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Made in Africa: An African story written in leather by ZAAF

ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.

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‘Made in Africa’ is a rich and compelling composition that shows a different picture of the continent. It is an exhibition of awe-inspiring scenery, breath-taking beauty, intriguing culture and creativity, all in Ethiopia.

The pictures are simply stunning!

Shot in the Danakil desert in Northern Ethiopia, with a backdrop of smouldering clouds from the active Erta Ale volcano, this is more than just a photo shoot. It is a piece of Africa’s message to the world. 

ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
The danger, the atmosphere, the beauty and the craft; only pure creativity can drive anyone to this edge. Photo credit: ZAAF Collections.

The mastermind behind this is Abai Schulze, an Ethiopian designer and entrepreneur dedicated to writing a new Afro-optimistic narrative.

Abai is part of a new wave of creative entrepreneurs who are redefining Africa. Her fierce and fearless desire to shape perceptions about Africa mirrors the mood of a rising continent. The essence of this is also embodied in her work.

ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin. All materials are sourced in Africa, designed by Africans and crafted by Africans for global consumption. For Abai, the brand is a convergence of her passion and opportunity, and for Africa, it is a refreshing narrative. 

Founder of ZAAF - a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
Abai Schulze is the Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF.

“You shouldn’t be half-hearted about blazing a personal trail or endeavour.”

Abai Schulze

“My passion derives from the reality that design and creative expressions using tangible elements has always been a driver for me,” Abai explained in an interview with Lionesses of Africa.

Going by the success of her business, she is taking a lot more than premium Ethiopian leather to the world. She is painting an exciting picture of Africa and sharing it with the world.

The story is not one about helping ‘poor Africans’, a narrative that has fuelled many marketing and aid-campaigns over the years. This is different! It is a story of rich cultural heritage, creativity and craftsmanship; things that have always been part of Africa. 

ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
Photo Credit: Zaaf Collections

Local African Content, World Class Quality

Beyond these lovely images and bags, there is a deeper story.

African art is a dynamic concept that transcends form. It is expressed in drawings, paintings, sculptures, dancing, fashion, music, etc. As diverse as it seems, it commands the same energy as a means of communication, more than a source of aesthetic appreciation. Messages were sent through less literal art forms such as fashion and dance. Every piece of art is a statement. 

This is the energy that makes Abai’s work to stand out as African art. 

The campaign launch took place at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, a fitting venue for unveiling contemporary African art. This is what Africa looks like – Beautiful and strong! A refreshing alternative to the overcrowded and noisy world.

African Possibilities and Opportunities – ZAAF

ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
Photo Credits: Zaaf Collections

“My driving passion and vision for many years were centred around using my education and experiences to create economic opportunities in my country of birth.”

Abai

From a little shop in Addis Ababa, artisans, mostly women, put together these beautiful products that are taking the fashion world by storm. The intricate designs and patterns are influences from Ethiopia’s heritage. The quality of the leather and the neat finish show attention to detail and mastery of an age-long craft. Everything is hand-picked and hand-stitched locally by professionals and experts. It is a simple and sustainable business model that is creating wealth and developing the skills of the locals. 

“By expecting less from developing countries, we actually perpetuate poverty”

Abai

Africans need to do more! Our businesses can follow this local-industry based model to empower communities and help produce goods that can compete favourably against international brands. 

  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.
  • ZAAF is a Premium lifestyle brand that takes pride in its African origin.

Like Abai has done with leather in Ethiopia, young African entrepreneurs are reviving ancient traditions to solve contemporary challenges. Our leaders need to create an enabling environment for these ideas to thrive so we can see more inspiring solutions across Africa.

With 30% of the world’s remaining minerals and the youngest population in the world, Africa is primed for a future of possibilities.

If we can challenge ourselves to channel our creativity, we will unearth exciting solutions and tell more compelling stories to shape global perceptions about the continent. Until then, let us celebrate these stunning pictures that remind us that wonders are still made in Africa.

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Nigeria’s apex bank partners Lagos on ₦22 billion national theatre renovation

Herbert Wigwe, says the project is in line with the FG’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty

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Nigeria's apex bank partners Lagos government on ₦22 billion national theatre renovation

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Lagos State Government team have assessed the National Arts Theatre ahead of a new investment plan that includes building a Creative Industry Park at the Theatre.

In the assessment team are Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele;  Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Land Bureau, Bode Agoro and CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor.

The tour was targeted at assessing the state of the facility meant to benefit from ₦22 billion Creative Industries and Financing Initiative (CIFI) championed by the CBN and Bankers’ Committee. The project and others planned for Enugu or Port Harcourt and Kano are expected to create millions of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

The Chairman of Body of Bankers CEOs, Herbert Wigwe, says the project is in line with the federal government’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.

He says the creative village will provide employment for at least, a million Nigerians, who have skills in music, IT, movies, among others.

“We are beginning to think of the multiplier effects – one million direct youths- it may mean that we may have 20 million youths taken out and given proper jobs. Now, begin to imagine as well what this edifice would mean if we happen to develop the National Theatre.”

Speaking on plans for the construction, he further added:

“We have been to several countries on the continent, none of them have an edifice like this. Now, ours is derelict, but we believe in two years, working under the auspices of the CBN Governor, we would be able to raise the requisite private sector funds to support and give this centre a proper facelift.”

Wigwe, who is also the Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, says the assessment list was to enable the team to see what is going on before the actual work begins.

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ART X Lagos West Africa’s premier international art fair returns this November

I quickly followed suit, and descending into the bar-room accosted the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I cherished no malice towards him, though he had been skylarking with me not a little in the matter of my bedfellow.

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ART X Lagos returns to the business district of Victoria Island set to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and diaspora for the 3rd time.

Dubbed ”West Africa’s premier international art fair”, will  hold from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4, and host 18 international galleries including Art House – The Space (Nigeria), Addis Fine Art (Ethiopia), Circle Art Agency (Kenya), Stevenson Gallery (South Africa), Gallery 1957 (Ghana), Tafeta (United Kingdom), Tiwani Contemporary (United Kingdom), Nike Art Gallery (Nigeria), and Out of Africa Gallery (Spain) amongst others.

Tilbug Sun (2017) by Cyrus Kabiru. Photo courtesy of ART X Lagos.

For the first time, ART X Lagos will welcome artists from featuring Paul Onditi and Cyrus Kabiru from Kenya, in an effort to widen Nigeria’s connection to the contemporary African art world. The fair will feature keynote artist Yinka Shonibare MBE who will be celebrated with an exhibition highlighting his career.

Other programs to look out for this year include ART X Talks, Interactive Projects and ART X Live. Curated by Missla Libsekal, the ART X Talks series will feature engaging discussions from key stakeholders in Africa’s art economy.

Arthouse – The Space – Courtesy of Art X Lagos

Since its launch in 2016, the fair has hosted 15,000 attendees and some of Africa’s most sought-after established and emerging artists.

“We are validated in our decision to develop this vital platform for the growth and increased visibility of African artists and galleries,” Tokini Peterside, founder and director of ART X Lagos, says in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming a vast and varied, local and international audience as we seek to reinforce Lagos’ position as an emergent cultural capital on our continent.”

 

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