Valentine’s Day is a day that you simply cannot ignore. No matter how many meme’s or anti-Valentine’s Day parties you attend, you acknowledge the day. Hate it or love it, Valentine’s Day is here to stay. 2014 was the year the spark of the Pan-Africanism was reignited and we should do our level best to ensure the flame burns even brighter in 2015. One great way to do this and simultaneously remember our loved ones in 2015 is to gift them with products made for Africans by Africans. Below is a list of brands that we should all use to celebrate our African heritage in 2015, as well as our friends and family members.
Christie Brown – As Africa rises, we must rise in flawless style and the Christie Brown brand is definitely the way to do that. This brand aims to transcend beyond African borders and reach out to our sisters and brothers who may be away from home. If you know a “modern woman who seeks the true taste of Africa” this is without a doubt the brand for her. The collection boasts a wide range of products from customized gowns, accessories and apparel all inspired by African culture. Besides their store in Accra, Ghana the brand can be found online for all those interested. Their most recent collection ‘Xutra’ exudes elegance and can be a wonderful gift idea for any girl that needs to be reminded she is beautiful on the inside and the out. The high-waist pants pictured on the right are one of their major statement pieces and deserve special mention.
VMK – 2013 saw the birth of an Africa’s first smart phone and touchpad tablet by Mr Mankou. The devices both run on Google’s android software and are assembled in China making them affordable for a large chunk of the African population. These would be great gifts for a young student venturing into University, a good constant reminder of the African dream and that virtually anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Elika is the new sleek smartphone that they have just released, new features include longer battery life, 3G technology and a 5 megapixel camera.
Yswara – To borrow from the wise words of Madiba; “there is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Every inch of Yswara products embodies this timeless quote. They create luxury products by using strictly using African natural resources produced by African artisans. These products include gourmet tea, chocolates, home and accessories and many more. It is all in the hope that these goods will preserve and promote African culture, and we surely should all join the cause. I personally take all aspects of feminism very seriously and I do not see why women should be the only ones who receive gifts from their significant other during the day that celebrates love. For any women who feel the same way this brand is the perfect way to show your man that you care. Spoil him with signature Yswara Tea to show that you care about him, and he should care about himself as well.
Bamboo Bike – For the children of Africa there is the Bamboo bike that will help create memories that will live long past 2015. This innovative product is an environmentally friendly way to encourage kids to get off their phones and computers and enjoy the African air. Above and beyond that buying this as a gift for anyone – including you- contributes to the reduction of unemployment. It is fairly priced between $95 and $110
SOKO –It is an online store that connects online customers to global markets and handcrafted jewellery from around the developing world. This is all made possible via there three principles: innovation, style and impact. They only use artisans that have a unique voice and offer up pieces that have not been seen in the industry before, representing innovation. Secondly these pieces must be stylish to wear and up to tread. Lastly the artisans being developed by SOKO are usually women in the villages of Africa who benefit the most from the online store and thus their increase in income benefits the whole society. A classic SOKO piece is the UNTF Bracelet Set pictured on the right that is available for the bargain price of $35 via their website. They also additionally have special Valentine’s Day gifts such as the Pointed Chrome Cuff (pictured below) that is available for $45.
credit photo: soko and christie brown facebook page