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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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.

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.

What you need to know about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Ebola virus has been detected in several West African countries. Here’s what you need to know about Ebola and what’s going on (so far):

The back story on this particular outbreak of Ebola in West Africa:

It began early this year in the forested villages of southeast Guinea.

For months, the infected went undiagnosed. It wasn’t until March 23 that the news finally hit the World Health Organization. And by then, Ebola had already claimed 29 lives, the organization reported in a one-paragraph press release.

Since then, the organization has dispatched nine additional updates on a ballooning outbreak that’s received modest notice in the West, but has sent waves of panic across the African continent.

What exactly is Ebola?

Ebola is one of the deadliest virus diseases in humans. Known formally as the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) or Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (EHF), it is caused by any one of the five known Ebola virus species:

  • Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
  • Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)
  • Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
  • Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
  • Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).

What’s the history of this virus?

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

Here’s another infographic about Ebola’s history.

How does one get Ebola?

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. Consumption of a contaminated animal, close contact with an infected animal or it’s blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids can also lead to infection.

Once a human being is infected and comes in to contact with others, the disease continues to spread.

EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

What happens when you get Ebola?

EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.

The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.

Which countries has the outbreak occurred in?

Guinea and Liberia have both confirmed multiple cases of Ebola. Ghannareported tests on a suspected case were negative. The WHO says Sierra Leone has ruled out Ebola in its two suspected cases, and two of Mali’s six suspected cases have been cleared. Nigeria’s Minister of Information confirmed there was no outbreak of Ebola earlier this month.

How many people have died so far in this particular outbreak?

As of April 8th, 2014, 98 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia have all been confirmed dead as a result of Ebola.

Is there a cure for Ebola?

EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%. So far, there is no specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

What about treatment?

No specific treatment is available. New drug therapies are being evaluated. No vaccine for EVD is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available for clinical use.

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All Africa, All the time.

ETA: I’m not a medical doctor or health practitioner so feel free to rectify anything you see here that’s incorrect.

(top image via usatoday)

NEW MUSIC: SONA (@sonaman) - No Wahala.

Co-produced by the artist himself, along with O.Y Beatz, ‘No Wahala’ is the latest single form up-and-coming British-Nigerian artist SONA.

A laid back feel with a sensual beat, I absolutely can’t get enough of this track. Excited to hear more from SONA in 2014.

Shout out to the cat (if you know the deal with Nigerians and cats you know what I mean) and the dark skinned girl in the video (yay!).

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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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NEW MUSIC: Wande Coal - My Way.

Released just yesterday with already over 20, 000 views, Nigerian artist and serious R&B crooner Wande Coal’s Maleek Berry-produced track finally has a video of its own filmed in South Africa’s financial capital, Johannesburg.

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All Africa, All the time.

NEW MUSIC: Blitz the Ambassador ft Seun Kuti - Make You No Forget.

The third single and video released off Blitz’s “Afropolitan Dreams" album, the Ghanaian MC’s latest track was filmed in Jamestown district of the nation’s capital and features stunts from Accra’s BMX “Bikelordz”, amateur boxing and some of Blitz’s biggest fans as a backing sing-a-long ‘choir’. It’s a solid Afrobeat tune with trumpets and a catchy but conscious hook.

Oh, and don’t think we didn’t spot Blitz’s awesome t-shirts. “Make Fufu Not War" and the Kwame Nkrumah "VISIONARY" shirts are both garments made by Kayobi clothing.

ETA: Sorry folks, Seun’s not in the video sadly.

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FIFA U17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: QUARTER-FINALS STAGE.

Out of the three qualifying African teams at this year’s U17 Women’s World Cup that began on March 15th, hosted in Costa Rica, two - Ghana and Nigeria - have made it to the quarterfinals stage.

With only one win out of three against hosts Costa Rica, Zambia’s losses against Italy and Venezuela respectively sealed their fate early in the tournament denying them any chance of advancement out of the group stage.

Ghana was the first team in the tournament to make it to the knockout stage after beating Germany 1-0. Emerging at the top of their group with 6 points, Ghana kicked off their start in the tournament with a 2-0 win against North Korea followed by their win over Germany. Their loss to Canada didn’t hurt their chances of moving forward due to the negative results of Germany and North Korea.

Nigeria have smooth sailed their way through the tournament. Without a single defeat, the team made it to the quarterfinals at the top of their group with 9 points. The U17 ladies beat China PR 2-1 in their opening match, followed by a win over Colombia with the same result, ending with a 3-0 victory over Mexico.

In the quarterfinals, Ghana is set to play Italy on March 27th. Nigeria are pit against Spain on the same day.

Good luck ladies!

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Cameroonian singer Dencia fiercely defends her ‘Whitenicious’ product in BBC interview.

Whether or not giving Dencia and her skin hyper-pigmentation and dark spot reducing product attention is a good thing or not, the media have been giving her the spotlight quite a bit lately.

After reports of her sold-out skin whitening cream surfaced on the internet earlier this year, EBONY were quick to chat to the artist to get her side of the story. Following that, rumours began to fly around stating Dencia could possibly be interviewed by Oprah’s The O Network for an in production documentary titled ‘Light Girls’, following the success of the ‘Dark Girls’ film.

Now here, in a recent interview with the BBC, Dencia visited the Focus on Africa studios to defend her product, address her transitioning skin tone and whether or not self-hate had anything to do with it. In it, she also alludes to the process of relaxing one’s hair as being similar to addressing what she refers to as hyper-pigmentation and others call skin bleaching.

I say, that which we call skin lightening by any other name would still be as terrible.

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Portraits of elderly people taken in Guinea-Bissau by Ernst Schade.

Sandwiched between Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south, Guinea-Bissau is a West African coastal country that was once part of two great civilizations - the Kingdom of Gabu and the Mali Empire. However, with the onset of European encroachment in the area, parts of the country began to fall under Portuguese rule as colonialism gained ground from the 16th century onwards.

It wouldn’t be until  1973 that Guinea-Bissau’s independence wouldbe declared on 24 September, officially recognized on 10 September 1974. Luís Cabral, brother of Amílcar and co-founder of PAIGC, was appointed the first President of Guinea-Bissau.

These portraits were taken between 2006-2013 by Ernst Schade, a Dutch self-taught photographer. Descriptions can be seen by clicking the photographs.

I’ve never believed in the beauty of melanin being an age-enricher as much as I have after seeing these portraits.

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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.

Ouilfreed Meyou - Oussai You Di Go.

So grateful for the small wave of talented Cameroonian artists falling on my radar. Sung in Pidgin, Ouilfreed Meyou’s “Oussai You Di Go” is a heartfelt love song of a man who wants nothing more than for his lover to return to him.

Although it was released in 2013, I’ve only just been put on to this song and aside from my weakness for romantic Pidgin songs, I’m a sucker for the light soukous feel embedded in the melody.

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New Music: Jade Jana -  Di Gwensa Be.

"Di Gwesna Be" is the debut single and video from Afro-Reggae-Soul-Pop Cameroonian artist Jade Jana.

Hailing from the capital city Yaounde, Jade Jana is a young composer and singer whose love for music was influenced by her artistic maternal grandmother.

Sung in Bassa, “Di Gwensa Be” tells the story of a young woman writing to her ex-lover on their past relationship.

Really great song with a smooth and soulful feel.

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All Africa, All the time.

Oyeyemi says that she thinks of herself as “ugly but interesting,” and she’s happy with that. “It helps me to think more clearly, if that makes sense.”

I ask why she thinks she ‘s ugly.

"Boys would come up and tell me," she says, matter-of-factly. "I’d be on the bus home, and they would say, "You’re so ugly, do you know that?" And after a while, I would just say, "Yes, thank you." At first I would cry. But I after a while you just think ‘Why does it matter so much?’"

Oyeyemi clearly still carries wounds from her teenage years: “I was suicidal for a long time in my teens and I was so unhappy,” she says. “It was the kind of unhappiness that you know everyone else is feeling, but you don’t care because you’ve dehumanized them, because they’re all monsters and demons and beasts who are out to kill you, so you become a beast and a monster yourself. I regret so much.”

Her fairy tales are not of the happily-ever-after variety: “Sometimes people ask me what I write and I say that I retell fairy tales, and they say, ‘Oh, children’s books!’ And that makes me laugh. People say things like ‘I want a fairy tale existence.’ The Brothers Grimm would be looking at them in this astonished way, like ‘So you would like your whole family to be murdered and then eaten in a pie?’” She laughs delightedly.

"People think they’re soft because they’re these perfect examples of narrative order. There is an ending that is usually happy, and a beginning, middle, and end … In this era where everyone is kind of postmodern and meta, we dissociate in a lot of ways from our circumstance. So I think there’s that sense that they’re so ordered, and therefore orderly, but actually, they’re just completely chaotic."

And fairy tales teach lessons, she says. Lessons like “Everything that you see is not necessarily what it is. You have to find another way to know things. You have to find another way to know things. There is inner vision. And then there’s exterior vision. There are levels of seeing.”

They reveal “some of the hardest and harshest truths about the ways that we live and the ways that we’ve always lived.” She cites a story she found in a book of Czech fairy tales. A princess is being courted by a magician, but she refuses him. In punishment, the magician turns her into a black woman. As Oyeyemi read it, she started crying. “It was awful … The worst thing that the teller of this tale can imagine is being black.” In Boy, Snow, Bird, she writes, “it’s not whiteness that sets Them against Us, but the worship of whiteness.” She tells me, “I feel as if we’re still in that era. There are still lots of ways in which it is horrific not to be the norm.”

The most poignant part of Helen Oyeyemi's interview on NPR where she addresses some very heavy personal issues concerning depression and suicide, race, universal perceptions of blackness and the “worship of whiteness”.

Conversely, the interviewer, Annalisa Quinn, starts off the article by writing, "The first time I met her, it was in a bar so dark that all I could see were her eyes and very white teeth", ignoring the matter that Oyeyemi raised on whiteness and its lack of racial sensitivity.

Unique furniture designs by Senegalese artist Babacar M’Bodj Niang.

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All Africa, All the time.