Africa Top10 Lifestyle & Travel News

1Binyavanga Wainaina, Pioneering Voice in African Literature, Dies at 48

Binyavanga Wainaina

Known as one of Africa’s best-known authors and gay rights Activists, Wainaina died on Tuesday night in Nairobi after a short illness at age 48. His death was confirmed by Tom Maliti, the chairman of the Kwani Trust, which Wainaina founded. Wainaina, who won the 2002 Caine prize for African writing, made headlines around the world in 2014, when he responded to a wave anti-gay laws around the continent by publicly outing himself in a short essay, published to mark his 43rd birthday. He also revealed he was HIV positive. Calling it the “lost chapter” of his 2011 memoir “One Day I Will Write About This Place”, the essay I Am a Homosexual, Mum reimagined the last days of his mother’s life, in which he went to her deathbed and told her the truth about his sexuality. After Wainaina came out, Time magazine in 2014 named him one of its 100 most influential people, with Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie praising him for having “demystified and humanised homosexuality” after the death of a Kenyan friend, whose family were prevented from holding a church memorial. Wainaina was also known for his biting essay How to Write About Africa, which included the advice: “Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title.    

25 Things to Look Forward to at Design Joburg 2019    

Design Joburg 2019

This weekend marks the third edition of Design Joburg, and here are a few of the top talents that you shouldn’t miss. Aptly named CoLabs, this sees renowned designers creating groundbreaking room sets featuring some of South Africa’s best artisans, brands and suppliers. This year, the line-up includes names such as Dylan Thomaz, Fanie van Zyl, Tuami Zulu, Nelson Kubheka, Julia Day and Wendy Douglas.


3These Portraits by African Photographers Reveal the Power in Self-Presentation           

International Center of Photography

At the International Center of Photography (ICP), a new exhibit of portraits by acclaimed African photographers is intended to spark thought about the intentions of subject and artist. At its essence, “Your Mirror” explores some of the pressing questions at the heart of photography, which have even larger implications as they relate to the representation of Africans. The exhibit was sourced from the ICP’s collection of over 200,000 images and includes images grouped into nine categories: family, labor, war, social change, self presentation, identification, celebrity, self-portraiture, and appropriation. Many of the works of African artists fall under the “self-presentation” section, which, to me, makes perfect sense in the context of the Black experience & our ongoing quest for authentic representation. The works of four prominent African photographers are included in the exhibition: the Malian icon Malick Sidibé, Cameroon’s Samuel Fosso, along with South African photographers Zanele Muholi, and Lolo Veleko. Their photographs, the settings, and who they choose to document, give us a glimpse into their vision as much as it does the subjects in their photographs (which for Samuel Fosso, in this case, is himself.)


4Meet the Online Concept Store Carrying Celebrities Favorite African Designer Brands

African Designer Brands

Get to know Folkore, the ecommerce website that brings the best of African fashion to all parts of the globe. Young entrepreneur Amira Rasool is finally breaking this uninspiring fashion cycle with an online store of her own known as The Folklore, where she sells one-of-a-kind apparel and accessories exclusive to the site from a range of African fashion designers such as MmusoMaxwell, Simon and Mary, Andrea Iyamah, and more. “I recognized that these brands were not in these major retail stores not because the customer demand was not there, it was because retailers were not willing to hop on a plane to Johannesburg or Lagos to sit down with these designers and place orders as they do for European and American designers,” the businesswoman told Forbes. Not only have multiple items sold out proving the strong value of these designers, a number of celebrities including Beyoncé, Will.i.Am, and Sevyn Streeter have worn The Folklore’s brands. 


5Adebayo Oke-Lawal is Rethinking Masculinity in African Culture    

Adebayo Oke-Lawal

From bullied child to fashion superstar, Nigerian designer Adebayo Oke-Lawal uses his brand, Orange Culture, to spark questions about what it means to be an African man. For a long time Oke-Lawal dreamt of working in the fashion industry and designing his own clothes. However, coming from a traditional home, being a fashion designer was not exactly the most favoured option. Oke-Lawal explains that growing up in Nigeria there weren’t many fashion education opportunities available to him. But he wouldn’t let that get in his way. For the designer orange was a colour that was unique enough to embrace and explore the ideas of individuality and diversity that he wanted to represent. He wanted it to push against the idea of toxic masculinity. His first collection was met with intense criticism. People were sending him death threats and accusing him of trying to push a certain agenda. The weight of the criticism nearly led to him giving up on fashion design all together. However, what motivates him is the stereotypes that exist in our society. He believes that one should question things. The political climate within Nigeria and the conversations around this environment also pushes and motivates him to produce his clothing lines that break these stereotypes.


6A Pan-African Jury Praises Amadou’s “Strong, Rebellious” Voice

Djiaili Amadou

Cameroonian author Djiaili Amadou has won the inaugural Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique – an award for French-speaking authors in Africa. Amadou’s winning novel “Munyal; les larmes de la patience” (Munyal, the tears of patience) is a tale centering around forced marriage, polygamy and women’s rights. Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique, serves to “boost African literature and offer authors more visibility inside and outside the continent”, Jeune Afrique quotes the jury president as saying. The winner will receive $11,100 cash price and will benefit from a marketing campaign to promote their work.


7Cape Town’s Must-see Museum among the Best in the World

Zeitz Museum

The most important museum to open in Africa for more than a century, the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa has been miraculously hewn from the inside of a massive disused grain silo. The sense of space within this state-of-the-art complex is as enthralling as the collection of art it showcases. With more than 80 galleries, it’s a place to lose yourself in. Just make sure you find your way to the rooftop sculpture garden.


8Best Outdoor Adventures in Africa to Experience in Your Lifetime

Outdoor Adventures in Africa

Africa is not all arid deserts and vast savannas teeming with large mammals and predators. Its barely touched jungles, narrow valleys, dramatic cliffs, snow-capped peaks, and crystal-clear seas are outdoor adventures that are just aching to be explored. From Mount Kilimanjaro and the Drakensberg to off-the-beaten-path mountain ranges, there are more mountain safaris worth checking out in Africa than you might imagine. Zimbabwe is often referred to as Africa’s adventure capital. At Mana Pool National Park, you can hop on a canoe and paddle past grazing elephants and buffaloes on a multi-day canoe tour. Or, you can go whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River on some of the wildest rapids on the planet. Senegal offers a wide variety of outdoor adventures for surfers of all levels. The breaks around Dakar are world-class and the beaches are uncrowded, which makes Senegal a hidden gem when it comes to surfing. Let’s hope it stays that way!


9Nairobi-based Food Blogger’s Take on a Food Tour

Kaluhi Adagala

Kaluhi Adagala says “food tastes much better when you eat it with your hands.” Nairobi is the vibrant, chaotic heart of Kenya. It’s a fast-evolving city in sharp contrast to the ageless calm of the country’s sweeping savannah, lakelands, mountain highlands and Indian Ocean coastline. Adagala blogs about the essential dishes visitors to the country should try — though there’s huge diversity in both communities and in the food. If it’s a gathering or celebration, then nyama choma — Swahili for roast meat, usually goat or beef — is sure to be center stage. Ugali, a polenta-like cornmeal slab, is the other essential side dish. Nyama choma might be popular for gatherings, but when it comes to everyday eating, “Kenyan cuisine in its essence is actually heavily vegetarian,” says Adagala. One of the country’s vegetable staples is sukuma wiki, collard greens cooked with onions and spices. Its literal translation is “end of the week,” typical of a food culture which traditionally has been more about subsistence than extravagance. The food in Kenya is also influenced by its ties with Indian and Arabic cuisines.


10Somalia’s Tourism Blossoms on Popular Beach

Lido beach Somalia

Few restaurateurs consider the threat of piracy in their plans but Abdulkadir Mohamed did so for his La Lanterna floating restaurant now moored off Mogadishu’s popular Lido beach. “We considered that pirates could hijack it, and use it to attack cargo ships, so we made it slow so pirates would not see it as a prize vessel to seize and use in any of their attacks.” he says.  With extra security and checkpoints to protect the 2.5 km (1.5 mile) stretch of sand from possible Islamist attacks, the beach offers a place to escape from the battle-scarred capital. Pirates were once the scourge of the region, chasing oil tankers and other ships and demanding ransoms for those they captured. But as Somalia has regained a semblance of stability after almost three decades of conflict and chaos, piracy has faded, even if sporadic bombings still strike the capital. Abdifitah Mohamed Siyad, director of tourism and investment in Mogadishu’s local government, said the city had been ruined by wars and most people had “stories of grief”. He says, “The remedy for the people is to create happiness for them, create an environment for tourism, a time for them to tour, a time for them to chat and forget the past.”