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.

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Posts tagged "nigeria"

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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Live and Acoustic: Hear Asa Perform Songs From Her New Album “Bed Of Stone”.

Paris-based Nigerian musician Asa is back with her fourth album Bed Of Stone powered by her anthemic leading single Dead Again.

The album, released on August 25th this year, sounds everything like the Asa we’ve come to know and love - sentimental heartfelt lyrics guided by her melodic guitar playing and a voice that will pull at your heartstrings with every note, regardless of the subject she’s singing about. These are the things that make her acoustic performances so amazing.

Jamming in Berlin for DerTagesspiegel, Asa sings and soulfully serenades us with a few songs from her new and previous albums.

Track listing:

  • Fire on the mountain
  • Dead Again
  • Situation

Davido, Tiwa Savage and Diamond Platnumz Headline AfricaUnplugged Concerts in England.

Headlined by three of Africa’s hitmakers over the past year - Davido, Tiwa Savage and Diamond Platnumz, AfricaUnplugged Music Festival is back for another year boasting dates in both London and Manchester.

AfricaUnplugged hits the English capital on September 14th at the O2 Academy Brixton before heading to Manchester on September 21st at the RITZ Manchester.

This year’s line up includes performances from HNK Gangs, CEO Dancers, Mazi Chucks and a range of various African DJs like DJ Abass and DJ Abrantee.

Early bird tickets are £25 otherwise £35 gets you in.

Get your tickets before they sell out!

NEW MUSIC: 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.

It’s my first time listening to anything from her and I absolutely love this song. Cute and carefree singing in Pidgin with a soukous melody.

NEW MUSIC: Lil Opy & Shimzie featuring Uncle Rafool - “Wedding Day”.

If P-Square’s ‘No One Like You’ was the unofficial official Nigerian wedding song of 2011, Lil Opy’s ‘Wedding Day’ is the 2014 anthem that fulfills the same purpose.

The song features London-based British Nigerian sibling artists Lil Opy and Shimzie showcases the best in Nigerian weddings - from fashions, both traditional and western, to the dancing, luxury cars and, of course, the food (chai! that jollof rice looks so damn good!).

Lil Opy and Shimzie and joined by masked comedian-cum-artist Uncle Rafool who looks like Lagbaja’s lovechild with his makeshift ‘mask’.

Wedding Day was produced by 15-year old younger sibling Lil Opy and written by both brothers to celebrate their aunty’s engagement. The celebratory video was directed by Can Somer.

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Nigerians Express Concern Over New e-ID Card Project.

"Finally!" was the first word that popped into my head upon reading the supposed good news. Nigerians were soon to join the rest of the I.D. carrying world, and something I’d considered to be a privilege for others was no longer going to be so.

Whilst living in South Africa, I vividly remember seeing my friends turning 16 and being excited to apply and receive their national I.D. cards and feeling a pang of jealousy hit me simply because I do the same. Fast forward a few years later to my college days when I’d have to carry around my passport and use it as a form of ID when entering places that carded. Not only was it a slight form of embarrassment, but such outings were always plagued with the fear that I’d lose my passport and have to go through the strenuous and costly process of applying for a new one AND have to get all my necessary visa documents in order. No longer wanting this to be an ordeal I’d have to undergo, I was able to add some normalcy to my life after applying for and receiving a New York Learner’s Permit. For the first time, at age 20, I finally got to be part of the I.D. carrying public - a small step for mankind, a giant leap for yours truly.

Now, thanks to a new scheme unveiled by President Goodluck Jonathan, no longer will Nigerian nationals have only one option (outside of a driving license) when it comes to a valid government issued form of identification. Something I’m sure many other Nigerians aside from me welcome, especially after the failure of a plan to introduce ID cards into Nigeria some years ago.

However, this new national ID is not simply a form of valid photo identification. It seems as though the Nigerian government is incapable of creating such a project without monetary backing from one of the world’s largest multinational financial services companies. What is supposed to be a regular ID card instead looks like a debit or credit card with the MasterCard logo printed boldly on the back. This electronic ID card will also serve as a means of electronic payment in order to make banking and financial services available to the entire population. In a country known for 419 schemes and rife with corruption, some say these new cards will give Nigerians a sense of legitimacy when carrying out financial transactions and using services that require ID.

Sounds appealing and convenient right? Well, perhaps, if you take away the fact that the biometrics data of every e-ID holder will be shared and made available to MasterCard, an American firm. All Nigerian e-ID card bearers will automatically become customers of MasterCard – a profit-driven company. This has already caused many Nigerians to express outrage at the government for selling out Nigerians to a foreign company.

Shehu Sani of the Civil Rights in government expressed his opposition to this project saying, “The new ID card with a MasterCard logo does not represent an identity of a Nigerian. It simply represents a stamped ownership of a Nigerian by an American company. It is reminiscent of the logo pasted on the bodies of African salves transported across the Atlantic.” Whilst Nigeria would not be the first country to have such a program, a country like Malaysia did so but using its own resources and technologies, not through outsourcing and making available the information of their citizens to a foreign financial company.

What’s also interesting is the timing of this announcement - right when the US has pledged to actively assist Nigeria in combating Boko Haram and terrorism in the country.

Whilst it may take a while for this new system to be adopted, these concerns expressed by several Nigerians are legitimate and should be addressed before this project becomes a nationwide affair. At the very least, Nigerians should be given the option of whether or not they would like to join the MasterCard element of the program.

(image via BBC)

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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


Nigerian Architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s “Floating School” Highlighted in Al Jazeera Documentary.

Two years ago, this pioneering floating school in Lagos’s ‘floating’ slum of Makoko was labelled as ‘illegal’ by authorities who then threatened to demolish it. This year, the brainchild of Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi has been nominated as Design of the Year by London’s Design Museum.

Adeyemi’s innovative design came about after he had had several discussions with Makoko residents about how to resolve the environmental issues that concerned the local community. His design also came about during a time where the Lagos government had been threatening to evict Makoko residents and demolish the slum.

“There are hundreds if not thousands of Makokos all over Africa,” Adeyemi says. “We cannot simply displace this population; it’s important to think about how to develop them, how to create enabling environments for them to thrive, to improve the sanitation conditions, to provide the infrastructure, schools and hospitals to make it a healthy place.

“My belief is that in developing Africa we need to find solutions that can be developed by the grassroots, through the grassroots, and achieve the same level of significance as we have on the high-end projects.”
Now, in a new documentary project by Al Jazeera that looks at unconventional pioneers in the architecture industry, Adeyemi’s floating school is brought to life in the episode Working On Water, directed by award-winning South African filmmaker Riaan Hendricks, as part of the network’s Rebel Architecture series. 
ETA: We’ll be uploaded the series after it airs on Al Jazeera so watch this space!

NEW MUSIC: Niyola ft Banky W - “Love to Love You”.

Nigerian R&B crooner Banky W features on this steamy new track and video for fellow artist Niyola’s hot new single Love to Love You.

Gonna be bumpin’ this track for the next few days!

Ghana and Nigeria to Represent Africa at Women’s U20 World Cup.

In a little over 24 hours, the 7th edition of the Women’s U20 World Cup kicks off in Toronto, Canada.

Ghana, one of the two African teams at the tournament, face the host nation on opening night and sit in a group with North Korea and Finland.

Fellow West Africans Nigeria sit in Group C with England, South Korea and Mexico, and play their first match on Wednesday against Mexico.

Join Dynamic Africa on Facebook and Twitter as we provide updates on the the two African teams at the tournament!

Gold For Nigeria As Ese Brume Wins Commonwealth Games Women’s Long Jump.

Two celebrations were had at the Nigerian camp in Glasgow this past week as both Blessing Okagbare and Ese Brume won gold on the very same day.

Brume, who cites fellow long jumper Okagbare as her sports hero, cleared a height of 6.56m to win Nigeria’s second medal of the night.

Okagbare would have participated in this event but it clashed with her 200m race.

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Blessing Okagbare Claims Second Gold Medal at Commonwealth Games.

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare is going from strength to strength in Glasgow at the XX Commonwealth Games.

After winning gold in the Women’s 100m race and setting a new Commonwealth Games record, Okagbare claimed her second gold medal of the tournament after finishing first in the Women’s 200m ahead of England’s Jodie Williams and Bianca Williams.

Finishing at a time of 22.25, Okagbare made history once again, by becoming the first Nigerian ever to win an individual sprint double at a global sports meeting.

Okagbare has a chance to claim a third gold medal as she’ll be competing for Nigeria in the 4x100m Women’s relay event.

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NEW MUSIC: Awilo Longomba - Bundelele.

The man who brought us one of the continent’s most-loved Soukous songs is back! Whilst the single was released a few months earlier, Longomba’s finally dropped the offiicial music video for his track Bundelele (meaning ‘dance’).

Staying true to the song’s title, the rythmic and pulsating video celebrates various forms of dance and features choreography from the highly talented Nigerian dancer and member of CEO dancers Ezinne Asinugo.

If Asinugo looks familiar, that’s because you may have seen her in this video as well as the most recent music video from Fuse ODG featuring Sea Paul.

Nigerian Gold Medalist Fails Drug Test At Commonwealth Games.

Nigerian gold medalist and 16-year-old weightlifting star Chika Amalaha has been provisionally suspended from the current Commonwealth Games, taking place in Glasgow, after failing an in-competition drug test.

Amalaha’s ‘A’ sample contained amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, both of which are prohibited as diuretics and masking agents. She will now have a ‘B’ sample tested on Wednesday.

Speaking on the issue, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said: ‘We [have] issued a formal notice of disclosure to an athlete following an adverse analytical finding as a consequence of an in-competition test. That athlete is Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha who was tested on July 25th. That athlete has now been suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

'The relevant processes, as detailed in our anti-doping standard for the Games, are now being followed and Ms Amalaha has pursued her right to have her 'B' sample tested. This will take place at an accredited laboratory in London tomorrow (Wednesday), July 30. Upon receipt of those results the process will continue.'

This isn’t the first time a Nigerian lifter has been suspended for doping. However, what is shocking in this case is how young the athlete is. In 2001, the Nigerian Weightlifting Federation was suspended for repeated doping violations by the International Weightlifting Federation. They were also banned from competing in the Manchester Games the following year.

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