There is no such thing as a monolithic African experience. Africa is blessed with unrivalled diversity in terms of culture, languages, environments, and opinions. We encourage you to showcase your own Africa online. Through this we can work towards ensuring that, piece by piece, an African jigsaw puzzle — curated by Africans — will begin to take shape, perhaps revealing a portrait of itself that many people — both inside and outside of Africa — might not have expected!
‘Black doll outsells Barbie in Nigeria’ should be the news equivalent to ‘wool hats outsell bikinis in Siberia’. In a logical world, it's a total non-story. But the tale of Queens of Africa, a line of black dolls created by Taofick Okoya, has gone viral having recently featured on the websites of the Daily Mail, the Independent, Elle, and MTV. What is it about these dolls that has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many? Is the David vs Goliath narrative fuelling the story's popularity, or the fact that a gross aberration of logic, upheld for far too long, is finally being corrected?
Funmi Iyanda, a much-admired broadcaster and media entrepreneur from Nigeria, presented her vision of the future of black British leadership at a talk given at the University of Cumbria’s Institute for Leadership and Sustainability. She wove into her talk personal stories spanning generations from her growing up listening to her grandmother's oration, to her own daughter's experiences of being a young African in an environment where unfamiliarity breeds social discomfort. These personal accounts provided additional context to the legacy that colonialism has left in current day Nigeria, and its lasting effects on young Africans living in the diaspora.
Funmi's underlying message was that we, as Africans, need to reconstruct an Africa that is fit for Africans, and that when we marginalise and devalue humans we lose the opportunity to learn from them and absorb the positive benefits that the skills, knowledge and experiences of ‘others’ can bring to society. The challenge for future leaders is to learn to see diversity as less of a problem and more of an opportunity.
Here are ten more quotes from Funmi Iyanda’s ‘Future of Black British Leadership’ talk.
Following on from Adelle Onyango's article in which she confesses to loving kwaito music despite not understanding a word of it, we've dug out ten songs that you may also know and love without necessarily knowing what they're even about. Here they are:
Such was the intensity of west Africa's backlash against his actions, one could have been forgiven for thinking that top British chef, Jamie Oliver, had just unveiled himself as CEO of Boko Haram.
'What was his crime?' we hear you ask.
'Haven't you heard? What planet do you live on?' would be our reply.
Jamie Oliver had made the brave decision to turn his culinary attentions towards west Africa's most treasured dish - jollof. What he produced many deemed to be bad jollof at best, and an attempt by the West to recolonise Africa at worst. Whilst that debate rages on, what is certain is that it will take a brave (or publicity hungry) westerner who next dares to add ‘lots of European twists’ to a traditional west African dish! This was an Oliver twist even D'banj would have shaken his head at.
The late broadcaster Komla Dumor knew more than most about covering Africa; it was his day job and his passion as host of the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. In his seminal TEDx Euston talk, he talks about the complexity of Africa's story, and how to cover so diverse a continent.
'In Norway kids are freezing' and, far from it for Africans to stand idly by and allow this injustice to continue, the continent's musicians have mobilised to produce a charity song that will help spread some warmth to those frostbitten Nordic children.