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‘It’s great, it’s colorful and very soft. You can make any design out of it, you slay in it whenever and in whatever style you make out of it’. – The African print.

This is the best design that has ever and will ever happen to the fashion industry. It is everywhere. The beauty of the print is in it different design and dimension. Right from Ankara, Kente, Adire and Bogolan in West Africa to Kikoy. Shuka and Kanga in east Africa down to Shweshwe in South Africa.

African Prints has always been a fabric of elegance close to the heart of Africans. It is a colorful fabric with a lot of tribal patterns printed on it.

We going to be exploring the different types of the African fabric and various trendy designs that have been made out of it.

 

Kikoy

Kikoys are a traditional garment unique to the coast of East Africa. A kikoy/ kikoi is traditionally a male garment worn like a sarong, however the dyes have got better and the colours evolved so that now both modern day men and women use kikoys. Kikoys have been woven with 100% combed cotton using traditional methods. The common and striking thing about kikoy fabric is that it is almost always bright, bold and colourful.

In recent years Kikoys are worn by men, women and children alike and it has adapted to the modern style and fashion. So versatile, they can be used as beach towels, towels for the sauna, beach wraps, picnic blankets, scarves, shawls, table cloths, wall hangings, baby wraps, skirts, shorts, bags and curtains.

 

 

Kente

One of the most sumptuously coloured textiles used for clothing is Ghanaian kente cloth, made by Asante and Ewe weavers using specially designed looms. Kente was probably introduced from the western Sudan during the 16th century, when heavy, elaborate, labour-intensive versions of this fabric were designed for wealthy tribal chiefs and simpler designs became available for the general citizenry. Kente is woven in four-inch (9.5 cm) narrow strips that are sewn together. A characteristic Asante’s kente has geometric shapes woven in bright colours along the entire length of the strip, while Ewe kente often displays a tweed effect by plying together different coloured threads in many of the warps. Ewe kente may also incorporate pictorial symbols.

 

Adire

Adire is the name given to indigo dyed cloth produced by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria using a variety of resist dye techniques. Adire translates as tie and dye, and the earliest cloths were probably simple tied designs on locally-woven hand-spun cotton cloth much like those still produced in Mali. In the early decades of the twentieth century however, the new access to large quantities of imported shirting material made possible by the spread of European textile merchants in certain Yoruba towns, notably Abeokuta, enabled women dyers to become both artists and entrepreneurs in a booming new medium. New techniques of resist dyeing were developed, most notably the practice of hand-painting designs on the cloth with a cassava starch paste prior to dyeing. This was known as adire eleko. Alongside these a new style was soon developed that speeded up decoration by using metal stencils cut from the sheets of tin that lined tea-chests.

 

 

BoGoLan

Bogolan is the quintessential West African textile, also called mud-cloth, made in a large part of sub Saharan West Africa, although particularly associated with Mali and above all the river Niger. Traditionally the textile is made using narrow strips of cotton cloth woven on looms in the villages producing ca 15 cm wide cloth, which is then sewn together by hand to produce a fabric wide enough to make into clothing etc.

 

 

Kanga

Kanga originated on the coast of East Africa in the mid-19th century. Kanga designs have evolved over the years, from simple spots and borders to a huge variety of elaborate patterns of every conceivable motif and colour. The kanga is a 1.5 piece of printed cotton fabric and it often has a border along all sides. In the eastern region the border is printed with phrases, traditionally in Kiswahili and in central areas phrases in Lingala and Kiswahili are popular. On a longer border there is often a message in Swahili. The message is called the jiina (‘name”) of the kanga and messages are often riddles or proverbs.

 

 

Shuka

The Shuka is a very colorful and fine Fabric. The Maasai are an ethnic group of semi-nomadic people inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. One of the traditional forms of clothing chosen by the Maasai is the Shuka. It was initially made out of animal skins, mostly cowhide but never elephant skin, but cotton is now the main material. Maasai shuka is a protective and decorative fabric made of hand woven cotton, belonging to Kenya. Shuka woven in bright colours and plaid, is an accessory used in fashion for men and women at the present time. Shuka a beautiful example of African handicrafts, basically used as safari blanket due to the feature of keeping warm. Maasai shuka is always woven in vivid red by blending with black, blue or another main color.

It is also used as bath towel, scarf or home decoration accessory. Also top designer Louis Vuitton has a Shuka creation.

 

Shweshwe Fabric

 

Bangles made out of Ankara.

 

Feel free to add other types of African prints out there. Proudly African

 

Many sub-Saharan African countries are experiencing an economic boom thanks to vast natural resources. But the region has another untapped asset that will help its growth outpace counterparts around the world — its young people.

 

The demographics of the world’s biggest cities are shifting toward younger people. And according to a new report from Ernst & Young, African hubs will have an advantage, as its cities become dominated by younger people while other major hubs watch their populations’ age.

 

Researchers note that cities such as Nigeria’s capital of Lagos, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Angolan capital of Luanda will experience “extremely rapid growth of their young populations.” Ernst & Young predicts that by the year 2030, 90 percent of the world’s young urban population will live in large cities in some of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

 

“Young populations can help to create large and productive labor forces,” the report says, but also drive unrest in countries with underemployment and other social ills.”

 

However, a growing youth population is still an advantage over cities with mostly older residents, where aging citizens leave the workforce without a skilled younger workers to replace them. The phenomenon is happening in 122 of the 750 top cities around Europe, Asia and South America.

 

The stark contrast can provide a much-needed boost to the developing world.

 

“Recent shifts in the age structure towards younger populations present an unprecedented opportunity to catapult developing economies forward,” reads a recent United Nations report. “The ‘economic miracle’ experienced by East Asian economies could become a reality for many of today’s poorer countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.”

 

Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy just last year, and the World Bank recently upgraded its forecast for economic growth in Kenya this year from 4.7 percent to 6 percent. And economists at Standard Bank are expecting a boom in middle-class households across the region.

 

According to the U.N., policymakers must work to capitalize on the younger population to keep growth sustainable.

 

“Policies that empower young people, coupled with efforts to actively engage them in decisions that affect their lives and shape their future can mean the difference between a demographic trend that weighs economies down and one that buoys them,” the report says, with hopes that these countries will be able to benefit from the burgeoning “demographic dividend.”

This article was first featured on TravelStart Kenya.

Africa is well known for its raw beauty and exotic scenery. If it is not the gorgeous tropical weather, it is the lush greenery that makes up most of the continent, or it is the unspeakably breath taking sand dunes that take hold of our deserts; or maybe it is the rough terrain and high mountains that touch the sky? Or the pristine white sand on our beaches being lapped up by salty, turquoise colored sea water. Whatever the reason, more and more film producers from all over the world have started seeing this continent as the next best location for shooting big blockbuster movies.
Just recently, Netflix shot one of its best performing series’ so far (Sense 8) on location in Nairobi, Kenya. That is not all, ‘Homeland‘, one of the best shows ever to grace our TV’s had a street scene shot in Cape Town CBD. So did ‘Black Sails’ and a host of other popular TV shows. Thanks to the beautiful climate, exceptionally friendly people and gorgeous landscapes that will have you gasping for air, Africa has become a prime location for movies and big budget series. Our beautiful Motherland is set to grace our silver screens more frequently now as more and more producers realize that we have that ‘picture perfect’ kind of land. That being said, here are 10 of the famous movies you didn’t know were filmed in Africa:

Out of Africa: 1985 (Kenya)

Out of Africa
Photo Source: wwwcinemastyle blog

Arguably the one film that portrays Kenya’s awe-inspiring beauty the way it should be portrayed. Shot on location in Karen and the Maasai Mara, Out of Africa is a film based on the life of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and the exploits she had on her coffee plantation and colonial Kenya. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford bring the best out of this film that is teaming with love, conflict, colonial politics and betrayal. As good as the story is, it is the beautiful shots of the spectacular Kenyan plains that will get you!

Mad Max: Fury Road: 2015 (Namibia)

Mad Max Fury Road 001
Photo Source: Collider.com

Currently in Cinemas, Mad Max: Fury Road is set to be one of the most popular movies this year. Fury Road is the 4th installment of Mad Max and it stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Based on a post-apocalyptic world, Mad Max: Fury Road was shot on location in Namibia after the original Australian location became too lush and flower filled to suit the kind of dystopian sand filled carnage that goes on in the film.

Lord of War: 2005 (South Africa)

lord-of-war-south-africa-film
Photo Source: Schaap.st.st

Lord of War tells the story of Yuri Orlov, played by Nicholas Cage, an infamous arms dealer who thrived in the most war tone and conflict ridden parts of the world. It was shot in Cape Town and it captures a side of Africa that many have come to know (War, corruption and dictators). That, notwithstanding, the picturesque shots of South Africa in this film will drive you wild with awe.

Blood Diamond: 2006 (Mozambique/ South Africa)

Blood Diamond
Photo Source: highdefdiscnews.com

Leonardo Dicaprio plays a rogue mercenary in this film set in war tone Sierra Leone in 1999. He teams up with Solomon Vandy, played by Djimon Hounsou, who plays a Mende fisherman, to recover a huge pink diamond that will set them both free from their different sets of problems. There is war, love for family, moral gray areas and conflict in this film. It portrays an ugly side of Africa and humanity as whole, it does however portrays exceptionally beautiful terrain in Mozambique and South Africa.

The Last King of Scotland: 2006 (Uganda)

Last_King-movie
Photo Source: Stephenharen.com

Forest Whitaker plays ‘Idi Amin’, Uganda’s most infamous dictator. The story is told by Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy, who was hired as the dictator’s physician. He leads us through Amin’s life and through most of rural and urban Uganda as it were in 1971. Of course, the lush terrain and beautiful African weather does not disappoint.

African Queen: 1951 (Uganda and Congo)

African-Queen
Photo Source: welovemoviesmorethanyou.com

An amusing adventure between a riverboat captain, played by Humphrey Bogart and a missionary spinster, Katharine Hepburn. The bunter, the scenery and the thrilling adventure that ensures here is nothing short of classically entertaining. So, if you are a fan of classic films, you might want to look this up and enjoy.

Cry Freetown: 1999 (Sierra Leone)

cry freetown

Not to be confused with Cry Freedom (set in Zimbabwe), Cry Freetown tells the story of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999. Told by local journalist, Sorious Samura, this is a film that will yank your heart out of your chest and make you doubt the good in humanity. It does however, showcase a beautiful, albeit, war tone Sierra Leone.

The Constant Gardener: 2005 (Kenya)

constant-gardner

Shot in Nairobi, this is the story of Justin Quayle, played by Ralph Fiennes. Quayle was a UK diplomat trying to explain his wife’s murder. His wife, played by Rachael Weisz, was an amnesty activists who was investigating a dangerous drug trial that would have implicated and exposed the torrid malpractices of a huge pharmaceutical company. The film feature Kibera, Kenya’s hugest slam and beautiful shots of Nairobi, Kenya’s Capital.

Invictus: 2009 (South Africa)

invictus-
Photo Source: Hbo.com

You probably knew this one was shot in South Africa. It is a story surrounding the events that led to South Africa’s 1996 Rugby World Cup victory. Morgan Freeman portrays a charismatic Nelson Mandela who motivates the South African ‘Springbok’ rugby team and all but demands that they win the Rugby World Cup in the name of the national pride and unity. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the team Captain. It is shot on location in beautiful Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Robben Island.

Hotel Rwanda: 2004 (Rwanda and South Africa)

hotel-rwanda_scene-600x370
Photo Source: Canadianchristianity.com

This heart wrenching film will restore your faith in humanity as a Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabinga, a humanitarian hotel manager in Kigali who saved hundreds of Tutsi and Hutu refugees from certain death during the genocide. Born a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother, Paul put his own life in danger to save his fellow countrymen from marauding militia members who looked to tear the country apart. This film was shot on location in Kigali, Rwanda and South Africa.
The physical beauty and amazing climate in Africa makes it the perfect continent for many movie sets. Adventure films like Tomb Raider II had scenes from Kenya’s very own Hell’s Gate National Park as well as Amboseli. More and more film producers, both local and international, are realizing that these beautiful scenes make for picture perfect silver screen moments and are heading to Africa for gorgeous footage for their big blockbuster movies.
If you have seen a wonderful film, both locally or internationally produced and shot on location in Africa, do not hesitate to share that with us in the comment section below. Also tell us your favorite scene from a big blockbuster film shot in your country.

 

 

 

 

Scrolling through the cable trying to get through the boring Sunday noon, stumbled upon this show called Africa Straight Up. It’s a mini documentary telling a story and giving an insight to how Africa is the future of the world. Couldn’t help but agree to the notion. With the resources (which are terribly mismanaged due to poor governance) Africa got we are truly the future of this world. Read Tom Burgis’s The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth; some weeks back and couldn’t help but to agree with how he sees Africa – a continent with third of the Earth’s mineral deposits and some of its weakest institutions as being particularly vulnerable to the predations that arise from the combination of mineral wealth and poor governance.

Most captivating part of the documentary was when a final year Harvard student made a comment; “I’m going back home to join force with other young talented people to help develop my country. I got nothing to impact in America or Europe, they got enough brain needed for any form of development they wish to attain” she said.
Her comment gave me the thought of brain drain. Brain drain! Brain drain!! Brain drain!!!

Brain drain refers to the emigration of intelligent, well-educated individuals to somewhere for better pay or condition, causing the place they came from to lose those skilled people, or “brains”. This happens when people perceive that the leadership of a country is unstable or stagnant and thus, unable to keep up with their personal and professional ambition.

Brain drain is actually having it toil on Africa. It has led to loss of human capital, decline in economic development, affected the health sector in Africa. According to a BBC report back in 2001, brain drain cost the African continent over $4 billion (will be triple by now) in the employment of 150,000 expatriate professionals annually with Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya believed to be the most affected.

If we actually have an in-depth look at it, poor governance and lack of adequate utilization of resource are major causes of brain drain. But we shouldn’t just keep mute and let the brains that will help build and shape Africa better continue to drain away or die in the Mediterranean. We should start by standing up for what’s true and right; ensure those we vote for are those with the vision to create an atmosphere that would help talents flourish; let our vote count, supporting and working together with those with good intentions for the development of individual African country. I’m on the side that brain drain indeed has dug a hole in the better development of Africa.

I’m not implying that the brains available aren’t trying their possible best. Don’t know about you but I believe if brain drain can be curbed, our development rate will increase. We need more brain. NO ONE CAN DO IT BUT US.

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