Wings http://arikwings.com The Inflight Magazine Of Arik Air Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:22:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Sartorial Streets http://arikwings.com/?p=3560 http://arikwings.com/?p=3560#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:03:22 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3560 Blazers, bow ties, bling, traditional prints and modern twists — Get inspired and get to know eight of the best West and Southern African street style bloggers Words Helen Jennings Street style blogs have reached fever pitch worldwide and Africa is no exception. Whether documenting their own outfits and exploits, or hitting hotspots, parties and events to seek out the best dressed, the continent’s savvy fashion bloggers are joining the global conversation about African creativity. From the eccentric get ups that Louis Philippe de Gagoe wears to rove Casablanca for his eponymous blog to the retro gaze I See A Different You lends the debonair gents who populate Soweto via the brother and sister vintage looks of Nairobi’s 2ManySiblings, bloggers offer a journey through Africa’s diverse aesthetics and are fast becoming influential too. The world’s biggest street style bloggers including Street Peeper, FaceHunter and The Sartorialist have all brought their cameras to Africa in recent times but it’s the home-grown and diaspora bloggers who offer an insider’s eye. Here we meet eight of the best bloggers hailing from West and Southern Africa. One Nigerian Boy Where: London Excited by Lagos’s bustling fashion scene, Terence Sambo set up his blog in 2010 to cover events and fresh talent such as Maki Oh and Orange Culture. He’s since moved to London where One Nigerian Boy continues to shine a light on African fashion as well as his new home’s style scene. “My icons are the anonymous kids you see on the street, Tumblr and Instagram. I love to go out and people watch in London,” he says. As for his own fashion, it’s all about “dress shoes and hats” this season. onenigerianboy.com Skattie, What Are You Wearing? Where: Cape Town If there’s a fashion show, exhibition opening or soiree worth its salt in Cape Town, Malibongwe Tyilo will be there. He surreptitiously snaps the city’s beautiful people for his award-winning blog as they mingle, flirt and dance. “I’m obsessed with moments of camp and glamour within our society. I document those around me who I consider to be fabulous in the hope of sharing facets of African style with the world,” he says. Tyilo is also editor at large for design magazine Visi and was included in the Mail & Guardian’s list of the Top 200 young South Africans in 2013. skattiewhatareyouwearing.blogspot.co.uk Loux The Vintage Guru Where: Windhoek Lourens Loux Gebhardt exclusively wears vintage suits and his own label, LouxDesigns. Influenced by his grandfather’s wardrobe, this dapper dan has only been posting his yesteryear outfits since 2013 but has already been featured in Elle and the Daily Mail. He also collaborates with The Expressionist and art collective Khumbula in South Africa. “I call my look sophistication punk – a mixture of vintage and old school class. All the images on my blog tell stories about the standard of living in Africa and the history left behind by my ancestors,” he says. louxthevintageguru.tumblr.com The Expressionist Where: Johannesburg Anthony Bila is at his happiest shooting Joburg’s hipsters for his popular blog. “The Expressionist was born out of a need to showcase how people express themselves through clothing here in South Africa, a place often misrepresented by mainstream media,” says Bila. And he’s spoilt for choice when it comes to subject matter thanks to the city’s burgeoning fashion scene. Bila has also created Black History March, an art photography and film series commemorating the continent’s ill-documented past. anthonybila.tumblr.com TeeTee Is With Me Where: Johannesburg Thithi Nteta is a stylist, PR, marketing consultant and writer as well as co-host of The Wknd Social, Joburg’s monthly brunch party. But she still finds time for TeeTee Is With Me, where she records her personal style, beauty loves and travels. Nteta collaborates with both international brands such as Levi’s and Nike (she’s all about Air Max right now) and local ones (most recently Misshape) and always manages to look understated. “I like to feel comfortable and easy but also love what a stand out piece can bring to an outfit or photograph,” she says. “I am also passionate about promoting the quality work that South African designers are doing.” teeteeiswithme.com Erykah Achebe Where: New York Born and raised in the US by Nigerian parents, Erykah Achebe shows off her cross-cultural take on fashion on her personal style blog. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see fashion through different perspectives. I fuse African traditions with western culture and love mixing masculine and feminine piece toos,” says the New Yorker. “I hope my blog inspires others to be expressive in their own chosen art forms.” erykahachebe.com 4AcesDate Where: New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Lagos Abby Omoruyi, Cookie Caven, Kaven Caven and Ozzy Etomi are gal pals from Nigeria who initially started a blog as a way of sharing their dating antics as students living in different cities. Before long though their love of fashion outshone their interest in boys and 4AcesDate morphed into a fun style twist. “We want to promote female friendship, show ways to wear affordable fashion and promote African creativity,” says Cookie, who has just launched the streetwear label Kingdom with Ozzy and Kaven. Meanwhile Abby runs hair extensions brand Catherine Marion. Go girls. the4acesdate.com Ostentation & Style Where: New York Steven Onoja grew up in Nigeria and moved to New York for education, where he started his blog focusing on his personal style and menswear trends. “In Nigeria every day is fashion week, we dress well all year round,” he says. “I’m inspired by my culture, tradition and people and am sharing my vision of effortless dressing from an urban perspective. I hope my blog motivates others to fulfil their dreams.” Onoja wears blazers, bow ties, berets and dark denim in the sepia tint images detailing his dignified strolls through the city. ostentationandstyle.tumblr.com HI SUMMER! High summer collections to turn to for when the sun has got his hat on. Kene Rapu Nigeria’s Kene Rapu specialises in handcrafted slippers for men and women. Each pair […]

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onenigerianboy

Blazers, bow ties, bling, traditional prints and modern twists — Get inspired and get to know eight of the best West and Southern African street style bloggers

Words Helen Jennings

Street style blogs have reached fever pitch worldwide and Africa is no exception. Whether documenting their own outfits and exploits, or hitting hotspots, parties and events to seek out the best dressed, the continent’s savvy fashion bloggers are joining the global conversation about African creativity. From the eccentric get ups that Louis Philippe de Gagoe wears to rove Casablanca for his eponymous blog to the retro gaze I See A Different You lends the debonair gents who populate Soweto via the brother and sister vintage looks of Nairobi’s 2ManySiblings, bloggers offer a journey through Africa’s diverse aesthetics and are fast becoming influential too. The world’s biggest street style bloggers including Street Peeper, FaceHunter and The Sartorialist have all brought their cameras to Africa in recent times but it’s the home-grown and diaspora bloggers who offer an insider’s eye. Here we meet eight of the best bloggers hailing from West and Southern Africa.

One Nigerian Boy
Where: London

Excited by Lagos’s bustling fashion scene, Terence Sambo set up his blog in 2010 to cover events and fresh talent such as Maki Oh and Orange Culture. He’s since moved to London where One Nigerian Boy continues to shine a light on African fashion as well as his new home’s style scene. “My icons are the anonymous kids you see on the street, Tumblr and Instagram. I love to go out and people watch in London,” he says. As for his own fashion, it’s all about “dress shoes and hats” this season.
onenigerianboy.com

skattie

Skattie, What Are You Wearing?
Where: Cape Town

If there’s a fashion show, exhibition opening or soiree worth its salt in Cape Town, Malibongwe Tyilo will be there. He surreptitiously snaps the city’s beautiful people for his award-winning blog as they mingle, flirt and dance. “I’m obsessed with moments of camp and glamour within our society. I document those around me who I consider to be fabulous in the hope of sharing facets of African style with the world,” he says. Tyilo is also editor at large for design magazine Visi and was included in the Mail & Guardian’s list of the Top 200 young South Africans in 2013.
skattiewhatareyouwearing.blogspot.co.uk

loux_vintage

Loux The Vintage Guru
Where: Windhoek

Lourens Loux Gebhardt exclusively wears vintage suits and his own label, LouxDesigns. Influenced by his grandfather’s wardrobe, this dapper dan has only been posting his yesteryear outfits since 2013 but has already been featured in Elle and the Daily Mail. He also collaborates with The Expressionist and art collective Khumbula in South Africa. “I call my look sophistication punk – a mixture of vintage and old school class. All the images on my blog tell stories about the standard of living in Africa and the history left behind by my ancestors,” he says.
louxthevintageguru.tumblr.com

expressionists

The Expressionist
Where: Johannesburg

Anthony Bila is at his happiest shooting Joburg’s hipsters for his popular blog. “The Expressionist was born out of a need to showcase how people express themselves through clothing here in South Africa, a place often misrepresented by mainstream media,” says Bila. And he’s spoilt for choice when it comes to subject matter thanks to the city’s burgeoning fashion scene. Bila has also created Black History March, an art photography and film series commemorating the continent’s ill-documented past.
anthonybila.tumblr.com

teetee

TeeTee Is With Me
Where: Johannesburg

Thithi Nteta is a stylist, PR, marketing consultant and writer as well as co-host of The Wknd Social, Joburg’s monthly brunch party. But she still finds time for TeeTee Is With Me, where she records her personal style, beauty loves and travels. Nteta collaborates with both international brands such as Levi’s and Nike (she’s all about Air Max right now) and local ones (most recently Misshape) and always manages to look understated. “I like to feel comfortable and easy but also love what a stand out piece can bring to an outfit or photograph,” she says. “I am also passionate about promoting the quality work that South African designers are doing.”
teeteeiswithme.com

achebe

Erykah Achebe
Where: New York

Born and raised in the US by Nigerian parents, Erykah Achebe shows off her cross-cultural take on fashion on her personal style blog. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see fashion through different perspectives. I fuse African traditions with western culture and love mixing masculine and feminine piece toos,” says the New Yorker. “I hope my blog inspires others to be expressive in their own chosen art forms.”
erykahachebe.com

4aces

4AcesDate
Where: New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Lagos

Abby Omoruyi, Cookie Caven, Kaven Caven and Ozzy Etomi are gal pals from Nigeria who initially started a blog as a way of sharing their dating antics as students living in different cities. Before long though their love of fashion outshone their interest in boys and 4AcesDate morphed into a fun style twist. “We want to promote female friendship, show ways to wear affordable fashion and promote African creativity,” says Cookie, who has just launched the streetwear label Kingdom with Ozzy and Kaven. Meanwhile Abby runs hair extensions brand Catherine Marion. Go girls.
the4acesdate.com

ostentation

Ostentation & Style
Where: New York

Steven Onoja grew up in Nigeria and moved to New York for education, where he started his blog focusing on his personal style and menswear trends. “In Nigeria every day is fashion week, we dress well all year round,” he says. “I’m inspired by my culture, tradition and people and am sharing my vision of effortless dressing from an urban perspective. I hope my blog motivates others to fulfil their dreams.” Onoja wears blazers, bow ties, berets and dark denim in the sepia tint images detailing his dignified strolls through the city. ostentationandstyle.tumblr.com

HI SUMMER!

High summer collections to turn to for when the sun has got his hat on.

boxout_kene

Kene Rapu

Nigeria’s Kene Rapu specialises in handcrafted slippers for men and women. Each pair is produced from locally sourced materials and customers can order bespoke designs from a selection of textiles and gemstones.
kenerapu.com

boxout_kingdom

Kingdom

4AcesDate’s Kingdom offers streetwear for the loud and proud . The latest range of printed t-shirts pays homage to Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s revered ‘Hairstyles’ series.
cavenetomi.com

boxout_lalesso

Lalesso

Lalesso is an ethical resort label from Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser. Produced in Kenya using local kanga, this season’s floaty dresses, jumpsuits and sexy swimsuits are festooned with geometric prints reminiscent of eagles, flowers and cacti.
lalesso.com

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Pipped To The Punchline http://arikwings.com/?p=3566 http://arikwings.com/?p=3566#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:02:59 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3566 A Ghanaian and a Nigerian walk into a comedy club. One says to the other — is this some kind of joke? Well, it isn’t. The comedy scene in Africa is a serious business that’s made a big international leap over the last decade or so, but who’s cracking the jokes, and which audiences are laughing the hardest? Words Nana Ocran Nigeria’s Buchi & Tunde Ednut, Mandy, Ali Baba, Bovi and Basketmouth, Zimbabwe’s Carl Ncube, and South Africa’s Trevor Noah. These are names that make up just the very tip of a surprisingly large iceberg of crowd-pulling African comedians, with individual followings that are expanding within and beyond the continent. With the names of more and more of Africa’s stand-ups starting to roll off many international tongues, it means that the best of the bunch are gaining lucrative numbers of US, UK and Middle Eastern audiences, and making sure that their carefully crafted jokes don’t get lost in translation. But what is it that’s so funny about their material, and what is African humour anyway? It’s fair to say that the continent hasn’t had a collective or diasporic definition of what stand-up-style humour is; not like, say, Jewish humour, which has a familiar US flavour – think Woody Allen, Adam Sandler, Larry David or Sarah Silverman. Africa (aside from diasporic African-American comedians) has only, in the last ten years or so, really started to step right up to the mic to unleash its own diverse brand of comedy. Now, it has its own kings and queens of the art of humour, and these performers are slowly but surely drawing in congregation-sized audiences. The most successful countries are definitely Nigeria and South Africa, with Basketmouth (Bright Okpocha) arguably West Africa’s current comedic icon. Still managing to lead despite some controversial, gender-based comments, Basketmouth’s online fan base hovers around the 1.5 million mark, according to Facebook. Having performed at London’s 2,400-capacity IndigO2 regularly since 2010, his is a name that’s guaranteed to pull in healthy numbers of diasporic Nigerians and non-Nigerians at a stroke. His delivery of pidgin-spoken observations has attracted loyal (and curious) followers who have also booked out his shows at venues in Las Vegas, Hollywood and Chicago. A good physical as well as verbal comedian, he’s also something of a master of subtle, surrealist sight gags, some of which can be captured through snippets on his promotional website. Head down south to South Africa, though, and it’s a slightly different flavor of comedy tickling the nation. Laughter itself may be as old as the hills, but having a strong, all-inclusive comedy circuit is new to this part of the continent. Having once been locked into the legalised apartheid system, it’s that particular social structure that’s often the inspiration behind much of the material of South Africa’s black comedians. Former teen TV star and radio presenter Trevor Noah first made his bones as a comedian around 2007. Over the last few years, he’s showcased at popular live events including The Blacks Only Comedy Show, Cape Town International Comedy Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival, and Bafunny Bafunny. Now a bona-fide international comedian with a following in the UK, Dubai and the majority of South Africa under his belt, he’s also chewed the fat with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, and swapped stories on the Late Show with David Letterman. Those two US television gigs were a major boost, not just because he was the first South African to appear on either TV programme, but because of the way it helped bring the continent into the global comedy club, instead of being the butt of it. Purposely using South Africa’s pre-democratic era as fuel for his act, Noah’s Zulu-Swiss heritage is the cultural lens through which he views his life experiences, and therefore shapes his material. With past tours titled It’s My Culture and Born A Crime, it’s not hard to see where his sharp social comments are coming from. Laughter lines It’s refreshing to see how South Africa’s comedy scene has evolved since its earlier days, in that it doesn’t just speak to white audiences, who, up until the mid-to-late 1990s, were very well schooled in the acts of US and UK comedians. Now, the platform is open for a range of black South Africans who know that no subject is off limits for a serious ribbing session. That’s a freedom that many other African countries don’t have, and the area of politics in particular is fair game when it comes to satirical criticism. Just look at the level of mocking that Jacob Zuma has come under since he took up the presidency. From explicit artwork to onstage gags, his political and private life has often been fair game for entertainment, a fact that he, and others in the public glare, are having to swallow. Even Julius Malema, the former ANC Youth leader and current firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, did a turn a few years back. Fixing his political gaze on Helen Zille – the frequently dowdy leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party – he jumped on her dramatic image makeover and open admission of botox treatments as a cue to announce that she’d tried using ‘Michael Jackson tactics’ to push forward her ‘plastic’ policies. That caused ripples of laughter across the country. But let’s not forget real comedians from other parts of the continent. Ghana seems to have some ground to cover to match up to the rate at which Nigerian audiences turn up for their comics. One of the biggest names in Ghanaian stand-up is Kwaku Sintim-Misa (KSM). His satirical quips about Ghana past and present have earned him respect – even from former president Jerry Rawlings, who has himself been in the line of fire during Sintim-Misa’s performances. With material that targets Ghana’s leaders, recurrent power cuts and the loss of authentic Ghanaian languages among the country’s internationally-minded youth, his critical tone is in sync with much of the nuanced comedy content that […]

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main

A Ghanaian and a Nigerian walk into a comedy club. One says to the other — is this some kind of joke? Well, it isn’t. The comedy scene in Africa is a serious business that’s made a big international leap over the last decade or so, but who’s cracking the jokes, and which audiences are laughing the hardest?

Words Nana Ocran

Nigeria’s Buchi & Tunde Ednut, Mandy, Ali Baba, Bovi and Basketmouth, Zimbabwe’s Carl Ncube, and South Africa’s Trevor Noah. These are names that make up just the very tip of a surprisingly large iceberg of crowd-pulling African comedians, with individual followings that are expanding within and beyond the continent. With the names of more and more of Africa’s stand-ups starting to roll off many international tongues, it means that the best of the bunch are gaining lucrative numbers of US, UK and Middle Eastern audiences, and making sure that their carefully crafted jokes don’t get lost in translation. But what is it that’s so funny about their material, and what is African humour anyway?

ali_baba

It’s fair to say that the continent hasn’t had a collective or diasporic definition of what stand-up-style humour is; not like, say, Jewish humour, which has a familiar US flavour – think Woody Allen, Adam Sandler, Larry David or Sarah Silverman. Africa (aside from diasporic African-American comedians) has only, in the last ten years or so, really started to step right up to the mic to unleash its own diverse brand of comedy. Now, it has its own kings and queens of the art of humour, and these performers are slowly but surely drawing in congregation-sized audiences.

The most successful countries are definitely Nigeria and South Africa, with Basketmouth (Bright Okpocha) arguably West Africa’s current comedic icon. Still managing to lead despite some controversial, gender-based comments, Basketmouth’s online fan base hovers around the 1.5 million mark, according to Facebook. Having performed at London’s 2,400-capacity IndigO2 regularly since 2010, his is a name that’s guaranteed to pull in healthy numbers of diasporic Nigerians and non-Nigerians at a stroke. His delivery of pidgin-spoken observations has attracted loyal (and curious) followers who have also booked out his shows at venues in Las Vegas, Hollywood and Chicago. A good physical as well as verbal comedian, he’s also something of a master of subtle, surrealist sight gags, some of which can be captured through snippets on his promotional website.
Head down south to South Africa, though, and it’s a slightly different flavor of comedy tickling the nation. Laughter itself may be as old as the hills, but having a strong, all-inclusive comedy circuit is new to this part of the continent. Having once been locked into the legalised apartheid system, it’s that particular social structure that’s often the inspiration behind much of the material of South Africa’s black comedians.

TrevorNoah

Former teen TV star and radio presenter Trevor Noah first made his bones as a comedian around 2007. Over the last few years, he’s showcased at popular live events including The Blacks Only Comedy Show, Cape Town International Comedy Festival, the Jozi Comedy Festival, and Bafunny Bafunny. Now a bona-fide international comedian with a following in the UK, Dubai and the majority of South Africa under his belt, he’s also chewed the fat with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, and swapped stories on the Late Show with David Letterman. Those two US television gigs were a major boost, not just because he was the first South African to appear on either TV programme, but because of the way it helped bring the continent into the global comedy club, instead of being the butt of it.

Purposely using South Africa’s pre-democratic era as fuel for his act, Noah’s Zulu-Swiss heritage is the cultural lens through which he views his life experiences, and therefore shapes his material. With past tours titled It’s My Culture and Born A Crime, it’s not hard to see where his sharp social comments are coming from.

basketmouth

Laughter lines

It’s refreshing to see how South Africa’s comedy scene has evolved since its earlier days, in that it doesn’t just speak to white audiences, who, up until the mid-to-late 1990s, were very well schooled in the acts of US and UK comedians. Now, the platform is open for a range of black South Africans who know that no subject is off limits for a serious ribbing session. That’s a freedom that many other African countries don’t have, and the area of politics in particular is fair game when it comes to satirical criticism. Just look at the level of mocking that Jacob Zuma has come under since he took up the presidency. From explicit artwork to onstage gags, his political and private life has often been fair game for entertainment, a fact that he, and others in the public glare, are having to swallow. Even Julius Malema, the former ANC Youth leader and current firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, did a turn a few years back. Fixing his political gaze on Helen Zille – the frequently dowdy leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance party – he jumped on her dramatic image makeover and open admission of botox treatments as a cue to announce that she’d tried using ‘Michael Jackson tactics’ to push forward her ‘plastic’ policies. That caused ripples of laughter across the country.

But let’s not forget real comedians from other parts of the continent. Ghana seems to have some ground to cover to match up to the rate at which Nigerian audiences turn up for their comics. One of the biggest names in Ghanaian stand-up is Kwaku Sintim-Misa (KSM). His satirical quips about Ghana past and present have earned him respect – even from former president Jerry Rawlings, who has himself been in the line of fire during Sintim-Misa’s performances. With material that targets Ghana’s leaders, recurrent power cuts and the loss of authentic Ghanaian languages among the country’s internationally-minded youth, his critical tone is in sync with much of the nuanced comedy content that exists in parts of the continent.

This type of politicised entertainment also makes for popular African TV content in popular channels like Kenya’s Buni TV, which airs the satirical puppet show XYZ, where the nation’s leaders come under humorous scrutiny. Another Kenyan platform is Ndani TV, which runs Officer Titus, a spoof comedy about a traffic law officer and his episodes with Lagos traffic offenders  – smart programming for an audience that’s well schooled in the ins and outs of negotiating varying levels of road congestion in Nigeria’s former capital city. Perhaps shows like these have their roots in some of the powerhouse Nigerian comedy of the mid-to-late 1980s, a pre-Nollywood era when the Nigerian Television Authority put out 150 eagerly-watched Wednesday night episodes of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s comedy Basi And Company, a show that reached a figure of around 30 million viewers at its peak. Based on the get-rich-quick antics of main character Mr B, the show became as much a comedy outlet as the nation’s resource for standardised English language and high fashion tips from the female characters.

And of course, what about Africa’s women comedians? Since the days of Basi And Company, the stereotypical wealthy Madam and the vain Segi characters who featured in the show are still easily laughed at in Nigeria, but comediennes – whether Nigerian or otherwise – are very much a part of the continent’s comedy circuit. This is great, since the world in general still tends to hold the view that men are much better blessed with a sense of humour.

Mandy Uzonitsha was Nigeria’s first successful female stand-up, hitting the scene around 1992, and for that reason, she’s considered the doyenne of female comedy. Staying the course, despite being told she wouldn’t last, she’s avoided the tradition route of gender-politics-based jokes and has instead focused on her single status – her way of transforming the feverish importance of marriage in Nigeria into a non-issue. Her staying power as a female comedian has pretty much created a path for newer faces, who include Lepacious Bose, and Helen Paul.
The gladiatorial arena of the comedy stage has been — and, in fact, still is — driven by testosterone, but it’s definitely being reshaped by the presence of women, from South Africa’s Cracks Only quartet of all-female comedians, to Kotilda, proclaimed the ‘best Ugandan comedian.’ South Africa also had its female pioneer in Irit Nobel, who launched her career in the late 1980s and is now best known as a cabaret diva and motivational speaker.

Even so, irrespective of gender, funny is funny, and from Jos to Joburg, the aspirations of African comedians to conquer local, cross-border and international stages can clearly be a reality – through good old-fashioned social observation, charm, and the persistently powerful weapon of laughter.

Comedy nights, Africa-style

The Box Comedy Club
Johannesburg
The Box theatre and art gallery runs a stand-up comedy gig every Sunday at 7.30pm, hosted by comedian and satirist, Loyiso Gola.
286 Fox Street, 0000 Johannesburg, Gauteng (+27 76 856 4215)

Bogobiri House
Lagos
This boutique hotel has a regular programme of events from live music to spoken word and open-mic comedy.
bogobiri.com

The Africa Centre
London
Now in a brand-new London venue, the iconic Africa Centre hosts a full programme of events that includes quiz nights, comedy, live music and talks.
www.africacentre.org.uk

Indigo2
London
The smaller live entertainment venue next
to London’s O2 Arena hosts comedy nights that regularly feature Nigerian acts, including Basketmouth
and Bovi.
www.theo2.co.uk

CokoBar
London & Manchester
Promoter Ropo Akin’s Cokobar (and offshoot Clause Nar in London) are hubs for Nigerian stand-up and Afrobeat music nights.
www.cokobar.com

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Primate Concern http://arikwings.com/?p=3581 http://arikwings.com/?p=3581#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:02:38 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3581 With only three percent of Nigeria’s rainforest remaining, the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch, a primate conservation centre, is not only critically-important in preventing the extinction of important species but offers wildlife lovers an unforgettable experience in southeastern Nigeria. Words Rosie Collyer photograhy Jonathan Perugia Located deep in the rainforest close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch is the ultimate prize for intrepid explorers with a social conscience. The Ranch is home to over 250 drill monkeys and 28 chimpanzees. Their upkeep depends, in part, on the income generated by visitors. In return, visitors experience something truly unique in this region: waking up to the sound of chattering primates in their natural habitat. Rustic wooden cabins set on stilts make for the perfect jungle hideout. A spacious balcony complete with locally-made deck chairs provide a perfect vantage point to take in the lush scenery. Self-catering is the order of the day in a well-equipped kitchen and dining area complete with gas hobs and filtered water. There is even a hot shower – a welcome luxury after an active day in nature. The Ranch is the brain child of Peter Jenkins and Liza Gadsby, who over two decades ago were passing through Nigeria on tourist visas. The mountainous forested landscape of Cross River State reminded them of their native state, Oregon in the USA. But it was their compassion for a drill monkey in distress that compelled them to stay and set up the Drill Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in a residential district of Calabar. Orphaned female drills, some recovered from as far away as Asia, subsequently gave birth at the Centre. The group quickly grew to become the most successful captive drill breeding programme in the world. The first group of drills were flown by helicopter from Calabar to the Afi Mountain Drill ranch 15 years ago. Today there are six solar-powered electric enclosures where five groups of drills and a group of chimpanzees live. Set in the heart of Nigeria’s last remaining virgin rain forest, the Ranch is the final stage of the drill’s rehabilitation. The plan is to release groups of drills into the wild. Cross River State together with southwest Cameroon and Bioko Island off Equatorial Guinea are the only places in the world where drills can be found in the wild. Face-to-face Coming face-to-face to a drill is awe inspiring. They communicate with their long black faces with familiar expressions. Watching mothers interact with their young serves as a reminder of just how close humans and drills are in terms of DNA, about 94 percent. There are several new mothers at the Ranch who are watched over by a dominant male in a group. At 45 kilograms, a dominant male usually secures his place by intimidating other adult males who can be seen skulking around the periphery group. Female support is the most important factor to rise to the top. Afi Mountain Drill Ranch is also home to a group of chimpanzees. They are our closest relative. By spending some time observing this group it becomes clear why. Their hand gestures are unnervingly human. Just before feeding time some within the group will appeal to passersby bang their chest and point pleadingly. There is no doubting this means “I’m hungry, so feed me.” Visitors can watch as the keepers serve up dinner to the chimps who have as varied a diet as any human. All the food is sourced locally. One woman even makes moi moi, a local speciality containing crayfish which is wrapped in banana leaves. Seeing the inter-dependence between the ranch and the local community is very much a part of the visitor experience. Most of the 40 or so employees are Cross Riverians, a few hail from elsewhere in the country. Local guides can be hired who will gladly escort visitors around the ranch and into the nearest village that sits beneath Afi Mountain. It’s quite a spectacle to watch food being sourced from local farmers in the village square, then loaded onto a truck and brought back to the ranch. It gives a greater sense of what it entails to care for over 300 primates and what impact that has on a rural community. Canopy walkway Drills and chimpanzees spend much of their time high above the ground foraging for fruits and leaves. A canopy walkway close to the ranch, owned and managed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, is the ultimate way to gain a true sense of what its like to live in the trees. Anchored to ten huge trees, many of which are endangered species, the 400-metre walkway elevates visitors into a whole new world where flowers blossom and fruits swell. This area of Cross River State, with the support of local government, has become a pioneer in the conservation of both animals and plants in Nigeria, a country that only has three percent of it’s rainforests remaining. There is a much needed nursery at the Drill Ranch that rears local species of endangered plants and trees, such as ebony. These are then re-planted in areas of the surrounding forest that were cleared for farming. It is activities like these that give visitors to the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch a priceless sense of new beginnings. Wild Things Cross River is Nigeria’s most important biodiversity zone and home to 60 per cent of the country’s endangered plant and animal species. Here are the top spots to bring you closer to nature. Kwa Rapids Located about 25km from Calabar (45 minutes by road) Kwa Rapids is a sight unequalled in splendour. The Falls drain through the Oban Hills and mountains, originating from the Kwa River. The sheer force of the rapids is such that it can be harnessed to generate hydroelectric power. Kayakers and hikers flock here for long weekends. Agbokim Waterfalls About 315 kilometers from Calabar in Etung is the Agbokim Waterfalls, an incredible white water rapids system consisting of seven rivulets cascading down precipitous cliffs. […]

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primates_01

With only three percent of Nigeria’s rainforest remaining, the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch, a primate conservation centre, is not only critically-important in preventing the extinction of important species but offers wildlife lovers an unforgettable experience in southeastern Nigeria.

Words Rosie Collyer photograhy Jonathan Perugia

Located deep in the rainforest close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch is the ultimate prize for intrepid explorers with a social conscience. The Ranch is home to over 250 drill monkeys and 28 chimpanzees. Their upkeep depends, in part, on the income generated by visitors. In return, visitors experience something truly unique in this region: waking up to the sound of chattering primates in their natural habitat.

Rustic wooden cabins set on stilts make for the perfect jungle hideout. A spacious balcony complete with locally-made deck chairs provide a perfect vantage point to take in the lush scenery. Self-catering is the order of the day in a well-equipped kitchen and dining area complete with gas hobs and filtered water. There is even a hot shower – a welcome luxury after an active day in nature.

The Ranch is the brain child of Peter Jenkins and Liza Gadsby, who over two decades ago were passing through Nigeria on tourist visas. The mountainous forested landscape of Cross River State reminded them of their native state, Oregon in the USA. But it was their compassion for a drill monkey in distress that compelled them to stay and set up the Drill Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in a residential district of Calabar. Orphaned female drills, some recovered from as far away as Asia, subsequently gave birth at the Centre. The group quickly grew to become the most successful captive drill breeding programme in the world.

The first group of drills were flown by helicopter from Calabar to the Afi Mountain Drill ranch 15 years ago. Today there are six solar-powered electric enclosures where five groups of drills and a group of chimpanzees live. Set in the heart of Nigeria’s last remaining virgin rain forest, the Ranch is the final stage of the drill’s rehabilitation. The plan is to release groups of drills into the wild. Cross River State together with southwest Cameroon and Bioko Island off Equatorial Guinea are the only places in the world where drills can be found in the wild.

primates_02

Face-to-face

Coming face-to-face to a drill is awe inspiring. They communicate with their long black faces with familiar expressions. Watching mothers interact with their young serves as a reminder of just how close humans and drills are in terms of DNA, about 94 percent. There are several new mothers at the Ranch who are watched over by a dominant male in a group. At 45 kilograms, a dominant male usually secures his place by intimidating other adult males who can be seen skulking around the periphery group. Female support is the most important factor to rise to the top.

Afi Mountain Drill Ranch is also home to a group of chimpanzees. They are our closest relative. By spending some time observing this group it becomes clear why. Their hand gestures are unnervingly human. Just before feeding time some within the group will appeal to passersby bang their chest and point pleadingly. There is no doubting this means “I’m hungry, so feed me.” Visitors can watch as the keepers serve up dinner to the chimps who have as varied a diet as any human. All the food is sourced locally. One woman even makes moi moi, a local speciality containing crayfish which is wrapped in banana leaves.

Seeing the inter-dependence between the ranch and the local community is very much a part of the visitor experience. Most of the 40 or so employees are Cross Riverians, a few hail from elsewhere in the country. Local guides can be hired who will gladly escort visitors around the ranch and into the nearest village that sits beneath Afi Mountain. It’s quite a spectacle to watch food being sourced from local farmers in the village square, then loaded onto a truck and brought back to the ranch. It gives a greater sense of what it entails to care for over 300 primates and what impact that has on a rural community.

Canopy walkway

Drills and chimpanzees spend much of their time high above the ground foraging for fruits and leaves. A canopy walkway close to the ranch, owned and managed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, is the ultimate way to gain a true sense of what its like to live in the trees. Anchored to ten huge trees, many of which are endangered species, the 400-metre walkway elevates visitors into a whole new world where flowers blossom and fruits swell.
This area of Cross River State, with the support of local government, has become a pioneer in the conservation of both animals and plants in Nigeria, a country that only has three percent of it’s rainforests remaining. There is a much needed nursery at the Drill Ranch that rears local species of endangered plants and trees, such as ebony. These are then re-planted in areas of the surrounding forest that were cleared for farming. It is activities like these that give visitors to the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch a priceless sense of new beginnings.

boxout_Kwa_falls

Wild Things

Cross River is Nigeria’s most important biodiversity zone and home to 60 per cent of the country’s endangered plant and animal species. Here are the top spots to bring you closer to nature.

Kwa Rapids

Located about 25km from Calabar (45 minutes by road) Kwa Rapids is a sight unequalled in splendour. The Falls drain through the Oban Hills and mountains, originating from the Kwa River. The sheer force of the rapids is such that it can be harnessed to generate hydroelectric power. Kayakers and hikers flock here for long weekends.

Agbokim Waterfalls

About 315 kilometers from Calabar in Etung is the Agbokim Waterfalls, an incredible white water rapids system consisting of seven rivulets cascading down precipitous cliffs. Agbokim is on the path of the Cross River (Oyono), where it descends in terraces down the surrounding swampy rainforest. It is especially striking in the rainy season when you have a chance to see rainbows across the face of the waterfall. Agbokim lies west of the Cameroon border.

The Obudu Plateau

A highland forest wilderness spread over an area of 40 sq. miles in the northeast, Obudu Plateau is 5,200 feet above sea level and is essentially temperate for most of the year. The landscape is spectacular, with rolling grasslands, deep-wooded valleys and waterfalls. The forests, which contain a diverse number of plants and animals species, consist of trees so high their branches form a canopy, shading out the sun entirely, a phenomenon that has led to the area being called ‘Nigeria’s Amazon’. Some massifs rise to heights of up to 1700 meters.

It is best to visit Obudu in the dry season. During the rainy season much of the ranch may be shrouded in mist and low-lying clouds. Daily temperature during the year range between 150C – 220C; during the peak of the rainy season (July to August), night temperatures drop to about 50C.

Old Residency Museum

Located off Leopard Town Road in Calabar’s Duke Town, the Old Residency Museum is one of the best museums in the country. Well-curated exhibitions document the social, cultural and economic  history of Cross River state, since it was first discovered by the Portuguese. There’s also a wealth of information about wildlife in Cross River.

The museum is set in what used to be the old residency building of the British Consul, which was prefabricated in Britain and shipped in pieces to Old Calabar. Here it was erected on the permanent site. A curator is on hand during opening hours to guide you on a tour.

How to get there

Arik Air operate flights to Calabar from Abuja and Lagos.

Find directions and book your accommodation at www.pandrillus.org.

Visitors must take their own food.

Comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket and trousers are advisable.

The post Primate Concern appeared first on Wings.

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A Voice For The Voiceless http://arikwings.com/?p=3587 http://arikwings.com/?p=3587#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:02:07 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3587 Upon the release of her 11th studio album, Eve, and autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, critically acclaimed and Grammy award-winning artist, Angelique Kidjo, tells Wings why women are the future of Africa. Words Belinda Otas At 53, Kidjo is one of Africa’s most celebrated and internationally renowned musical exponents. A platform that has seen her take on humanitarian roles with leading world NGOs and has made her a voice for the voiceless, especially African women and children. Kidjo is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and it was in this capacity that she visited the Samburu district of Kenya, while on a mission to help tackle childhood hunger and stunting. On arrival, she was welcomed by a group of women with a song. She describes it as: “beautiful, and we captured their singing on an iPhone and built a song around it. I loved it so much that I decided to go to Benin to record the voices of the women over there. Music is a big part of their daily life. Singing has a strong meaning for them, and that’s very inspiring,” says Kidjo. The experience gave birth to Eve, an album that has been described as ‘a musical ode to the pride, beauty and strength of African women.’ Named after her mother, Eve is a collection of vibrant songs dedicated to the power of African womanhood, and once again demonstrates Kidjo’s versatility with diverse women’s choirs from Kenya and Benin Republic, singing in their mother languages including Fon, Goun, Mina and Yoruba – a testament to Kidjo’s appreciation for her heritage. On making an album dedicated to African women, Kidjo said: “I was raised around strong women, my mother and my grandmothers, and they have inspired me a lot. Both my grandmothers were widows, but they managed to stay independent and build a great family around them. African women are the backbone of the continent, and I feel they are the future of Africa.” The passion of new Eve A Grammy award-winning artist, who has shared the same stage with the likes of John Legend, Bono and Alicia Keys, Kidjo is highly revered by her global contemporaries. If you’ve never witnessed her live performances, they’re an entrancing spectacle; Kidjo’s offering is magical and powered by a seemingly boundless energy, with her fiery delivery of song after song spurred on by the audience. She’s an icon of Africa, and the continent’s future is a cause Kidjo is passionate about as an artist, activist, humanitarian and philanthropist. “I’m a witness of my time,” she says. “When your history is not written, you count on storytellers and traditional singers in Africa to tell you who you are, what your family is about and what’s going on in your society. This is what I do with my music.” So what keeps this singer-songwriter inspired after more than 10 albums and countless tours around the globe? “My passion for music has never been questioned. I hate the studio, but it’s a necessary evil so I can be on stage, because I love the stage more than the studio itself. In life, if you want something, you have to give something to get it. So you have to take the time and do the stuff in the studio to be able to tour around the world”, says Kidjo. The singer’s Beninese roots have always played a big role in her music. From her first album, Pretty, released in 1988, to 2010’s Õÿö, her heritage is the lyrical thread that weaves the narrative of her musical career. In Õÿö, we witness a deeply introspective reflection on the events that brought her to the point at which the world witnessed her musical maturity as an artist. Her first live album, Spirit Rising, released in 2012, once again took her back to her roots, which culminated in a breathtaking live performance of hit songs like Tumba, Afirika, Agolo and Move On Up. Kidjo says she cannot be separated from her heritage, which informs her musical foundation. “It’s like you asking me to stop breathing. I was born and raised in Benin. I left my country when I was 23. So the music I grew up listening to, even if I wanted it to, cannot go away, because I don’t have any control over my inspiration. It comes with me everywhere I go, and it’s beautiful. You might not like it, but I’ll say it — every genre of music comes from Africa. We Africans have to take pride in what we are giving the world in terms of the arts.” Spirit guide A force to reckon with, Kidjo’s fearlessness shines through in her autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, where she writes about her life’s journey and how that trajectory was changed at the age of 23, when she left for Paris, under difficult and painful circumstances, after her country experienced a Marxist coup d’état in 1972. Kidjo’s musings about her childhood in Benin, where she was inspired by other musical greats like Aretha Franklin and transfixed by the voice and life of Miriam Makeba, another great African export to the west, whose music also had a huge influence on her. She also writes about the stark reality of African migrants in a foreign country, a different reality to the one she’d been sold in pictures. Billed as a country of arts and freedom, France would serve as Kidjo’s awakening to hardship and bigotry, and the stereotypes about Africans prevailed. It was also the place where her dream and purpose in life would be solidified. For years, Kidjo had dreamed of becoming a human rights lawyer. She writes: “I was always obsessed with justice and fairness. I got in so many fights over this as a child, and once I’d learned about apartheid and the history of slavery, I couldn’t shrug off the injustice of it. I wanted to get people to understand and to live with as little hatred as possible.” Kidjo has always […]

The post A Voice For The Voiceless appeared first on Wings.

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kidjo_01

Upon the release of her 11th studio album, Eve, and autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, critically acclaimed and Grammy award-winning artist, Angelique Kidjo, tells Wings why women are the future of Africa.

Words Belinda Otas

At 53, Kidjo is one of Africa’s most celebrated and internationally renowned musical exponents. A platform that has seen her take on humanitarian roles with leading world NGOs and has made her a voice for the voiceless, especially African women and children. Kidjo is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and it was in this capacity that she visited the Samburu district of Kenya, while on a mission to help tackle childhood hunger and stunting. On arrival, she was welcomed by a group of women with a song. She describes it as: “beautiful, and we captured their singing on an iPhone and built a song around it. I loved it so much that I decided to go to Benin to record the voices of the women over there. Music is a big part of their daily life. Singing has a strong meaning for them, and that’s very inspiring,” says Kidjo.

The experience gave birth to Eve, an album that has been described as ‘a musical ode to the pride, beauty and strength of African women.’ Named after her mother, Eve is a collection of vibrant songs dedicated to the power of African womanhood, and once again demonstrates Kidjo’s versatility with diverse women’s choirs from Kenya and Benin Republic, singing in their mother languages including Fon, Goun, Mina and Yoruba – a testament to Kidjo’s appreciation for her heritage. On making an album dedicated to African women, Kidjo said: “I was raised around strong women, my mother and my grandmothers, and they have inspired me a lot. Both my grandmothers were widows, but they managed to stay independent and build a great family around them. African women are the backbone of the continent, and I feel they are the future of Africa.”

The passion of new Eve

A Grammy award-winning artist, who has shared the same stage with the likes of John Legend, Bono and Alicia Keys, Kidjo is highly revered by her global contemporaries. If you’ve never witnessed her live performances, they’re an entrancing spectacle; Kidjo’s offering is magical and powered by a seemingly boundless energy, with her fiery delivery of song after song spurred on by the audience.

She’s an icon of Africa, and the continent’s future is a cause Kidjo is passionate about as an artist, activist, humanitarian and philanthropist. “I’m a witness of my time,” she says. “When your history is not written, you count on storytellers and traditional singers in Africa to tell you who you are, what your family is about and what’s going on in your society. This is what I do with my music.”

So what keeps this singer-songwriter inspired after more than 10 albums and countless tours around the globe? “My passion for music has never been questioned. I hate the studio, but it’s a necessary evil so I can be on stage, because I love the stage more than the studio itself. In life, if you want something, you have to give something to get it. So you have to take the time and do the stuff in the studio to be able to tour around the world”, says Kidjo.
The singer’s Beninese roots have always played a big role in her music. From her first album, Pretty, released in 1988, to 2010’s Õÿö, her heritage is the lyrical thread that weaves the narrative of her musical career. In Õÿö, we witness a deeply introspective reflection on the events that brought her to the point at which the world witnessed her musical maturity as an artist. Her first live album, Spirit Rising, released in 2012, once again took her back to her roots, which culminated in a breathtaking live performance of hit songs like Tumba, Afirika, Agolo and

Move On Up.

Kidjo says she cannot be separated from her heritage, which informs her musical foundation. “It’s like you asking me to stop breathing. I was born and raised in Benin. I left my country when I was 23. So the music I grew up listening to, even if I wanted it to, cannot go away, because I don’t have any control over my inspiration. It comes with me everywhere I go, and it’s beautiful. You might not like it, but I’ll say it — every genre of music comes from Africa. We Africans have to take pride in what we are giving the world in terms of the arts.”

Spirit guide

A force to reckon with, Kidjo’s fearlessness shines through in her autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, where she writes about her life’s journey and how that trajectory was changed at the age of 23, when she left for Paris, under difficult and painful circumstances, after her country experienced a Marxist coup d’état in 1972. Kidjo’s musings about her childhood in Benin, where she was inspired by other musical greats like Aretha Franklin and transfixed by the voice and life of Miriam Makeba, another great African export to the west, whose music also had a huge influence on her.

She also writes about the stark reality of African migrants in a foreign country, a different reality to the one she’d been sold in pictures. Billed as a country of arts and freedom, France would serve as Kidjo’s awakening to hardship and bigotry, and the stereotypes about Africans prevailed. It was also the place where her dream and purpose in life would be solidified. For years, Kidjo had dreamed of becoming a human rights lawyer. She writes: “I was always obsessed with justice and fairness. I got in so many fights over this as a child, and once I’d learned about apartheid and the history of slavery, I couldn’t shrug off the injustice of it. I wanted to get people to understand and to live with as little hatred as possible.”

Kidjo has always been outspoken, even as a child, and it was in Paris that she defined her voice to speak for others. She cites the example of being in a class at university, where she stood up and spoke passionately about her desire to be a human rights lawyer; when her professor challenged her about the power of politics and diplomacy, it led to her moment of realisation that, to make a difference, music was her most potent weapon. “Suddenly, studying to become a lawyer seemed pointless…My understanding of human rights and world problems had come through music, through the discovery of the activism of Miriam Makeba and her struggle against apartheid. I wondered what I could do with music, if I could use it the way Miriam Makeba had.”
Today, the power of music she recognised years ago has successfully translated her work as an artist to activism and philanthropy. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music in spite of the gruelling tours and recordings, Kidjo is a staunch advocate of women’s rights and has participated in countless initiatives to bring a global awareness to issues like child trafficking, FGM and HIV/AIDS. She also understands the challenges of gender parity faced by women as they fight for equality in different areas of society. “This is just the person I am. I’m optimistic about humankind and about my continent. There continues to be very bad news and wrong traditions that endure, but there is a change coming, a young generation that will give a new chance to Africa.”

Musical education

When asked why it is important for her to keep her heart and spirit open to the world, she says: “I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love: singing all over the world. I’m not going to complain or be bitter. And I love people. This is why the stage is my favourite place on earth, because I can communicate with them.”
Steadfast in her belief that all people are equal and should be treated fairly, Kidjo speaks with fortitude where others might shy away. Nowhere was this more prominent than a trip to Zimbabwe, where she publicly condemned the actions of the government. Has she ever been afraid or concerned about what effect being so fearless and forthright may have on her career? “To be honest, because I’m travelling so much, and because of my fame, I’m not the one in a dangerous place,” she says. “There are some amazing people who are living in regions of conflict, war, dictatorship or extreme poverty who are standing up for what they believe, ready to go to jail and die for their beliefs. There are many places in the world where promoting girls’ access to education, vaccination and female empowerment is a death sentence. I admire those people so much. My job, talking on their behalf if they have no voice, is much simpler.”

A passionate advocate for the education of girls, Kidjo is empowering young girls in countries in Africa through her Batonga Foundation for education. The value of education was impressed on her by her late father. “Education is everything! My father made it clear – if you want to sing, fine, I will support you until you can do it by yourself. But on one condition, that’s non-negotiable: you have to go to school, and get a degree. My father used to say, because you are a singer it doesn’t mean you don’t have a brain and can’t discuss everything that comes your way.” She goes on to add that he would tell her to “read, be curious and ask questions. You cannot be an artist and not be able to talk about your art or other people’s art and culture. That’s not going to happen under my roof.”

For all that she has achieved, Kidjo still has dreams and hopes for the continent. Top of her wish list is for the media to change the way they portray African women. “Poverty, war and disease are a reality, but not the only reality! Let’s get out of the ‘single story’ of the continent, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says.”

Angelique Kidjo’s latest album, Eve, is out now on Caroline International S&D

The post A Voice For The Voiceless appeared first on Wings.

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Africa In Focus http://arikwings.com/?p=3591 http://arikwings.com/?p=3591#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:01:47 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3591 African photography has experienced a surge of interest in recent years. As London’s The Auction Rooms hosts The African Contemporary Photography Auction, Wings delights in the cream of the crop. Words Emma Woodhouse “There is nothing worse,” said photographer Ansel Adams, “than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” These days there are few concepts that are more fuzzy than ‘African.’ Too often – whether used to describe music or fashion – the word is used to group together or gloss over the cultural intricacies of at least 54 countries. Ever since Shakira sang ‘This Time for Africa’ at the 2010 World Cup, the word has been bandied about like it’s going out of style. As the editor of this magazine I’m guilty as charged; so much so that my smartphone auto-types African. While all things contemporary from the continent are firmly in the zeitgeist, the razor-sharp concepts on offer tonight simply don’t allow for blanket descriptions. It’s a spring evening on London’s Savile Row, the spiritual home of the sharply tailored suit. Inside the store of Ozwald Boateng – the iconic designer known for his trademark suits lined with piercing colours – art collectors and media people sip artisanal gin cocktails. From one wall 1970s Bamako scenesters shot by legendary photographer Malick Sidibé pose back at them. On another hangs a striking monochrome portrait by new generation Lagosian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo. In this exhibition a tapestry of very personal perspectives by a cleverly curated group of photographers, including pioneering archivist J.D Ojeikere, George Osodi and Adolphus Opara, challenge perceived wisdom. “Photography invites and facilitates the process of appropriation and re-appropriation of identity, in a continent where post-colonial or post-apartheid identity are major themes for artists,” says African Contemporary Art specialist and organiser Ed Cross “ It naturally engages with social and political issues that compel many artists; telling stories that need to be told. The accessibility of the medium, from the market’s point of view, provides imagery from a continent that has always fascinated outsiders.” “Photography is such a potent medium for artists working on the continent, chiming with the revolutionary rise of digital activity in Africa, and because of the central place that family photographic portraiture has occupied in African cultures since local populations had access to it,” he adds. These images make up part of the visual economy of Africa which maybe isn’t a fuzzy concept after all but an exciting well of narratives currently capturing imaginations all of the world and simultaneously replacing pre-conceived notions. Fans De Jimmy Hendrix, 1971 MALICK SIDIBÉ, B.1936, MALI In 1955 Malick Sidibe was put forward by the director of his school to assist French photographer Gérard Guillat-Guignard with decorating his studio. Here, Sidibé became fascinated with photography and became Guignard’s apprentice until he opened up his own studio in 1962, called ‘Studio Malick’. Through his studio photography, which became increasingly popular, and by covering the city’s parties and social events, Sidibé captured the energy and excitement of the cultural and social shift that was taking place in Mali in the late 1950s through to the mid-1970s. Studio photography and portraiture played an important role in crystallising a sense of identity and individuality amongst many Africans during this era, as well giving Sidibe a means to express his own voice through his unique photographic style. Biographer Sabrina Zannier, says “In Africa there has been a greater persistence in the practice of the portrait, associated with a search for dignity through representation, to desire a control of one’s image and, at times, to reduce distances with the family far away.” PATCHWORK (MY GRANDAD’S CAR SERIES), 2012 KARL OHIRI, B.1983, UNITED KINGDOM Karl Ohiri’s series is a collaborative project with artist Sayan Hasan, where each travelled to Nigeria and Pakistan in an attempt to bring their grandfathers’ cars back to the UK and park them side by side in their country of birth. The project explores their identities as products of migration, determined to reconcile their ancestral pasts with their present lives. “All that is left of my Grandad’s memory is a photograph and the car he once owned,” says Karl.” When I went home to my granddad’s village I saw an old battered car, well it wasn’t really a car it was more like a rusty shell as all of the interiors were missing and the wheels were gone. With the last photograph of my Grandad slowly fading I decided to try and preserve the last artefact that represents his existence. The act of bringing the cars remains to the UK and merging my ancestral past with my present life in London is an exploration into the importance of personal history, family and migration.” A BOY TAKING A SOLITUDE BREAK IN A FISHING PIROGUE, 2012 MOUHAMADOU SOW, B.1983, SENEGAL Mouhamadou Sow’s photographic projects focus on reshaping Western misrepresentations of people and places on the African continent. In his series Télé-bi, Sow documents street life in Dakar, yet uses the simple gesture of framing his scenes through the plastic border of a television screen. Sow negates the documentary tradition by suggesting that these images are destined for media subversion, and he references the photographic act and the photographer’s presence in the process of creating media representations of Africa. Sow works as a free-lance photographer in Senegal. He has served as Technology Coordinator for the annual think tank Barcamp Goree and placed second at NetAfrika Challenge 2010, held in Bamako, Mali. THREE MARYS (RED AND BLUE), ALBUS SERIES), 2013 justin dingwall, B.1983, south africa Albus is a collaborative photographic project between photographer Justin Dingwall and subject Thando Hopa, a legal prosecutor and fashion model who is using her visibility to address the negative perceptions surrounding albinism. Frequently in African cultures those with albinism are violently outcast and rejected and are likely to become targets and victims of physical attacks. Hopa’s angelic beauty, poise and vulnerability form a compelling narrative. The Virgin Mary, a symbol of purity, contrasts and challenges the discriminatory and narrow-minded views […]

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African photography has experienced a surge of interest in recent years. As London’s The Auction Rooms hosts The African Contemporary Photography Auction, Wings delights in the cream of the crop.

Words Emma Woodhouse

“There is nothing worse,” said photographer Ansel Adams, “than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” These days there are few concepts that are more fuzzy than ‘African.’ Too often – whether used to describe music or fashion – the word is used to group together or gloss over the cultural intricacies of at least 54 countries.

Ever since Shakira sang ‘This Time for Africa’ at the 2010 World Cup, the word has been bandied about like it’s going out of style. As the editor of this magazine I’m guilty as charged; so much so that my smartphone auto-types African.

While all things contemporary from the continent are firmly in the zeitgeist, the razor-sharp concepts on offer tonight simply don’t allow for blanket descriptions.

It’s a spring evening on London’s Savile Row, the spiritual home of the sharply tailored suit. Inside the store of Ozwald Boateng – the iconic designer known for his trademark suits lined with piercing colours – art collectors and media people sip artisanal gin cocktails.

From one wall 1970s Bamako scenesters shot by legendary photographer Malick Sidibé pose back at them. On another hangs a striking monochrome portrait by new generation Lagosian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo.
In this exhibition a tapestry of very personal perspectives by a cleverly curated group of photographers, including pioneering archivist J.D Ojeikere, George Osodi and Adolphus Opara, challenge perceived wisdom.
“Photography invites and facilitates the process of appropriation and re-appropriation of identity, in a continent where post-colonial or post-apartheid identity are major themes for artists,” says African Contemporary Art specialist and organiser Ed Cross “ It naturally engages with social and political issues that compel many artists; telling stories that need to be told. The accessibility of the medium, from the market’s point of view, provides imagery from a continent that has always fascinated outsiders.”

“Photography is such a potent medium for artists working on the continent, chiming with the revolutionary rise of digital activity in Africa, and because of the central place that family photographic portraiture has occupied in African cultures since local populations had access to it,” he adds.

These images make up part of the visual economy of Africa which maybe isn’t a fuzzy concept after all but an exciting well of narratives currently capturing imaginations all of the world and simultaneously replacing pre-conceived notions.

photo_01

Fans De Jimmy Hendrix, 1971
MALICK SIDIBÉ, B.1936, MALI

In 1955 Malick Sidibe was put forward by the director of his school to assist French photographer Gérard Guillat-Guignard with decorating his studio. Here, Sidibé became fascinated with photography and became Guignard’s apprentice until he opened up his own studio in 1962, called ‘Studio Malick’.
Through his studio photography, which became increasingly popular, and by covering the city’s parties and social events, Sidibé captured the energy and excitement of the cultural and social shift that was taking place in Mali in the late 1950s through to the mid-1970s. Studio photography and portraiture played an important role in crystallising a sense of identity and individuality amongst many Africans during this era, as well giving Sidibe a means to express his own voice through his unique photographic style.
Biographer Sabrina Zannier, says “In Africa there has been a greater persistence in the practice of the portrait, associated with a search for dignity through representation, to desire a control of one’s image and, at times, to reduce distances with the family far away.”

View from the grave 002

PATCHWORK (MY GRANDAD’S CAR SERIES), 2012
KARL OHIRI, B.1983, UNITED KINGDOM

Karl Ohiri’s series is a collaborative project with artist Sayan Hasan, where each travelled to Nigeria and Pakistan in an attempt to bring their grandfathers’ cars back to the UK and park them side by side in their country of birth. The project explores their identities as products of migration, determined to reconcile their ancestral pasts with their present lives.

“All that is left of my Grandad’s memory is a photograph and the car
he once owned,” says Karl.” When I went home to my granddad’s village I saw an old battered car, well it wasn’t really a car it was more like a rusty shell as all of the interiors were missing and the wheels were gone.

With the last photograph of my Grandad slowly fading I decided to try and preserve the last artefact that represents his existence. The act of bringing the cars remains to the UK and merging my ancestral past with my present life in London is an exploration into the importance of personal history, family and migration.”

photo_03

A BOY TAKING A SOLITUDE BREAK IN A FISHING PIROGUE, 2012
MOUHAMADOU SOW, B.1983, SENEGAL

Mouhamadou Sow’s photographic projects focus on reshaping Western misrepresentations of people and places on the African continent. In his series Télé-bi, Sow documents street life in Dakar, yet uses the simple gesture of framing his scenes through the plastic border of a television screen.

Sow negates the documentary tradition by suggesting that these images are destined for media subversion, and he references the photographic act and the photographer’s presence in the process of creating media representations of Africa. Sow works as a free-lance photographer in Senegal. He has served as Technology Coordinator for the annual think tank Barcamp Goree and placed second at NetAfrika Challenge 2010, held in Bamako, Mali.

photo_04

THREE MARYS (RED AND BLUE), ALBUS SERIES), 2013
justin dingwall, B.1983, south africa

Albus is a collaborative photographic project between photographer Justin Dingwall and subject Thando Hopa, a legal prosecutor and fashion model who is using her visibility to address the negative perceptions surrounding albinism. Frequently in African cultures those with albinism are violently outcast and rejected and are likely to become targets and victims of physical attacks.

Hopa’s angelic beauty, poise and vulnerability form a compelling narrative. The Virgin Mary, a symbol of purity, contrasts and challenges the discriminatory and narrow-minded views of Albinism in society. The series invites us to look inside ourselves and to re-invent ‘norms’ of beauty, whilst it also highlights a beautiful collaboration and close bond between the photographer and the model.

Dingwall states: “beauty can be colourless, which is the point being proven and celebrated through a wave of models with albinism.”

Thando Hopa told the BBC: “I’m a black girl who lives in the skin of a white person and that alone should embody what a human being as a whole should represent.”

I am Walé Respect Me

I AM WALE, RESPECT ME (SERIES) 2013 PATRICK WILLOCQ,
B.1969, france

For the Ekonda pygmies of the DRC, the most important moment in a woman’s life is the birth of her first child. The young mother is called Walé. She gives birth, then returns to her parents where she remains secluded for a period of 2 to 5 years. During her seclusion, a Walé is under special care. The end of her seclusion is marked by a dancing and singing ritual. She sings the story of her own loneliness, and with humour praises her behavior while discrediting her Walé rivals.

“I’ve always been fascinated by native tribes because I feel they have in them a wealth that we ourselves have lost,” says Patrick Willocq, “The ritual is a beautiful tribute to motherhood, fertility and femininity, which is why I proposed to five Walés to participate in staged set-ups to witness a part of their personal history. Each image is a visual representation of an intimate thought she will sing the day of her release from seclusion.”

photo_06

UNTITLED (ONILE GOGORO OR AKABA), (HAIRSTYLES SERIES)
J.D OJEIKERE, B.1930 – 2014, NIGERIA

J.D Ojeikere is internationally renowned for his photographs of Nigerian hairstyles, archiving the diverse aesthetics and cultures that characterise his country. The thousands of images have become important anthropological and ethnographic resources. Over decades Ojeikere photographed hairstyles on the street, in offices and at parties, capturing their sculptural quality. “It was my intention,” he said, “to record moments of beauty and knowledge through the ephemeral fashions of the day.”

photo_07

AUGUST MEETING, 2013
ADOLPHUS OPARA, B.1981, NIGERIA

August Meeting is an event that brings Igbo women together. The gathering takes place every August and serves as a reunion for Igbo women living within and outside Nigeria. This is a strictly women-only event. Usually the women, mostly married, return to their matrimonial homes to re-connect with the people of that community. The essence of this annual homecoming is the active participation of Ndi-Igbo women in the sustainable development of their immediate society.

“It has always interested me, mainly because of the fashion aspect of it,” says Adolphus, “This is a time when women appear in their best attire and with their best hairstyles. Some of them even go as far as borrowing money to buy clothes so they can show off when they return home. I decided to make this series to commemorate this ceremonial annual event.”

Opara is known for his considered, respectful and inspired documentation of cultural phenomena in Nigeria — he has gained a reputation as one of the continent’s leading young photographers.”

The full collection is available to view at Theauctionroom.com

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Street Champs http://arikwings.com/?p=3604 http://arikwings.com/?p=3604#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:01:20 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3604 In advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 230 former street children from 19 countries, aged 13 to 17, were brought together in football’s spiritual home, Brazil, to compete in a unique tournament of their own — The Street Child World Cup. Words Larissa Clark Photography courtesy of Street Child If there’s a place everyone is talking about this year, it’s Brazil. Voted No. 1 ‘must-visit’ country of the year by Lonely Planet, all eyes are on the South American giant, which is pulling out all the stops in 2014. The world has of course been braced for the famous FIFA World Cup. However, for the first time, another football event, ‘Street Child World Cup’, found its home in Rio. Organised in partnership with Save The Children, Street Child World Cup is a global movement for street children. The ten-day championship of football matches comprises an arts festival and a global conference, which aims to put firmly on the international agenda the rights of street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to. In April 2014, 230 ‘Street Champions’ came together as nine girls’ teams and 15 boys’ teams from 19 countries to play in their own football tournament in one of the world’s most colourful and vibrant cities ­– the melting pot of dazzling extremes, 24-hour energy and richly diverse cultures that is Rio de Janeiro. Andile is a ‘street champion’ of the tournament: “When people see us by the streets, they say that we are the street boys. But when they see us playing soccer, they say that we are not the street boys. They say that we are people like them. They are people like us.” David Beckham, a keen supporter of the Street Child World Cup, said of the event: “I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives, whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about.” The line-up of supporters was star-studded; as well it should be, for such a unique and inspiring sporting event. “This fantastic tournament shines a spotlight on the 100 million children around the world living on the streets. It unites them and gives them a global platform to be heard,” enthused Prince William, also the President of the Football Association. Both Pope Francis and social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined a chorus of A-list patrons backing the A to Z of teams from as far afield as Argentina and Zimbabwe. Archbishop Desmond Tutu publically urged all governments to guarantee the rights of street children, stressing that: “The Street Child World Cup demonstrates the tremendous potential of every single child, and especially street children, who are so often treated as less than human.” Together with Save The Children, Street Child World Cup is calling on governments, businesses and the wider community to invest in frontline responses, to legislate and implement policies that protect street children, and listen to street children themselves so that they are no longer threatened, blamed, ignored or victimised. The Grand Final The finals and closing ceremony took place at Fluminense’s iconic stadium, Estádio das Laranjeiras, situated at the foot of the iconic world-famous Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) Art Deco statue, and culminated with the Rio Rights Declaration. The declaration aims to secure lasting change for the children, ensuring that the tournament continues to be used as a platform for change once the participating players have returned to their own countries. The morning of the grand final was electric. The sun shone down into a stadium alive with a carnival vibe, complete with a live soundtrack provided by the Rio de Janeiro British School drummers and a very enthusiastic Team South Africa in the stands. Children from different countries sang each other’s songs in an atmosphere of openness and warmth, despite the competition. Eventually, the Brazil girls and Tanzania boys were the winners of the 2014 Street Child World Cup. The Brazilian girls team came out on top of a tightly contested game with the Philippines, edging it 1-0. Tanzania boys had a more straightforward game, overpowering their neighbours, Burundi, to win 3-1. After claiming the international title, Brazil player Claudeane said she thought winning the Street Child World Cup would help to put children at the forefront of the Brazilian public’s mind before the FIFA World Cup. “I think because Brazil have won this event, people will look more at children, and give them more attention and respect.” Throughout the tournament, a powerful symbol has been the image of Rodrigo Kelton, former captain of the Brazilian boys’ team, who was murdered by drug gangsters on his 14th birthday in Fortaleza weeks ahead of kick-off. With the Brazil girls’ team crowned as champions, it was a strong reminder that behind the football, socialising and arts activities, there is a serious message, and organisers are confident that the event could lead to significant changes for street children around the world. Tanzania coach Suleiman Jabir was quick to call on governments to provide better provision of support to children around the world. He said: “We hope we can use this as a stepping stone, to help more children in Tanzania and to campaign to the government to pass policies to support children. But this isn’t just about Tanzania, it’s about children everywhere.” Tanzania Street Child Sports Association President Altaf Hirani praised all the children taking part for demonstrating their talents and exuberance throughout the tournament. “These children have shown what they can do if they are given opportunities, and the chance to flourish. The Street Child World Cup has been a great way to raise awareness of the global campaign to protect children.” The teams behind the teams The organisers partner with local charity groups in each of the 19 countries taking part in the tournament. These organisations are at the forefront of safeguarding the rights of street-connected children. The children selected […]

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street_05

In advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 230 former street children from 19 countries, aged 13 to 17, were brought together in football’s spiritual home, Brazil, to compete in a unique tournament of their own — The Street Child World Cup.

Words Larissa Clark Photography courtesy of Street Child

If there’s a place everyone is talking about this year, it’s Brazil. Voted No. 1 ‘must-visit’ country of the year by Lonely Planet, all eyes are on the South American giant, which is pulling out all the stops in 2014. The world has of course been braced for the famous FIFA World Cup. However, for the first time, another football event, ‘Street Child World Cup’, found its home in Rio.

Organised in partnership with Save The Children, Street Child World Cup is a global movement for street children. The ten-day championship of football matches comprises an arts festival and a global conference, which aims to put firmly on the international agenda the rights of street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to.

street_01

In April 2014, 230 ‘Street Champions’ came together as nine girls’ teams and 15 boys’ teams from 19 countries to play in their own football tournament in one of the world’s most colourful and vibrant cities ­– the melting pot of dazzling extremes, 24-hour energy and richly diverse cultures that is Rio de Janeiro.

Andile is a ‘street champion’ of the tournament: “When people see us by the streets, they say that we are the street boys. But when they see us playing soccer, they say that we are not the street boys. They say that we are people like them. They are people like us.” David Beckham, a keen supporter of the Street Child World Cup, said of the event: “I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives, whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about.”
The line-up of supporters was star-studded; as well it should be, for such a unique and inspiring sporting event. “This fantastic tournament shines a spotlight on the 100 million children around the world living on the streets. It unites them and gives them a global platform to be heard,” enthused Prince William, also the President of the Football Association.

Both Pope Francis and social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined a chorus of A-list patrons backing the A to Z of teams from as far afield as Argentina and Zimbabwe. Archbishop Desmond Tutu publically urged all governments to guarantee the rights of street children, stressing that: “The Street Child World Cup demonstrates the tremendous potential of every single child, and especially street children, who are so often treated as less than human.”

street_02

Together with Save The Children, Street Child World Cup is calling on governments, businesses and the wider community to invest in frontline responses, to legislate and implement policies that protect street children, and listen to street children themselves so that they are no longer threatened, blamed, ignored or victimised.

The Grand Final

The finals and closing ceremony took place at Fluminense’s iconic stadium, Estádio das Laranjeiras, situated at the foot of the iconic world-famous Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) Art Deco statue, and culminated with the Rio Rights Declaration. The declaration aims to secure lasting change for the children, ensuring that the tournament continues to be used as a platform for change once the participating players have returned to their own countries.

The morning of the grand final was electric. The sun shone down into a stadium alive with a carnival vibe, complete with a live soundtrack provided by the Rio de Janeiro British School drummers and a very enthusiastic Team South Africa in the stands.

Children from different countries sang each other’s songs in an atmosphere of openness and warmth, despite the competition. Eventually, the Brazil girls and Tanzania boys were the winners of the 2014 Street Child World Cup. The Brazilian girls team came out on top of a tightly contested game with the Philippines, edging it 1-0. Tanzania boys had a more straightforward game, overpowering their neighbours, Burundi, to win 3-1.
After claiming the international title, Brazil player Claudeane said she thought winning the Street Child World Cup would help to put children at the forefront of the Brazilian public’s mind before the FIFA World Cup. “I think because Brazil have won this event, people will look more at children, and give them more attention and respect.”

Throughout the tournament, a powerful symbol has been the image of Rodrigo Kelton, former captain of the Brazilian boys’ team, who was murdered by drug gangsters on his 14th birthday in Fortaleza weeks ahead of kick-off. With the Brazil girls’ team crowned as champions, it was a strong reminder that behind the football, socialising and arts activities, there is a serious message, and organisers are confident that the event could lead to significant changes for street children around the world.

Tanzania coach Suleiman Jabir was quick to call on governments to provide better provision of support to children around the world. He said: “We hope we can use this as a stepping stone, to help more children in Tanzania and to campaign to the government to pass policies to support children. But this isn’t just about Tanzania, it’s about children everywhere.”

Tanzania Street Child Sports Association President Altaf Hirani praised all the children taking part for demonstrating their talents and exuberance throughout the tournament. “These children have shown what they can do if they are given opportunities, and the chance to flourish. The Street Child World Cup has been a great way to raise awareness of the global campaign to protect children.”

street_03

The teams behind the teams

The organisers partner with local charity groups in each of the 19 countries taking part in the tournament. These organisations are at the forefront of safeguarding the rights of street-connected children. The children selected to take part are considered the best examples of having been away from the streets for the longest, and with this in mind, they become ‘street champions’ to other children at their projects and to other children on the streets.
In Liberia, we caught up with Mark Maughan of the newly established NGO Street Child Of Liberia, which aims to help get children off the streets and back in to the family homes and education. “The charity helped form Team Liberia, a squad of nine boys who travelled to Brazil to take part in the football tournament,” said Mark. He introduced Liberia’s main striker, Daniel Nimleh Bowdior, who said: “It means a lot to be in Brazil, I never thought I would be here. It makes me feel so happy to represent my country and Street Child Of Liberia, for this I want to say thank you for this support.”

street_05

Daniel’s life has changed dramatically over the last six months, from living on the streets of Monrovia, to being helped back in to school, then participating in the Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Nicknamed ‘D’ by his teammates, Team Liberia’s main goal threat Daniel finished as the third-highest scorer at the global event with seven goals — a future star for the FIFA World Cup, perhaps?

“Daniel has grown in confidence throughout the tournament,” said Mark of the promising young striker. “At first, he could only really be described as awkward, finding it difficult to engage in activities other than football, such as group discussions, artwork and dance. But now, his confidence is flourishing.” Daniel agrees: “I love football because I can express myself better, I am free to play how I want and it helps me forget about other problems.”

street_04

Over the ten-day trip, it’s clear that Daniel has taken onboard the message that the tournament is ultimately attempting to get across – that each and every child, whether they live on the streets or not, is important, that they are somebody.

Between arriving in Rio and his departure, it’s plain to see how happy the experience has made Daniel. He started to relax after meeting people from all over the world, and making so many friends who have faced the same difficulties as him. For him, the highlight of the visit to Brazil was the tour around the favela Vidigal, where he showed off his basketball skills learned from watching game highlights on the community television in Liberia. Like all 16 year olds, he was rarely seen without his headphones, and his rhythmic West African beats were the start of more than one group dance-off.

Daniel, like so many of the children participating in this event, has a much brighter future ahead of him. He plans to finish his studies and use the experience of Brazil and the Street Child World Cup to set him on his way to a good career and promising future.

To help children like Daniel to a life of opportunities, pledge support for the Street Child World Cup at www.streetchildworldcup.org or make a donation to British charity Street Child, which run projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia via www.street-child.co.uk.

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Chef’s Special http://arikwings.com/?p=3615 http://arikwings.com/?p=3615#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:01:00 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3615 For diners looking for a unique culinary experience, chef’s tables can be found across London in sommelier’s dens, busy hotel Michelin-starred restaurants, and tucked inside humble hot dog and tapas eateries. Words Rocky Casale By definition, a chef’s table is billed as one of the most exclusive meal experiences attainable. They are the kind of dining events reserved for discerning guests, who pay not only to be privy to an audience with the chef, but to also be seated in front of the buzz and jolt of a kitchen to witness all the comings and goings, and frenzied activities of some of the finest cooks in the world. Almost half of the pomp of these dining experiences is the table itself; usually accommodating a limited number of guests, and sometimes elevated above a dining hall, tucked away in the basement of a world-renowned wine cellar, or boxed in an opaque glass cube so that the feel of exclusivity is unavoidably palpable to both guests and non-guests alike. At chef’s tables, the food is top notch, the wine flows liberally, and the attention to every detail is next to none. Yet there is something in it for the chef, too. It’s an opportunity for them to not only test the extent of their culinary acumen up close, but also to offer the world’s finest ingredients and wines and watch guests at the table in front of them swoon and cheer. It’s an expensive show-and-tell that many chefs, such as Chef Yoshi of UMU in Mayfair, pull out all the stops for. “The chef’s table at UMU allows diners to witness a rare freshness,” says Chef Yoshi. “It’s where our specialist chefs can demonstrate their techniques and interact with guests on the most personal level.” UMU Best for: Top-notch Japanese cuisine Chef Yoshi of Mayfair’s Japanese restaurant, UMU, is a mildly obsessive perfectionist when it comes to serving up his beautiful seven-course Kaiseki tasting menu at his chef’s table. At this Michelin-starred restaurant, Chef Yoshi endeavours to source authentic Japanese produce and fish from Britain’s back yard, which isn’t always an easy standard to uphold. Line-caught fish, squid and other delicacies like baby squid are shipped daily to the restaurant, and organic Japanese vegetables and herbs are raised and harvested from the Nama Yasai farm in East Sussex. Even the caviar, which finds its way generously sprinkled atop most dishes, comes from a British Farm in Exmoor. Half the delight of eating here is knowing that the most delicate Japanese flavours, an alchemy of sorts, are constructed with ingredients, like wild Welsh Eel, procured right here in England. Of course, there is a fabulous wine and sake menu, too, with a seasonal sommelier selection of tipples such as Dewazakura, Izumijudan, Ginjo from Japan’s Yamagata prefecture. Average price for two, £230 plus VAT and service charge +44 (0) 20 7499 8881 www.umurestaurant.com Bravas Best for: Tapas by the Thames The new chef’s counter at Bravas, a stylish tapas restaurant in St. Katherine Docks, is one of the hottest tickets in town. If you can, get a seat at the restaurant’s handmade marble countertop inspired by Japanese sushi bars, and spend time getting to know Chef Victor Garvey’s simplistic yet essential dining menu. Start with one of Bravas’ artisanal snacks, like marinated Cantabrian white anchovies, and wash their briny taste down with Spanish-themed cocktails, like their passion fruit, Cava and mint concoction designed by George Matzaridis, formerly of Hakkasan. There is also an ample beer and wine list, but the main reason for coming here is, of course, the tapas. You can sit and watch Chef Garvey plan a tasting of some of the finest nibbles, or take initiative to plan your own tasting of bits like crispy foie gras stuffed quail or oyster fritura with sherry, wild spinach, toasted mushrooms and caviar. Items on the raw bar appear and vanish, depending on the season and local availability. Average price for two, £180 plus VAT and service charge +44 (0) 20 7481 1464 www.bravas.co.uk Helene Darroze at the Connaught Best for: Wine enthusiasts Helen Darroze’s chef’s table at The Connaught Hotel is perfect for both those who appreciate and worship good wine. The culinary experience here happens at the restaurant’s exclusive Sommelier’s Table, situated beneath the Connaught’s legendary kitchens. Accommodating up to eight people, guests dine overlooking a collection of some 6,000 vintage wines inside a cool limestone-clad cellar. Chef Darroze, a two-Michelin-starred chef, prepares a menu that celebrates the tastes and textures of each season. Guests are presented with the menu in a unique format, with each of the tasting menu’s 12 ‘products’ labeled on a marble ball on a traditional mahogany solitaire board. The menu is chosen by placing the chosen balls on the board and discarding the others, allowing the kitchen team to create a bespoke menu. Add to this culinary whimsy a daily- changing roster of starters and desserts, and prepare yourself for a rollicking lunch or dinner. Average price for two, £300 plus VAT and service charge +44 (0) 207 7107 8880 www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-restaurants/helene-darroze Kitchen Table Best for: Luxury comfort food The 19-seat Kitchen Table is lead by Chef James Knappett, who previously worked in the likes of highfalutin’ eateries The Ledbury and Noma. Now at the helm of his own smart chef’s table, which is hidden behind a small door of Bubbledog’s single- estate champagne and hotdog dining room, the menu is comforting, familiar, and doesn’t alienate; with foam, tapioca and other nonsense to jazz up perfectly fresh ingredients. By the chef’s side is his wife, Sandia Chang, who is the restaurant’s sommelier, and who has a passion for pairing meals with pours from organic, or biodynamic single-estate and small-batch producers. The 12 to 14 course menu can be considered contemporary English fare. Chef Knappett, and the occasional guest chef, build flavoursome dishes using only locally sourced British products from regional farmers, bakers and fishmongers. Please note that all reservations are only taken through email: kitchentable@bubbledogs.co.uk; or online. Average price for […]

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For diners looking for a unique culinary experience, chef’s tables can be found across London in sommelier’s dens, busy hotel Michelin-starred restaurants, and tucked inside humble hot dog and tapas eateries.

Words Rocky Casale

By definition, a chef’s table is billed as one of the most exclusive meal experiences attainable. They are the kind of dining events reserved for discerning guests, who pay not only to be privy to an audience with the chef, but to also be seated in front of the buzz and jolt of a kitchen to witness all the comings and goings, and frenzied activities of some of the finest cooks in the world. Almost half of the pomp of these dining experiences is the table itself; usually accommodating a limited number of guests, and sometimes elevated above a dining hall, tucked away in the basement of a world-renowned wine cellar, or boxed in an opaque glass cube so that the feel of exclusivity is unavoidably palpable to both guests and non-guests alike. At chef’s tables, the food is top notch, the wine flows liberally, and the attention to every detail is next to none.
Yet there is something in it for the chef, too. It’s an opportunity for them to not only test the extent of their culinary acumen up close, but also to offer the world’s finest ingredients and wines and watch guests at the table in front of them swoon and cheer. It’s an expensive show-and-tell that many chefs, such as Chef Yoshi of UMU in Mayfair, pull out all the stops for. “The chef’s table at UMU allows diners to witness a rare freshness,” says Chef Yoshi. “It’s where our specialist chefs can demonstrate their techniques and interact with guests on the most personal level.”

umu

UMU
Best for: Top-notch Japanese cuisine

Chef Yoshi of Mayfair’s Japanese restaurant, UMU, is a mildly obsessive perfectionist when it comes to serving up his beautiful seven-course Kaiseki tasting menu at his chef’s table. At this Michelin-starred restaurant, Chef Yoshi endeavours to source authentic Japanese produce and fish from Britain’s back yard, which isn’t always an easy standard to uphold. Line-caught fish, squid and other delicacies like baby squid are shipped daily to the restaurant, and organic Japanese vegetables and herbs are raised and harvested from the Nama Yasai farm in East Sussex. Even the caviar, which finds its way generously sprinkled atop most dishes, comes from a British Farm in Exmoor. Half the delight of eating here is knowing that the most delicate Japanese flavours, an alchemy of sorts, are constructed with ingredients, like wild Welsh Eel, procured right here in England.

Of course, there is a fabulous wine and sake menu, too, with a seasonal sommelier selection of tipples such as Dewazakura, Izumijudan, Ginjo from Japan’s Yamagata prefecture.
Average price for two, £230 plus VAT and service charge
+44 (0) 20 7499 8881
www.umurestaurant.com

Bravas Tapas Pictures Adrian Lourie www.adrianlourie.co.uk 07804906540

Bravas
Best for: Tapas by the Thames

The new chef’s counter at Bravas, a stylish tapas restaurant in St. Katherine Docks, is one of the hottest tickets in town. If you can, get a seat at the restaurant’s handmade marble countertop inspired by Japanese sushi bars, and spend time getting to know Chef Victor Garvey’s simplistic yet essential dining menu. Start with one of Bravas’ artisanal snacks, like marinated Cantabrian white anchovies, and wash their briny taste down with Spanish-themed cocktails, like their passion fruit, Cava and mint concoction designed by George Matzaridis, formerly of Hakkasan. There is also an ample beer and wine list, but the main reason for coming here is, of course, the tapas.

You can sit and watch Chef Garvey plan a tasting of some of the finest nibbles, or take initiative to plan your own tasting of bits like crispy foie gras stuffed quail or oyster fritura with sherry, wild spinach, toasted mushrooms and caviar. Items on the raw bar appear and vanish, depending on the season and local availability.
Average price for two, £180 plus VAT and service charge
+44 (0) 20 7481 1464
www.bravas.co.uk

HeleneDarroze

Helene Darroze at the Connaught
Best for: Wine enthusiasts

Helen Darroze’s chef’s table at The Connaught Hotel is perfect for both those who appreciate and worship good wine. The culinary experience here happens at the restaurant’s exclusive Sommelier’s Table, situated beneath the Connaught’s legendary kitchens. Accommodating up to eight people, guests dine overlooking a collection of some 6,000 vintage wines inside a cool limestone-clad cellar. Chef Darroze, a two-Michelin-starred chef, prepares a menu that celebrates the tastes and textures of each season. Guests are presented with the menu in a unique format, with each of the tasting menu’s 12 ‘products’ labeled on a marble ball on a traditional mahogany solitaire board. The menu is chosen by placing the chosen balls on the board and discarding the others, allowing the kitchen team to create a bespoke menu. Add to this culinary whimsy a daily- changing roster of starters and desserts, and prepare yourself for a rollicking lunch or dinner.
Average price for two, £300 plus VAT and service charge
+44 (0) 207 7107 8880
www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-restaurants/helene-darroze

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

Kitchen Table
Best for: Luxury comfort food

The 19-seat Kitchen Table is lead by Chef James Knappett, who previously worked in the likes of highfalutin’ eateries The Ledbury and Noma. Now at the helm of his own smart chef’s table, which is hidden behind a small door of Bubbledog’s single- estate champagne and hotdog dining room, the menu is comforting, familiar, and doesn’t alienate; with foam, tapioca and other nonsense to jazz up perfectly fresh ingredients. By the chef’s side is his wife, Sandia Chang, who is the restaurant’s sommelier, and who has a passion for pairing meals with pours from organic, or biodynamic single-estate and small-batch producers. The 12 to 14 course menu can be considered contemporary English fare. Chef Knappett, and the occasional guest chef, build flavoursome dishes using only locally sourced British products from regional farmers, bakers and fishmongers. Please note that all reservations are only taken through email: kitchentable@bubbledogs.co.uk; or online.
Average price for two, £156 plus VAT and service charge
+44 (0) 207 6377 770
www.kitchentablelondon.co.uk

marcus

Marcus
Best for: Theatrical dining

To experience the chef’s table at the two-Michelin-starred Marcus is almost like sitting in the best box seats at a theatre and watching a story unfold. The table, which seats up to ten and has a minimum requirement of eight guests for service, is a raised entertaining space that opens directly onto the main dining room. From here, guests can engage with the Chefs with ease, and still feel like they’re in their own private restaurant, as the space is divided from the main dining room by an opaque glass screen. Head chef Mark and sommelier Michael Deschamps build an eight-course dinner menu around guest’s dietary requirements; the  offerings change daily and seasonally and are typically followed with cheese or chocolate tastings, and coffee or tea. The menu is fine British fare, with regional delicacies like Dorset snails or Lake District lamb appearing on Chef Mark’s exquisite-tasting menu.
Average price for two, £300 plus VAT and service charge
+44 (0)207 2351 200
www.the-berkeley.co.uk/knightsbridge-restaurants/marcus-wareing

—————

Digital Dining
Dishy downloads for London-bound foodies

APP: Lime and Tonic

This handy culinary app defines itself as a sort of social concierge that alerts smartphone users to check out the latest pop-up restaurants at hotels or private homes, some with literary gimmickry (the murder-mystery dinner club, for example), or regionally themed menus that take you to Provence and back.

WEBSITE: Disappearing Dining Club

After 15 years of running London bars, restaurants and private members clubs, Stuart Langley launched DDC, a service that he says, “brings like-minded people together to enjoy great food, drink and good company in private and unusual spaces.” Check in with their web site to explore some of the capital’s most unique culinary experiences.

Twitter: #LondonPopups

Those who live and operate by the whims of the social medium Twitter will appreciate LondonPopups for up-to-the-minute news about when and where to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails at temporary bars and restaurants across the capital. With over 30,000 followers, it’s one of the most favourited food news sources on Twitter today.

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Gallivanter http://arikwings.com/?p=3625 http://arikwings.com/?p=3625#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:00:38 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3625 Beyond Nollywood September 20—21 London Today Nigerian filmmakers are determined to recapture the image of their country for international audiences. Screening at world film festivals, their work has wowed audiences with style, storytelling and ideas. Inspired by the launch of Nadia Denton’s guide for Nigerian filmmakers, BFI Southbank is launching an exciting weekend of talks, screenings and networking, in association with Arik Air. Beyond Nollywood will showcase the work of new Nigerian filmmakers, at home and abroad, who are determined to confront the issues of the past in a cinema for the 21st Century. This event promises to be a fantastic experience, hence the advance notice. https://whatson.bfi.org.uk Notting Hill Carnival August 24—25 London Londoners are a famously reserved lot, more used to avoiding each other’s eyes on the tube than dancing with strangers; but for two days in August, everything changes. London is transformed into a city of party-hearty carousers. It’s the biggest party not just in London, nor the UK, but in Europe, and millions of Londoners and plenty of tourists let their hair down, come rain or shine. And shine the carnival does, with astounding parades featuring around 50,000 performers that prepare year-round to dazzle crowds with thumping beats, intricate costumes, and the kind of dancing that makes the crowd stomp their feet and shake their bums in unison. After the parades there are hundreds of sound systems that turn the air thick with music, playing everything from frenetic electronic music to easy 60s ska – Diplo to Desmond Dekker, and everything in between. It’s impossible for anyone to even think about staying home during the Notting Hill Carnival, and very few do, with an estimated 2.5 million people attending Sunday’s Children’s Day and Monday’s Adult Day festivities. With all the crowds and raucous merriment, it’s best to bring only the essentials: comfortable trainers, water, cash, and your mobile phone. Other handy tips are to have a pre-arranged meeting point in case you or your friends get lost, and make sure to refuel throughout the day if you’re planning on cracking open yet another can of Red Stripe. It’s not hard to do, with delicious street food stalls on every corner selling jerk chicken, patties, rice and peas and a whole range of food from around the globe. Prepare to eat, drink, and dance your way through the August Bank Holiday with a million new friends. More information, including maps and other practical tips, can be found online at: thenottinghillcarnival.com Osun Festival August 23—30 Osogbo The week-long Osun Festival celebrates an Orisha goddess whose counterpart is found in mythologies around the globe: the goddess of love and fertility. In this particular culture, she manifests as the goddess of the River Osun, which is why a highlight of the festival includes a specially selected virgin heading a procession to the river carrying offerings like flowers and sacred objects to the goddess. The procession also lights 16 lamps that burn through the night, casting its golden light into the shadows and making this a beautiful, unmissable sight. Because it is one of the most important religious festivals in Orisha, the traditional Yoruba religion, the atmosphere is solemn. There’s a joyful mood in the air, though, which reaches its peak at a huge festival on the last day. Plan ahead, accommodation in Osogbo can be scarce. tours.logbaby.com/osunosogbo Dakar Fashion Week June 17—22 Dakar When most people think of fashion, they think of cities like London, Paris, or Milan, which is precisely why designer Adama Paris founded Dakar Fashion Week in 2002. Now in its 12th year, Dakar Fashion Week allows designers from Senegal, the rest of West Africa, and as far away as Brazil and Germany to showcase their designs. The catwalk shows are traditionally held in a variety of locations around Dakar, including one show last year that took place in a marketplace in a dusty suburb, which, in Adama Paris’ own words, shows “that beautiful things are not only for rich people.” That being said, it’s definitely an aspirational affair, with beautiful garments and sleek designs from Adama Paris herself and up to 20 other designers showing. Alongside the shows, there are music and arts events, and parties galore around the city. dakarfashionweek.com Taste Of London Festival June 18—22 London Surprisingly, London has surpassed Paris as Europe’s foodie destination of choice, and the Taste Of London Festival is the best way to sample the best of the most innovative culinary scene at accessible prices. Visitors can eat at pop-up versions of hundreds of London restaurants, including Bar Boulud, Le Gavroche, MEATliquor, and Tamarind Mayfair, whet their whistles at the pop-up bars hosted by the best wine and beer makers in the country, and enjoy an enormous range of food from 200+ artisan producers and premium food brands. There are live demonstrations by star chefs, including Michel Roux Jr and René Redzepi, hands-on cooking sessions, and Masterclasses in everything from sushi and sake to champagne. A range of ticket packages are available from £24 (which includes entry and access to masterclasses, theatres, and demonstrations) all the way to the most expensive, the £95 Mahiki package, which grants priority entry, access to the Mahiki Cocktail Bar, a cocktail masterclass, celebrity DJs and other entertainment, plus entrance to the Mahiki nightclub. London.tastefestivals.com World Oceans Day June 8 2014 We love the new ocean-inspired designer T-shirt collection in aid of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF)’s work in West Africa. EJF have teamed up with four UK designers — Emma Cook, The Rodnik Band, Patternity and Oliver Proudlock’s Serge DeNimes — to protect West African waters from illegal pirate fishing. The T-shirts are ethically and sustainably sourced. 100 per cent of profits goes to EJF’s Save The Sea campaign, so you can feel good about your shirt. EJF works to protect marine wildlife in Sierra Leone and Liberia by working directly with coastal communities to end illegal pirate fishing. Marine turtles and sharks are facing growing threats from targeted fishing fuelled by trade of […]

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]]>
nadia_denton

Beyond Nollywood
September 20—21
London

Today Nigerian filmmakers are determined to recapture the image of their country for international audiences. Screening at world film festivals, their work has wowed audiences with style, storytelling and ideas. Inspired by the launch of Nadia Denton’s guide for Nigerian filmmakers, BFI Southbank is launching an exciting weekend of talks, screenings and networking, in association with Arik Air. Beyond Nollywood will showcase the work of new Nigerian filmmakers, at home and abroad, who are determined to confront the issues of the past in a cinema for the 21st Century. This event promises to be a fantastic experience, hence the advance notice.
https://whatson.bfi.org.uk

notting_hill

Notting Hill Carnival
August 24—25
London

Londoners are a famously reserved lot, more used to avoiding each other’s eyes on the tube than dancing with strangers; but for two days in August, everything changes. London is transformed into a city of party-hearty carousers. It’s the biggest party not just in London, nor the UK, but in Europe, and millions of Londoners and plenty of tourists let their hair down, come rain or shine. And shine the carnival does, with astounding parades featuring around 50,000 performers that prepare year-round to dazzle crowds with thumping beats, intricate costumes, and the kind of dancing that makes the crowd stomp their feet and shake their bums in unison. After the parades there are hundreds of sound systems that turn the air thick with music, playing everything from frenetic electronic music to easy 60s ska – Diplo to Desmond Dekker, and everything in between.

It’s impossible for anyone to even think about staying home during the Notting Hill Carnival, and very few do, with an estimated 2.5 million people attending Sunday’s Children’s Day and Monday’s Adult Day festivities. With all the crowds and raucous merriment, it’s best to bring only the essentials: comfortable trainers, water, cash, and your mobile phone. Other handy tips are to have a pre-arranged meeting point in case you or your friends get lost, and make sure to refuel throughout the day if you’re planning on cracking open yet another can of Red Stripe. It’s not hard to do, with delicious street food stalls on every corner selling jerk chicken, patties, rice and peas and a whole range of food from around the globe. Prepare to eat, drink, and dance your way through the August Bank Holiday with a million new friends. More information, including maps and other practical tips, can be found online at:
thenottinghillcarnival.com

osun

Osun Festival
August 23—30
Osogbo

The week-long Osun Festival celebrates an Orisha goddess whose counterpart is found in mythologies around the globe: the goddess of love and fertility. In this particular culture, she manifests as the goddess of the River Osun, which is why a highlight of the festival includes a specially selected virgin heading a procession to the river carrying offerings like flowers and sacred objects to the goddess. The procession also lights 16 lamps that burn through the night, casting its golden light into the shadows and making this a beautiful, unmissable sight.
Because it is one of the most important religious festivals in Orisha, the traditional Yoruba religion, the atmosphere is solemn. There’s a joyful mood in the air, though, which reaches its peak at a huge festival on the last day. Plan ahead, accommodation in Osogbo can be scarce.
tours.logbaby.com/osunosogbo

dakar_fashion

Dakar Fashion Week
June 17—22
Dakar

When most people think of fashion, they think of cities like London, Paris, or Milan, which is precisely why designer Adama Paris founded Dakar Fashion Week in 2002. Now in its 12th year, Dakar Fashion Week allows designers from Senegal, the rest of West Africa, and as far away as Brazil and Germany to showcase their designs. The catwalk shows are traditionally held in a variety of locations around Dakar, including one show last year that took place in a marketplace in a dusty suburb, which, in Adama Paris’ own words, shows “that beautiful things are not only for rich people.” That being said, it’s definitely an aspirational affair, with beautiful garments and sleek designs from Adama Paris herself and up to 20 other designers showing. Alongside the shows, there are music and arts events, and parties galore around the city.
dakarfashionweek.com

Taste London Momo Iceberg Bar, Secret Garden Photograph by Sam Frost

Taste Of London Festival
June 18—22
London

Surprisingly, London has surpassed Paris as Europe’s foodie destination of choice, and the Taste Of London Festival is the best way to sample the best of the most innovative culinary scene at accessible prices. Visitors can eat at pop-up versions of hundreds of London restaurants, including Bar Boulud, Le Gavroche, MEATliquor, and Tamarind Mayfair, whet their whistles at the pop-up bars hosted by the best wine and beer makers in the country, and enjoy an enormous range of food from 200+ artisan producers and premium food brands. There are live demonstrations by star chefs, including Michel Roux Jr and René Redzepi, hands-on cooking sessions, and Masterclasses in everything from sushi and sake
to champagne.

A range of ticket packages are available from £24 (which includes entry and access to masterclasses, theatres, and demonstrations) all the way to the most expensive, the £95 Mahiki package, which grants priority entry, access to the Mahiki Cocktail Bar, a cocktail masterclass, celebrity DJs and other entertainment, plus entrance to the Mahiki nightclub.
London.tastefestivals.com

Designer Philip Colbert and the 'Cod Save The Sea' Vest.The Rodn

World Oceans Day
June 8 2014

We love the new ocean-inspired designer T-shirt collection in aid of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF)’s work in West Africa. EJF have teamed up with four UK designers — Emma Cook, The Rodnik Band, Patternity and Oliver Proudlock’s Serge DeNimes — to protect West African waters from illegal pirate fishing.
The T-shirts are ethically and sustainably sourced. 100 per cent of profits goes to EJF’s Save The Sea campaign, so you can feel good about your shirt.

EJF works to protect marine wildlife in Sierra Leone and Liberia by working directly with coastal communities to end illegal pirate fishing. Marine turtles and sharks are facing growing threats from targeted fishing fuelled by trade of fins and meat, and from incidental capture by both industrial trawlers and artisanal fisheries.
EJF’s work in West Africa has been supported by Johnny Depp, Katharine Hamnett and David Gandy, among many others, helping raise awareness of the need to protect our global oceans. Save The Sea T-shirt designs are available on 8 June at just-for.co.uk. For more information visit the website.
worldoceansday.org

—————————

Calling All Filmmakers
Be part of the fourth edition of AFRIFF

The fourth African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) will take place at Tinapa, Calabar in Cross River State, Nigeria from the 9th—11th November 2014, and it’s on the lookout for groundbreaking films.
AFRIFF is a platform that seeks to give expression to African cinema by recognising and rewarding excellence in the industry.

Eligible films must have been produced after January 1, 2013 and preference will be given to films which are yet to be screened globally or in Africa. Categories for entry include Feature, Short, Documentary and Animation, with monetary award prizes ranging from $3000—$6000.

The deadline dates for receipt of entry are the 13th of June 2014 for short films and 30th of June 2014 for feature-length films.

Filmmakers who wish to have their film considered for the 4th Africa International Film Festival should include a DVD copy of the film, plus a synopsis and/or press kit.Entry guidelines can be found on the website www.africafilmfest.org as well as their facebook pages www.facebook.com/AfricaFilmFest, and www.facebook.com/groups/AfricafilmFest.

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Perfect Rest http://arikwings.com/?p=3637 http://arikwings.com/?p=3637#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 16:59:51 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3637 From pillow menus to sleep-inspiring podcasts and snacks to help you unwind, hotels are offering special services and amenities to encourage guests to get a better night’s sleep. Words Emma Forrest The more we travel, the more savvy we become about what to expect from a hotel, from high-tech entertainment systems to mood lighting. But the latest big trend offers up the most fundamental of hotel experiences: a great night’s sleep. “It’s up to hotels to look at new ways to attract guests,” says Allan Clingham, general manager of Johannesburg’s Crowne Plaza Rosebank hotel. “In particular, it is important that they are aware of growing trends such as the development of sleep research and the effect that this may have on their core business. When today’s business traveller says they are looking for somewhere to sleep, it means a whole lot more than it did 20 years ago.” Worldwide, hotels are looking for ways to make their rooms into sleep-inducing havens. A team from the Westin hotel chain dedicated a year to developing the ‘Heavenly Bed’, filling a hotel ballroom with 50 beds from 35 hotels and testing them until they’d built what they thought was the ultimate hotel bed, with a custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, down blanket, a duvet, three sheets and five pillows. Within five years, they had also sold more than 4,000 beds to guests. The trend for developing a custom bed is just one of the signs that hotels are taking their guests’ rest seriously. From pillow menus to food designed to help guests get a deliciously deep sleep, here’s our pick of the hotels that aim to specialise in snooze. Sleep Ingredients JW Marriott Essex House, New York You’ll get a different sleep-enhancing treat every night of your stay as part of JW Marriott’s ‘Nightly Refresh’ programme, when you stay at Central Park Hotel Essex House. The upmarket hotel group has developed a set of amenities that are left for guests as part of the turndown service, including a series of chocolates created in partnership with Astor Chocolates, which feature snooze-inspiring ingredients including lavender and a dark chocolate ‘Dream Bar’ developed by nutritionist Keri Glassman. The bar is packed with relaxing serotonin-releasing oats, healthy almonds and antioxidant-packed blueberries to help restore your body after you’ve gone to sleep. Punsomely enough, guests in the superior rooms are treated to the ‘Wine Down’ wine-tasting service. Any guests still feeling bleary-eyed after their wake-up call can perk themselves up for the day by showering with Aromatherapy Associates Revive Oil’s uplifting blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper berry essential oils. From $251 www.marriott.com Beauty Sleep Bryant Park, New York Twice a year, Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan is the home to New York’s buzzing Fashion week. This boutique hotel – which overlooks Bryant Park – hosts glittering parties and is home to exhausted fashion editors. And if they’re looking for somewhere to recharge their batteries after a long day dashing between catwalk shows, then they’ve come to the right place; Bryant Park Hotel’s rooms each boast an Obusforme Sound Therapy Machine, which is designed to encourage guests to have a good night’s sleep. Guests pick from one of several soothing natural sounds – including the sound forests, water trickling along a brook and the crash of ocean waves – which the machine plays on a loop, obscuring the sounds of the city and creating a white noise that allows them to drift off to sleep. Blackout curtains and eye masks cut out the light. Also, if the machines don’t work for you, there are complementary ear-plugs on offer. From $295 www.bryantparkhotel.com Pillow Talk The Benjamin, New York This New York hotel has a dedicated sleep concierge and sleep team who are on call to help guests get into healthy sleep habits. The hotel’s ‘Rest and Renew’ programme was developed by sleep expert Rebecca Robbins, author of ‘Sleep For Success’, who trained the entire staff on the ‘Golden Keys for Sleep’ so any of them can give guests tips on how to get a great night’s shuteye. It was the first hotel to offer a pillow menu with ten options – including the Anti-Snore, Water-filled and Five-foot Body Cushion — designed to work according to whether the guest sleeps on their side, back or stomach. The hotel also offers a ‘Work Down’ call to remind guests to power down their phones, laptops and tablets, ‘Bedtime Bites’ by The National restaurant are designed to stave off heavy midnight feasts before bedtime, and a series of Power Nap amenities including eye mask, aromatherapy temple treatment and naptime turndown are on offer. From $309 www.thebenjamin.com Do Not Disturb Crowne Plaza Rosebank Johannesburg As a hotel largely catering for business travellers, the Crowne Plaza Rosebank in Johannesburg takes the business of sleep very seriously. It’s one of the hotels in the Crowne Plaza chain to offer the ‘Sleep Advantage’ program. Book into a Sleep Advantage room and you’ll find it located on the Quiet Zone floor, away from rooms occupied by children, the ice machine or lifts. Sunday to Thursday, there’s a ban on housekeeping noises that could disturb you between 9pm and 10am, and to give you peace of mind, your wake up call is on time, or your night is free. Guests also get a lavender pillow spray and eucalyptus pulse oil from the This Works aromatherapy range, as well as advice on how to get a better night’s rest from sleep expert, Dr Chris Idzikowski. His tips are left on a card at turndown, or alternatively can be downloaded as a podcast by hotel guests. From R1,200 www.therosebank.co.za Spa From The Madding Crowd Corintha Hotel, London Corinthia Hotel, London, has just launched its range of sleep services; there’s a soothing ‘Sleep Ritual’ treatment in the ESPA Life Spa that includes relaxing treatments to counter the negative effects of mobile and computer use, and the ‘Sleep Menu’ of wind-down dishes developed with nutritionist Jeannette Hyde, that use ingredients to help guests wind […]

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Sweet dreams

From pillow menus to sleep-inspiring podcasts and snacks to help you unwind, hotels are offering special services and amenities to encourage guests to get a better night’s sleep.

Words Emma Forrest

The more we travel, the more savvy we become about what to expect from a hotel, from high-tech entertainment systems to mood lighting. But the latest big trend offers up the most fundamental of hotel experiences: a great night’s sleep.

“It’s up to hotels to look at new ways to attract guests,” says Allan Clingham, general manager of Johannesburg’s Crowne Plaza Rosebank hotel. “In particular, it is important that they are aware of growing trends such as the development of sleep research and the effect that this may have on their core business. When today’s business traveller says they are looking for somewhere to sleep, it means a whole lot more than it did 20 years ago.”
Worldwide, hotels are looking for ways to make their rooms into sleep-inducing havens. A team from the Westin hotel chain dedicated a year to developing the ‘Heavenly Bed’, filling a hotel ballroom with 50 beds from 35 hotels and testing them until they’d built what they thought was the ultimate hotel bed, with a custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, down blanket, a duvet, three sheets and five pillows. Within five years, they had also sold more than 4,000 beds to guests. The trend for developing a custom bed is just one of the signs that hotels are taking their guests’ rest seriously. From pillow menus to food designed to help guests get a deliciously deep sleep, here’s our pick of the hotels that aim to specialise in snooze.
essexHouse

Sleep Ingredients
JW Marriott Essex House,
New York

You’ll get a different sleep-enhancing treat every night of your stay as part of JW Marriott’s ‘Nightly Refresh’ programme, when you stay at Central Park Hotel Essex House. The upmarket hotel group has developed a set of amenities that are left for guests as part of the turndown service, including a series of chocolates created in partnership with Astor Chocolates, which feature snooze-inspiring ingredients including lavender and a dark chocolate ‘Dream Bar’ developed by nutritionist Keri Glassman. The bar is packed with relaxing serotonin-releasing oats, healthy almonds and antioxidant-packed blueberries to help restore your body after you’ve gone to sleep. Punsomely enough, guests in the superior rooms are treated to the ‘Wine Down’ wine-tasting service.
Any guests still feeling bleary-eyed after their wake-up call can perk themselves up for the day by showering with Aromatherapy Associates Revive Oil’s uplifting blend of pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper berry essential oils.
From $251
www.marriott.com

Beauty Sleep
Bryant Park, New York

Twice a year, Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan is the home to New York’s buzzing Fashion week. This boutique hotel – which overlooks Bryant Park – hosts glittering parties and is home to exhausted fashion editors. And if they’re looking for somewhere to recharge their batteries after a long day dashing between catwalk shows, then they’ve come to the right place; Bryant Park Hotel’s rooms each boast an Obusforme Sound Therapy Machine, which is designed to encourage guests to have a good night’s sleep. Guests pick from one of several soothing natural sounds – including the sound forests, water trickling along a brook and the crash of ocean waves – which the machine plays on a loop, obscuring the sounds of the city and creating a white noise that allows them to drift off to sleep. Blackout curtains and eye masks cut out the light. Also, if the machines don’t work for you, there are complementary ear-plugs on offer.
From $295
www.bryantparkhotel.com
The Benjamin

Pillow Talk
The Benjamin, New York

This New York hotel has a dedicated sleep concierge and sleep team who are on call to help guests get into healthy sleep habits. The hotel’s ‘Rest and Renew’ programme was developed by sleep expert Rebecca Robbins, author of ‘Sleep For Success’, who trained the entire staff on the ‘Golden Keys for Sleep’ so any of them can give guests tips on how to get a great night’s shuteye. It was the first hotel to offer a pillow menu with ten options – including the Anti-Snore, Water-filled and Five-foot Body Cushion — designed to work according to whether the guest sleeps on their side, back or stomach. The hotel also offers a ‘Work Down’ call to remind guests to power down their phones, laptops and tablets, ‘Bedtime Bites’ by The National restaurant are designed to stave off heavy midnight feasts before bedtime, and a series of Power Nap amenities including eye mask, aromatherapy temple treatment and naptime turndown are on offer.
From $309
www.thebenjamin.com
CrownePlaza

Do Not Disturb
Crowne Plaza Rosebank Johannesburg

As a hotel largely catering for business travellers, the Crowne Plaza Rosebank in Johannesburg takes the business of sleep very seriously. It’s one of the hotels in the Crowne Plaza chain to offer the ‘Sleep Advantage’ program. Book into a Sleep Advantage room and you’ll find it located on the Quiet Zone floor, away from rooms occupied by children, the ice machine or lifts. Sunday to Thursday, there’s a ban on housekeeping noises that could disturb you between 9pm and 10am, and to give you peace of mind, your wake up call is on time, or your night is free. Guests also get a lavender pillow spray and eucalyptus pulse oil from the This Works aromatherapy range, as well as advice on how to get a better night’s rest from sleep expert, Dr Chris Idzikowski. His tips are left on a card at turndown, or alternatively can be downloaded as a podcast by hotel guests.
From R1,200
www.therosebank.co.za

Spa From The Madding Crowd
Corintha Hotel, London

Corinthia Hotel, London, has just launched its range of sleep services; there’s a soothing ‘Sleep Ritual’ treatment in the ESPA Life Spa that includes relaxing treatments to counter the negative effects of mobile and computer use, and the ‘Sleep Menu’ of wind-down dishes developed with nutritionist Jeannette Hyde, that use ingredients to help guests wind down with delicious snacks including Loch Var smoked salmon with baby spinach and rocket with walnut dressing, fruity fridge flapjacks and Horlicks milk with sunflower seed butter, banana, and pumpkin-seed cookies. Meanwhile, rooms are set up for the ultimate slumber with blackout blinds, soundproof walls, superlative beds and bed linen. Sign up for the ‘Sumptuous Sleep Retreat’ and you’ll also get a one-to-one sleep-coaching consultation with UK physiologist Dr Guy Meadows – though guests can also find his tips for good sleep on the hotel’s website.
From £315
www.corinthia.com/london

The Benjamin

Sleeping Tips
Three tips for a better rest anywhere

Advice from Rebecca Robbins, sleep consultant at New York hotel, The Benjamin

1 Turn the thermostat down and keep the bedroom cool. A room that is 65F is the best for rest. An overly warm room can disturb sleep and even cause nightmares.

2 Power down your computer, iPad or iPhone 90 minutes before bed. These devices emit blue daylight-spectrum light and can cause your body to become alert, in a manner similar to walking outside in the daylight.

3 Avoid the temptation to indulge in very rich meals or excessive alcohol. A heavy meal and more than one or two glasses of wine are enough to disrupt your sleep by keeping your body awake to digest these indulgences.

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For The Win http://arikwings.com/?p=3645 http://arikwings.com/?p=3645#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 16:58:51 +0000 http://arikwings.com/?p=3645 A satirical guide for Nigerian fans in the event of a superlative Super Eagles performance Words Tolu Ogunlesi On June 16, 2014, Nigeria will play its first match in the 2014 World Cup. At the Presidential Committee on a Superlative World Cup (PRECSUW-C) we firmly believe that this year’s performance by the Super Eagles will be unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria’s 20-year World Cup engagement; that we will witness a World Cup performance by our Super Eagles that will be the icing on the double-tiered cake of Nigeria’s Centenary celebrations and her occupation of her rightful place as the Economic Giant of Africa. In line with our dreams, and while of course realising that Nigeria’s major pitfall is the absence of a culture of proper advance planning, we are taking the steps to be proactive and to set out a series of comprehensive guidelines to ensure that when the World Cup begins its slow but steady journey home to Nigeria for the first time in history, we will be more than prepared as a nation. These guidelines have therefore been designed to make it easier for us all to celebrate our World Cup successes without the confusion and chaos typically associated with our great country. All queries, enquiries and sponsorship offers should be addressed to the Sole Administrator, PRECSUW-C, National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria. Guidelines Religious conduct In keeping with Nigeria’s status as one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of religious zeal, overt displays of religiosity are welcome – and indeed encouraged – before, during, and after all matches. All restrictions on urban noise levels will be relaxed during the World Cup to ensure that all our cries and prayers and supplications – amplified of course by loudspeakers – impact the desired targets at the desired decibels. Import duties on all items of prayer – beads, rosaries, crucifixes, anointing oils, handkerchiefs, divination stones – will be temporarily removed during the World Cup. All religious houses will be encouraged to keep their doors open 24/7 during the games. The purchase of television sets and viewing screens by religious houses will be heavily subsidised by the government. It shall be illegal to utter any negative prophecies regarding the performance of the Super Eagles team. If you must prophesy negatively, please direct them at Ghana, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon. Celebrations Every person or group of persons intending to throw a party to celebrate a 2014 Super Eagles World Cup victory shall need to apply to the Presidential Committee for registration. Applications must be accompanied by a N1,000 non-refundable deposit. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. All approved parties must be organised within a month from the date of the approval. No competing allegiances shall be tolerated at the venue of any celebration to honour the Victorious Super Eagles. In simple English: no items or chants or gestures related to European football leagues will be permitted at any celebration party, to avoid disturbing the spirit of unity that the Super Eagles represent. All offending fans will be duly punished, unless of course they are Manchester United fans – in which case they will be deemed to have suffered enough this season, and will therefore be let off with a warning. Painting cows and goats in national colours before subjecting them to the slaughter slab, and other such bad habits associated with Premier League fans, will not be tolerated in connection with the Super Eagles. Social media conduct The Federal Government will not tolerate the dissemination, via social media, of any material intended to demoralise the national team. Repeated flouting of this rule may lead to the declaration of a state of emergency on all social media platforms within Nigeria, until well after the 2014 World Cup. Upon the return of the Victorious Super Eagles to Nigeria, it shall be an offence for any citizen to attempt to engage in the generation or attempted generation of selfies with the players or the coaching crew. The selfie rights for the entire team will be sold to a competent and duly recognised marketing agency, which shall solely retain the rights for a period of five years from the date of the World Cup’s final match. The official hashtags for the celebration of all wins shall be as follows: #GodIsANigerian #BringBackOurTrophy #AmericaKnewWeWouldWin Merchandising It shall be deemed illegal to create, sell, market or distribute unlicensed merchandise that employs any or all of the proprietary branding assets (logos, trademarks, etc) of the Super Eagles, FIFA, or the Nigerian Government. In plain English, kindly immediately abandon any plans to launch a ‘Super Eagles’ brand of sachet water, or plantain chips. Any merchandise that flouts this rule will be confiscated, and the parties responsible for their conception, creation, sale, marketing and distribution will be made to face the full wrath of Nigerian lawlessness. Public holidays In the event of the Super Eagles qualifying for the semi-finals, the Federal Government will endeavor to declare two (2) days of public holiday for every one (1) goal scored in subsequent games. All businesses and employers of labour are enjoined to ensure that their staff – except those on essential duties – are not deprived of the mandatory holidays.

The post For The Win appeared first on Wings.

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Nigerian soccer ball
A satirical guide for Nigerian fans in the event of a superlative Super Eagles performance

Words Tolu Ogunlesi

On June 16, 2014, Nigeria will play its first match in the 2014 World Cup. At the Presidential Committee on a Superlative World Cup (PRECSUW-C) we firmly believe that this year’s performance by the Super Eagles will be unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria’s 20-year World Cup engagement; that we will witness a World Cup performance by our Super Eagles that will be the icing on the double-tiered cake of Nigeria’s Centenary celebrations and her occupation of her rightful place as the Economic Giant of Africa.

In line with our dreams, and while of course realising that Nigeria’s major pitfall is the absence of a culture of proper advance planning, we are taking the steps to be proactive and to set out a series of comprehensive guidelines to ensure that when the World Cup begins its slow but steady journey home to Nigeria for the first time in history, we will be more than prepared as a nation.

These guidelines have therefore been designed to make it easier for us all to celebrate our World Cup successes without the confusion and chaos typically associated with our great country.

All queries, enquiries and sponsorship offers should be addressed to the Sole Administrator, PRECSUW-C, National Stadium, Abuja, Nigeria.

Guidelines

Religious conduct

In keeping with Nigeria’s status as one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of religious zeal, overt displays of religiosity are welcome – and indeed encouraged – before, during, and after all matches.
All restrictions on urban noise levels will be relaxed during the World Cup to ensure that all our cries and prayers and supplications – amplified of course by loudspeakers – impact the desired targets at the desired decibels.

Import duties on all items of prayer – beads, rosaries, crucifixes, anointing oils, handkerchiefs, divination stones – will be temporarily removed during the World Cup.

All religious houses will be encouraged to keep their doors open 24/7 during the games. The purchase of television sets and viewing screens by religious houses will be heavily subsidised by the government.
It shall be illegal to utter any negative prophecies regarding the performance of the Super Eagles team. If you must prophesy negatively, please direct them at Ghana, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon.

Celebrations

Every person or group of persons intending to throw a party to celebrate a 2014 Super Eagles World Cup victory shall need to apply to the Presidential Committee for registration. Applications must be accompanied by a N1,000 non-refundable deposit. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. All approved parties must be organised within a month from the date of the approval.

No competing allegiances shall be tolerated at the venue of any celebration to honour the Victorious Super Eagles. In simple English: no items or chants or gestures related to European football leagues will be permitted at any celebration party, to avoid disturbing the spirit of unity that the Super Eagles represent. All offending fans will be duly punished, unless of course they are Manchester United fans – in which case they will be deemed to have suffered enough this season, and will therefore be let off with a warning.
Painting cows and goats in national colours before subjecting them to the slaughter slab, and other such bad habits associated with Premier League fans, will not be tolerated in connection with the Super Eagles.

Social media conduct

The Federal Government will not tolerate the dissemination, via social media, of any material intended to demoralise the national team. Repeated flouting of this rule may lead to the declaration of a state of emergency on all social media platforms within Nigeria, until well after the 2014 World Cup.

Upon the return of the Victorious Super Eagles to Nigeria, it shall be an offence for any citizen to attempt to engage in the generation or attempted generation of selfies with the players or the coaching crew. The selfie rights for the entire team will be sold to a competent and duly recognised marketing agency, which shall solely retain the rights for a period of five years from the date of the World Cup’s final match.
The official hashtags for the celebration of all wins shall be
as follows:
#GodIsANigerian
#BringBackOurTrophy
#AmericaKnewWeWouldWin

Merchandising

It shall be deemed illegal to create, sell, market or distribute unlicensed merchandise that employs any or all of the proprietary branding assets (logos, trademarks, etc) of the Super Eagles, FIFA, or the Nigerian Government. In plain English, kindly immediately abandon any plans to launch a ‘Super Eagles’ brand of sachet water, or plantain chips. Any merchandise that flouts this rule will be confiscated, and the parties responsible for their conception, creation, sale, marketing and distribution will be made to face the full wrath of Nigerian lawlessness.

Public holidays

In the event of the Super Eagles qualifying for the semi-finals, the Federal Government will endeavor to declare two (2) days of public holiday for every one (1) goal scored in subsequent games. All businesses and employers of labour are enjoined to ensure that their staff – except those on essential duties – are not deprived of the mandatory holidays.

The post For The Win appeared first on Wings.

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