DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.


Dynamic Africa is a diverse multimedia platform, which curates global ideas, memes, attitudes and other phenomena that shape popular culture, with both a local and global African perspective.




CONTACT: dynamicafricablog@gmail.com

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Recommended

A Brief History of African Presence in Costa Rica.

Although a small percentage of the Costa Rican population at between 4-8%, there are two waves of African presence in the country. The first was through the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade where enslaved Africans from Western and Central regions of the continent were brought to the country by Spanish conquistadors in the 17th century. Many came from ethnic groups such as the Wolof, Ashanti, Malinke, Yoruba and different Congolese communities.

In the late 18th century, after the abolishing of slavery in the 1820s, migrant workers began coming from other parts of the Caribbean, namely Jamaica. Costa Rica has the largest Jamaican diaspora in Latin America after Cuba and Panama. Many worked on coffee and banana plantations, as well as in railroad construction.

Despite their long presence in the country, it was not until 1949 that Afro-Costa Ricans obtained full citizenship. Taking after its name, Costa Rica is the wealthiest Central American state and also the oldest democratic nation in the region. But despite the country’s seemingly progressive policies towards minorities, most Afro-Costa Ricans have largely been excluded from the country’s elite and political (until recent years) circles, and consequently the country’s wealth.

Today, most of this population live in Costa Rica’s Atlantic Coast region.

(sources: 1 | 2 | 3)

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All Africa, All the time.

Charity organisation WATERisLIFE releases campaign video that is highly problematic.

Besides getting peoples attention and encouraging more white saviorism, poverty porn and using people of colour as props in a manner that screams OTHERING, I’m really not sure what this initiative is trying to accomplish with this viral video campaign.

I find this video highly problematic in all those ways and more, and incredibly uncomfortable to watch (and not because of the reasons the organisation behind it is trying to create).

Stop calling us ‘Third World’ people - that’s an awfully stale term that has no bearing on the ways in which we would describe ourselves. Stop using the problems of one group of people to nullify and dismiss that of others - life just does not work that way. And stop using a tired internet meme to create a gap between people in one region of the world and other parts of the globe that does not account for the complexities of our interconnectedness. Many of the problems highlighted by the speakers in the video happen beyond the ‘First World’, and vice versa.

Problems are relative to our experiences and environments, there’s no strict rule based on Cold War jargon that tangibly divides what problems are experienced where and by whom. 

I may not have all the answers but I know that there are better and far more engaging ways to create awareness around developmental initiatives and, in doing so, foster conversations and discussions around the issue of the global imbalance of resources created by capitalism and fueled by greed.

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SuRu: A Nigerian Street Style Brand in California by Amira Ali.

“My sensibility and idea of pushing diversity is grounded within my Yoruba culture and living in the Bay Area. Nigeria is the most populace African country and rich in its diversity. And on the other hand, living in the Bay Area, I’m part of a melting pot. Both make up ‘my’ culture,” Baba Afolabi says.

Baba Afolabi, a Nigerian-born resident of Oakland, California, is the founder of SuRu, a premium apparel brand gaining popularity in the local pop-up fashion scene. Through the brand he introduces a self-made identity, contributing in a major way to the emerging local entrepreneurship and evolving arts, culture, and style in Oakland. More than a brand, in its origin, it is said that SuRu is geared to promote a (new) cultural phenomena, a way of life. A vision that speaks to identity, personality and character, while breaking down (self) imposed cultural boundaries built around notions of identity and community

In the contemporary world, as many local settings are characterized by cultural diversity we are pushed into ‘globality’. As migration is frequented we find, not just in the African context but also generally, more formations of new identities –creations of new culture based on new experiences. While owning up to the integrity and richness of their indigenous culture(s), Africans, more than ever, are refusing to a fixed and narrow idea of ‘African’ identity. To a greater extent, more are claiming identities that relate to their ways of living, beliefs and outlooks, shaped by their environment they inhabit.

The word SuRu comes from the Yoruba proverb surulere, meaning, “patience is rewarding”. During the founding process of the brand, while traveling through Japan, Afolabi discovered that the word SuRu in the Japanese language translates to mean: ‘to do’.  A different meaning though, joined with the Yoruba ‘patience’ the phrase ‘to-do-patience’ became the impetus behind SuRu.

The first time I came across the brand I experienced a fresh idea with a cosmopolitan flavor. In an intriguing fashion, the SuRu letters construct the Japanese characters in an Arabic calligraphy-like style, blending aesthetically with a Yoruba (Nigerian) idiom, all in one. An effortless sense of cultural diversity intermixed in a fashionably urbanized flair.

The SuRu buzz styled in its local setting can be felt in Oakland. For Oaklanders, where street styled garments are becoming the new cool, SuRu seems to fit comfortably. We recently caught-up with Afolabi to chat about the emergence of SuRu, his understanding of the word ‘diversity’, and his brand’s relationship with Africa.

We met at SuRu’s new pop-up shop in Uptown Oakland. A space full of vibrations made up with a young group of Ugandans, Sudanese, Haitians, Americans, and Nigerians. Investing their creative time in the brand while creating a new cultural movement and affecting contemporary American popular culture.

In the store azonto music is full on. Bikes and skateboards are parked to the side. Burritos are on the lunch menu. The store is full of colorful tees and sweatshirts with prints of giraffe meets football meets the world cup. Everything is displayed with an Afro-Japanese essence. There even is a (re) creation of the African continent, merged and sketched over the borders of Japan, dubbed ‘Japrican’.

“As SuRu was being introduced to the world it was no more than a dream to me,” Afolabi said, recalling how the SuRu dream was underway while he was visiting his longtime girlfriend in Japan. It was then, his relationship with a woman from another culture necessitated the act of understanding and being patient. The story of an African man and a Japanese woman, and their practice of a shared culture found expression in SuRu.

SuRu’s message is respectable in its civility booster in a multicultural society. Not to mention the promotion of inclusivity on racial and cultural identity, alongside its rebel-like nature towards self-imposed borders. An idea, perhaps, that translates fluidly with young Africans in the disapora and on the continent.

“It made sense, it’s not forced. It’s who I am and part of my daily lifestyle. I comfortably live a diverse lifestyle. An authentic daily activity, from the music I listen to, to the food I eat, and the type of clothes I wear,” Afolabi explains.

Currently, a central part of Oakland’s pop-ups, SuRu is outfitted for the long haul, poised to add to a larger storyline of Oakland’s “collapsed boundaries among subcultures” and the proclaimed budding arts, culture and food scene. Amidst the wary, SuRu is positively eager to contribute to Oakland’s creative-capital in a cutting edge way and shape the supposed “Oakland-as-Brooklyn” narrative. He also has plans to enter the African market and connect with its creative capital in the near future.

“At the moment, in Lagos, we are test producing on a very small scale short collared men’s dress shirts inspired by the Nigerian Muslim men’s dress culture,” said Baba. “However, my plan for the future is to establish a manufacturing plant and open storefronts in Africa. Though Lagos seems realistic in its familiarity, I don’t feel restricted; I will go anywhere in Africa with favorable business opportunities.”

To learn more, visit SuRu

 

Portraits of some of The Swenkas of Johannesburg, photographed by Marc Shoul, men who dress up every Saturday night, in their Sunday best, and compete in a mixture of fashion of choreography for prizes and prestige.

(x)

anthonybila:

THE CITY: BATHED IN GREY X PART II

Photographed by The Others: The Others are a subversive creative collective comprised of a trio of unlike-minded creators born in Africa. 

Stacey van der Walt  Anthony Bila  ChisangaMubanga

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Models: Anthony Bila aka The Expressionist & Chisanga Mubanga

(via anthonybila)

anthonybila:

THE CITY: BATHED IN GREY X PART II

Photographed by The Others: 

The Others are a subversive creative collective comprised of a trio of unlike-minded creators born in Africa. 

Stacey van der Walt  Anthony Bila  ChisangaMubanga

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Models: Anthony Bila aka The Expressionist & Chisanga Mubanga

(via anthonybila)

anthonybila:

THE CITY: BATHED IN GREY X PART II

Photographed by The Others: 

The Others are a subversive creative collective comprised of a trio of unlike-minded creators born in Africa. 

Stacey van der Walt  Anthony Bila  ChisangaMubanga

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Models: Anthony Bila aka The Expressionist & Chisanga Mubanga

(via anthonybila)

STYLE ICON: Fatoumata Diawara.

Breathtaking and talented with an eclectic style all her own, Ivorian-born Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara is an undeniable beauty and a woman of many trades.

Not only does she sing and play the guitar, Diawara has appeared in several films including Cheick Oumar Sissoko’s 1999 feature film La Genèse, Dani Kouyate’s Sia, le rêve du python, and the musical Kirikou et Karaba in which she played the lead role.

Watch her World Sessions live feature here.

STYLE ICON: Oroma Elewa.

With the ever-increasing popularity of ankara fabrics, over the past few years we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of interest from the world of mainstream fashion in the stylistic talents that African designers have to offer, a curiosity that was cemented with the publication of Helen Jennings’ book New African Fashion. However, no one captures the diversity and behind-the-scenes culture of African creatives across the globe quite like Oroma Elewa.

As editor-in-chief and creative director of Pop’Africana - the quintessential bible on global African fashion and the culture behind it - Nigerian-born Elewa casts a much needed and refreshing lens on the diversity and complexities of the individuals and talents who, globally, are re-defining and re-shaping the constructs of various African identities.

Fittingly, this highly talented diaspora darling is just as diverse aesthetically as her originally biannual, soon-to-be digital, publication.

Oroma Elewa is not just a stunning personality with a wardrobe to match, but a creative force to be reckoned with.

streetetiquette:

Seattle bound • Tomorrow (Friday) 08.29.14 from 3pm-5pm @nordstrommen Seattle @zanerobeaus and Street Etiquette will be showcasing the new “ZNRB” collection… Gift with purchase as well as in store photography session with yours truly 👊 • #vscocam #znrb

thefutureweird:

The Future Weird & The New Inquiry present a FREE screening of Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s sci-fi thriller Les Saignantes at the Morbid Anatomy Museum to mark the release of The New inquiry’s “Mourning” Issue.

WHEN: Saturday 30th August
7PM doors + admission to Museum of Morbid Anatomy
8PM screening followed by discussion + drinks

WHERE: The Morbid Anatomy Museum, 423 Third Ave, Brooklyn, NY

RSVP on Facebook

(via derica)

The beauty of the ‘Gele’ photographed by #Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere

The Yoruba are one of the largest ethno-linguistic or ethnic groups in West Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language and are found in Nigeria, constituting approximately 21 percent of its total population, and around 30 million individuals throughout West Africa. 

The traditional Yoruba women’s outfit consists of four parts: the buba (a blouse like shirt), the iro (wrap skirt), the gele (head tie/wrap), and the ipele or iborun (shawl or shoulder sash). Aso oke is a hand loomed cloth woven by the Yoruba people and it is traditionally used to make the ensemble, although in more recent times organza, taffeta, damask and laces have been used. Stiff fabrics are preferred, at least for the gele, so that it holds it shape throughout the day.

The gele is wrapped around the head but unlike most head wraps that lie flat on contour of the head, the gele is manipulated to stand away from the head, creating an enormous headpiece.

Over time and with more wealth becoming available to the commoners (versus the royalty), the size and quality of workmanship and fabrication in the gele became to be a potent symbol of a woman’s socio-economic status.

(text source)