Africa Top10 Lifestyle & Travel News

How ‘Made in Rwanda’ is Breathing LIfe into Kigali’s Fashion Scene  

Made in Rwanda

Through a mix of government support and Internet exposure, Rwanda’s fashion industry – and economy as a whole – is gaining momentum and putting Kigali on the world’s fashion map. At first glance, Matthew Rugamba’s big break was the result of pure serendipity. Since 2011, he has built a loyal following for his House of Tayo brand, fusing African heritage with contemporary designs to create brightly colored, mixed-print items like bow ties and infinity scarves. But he had struggled to break out from the local fashion scene. That changed in 2018, with the premiere of one of the most anticipated movies of the year: Black Panther, when Lupita Nyong’o’s brother wore his suit. But it wasn’t just luck, hustle, and connections that propelled Rugamba to the Hollywood red carpet. Rwanda, a small nation of 12 million people, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with aspirations of becoming a middle-income nation by 2035. And Rugamba is the beneficiary of one of a series of homegrown initiatives aimed at sustaining high and inclusive growth in different industries—including the country’s nascent fashion scene. One of those initiatives is “Made in Rwanda,” launched in 2015, which aims to recapture parts of the Rwandan market from imports while improving the competitiveness of Rwandan exports globally.

Julie Adenuga: ‘There Are Young Artists in Nigeria Who Are Changing the World’ 

Julie Adenuga

Through an in-depth interview with radio personality, Julie Adenuga, we learn about evolutions in the African music scene and how certain super-talented Nigerians are reshaping the space. As an affable tastemaker who transforms banal interviews into engaging conversations with some of the most famous artists in the world, Julie is leading the global dialogue on new music from her daily radio show, which broadcasts to over 100 countries. The North London native of Nigerian descent hails from a musical family, her brothers are artists Skepta and JME, and has risen from the underground as a self-taught presenter on former pirate radio station Rinse FM to being one of three lead DJ’s with her Beats 1 show on Apple Music. A champion of homegrown talent in the UK and across the African diaspora, Julie is a purveyor of the afro-fusion genre, as is evident in her recent Homecoming documentary, which captured the fresh innovators from the Lagos music scene, and her DON’t @ ME club nights, which has featured Ghetts, Lady Leshurr and The Compozers as residents.


Ghana’s Floating Village is Trying to Balance Its Ancient Traditions in a Modern World           

Ghana's Floating Village

Far from the capital of Accra, the floating village of Nzulezo evokes comparisons to Venice, but maintains a unique culture that is trying to adapt to ongoing modernization.     Built over the Lake Tandane, Nzulezo derives its name from a local language, Nzema, meaning “surface of water.” The village, 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Accra, Ghana’s capital city for many centuries has coexisted with nature and is a perfect symbiosis of people and Earth. Beyond Ghana’s borders, the village on water is famous for its local gin known as Akpeteshi, which attracts visitors from around the world keen to taste the gin made from raffia palm. Nzulezo, which is on the tentative list to be one of the world’s cultural heritage sites, is also known for its rare turtle species, monkeys and crocodiles.


Funfere Koroye on Product Design for the West African Consumer

Funfere Koroye

With the mission of employing African designers to create products for African consumers, the Nupe Project aims to cultivate a new product development industry on the continent that brings truly useful designs to market and fuels meaningful employment.    Currently, the Nupe Project is in the process of raising funds to make Project OMI a reality in Africa; starting with Nigeria. What they refused to do is create a product without a social purpose or market a product using the old stereotypical images of dirty water in the developing continent. o realise The Nupe Project and break into the industry, Koroye teamed up with Michael Omotosho, Ifedayo Ojo, Dammy Onanuga, and Anjola Badaru. He describes the endeavour as a conceptual, industrial design studio with two goals at its core. The first goal is to help product designers realise that the African consumer is a unique one. This is an opinion shared by Nigerian advertising veteran and author Feyi Olubodun whose book, The Villager: How Africans Consume Brands, addresses the misconceptions that international brands have about the African consumer. Olubodun, who describes the African consumer as a villager, says advertising on the continent cannot be successful without an understanding of the frameworks present in the many cultures on the continent – frameworks like religion, herd mentality, the role of community, and the need to signal value.


Artist Kehinde Wiley Pulls American Superstars to Senegal’s Nightlife   

Kehinde Wiley

To mark the opening of his artists’ residency program in Senegal, Nigerian-American artist, Kehinde Wiley, drew an impressive cast of celebrities to its inauguration.  On a Sunday night in Dakar, and Naomi Campbell is vaping. Alicia Keys is taking selfies with fans by the open bar, her husband, the producer Swizz Beatz, bobs his head nearby and Kehinde Wiley, the American artist who brought everyone here, is dancing so close to the infinity pool that some guests at the launch party for his new residency program — Black Rock Senegal — wonder aloud if he’ll fall in. Black Rock, named after the volcanic stones on the shore, is a departure from many art projects in Africa, which tend to be supported by or commissioned with foreign money. Outside pressure can hinder free expression, experts say, when creators feel pushed to cater to tourists or aid workers.Wiley, who was born in Los Angeles to an African American mother and a Nigerian father, is known for his polychromatic renderings of black models with old school twists. He first visited Dakar two decades ago on a layover from Nigeria, where he’d gone to find his estranged dad, an architecture professor in the southern state of Akwa Ibom. Wiley’s program has grabbed the brightest spotlight, thanks to the buzz in 2018 from his official portrait of former president Barack Obama.


Egypt’s New Art Pilgrimage

Grand Egyptian Museum

The opening of the game-changing Grand Egyptian Museum has been delayed again – until when 2020. And yet, the news from the ground is for the first time in 8 years, there’s a waitlist for city hotels and boat trips along the Nile. After a tumultuous few years, Egypt, it seems, is back on the map. It had been hoped that the $1 billion, sleek, marble temple to the country’s antiquities would have swung open its doors by now, revealing, among a wealth of other national treasures, most crucially King Tutankhamun’s entire burial collection – more than 5,000 pieces – displayed to the public in an exact replica of the tomb itself. Which means visitors will be able to see everything – bejeweled sandals, embroidered tunics and the Boy King’s death mask – just as Howard Carter did when he made his milestone discovery in 1922. And yet, while everyone waits patiently, elsewhere in the country the momentum mounts. Nile cruise liner Sanctuary Retreats has just launched weekly sailings of its boutique wooden boats, kitted out with art deco fixtures and leather deck chairs to sink into while gazing at Nubian sandstone cliffs and the teeming ancient tombs and temples of Luxor. Oberoi’s ship in the meantime, the Philae, has been given a top to bottom refurb, including a rooftop pool and much fewer, more spacious rooms as well as a spa with views out to Medinat Habu, the resting place of Rameses II and one of the new spots on their itinerary.


Romance and Adventure for the Ultimate Couple’s Trip

safari in South Africa

A safari in South Africa is a great choice for those in search of adventure. The thrilling promise of the big five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo – draws over a million annual visitors to Kruger National Park. With vast swathes of open savannah, a rich array of luxury accommodation and a supporting cast of giraffe, hippo, zebra and cheetah, Kruger is popular with honeymooning couples. A beach paradise, Mauritius is popular with couples seeking luxury along with romantic adventures. Formed by volcanic activity eight million years ago, Mauritius is encircled by a broken ring of mountains. Ranging from 300 to 800m (1000-2600ft) above sea level, they’re not quite Alpine, but the views are nonetheless dramatic.


Checking Up on Rwandans 25 Years On

Rwandans 25 Years On

A Rwandan genocide survivor touring all 30 of the country’s provinces says he has been struck by the kindness of the people he has encountered on the way. Hyppolite Ntigurirwa is halfway through a 1,500km (932 mile) “peace walk”, marking 25 years since the 100-day genocide of 1994. He says he was perhaps most touched by the support of a young girl who wanted to join the walk and even offered to carry his bags but found they were too heavy. Now aged 32, Ntigurirwa was seven years old at the time of the genocide. He says the trauma of the past still gives him nightmares. “Forgiving is a journey and you can only do it if you think about the generations to come. It’s the hardest path you can take but it’s the one that can bring what we want in the world.” Today, his family has gone to great efforts to “invite these people who we knew who killed my relatives and my cousins… They now come in our ceremonies and they enjoy what we enjoy.” He hopes his 100-day walk can bring together other Rwandans in the same spirit. He says anyone he encounters is welcome to join him.


Equatorial Guinea’s Tourism Dilemma

Equatorial Guinea's Tourism

Even the purpose-built town built in 2011 at a cost of €600m to host a week-long AU summit and showcase the rise of the tiny oil-rich state has failed to attract visitors. For almost a decade, Sipopo has been the crown jewel in a strategy to lure high-end visitors to Equatorial Guinea to diversify an economy badly hit by a slump in oil revenue. A 16km drive from Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo, the resort boasts a vast conference centre, the Sofitel Malabo Sipopo Le Golf hotel and 52 luxury villas — one for every head of state to attend the summit — each with its own swimming pool. There is also an 18-hole golf course, several restaurants and exclusive beaches guarded by police. A 1.5km beach — an artificial shore secluded from curious eyes — was virtually deserted, in contrast to a public beach near the capital. The three-lane highway leading from Malabo to Sipopo was mostly empty of traffic. A hospital was added after the villas were built, but is unused. A few travel firms offer trips tailor-made for both luxury and adventure, but they also allude to the difficulties, notably of being allowed to enter the country.


Aviation History As 20 South African Teens Tackle Cape To Cairo

Aviation History Cairo

An epic adventure, an aviation challenge, youth inspiration, promoting and supporting innovation, technology and entrepreneurship are all the key drivers combined for Africa’s development and transformation as twenty South African teenagers embark on a Cape – Cairo and back excursion in a self-assembled Sling-4 aircraft that uses ordinary motor fuel  and was built in three weeks! The excursion, earmarked to start in June 2019, will see different teams of the twenty teenagers pilot and charter a course that will cut across several African cities and towns spreading the key messages of an African narrative that started as a dream. Using specially modified, self-made drones, the Challenge will be documented on video as some of the teenagers fly alongside adult supervisors who will use a second Sling-4 aircraft for support to monitor proceedings. Six teenage pilots will take turns to fly the self-assembled plane as the Challenge moves from country to country.


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