ANF December Newsletter
This year was an epic one for Africa. The global rise of Afrobeats continued, African fashion was given one of the biggest spotlights, and Rwanda entered the U.K’s immigration conversations. From celebrities, politicians, musicians, film, news and pop culture, 2022 goes down as the year when Africa was put under the spotlight for all the right reasons. Africa has a lot to celebrate in 2022. Luckily, it’s that time of year when you don’t need a reason. So, we’ve curated these highlights to help you wind down with music, books, travel, fashion and some food for thought.
1. Africa’s rich fashion heritage is under the spotlight: The V&A museum in London is the world’s leading museum of design, and they’re currently exploring African heritage through fashion. The Africa Fashion exhibition featured iconic mid-20th-century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts. Designers include Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, Alphadi, Imane Ayissi, IAMISIGO, Moshions, Thebe Magugu and Sindiso Khumalo.
2. African creatives are making their mark: More African artists and creatives like Nelson Makamo, Trevor Stuurman, Derrick Boateng are making their mark globally, so ANF narrative champion Manju Journal's started curating a Hotlist of African visual artists and creatives making their mark in the world. The annual list is curated in partnership with i-D, a leading creative platform. We love this visual representation of Africa: rich, authentic and compelling.
3. Get up close with the Benin Bronzes and the Timbuktu Manuscripts: While academics, journalists, artists, activists and governments call for Africa’s looted heritage to be returned back to their original homes in Africa, two iconic ancient heritage items went digital, making them accessible to everyone. More than 40 000 Timbuktu manuscripts have been digitised and archived on Google Arts and Culture's Mali Magic Portal. The project is a first of its kind by the platform in terms of scale. Visit Digital Beninfor an archive with images and descriptions of more than 5000 Benin Bronzes held in 131 institutions around the world.
4. Jollof rice goes global: Jollof rice is one of the most global African dishes, one that “not only does it define this region, but it also connects West Africa to the African diaspora in the Americas.” It got the Google treatment in November when ANF narrative champion Haneefah Adam turned it into a Google Doodle on 4 Nov. Google is not the only one going gaga for this one-pot rice dish. Last year, the Senegalese version - thieboudienne - was added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
5. Hollywood came to Africa: And showed up without perpetuating stereotypes. Viola Davis’s The Woman King and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hit the big screen and created a buzz for their representation of Africa. The Woman King, inspired by the 1800s group of all-female warriors who protect the kingdom of Dahomey (Benin) with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. In Wakanda Forever, Africa is portrayed as innovative. Both movies show African women as powerful and brilliant leaders.
6. Nollywood goes to Hollywood: Why Nollywood? It’s the second-biggest producer of films globally, after Bollywood. Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Showmax have caught on to the popularity with a selection of high-quality Nollywood productions on offer. We’ll be watching 2 Weeks in Lagos, Blood Sisters, A Naija Christmas and The King's Horseman.
7. Travel Africa Lewis Hamilton’s way: Lewis Hamilton’s summer break showed Africa as a fun and adventurous destination. He was in Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda and not once did he talk about poverty, wanting to uplift Africans or muse about his life-changing trip without turning Africans into props for his ‘life reset’. It was refreshing for Africa to be under a celebrity’s spotlight in a way we rarely see because Africa is so much more than stereotypes.
8. The sound of celebration: It was another big year for Afrobeats, from Burna Boy becoming the first Afrobeats artist to sell out Madison Square Gardens to Wizkid and Tems winning an American Music Award, as well as CKay’s Love Nwantiti becoming the first African single to get more than 600 million streams on Spotify. We’re loving all of it, from Shayo, Essence and Calm Down to Peru, Finesse, Your Number and Buga (Lo Lo Lo).
9. Rwanda enters the immigration chat: When former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people looking for refugee status in the UK were going to be sent to Rwanda instead, the news was called “shamefully cruel” but he forced the world to rethink Rwanda and by extension, Africa. For once Africa was seen as a partner and a solution provider instead of a beneficiary.
10. Shifting narratives went mainstream: Africa No Filter got a nod from New African Magazine. Executive Director Moky Makura's passion for nuanced and authentic storytelling about Africa manifests in various ways: TV shows, literature, digital media, advocacy and leading a narrative-change organisation. For her work, the New African Magazine included her in the 2022 list of 100 Most Influential Africans alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Mo Abudu, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and President Paul Kagame. She also made the New African Woman Magazine’s list of Most Influential Women & Everyday Heroes alongside Vanessa Nakate, Bogolo Kenewendo and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.
11. Impact without perpetuating stereotypes: This is what Doctors Without Borders has committed to. The organisation, which works in 27 African countries, released this video to state that it’s a new day for its storytelling, as they move away from content that perpetuates stereotypes of poverty and disease. They’ll also have a diverse global workforce in their communications and fundraising.
12. Breaking stereotypes about Africa: How do you add more diverse news about Africa and Africans in the media? By going beyond stereotypes. This is what bird news agency has been doing since July 2021. Read more about how the agency uses news of arts, culture, innovation, travel, human interest, entrepreneurship and climate solutions to tell African stories beyond poverty, disease, conflict, poor leadership, and corruption.
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