October 28, 2017

The Festival of Exodus

Image: Travel with April
Hogbetsotso festival takes place on the first Saturday of November each year, commemorating the migration of the Anlo Ewe people from Notsé town in Togo to Anloga town in Ghana. Legend has it that these folks escaped a wicked king back in the day by traversing backwards, so their footprints would be deceptive to observers that would only conclude that the people were going into town.
Image: Vindice 101
Image: N D C
Agbadza, also known as "the chicken dance." Image: JY Midey
Celebrations are marked by a peace making period, marking a new beginning and a time of harmony for the Anlo's; a purification of ceremonial stools, a general cleaning of the villages, a pageantry display by the village chiefs in colorful regalia, with villagers paying homage to them. This is also a time to see the Agbadza at its best—a music and dance routine popularized and trademarked by this group, seen in parts of Ghana, Togo and Benin.

September 11, 2017

Houston AfriFEST

The fifth annual Houston AfriFEST took place September 9th 2017 pulling together vendors and performances celebrating the rich and diverse cultures of Africa, organized by NAMC Houston
This event attracted a diverse group of people of all ages. It was a day of family friendly fun and educational, and of course, no there's always the authentic African cuisine and the latest in Afrobeats to get the crowd going.
More photos are on Facebook.

August 13, 2017

The Art of Fufu...

What is fufu?

An artist and restauranteur has taken it upon herself to educate the novice about a certain African delicacy—the fufu. I can't tell you the countless times my non-African friends have imagined it.  How do you eat it exactly? You eat it with your bare hands really? Well yes you do, and it actually tastes better that way! It's even more fun watching the well-travelled folks that have been to Africa try to describe it, it's like listening while your new best friend gush about you to her friends like you're not even present. I chuckle now everytime that I have to think about it. Eating fufu is certainly an art form that a lot of us from Africa take for granted, you must think about that for a minute, have you tried to describe how you eat fufu to someone unaccustomed to the dish?

This past Friday I observed The Art of Fufu take center stage, in a gallery style art exhibit in Midtown Houston. An artist has expertly curated the event, with blown up photographs on the white walls and people streamed down the open space taking in what they see and talking amongst one another. It was quite refreshing to see, not just the fact of the subject matter, but because it was an anomaly. Usually, African, specifically Nigerian events are concentrated in one area of town here in Houston and most in the community know where it is. To be able to bring this out of the familiar area otherwise known as "Little Lagos" meant you needed to think out of the box, hence the crowd that gathered was not typically African, but many were curious to learn the art of fufu.
"We want to be the United Nations on a Plate" Kavachi waxed lyrical about taking The Art of Fufu mainstream. Her book "Come Chop" comes out later this year.

Eba, amala and pounded yam had been molded in bite-sized portions and served as hors d'oeuvres with at least two different kinds of soup, fancy enough for the most distinguishing palette. The crowd gathered for a demo on how to make fufu, they ate it up. "My mission is to make international food mainstream," Kavachi, the Creative Director and a third-generation food owner raved. She had been to Great Day Houston prior to demonstrate The Art of Fufu on television. She plans to educate novices across the country about fufu. Finally people can stop asking how you eat it and just enjoy it. Good thing it's healthy for you (in moderation of course).

I have some pictures from the event on my Facebook page.  Enjoy the video below.

See ya later.

August 7, 2017

Event recap: The African Film Festival

TAFF Awards ceremony
The second installment of The African Film Festival concluded with a keen sense of optimism that's made for a hopeful future. Filmmakers gathered once again in Dallas, Texas on 4th of July weekend in 2017 to watch a marathon of independent films about Africa by independent filmmakers that are not necessarily all African. A total of 43 independent films in all, served up by filmmakers from 25 different countries to include The USA. Films addressed a range of issues; from Uganda came pertinent topics addressed by American filmmakers. One was about the Northern Ugandan genocide—the restructuring and rebuilding of lives after much have been lost, another addressed the journey to rebuilding a broken Ugandan justice system, while another highlighted a man's journey leaving his American dream to fulfill that of many orphans to the HIV/AIDS epidemic by building schools and homes restoring hope to the children that are otherwise victims.

From Ghana came a dance movie that's probably the first in the African Independent filmmaking history, a refreshing change from the usual plot lines centered on infidelity and spiritism. From Ethiopia came an adaptation of one man's true life story as a refugee, he stars in the heart wrenching film where he escapes his homeland as an orphan in the midst of turmoil to make a better life for himself in the Western world. The journey to a better life is not without peril, which he must get through to see the light at the end of the tunnel. From Nigeria came the story that touches on a piece of its history, a critically acclaimed film that sheds light on the detrimental effects of corruption. All of the above were just highlights of the many meaningful films screened, proving that these filmmakers have only scratched the surface when it comes to the dynamics in the fiber the shapes the African continent.
Film screenings took place at the Texas Theatre, African American Museum and Dallas City Performance Hall, each screening ending in a Q&A session with filmmakers.
Film screenings where just a part of the full weekend, The festival began effectively with an Acting Masterclass taught by TAFF Film Legend Award winner and gala host Richard Mofe Damijo. The class was made up of filmmakers and enthusiasts who came to learn from the screen veteran with at least twenty years under his belt. He didn't disappoint as he delved effectively into his role as teacher and sometimes sinking into a character or two. The audience were more than delighted to have him in their midst as he reflected on his experiences, even indulging them in some scene practice sessions.

The Symposium on African Cinema was also one of the festival's highlights. Held at the Dallas Public Library, filmmakers headed the panel to discuss the evolution of African cinema over the years, the challenges and the breakthroughs. African cinema continues to face challenges of adequate funding and the commercialism of the industry where filmmakers feel the need to make a marketable film over a meaningful film. As aforementioned, Africa is a continent full of untold stories and rich in history and just a handful of filmmakers are delving deep into them. Concerns raised by the non-African filmmakers on the panel were the lack of filmmakers willing to put their resources together to continue to raise the awareness of issues that stare them in the face everyday, pointed out by Debi Lang. She gathered film students, most without any experience and traveled to Uganda to help make her documentary film. Just like her, other non-African filmmakers made their films, partly because no one else was making them. There are still limited screening outlets in Africa, with the exception of Nigeria and South Africa, most cinemas in most African countries can be summed up in one hand. This is a far cry from the rest of the developed world and due to this challenge, most filmmakers are limited by way of distribution. Most countries do not have regulatory agencies that protect filmmakers' intellectual properties, as a result piracy is rampant. A lot of filmmakers are hard-pressed to recoup their production costs considering the above factors. It truly becomes the survival of the fittest. There are many factors that can discourage even the most courageous.
The festival brought many filmmakers together in one place to celebrate African independent films.
The festival season would eventually come to an end, but not without the much anticipated gala. Thirty-four filmmakers were nominated in sixteen award categories. The trophy this year had been dubbed the "world cup" of African films by the festival organizers as it was inspired by the biggest sports trophies—the World Cup and the Super Bowl. The idea was to recognize some of the finest filmmakers and encourage them to continue to set the example. In all, sixteen film awards and one honorary award were given, see the chart below:

 TAFF Nominees and Winners

Notable winners were the makers of Remand, its stars Tumusiime Henry and Jim Gash as well as producer Randy Brewer accepted the award for Best Documentary Feature. To them the award represented a triumph in more ways than one. Henry is a young man whose life was hanging on a balance of justice in Uganda, convicted of two murders, he was looking at a possible life sentence on remand in a juvenile home were he would spend years with others, many of them without any substantial criminal convictions. Jim Gash is a Lawyer from Pepperdine University from Los Angeles California who came for a different project in the country when they crossed paths and the rest of the story would lead them to Dallas City Performance Hall on July 3rd 2017.  Read more about their heart wrenching story here. Another touching narrative centers around another young man named Zekarias Tibebu Mesfin, a young Ethiopian refugee that adapts his life story for the big screen. He produces and stars in Ewir Amora Kelabi, another story about the realities of many refugees in Africa that meet various hardships while fleeing war zones and civil unrests only to end up in other predicaments to include death. The film accurately portrays a young man's struggle for survival against the odds. Mr. Mesfin won the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award of TAFF 2017. More on his film can be found here.

 Mr. Damijo was honored during the finale for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the African cinema. He became the second TAFF African Film Legend award recipient, after Ms. Patience "Mama G" Ozokwor who received the award in 2016.

More on The African Film Festival can be found here.

December 5, 2016

An African bridal event

Houston's African wedding show & Exhibition

Date: November 4 2016
Venue: Ayva Center Houston Texas
Special performance by Cameroonian artist Chilli, Burundi Cultural dance troupe, TSU students and more. Showcase included traditional as well as formal bridal dressings by local African designers. Comedian MCPC was emcee for the event.

For event photos and video now on Facebook and YouTube.

November 17, 2016

One Africa Music Fest didn't disappoint in Houston

Flavour

One Africa Music Fest didn't disappoint in Houston

The highly anticipated African musical concert of 2016 took place at the Toyota center in Houston, Texas featuring the biggest acts in the African music industry. The event was met with fanfare as the turn up was unprecedented. Fans enjoyed the performances by Flavour, D' Banj, Reekado Banks, Skales, J Martins, Seyi Shay, P-Square, Olamide, Zoro and more.

Fans enjoyed a mixture contemporary Afrobeats and traditional sounds as well as R&B. They leaped and raved as their favorite heartthrobs dished out hit after hit for their listening pleasure. There was no dull moment in the house.
Zoro
Seyi Shay
D' Banj
Seyi Shay as the sole female headliner for the whole concert demonstrates the need for more female representation in the industry as only a handful is currently celebrated. One sole act was also noted at the sold out Brooklyn's Barclays Center venue by Tiwa Savage. By the singer's performance on that evening, she didn't disappoint performing some of her hits to include Murda, Irawo.

Highlight of the evening was SisQo. Serenading the crowd with greatest hits like Unleash the Dragon and Incomplete. He ensured crazed fans when he went into the fault for his all time smash hit Thong Song, they went wild for that one. Notable is the fact that the smooth crooner gets better with age. With his long hiatus from music, and watching him perform, it's like he never left, still able to burst his usual dance moves effortlessly. He recently dropped a new album titled The Last Dragon and is out on tour.

All in all, One Africa Music Fest was a success in both shows and have become an event a diverse fanbase will anticipate year after year. They are here to stay as OAMF chief organizer Mr. Peter Okoye received a proclamation by the city of Houston that would ensure they return every year.
SisQo solidifies his position in R&B with his triumphant return to the spotlight.
Check out more photos at Facebook.com/msadaku.


October 12, 2016

One Africa Music Fest comes to Houston

The biggest African music concert comes to Houston, Texas this fall.

Featuring all of your favorite Afro Artists. If the first event at Barclay's center, Brooklyn New York was any indication, this is slated to be groundbreaking for Houston fans.

ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST COMES TO TOYOTA CENTER ON OCTOBER 22nd. 

With Special Performances By 2Face, P-Square, and Dbanj alongside an exciting line up of Africa’s finest


Upfront and Personal Global Management Consultants (UPGMC) are a Media company and Nigeria's largest entertainment broker and integrated artiste management company. They are looking to harness their access and credibility with Nigeria's music talent to build Africa's Largest Musical platform.

One Africa Music Fest, presented by Upfront & Personal, is set to hit the U.S. for the second time on Saturday, October 22, 2016. The event will take place at Houston’s Toyota Center at 7 p.m. This unforgettable night will be hosted by Africa’s R&B King Banky W.

Guests will fill the Toyota Center to See live performances from Africa’s finest such as Nigerian afrobeats stars 2Face, P-Square, Dbanj, Olamide, Flavour, Kcee, Harrysongs, DR Congolese MTV award winner Fally Ipupa, South African duo Mafikizolo, East Africa’s Vanessa Mdee, Tekno, Seyi Shay, J Martins, Vector, Skales, Reekado Bank, Cabo Snoop, and many more.

To purchase tickets for the show, visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com (Search for “One Africa Music Fest”) or by calling +1-866-446-8849. Tickets are available at the Toyota Center Box Office at Toyota Center (if tickets are still available).

Chairman/CEO – Upfront and personal, Paul Okoye said “This is another historic event that will sustain the momentum behind African music taking over the globe, while many Africans in Diaspora and Americans get first class entertainment at the Toyota Center Houston, come 22nd October, 2016. We’re taking over HOUSTON”.

This night in music is one you won’t want to miss!

Follow @upfrontbookings, @Fuzengn and @oneafrica_music on twitter and Instagram; oneafricamusicfest on Facebook for all the details! Or simply use #oneafricamusicfest on social media.

September 21, 2016

A women's empowerment event not to miss


AWIEF is bringing together the best of African women leaders under one roof at this year's forum in September


AWIEF is here again! The 2016 edition of the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum is around the corner and it is billed to make unprecedented strides in AWIEF’s Pan-African campaign to accelerate the economic empowerment of women in Africa’s best interest.

AWIEF Founder and CEO, Mrs. Irene Ochem, speaking to reporters at AWIEF offices in Lagos confirmed the participation of Lagos State as Official Partner and Host State Government with the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode giving the keynote speech and welcome address at the opening ceremony on the 29th of September 2016.

AN EVENT FOR AFRICAN WOMEN LEADERS

Mrs. Ochem went on to say that a major highlight of the event has been occasioned by AWIEF’s partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB in a special dedicated high-level panel will be unveiling the modalities and details of African Development Bank’s USD-300 million Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AWIEF is committed to not just talking about the issues affecting African women’s economic empowerment but, most importantly, AWIEF is committed to taking action and engaging in programs and initiatives through AWIEF NGO and social enterprise that will create that positive impact and actually change the African Woman’s economic fortune for the better.

The event is holding on the 29th and 30th of September at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Pre-conference workshops powered by GOOGLE and LEAP Africa to be held on the 28th of September 2016. Registration is ongoing online at www.awieforum.com or by email to: info@icoconferences.com.

For Sponsorship, registration or other participation call +234 814 376 9875/+234 814 760 7909/+234 818 570 1455.


September 17, 2016

Myra Maimoh's sophomore album is one of hope

MYRA MAIMOH HEALS THE WORLD WITH HOPE, AN EMPOWERING NEW VIDEO AND A VOICE YOU WILL NEVER FORGET


Myra Maimoh is like a flower in full bloom always radiating a sweet contagious essence. You just seem to always find a smile emanating from her mouth and the most inspiring words from her lips but altogether life has never been this picture perfect for her. In fact, Myra as she tells it has gone through a lot of experiences which have helped shape her to the positive person she is today. As they say with life, you can choose to be bitter or you can be better with your experiences and Myra Maimoh certainly chose the latter.

Myra Maimoh was born in Bamenda, the North West Region of Cameroon (in West Central Africa) where she grew up in an average Christian family home with her parents and siblings. With her mother being her greatest musical influence through the records she owned, Myra Maimoh grew up with artists such as Skeeter Davies, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong. She was also heavily influenced by her Mother’s love for African blues through to Country music, traditional African music to Jazz and pop and it was no surprise that Myra started singing and dancing, while still in preschool at the age of 3.

Myra Maimoh was not only a high profile studio vocalist recording in some of the country's greatest studios for the biggest artists, she was among the most hired doing everything from background vocals, lead vocals to jingles for national and private radio stations.

When Myra Maimoh released her debut album “Answer’d Me” in 2010, she was ready to put aside all her negative experiences and to embrace hope. She was ready to inspire her audience to believe in themselves, to come out from their shadow by “sharing her generosity of spirit wrapped up into a perfectly packaged unit.” “This 11-track testament to the sheer joy of Myra's music is the perfect introduction to a young woman who uniquely combines the passionate music of her African roots with the pop, rock, soul and Jazz sensibilities of the West.” Stated Funk Sanctum Radio.

Myra Maimoh then took almost 5 years off to live life. During this period, she got married and had 2 children. Through 2015, Myra Maimoh was ready to get back to work and to focus on her music by embarking on her sophomore album Uniq. The album was recorded in the US and sent off to the UK and Cameroon to be perfected and immersed through mastering in the sounds which Myra and her team wanted to offer to her audience,

Uniq incorporates her RnB and African influences. On this 6 tracked album she brings to the table a plate full of positive inspiration and a cup filled with hope, patience and faith speaking to audiences battling terminal illnesses, depression or low self-esteem in the song Uniq which is also a girl power anthem with an empowering stance (link attached below). A message of encouragement is sent to fans to emerge with power from whatever crisis they may be in and not to be defined by their status quo as in the song Feh Vitavivi. Myra also adds some light entertainment and jiving as in On Va Danser which has a celebratory upbeat vibe.

You only have to listen to the unforgettable voice of Myra Maimoh to understand why Célia Faussart of Les Nubians stated she was inspired by Myra and also stated “Myra Maimoh, she’s like the Cameroonian Jill Scott, and Franck Biyong.”



        FIRST PUBLIC REVIEWS

The Uniq album is exactly what it says it is. Every track is different and unique from the one before. Love that it has so many different slants on life. Great music and great lyrics. Well done!” 
I got the album CD on the website and I can't stop playing the instrumental version of A No Go Tire. The music is Masterfully put together! A No Go Tire and Uniq for me; the former for the soul in Myra Maimoh's voice and the amazing musicality, the latter for its inspiration, hiphop jive and how Myra Maimoh stretched and showed her vocal prowess with adlibs.” 
Well done petite sœur. The whole album is wonderful but like my better half the song that stands out for me is Far Away. It’s very soulful and is very deep and uplifting at the same time. You are a true talent and l really hope this Uniq album propels you to the heights that you deserve.” 
The album as a whole takes you through life journey and various faces and stages of life. It's a Uniq mix of afro pop, afro soul, RnB. The diversity in the songs and use of languages and musical expressions shows the the level of exposure of the artist as one who has so many cultural influences. "Beau Parleur" is my personal favourite song on the EP. It has almost all the characteristics of a [hit] song, it has that catchy chorus. The beat is some good afro pop and it is appealing to ladies which is what they want to hear.”

Uniq is now released and available on all major online platforms

Connect with Myra 

September 12, 2016

Vreezy Ville's latest track features Askia


Vreezy Ville Features Cameroon’s Rap Diva Askia in “Shakiti -Dab” Collabo.


US based Franco Records protégé Vreezy Ville teamed up with Cameroon’s female rap diva Askia on this hit collabo titled “Shakiti-Dab.” Talking to fans in Maryland, Vreezy Ville told fans he is very excited about this track as it brings out another aspect of his lyrical power.

This track is actually a blend of African and western culture via their various music trends in which Shakiti is a song and dance created by Nigerian artist Olamide and Dab is an American dance currently trending all over the world. The song also has a little bit of hip-hop, jazz and reggae not forgetting the afrobeat in it which makes it unique in style and content. This could easily be a club banger. It is written and recorded by Vreezy Ville and it features Cameroon female rapper Askia. Track is produced by Big Joe and mastered by Salatiel.


Follow VILLE on twitter @VreezyVille237 and on Instagram @Vreezy_Ville.
For Bookings contact: info@francorecords.com / +011-281-728-4374.
@Vreezyville237 @Francorecordz

August 31, 2016

Does South Africa's naked festival exploit young girls?


Ever heard of Umhlanga?


South Africa's Reed Dance is an eight-day annual festival in late August, early September that takes place in the royal palaces of both the kings of Swazis and the Zulus, in Ludzidzini Royal Village in Swaziland, and Nongoma, South Africa respectively. This event draws tens of thousands of virgin girls from the respective regions, as well as spectators from all over the world to the event. Umhlanga was created by a Swazi mornach back in 1940, an adaptation of a much older traditional rite from the 1800's called the Umchwasho, a traditional chastity rite for young girls. The King of Zulu land, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu adopted this tradition in 1991. Since then, it has quickly grown into a highly anticipated event with Southern Africa's dignitaries in attendance and a yearly tourist attraction.

A test for virginity?


So, the purpose of this festival is to ensure chastity before marriage which is highly regarded in the culture and as a way to fight sexually transmitted diseases, namely HIV/AIDS. The eight-day event proceeds with a number of rituals, namely, virginity testing which all unmarried and young girls must undergo to be able to participate. A highly regarded madame would be responsible for conducting this test, which is rudimental at best since there's no medical professional involved. The girls spread their legs open for a hymen check. Others include the girls traveling to the fields for reed picking. The girls must pick the strongest and the tallest reeds so not to risk them breaking, for broken reeds mean the girl has been sexually active. The reeds they must either present to the king or the queen mother during the ceremony to help repair the royal compound's perimeter. The girls would gather and bathe in a body of water the day before they present themselves to the royals.

All unmarried virgin girls are expected to participate in this, including the royal family. They are usually distinguished by their feather crowns and usually play prominent roles during the entire ceremony. During the ceremony, the girls proceed to the palace in traditional attire made of beaded tassels and pieces of cloth worn around the waist, as well as beaded neckwear, bracelets, anklets and colorful sashes. Breasts and bottoms are exposed. They dance in procession towards the palace with their reeds in tow. They may also carry the bush knives used in cutting the reeds as a symbol signifying their virginity.




Here's the head scratcher


King Goodwill Zwelithini introduced this festival to the Zulus as a way to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic by delaying sexual activity until marriage. The decades long tradition in Swaziland encouraged chastity and fostered solidarity among the women. What I'm not able to understand is why so much emphasis is placed on the women? If you happen to be curious, look up Southern Africa's virginity testing on YouTube (how about I give you a head start here?) that they conduct on girls as young as twelve. The madame performs the test with her bare hands sometimes with men looking on. What I would like to know is how this tradition averts the act of sex amongst teenagers and how an intact hymen is a sure-fire proof that a girl has not had sex. It has been reported that these girls have been known to avert failing the test by stuffing meat and lace in their vaginas. From my research on this subject the emphasis on educating boys and men on the matter of sexual abstinence is not nearly enough. While it's almost taboo for the girls to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage, it is okay for boys. While this may be effective in scaring the young girls straight, what about the violation of her privacy and the right to her own body? A girl has to be subject to such public scrutiny while a boy doesn't. What about the many incidences of rape or child sexual abuse perpetrated in higher percentages by men? In Africa, this is as high as twenty percent compared to the rest of the world. In South Africa alone a child under seven is being raped every three minutes, infants have been gang raped by men, causing the need for reconstructive surgery. A twelve year old girl is ashamed and afraid to speak up on sexual abuse. What it does at best is cause emotional turmoil for the girls that fail the test who may have to live out the rest of their lives as women scarred with the stigma of sleeping around, a lower value is placed on them, their bride price lowered, they become societal moral pariahs. 

Here's another, on the one hand, this tradition continues to enforce moral chastity while on the other hand thrives on exhibitionism when these girls are not allowed to wear any clothing as they parade themselves for the general public. The excuse to maintaining the tradition at status quo is that the tradition that exists today and that from the past is inextricably linked, it is not in their place to change it. It has been rumored that the king of Swaziland attends these events to find a bride, he's currently on wife #15.

This annual event has attracted perpetrators from across the globe who take images obtained at the festival and release to pornographic sites. 

Girls marked as virgins become the target of men infected with HIV/AIDS who think that sleeping with a virgin will cure them of the disease.

Women have long been exploited in many parts of the world in the confines of religion and tradition for their bodies, many want them covered and not to show a sliver of skin, others like this one, want full exposure, all in the name of keeping them out of trouble. 

We very much live in patriarchal societies where women continue to be viewed as properties and commodities. In the debate of men vs. women, what's good for the goose is not good for the gander.

August 26, 2016

MAZI CHUKZ WILL BE MENSWEAR BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR AFWL

MAZI CHUKZ

Mazi Chukz is an Afrobeats artist who resides in the UK, he introduced himself to the industry with his introductory song - Ebeano which was premiered by Link Up TV. Since then he has released singles, One In A Million, Hustle, Dem Hail and Down which have attributed greatly to his current success.

He has also collaborated with an array of international and national talent such as: L.A.X and Maleek Berry, Moelogo, Sona, Mista Silva and more.

He has a great interest in fashion and has previously collaborated with fashion brands, he mixes tailored sportswear with his Igbo, Nigerian heritage.


Mazi Chukz has also been previously featured on MTV IGGY, Link Up TV, Not Just Ok, MOBO Awards and Complex UK​. His most recent single 'Down' was also premiered by Red Bull Music. As well as his previous releases 'One In A Million' and 'Ifunanya' being play-listed on 1xtra an Capital Xtra​.

We chose Mazi to be AFWL Menswear Brand Ambassador because of his interest in fashion and his enthusiasm for African culture in all its forms.

"I'm excited to see some of the fresh talent showcasing their work on the catwalk, I have an interest in Nigerian fashion designers, there's a lot of talent coming out of Nigeria. I like that they infuse tradition with Western influence, I think it's dope how they mix bold colours with contrasting patterns. African Fashion Week London is a great way to highlight African Fashion. Everyone should come and see what's happening out of Africa."

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE, MEET MAZI CHUKZ DURING AFRICA FASHION WEEK 2016 IN LONDON 


Venue - West Hall Olympia London Earls Court W14 8UX


AFWL 2016 Will Include 5 Catwalk Shows | 60 Designers | AFWL Expo & Entertainment.

FRIDAY THE 9TH OF SEPTEMBER – Fashion Show and Exhibition

SATURDAY THE 10TH OF SEPTEMBER – Fashion Show and Exhibition

CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW! SHOWCASE AT AFWL


August 22, 2016

Clinton versus Trump, who's better for Africa?



If you've been paying attention lately in the media, it's laced with political rhetoric coming from Democrats and Republicans of the U.S. Spotlight stealer though I have to give to Donald Trump. He's a true Gemini: a master at exaggerations, an attention seeker, big talker, a controversy magnet with very short attention span, a charming, egotistical narcissist, with no filter and plays by no one's rules. He's on a mission to "make America great again" by his own definition and by any means necessary, even if it alienates his own political party. He's spent most of his campaign lately doing damage control (or should I say his surrogates are) than discussing important issues about exactly how he plans to make America great.

Like previously mentioned, the business mogul and now presidential candidate plays by no one's rules. That could be a good or a bad thing. He states what's on his mind and doesn't sugar coat it, somewhat a refreshing change from the usual political rhetoric of scripted speeches, maybe that's really what gravitated many of his supporters to him. Now it seems that will unravel him. Now everything he says is taken with a grain of salt and leads any reasonable thinking human being to do the due diligence and fact check. He's made assertions that while in the past might have been endearing now leads one to give him the side eye. It's kind of hard to take him seriously when statements he makes with deadpan assurance he cannot uphold when they are questioned, but instead deflates them by changing the subject, injecting further controversy or reducing them to a mere joke or sarcasm or passing blame. By all indications he has the majority of Americans scared and running for cover and other nations by the edge of their seats. Many think he's dangerous and bad for America, especially his own political party. He makes factual statements that he can't back up most of the time. In Donald Trump's true nature, he is unapologetic, incapable of conceding, even when now we can see through his propaganda. To understand "The Donald" would be to understand the undertones of his speeches and decipher through them, they are meant for controversy which he craves like a camel to water, he loves the attention. He claimed to be unscathed by all the media criticisms but could recite quotes from most of them and then lashes out at them on his social media or in his next public speech. You have to wonder how this candidate will perform when he is Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world, when he lacks the common decorum essential for the job. I've never met another 70 year-old with the mastery of 140 characters. True to his nature, he lights the match but can't stand the heat.

Maybe that's just it, he's in there for the long haul just for the entertainment value, with his unpredictability, no one will ever know. So far until now, we have our ears to the ground waiting to hear how he'd make America great again. From an August 8th economic policy breakdown, he's managed to recite what his opponent have termed "trickle down economics"— same old rhetoric of the Republicans that puts more money in the pockets of wealthy Americans and leaves the poor even poorer. A three-tier breakdown of the tax code looks good on paper, it doesn't seem like a bad idea especially for the middle class, but is it practical? Can it be implemented realistically? How does he plan to implement it? He has instructed us to visit his website for updates. Basically for once, he followed a scripted speech and didn't really have the answers. His website listed some changes (now updated) that would be STAT upon taking office such as immigration reform, tax reform, taking care of veterans, getting rid of Obamacare, safeguarding the Second amendment for American citizens and most importantly, that pesky wall that must be built to keep the "Mexicans" away. A lot of what's listed really sounds good on paper but think as you read this article how much of it affects the African immigrant.

It is of the opinion that he would get along well with African political leaders as they share common appetite for lavish things, he would fit right in at their parties.

"US business magnate Donald Trump has expressed his deep disgust for Africans by referring to them as lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and thuggery."

Think about his planned immigration reform. First on his agenda in the White House will be cleaning house—of all illegal immigrants and that will not just be Mexicans. It also means Madam Koi koi in an estate on Banana Island, Lagos, Nigeria can kiss her potential children's American dream goodbye. "The Donald" will do away with automatic citizenship by birth. As if the strict immigration laws were not strict enough. It also means if you borrowed all that money, sold your father's property, shut down your business and jumped at the idea of escaping to the land of opportunity without proper documentation just to be stuck in a rut for the last ten years assuming another person's alias working that security job, you're in for a rude awakening. If you're illegal alien in America, better keep your bags packed and one foot out the door because "The Donald" and Uncle Sam will be sending you back home! He believes African immigrants at best are case studies for bad examples of how illegal immigrants are ruining America and to make America great again, he must get rid of them. But perhaps in his true flighty nature, we may not be discussing this topic by November.


What about Hillary?


On the other hand you have Hillary Clinton, a WOMAN. She has made history already for that reason alone. I for one would like to see a woman Commander-in-chief in my lifetime in America. While I do recognize the bias in that statement, it would be worth a try for a nation that have perpetuated a forward movement in many aspects of governance but are still backwards in the fundamental issues of human rights.

Trump has asserted that Hillary Clinton does not have the temperament to handle important issues because she's a woman, accused her of playing the "woman card," in turn, she clapped back stating "deal me in!" Of course understanding "The Donald" now would be to count that notion as laughable, recognizing the former First Lady and Secretary of State's long resume in American politics. You have to wonder in the year 2016, why a supposedly forward moving and a world leading nation such as America still continues on a discussion on whether a job would be done better based on a person's gender while other less powerful nations have embraced female leadership. Women have long worked twice as hard to refute that theory. Voting her in will be a finite move to shutting that notion down as many African woman are looking forward to it as their beacon of hope.

This is not at all to say that Hillary Clinton is the perfect person for the job, as that has never been the opinion of many by any stretch of the means (you can ask Bernie Sanders' supporters), but faced to choose between the two candidates, who would be the lesser evil? That is the question.

For one, the Clintons have the reputation of upholding the ideals of political juggernauts that have been detrimental to the minorities and especially the poor, making it especially hard for any African immigrant to attain the American dream within a reasonable amount of time. Many worry that a vote for Hillary would be recycling the wheel of Bill Clinton's presidency which saw disproportionate numbers of poor minorities and racial inequality rise and continue to plague America till this day. It is also worthy to note that of the many trips made by Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State to Africa seemed to benefit the rich American interest than it actually did for poor Africans.


In conclusion


Trump takes no prisoners when it comes to speaking his mind, which means he is more likely to stick to what he says by choice and not by influence, that could be a good thing in the long run especially now that he's campaigning more for the minority vote, promising an overhaul of the the burdens they have faced for many years under an unchanging regime. Clinton has a long record of advocating for women and children, accomplishments dear to her heart. Chances are she would continue to advocate for women and children, working to fix the gender disparities in wages and income and opportunities afforded to women. This by and large, would inspire many women, especially African women leaders to do the same.

August 20, 2016

AN EVENT FOR AFRICAN WOMEN LEADERS


2ND AFRICA WOMEN INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP FORUM (AWIEF)


Under the theme “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment in Africa’s best interest", the 2nd edition of the premier Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) will once again gather, from across Africa and the globe, top women entrepreneurs and women in business, thought leaders, investors, SMEs, MSMEs, international development organizations, NGOs, foundations, government policy-makers, and the media. AWIEF is a platform to discuss the role of women in Africa’s economic growth, address the challenges faced by female business-owners, analyze those challenges and proffer innovative and sustainable solutions that effectively foster the empowerment of African women and unleash their full potential for successful business entrepreneurship.

The conference will feature participation from global leading institutions and decision- makers seeking to transform the African economy with women empowerment as a driver of development.

AWIEF Founder and MD Irene Ochem

Addressing current challenges


According to Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Managing Director of ICO Conferences & Events, “despite leading the world on women entrepreneurship, African female business-owners enjoy less recognition and support than their male counterparts for their contribution to poverty reduction, employment and wealth creation. AWIEF will unveil comprehensive strategies for enhanced economic participation and opportunities for women throughout the continent. We are addressing such current challenges as inequalities in access to economic opportunities, less access to finance, technology, market information, business networks, as well as gender bias in education and skills development”

She continues: “This year the AWIEF pre-conference training workshops will focus on three areas: 1) Technology in Business 2) Entrepreneurship Strategies and Creativity in Business 3) Result-Oriented Sustainable Business Development.”

The 2016 AWIEF Conference targets the broadest spectrum of participants and regional inclusion from across Africa and has received endorsement and support from many relevant African and global institutions and organizations. AWIEF will create a networking opportunity with potential business partnerships, knowledge-sharing and peer-learning. It therefore allows African women entrepreneurs compare their challenges, learn and connect across borders to enhance and expand their impact.

With a wider coverage of exhibitions, AWIEF provides the perfect continental platform to present and showcase your brands, technologies, products and services to female African decision makers, influencers and qualified buyers from diverse industry and business sectors.

AWIEF is your opportunity to be a part of a continental drive to invest in and support the empowerment of women for unleashing Africa's full economic growth and transformation. You will meet face-to-face for two days with top local and international professionals and business women from diverse industries.

Meet the leading women and esteemed speakers for the event


Speakers


AWIEF 2016 has an exciting concentration of esteemed, high-level, reputable and international speaker profiles which include:
  • H.E. Susan Shabangu, Honourable Minister of Women in the Presidency, South Africa 
  • H.E. Dr Diane Gashumba, Honourable Minister of Gender & Family Promotion, Rwanda 
  • H.E. Senator Aisha Alhassan, Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria 
  • Almas Jiwani, President Emeritus, UN Women Canada & Founder/CEO, Almas Jiwani Foundation, Canada 
  • Melody Kweba, President/Chairperson, South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA), South Africa 
  • Tara Femi-Durotoye, CEO/Creative Director, House of Tara International, Nigeria 
  • Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder/Chief Responsibility Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Nigeria 
  • Khanyi Dhlomo, Founder/CEO, Ndalo Media, South Africa 
  • Fiorina Mugione, Chief, Entrepreneurship Section, United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Switzerland 
  • Mary Olushoga, Founder AWP Network, USA 
  • Regina Honu, Founder/CEO, Soronko Solutions, Ghana 
  • Melanie Hawken, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Lionesses of Africa, South Africa 
  • Shimite Bello, Group President/CEO, Quintessential Group, Nigeria 
  • Thelma Ekiyor, Co-Founder/CEO, Afrigrants Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Sandra L Ross, Associate Executive Director, LITE-Africa 
  • Nkemdilim Begho, Founder/Managing Director, Future Software Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Christine Ngiriye, Managing Director, Africa 2.0, Rwanda 
  • Achenyo Idachaba, Founder/Creative Director, MitiMeth, Nigeria 
  • Hilda Ndude, Chairperson, Black Business Women Association (BBWA), South Africa 

AWIEF dates and venue:


Two-day Conference and Exhibition: 29 – 30 September 2016
Pre-Conference Workshops: 28 September 2016
Venue: The Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria


To register and attend (by email or online):

Telephone: +27 21 826 8878
Mobile: +234 814 376 9875 (Nigeria); +27 76 052 1199 (South Africa)
Email: info@icoconferences.com
Web: http://awieforum.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AWIEFInitiative
Twitter: @awieforum

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER



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