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    Boutique Fashion News — Events Calendar

    A Season of African Cinema – Film Africa

    If like us you’re interested in African cinema, you’ll be looking forward to the eighth Film Africa, the annual London-based film festival hosted by the Royal African Society. The film extravaganza showcases the best films from across the continent and the diaspora from both established and brand new directors from 2 to 11 November 2018. Since its launch in 2011, more than 22,000 people have watched 388 diverse films from directors across Africa.

    Yes Film Africa is about bringing a mouthwatering buffet of African films to audiences in UK, but it’s also so much more than that: Director Q&As, talks, debates, school outreach programmes, family events, live music shows, professional workshops and a selection of master classes are all on offer during the festival.

    What’s on at Film Africa 2018?

    Not that we’re biased, but this year’s festival line-up is looking awesome. Shorts, documentaries and feature films – take your pick or better still mix and match! The opening gala which takes place at BFI Southbank is the UK premiere of The Burial of Kojo by Ghanaian musician and film director Blitz Bazawule.

    The closing gala on November 11th, at Rich Mix, will feature Kasala by Nigerian director Ema Edosio. In between, a trawl through the eclectic selection reveals films by directors from countries as diverse as South Africa, Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, Sudan, Gabon, Burundi and Somalia.

    For more information on this year’s programme, go to http://www.filmafrica.org/full-programme/

    Whether you’re in London or not, you can still get involved in upgarding your African cinema repertoire. Thanks to global streaming sites and online DVD sellers, we’ve found more (not enough!) African cinema available for global viewing.

    We’re making this our season of African cinema, and this is our top 10 to watch – from across the continent and covering different genres. Join us!

    1. I Am Not A Witch (Zambia, 2017) – “Approaches real-life injustices with a beguiling blend of sorrow, anger, and humour, marking debuting writer-director Rungano Nyoni as an exciting new talent.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 97%)

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    2. Moolaade (Senegal, 2004) – From legendary author and film director Ousmane Sembene, “A vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 99%)

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    3. Tsotsi (South Africa, 2006) – Directed by Gavin Hood. With Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Israel Makoe, Terry Pheto. Six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang member who is beyond redemption…or is he?

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    4. Yeelen (Mali, 1987) – (Bambara for “brightness”/”light”) It is filmed in the Bambara and Fula languages, and is based on a legend told by the Bambara people. Cissé presents a thirteenth-century legend seemingly from the perspective of its characters, for whom the supernatural realm, the domain of divine powers realized concretely on earth, is demonstrable, evident, and visible.

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    5. Waiting for Happiness (Mauritania, 2002) – The film pictures Mauritania as a kind of limbo, where everyone is waiting, watching, dreaming of going to France or elsewhere. A boy tries to install an electric light. A rootless man’s shirt is the exact same material as his curtains and sofa. As these people drift and dream we see, through their eyes, street scenes of utter beauty, and we hear, through their ears, Malian Oumou Sangaré’s gorgeous score.

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    6. Touki Bouki (Senegal, 1973) – Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty, the film tells the story of Mory a cowherd who rides a motorcycle mounted with a cow’s skull, and Anta, a university student as they try to make money in order to go to Paris and leave their boring past behind.

    7. The Gods Must Be Crazy (South Africa, 1980) – Written and directed by Jamie Uys. Financed only from local sources, it is the most commercially successful release in the history of South Africa’s film industry. Set in Botswana, the poignantly insightful comedy follows the story of Xi, a San of the Kalahari Desert whose tribe has no knowledge of the world beyond, Andrew, a biologist who analyzes manure samples for his PhD dissertation, and Kate, a newly hired village school teacher.

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    8. Hyenas (Senegal, 1993) – A quirky but visually decadent film from director Djibril Diop Mambéty. After being banished from her village three decades earlier for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and finding great fortune on her travels, Linguere has returned home intent on punishing Dramaan the man who made her pregnant.

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    9. Teza (Ethiopia, 2008) – Intellectual Anberber returns to his native country after several years spent studying medicine abroad, he finds the country of his youth replaced by turmoil. Seeking the comfort of his countryside home, Anberber finds no refuge from violence.  Anberber needs to decide whether he wants to bear the strain or piece together a life from the fragments that lie around him.

    10. Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria, 2013) – Based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and directed by Biyi Bandele. Sisters Olanna and Kainene return home to 1960s Nigeria, where they soon diverge on different paths. As civil war breaks out, political events loom larger than their differences as they join the fight to establish an independent republic.

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    Why is Film Africa and contemporary African cinema such a big deal?

    To fully appreciate the significance of Film Africa, one needs to look at the history of film-making. At best, most films about Africa in colonial times (and beyond) showed Africans as exotic, living in outlandish places. At worst, they were depicted as savage, primitive, or as submissive and childlike, with little to no agency, dependent on the mercy of western masters for their survival.

    Post independence, African filmmakers started to emerge, vigorously challenging the narrow portrayals of the continent and its inhabitants. The themes were overtly political and social in nature, representing characters as dignified, intelligent, articulate people who felt love, hatred, greed, ambition, fear and joy as deeply as all humanity. These films show Africa unapologetically, threading cultural context and music, costume, ritual into the telling of the stories.

    Sembène Ousmane, the Senegalese director is widely regarded as the founding father of African cinema – an ever-growing list of directors, both men and women have been inspired by him and followed in his pioneering footsteps.

    Hence the massive importance of Film Africa to set the records straight and help give African cinema a platform – African culture, African history, African stories related by African directors.

    Words: Yvonne Lloyd & Daphne Kasambala

     

     

    Sapelle Collaborates in Christmas PopUp

    B.Creative Xmas Pop Up Flyer AWe love to get out there and present our Christmas gift options, so when we were invited to join a cooperative of like-minded unique independent brands with a Christmas Shopping Pop Up in the lovely, cosy, luscious Hanbury Hall in the heart of London’s Spitalfields/Brick Lane area…we said yes! And so B. Creatives promises to be one of the best unique gift-shopping events in London.

    From 11am until 8pm on Saturday 9th December, 12 specially curated upcoming brands selling natural cosmetics and skincare, vintage and contemporary African-inspired fashion, ethical jewellery, colour-toned hosiery and unique stationery and stocking fillers will host you with drinks, nibbles, music and crafts at Hanbury Hall.

    Mark your diaries: 11am to 8pm, SAturday 9th December, 2017. Spread the word and bring the whole family for a day of rewarding gift-shopping.

    Follow the event on Instagram, Facebook and Eventbrite.

    Film Africa – A Celebration of African Creativity

    If you’re in London this weekend, partake in the rare gems showing at Film Africa.

    Film Africa is an annual London film festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent and diaspora brought to you by The Royal African Society. Established in 2011, every year Film Africa brings diverse London audiences a high quality and wide-ranging film programme accompanied by a vibrant series of events, including director Q&As, talks and discussions; professional workshops and master classes; school screenings and family activities; The Industry Forum; and Film Africa LIVE! music nights. Film Africa also recognises and supports new film making talent through the Baobab Award for Best Short Film and the Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

    The cast of 'Keteke'

    The cast of ‘Keteke’

    I attended the European premiere and post-screening Q&A of the Ghanaian film ‘Keteke’ which was written, produced and directed by Peter Sedufia. The film, a thoroughly enjoyable “colourful screwball comedy, with a wry but affection nod to Ghanaian traditions and gender dynamics,” took me back to my native Malawi where, against all the odds, life must – and does – go on. And life includes love, laughter and music. Sedufia’s disarmingly honest account of the hurdles he had to creatively overcome in the making of his debut film is a reflection of the journey the film’s protagonists take to catch the train to Ateke to deliver their baby.

    Filming 'Keteke' on location in Ghana

    Filming ‘Keteke’ on location in Ghana

    When I asked Sedufia about distribution of his film, he admitted how tough it is to get African films screened internationally and that he’s eager to talk to partners to get his film shown around the world – an echo of the challenge faced by creatives of all ilks around the continent. In spite of the challenges, ‘Keteke’ has broken box office records in Ghana and is already showing in almost ten airlines.

    'Felicite'

    Vero Tshanda plays Felicite, a nightclub singer desperate to find money to treat her son in ‘Felicite’

    Tonight I’ll be watching the Congolese film, ‘Felicite’ at the South London Gallery, which saw Vero Tshanda, the film’s star win the Best Actress award at the African Movie Academy Awards 2017. You can watch this and other films and events till 5th November like ‘Winnie’ at the BFI, ‘I Still Hide to Smoke’ at Rich Mix and ‘I Will Not Bear Tomorrow’ at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre plus plenty more including the Afrobeat to Afrobeats party tomorrow at the Ritzy, Brixton. For details, visit the Film Africa calendar here.

    Words: Daphne Kasambala

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    Q&A with our May 2017 Pop-Up Fatima Kamselem

    From Saturday 27th May to 3rd June, we will be hosting the Pop-up of Nigerian designer Fatima Kamselem’s accessories brand PhatKam. Fatima’s range of accessories is infused with vibrant wax prints that are sourced locally and handmade by her team of skilled craftspeople. Sapelle worked with Fatima to co-design the range that we will be showcasing in the shop. The range includes bags for the stylish woman with a busy lifestyle and a love for unique design.

    Sapelle is excited to work with Fatima because of our commitment to not only showcase African-inspired products, but more importatnly, to source from Africa and work with people who share this commitment. Because of the challenges faced by producers in many African locations, the temptation to outsource production to the Far East or Europe where the road to production is smoother, is often strong. We were drawn to Fatima’s ‘made in Africa’ ethos and were happy to co-design on certain features like the choice of fabrics and functional features.

    fatima mustard tote square

     

    Linda from our team caught up with Fatima this week to ask her a few questions about her experiences of doing business in Nigeria.

    Q: African Fashion is usually associated with low-quality products. What’s it like to produce in Nigeria and manage to maintain high-quality standards?

    Maintaining high standards for me stems from the passion I have for what I do. When you commit wholeheartedly to something, you don’t allow yourself to cut corners and that is where the quality begins to slip; when people want to cut corners. I think being true to what I do has allowed me to maintain a high standard

    Q: Our customers hear about “Made in Africa” but what is your experience of this practice on the ground? Why is it important for you to produce in Nigeria? What positive and negative experiences have you had when producing in Nigeria?

    The made in Africa movement is one lot of young Africans are hopping on everyday. As someone who is proud of her heritage, I always wanted to showcase that to the world and my products became a perfect avenue to channel all that energy. Producing locally and knowing that I’m directly impacting the lives of locals is one of my main motivations for doing what I do. Like every other entrepreneur, there’s always challenges and my journey hasn’t been any different but those are the moments that make the journey all that more interesting.

    Q: How does your production activity impact lives of Nigerians you employ?

    My employees are people like me who have an affinity for fashion; and are as passionate about Africa as I am. They have the same vision I have for the brand and it gives them the opportunity to hone their own skills and someday have a brand of their own. They would, in turn, hire other people and give as many people as possible a chance to better their lives

    Q: Is it challenging to find quality raw materials for your brand? How do you overcome the challenges?

    Given how famous the traditional African attire is in Nigeria, sourcing raw materials has not been too difficult.

    Q: Few women start their own business. As a woman, how would you describe your journey of entrepreneurship, furthermore in Nigeria?

    Entrepreneurship is challenging anywhere in the world, but even more so here in Nigeria. The business climate is just starting to improve, as the government is realizing the importance of entrepreneurs to the economy. Being a woman, the biggest challenge is the lack of representation but I’ve had a few personal women in my life that have laid the foundation for my journey; and in them, I have always found a helping hand

    Q: When did you realise that you wanted to start your own company?

    I have started several ventures in the past and when I got this idea, it was a natural progression that made sense. I have the opportunity to fuse two things I am very passionate about namely, my African roots and fashion.

    Q: How do you mix African inspirations with the modern’s expectations of your customers?

    People’s tastes change all the time in fashion. Recently, we have been noticing a trend shift all around the world where people are being more and more receptive to African fashion.

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    Fabric selection in a market in Lagos

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    Sapelle represented at Fashion Africa Conference

     

    fashion africa conferenceWe’re pleased to confirm that Sapelle’s CEO Daphne Kasambala will be a speaker at The Fashion Africa Conference on 25th and 26th May, 2017. The event, which brings together key players and stakeholders in the African apparel industry, will carry the theme “AFRICA, FASHION’S FUTURE”, and run over two days at Chelsea Town Hall.

    SAMSUNG CSC

    Panel discussion at Fashion Africa Conference 2015

    The event is hosted by the social Enterprise Africa Fashion Guide which was founded by Jacqueline Shaw in 2011, at a time when African fashion and Made in Africa products were breaking into mainstream consciousness, and it has continued to grow in importance and scale since then. The theme of the conference reflects the general sentiment in the sector where players are looking for ways to scale up and consolidate their activities and gain a stronger foothold on the global stage.

    “The artisan craft sector is the second largest employer in the developing world. In the next five years, Africa’s textile industry could generate up to $15.5 billion revenue according to The African Development Bank. Within Africa, the entire textile/clothing market is already worth more than $31 billion and accounts for the second largest number of jobs in developing countries after agriculture. As it has been stressed, Africa will rise not by charity or aid but through investment and trade. So the time to invest is now, and a strong garment manufacturing sector is key to Africa’s development.” – Jacqueline Shaw, Founder of The Africa Fashion Guide and The Fashion Africa Conference.

    Jacqueline Shaw cred Haute Fashion Africa

    Jacqueline Shaw with Chichia London founder Christine cred: Haute Fashion Africa

    Daphne Kasambala has been a speaker at the conference for several years, saying, “It’s always an honour to be invited to participate in this essential event which allows parties from different parts of the supply chain to come together, share, impart, inspire, learn and make connections. Doing business in Africa has its unique challenges, therefore hearing about how others are overcoming them is necessary if we are to grow individually and together as a sector. The saying that there’s strength is definitely one which we should action as African apparel producers”

    The panel with representatives from Mantis, One Nigerian Boy, FAB, Kisua, Sapelle, Choolips and Ituen BasiFashion Africa Conference panel debate at SOAS in 2014

    The conference seeks to highlight the scope of opportunities across the continent.  The power and value of opening up African Fashion to global markets is paramount to the economic development of the continent.

    Other confirmed speakers include Simone Cipriani of Ethical Fashion Intiative, Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa, Tamsin Lejuene of Ethical Fashion Forum, Orsola Castro of Fashion Revolution Day, Inge Wallace of Fashion For Good (on behalf of the C & A Foundation), and Lance Clark with Dulma Clark of Soul of Africa, and more.

    For tickets, click here.

     

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