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.




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Photo Series: “Diner en Blanc Kigali - 2014 Edition”.

On August 10th this year, Kigali’s scenic Acacia Gardens was a sea of crisp white as it played host to the city’s annual ‘Diner en Blanc’ event.

Currently in its third year, Rwanda became the first country in Africa to take part in this global event in 2012. Global Diner en Blanc events were put together to foster friendship, elegance and sense of community amongst those who attend. This year, as it seeks to be integrated into Rwanda’s broader tourism agenda, the event attracted over 500 people hailing from both African countries and other foreign states.

See more amazing photographs of the event here!

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"Academic Diaspora" by Nicole Nomsa Moyo.

When Africans began going to Europe, America and other foreign countries to further their tertiary education, many were sent in the hopes that they’d come back and use those skills to contribute to the upliftment of their communities. Whilst some returned, others remained abroad for one reason or another - some because it made practical sense to do so, and others simply because the pull of their new home yielded more than the places they had left had ever offered them. Now, more than ever, as may African countries face critical brain drains, those who form part of the latter are often criticized for this decision. Zimbabwean-born architect Nicole Moyo, who studied abroad in Canada details her experiences as an adventure-hungry globetrotter and someone who is part of the African Academic Diaspora.

What if we never moved? And we all stayed in our own niches, remaining indigenous in the purist form? I wonder how many terms we would go our whole lives never having heard: “inter”, “multi”, “dimensional” – these words, to name a few, rely on an “other” or “outer” relationship to give them a purpose. These simple words describe myself, and yourself in the borderless world we live in today.

I never really understood Africa until I left it. I say ‘Africa’ because as I crossed the boarders towards the Western shores, my immigrant identity was greater in numbers. I, like countless young individuals, had left home and was on the pursuit of seeking my fortunes abroad. Well, my family has always been on the move – by the age of 19 I was fortunate enough to have visited 23 countries. I wanted more, I was curious to know what exactly was on the other side of the pond, what was this first-world business?

Now, I cannot speak for others, but to be honest I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Other than incredible, unpredictable and gratifying – ‘reverse cultural shock’ would be one way to describe my experience.

There are many advantages to academic Diaspora. This of course all depends on how motivated and dedicated you are to your own personal development. I have continuously learnt the limits are boundless. Individuals you meet from around the world I describe to be the most valuable asset to the development of your perspective on life as a whole. With an international degree you open yourself up to more opportunities, which I believe is needed in a world of unpredictable economies. South Africa for example, like many other counties is being built on an international working class. “If things don’t really work out here I can always go back home” – this is the option my parents have awarded me, however every person that leaves home has the responsibility to reward themselves. Freedom is a utopic expression, the liberation to do whatever you want, whenever you want to may seem ideal until you see people around you using it as a weapon against themselves.

The disadvantages are that you really are on your own. The networks of community and support you have back home are something you always long for. You are an immigrant in an environment where you have to integrate yourself into not forgetting that you have to work far harder than the nationals for who the jobs were created. As an international, my university fees were very expensive. Architecture was a degree that I could have also obtained at home for a tenth of the price so why leave? And why do so many people never return and share their abilities and the knowledge that, if leveraged correctly, becomes a priceless commodity and significant to the development of their home countries? Well I cannot answer that because each case is different. As for myself “When are you coming home?” is a question I hear far too often and an answer that becomes further diluted as I wonder how I will re-engage myself, how will I make a great and meaningful impact? The truth is really I don’t know.

At times I feel confused and guilty, but for no good reason. I am a citizen of the world, a woman on a mission. There is no fault in my journey and if anything I get butterflies in my stomach that feel like love because I know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing: Loving myself so that I can purposefully love others. Limitations are not always easy and present themselves as challenges of faith. As women, we are constantly being reminded of what we cannot do, how we should look but not how we should think and do best. It is our responsibility to absorb and then have a voice to teach others about the “inter”, “multi”, and “dimensional” world we all belong to. I am no longer just a woman, or just an African. Through my education, international experience and multiculturalism as an individual, I am continuously advancing my value to become a useful and purpose-driven globalized citizen.

NEW MUSIC: Xav - Fall and Rise.

If you’re a fan of the likes of Johnny Clegg, Karen Zoid and Hot Water, you’ll enjoy the sounds of South African singer and songwriter Xavier Keyser.

Operating under the music moniker ‘Xav’, he Cape Town-based multi-instrumentalist not only writes, sings and plays all his own instruments, he also produces his own music, as well as films and edits his own music videos. “If I Could Dream”, his debut LP, was recorded, produced, engineered and mixed entirely by Xavier in a studio that I built in his father’s shed with the money I earned as a roadie/waiter.

This very same shed-studio is the room that Xavier can be seen playing in in this music video for one of the songs off his first album.

Watch ‘If I Could Dream’.

The Encyclopaedia Of African Wisdom.

The rescue mission of the African culture starts in a small village in Cameroon. Chief Gaston Donnat Bappa was born here. He is an IT specialist with more than three decades of experience in different companies and institutions and is currently the General Coordinator of the ITSUD (Information Technologies for Sustainable Development), an NGO in Song-Mbengue in the rural area of Cameroon, and institution that fights the digital divide, in African rural areas notably.

The 56-year-old is creating a site that he hopes will become the first port of call for African arts and crafts, food, laws, medicine, music, oral storytelling, religion, science, sport – anything that can be defined as tradition, dating back millions of years. A prototype is open for contributions, with early entries including Myths and Legends of the Bantu, and Concepts of Social Justice in Traditional Africa. The name: African Traditions Online Encyclopaedia (ATOE).

The idea grew from Bappa’s passion for beliefs and customs from a young age on in his village, Ndjock-Nkong, as well as his traveled to more than 20 African countries as a senior IT engineer, consultant and bank executive. Bappa:

I saw that even in my tribe traditions are beginning to disappear. When I was going to other countries in Africa I saw it was the same. It’s not because young people don’t want to learn about them but because they don’t have the access in urban areas.

Gaston Donnat Bappa embodies the combination of old and new: He inherited the title of clan chief from his great-grandfather, grandfather and father 22 years ago but has 34 years of experience in computer technology. He hopes to bring the two worlds together in his project.

People think traditions don’t belong with information and communications technology because traditions are so far behind us and ICT is so far ahead of us. But if you don’t know who you are, you don’t know where you are going.

The ATOE will use wiki applications for volunteers to input, change or remove content in collaboration with others. Bappa is operating from Yaoundé and working to raise worldwide awareness of the project, which he will formally unveil at next year’s eLearning Africa conference. He plans to approach Microsoft and other potential sponsors in an attempt to raise 400,000 Euro for the initial phase.

Bappa:

It is not only for Africa. It will be open to all worldwide, Africans and non-Africans. It is for the whole of humankind because Africa is the cradle of humanity. We are going to ask Wikipedia if they can transfer all the information on African traditions to our database, and they’ll be very happy to do so, I’m sure

Have a first look at the encyclopaedia here.

On Africa and the World Cup by Nate Holder.

We all know that Africa is not a country, nor are we a homogenous group of people aligned in culture and interest from Cape to Cairo. So why is that during the World Cup, individual African teams are burdened with being representatives of the entire continent?

One thing that has always caught my attention is how Africa and African football teams are spoken about at the World Cup. It seems as though the last African team left in the tournament somehow carries the hope of not only their nation, but the whole continent of Africa. Headlines such as ‘Ghana – Africa’s Best Hope in Tough World Cup Pool’ and ‘Why do African teams underperform at the World Cup?’ are common and go without questioning if the idea itself makes sense. The idea that African teams are spoken about in very different terms to teams from the rest of the world. Listen closely at how many times commentators and presenters will say things such as, ‘These players are not just representing their country, but are also representing Africa’.

Though Ghana were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by Uruguay, the fact that they reached the quarterfinals was seen as not only a triumph, but a possible glimpse into the future as Ghana equaled the best result by an African team in World Cup history. Watching Luis Suarez’ handball and sending off, Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss and Abreu’s audacious chip to win it was one of the most heartbreaking events in recent World Cup history. It endeared Ghana and in particular Asamoah Gyan, to hearts all over the world; not just African hearts.

In a BBC World Cup preview show some nights ago, Reggie Yates spoke about the history of African sides at the World Cup and about the chances of Ghana escaping the group of death this year. He quoted the African saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. But on a continent where approximately 2000-3000 different languages are spoken, not to mention possibly 8000 dialects, the idea of the “African proverb” makes no sense. Africa is not a country. To even think of referring to a saying as a “European” or “South American” proverb is almost unheard of, so why is Africa excluded from this consideration? Lately, in talk of the World Cup, it often seems as though Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Algeria all get lumped together when the need to explain how they perform and where they come from arises.

Speaking of under-performing, do African teams really underperform?

If we go by appearances in the last 16 stage (that is countries that qualify from their group), we see that Africa is actually the 4th most successful continent over the last 6 World Cups. The 3rd most successful is North America, with 9 appearances in the knockout stages to Africa’s 5 (Asia has 4, while Oceania has 1). When it comes to quarter-final appearances however, Africa beats North America 3:1, with quarter-final appearances by Ghana (2010), Senegal (2002) and Cameroon (1990) to the one appearance by the USA in 2002. So in terms of progression in the tournament, African sides come in 3rd after Europe and South America. South Korea earned Asia’s only spot in the quarter finals of the 2002 World Cup and Oceania’s furthest foray was in the last 16 with Australia in 2006. So do African teams really under achieve? I’ll leave that to you to decide.

Did Germany carry the hopes of Europe when they reached the final of the 2006 World Cup? Do the defending champions Spain go into this years tournament being spoken of as Europe’s best hope of a World Cup? Much has been made of the socio-economic problems that Brazil has, and we have heard over and over again, that failure for Brazil to win the World Cup would be a disaster for its people. Would it be a disaster for the rest of the South American continent? Of course not. Perhaps many Argentinians would relish seeing Brazil knocked out before them. After all, Brazil represents Brazilians. Greece for Greeks. Iran for Iranians. Cameroon for…Africans? Sure many Africans will hope that other African side do well, but I’m sure an Ivorian would much prefer to see Ivory Coast progress rather than supporting the African nation with the best squad, out of a sense of ‘Africanism’?

If Nigeria reach the World Cup final against Brazil on the 13th July, many Africans will be cheering for Nigeria. Maybe, just maybe, there will also be some Africans watching the same game wearing Neymar Jr on their backs.

Read his blog and follow Nate Holder on Twitter.

"A Touch Of Colour" By Neil Snape.

Model - Karen Bengo
Photographer - Neil Snape 
Mua - Omar Boucker

This work explores the relationship between tension and resolution and
is in three - components.

Seven women of color in movement (jumping rope)

One hair braider will connect them in a circle, each movement is a
hypothetical dramaturgy of Robert Wagner’s opera - Tristan x Isolde.

The performers will remove hair and place it on soil in the galerie space.

This work will move through the music of Tristan x Isolde.

Working Period - Paris
April 2014 TBA
4 hours

Performance - Paris
May 27, 2014
25 minutes in three parts

*FRASQ festival and exhibition in Paris runs from May 27-31 2014.
Since 2009, Lé Génératuer intrduces every year during four weeks
FRASQ, a meeting of performance work.  This is a dynamic network
uniting artists, plasticiens, dancers, actors, poets, historians, and
critics of art for performances, installations and experimental
exchange.


http://legenerateur.com/frasq/

In Photos: “Family Album” by Mamaki Rakotsoana.

This series of images by South African photographer Mamaki Rakotsoana is a project in which she took her deceased father’s photographs and reproduced them in a manner that investigates her relationship to him, as well as his relationship to the women in his life.

Born and raised in France with a French mother and Malian father in a household that was more culturally French than anything else, blogger Fan Sissoko attempts to answer the one question that has been plaguing her her entire life: “Am I African?”

On the subject of cultural identity, I remember my childhood as being the most fruitful time for internal questioning. I looked at my mum, and I looked at my dad, and I wondered why they both looked so different to me. I guess I wasn’t the only one wondering. When I was about 6, a random woman in the streets walked towards my mum and asked about me and my brother, who were holding her hands: “Did you adopt them? They are so cute!”

Despite that, I don’t think I ever wondered if I was adopted. I accepted the fact that light beige + dark brown = a slightly darker shade of beige, or a slightly lighter shade of  brown, depending on the season. My internal  questioning was more about culture than ethnicity. I looked at other children at school and felt a bit jealous of how they managed to be so assertive about their own cultural identity. I grew up in a very diverse area of Paris, and every child I knew seemed to have a ‘bled’ to go to over the Summer holidays, be it Burgundy or Algeria, Portugal or Senegal. I had Montreuil, and the closest I’ve ever been to Mali were the Malian foyers (workers’ accommodation) where my dad first lived when he immigrated to France, and where he sometimes used to go to feed himself maafe when he had enough of my mum’s boeuf bourguignon.

By the time I was a teenager, I had learned to deal with annoying questions with either humour or icy cold silences and was no longer perplexed when people addressed me in Creole in the streets. I suppose I was dealing with a much grander type of identity conflict, wondering what I could do with the rest of my life, and discovering what it meant to be a woman, and all that jazz.

When I moved to Ireland, in my early twenties, the question disappeared altogether. I was just Fan. People knew I was vaguely French, but that was the extent of their curiosity. Or perhaps they were just to polite to ask (set aside the farmer who asked me if I knew what a tractor was, and if I had any  in my country – he quickly backed away when I told him with a contemptuous stare that my country was France). Either way, the whole “being 20 in Dublin and making up my own identity as I go along” experience was very liberating.

Then I moved to London. I have lived in London for nearly four years, and have come up with two definitions to sum this city. The first one is a big hungry monster that swallows people forever. And the second is an identitary minefield. If you are not sure what I mean by identitary minefield, take a colonial past, mix it with a class structure that hasn’t quite been questioned yet, add to this a status of immigration metropolis, and finally layer with a sheet of truly exciting multiculturalism and you get what I call an ‘identitary minefield’ where every assumption you make about where someone else comes from and what they stand for is bound to be wrongly assumed, in the best case, or outrageously offensive in the worst case. Not only I moved to London, but I chose Brixton, out of all places. So add to the mix described above a backdrop of gentrification (which, of course, as a young creative professional, who has recently moved into the area, is not an issue I can ignore), and you rightly wonder how  I can be at peace with who I am, where I come from, and most importantly what I represent.

For a long time, I ignored the question. Of course, I sometimes had bouts of confusion that turned into guilt, or the opposite. But a recent event made it clear to me that I need to be stronger and more assertive with my self-defined identity, no matter how complex it is. 

So the event. Some time ago, in the office, someone made a comment about the fact that we were becoming more and more diverse as an organisation (it was not meant as a joke, but it could have been – I have never worked in a more homogenous organisation). This person remarked: “We almost have every continent represented! Well, apart from Africa and South America.” I interjected: “Hey, I’m African! My dad is from Mali!” To which she replied: “Well, that doesn’t really count.”

I was hurt. Why would it not count? I was born and grew up in France, and culturally, I define myself as European, yes. But my father is from Mali, and although he didn’t raise us ‘à la malienne’, 50% of me is and will always be Malian. Sometimes, claiming I am Malian feels like an imposture, because I did not grow up there. But dismissing my Malian self is much worst. It would be outrageous if I did it to myself, so having it done to me by someone who knows close to nothing about me feels like murder.

I drew the series of flags above when I was 24 and still living in Ireland, to remind myself and others that the “Where are you from?” question is never innocent, and the answer is always more complex than one expects. I am, and will always be confused about my cultural identity, and that is fine. I see it as a comforting symptom of the fact that I am an evolving being, and that I am lucky enough to be able to define my own identity, not only based on where I was born and where my parents are from, but also on the places I lived in and learned to love, and on the people that inspire me.

What I will not allow is someone else to be confused about my identity and to make assumptions about who I am, and where I should fit in their view of the world.

Cathedrale Notre Dame du Plateau, Abidjan, Cote-d’Ivoire

http://yourdelicatesse.tumblr.com/

P.S: Photo by Esprit Photographie

awkwardsituationist:

HERE WE ARE, WE ARE GAY, WE ARE UGANDAN" by tadej žnidarčič

on february 24, 2014, a new anti homosexuality law in uganda took effect, imposing life imprisonment for engaging in homosexual relationships (the death penalty was initially proposed, but was ultimately withdrawn). the bill also makes it a crime for anyone - parent, friend, priest, doctor - not to report homosexual activity to the authorities.

newspapers already out people they suspect, and this is believed to have led to the 2011 murder of david kato, a prominent ugandan gay rights campaigner. that newspaper article included a list of 100 people and their addresses, with the headline “hang them.” in uganda, publicly identifying as gay or being identified as such can result in the loss of a job, arrest, harassment, blackmail, beatings and death.

in 2010, tadej žnidarčič began a series of portraits and interviews with ugandan lgbti activists with the aim of giving voice, if not face, to the members of the community (you can read their individual stories here). due to the precarious situation, they did not want to be identified and were photographed from behind.

but when žnidarčič, a physicist turned photojournalist who has been living in uganda for four years, revisited them in 2013, they had become more empowered, assertive and confident, and were now willing to face the world. to emphasize their transformation, he paired the images together. as one of the photographed said, “here we are. we are gay. we are uganadan.”

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

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All Africa, All the time.

Photography: “Walls" by Aaron Yeboah Jr.

"Walls is a visual exploration of the beauty of individuals and colors."

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube | Soundcloud | Mixcloud

All Africa, All the time.

Cancers that attach to beautiful flowers by Zoe Gadegbeku.

Her lithe beauty was both incongruous but yet strangely at home as she picked her way through the crowded marketplace, expertly and delicately sidestepping rotten pieces of fruit squashed into the dirt. The well-to-do housewives visiting the market left their air-conditioned cocoons for brief periods of time in search of items they couldn’t find on supermarket shelves lined with imported goods. Their wealth seemed to ooze crudely from their overly moisturized pores as they lifted their spotless kaftans quickly and roughly out of the reach of the grasping hands of children begging for coins and the eager grips of market-women desperate to make a sale. She, on the other hand, elegantly extricated herself and flashed her flawless smile in apology. It was almost as if she knew that others couldn’t resist her, even though regrettably there wasn’t enough of her charm to go around. She paused every so often as she wound her way through the market, taking a deep whiff of Asana’s spices and agreeing with Aunty Vida on how ripe and juicy her tomatoes were this season.

She lugged her basket bursting with produce back to the waiting 4×4, and unless you were watching excruciatingly close, you would probably have missed the slightly uneven edge to her gait, and the exhausted puff of air she expelled as she heaved her wares finally into the boot of her car. She sat back against the cool leather and inhaled the new car smell that still clung to the car’s interior. She had come home from her final (and probably most stressful) semester at Stanford to find the sleek Mercedes resting in the driveway like a blinding white birthday cake awaiting the cutting. It was more so a lure, a bribe to stay at home and continue pursuing her medical career rather than returning to the States which she had grown to call home over the past couple of years. She declined to drive it at first, what would she look like, a “small girl” cruising the streets in a “big man’s” car?

(continue reading

About the writer: “She Who Writes Reality” is a collection of thoughts, rants, love letters, lyrics, insults and insights spilling from the fingertips of a Ghanaian girl, Zoe, who thinks she can write.

[image by Ablade Glover]

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT PROGRESS FOR GIRLS AT THE AU SUMMIT

by Ritha Bumwe, Sarah Duhimbaze, Pascaline Niyigena, and Sandra Anitha Mutoni via girleffect.org

More than 50 girls met with leaders at the African Union (AU) Summit last week to talk about the importance of investing in girls to power economic development.

Girl journalists Ritha Bumwe and Sarah Duhimbaze, plus Girl Hub Rwanda Girl Trustees Pascaline Niyigena and Sandra Anitha Mutoni, joined the delegation put together by World YWCA. The girls spent the week gathering information and speaking with African leaders. Here’s what they discovered about the state of play for girls in Africa right now.

AFRICAN LEADERS ARE LISTENING TO GIRLS

On day one of the summit we attended a high-level breakfast with more than 50 heads of African states and heard about their determination to make sure girls’ needs are at the forefront of their plans for the future.

"When we talk about any adverse situations in Africa, women are directly affected," said former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. "They are affected as Africans and they are affected as women because in almost all our countries there is either cultural, traditional or religious inequality. Collectively we have to remove these layers of oppression. One key element of focus for our foundation is girl child education."

Oda Gasinzigwa, the minister of gender for Rwanda, added: “The country (Rwanda) has taken tremendous pride in delivering a better future for our girls and the younger generation at large. We have noted with keen interest the voices and the different issues raised by our girls on their rights and opportunities.”

Read More

submitted by http://girlhubrwanda.tumblr.com/