African-based news, lifestyle & popular culture platform that brings you stories and information concerning Africa and the African diaspora. 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.

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Born on this day, October 15, 1938, in Abeokuta, Nigeria - Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

"I must identify myself with Africa. Then I will have an identity." 
On how he came up with his Afrobeat sound.

"Name? Fela. 
Just Fela? Yeah, jus’ Fela. 
Address? My house. 
Where? Right here, in Surulere, man, yeah!” 
A conversation between Fela and the police officer who ‘checked’ him in at Alagbon Close police station in 1974, the very first time Fela was arrested. 

"To be spiritual is not by praying and going to church. Spiritualism is the understanding of the universe so that it can be a better place to live in." 
Fela’s explanation on one of his anti-Christian views. 

"…man is here against his will. Where do we come from? What was before us?…when you think you die, you’re not dead. It’s a transition." 
Fela being philosophical on life and death. 

"That is my best friend because it is a gift of the creator to Africans. It is a spirit. Marijuana has five fingers of creation…it enhances all your five senses." 
Pointing to and explaining the essence of a joint. 

"No. Not at all. You know what I want? I want the world to change." 
Fela’s reply to the question : ”Do you want to leave an imprint on the world?” 

Fela Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti; 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997).

(quotes source)

Ore Fakorode Instagram Takeover For Dynamic Africa.

Ore Fakorede is an urban explorer living in Nigeria. This week, he’s been posting photos as he travels from the metropolis of Lagos to rural Ife.

See them all here.

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All Africa, All the time.

Pharrell’s GQ Masai-inspired Cover Sparks Outrage From Masai Community.

The British have a terrible history when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Looking at this world map, one can see that the vastness of the once-British Empire is not a display of greatness, but rather the markings of a former global system of oppression of brutality that has left its mark on our world today. Whilst far from the level of British imperialism, Pharrell Williams’ happy-go-lucky self doesn’t have an outstanding track record when it comes to cultural appropriation either. Perhaps that’s why this pairing featuring British GQ and Pharrell Williams isn’t altogether shocking.

Earlier this year, the singer, rapper, producer and ‘New Black’ spokesperson swapped his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a Native American war bonnet as he posed on the cover of Elle UK. How he and the entire Elle UK Magazine crew have managed to miss the countless articles and posts that have been published and circulated widely online against this form of cultural appropriation, I have no clue. But it seems like neither camp was aware, cared or showed any concern about their offensive actions until they were lambasted on social media.

Prior to the shoot, the Elle UK Magazine’s website posted a description of the editorial saying, “We persuaded Elle Style Award winner Pharrell to trade his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a Native American feather headdress in his best ever shoot.” Post-criticism, the message was later changed to read, “We persuaded [Pharrell] … to collaborate with us on his best ever shoot.” This weak attempts at a “cover-up”, if you can call it that, shows that Elle didn’t quite got the message. Not only were they fully aware of what Pharrell Williams was wearing from the get-go (they referred to the item by name), they neglected to concern themselves with the significance behind the item. Rather odd as fashion magazines are notorious for publishing well-researched in-depth articles about the designers behind the clothing featured in their magazines - especially on their covers.

Posing in yet another Western fashion-related magazine, this time British GQ, Pharrell’s multi-page spread sees him wearing arbitrary face paint and items of clothing associated with Masai people. Shot by lens duo Hunter & Gatti, the two said about the shoot, “all the inspiration concept of the shoot is related to the Masai tribe paintings. We brought a real Masai tribe just to make the ambient music around the shoot and inspire Pharrell.” If you’re wondering what this ‘tribe’ looked like or what the so-called ‘ambient music’ sounded like, GQ posted a video of the behind-the-scenes action on YouTube. But what’s really frightening in this case isn’t their overuse of the word ‘tribe’, it’s how they refer to the Masai people and culture as nothing more than items and props to be used at their disposal exposing the ways cultural appropriation rids a people of agency. That and how this cover makes Pharrell a repeat offender and serial cultural appropriator.

Whilst there has been outrage from members of both the Masai community and people leaving comments on Kenyan blogs concerning the commercial use of their culture, it is yet to receive the attention it deserves in mainstream media making a formal apology less likely in this case. What’s more, the specific use of Masai culture as a source of ‘inspiration’ speaks to the greater problem of companies that have been profiting from the image of the Masai, an already marginalized group in their home country, for decades.

In a BBC interview, Lemayian Ole kereto, an elder from the Masai community, expresses some key concerns with regards to the case against appropriation. Not only is cultural appropriation an act of suppression done primarily for commercial gain and usually enacted on already oppressed and marginalized groups, the use of “culture without consent” is never complimentary as it disregards the history, traditions and identities of those it depicts and affects the most. Ole kereto further adds that without prior consent from those representing the communities or culture in question, use of any facet of their culture falls directly into the real of cultural appropriation. If no body or agency exists that represents the majority or totality of the people in question, then companies should then refrain from this form of cultural ‘borrowing”. Ownership must be respected at all times.

Often, when discussing the issue of cultural appropriation, the question of whether or not it can be complimentary or not is sure to arise. The answer, quite simply, is no. Cultural appropriation has no benefits to those it affects. Cultural sensitivity and awareness are at the crux of addressing issues pertaining to cultural appropriation. When buying or making use of an item that is said to represent or belongs to a certain community, it is important to inform oneself of who is benefiting from this transaction. There is a possibility that cultural “borrowing” can benefit all parties involved. As Ole kereto says, “partnership attracts responsibility” which in turn creates effective awareness beyond commercial gain and profitability.

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NEW MUSIC: Tinariwen - “Arhegh Danagh”.

Recorded in California’s Joshua Tree National Park, the most recent album from Malian group Tinariwen is perhaps their best LP yet.

Their latest music video for their song Arhegh Danagh shows the band performing in the southern Californian park - chosen by the band due to its similarities with their home environment.

Due to embark on a North American tour starting October 18th, the band have released a 5-track EP of songs recorded during their Joshua Tree sessions.

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All Africa, All the time.

My Africa Is: Edition Dakar- Le Journal Rappe.

My Africa Is introduceds us to Keyti and Xuman of le Journal Rappe, a new news and information segment that seeks to engage with Senegalese youth by delivering the news through rap.

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All Africa, All the time.

My Africa Is: Edition Dakar- Sunu Street Project.

Meet Khoudia, Naima and Nach, three women behind Dakar-based dance company Sunu Street Project that seeks to empower the urban dance community in the city.

Highly influenced by a mixture of hip-hop and Senegal’s artistic history and traditions, the Sunu Street Project is dedicated to showing both Senegal and the rest of the world their unique cultural and choreography sensabilities.

More episodes.

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All Africa, All the time.

My Africa Is: Edition Dakar - Malika Surf Camp.

If you read our post about My Africa Is' second edition highlighting on new and growing trends in Dakar, Senegal, you'll know that one of the episodes in this three-part series was aimed at putting a spotlight on surfing culture in the city.

Here, we’re introduced to Malika Surf Camp,one of three surf schools in Senegal, its founders Aziz and Marta, and the growing appeal of surf tourism and surf culture in Dakar.

Whilst surfing is not given the same level of attention as football in Senegal, we learn about an ethnic group called the Lebou whose descendents believe their ancestors were not only great fishermen and masters of the ocean, but surfers too.

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All Africa, All the time.

Dynamic Africa’s Favourite Music Videos: September 2014 Edition.

From Africa, to the diaspora, and back, here’s a round-up of our favourite music videos posted over the month of September.

Sauti Sol - “Sura Yako”

After beautifully seducing us with their video for Nishike, the boys started a Lipala dance hype that shows no signs of stopping thanks to their single Sura Yako, and the instructional dance video that came with it. Now, the official music video takes us in a different direction as we witness a traditional wedding ceremony that’ll make you want get hitched, with this song playing in the background, ASAP.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 ft BLITZ the Ambassador - “African Smoke”

Lifted of Seun’s recent album A Long Way to the Beginning, the video features Seun and his band Egypt 80 welding together their instruments as if engineering the perfect Afrobeat sound.

Khuli Chana - “Never Grow Up”

If my kiddy parties were half as fun,I’d never want to grow up either.

Kwabs - “Walk”

Following the artist as he sings and dances his way through an empty city, “Walk” is Kwabs’ most exciting and colourful video to date.

Emma Nyra ft Davido - “Elele”

Summer may be coming to an end for those of you up north, but down in the southern hemisphere things are only just beginning to heat up for us. Cue the start of spring jams and summer anthems, and here is Nigerian singer Emma Nyra leading the pack with some help from Davido.

Junglepussy - “Nah”

With sun goddess looks and imagery that reminds me of Daughters of the Dust, to important black woman supremacy ideals and natural hair sisterhood sessions, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t itching to be a part of Junglepussy’s clique.

Kid Sister/Jane Jupiter - “Higher”

In her second official unveiling of Ms. Jupiter, Kid Sister is all 70s disco meets 80s electro meets 90s R&B meets 00s rap queen sensibilities. The things about it all is that works (thanks in part to production from Dam-Funk and Chad Hugo). She doesn’t look the least bit out of her element, despite looking a whole lot different to the Kid Sister that once had the most fabulous nails in town, and worked at a doughnut store.

Cassper Nyovest - “Phumakim”

Catch me any time, any place, and my answer will still remain the same: Cassper Nyovest is hands down the greatest rapper to ever come out of South Africa. MTV Base Africa recently went one step further and crowned him the greatest MC in Africa at the moment. He certainly has the most unique hairstyle and choreographer we’ve seen from any rapper on the continent.

Chronixx - “Capture Land”

Jamaican artist Chronixx leaves no stone on turned on this track as he details the ruthless and brutal consequences of the enslavement of Africans by Europeans and the subsequent systems of oppression that followed. The song comes off his 2014 EP Dread & Terrible.

Sipho the Gift - “Somewhere”

New school rapper with an old school flow, South African artist Sipho the Gift doesn’t sound like any other hip-hop artist that’s come out of the country’s local scene in a while. As this video demonstrates, his music making process is as organic as his sound, and it’s great to see a rapper stripped down and his element.

Stromae - “Ave Cesaria”

This may be a fabricated home video but it has all the intimacy, fun and vibrancy of what could be the most multi-racial family gathering ever recorded. Whether or not the diverse group of individuals shown is a take on the Cape Verdean racial landscape or Stromae's own mixed heritage, I don't know for sure, but they all pull it off so well you can't help but want to be a part of it .And of course, lyrically and musically it's an incredible celebration and dedication of the life and talents of the late Cape Verdean barefoot diva Cesaria Evora.

Jonny Joburg - “Mazishe”

Former SpazaShop Boyz member Jonny Joburg takes us on a seedy night time tour of his namesake city in a vintage car, accompanied by baseline that’s as dirty and as alluring as his flow.

AKA ft K.O. - “Run Jozi (Goldy)”

Filmed in Jozi, this black-and-white video sees two of Mzansi’s high-ranking rappers team up and spit bars over a Tweezy-produced beat. Run Jozi (Godly) may be taken off AKA’s number one iTunes ranked album Levels, but it’s Teargas’ K.O. that shines on the track.

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All Africa, All the time.


Bukom, a small locality in Ghana’s capital of Accra, is a place that has a sentimental historywith boxing. The town has produced some of the best boxers to come out of Africa including world renowned athletes such as Bukom Banku, Azumah Nelson, Kwame Asante, Ike Qautery and Joshua Clottey.

Exploring that relationship in today’s Bukom, and inspired by Muhammad Ali’s trip to Africa in the 70s,Blitz returns to the town to deliver a boxing-inspired black and white portrait of Bukom.

Rumble is taken from Blitz’s upcoming EP Diasporadical set for release in March 2015. Expect a video and a new single every month until then.

Download ‘Rumble’ for free here.

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All Africa, All the time.

Watch the Trailer for the Upcoming Second Series of “My Africa Is” in Dakar, Senegal.

We’re a day away from the launch of the second phase of the My Africa Is chronicles. This time around, the project takes us to the streets of the Senegalese capital Dakar in a three-part series that documents the city’s emerging and established dance scenes, surfing culture and a satirical news program that broadcasts information using rap.

The episode goes live tomorrow, October 2nd, and we’ll have it posted for you here at Dynamic Africa when it does!

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All Africa, All the time.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

As the top African producer of coffee, and seventh in the world, Ethiopia has a long-standing relationship with the consumption and use of coffee. Ethiopia is home to coffee arabica, a species of coffee indigenous to the country. Considered to be one of the better tasting coffees, it is believed that coffee arabica was the first coffee plant to cultivated and grown in the southwest of the country. It is said that the first instance of the effects of coffee being noticed came about when Ethiopian shepherds in the 9th observed the reaction of their herds after eating the fruit.

Today, one of the ways that Ethiopians (and Eritreans) continue to demonstrate their love of coffee and their historical relationship with the second most traded commodity in the world, after oil, is through what is known to outsiders as a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony or Buna by Ethiopians. Often, this practice takes place in peoples homes and at Ethiopian restaurants which is where I first experienced a Buna, in Addis Ababa.

Conducted entirely by women, the Buna process involves the roasting, grinding and serving of coffee. Washed coffee beans are roasted in a pan, similar to the process of making popcorn. As the aroma of the coffee begins to fill the air, the preparer takes the roasting coffee and walks around letting the fresh scent of the coffee settle around the room.

Once roasted, the coffee is then put in what is called a Mukecha - a tool used for grinding. Another tool, called a zenezena, is used to crush the coffee in a pistil and mortar fashion. Some places will use modern coffee grinders to save time as it can be a slightly laborious and time-consuming task. After the coffee has been crushed, the fresh coffee powder is put into a jebena, a clay pot. Water is added and the mixture is boiled before being ready to be served in small usually white porcelain cups called cinis.

Each serving round of coffee has a name - the first being Abol, second is Huletegna and the third and final round is called Bereka.

Watch an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony take place.

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All Africa, All the time.

Young South African Entrepreneur Designs Innovative Eco-Friendly Schoolbags.

21-year-old South African innovator and entrepreneur Thato Kgatlhanye is the founder of Repurpose Schoolbags, an incredible initiative and business venture that combines community awareness, environmentalism and women’s empowerment.

Encouraged my a university assignment, Kgatlhanye first set up a company called Rethaka with two friends, at the age of 18. Rethaka was aimed at exploring societal problems, uncovering opportunities and seeking sustainable solutions for them.

Focusing primarily on low-income communities, and in particular women and children, Rethaka’s first project is the highly creative and ingeniously designed Repurpose Schoolbags operation. Made from 100% recycled plastic bags, each schoolbag is equipped with a mini solar panel that charges when exposed to sunlight (during school walks, etc) allowing students to study without electricity for up to 12 hours. Not only does this lift a significant burden and strain off the children who use these bags and their families, the bags are enveloped with retro-reflective material that makes children more visible when walking - be it early in the morning or during the darker hours of the evening, making them much safer as they travel. 

Kgatlhanye’s commitment to community development is echoed throughout her business which employs seven full-time staff and has a management team of three - all women, with the exception of one.

Repurpose aims to continue to grow through the help of giving partnerships and future expansions. It’ll be incredible to see what more comes from Kgatlhanye and her team.

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All Africa, All the time.

Idris Elba Has Made An Album Based On His Experience Playing Nelson Mandela.

From the looks of things, it seems that Idris Elba has taken his passion and admiration for Nelson Mandela very seriously.

Moving beyond his recent role in the Justin Chadwick biopic, Elba was so inspired by the research he did as part of the preparation for his role that he put together an concept album based on the music Mandela enjoyed.

Titled Mi Mandela, the experimental album was made over the course of three weeks and features 11 unique songs, some made with the help of local talent like producer Spoek Mathambo, Ndebele music legend Nothembi Mkhwebane and singing group the Mahotella Queens.

Whilst Elba, who DJs and releases music under the name ‘Driis’, is no stranger to producing songs and making mixes, he’s enlisted a wide range of artists including James Blake, Mumford & Sons, Mr Hudson and Cody ChesnuTT.

The album is due out November 24th but look out for the first single featuring Maverick Sabre a little sooner.

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All Africa, All the time.

Nigerian Writer Sefi Atta Talks Life, Literature and Leaving Nigeria in Interview with Elle South Africa.

Nigerian writer Sefi Atta was recently in Cape Town for the annual Open Book Festival. Elle Magazine South Africa interviewed Atta who was both refreshingly honest and inspiring.

As a Nigerian whose experiences of moving around and living in multiple countries mirrors hers, I love what she had to say about the ways in which being a global citizen has informed her passion for writing, "I feel that Nigeria gave me my stories, America gave me the opportunity to tell them, and England gave me my love for literature."

A recipient of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Atta has written plays for film, radio and stage, as well as several short stories and three novels. Her most recent book, A Bit Of Difference, is the first to not be centered on life in Nigeria, something Atta believes is a natural and logical progression of the relationship between her personal life and writing.

"The fact that I started writing stories based in Nigeria was just logical to me. People asked why I was writing about Nigeria when I’d been living in England for so long, but the earliest stories need to be told first: it seemed an orderly way to do it. When I got to writing a bit of difference, I was ready to talk about England. My next books will be set in the US. I’m an organized thinker and this makes sense to me."

Atta, who studied in England and has lived in America for two decades, is also brutally honest about the realities of why she, and many other young Nigerians, end up seeking a new life abroad saying:

"The reason I left Nigeria was that I had a degree, but it was hard to be independent. No matter how much you earned as a graduate, you couldn’t live on your own, and culturally it was very different…I went back to England because I knew that I’d be able to be independent.”

Beyond the obvious and glaring issues that plague everyday life in Nigeria, Atta’s reasons for leaving then still echo strongly for many young Africans living on the continent. There’s a certain unique struggle that many who wish to emigrate face - both young and old, but the hunger for independence and need to experience more of what the world has to offer makes it all the more difficult.

Ending the interview, Atta ends with her definition of feminism, "Feminism today to me: for me it’s being allowed to be who you are, and it’s that simple."

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All Africa, All the time.

NEW MUSIC: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 ft BLITZ the Ambassador - “African Smoke”.

What have we done to deserve another collaboration from two of the finest contemporary artists to have come out of the African continent? If you’re unaware of what I’m referring to, you may, but really shouldn’t, have missed out on their earlier partnership that was featured on Blitz’s must-have album Afropolitan Dreams.

The song, lifted of Seun’s recent album A Long Way to the Beginning, was inspired by a Keith Richards and features a beat and melody slightly similar to that of Fela’s Army Arrangement but still manages to stand solid from start to finish.

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