalist and a writer first by training and passion, Amanda uses her unique storytelling lens and new media skills to help her clients uncover and subsequently share better brand stories. A passionate teacher and trainer, Amanda is a motivating business coach for budding entrepreneurs and experts who are seeking brand clarity, new marketing perspectives, or fresh ideas on how to emerge as experts in their chosen fields. She helps people uncover their "unique genius" in order to share it with the world. What’s an example of the work you do? I create marketing and PR programs to help small businesses, nonprofits and experts grow their brands. I also coach business owners one on one to build profitable businesses. I love working with women who want to start consulting businesses - whether they are publicists, image consultants, event planners, authors, or in another service or expert field. I help them develop their business models, create pricing for their services, and become well-known in their industries so that they can create profitable selfemployment scenarios.


Reading is something I always do and that helps me grow and stay sharp. I love to learn and I integrate new things I learn all the time whether it's a new way to do business or a new way of approaching a problem or a new way of thinking. For example, I recently read "Now Go Put Your Strengths to Work" by Marcus Buckingham. That book encouraged me to play more to my strengths and strive to always operate in my zone of genius rather than trying to improve areas where I'm weak. Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you started Mopwater? I wish I had known that business is cyclical and that recessions and slow times don't necessarily have anything to do with me personally. Sometimes everyone's business is slow - and that isn't a reflection on your product or service. You have to learn to embrace those slower periods to reflect on the future of your business and focus on your own branding and marketing. Personal branding is something you work on with your clients, why do you think personal branding is so essential in career success? These days we are living in a global marketplace. It's easier than ever to buy from people around the world if you know like and trust the person you're buying from. As business owners, it's our job to make the customer's decision between ourselves and the competition easier by being the most knowledgeable, accessible, personable businesses. Personal branding helps you achieve that end and rise to the top in a way that nothing else can.

Amanda pens a regular column for and contributes on culture and parenting to The Washington Post's web property-The Root DC.

“To a lot of people, a young person who owns a company is seen as a 'hustler', a risk to take on.� Muthoni Maingi, Digital Marketer, Brand Manager and owner of Deviate Advertising Kenya tells us why she’s in the entrepreneurial journey for the long haul. What motivated you to start Deviate? I worked in two agencies before Deviate and at each one I felt that agencies in Kenya were not built around a growing company and SME requirements. An agency that was structured to tackle their marketing needs did not really exist and so I felt there was a niche in this, hence the name Deviate and the business itself. I want/wanted to disrupt the industry as it is and I always seek for ways to deliver high value at very competitive prices. What are some of the challenges you faced starting out and how did you overcome them? It was hard to convince people that I was in this for the long haul, to build a long standing company that would grow with them. To a lot of people, a young person who owns a company is seen as a 'hustler', a risk to take on as you never know when they'll agree to be employed at a good pay and ditch the thing they started with you. It's also the kind of industry where clients take their time before making decisions. Some corporates take two weeks to agree to work with you and some take 6 months, but you still have bills to pay and you still need to factor in pitching costs. I believe in forming relationships and keeping my networks highly informed on all my steps forward. So I occasionally send out newsletters to my network list, telling them about my company growth, new clients signed up and team growth. This allows them to see that I am not just a one person show, and that I am investing back into growing the company. I also try to meet with all clients at least once a month and we catch up on their business challenges and triumphs and this assists in building the relationships further. At the beginning when things got challenging (as you mention in your blog) you received job offers, what kept you focused on your business dream and

not take on the lucrative offers? I am my biggest cheerleader, I have to be. It may sound arrogant but I strongly believe in myself and my vision. I am unrelenting and unapologetic in working to achieve this. As Will Smith says "You need to be comfortable with being the last person on the treadmill". I am also undeniably blessed with the kind of friends and family that I have as they have backed me up in more ways than I could ever imagine possible. And also my clients who have sent me referrals and ensured that the quality of my Word of Mouth marketing is amazing. What did you learn from your previous job that has helped in running your own business? I learnt a lot of technical knowhow in the companies I worked in. My background also allowed me access to a huge pool of fantastic professionals who I am able to go forward with in my Deviate projects. What is the biggest lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur? Listen to everyone and anyone and treat them like the royalty they are. You'd be surprised at where the places opportunities and solutions come from. Stay calm always. Think about each and every small situation strategically, look, explore and tear up all scenarios. What words of wisdom can you give new business entrepreneurs? Have a strong vision and put in extra hours to realize it, believe in yourself and your instincts. Be critically honest with yourself but not ruthless or unforgiving. People will always want to advice you, take what is relevant but at the end of the day, truthfully, you know best. Uphold humanistic principles and morals, do not be greedy or cruel, kindness grows your networks and makes you feel good and things will work out.

You can follow Muthoni Maingi on Twitter @NonieMG 51|

Neo Ooke 29, a practicing town planner with a degree in Urban &Regional Planning from University of Botswana and Marketing executive Lebo Phutimpe 28 started Butterflies , they initially wanted to do it as a little hobby but due to the demand Neo and Lebo found themselves constantly busy with the business.

Wamuca Miring'u “If you wait for the right moment someone else will do what it is you have been idealizing the whole time.” Hadithi Store was inspired by my love for Art and creating beautiful things. I started it to keep busy and get extra money while I was looking for a 8-5PM job, and I guess the beads took over. Fears I was very scared and a year later it is still scary. Some days you make sales and the next you don't make any but every problem is an avenue for a great opportunity and every situation is a learning experience. I guess when you go the self employment way you grow a tough skin to face any situation. Greatest challenge Competition has to be my greatest challenge. There a very many people who have ventured into jewelry making because the materials are available and the market is ready. If attending a craft fair you are sure to find more than four people or more selling jewelry. In hindsight I’d advice inspiring entrepreneurs to go for it; do not wait for the 'right time' to do so, do it while the idea is still fresh in your mind. If you wait for the right moment someone else will do what it is you have been idealizing the whole time. One also has to be passionate, patient, persistent and above all pray if they want to venture into self employment.

Find out more about Hadithi Store on Facebook.


The idea to start the company in May 2011 came about after her wedding in 2010 when she realized that she couldn’t get the kind of décor she really wanted from the service providers. START UP FUNDING We started up from our own pockets. We saved for about 3 months, with equal contributions and started buying stuff needed to run the business. CHALLENGES For a start the challenge was funding and company registration, lack of resources such as transportation, and proper storage facility for the goods. There was tough competition from long existing businesses that were are already established we had to compete for customers with. FACING COMPETITION Uniqueness, that’s what makes people love us (DIY décor). We strive to always do a much better job than the last one. We give attention to detail in every event we do. That is how we set ourselves apart from other businesses. ADVICE TO ENTREPRENEURS Neo: Follow your dreams and be patient enough to make it real. Don’t let challenges be problems rather overcome them. To be on top you need to work very hard, to stay on top you need to double your energy Lebo: Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow. There is just something about pursuing something you love and if you find it you will never feel like you are working. Passion should drive one’s day every day.


Craft Afrika Christine Gitau, founder of Craft Afrika, started her own journey as a craftpreneur four years ago with Beauty for Ashes Pottery, a company that does art on ceramics and canvas. During the course of the 4 years, Christine received plenty of requests from parents to teach their children how to do the same. Responding to this demand, she formed a company that focuses on facilitating the creativity of kids through craft; Made by Me. Made by Me specializes in working with young children between the ages of 1 and 15, allowing them to express their inherent creative abilities through craft. Motivation For as long as Christine has been a craftpreneur, she has always wanted to be part of a peer community or a forum that promoted sharing and learning from each other. Lacking such a forum, she decided to form Craft Afrika, a social enterprise that supports and promotes urban craftpreneurs (mainly start-ups) through facilitating networking forums such as Jumpstart Thursday, offering tailored business advice and mentoring services. Jumpstart Jumpstart Thursday is a peer-to-peer forum for craftpreneurs to share and exchange ideas on common challenges that face craft enterprises. It is an opportunity to brainstorm on fresh approaches to age-old challenges that face most start-up businesses. Christine notes that the response has so far been positive and there has been an increase in attendance between the first and the second sessions. “Many of the attendants are pleased to find a non-competitive forum to share and learn practices on how to make their businesses sustainable.” She adds. Growth Most of the craftpreneurs I meet are micro enterprises and they tend to remain that way for the entire time they are in business. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason I have discovered is that they do not plan for growth. They do not enter into the craft sector with the intention to grow beyond micro enterprises and therefore don’t apply business acumen beyond the very basic principles, take very few risks and generally do it as a side business. Advice Start where you are with what you have. This is the best business advice I ever got. Too many people with brilliant ideas wait for everything to be perfect before they launch their ideas into the market. True, a certain amount of research and preparation is necessary, but too much of it will surely result in completely missing out.

Find out more about CraftAfrika from their website 53|

Nakate is the second name of a little girl I met in Kakooge. She was a little girl that I met and really resonated with. After losing her father and mother to AIDS, Cossy Nakate was moved to live with her aunt – a local prostitute. My connection to Cossy developed quickly. And it was the desire to connect her with role models within her own society that created Nakate’s business model of connecting African talent to women in remote villages to nourish artistic growth and development. What is your sole goal with Nakate as you continue to grow? My goal with Nakate is to be able to make a living out of partnering with women in a place that inspired and changed me through promoting their work through my skills as a professional woman living in New York City.

NAKATE Shanley Knox shares her journey with Nakate, a social enterprise that exists to provide unique designs from Ugandan artisans to fashion conscious women.


hen did you first fall in love with Uganda?

I fell in love with Uganda when Uganda got personal for me - when I went by myself and was staying in a house with people I didn't know, and I 54|

had to dive in and learn to learn their culture's humor, their way of communicating and eating and doing life. That's when Uganda really struck me, and I started thinking - "I've got to get back here. This place has got so much to teach me." What is Nakate's story? Where did the name Nakate come from?

Can you take me through the model- from how you choose the women to when you sell the designs? On the ground, I really rely on our Ugandan managers to choose the women that work with us. I work really closely with them, as they are deeply involved in their community and know the women on a personal basis, and they know who they believe should work with us. I visit and sit and chat with our artisans at least once a year because I'm passionate, more than anything, about partnering with them as another woman and becoming their friend. I like these women. They're spunky.


hey're smart. They teach me new ways of living and loving and working and thinking. I can't get enough of it. We work with the design of the pieces from here, our managers send us samples and we work to tweak designs with our LA based stylist, Antonio. At that point, he schedules photo shoots and we work to begin putting together look books and working on pushing the product both in our online store and to third parties, as well as having it featured in various fashion shows and events. How many women are working with Nakate now? What growth have you seen in them since you began? Right now we have about 40 women contracting with us. We've most certainly seen growth, but I resolved early on not to be about numbers, but instead to be about lasting change, so 2012 for me has been a year of working out all our internal kinks and our supply chain management and ensuring we're in a place to really expand in the years to come. And, I can't tell you how wonderful it’s been to see this growth. Do you get to create the pieces with the women? I'm involved in the facilitation of the creation, as far as connecting Antonio and these women and, in the future, connecting them with designers within their own country, which is my real goal and one I hope to realize in 2013.

Shanley Knox

But, honestly, the creation of the pieces isn't my talent set. I love developing the business. I love having relationships with these women. I love facilitating the entrance of their pieces into the fashion world, but I can't even draw stick figures let alone design jewelry.


ow do you make sure the women feel like they have a voice in Nakate; like Nakate is them?

I work on this through connecting with them personally, and through our managers on the ground - Odeke and Agnes. I can't emphasize enough that the Ugandan side of this business is what makes things happen, as far as I'm concerned. My goal, all along, has been to push to the point that I go to Uganda because I want to, not necessarily because I have to, and we're almost there.

I look to find these women's opinions: how do they want to be perceived? What are their passions? I facilitate conversations with them as women - about men, about their children, about colors, about fashion, about what they like to do. And, I try to pull their personalities through. That's what they really come alive showing me, rather than difficult things that have happened to them. The difficult things that have happened to our artisans in Uganda are just things, they are not who they are - just like the difficult things that have happened to me don't define me. What 3 words best describe Nakate designs? My goal for our next line has really centered around these three words - Open. Brave. Conscious.

Check out Nakate Project on Facebook.



ell us a little about yourself and the inspiration and motivation behind starting Sarafina?

I’m half American and half Ivorian, born and raised primarily in Cote d’Ivoire. I also lived in Pakistan and India as an adolescent. These living experiences have largely shaped who I am today. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Spanish and Political Science and entered the international development industry following graduation.

Sarafina Bita Diomande is the CEO of Sarafina. She started a for profit business promoting fair wage jobs in developing countries. Currently Bita works with India, Uganda, and Madagascar. As a social business, Sarafina only carries lines made by women cooperatives and designers that pay their tailors a fair living wage and ensure ethical working conditions. 56|

My inspiration for Sarafina came from my work and living experiences in the developing world. I wanted to start a company that showcased the high quality products that I bought growing up overseas. I used to get custom clothes made, usually with a fusion blend using a Western concept with an ethnic twist and vice versa. While I worked with independent tailors, I was aware of the large garment industry that employed and underpaid millions of workers, especially in South Asia.

The fashion industry is very prominent in developing countries; however, it has chosen to keep costs low by underpaying the garment workers who make the clothes we buy in the West. Garment industry executives will proudly tell you that the monthly salary for India is now a little over $100 while Bangladesh rose to about $75 when I was there in 2010. With rising costs of living and skyrocketing food prices, this salary is simply not sufficient for these workers to live on. Sarafina allows me to continue working in fusion fashion while combining my development interests by sourcing fair wage and promoting sustainable income for tailors and artisans in the developing world

Were you always interested in social entrepreneurship? I have always been interested in social justice work, especially working with low income populations in developing countries and here in the US. I did not really know about social entrepreneurship until about 3 years

ago when I started reading more about Mohammad Yunus and his social businesses in Bangladesh.

“The West has used African countries and other developing countries as a stomping ground for a long time, contributing to the poverty and often times violent episodes that we’ve witnessed. We hope to break this cycle through our contribution to sustainable job creation in the countries we work in and by spreading awareness in the West on the role we play in the economic development of these countries.”


ow has Sarafina grown since it began; in terms of the resources and impact? Since its inception in January 2011, Sarafina has expanded its product lines from one to four. I started sourcing skirts from India and have now expanded to working with Madagascar and Uganda. In doing so, Sarafina has been able to reach more women in developing countries, primarily through women cooperatives. On the US side of operations, Sarafina has expanded its customer base from the DC area to customers across the United States. Do you plan on working with designers from other areas apart from India, Madagascar and Uganda? Most definitely. I am currently working with a designer on a line from Cote d’Ivoire that will launch next year. As Sarafina continues to expand, I will continue to find designers around the globe to work with. What are some challenges you have faced as a social entrepreneur? The main challenge I’ve found is related to representing the women we work with. Ultimately I want to run this as a business that pays its suppliers fairly. In doing so, I hope to give low income women in

developing countries the ability to lift themselves up and give their children opportunities that they themselves were not able to have. It’s important to tell their story but not in a way that creates pity. Sarafina is not a charity or anything resembling it. We want to give the women we work with to have a job that allows them to be empowered to make decisions like you and I do when we have the luxury of having a regular salary. The West has used African countries and other developing countries as a stomping ground for a long time, contributing to the poverty and often times violent episodes that we’ve witnessed. We hope to break this cycle through our contribution to sustainable job creation in the countries we work in and by spreading awareness in the West on the role we play in the economic development of these countries. What advice can you give other social entrepreneurs? The best advice I was given is to remember the end goal. When it gets tough, just remember why you started this business and what social issue you wanted to solve. It always keeps me motivated. Check out Sarafina on Facebook.


ZeroByZawadi Meet Afropolitan digital native Zawadi Nyong’o, the visionary behind African yoga-inspired social enterprise. In our interview below, Zawadi talks about the inspiration behind ZeroByZawadi. Zawadi Nyong’o an is Afropolitan feminist digital native. She identifies strongly as an African feminist because this is the lenses through which she sees the world. Zawadi believes in and promote social justice for all people, and has a particular passion for sexual minority rights and the rights of other people and communities who exist in the margins of society. She uses her time, networks, expertise, resources and social media skills to advocate for and raise awareness about the causes that tug at her heart-strings. Zawadi has worked on sexual and reproductive rights and health for over seven years, and advocated for women rights for more than a decade. She recently published a book in conjunction with Akina Mama wa Afrika titled ‘When I Dare to be Powerful”, a collection of short stories narrated by five women engaged in sex work in East Africa. Zawadi has also worked with the Association of Women's Rights in Development, where she coordinated the "Where is the money for women's rights?" program, and Urgent Action Fund-Africa, an African women's fund based in Nairobi. She was also the acting CEO for a year for the Africa Cancer Foundation, whose mission is to promote the prevention of cancer and provide holistic solutions to people affected by cancer in Africa. Zawadi shares with AfroElle about her budding creative social enterprise, ZeroByZawadi.

When and where did you get the inspiration to start Zero by Zawadi? ZeroByZawadi is an African yoga-inspired social enterprise 58|

that allows me to merge my creativity, spirituality, love for Africa, yoga, feminism and social justice. Our tagline is “every gift has a story.” I believe that at zero, anything and everything is possible. The inspiration for ZeroByZawadi came at a time when I had just returned from a month of Ayurveda treatment and yoga in Kerala, India and felt that I needed to start anew. At first I had no idea what I would do, but the voice of my mentor Hope Chengdu kept gnawing at me. Then one day as I meditated, I envisaged a khanga yoga bag and that is what set me off on the ZeroByZawadi odyssey. That was in November 2011. How important is yoga in your day to day life? Yoga is important to me because with it I’m able to find the balance I need to go about my social justice work, as well as build and run my business. With everything that I channel my energies to, it’s very easy to lose my center. Yoga helps to maintain that healthy equilibrium. More importantly though, Yoga has allowed me to build incredible and valuable relationships with people all over the world who share similar life values. This is what has made building ZeroByZawadi so exciting for me. How is the yoga culture in Kenya? The yoga culture in Kenya is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to the work that organizations like The Holistic Community Kenya and the Africa Yoga Project are doing to make yoga mainstream. They both do yoga outreach in under-privileged communities where yoga was previously non-existent. Before, yoga was seen as very bourgeois, practiced only by the elite, expatriate

community as well as people of Asian descent. That is slowly changing now. There are quite a number of indigenous Kenyans now who are trained yoga instructors, who are teaching children and people at the grassroots level what yoga is all about. What are challenges did you anticipate starting your enterprise ? Although I anticipated numerous challenges when I embarked on this journey, I have never doubted my vision. When I began, I had no capital whatsoever and had to fund the business from the income I was earning from my independent social justice consulting work. Not having come from a business background meant that the whole journey was a learning curve in terms of all matters fiscal. It is still a learning process for me, but one that I am very excited about. For now, ZeroByZawadi has no fulltime employees, but we have a small team of dedicated and like-minded individuals from the communities I have done social justice work with. What are some products or services under the brand? Right now, we produce Khanga yoga bags, Khanga covered journals, and recycled bags made from newspapers. We have an exciting range of other African yoga-inspired products that we will produce in the future. These include eye masks, yoga mats, yoga pants, and others that we will share when the time is right. Apart from palpable products, we at ZerobyZawadi have a blog where we highlight stories of transformation, resilience and inspiration that we come across in our journey. An example of this is the “Yoga In Prisons” story we published about the Holistic Community Kenya’s outreach work at the Nairobi Children’s Remand Home where they have been teaching yoga to the children once a week, for the past 2 years. Something we also plan to introduce soon is Sayari Circles. Sayari is Kiswahili for planet or universe. The Sayari circles will be monthly events designed to create the type of spaces where endless possibilities abound through creative selfexpression, spirituality, contemplative and healthy living practices. These spaces will be facilitated by people who share the Zero By Zawadi vision, and have expertise in their various fields, whether it be candle-making, simple massage techniques, how to make body scrubs from natural products, or facilitating Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation circles. What should we expect in the future for Zero by Zawadi in terms of products? Something musical – just think Africa, yoga and music. It’s in the works so watch our social media platforms via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube for updates. Keep updated with ZeroByZawadi. On Facebook.


Bags with a

Conscience Changing Lives One Bag at a Time! The label Furaha is committed to empowering women in Uganda. The "Weave out Poverty" (WoP) initiative is aiming to impact women's lives by promoting and supporting basket-weaving skills, and at the same time creating beautiful, fashionable bags. The business was founded by Furaha Bishota-Folquet and it’s currently supporting more than 40 women. In an interview with AfroElle’s MsK NY, Furaha BishotaFolquet talks about how creating bags led to the WoP social initiative, how energizing it can be 'to give back' and how anyone can start to live out their dreams. How did you start your business? When I first set out to make the bags, it was more like a hobby. However, the general reception was quite impressive and so I thought to myself why not go ahead and transform the hobby into a fully-fledged business.

Although I am a professional accountant and auditor and hold several certifications in the field as well as a Master’s degree in International Development, I am Was there a special signature event that sparked the more inclined towards liberal arts start of your business? and so I tend to love everything arty, crafty and fashion. I believe that When I moved to Uganda in December 2009, I was everyone is born with a creative quite excited about the prospects of resuming my streak in them. You just have to look African art and crafts collection. I would visit the deep inside you, identify that Kampala Friday crafts market, and couldn’t quite get creativity and then exploit it. This over the shock that most of the crafts were from was what I tried to do and therefore Kenya. Building on the inspiration of the Kenyan it was not very difficult for me to fuse “Kikapu”, I decided to create my own “Kikapu” using the bag business with fashion and local materials from Uganda. social engagement. Initially I had labeled the bags “Penelope” which actually means “weaver” in Greek. My friends felt that How would you describe yourself? this did not adequately capture the African spirit. So I I always find this a tough question. rebranded and came up with “Kikapu”. However, Generally, as my name “Furaha” there were other businesses using the same name for suggests, I am usually happy. I their products and I did not have resources to patent believe in working hard and playing the name. So finally, I decided on “Furaha” but I still hard. I am a dreamer of sorts and I have a sentimental attachment to “Kikapu” because it tend to be quite impulsive. When I was during this phase of the business that the bags decide on something, I go for it really took off. wholeheartedly. I am not afraid to You are a trained accountant - how did you get into fashion and the social enterprise?


fail simply because you never know what you are capable of until you try.

By focusing on my strengths and qualities rather than my limitations, I have gradually started realizing many of my dreams. What came first, the bags/fashion or the social enterprise/initiative to support women? I must say the bags came first. When I realized the impact on the weavers I decided to start the Weave out Poverty initiative, which is the social aspect of the business. Can you talk a little more on the weaving initiative? As I became more involved with the bags, I began to take a keener interest in the actual production of the raffia bags. In addition to learning about the various weaving techniques, I discovered that the raffia bags were the sole source of income for the women weavers. I realized at that point that this was a great opportunity for me to make a difference in women’s lives. I therefore started the Weave out Poverty initiative as my social responsibility in the fight

of the initiative and want to become a part of it. This means that I have to work even harder to find markets for the bags so that we have work continuously to recruit more weavers. Where do you get the inspirations for your designs?

against poverty. I made a personal commitment to make a positive change in the lives of the women by empowering them economically, with the aim of making them more self-sufficient, while at the same time making money for myself. Basically, this also meant that I had no choice but to grow the business in order to ensure sustainability. How many women are working there and how is the initiative helping them? Presently, we are working with three groups of women in three villages in Luwero District, Central Uganda. We have a team of 14 fulltime weavers and about 30 women who weave the strips used in making the baskets. Every quarter we hold meetings with the women to assess progress and to discuss any burning issues they may have. The production cost of the bags is mutually agreed through a participatory process. This way we ensure that the women are paid fairly for their work. We also provide a fifty per cent advance on all orders to facilitate the production of the bags. Experience has shown that this entire process creates not only a sense of ownership but also serves to enhance the quality of our woven products. The measurable benefits of the WoP initiative have been the ability of the women to pay school fees for their children and meet their daily household expenses. This past weekend I was at the village visiting the weavers and one of the ladies gave a testimony on how she has started her own piggery. How cool is that! Are you managing this initiative alone? Yes, I am managing the initiative singlehandedly. It is definitely a challenge as more and more women are becoming aware

I have a good eye for beautiful and creative things. I try not to reinvent the wheel. I leave that to designers. Essentially, when I like something, I try to envision how I can modify it to suit my bag designs. I have been inspired for instance by Ituen Basi from Nigeria and Christie Brown and Renee Q from Ghana. I love their work and have built on some of their design concepts for my bags. Are you cooperating with any other labels/designers or initiatives? This year we made bags exclusively for Ethical Muse and One Mango Tree, which are both social enterprises. The bags can be purchased directly from their web shops and (beginning in fall). We are teaming up with Weaver Bird Handicrafts in Masaka, Uganda, and plan to make their weavers a part of our WoP initiative. How can the bags be purchased? Right now I have converted my garage into a “showroom” and that is where most clients come for the bags. Initially, I spent most of my weekends at bazaars and exhibitions but I eventually found that this was taking too much time away from my kids. I am working hard to find distributors and will eventually consider a web shop. How can readers get engaged or support if interested? At the moment, the best way to get involved would be to assist in finding distribution outlets (hotels, lodges, boutiques etc). We need to sell the bags to get more women working. We are in the process of refining our business model, which will include a needs analysis of the initiative. When this exercise is completed, we will be in a better position to articulate our areas of need and where people can get involved.

have a full-time job -how do you make it all work? I must say I don’t get much sleep but this is more than made up for by the fact that I am really enjoying what I am doing. I love going to the market to shop for the fabrics, traveling to the village to meet with the weavers, working with the workshop to create new designs, selling the bags etc. Also knowing that I am able to give back to others and make a difference in people’s lives fuels my energy and keeps me going. This positive energy gives me the strength to balance my full time job while being a mother to my three wonderful kids. More importantly, I am a born again Christian and my faith has been my anchor. I believe that I can do anything and everything through Him who strengthens and sustains me (Philippians 4:13). What are your key learning’s from starting your own business? One of the main things I have learned in the last 18 months since I started this bag business is that you will never accomplish anything until you start working on it. Thinking about it is not enough. You must act. More importantly, you must believe in yourself. There will always be distractions, but you must remain focused and as long as you believe in yourself, you will find that you are able to woo the detractors into believing in you. More importantly, each one of us is capable of making a difference in the lives of other human beings. You do not have to wait for a development organization to come along. You will be amazed what small changes you can effect in society by just giving a little of yourself, hence why our motto is “The bag with a conscience. Changing lives one bag at a time”. There is always enough to go around. Always!

Kikapu by Furaha on Facebook

You are a mother, a business owner and you


“Remember if people like Gucci or Tiffany Amber made it so can you. Anything is possible if you believe. Remember work hard pays off at the end.”

Focus on fashion icon behind the label AcheaMpong by Mutesi and her journey and experience as a African designer in Sydney. Suzan Mutesi Mufumbiro, the fashion icon behind the label Achea-Mpong. Her love for fashion began as a little girl playing with African fibre dolls and dressing her friends’ dolls using only the scraps from are old clothing. She endeavored to make extraordinary yet inexpensive clothes for dolls, played with a lot of colours, mixed and matched outfits, and styled up her friends’ and sisters for occasion. After making the move to Australia to complete high school, her passion only grew stronger. She taught 62|

herself only the basics of design, such as alterations and mending torn clothes on a sewing machine. She knew that to be recognized as a designer she needed to further develop her skills from garment construction to sewing and pattern making. She was soon accepted into one of Australia’s top-ranked design institutions, Raffles KvB Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Design majoring in Fashion. With dreams to own a recognized, international label, Achea-Mpong by Mutesi was

born in 2012. “The name Achea-Mpong originates from West Africa with Achea meaning ‘desire’ and Mpong meaning ‘high achievement’. It best defines my thesis and illustrates the drive behind my hard work. I aim achieve highest in whatever I do.” With influences from her African roots and rich fabrics from various parts of the world, most of the label’s designs are a marriage between African and modern designs merged together with Suzan’s inner most desire to accentuate a woman’s soft beauty and sensuality. The collection depicts traditional African cultures of West and East Africa with a medley of Westernized technology. “My aim is to make designs appending a

cultural twirl in style thus making them unique in Australian and international market.” As an African designer in Sydney, Suzan came across many challenges and opportunities along the way. Suzan has had to prove that African designs and fabrics can well be matched with modern trends. This has been so far accepted in the public through the vast interest in Achea-Mpong designs. “Marrying the African design concepts with the modern fashion concepts hasn’t been that easy but it’s something I do with passion despite the difficulties. Looking at fashion internationally, African trends are being recognized by designers like Burberry Prorsum, Suno NY, and Christian Dior. It’s through this recognition that efforts like mine would be recognized. With that said, it’s no doubt that African trends will gradually be recognized in Australia and Acheampong creations is setting the lead so far.” She says. As a fashion designer, Suzan cites the most important thing to her as a fashion designer is to make a woman feel desirable and proud of who she is by making clothes that she loves. “I lavishly and intricately design clothes that make Achea-mpong creations not only unique but exciting, trendy and glamorous.” Since starting her label, Suzan has been able to achieve quite a lot as a fashion designer. She has designed dresses for X-Factor Australia 2011, Charlotte Dawson a judge on Australia‘s Top model wore her dress for a commercial on Foxtel TV. On the 2nd July, her French African lace silver dress featured in the OK magazine Australia. Suzan also designed a dress for Miss World Australia contestant Sheron Sultan that appeared in a three page spread interview in The African Times Magazine with the headlines, ''World Class Emerging Designer Suzan Mutesi`s creation made front cover on the MX newspaper!’. The MX newspaper being one of the most popular newspapers in Australia. Suzan has also been nominated for an award by

Celebrate African Australian Talent as a Fashion Icon and she has also been nominated for the 2012 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Apart from fashion, Suzan has a desire for giving back to charity. This desire has drawn her to participate in charity events raising awareness for schools in Rwanda and ‘Wear your Heart Charity ‘to raise money for schools in Ghana. “The ‘Wear your heart Charity’ is a fashion show charity that collaborates with emerging designers to raise money for African countries. The founders Tamika Cartwright and Melany Clark aim to make a difference in the lives of rural Africans by raising funds for partner NGOs. In July 2012 the girls volunteered in a rural community in Tanzania to construct staff housing in order to open a much needed medical facility, they also constructed a rain water tank, so that the community has clean water to drink. “On 14th of June, I was one of the emerging Sydney designers who took part in raising money for HoHoe Charity School in Ghana - A Free Boarding School for Underprivileged and Orphaned Children.” She explains. To emerging designers, Suzan urges, “Follow and express your passion. There will always be hard times and challenges, don't give up because what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Remember if people like Gucci or Tiffany Amber made it so can you. Anything is possible if you believe. Remember work hard pays off at the end.”

Check out Achea-Mpong by Mutesi’s design on her website. 63|


Leonche (Sierra Leone) Image by McCOY at AFWNY12

One on One with Adiat Disu President of Adirée and Director for Africa Fashion Week

The third Africa Fashion Week NY kicked off with a panel discussion at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Designers like Kibonen (Cameroon), Farai Simoyi (Zimbabwe), MaQuiah B Mensah (Ghana) and others discussed Africa as an emerging market for Luxury Fashion. One topic that almost every panelist stressed was sustainability: The responsibility of African designers to not just create a fashion brand but also a social enterprise to give back to the community. Something that came up in the discussion with the very engaged audience was: “Who are African designers designing for, the Western market or the African continent?” 64|

The organizer and host of the discussion, Adiat Disu pointed out that the African continent has a large middle class community that is growing and is estimated to have a 1.3 trillion dollar capacity in the near future. Regarding these quite impressive numbers, Nadine Thompson, CEO and Founder of the lifestyle company Soul Purpose, urged to look at Africa not just as an inspiration but also as a place to design for. “Do we need an Africa Fashion Week?” was another question. Why don't designers just participate in the popular and established Mercedes Benz Fashion Week NY that takes place every September? Just a tent in Bryant Park to showcase a collection is close to 40.000 dollars, explained Adiat Disu. So only big labels who can expect a return of investment are realistically able to participate. In order to get noticed and stand out among all the different fashion shows that NYC is hosting, Disu labeled her event “Africa” fashion week: not to homogenize all countries of the continent into one entity, but for PR reasons and to attract press. Emerging designers from the African continent are still struggling with is accessibility. One audience member asked the designers to focus on where to sell and how to enable customers to buy, as the internet and social media makes a global reach possible. At the end of the panel everyone agreed on one thing: Africa-inspired designs and fashion from African Designers is here to stay and is not just a trend. AfroElle’s fashion writer, talked to Adiat Disu, the President of Adirée and Director for Africa Fashion Week in various fashion capitals, to find

out more ab AFWNY.

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Photo Credit: Robert Cooper Photo Credit: Robert Cooper

Top: Panel discussion at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

o a great AFWNY! What did you after?

to dinner with my Fiancé.

k about the history of AFWNY when it all started?

eadership, Adirée in 2010 secured tion from Michael Bloomberg, the ew York, declaring the week of as the official date for Africa eek - a production founded and y Adirée - in the state of New

e need AFWNY - why can’t rom the Diaspora just show at Fashion Week?

ed by the lack of African designers d in New York Fashion Week and with the stereotypical images of hion that persists within the global Top: AfroElle Fashion writer MsK NY at ustry, such as tribal prints, head AFWNY te cloths, and dashikis, Adirée launch our showcases. This is why Right: MsK NY with Vanessa Mukasa at AFWNY 12 Image by C Bell rica Fashion Week, because we are e designers a voice, and ensuring ill be heard and seen for the beauty t is their designs. EVENT: Africa Fashion Week | New York 2012 e names like Christie Brown, SPONSORS: Origin Africa, Smart Water, Renarda Joy, Soul Purpose PRODUCER :Adiree sa in the future of AFWNY? Or is PHOTOGRAPHER: Avaloni Studios more on emerging designers? EXECUTIVE STYLIST :Dupp and Swat MAKE UP :Renarda Joy s not solely on emerging HAIR :Renarda Joy although we aim to promote those vision and want to make a name 65|

for themselves. At this year’s Africa Fashion Week, we featured Francis Hendy from Trinidad and Tobago who opened for Africa Fashion Week on Thursday July 12th, and who is a celebrity designer who has showcased at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. We also had Gustavo Garcia who is from Bolivia, so we do not solely focus on African Designers. There is AFW in London, in LA, in Paris as well as fashion weeks in several countries on the African continent - are these all stand-alone events? We are the founders and the original creators of the concept of Africa Fashion Week in Fashion capitals such as New York, and London, Paris, LA, Tokyo, Berlin, Milan soon to come. With Adirée's vision of Africa Fashion Week, we are now looking to solidify partners that are within our vision. Is the spotlight on designers from the Diaspora and on fabrics and textiles from the continent just a trend that will fade again? Since Adirée conception of Africa Fashion Week in New York, we have generated 20+ K in financing for African designers and artisans, to showcase in the U.S., created 50+ jobs, continuing to be a liaise between African designers and U.S. based press, buyers, and investors. We are bringing African culture and designs to these fashion capitals and facilitating a way for these communities to purchase Luxury African garments and see Africa in a new light. We are helping those in these communities acquire the fashions and styles from Africa that have been adapted and claimed by European designers from the source and acquire authentic African Designs. So to answer your question, we can’t afford to be evanescent. We are here to stay, and making ourselves known as a force to be reckoned with.

Top&Bottom Left: Kibonen at Africa Fashion Week in New York 2012 Right: Farai Simoyi at Africa Fashion Week in New York 2012 Photo Credits: AFWNY 66|

What kind of different challenges are emerging designers facing in Africa compared to emerging designers in the US or Europe? Finance, showroom support, and simply providing a consistent and well branded platform to grow are key challenges.

What tool is AdirÊe offering the designers to get ahead in the industry? Other than the consistent event platform in New York, we operate a virtual showroom to help facilitate the purchasing of designers garments from each showcase, increasing African designers and artisan’s reputations internationally, and re-branding Africa as a continent. We also work on social media daily ensuring that each designer is always being circulated and the public is exposed to their designs. Remembering the panel discussion at FIT, giving back and sustainability seems to be an important topic for most of the designers. Can you elaborate why? Essentially many of these designers are the bread-winners of their communities. Once they succeed in acquiring sponsorship or investment, designers are able to open factories and/or shops that employ many people in their communities and thus creating financial security for many. This results in them providing a sustainable living and lifestyle not only for themselves, but for those within their community.

Top Right and Below: House of Marie (Nigeria) Images by McCOY at AFWNY 12 Top Left:

How has social media /web 2.0 influenced and changed the accessibility to designers from the African continent?

Marianne G.G Egypt) Image by McCOY at AFWNY 12

Through the use of social media and understanding SEO, we are constantly circulating content pertaining to each designer which increases their presence online making them more assessable to the online world.

market - what is your take on that?

How has the fashion being shown at AFWNY evolved over the years?

Are there any AFWNY success stories - designers who 'made it' since showing at the first event for example?

Africa Fashion Week is on the international stage. The fashion and style showcased has transitioned from decade to decade. The definition of African fashion & style has decided to make its presence known to the fashion market, at the hands of new creators.

Yes, there have been designers who made $5,000-$10,000 worth in sales within the first 6 months they showed at Africa Fashion Week, and have been offered paid opportunities to showcase at events, international press, etc. success varies in many natures.

At the panel discussion, one of the panelists called Africa not an emerging but an overlooked

The AdirĂŠe Team has already started. We are like the energizer bunny, we never stop working.

Africa has always been here influencing the fashion world. If you look at well-known designers such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. They are using African Prints in their designs and showing it in Fashion Weeks all over the world.

When will you start working on AFWNY 2013?


Vintage & Retro Clothing, Jewellery and Accessories for Men and Women

Location: Surulere: 2, Aderibigbe Street, Ikate, Surulere off Alhaji Masha, near Ogosco bus stop, Lagos, Nigeria Location: Victoria Island: Shop 8, Prime Shopping Complex, 24 Muri Okunola Street, Opposite Eti Osa LGA, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria

Photography – Hakeem Salaam Retouching: Asiko Styling and Art Direction – Yoanna Pepper OkwesaChikezie Hair – Samantha @ Make Me Make Up – Oriton Faloughi Models – Claudia Adelu and David Avwunuvwerhi @ Isis Models Funola Animashaun and Nwando Ebeledike

Spotlight on:

Retrospective Nigeria’s first vintage fashion boutique


etrospective is Nigeria’s first vintage fashion boutique specializing in bespoke-handpicked brand new and preowned vintage and retro clothing, accessories and jewelry for men and women of all ages.

Sisters Yoanna ‘Pepper’ Okwesa-Chikezie, a fashion editor, creative director and Stylist and Elfreda, an excellent student of Capoeira Angola and aspiring film director’s love for vintage was influenced by their late Uncle John – a vintage connoisseur and social rights activist – and their mother’s fine eye for antique and unique pieces. From their travels, the sisters found themselves in flea markets and thrift stores, picking up old curiosities to decorate their rooms with and clothes for playing dress up. Owning a vintage boutique became a dream for the sisters and after holiday trips to Nigeria and discovering that there was no ‘real’ vintage shopping experience, Retrospective was born. The journey of making their dreams come true started in 2010 with their Retrospective stall. Yoanna and Elfreda started by introducing the treats and treasures they’d collected over the years coupled with family collections to the monthly fashion market Le Petit Marche in Lagos. The sisters were pleasantly surprised by the response and after the stall’s success, they sisters sought a permanent place to hoard and share their ever-growing, ever- changing collection, which they continued to score while searching far and wide through antique and flea markets, and estate sales held around the world. Early 2011, in the heart of Lagos, Surulere, home to the National Stadium and Nigeria’s Nollywood movie industry, the first Retrospective store was opened, headed by Fashion Editor, Creative Director and Stylist Yoanna and her two sisters – Elfreda and Kim, an aspiring gold Olympian and shopaholic. The second branch was opened in Victoria

Island later in the same year. The stores are Lagos’ first vintage treasure troves, presenting one-of-a-kind garments, jewelry and accessories handpicked from the vaults of time made anywhere in time from the Victoria era to the nineties, including designer pieces for the discerning, fashion-forward man and woman who aim to interpret the tastes of the past while incorporating the style of the present. Visitors who enter the treasure trove that is Retrospective will have their fill of a wider range of hand- picked clothing for men and women, both new and/or kept in mint condition from past iconic decades. Cocktail and party dresses, sequins, designer shoes, western retro shirts, limited edition designer jeans, silvers, Celtic trinkets, brooches, cameos, Art Deco pieces, gemstone jewels, designer silk scarves, handmade tooled leather and skin bags, clutches, purses, belts, braces, ties and sunglasses - including designer-signed pieces - are just some of the gems waiting to be discovered. Still scouring endlessly in Nigeria and around the world, the sisters continue to discover rare finds to add to their large assortment of jewelry, clothes and accessories, handpicked to satisfy a range of tastes and sizes, which has, since its launch, made Retrospective the most relevant haunt for vintagethirsty fashionistas in Lagos and beyond.

Retrospective currently display all their pieces and collections on an online catalogue on their website

Nusinic Photos

7 Questions for Surface and Fashion Designer, Tanya Mushayi Due to shortages of jobs for graduates in England, Zimbabwean born, England raised 24 year old Surface and Fashion Designer, Tanya Mushayi decided to defer from her final year university study in Huddersfield, UK to gain experience and start her own business. Tanya left everything behind to pursue her dreams and started a retro inspired print clothing line by the name of Tanya Nefertari -Nefertari meaning Beautiful Companion. “My clothing line focuses on clothing for people who aren't afraid to stand out, for women & men who want to feel and be treated like royalty and yet still have that independent regal aura. It is also for people who do not follow fashion trends, but are able to express their own individual style and exuberant color and prints.


Describe your signature style.

I wouldn’t say I have a signature style because I just dress how I feel at that particular time. But I have been told I dress like a modern Afrocentric. I love vintage clothing, bright colors and prints. If I was to psycho- analyze myself I’d say I’m a very laid back person so I think I make up for my quiet chilled persona by wearing loud colorful clothes.


What's different about your style?

I’d say my style is different because I don’t usually look to see what everyone is wearing and automatically think I need to wear it too. I’m not one to follow trends or guidelines on what magazines or fashion blogs say one should be wearing. I wear what suits and best portrays my heritage and personality.



How did you get interested in fashion?

I’ve always been interested in fashion but I’ve always been the rebel against the way people are told to wear “this trend and if they don’t they don’t look good” type of mentality. My close friends that I have had since I was young would tell you. They know me as the rebel that's against conventional fashion and trends. I guess I can say am designing for all the fashion rebels out there. Why? Because I don't follow a trend or the expected. I am just following my whim and making what I think should be out there. This is a piece of ME and I guess I am trying to leave an indelible mark in the world through fashion.

Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? I draw my fashion inspiration from ancient/past civilizations and trends like the Egyptian and Aztec Empires. I also love the art deco and art noveau movements so much that I usually have a day of immersing myself in books of those times then I design what I ’d like to see out there.



What's your favorite accessory? My favorite accessory is sunglasses, I go out of my way to buy and collect as many frames as possible that and in different shapes and sizes (that take my fancy).Its turned into somewhat of an obsession I can’t go for a day or leave the house without them.

What is the best way of looking sexy without going over board? The best way of looking sexy is always the classic motto “less is more.” You can be sexy covered up. You don’t have


to show too much leg and or cleavage. The less you show the sexier you look and the same applies with make up., Leave it all to the imagination and keep people guessing.


What is your best fashion advice to every woman? My best fashion advice to every woman is wear what makes you feel good and always dress for you. Know what suits your personality and your body shape.

Tanya Nefertari on Facebook Tanya in one of her Tanya Nefertari print designs

They prey, love and live fashion. Childhood friends Tsholo Dikobe and Gaone Mothibi turned their passion for fashion into GaTsh Fros, a unique and gash fashion, image and lifestyle consultancy company in Gaborone, Bostwana. GaTsh Fros work with a variety of clients, from television celebrities to business executives, anyone who wants to make a good impression, change their lifestyle, or update their look. In the beginning, Tsholo and Gaone styled for the love of it but after a while it turned into seeking a reward for a job well done. They also impressed the editor of The Voice Newspaper with their passion and their interpretation on fashion and landed a fashion column. “ On the future of GaTsh Fros, we hope to own chain stores like Mafia Soul that sells GaTsh brands. We want to be a brand that people recognizes, respect and love, we want to explore the world -travel across the globe.” says Gaone.

5 tips to succeeding as a fashion stylist “We love the freedom that comes with fashion. No conformity needed. Rules are broken every day. It’s fun, it’s one’s voice. What’s challenging is how people don’t consider being a stylist as a real job. We overcome this by either making them understand the art of it all or we make them fall in love with it. After all that convincing and evidence, then they get to take us seriously and PAY.”

1.Get the right MINDSET, have the passion and love for fashion. 2. Build your network. 3. Develop your fashion styling signature/ talent. 4. Successful fashion stylists reach where they are today due to their hard work, perseverance, determination, successdrive, and of course, unmatched styling skills

5. Love what you do and NEVER GIVE UP. - GaTsh Fros

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