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Friday 23rd August was set aside as the day to mark the “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition”. On this day, all over the world and especially in Africa, myriads of people joined voices to celebrate the millions of Africans who were stolen and sold but never lost their way.

Why August 23?

According to the Unesco website, “The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.”

This is why each year, across the globe, 23rd August is marked as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Globally, Ministers of Culture are invited to organise events on this date that engages their countries and their people.

On this backdrop, we, at News Central decided to put together a short and simple spoken-word piece to mark another year of our collective greatness.

Have you read about our journey?
The lost milestones; where the oceans washed away our footprints
Stories buried in unmarked graves
A generation branded with the smelter’s rod
Bruised, battered but unbroken

Do you recall the places we’ve been?
The forts and castles; where we stood in the stench of the dead
Agony and pain previously unknown to man
The bonds of society broken by the trader’s greed
Stolen and sold but never lost

And now here we are,
On this journey; beyond the dark days of slavery
We are more than the blurred pages of history
We are the next chapter in a story that is unfolding
Resilient, colourful and proud.
We stand here, in our place
We are the generation that puts Africa. First.

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Bobi Wine Exclusive Interview

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Bobi Wine

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Art

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

‘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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A walk along the slave routes in Badagry

Ever wanted to visit and learn more about Badagry and the slave history? Join Bernard Akede down the slave routes of Badagry.

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A Walk Along the Slave Routes in Badagry

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All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

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