imiso: “work today, change tomorrow”
Posted in africa, artists, handmade, homewares January 13th, 2008 by piablog

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Imiso means ‘tomorrow’ in the Xhosa language of South Africa, and is the name of this stunning collection of ceramics. Owned by 4 South Africans, Imiso Ceramics vision is to not only be a distinctively unique African brand, but also to inspire and be an example to young artists and entrepreneurs in Africa. They have achieved their goal and are indeed a great example, now exporting pieces to Paris, New York, Austria and also to Anthropology throughout the USA.

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The website is beautiful – I highly recommend taking a look and be sure to look out for the ‘imiso’ range in your local homewares boutique, and if they don’t sell it then recommend it! My stylist’s pick are their pieces in the pinch bowl range.

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“Whatever you dream of today, you will realize it tomorrow if you are determined and fully committed to that dream” – Imiso Ceramics.

Here here. I will update you on the Kenyan Crisis soon, but looks like peace is being restored although it is only due to mass confusion and fatigue. In the meantime, let’s support African designers. I will continue to put African designers and creatives in the spotlight even after this terrible tragedy, in the hope that equality amongst us all is achieved, oh for it to be in my lifetime would be the greatest gift of all. Here’s to tomorrow.

Recipe: baby Mandazi served with chai
Posted in africa, recipes January 10th, 2008 by piablog

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Mandazis are best described as doughnut-like breads very popular in Kenya. Anywhere you travel to in Kenya there are Mandazis being served in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and are traditionally served with my favourite beverage, Chai (Indian tea).

In light of the Kenyan crisis and my appeal to support the Kenyan people, I thought it might be nice to share one of their recipes with you. As with all traditional recipes, once I get into the kitchen I tend to re-work them (habit of occupation!) and with this one instead of making the traditional larger Mandazis I have made smaller ones that are perfect for morning or afternoon tea. I highly recommend you make up a pot of chai with them too, the spices in the tea perfectly compliment the spices in the mandazis. So,invite your friends and the kids over for some Kenyan inspired afternoon tea and munch on these baby mandazis.

Makes about 50

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tspn mix of all or some or these spices: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • your preferred oil for deep-frying
  • How To:

    In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, and spices. In another bowl, mix the water, butter, milk, and egg together. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic (add a little extra flour if necessary). Leave the dough to rest for a few minutes.

    Roll the dough out and then break apart into small pieces or cut into little shapes if desired (baby heart shapes would be nice).

    Heat a few cups of your chosen vegetable oil in a deep pot (I use a wok). To check when the oil is hot enough, I place a little piece of bread and if it sizzles it is ready, if it does not, try again in another moment. Deep fry the baby doughs in the hot oil, gently rotating. Remove when the baby mandazis are golden brown. Place onto a paper towel to drain. Dust with a little icing sugar. Serve warm with a pot of milky chai.

    TEXTILE DESIGNER: Ronel Jordaan
    Posted in africa, fashion, homewares, nature January 8th, 2008 by piablog

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    Ronel Jordaan is a a textile designer from Gauteng in South Africa. Inspired by nature, she gives “free reign to her imagination” using felt as a preferred medium and sometimes combining it with other natural fibres like cotton and silk. Ronel has trained women in the art of felting and these women now produce the designs with her and have also begun creating their own designs.

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    Stunning work Ronel. My faves are the rock cushions. For more visit her
    website here

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    Bob Sherman + AFRICA IN THE SPOTLIGHT
    Posted in africa, humanist, photographers January 8th, 2008 by piablog

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    Who else receives the gift of Bob Sherman’s Daily Doses in their inbox each day (thanks to DesignDNA for leading me to him!)? Bob won me over with his Daily Doses when I read that he sends an image and a quote or two each day. HEAVEN for my obsession confession #1! And after a day of mayhem, it is the nicest email to receive.

    Noticing that Bob has such a variety of images from all over the world, I thought I’d ask him if he had been to Africa and if he would allow me to borrow some images for one of my Africa In The Spotlight posts. He replied in the affirmative, and lead me to a video that his fianc√© Beth Chapman had made to raise awareness for the children of South Africa. I watched the video, titled “Sometimes I feel Like A Motherless Child” which is accompanied by Beth’s magical voice, and another piece of my heart promptly fell out of its little shell and crashed to the floor. A beautifully created video from Beth and Bob, please make the time today to watch it.

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    World powers have been shocked and horrified by the violence in Kenya – it is or ‘was’ one of the most stable countries in Africa. Over 500 people have been killed, and there are recent reports of a massacre of about 30 people sheltering in a church near the western town of Eldoret.

    But what does that have to do with you? Everything. This is happening in our world and the world is our backyard. Imagine yourself standing at your window, watching your children and neighbours playing in the backyard and then noticing that one is bashing another. And then you turn away and go and have a cup of tea.

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    The petition now has over 10 000 signatures from the international community. Just by signing your name you are helping to restore democracy and peace in Kenya – that is the beauty of the internet these days – it brings all of us together to be able to make a difference in the world. It empowers us to show that we care what goes on in Kenya and the rest of the world, just like it was going on in our own backyard. It gives us the means to speak to our world leaders quickly and efficiently and guide them.

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    So let’s say you’ve had your cup of tea, hoping that the bashing between the kids has settled itself, and you decide to take another look out your back window. Guess what you see: your entire backyard destroyed – plants ripped up, your expensive imported palms on fire, complete destruction. You didn’t think forward to consider that the bullying and bashing could actually take direct affect on you. If you acted swiftly and intervened you could have saved that child from suffering and saved your backyard, and more over been a model for all the kids in the backyard, showing them that it is possible to speak up when you know something is just not right.

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    So, to show support for Kenya we can sign the petition, we can support African designers and artists who support their local community which in turn will help put the power of peace for their country in their own hands, and we can advise our friends to do the same. That way, we all enjoy a cup of tea.

    Thanks again Bob, for such beautiful images and for your support.

    IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DAWN OKORO
    Posted in africa, artists January 6th, 2008 by piablog

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    The young and extraordinarily talented artist, Dawn Okoro. Need I say more. Check out her website, she also has a very active myspace you can link to from her website, worth a look see.

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    I found Dawn’s link on Afropolitans, merci √† vous.

    Beverly from Afropolitans also keeps me regularly updated with the Kenyan crisis. This is what we have learnt and gathered thus far:

  • The fighting is calming down.
  • It appears Kenyans are refusing to be pawns between both sides and it’s hard to see how they will except anything less than true democracy after this.
  • Kibaki is now saying that he will except a coalition government, recount, or new election but the catch is the court has to order these things, and Kibaki has stacked the courts so high with his croonies, its hard to see if fairness can be achieved. This is why it is KEY for international pressure to increase and to monitor the courts actions.
  • Best Case Scenerio: Kibaki and Odinga form an INTERIM not Coalition government (these guys can’t work together) and hold new elections.
  • So, if you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition. A few days ago it started at 5, it is now up to over 8000 signatures. We need more signatures to show that the international community is fully aware of the crisis and will not sit back and let this happen – not in Kenya, and not ANYWHERE in the world. The fighting is already quelling, so let’s keep the pressure on so that it stops altogether, and a realistic and peaceful resolution can be achieved swiftly.