DYNAMIC AFRICA

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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Posts tagged "north africa"

Tour the Wonders of Ancient Egypt with Google Street View.

I don’t remember much from my trip to Egypt as a child in the mid-90s. I know that it included seeing the Pyramids of Giza, being too afraid to ride atop a camel, and rushing hurriedly from one place to another as it was part of a two-day layover with my family en route to the United States.

Although I can’t relive those experienes entirely out of poor memory (and a serious lack of photos, come on mum and dad, really?), Google Street View’s latest offering of a virtual multimedia tour of some of the world’s most historic sites is the next best thing.

Through it, Google takes us on an inspirational tour of the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Pyramid - the last standing wonder of the ancient world, the pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure, the Great Sphinx - the oldest and largest known monumental sculpture in the world, the world’s very first Pyramid designed by the great Egyptian Architect Imhotep in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, and so much more.

See it all here.

Tunisian Island Becomes Street Art Hub, Raises Questions of Politics in Graffiti.

Whether cave paintings or hieroglyphics, Africans have been painting on walls for centuries. However, the idea of turning open streets into an open outdoor gallery and exhibit is something relatively new to North Africa’s largest island and Tunisia’s most popular tourist destination Djerba.

The initiative, curated by Tunisian-French artist Mehdi Ben Cheikh in collaboration with Paris-based art gallery Galerie Itinerance, is called Djerbahood features works from around 150 artists spanning 30 different countries, including Sweden’s ROA, Alexis Diaz from Puerto Rico, Stinkfish out of Colombia, Brazilian muralist Claudio Ethos, French artist Brusk, Moroccan calligraphist Abdellatif Moustad, and Tunisian street artists eL Seed and The Inkman.

Dealing with issues ranging from history and politics, to spirituality and tradition, Djerbahood, is a collaboration of epic proportions. Whether intentional or not (and I think not), the name calls to mind the racism that exists in the world of street art and graffiti culture that has, in recent years, both omitted and excluded the contributions made by black and brown artists in the popularization of this art form. Were in not for movies like Wild Style and Style Wars, the origins of resistance graffiti might all be forgotten from popular memory.

However, with the growing number of street artists and street art emerging from this area of the world in recent times, it would’ve been more interesting had they featured a selection of artists from around the African continent. Countries like South Africa and Senegal are home to some of the continent’s growing local street art scenes. Due to its size, it somewhat eclipses the grassroots graffiti movements across North Africa made headlines when #ArabSpring was a trending topic, and seemed to fade as quickly as it was noticed by the west. Then again, the politics behind this open art affair, due to unveil September 20th, aren’t rooted in Pan-African sentimentality, being sponsored by parties from France and Tunisia.

This project forms part of a growing trend of foreign street artists descending on Africa, from the likes of French artist JR’s “Women Are Heroes" series that stopped in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Sudan and Liberia, to ROA’s "Wide Open Walls" in The Gambia.

Similarly to the reactions from people in the aforementioned countries, locals in the area have had mixed responses to the art works, from some labeling it as vandalism to others welcoming the diversity and finding inspiration in the larger-than-life paintings.

See an extended gallery.

(image sources: Aline Deschamps/Galerie Itinerrance | Mohamed Messara | EPA Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

FEMEN Egyptian Activist Defaces ISIS Flag in Protest.
In collaboration with controversial radical feminist organization FEMEN, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, an Egyptian blogger, internet activist and women’s rights advocate, has released a photo of herself menstruating on the official Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) flag.
In the photo, Elmahdy squats nude facing the camera as she defaces the ISIS flag and another woman in a similar position, who is partially clothed and seems to be wearing a hijab, defecates on it. Both women  have the letters “IS-IS” painted on their bodies, as well as the official FEMEN logo is painted on the back of the woman throwing her middle finger up. The photo was said to have been posted on Elmahdy’s Facebook account last week Saturday.
Elmahdy has not specified her intentions surrounding this photo but a FEMEN founder Inna Shevchenko has confirmed that the image was made in a response to the alleged murder of US journalist James Foley. A video was recently released that shows the beheading of Foley by a member of ISIS, although the authenticity of it has been questioned. In an interview with VICE, Shevchenko said:

We did this action in the format of photo message as a reply to latest Islamic State video message showing the execution of the journalist [James Foley]. With our photo message we propose our own “way of execution” of Islamic State ideas. Our caption to the photo reads: “Animals, our execution of your ideas looks like that! Watch it well! We don’t demand ransoms, we don’t threaten you with new killings, we just SHIT ON YOU, ISIS!”

Shevchenko also claimed that 23-year-old Elmahdy, who is no stranger to controversial and what some deem provocative forms of activism, has been involve with FEMEN since 2012. The year before, Elmahdy posted a nude photograph of herself on her blog in protest and opposition of Egypt’s conservative Muslim culture. Aside from the outrage she sparked, Elmahdy began to receive a string of rape and death threats after following this, some of which she made available on her blog. In March this year, Elmahdy joined women from Tunisia and Iran to protest outside the Louvre in Paris on International Women’s Day.
Her blog also contains posts such as this photograph of her white boyfriend as ‘Buddha’, kissing the same person in show of her Arab neighbours as a form of protest because he is “non-Arab and non-Muslim”, and this topless protest she participated in at a Mosque in Sweden where she now resides after seeking asylum.
Formed in Ukraine in 2008, FEMEN have been no strangers to controversy with their fiery brand of protest that usually involves nudity, and the occasional sacrilegious antic. But it seems like these very anti-religious actions are not simply about addressing systems that oppress women. Fellow African activist Amina Sboui, a Tunisian who made headlines after posting topless photos of her self online, quit the organization citing Islamaphobia. Elmahdy posted a video of Sboui on her blog earlier this year.
View the NSFW image.
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FEMEN Egyptian Activist Defaces ISIS Flag in Protest.

In collaboration with controversial radical feminist organization FEMEN, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, an Egyptian blogger, internet activist and women’s rights advocate, has released a photo of herself menstruating on the official Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) flag.

In the photo, Elmahdy squats nude facing the camera as she defaces the ISIS flag and another woman in a similar position, who is partially clothed and seems to be wearing a hijab, defecates on it. Both women  have the letters “IS-IS” painted on their bodies, as well as the official FEMEN logo is painted on the back of the woman throwing her middle finger up. The photo was said to have been posted on Elmahdy’s Facebook account last week Saturday.

Elmahdy has not specified her intentions surrounding this photo but a FEMEN founder Inna Shevchenko has confirmed that the image was made in a response to the alleged murder of US journalist James Foley. A video was recently released that shows the beheading of Foley by a member of ISIS, although the authenticity of it has been questioned. In an interview with VICE, Shevchenko said:

We did this action in the format of photo message as a reply to latest Islamic State video message showing the execution of the journalist [James Foley]. With our photo message we propose our own “way of execution” of Islamic State ideas. Our caption to the photo reads: “Animals, our execution of your ideas looks like that! Watch it well! We don’t demand ransoms, we don’t threaten you with new killings, we just SHIT ON YOU, ISIS!”

Shevchenko also claimed that 23-year-old Elmahdy, who is no stranger to controversial and what some deem provocative forms of activism, has been involve with FEMEN since 2012. The year before, Elmahdy posted a nude photograph of herself on her blog in protest and opposition of Egypt’s conservative Muslim culture. Aside from the outrage she sparked, Elmahdy began to receive a string of rape and death threats after following this, some of which she made available on her blog. In March this year, Elmahdy joined women from Tunisia and Iran to protest outside the Louvre in Paris on International Women’s Day.

Her blog also contains posts such as this photograph of her white boyfriend as ‘Buddha’, kissing the same person in show of her Arab neighbours as a form of protest because he is “non-Arab and non-Muslim”, and this topless protest she participated in at a Mosque in Sweden where she now resides after seeking asylum.

Formed in Ukraine in 2008, FEMEN have been no strangers to controversy with their fiery brand of protest that usually involves nudity, and the occasional sacrilegious antic. But it seems like these very anti-religious actions are not simply about addressing systems that oppress women. Fellow African activist Amina Sboui, a Tunisian who made headlines after posting topless photos of her self online, quit the organization citing Islamaphobia. Elmahdy posted a video of Sboui on her blog earlier this year.

View the NSFW image.

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The Year Algeria Made Football & World Cup History.

It’s been 32 years since the Algerian national football team caused what some have named one of the ‘biggest upsets' in World Cup history by defeating then European champions West Germany. It's also been 32 years since Algeria was sabotaged in what The Guardian calls “one of sport’s most blatant cases of match-fixing.”

Qualifying for the first time ever, Algeria’s presence at the World Cup hosted in Spain that year was already an historic feat. The African team had been placed in a group that included Austria, Chile, and West Germany who they were scheduled to play against first.

On that June day in 1982, the North African novices faced reigning European champions West Germany. Many predicted a thrashing by the Germans who in turn didn’t shy away from making boastful statements about the game that lay ahead. One German player boldly declared before the match, “we will dedicate our seventh goal to our wives, and the eighth to our dogs”, openly mocking their Algerian opponents. Even the then West German manager, Jupp Derwall, reportedly said that if the Algerians won, he would “jump on the first train back to Munich.” Algeria defender Chaabane Merzekane recalled that one of the West German players said that he would play the match with a cigar in his mouth.

Well, if Derwall had any sense of foresight, he would’ve booked a one-way ticket back to Munich immediately. Better yet, if Derwall had only done his homework on the Algerian team, he may have refrained from making such a statement. Negligence on Derwall’s part would later mean that West Germany would be in for a great surprise. It was only after the match that Derwall admitted that he was given a footage of the Algerian players in action, as is customary, but did not show it to his team as they would have mocked him had he done so. Why? Simply because the Germans, whether out of racism or ignorance, did not think the Algerians to be worthy opponents.

In 1982, most of Algeria’s national football team was comprised of players who had been teammates for years as Algerian law at the time prohibited players from leaving the country before the age of 28, something that stemmed from the FLN’s role in Algeria’s history of independence and its influence on the country’s football team. All of the players had been based at home, as a result of this law, making their bond of the field exceptionally strong and fluid. Several former FLN players were part of the coaching staff in 1982, including Abdelhamid Zouba and the co-manager Rachid Mekloufi, and the spirit of Algerian pride that had been established by these players who left France to play for Algeria was present in the team. 1982 was also the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. 

Algeria had successfully beaten Nigeria to be present at the 1982 World Cup and during their first ever match at this tournament, the determination and humility of the Fennec Foxes, as well as their skill, of course, would see them through to a 2-1 victory against West Germany. This victory made Algeria the first African team to defeat a European opponent at the World Cup. Their next match against Austria saw the tides turn as they lost 2-0, but against Chile, they regained their form and won that match leaving them with four points from their three games (back when it was two points for a win).

Now, their fate of progressing became dependent on West Germany failing to beat Austria the next day. But both the Germans and Austrians both knew that if Germany beat Austria 1-0, it would result in both teams progressing to the next round at Algeria’s expense. Thus, both teams conspired to achieve this result - a distasteful case of match-fixing that forever changed the world of football. After Germany’s Horst Hrubesch put his team in the lead at the 10th minute, both the Germans and Austrians basically did nothing for the next 80 minutes. No attempts at goal, just an hour and 20 minutes of kicking the ball around.

As The Guardian points out, “the game was no longer a contest, it was a conspiracy.”

Both the Austrian and West German teams were scorned by the public. Algerian fans in the crowd burned peseta notes to show their suspicions of corruption. Spaniards in attendance waved hankerchiefs throughout the second half in a traditional display of disdain. The following day, Spanish newspapers denounced the actions of both teams and there was outrage in West Germany and Austria too.

German commentator Eberhard Stanjek, working for German channel ARD, almost sobbed during the match and said: “What is happening here is disgraceful and has nothing to do with football. You can say what you like, but not every end justifies the means.” His fellow Austrian commentator suggested viewers turn off their TVs and he refused to speak for the last half-hour. Former West German international Willi Schulz branded the German players “gangsters”.

But these ‘gangsters’ remained unapologetic through the criticism, backlash and protesting. When German fans gathered at the team hotel to protest, the players responded by throwing water bombs at them from their balconies.

The head of the Austrian delegation, Hans Tschak, made this extraordinary racist comments about the Algerian team: “Naturally today’s game was played tactically. But if 10,000 ‘sons of the desert’ here in the stadium want to trigger a scandal because of this it just goes to show that they have too few schools. Some sheikh comes out of an oasis, is allowed to get a sniff of World Cup air after 300 years and thinks he’s entitled to open his gob.”

Not ones to stoop down to the level of their European opponents, the Fennec Foxes remained publicly unphased by these comments. As Merzekane recalls, “We weren’t angry, we were cool,” he says. “To see two big powers debasing themselves in order to eliminate us was a tribute to Algeria. They progressed with dishonour, we went out with our heads held high.”

All over the world, people called on FIFA to punish the Europeans or stage a replay, but in the end all that was done by them was to rule that from then onwards the last pair of games in every group would be played simultaneously. Algeria had come to the World Cup and made history in more ways than one. They had left an “indelible mark on football history.”

(sources: 1 | 2 | 3)

More African World Cup History Made As Algeria Defeat South Korea 4-2.

Just when we though things couldn’t get better for Africa at the World Cup, Algeria played a phenomenal game against South Korea scoring a total of four goals - the most scored by any African team in one match at the World Cup ever.

Algeria have qualified four times for the World Cup, in 1982, 1986, 2010 and of course, 2014. During their World Cup debut in 1982, they caused  “one of the great World Cup upsets on the first day of the tournament with a 2–1 victory over reigning European Champions West Germany.” This was also the last victory Algeria saw at the World Cup, until today.

South Korea did put up a good fight scoring two goals in the second half after being down 3-0 at half time. South Korea’s worst loss in World Cup history was in 1954 where Hungary beat them 9-0.

Algeria only need one more point to qualify for the next round.

They face Russia on Thursday.

#TBT Dynamic Africa History Post: Who Was Huda Sha’arawi?

Considered to be one of the central figures in early 20th century feminism in Egypt, Huda Sha’arawi (pictured: center) was born into a wealthy family in Minya, Egypt, in 1879. She was the daughter of Muhammad Sultan, the first president of the Egyptian Representative Council.

Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Sha’awari was raised in a harem, largely secluded from the outside world. At the thirteen, she was married to her cousin Ali Pasha Sha`arawi who she eventually separated from for seven years after he refused to leave his concubine, as per their marriage arrangement. During her separation from him, Sha’awari extended her formal education. From a young age, she was tutored in a variety of subjects and spoke French, Turkish, and Arabic. 

A pioneer and activist, Sha’awari was involved in many philanthropic projects throughout her life beginning with the establishing of the first philanthropic society run by Egyptian women, in 1908, that offered services for poor women and children. She argued that women-run social service projects were important for two reasons. First, by engaging in such projects, women would widen their horizons, acquire practical knowledge and direct their focus outward. Second, informed largely by her harem upbringing, such projects would challenge the view that women existed solely for men’s pleasure and were constantly in need of protection and guardianship by men. However, despite holding this progressive view of women’s rights at the time, Shaarawi saw the problems of the poor as issues to be resolved through charitable activities of the rich, particularly through donations to education programs. Holding a somewhat romanticized view of poor women’s lives, she viewed them as passive recipients of social services, not to be consulted about priorities or goals. The rich, in turn, were the “guardians and protectors of the nation.”

As a young woman, Sha’awari displayed defiant acts of independence. Once such incident involved her entering a department store in Alexandria to buy her own clothes instead of having them brought to her abode in her harem. In 1909, she also helped to organize Mubarrat Muhammad Ali, a women’s social service organization and the Union of Educated Egyptian Women in 1914, the year in which she traveled to Europe for the first time. Sha’awari helped lead the first women’s street demonstration during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, and was elected president of the Wafdist Women’s Central Committee.

In 1910, she opened a school for girls focused on academics, rather than teaching practical skills like midwifery which was common at the time. Four years later, she founded the Intellectual Association of Egyptian Women. But it was her founding of the Egyptian Feminist Union (EFU) in 1923 that Sha’awari is often most remembered for. The EFU consisted of upper and middle class Egyptian women, and at its height had about 250 members. The EFU focused on various issues, particularly women’s suffrage, increased education for women, and changes in the Personal Status laws. While the EFU accomplished few of its goals, it is widely credited with setting the stage for later feminist victories. She remained an active member of the EFU throughout her life and the organization remains active to this day.
Part of Shaarawi’s motivation for founding the EFU was her desire to send a delegation of Egyptian women to the 9th Congress of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance in Rome, in May 1923. In a speech at this conference, Shaarawi advanced her conception of Egyptian feminism. She argued, first, that women in ancient Egypt had equal status to men, and only under foreign domination had women lost those rights. Second, she argued that Islam also granted women equal rights to men, but that the Koran had been misinterpreted by those in power. Shaarawi and the EFU maintained their ties with the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance for several years. However, in the 1930s, increasingly influenced by the nationalist movement in Palestine, Shaarawi and her colleagues began to define nationalism in pan-Arab, rather than Egyptian, terms. In addition, they became increasingly suspicious of Western feminists, and began to cast their feminist struggle in pan-Arab terms as well. Eventually, they broke their ties to the Suffrage Alliance. In 1945, Shaarawi and the EFU played a major role in founding the All Arab Feminist Union.
Upon her return from the Rome conference in 1923, and following the death of her husband that same year, Sha’arawi performed an act that will forever be remembered as a major moment in her life: she removed her veil in public at a Cairo train station. Her decision to unveil was part of a greater movement of women and was influenced by French born Egyptian feminist, Eugénie Le Brun, but it contrasted with some feminist thinkers like Malak Hifni Nasif. In fact, some say that Sha’arawi’s removal her veil, although bold at the time, has become an exaggerated part of her life as removal of the veil was never on the EFU’s list of priorities.
Sha’arawi passed away in 1947. Much of her life was penned in her memoir The Harem Years.
(sources: 1 | 2 | 3)
Maya Angelou in Africa: The Egypt and Ghana years.
In the 1950s, Maya Angelou moved to New York where she later met and began a romantic relationship with South African anti-apartheid activist Vusumzi L. Make. The two soon moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1961 along with Angelou’s son Guy Johnson. Angelou and Make lived together in Cairo for a short time where Angelou served as the editor of the English language weekly publication The Arab Observer.
After separating from Make in 1962, Angelou and her son moved to Accra, Ghana, where Angelou joined many other African-American expatriates living in the country. There, whilst her son attended college and later recovered from an automobile accident, she served as an instructor and assistant administrator at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting Company.
During Malcolm X’s 1964 visit to Ghana, the two met in the country’s capital city (pictured) and began corresponding. That same year, Angelou relocated back to the United States with the intention of assisting Malcolm X build his new Organization of Afro-American Unity, however, Malcolm X would be assassinated a few months after her arrival in the US.
Her book All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986): Explores Angelou’s experiences living in Ghana with her son from 1962 to 1965.

Maya Angelou in Africa: The Egypt and Ghana years.

In the 1950s, Maya Angelou moved to New York where she later met and began a romantic relationship with South African anti-apartheid activist Vusumzi L. Make. The two soon moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1961 along with Angelou’s son Guy Johnson. Angelou and Make lived together in Cairo for a short time where Angelou served as the editor of the English language weekly publication The Arab Observer.

After separating from Make in 1962, Angelou and her son moved to Accra, Ghana, where Angelou joined many other African-American expatriates living in the country. There, whilst her son attended college and later recovered from an automobile accident, she served as an instructor and assistant administrator at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting Company.

During Malcolm X’s 1964 visit to Ghana, the two met in the country’s capital city (pictured) and began corresponding. That same year, Angelou relocated back to the United States with the intention of assisting Malcolm X build his new Organization of Afro-American Unity, however, Malcolm X would be assassinated a few months after her arrival in the US.

Her book All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986): Explores Angelou’s experiences living in Ghana with her son from 1962 to 1965.

HASSAN HAJJAJ ‘KESH ANGELS’ SERIES - BARBIE DOLL EDITION.

Because Moroccan visual artist Hassan Hajjaj knows we can’t get enough of his dynamic ‘Kesh Angels' series, he revisited and re-made the project using Barbie dolls, along with other brands and icons of Western culture that are not only recognizable worldwide, but have also come to shape global popular culture.

The London-based artist does, however, extend this narrative on post-colonialism and the impacts of globalisation by retaining certain aesthetic elements of both Arab and Moroccan culture in the manner of dress he’s chosen for the dolls, and attitudes these women (albeit plastic ones) convey.

Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako and French-Ivorian director Phillippe Lacôte make official 2014 Cannes Film Festival selections.

Sissako’s fifth film Timbuktu and Lacôte’s first Run have both been selected for screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Timbuktu is a tragic tale based on the recent true story of two lovers who, because they were not officially married, faced the tragic consequences of Sharia law and were executed by stoning for their crime.

Lacôte’s Run, staring the intensely handsome Isaach de Bankole,is a fast-paced drama who’s protagonist, for which the film is named after, is as his name suggests - a runner. But what is he running from? From so much, from everything it seems, most of all, from the assassination of his country’s prime minister - a crime he is guilty of committing.

Omar El Zohairy, a student at the High Cinema Institute, Academy of Arts in Egypt, had his film The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375 selected for the Cinéfondation section which focuses on films made by students at film schools.

The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival is due to take place from 14 to 25 May 2014.

(top photo by Arnaud Contreras)

Today’s style inspiration: Louis Philippe de Gagoue.

Hailing from both Cameroon and Cote D’Ivoire, the self-described eclectic fashion stylist, blogger and personal shopper is currently based in Morocco after half a decade living in neighbouring Tunisia.

With a style all his own, there’s a sense of vintage cool, classic sartorialism and modern vibrancy in almost everything he wears. From Congolese sapeurs to traditional North African garments, there’s always a strong African influence in de Gagoue’s visual aesthetic.

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All Africa, All the time.

NEW MUSIC: Magic System ft Chawki - Magic in the Air.

Ivorian sensation Magic System team up with Moroccan singer Ahmed Chawki in this football-like anthem super catchy Francophone dance tune.

Just in time for Brasil 2014? Perhaps.

MORNING SONG: OUM TARAGALTE - SOUL OF MOROCCO.

A great song (of which I have zero understanding of, sadly) recently sent to me by a follower on twitter. 

Beautiful video! 

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All Africa, All the time.

"Jomaa Meter" Set Up by Tunisian Group to Track Leader’s Performance.

In a similar fashion to Egypt’s “Morsi Meter" that tracked the performance of Mohammed Morsi’s short-lived presidency, the founders of the Morsi meter have helped Tunisian organization "I Watch set-up up a “Jomaa Meter" to evaluate the progress and promises of their leader Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa.

The founders of the Jomaa meter hope this initiative will help foster a greater sense and culture of accountability in Tunisian politics.

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All Africa, All the time.

Some of the stylish men photographed by Moroccan visual artist Hassan Hajjaj for his ‘My Rock Stars’ series.

The series highlights some of his personal inspirations in these eclectic and vibrant frames influenced by iconic African photobooth photographers and his North African heritage.

Aside from photographing his subjects and uniquely decorating each photograph, Hajjaj often dresses them up in clothes made by him and works with them to capture their individual personalities.

Some of the faces shown here are Nigerian musician Keziah Jones, Algerian singer Rachid Taha, British-Nigerian rapper Afrikan Boy, British fashion designerJoe Casely-Hayford, OBE, Moroccan musician Hassan Hakmoun and American singer Jose James.

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All Africa, All the time.