DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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How a Ghanaian entrepreneur turned his “impossible” dream into a reality.

A few years ago, Fred Deegbe was working as a banker - a profession that left him somewhat unsatisfied with the lack of impact he was having in the world. After buying a pair of Oxford wingtips at a store to impress a friend, Deegbe began to wonder if such high quality luxury shoes could indeed be manufactured in Ghana.

Despite the negative feedback he received from those who believed that such shoes couldn’t be made in Ghana, Deegbe wasn’t dissuaded from his idea of starting a shoe company in Accra. With no knowledge of the shoemaking industry, and armed only with passion and his gut feeling, Deegbe teamed up with friend Vijay Manu (pictured right) to start their luxury shoe and accessories company ‘Heel the World’, based in Accra.

Although the shoes are all handmade in Ghana, the goods used to make them are imported from places like the United States and Italy putting the price range of the shoes between $200-$400. This is Deegbe’s greatest challenge: proving that the shoes are worth the money they command.

To hear Deegbe tell his start-up story in his own words, watch this clip from CNN.

The LaurenceAirline Spring/Summer 2014 Lookbook is here.

Heavily influenced by creative director, founder and designer Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud’s travels between France and Cote D’Ivoire, we once again see the menswear designer incorporate a mixture of subtle but classic motifs and designs from both of her geographical influences. The looks are simple but highly dynamic presenting both casual and formal aesthetics.

See the entire lookbook.

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All images via the FaceHunter.

YEVU Clothing is a brand that was inspired by and developed in Ghana with handpicked fabrics from the markets of Accra and Kumasi in Ghana, as well as cloths from Cote D’Ivoire and Togo.

'Yevu' is the name for a white person or a foreigner in Ewe, relating to the creator and designer behind the line, Australian Anna Roberston

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Weekend Fashion Inspiration.

Pieces by British-Nigerian label Soboye as featured in XXY magazine, as well as other items from its boutique from designers like Ituen Basi, ChiChia London and more.

(via ONB)

Campaign and catwalk: MaXhosa by Laduma.

Inspired by creator Laduma Ngxokolo's Xhosa heritage, MAXHOSA BY LADUMA is an innovative knitwear line that seeks to preserve culture through contemporary fashion.

Traditional Xhosa aesthetics are merged with tailoring and garments from other parts of the world, all made with South African mohair and merino wool, to create items ranging from cardigans to cushion covers. Laduma’s designs are more specifically inspired and guided by the Xhosa Ulwaluko (male circumcision and initiation) ceremony, one of the most important events in the life of a young man as he graduates into manhood.

Undoubtedly one of my favourite local designers.

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Meet the Izikhothane’s - A New Group of Young South Africans Redefining Materialism.

“Izikhothane” is a Zulu word meaning “to lick”, but it has now become street slang for “bragging”. It has its roots in the early days of the movement, which first emerged around 2010, when “izis” would deliberately spill packets of custard, considered a treat by many low income black South Africans, and then ostentatiously lick it off their hands and clothes. They quickly graduated from custard to Johnnie Walker Blue Label and even Moët & Chandon, which they spill rather than drink, as onlookers urge them on.

Such scenes of decadence have outraged some older South Africans. The mayor of Ekurhuleni, an area outside Johannesburg, recently denounced the movement as “abhorrent”.

The izikhothanes are from the generation known as “born frees” – black youths who came into the world after the end of apartheid. Others who cannot afford to imitate them invite them to their parties because of the kudos they bring.
“We’re the Italians,”  Phumi Ntshangase, 20, said, brandishing a tattoo on his left arm where the letters FBI (Full Blooded Italians, because of their penchant for Italian designer labels) were arranged like a designer label; other groups have names such as the Vintages, after expensive alcohol, and the Overspenders.
Competition between them is fierce but not violent. At one recent altercation, the biggest insult seemed to be, “Your T-shirt is faded. Go away with your faded T-shirt – you should not be here.”
It is often parents who finance the izikhothane lifestyle. As Ntshangase swigged beer with some of his friends, his mother passed by. She came over and pressed a new smartphone into his hand. Showing off her own gold tooth, she said proudly, “He loves this lifestyle. He feels he is someone, and that pleases me. We – our generation – never had that feeling. It is good to see him happy.”
“Democracy has gone to their heads,” says Mokone, who shows tourists around the landmarks of Soweto’s apartheid-era struggle. “They think it means you have the right to do anything you want. Many of these kids are at high school, and this movement just shows contempt for the sacrifices their parents and grandparents made.”
His friend Mpho Gesh, a 21-year-old wearing a pink shirt, yellow slacks and matching narrow shiny shoes, explained there was more to the phenomenon than showing off: “Clothes here in the township are how people express themselves. If you can’t afford clothes, you can’t join… All the girls love us and want to roll with us, but we only want those who can also afford the lifestyle.”
The izikhothanes’ role model is the playboy businessman Kenny Kunene, known as the Sushi King because of stories of him eating sushi off the bodies of near-naked models during wild nightclub bashes. At his birthday party a few months ago, attended by many izikhothane groups, Kunene encouraged the youths always to go for the best, mentioning that his outfit, including accessories, had cost 113,000 rand (£8,400) – a fortune in South Africa, now officially the most unequal country in the world.
Kunene recently denounced the practice of burning clothes and tearing up banknotes, but defended the izikhothanes for having the confidence to dress and behave like no one “expects poor blacks” to. He pointed out that these young people do not fight in gangs or take drugs, and encouraged them to aim high, getting an education to go with their flashy lifestyle.
Jakes Mjeke, an izikhothane with bleached hair, agrees. “We stay away from crime, we avoid fights, we don’t do drugs, we spend most of our time in the salon, upgrading ourselves,” he says. “It is all about status.”

All Africa, All the time.

I am on constant quest to find answers to my African identity and more specifically my South African identity. It is the quest of finding my heritage that directs all my aesthetic choices and ultimately it directs and dictates my world.”

- Trevor Stuurman.

Liya Kebede Stars in Prabal Gurung’s First-Ever Print Campaign.

For his first ever print ad campaign, Nepalese designer Prabal Gurung features the Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede like we’ve never seen her before - bold, simple but still incredibly striking.

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Fashion: Duro Olowu - Fall Read-to-Wear 2014 Collection.

Coinciding with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of his fashion label, for his FRTW’14 collection Nigerian designer Duro Olowu took on a range of various inspirations to create a highly elegant range of clothing infused with bold colours, striking patterns, romantic silhouettes and statement-making individual pieces. 

This season, Olowu’s vintage-inspired collection was influenced “1920s-era furniture designer Elizabeth Eyre de Lanux and the Dada set—Man Ray, Schiap, etc.—who were some of her cohorts in Paris”, but still carry with them his signature love of print and feminine tailoring.

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Fashion Editorial: “Black Ice”
Photography: Ada Emihe of Avaloni Studios
Make Up: Dele Alakija
Model: Karen Bengo

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DYNAMIC AFRICANS: TREVOR STUURMAN.

No success story comes without a certain amount of passion and hard work. Trevor Stuurman is no exception. Over the past few years, the growth of Trevor Stuurman, the young stylist, style connoisseur and brand ambassador has been amazing. From becoming the first ever winner and representative of ELLE South Africa’s Style Reporter search, to working with top local brands such as Markham, Mr Price and Edgars, Stuurman seems to go from strength to strength. 

But behind the man with lens almost always kitted out in eclectic patterns and his strong sense of young Africana cool is a man whose artistic and visual development has been a lifetime in the making. Part-time student, fashion stylist, photographer, visual artist, brand representative, and blogger, I recently chatted to Trevor to talk about how he manages to have his fingers in so many pies all at the same time. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself - who is Trevor Stuurman?

I am the results of my Mothers prayer.
A visual slashy: film maker/ film post grad (Hons) student / photographer / stylist / art director
First ELLE Style Reporter in association with Blackberry.

What initially drew you to the highly visual and interconnected worlds of fashion, art and photography? 

I would like to believe that it is something I was born for. I cannot remember a time in life where art and fashion did not feature.

Every artist is not without a source of inspiration - what’s yours?

For me, home is where the art is. My immediate environment and circle are my fountains of inspiration. So that is Kimberley, Cape Town, Johannesburg and the African continent as a whole. In terms of people that inspire me, my mother Naomi Matshidiso Stuurman is the first name that comes to mind and then secondly my people, Africans. I love how we (Africans) are resourceful and creative by nature. 

Absolutely! We live on a continent that’s teeming with such astounding diversity. But back to your professional life. Tell us a little bit about your time as an ELLE Style Reporter - the first one, too?

The year I spent at ELLE has changed my life forever. My journey as an ELLE Style Reporter has to be one of the top highlights in my life. Winning the competition fast tracked my career in the fashion industry and gave me the price power to inspire others and especially those back home in Kimberley. This is probably the best prize ever. Lastly who has not dreamt of working alongside Jackie Burger?

Indeed! So, since beginning your career in fashion and photography, what has changed - both for you, personally, as well as in the landscape of the local SA fashion industry that you’ve been exposed to?

Personally, the growth never stops. Everyday is a new and exciting door opens, sometimes it is overwhelming and intimating but it pushes me to keep conquering. 

 In terms of the SA fashion landscape, I have noticed a movement/ trend of locals trying to reclaim African pride and aesthetic. This a movement that’s far more visible in Johannesburg as opposed to the laid back Cape Town. There is something fun and fierce about the Jozi fashion and cultural scene. The energy feels far more real and closer to home for me. Globally, the spotlight is on the dark continent. We are the centre of all attraction and inspiration which can be seen on most international runways and editorials. 

How important, and what role, does your identity as both a young South African and African play in your aesthetic?

I am on constant quest to find answers to my African identity and more specifically my South African identity. It is the quest of finding my heritage that directs all my aesthetic choices and ultimately it directs and dictates my world.

Besides working for ELLE as a street style and fashion photographer, what other projects have you been involved in?

I have contributed to a number of fashion magazines such as Grazia SA, Edgars Club Magazine and Style Mania (Nigeria). I have also hand my hand in styling for leading menswear retailer Markham and also a music video for Spoek Mathambo I am currently a brand influencer and street style reporter for Sunglass Hut SA. Lastly I am a cultural researcher for commercials and local films.

Lastly, where can you be found online/on social media?

Twitter: @TrevorStuurman
IG: @Trevor_Stuurman
Tumblr: www.stuurmanstylediary.tumblr.com

Thanks so much, Trevor!

I highly recommend you follow him on instagram for tons of visual inspiration.

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