Friday, 22 June 2018

Another Awesome AfriCAN week 20180622

Beautiful hair sculptures by Laetitia Ky
#Côted’Ivoire, Abidjan: Meet artist Laetitia Ky who makes the most amazing sculptures with her own hair. Asked, what drives her, she answers the following in her BBC News interview:   

1. A positive attitude 
2. Changing the image of Africa 
3. Feminism

Follow her on Instagram: @laetitiaky 

Cheick Diallo
#Mali: Did you know that one of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s top players is Cheick Diallo from Mali? He plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. It's a sport he took up by accident at the young age of 12. He was just 14 when he won a scholarship to study in the United States, and didn't speak a word of English. Diallo is inspiring many of the youngsters in Mali to strive for a better life. [via]

Reggie Khumalo
#SouthAfrica, CapeTown artist Reggie Khumalo has just returned from travelling around Africa on his BMW F650GS, to raise funds to assist needy students. He clocked 20,000km and travelled through ten countries, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana. 

But get this... he did this with the knowledge that he has stomach cancer! His doctors encouraged him not to pursue the journey, but he was adamant to make good on his promise to the students. 

He spent six months riding through Africa, where he met up with artists and collaborated with some of them to produce artworks, which will be auctioned next month.

Story via Times Select. Read the full article here
Follow him on Facebook here.

#SouthAfrica Stirring up Africa’s coffee trade. Jonathan Robinson launched the Bean There company 13 years ago from his garage. They now operate out of three roasteries; two in Joburg and one in Cape Town. Each year, more than 120 tonnes of fair trade coffee is sourced from small-scale farmers in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Unique to Bean There’s model is that they source all of their coffee directly. Robinson visits his producers regularly and works with them to improve their crops.

To demonstrate why he’s determined to continue with fair trade, I just love the story that Jonathan shares about Agnes Wairimu Kanja, “She is from Kenya. I met her in 2007. She lived in a mud hut. She had two kids, a son and daughter. One was in school and other, she had no school fees for. I immediately thought what can I do to fix this problem? I could have paid the school fees, but I would have just perpetuated a cycle of aid. The real benefit of fair trade is saying, ‘Agnes, you make amazing coffee. We’ll buy your coffee at a great price and that enables you to sort out your own life.’

Agnes and Jonathan 
Bean There’s purchase of her coffee helped Agnes to go for agronomy training, which resulted in an increase in her coffee yields. Then she started training farmers in her area and was identified as a leader in the community. “The change in Agnes’ life since I met her has been phenomenal. When I saw her last in February 2017, she had a brick house and roof gutters. We sat on the couch in her lounge, with Batman playing on television in the background and looked at some of her Facebook photos on her iPhone. Agnes has taken control of her own life, coffee has played a big part.”

I also particularly like the following what Jonathan says, "Although fair trade is why we are in business, we don’t lead with fair trade ever. We lead with quality coffee. People don’t buy coffee because it is fair trade, they buy it because it is amazing and that’s how it should always be. I never wanted our coffee purchases to be done out of charity, it disrespects the incredible coffee and the farmers that work so hard to produce it.” 

Donna and late husband Nas
#Tanzania this is a tale of two charismatic entrepreneurs that needs to be shared. Australian born Donna Duggan met her soulmate Nas, while she was doing volunteer work as a nursing sister with HIV mothers and babies in Tanzania. Nas said Visionaries build what dreamers imagined.'  

They started with one battered landrover and set up Maasai Wanderings, a Destination Management Company (DMC) which handles the logistics of travel. They soon realised that referring travellers to other camps was not going to grow their business and so the first of Nasikia Camps, which means, 'I hear,’ I feel’ in Swahili, was opened in 2008.  Their dream was to create an authentic camping experience where guests could feel at one with the bush, while still being comfortable and pampered.
They have grown and expanded over the years, and now have five camps and it is a testimony to their determination and passion that the entire business is self-funded.
Tragedy struck when Nas was one of eleven people who lost their lives on 15 November 2017, when a Cessna aircraft crashed above the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania.

Donna says it’s all about empowering and multi-skilling. Despite losing her soulmate and with two children aged five and eleven to raise alone, Donna says, ‘There is a word in Swahili, ‘Kupambana’ which means to keep struggling, hustling… with the goal of moving forward to be where we need to be. I have people relying on me who need jobs and more importantly through the Naseeb Mfinanga Memorial Trust to ensure my husband’s legacy continues, that his spirit lives on. I know that he would never want me to give up the fight to reach our goals.’

A vision which encompasses not only wildlife experiences but also creating job opportunities for locals. Over 200 Tanzanians are employed by the companies, not only at the camp but in Arusha where the tents are manufactured alongside an engineering, carpentry and design workshop.  

Maasai Wanderings and Nasikia Tented Camps and Donna in her personal capacity support five primary schools and facilitate with partners to feed over 4000 learners a day. In addition she is supporting 118 secondary school learners and four university students. Her programme has produced doctors, lawyers and accountants and learners eternally grateful for the chance to be educated. The principal of Matim, Mr Lingo, says, ‘since Donna started helping the school we have moved from 66th position in the National Grade 7 exams to 18th. There used to be six learners to one desk and now three, we have a library, a lunch programme, computers on which the teachers are being taught, more classrooms, garden clubs, netball and school uniforms.’

If you have an awesome AfriCAN story to share, please send it through to me:

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