Arts + Culture

11 African Food Instagrams That'll Make You Cook Like Mom

...or close to it.

Food is the one thing that keeps families and cultures thriving and surviving—the one thing that every African mom is the best at.

And with social media, why not show our food off and even remix it in our own way? The following Instagram pages will inspire you to attempt the dishes we know so well growing up.

Make sure you're not hungry when you peruse or it might amount to torture.

Ivy's Kitchenette

Ivy Mango Chatora of Zimbabwe is the food blogger behind the handle, A Taste of Zimbabwe, where she shares her beautiful plates of her take on her country's cuisine. Her cookbook, Ivy's Kitchenette: Think It, Cook It, Love It, quickly went out of stock (and we're waiting for a re-up!). She keeps up a blog of recipes you can check out here.


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Essiespice is a small batch spices and sauces brand that wants to put African food on the global stage. If you're based in Tri-State Area, the small jars of punchy flavors have a space in the spice section in Whole Foods and Shoprite stores, to name a few. This Instagram page features plates of African dishes that feature the spice blends that will make your mouth water. Read our interview with the creator, Ghana's Essie Bartels, here.

Black Foodie

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Black Foodie is an online digital platform that explores food and lifestyle from the Black perspective. They aim to celebrate the best African, Caribbean and Southern foodie experiences. Founded by, Ethiopian-Canadian Eden Hagos, Black Foodie's Instagram is just a glimpse of how they redefine the diasporic experience through food.

Sudanese Kitchen

This Instagram page makes you feel right at home with the many images of home-cooked Sudanese meals. Omer Eltigani started Sudanese Kitchen to document and celebrate the cuisine and culture of Sudan that he feels is too often misunderstood. Check out more information on the project and recipes here.


Nigeria's Ronke Edoho shows up how to maintain a healthy diet while eating Nigerian food. For those who may assume that's impossible, her recipes prove otherwise. Learn more about her meal plan and e-book, Lose It Nigerian, here.

Immaculate Bites

Since 2012, Imma of Immaculate Bites uses food as a tool for people to learn more about African and Caribbean cultures. The recipe developer and food blogger's beautifully curated Instagram page shows of her own twists on Afro-Caribbean flavors.


Cameroon's Elsie Kriz whips up West African inspired (and Mom inspired) recipes with AfrovitalityEats. Her beautiful Instagram also shows she can tackle other types of cuisines, but we love it when she features foods from her native Cameroon.

Thelmz Kitchen

How can you not love and reminisce at images of big cast iron pots over an outdoor gas stove, market action, jollof rice, egusi soup and more? Nigeria's Thelma Egbe gives us all the nostalgic feels with her blog and Instagram, Thelmz Kitchen. She really lives up to her motto: Food is love made edible.

My African Food Map

My African Food Map is another cool project that curates an authentic collection of the most popular dishes from around the continent. So far, Tuleka Prah and her team featured recipes from Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. For more information, check out their website here.

Kaluhi's Kitchen

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Look to Kenya's Kaluhi Adagala's food blog and Instagram for her unique take on her country's diverse cuisine. Just a scroll for a minute makes your stomach growl for some chapati or her chicken-marinated uwkwaju (pictured above).

Sisi Jemimah

Tripe? Check.

Shrimp? Check.

Pumpkin leaves? Check.

Jemimah Adebiyi gets an inspiration cosign in our book with her recipes featuring dishes from Nigeria's diverse ethnic groups, like the Edikan Ikong soup above, which comes from the Efik people in southeastern Nigeria.

Photo: courtesy of Natsai Audrey Chieza

100 Women: Natsai Audrey Chieza is Changing the World One Petri Dish at a Time

Her interdisciplinary approach to biology and fashion has sparked conversation about the future of sustainability and pollution in textile manufacturing.

The bold jewel tones of OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Natsai Audrey Chieza's silk scarves aren't the product of hazardous chemicals or silkscreen printing. Instead, they are the product of bacteria. Specifically coelicolor, a strain of bacteria found in soil that happens to excellently synthesize organic chemical compounds. Working in the trade for six years, the Zimbabwean materials designer quickly came to understand why the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Knowing that the most harm occurs during the process of dyeing fabrics, she decided to take action.

Chieza has worked with leading brands such as Microsoft, Nissan, and Unilever to usher in a new approach to science and design. Through her creative R&D; studio Faber Futures, the design innovator uses the process of creating with bacteria to assist in moving mankind away from our fossil fuel dependency. As the biopigment expert put it [last year during her TED talk "Fashion has a pollution problem—can biology fix it?"], in the future we must make sure that we are not "mirroring the destructive legacies of the oil age."

Her interdisciplinary approach to biology and fashion has sparked spirited conversation about the future of sustainability and pollution in textiles. Here, Chieza expounds on her start, the pros and cons of creating something new and the urgency of change.

The following has been edited for length and clarity

Akinyi Ochieng for OkayAfrica: STEM and the arts are often conceptualized as separate worlds. However, in your career, you've managed to find the overlap. How did you, a materials designer, end up dabbling in biotechnology?

Natsai Audrey Chieza: I've always really wanted to work within the creative field. I used to work in architecture where I really enjoyed my education in a systems approach to designs and designing for multiple contexts. But I wanted to explore a different side of the design world, so I began exploring the skill and context of material flows, and how technology and futures fits within this framework of how we design.

For my own work and my practice, not having a scientific background made me try things based on what I understood about materials and what I understood about the interactions in which those materials existed in society. I'm interested in a political lens, an economic lens, and how textiles perform in reality. That's not necessarily the approach that a scientist would have taken. Now that's not to say that science isn't important—it's vital. But innovation can occur in that intersection.

Did you go into this thinking, "Oh, I'll figure it out. There must be a path to make this work"?

To be honest, when I started off, the field was not defined. I think I found something really interesting, which was about how biology was becoming a realm of design, and I just explored that as best as I knew how as a designer and non-scientist. It just so happened that around me there was a context that was imagined but enabled me six years later to say, "That's the industry where this work belongs" and stakeholders who give me a space to further my work in a creative and experimental. The path was never anything clear at all. I learned as I grew.

There's a phrase that is often repeated today: "You can't be what you can't see." But you have really created a niche for yourself. What are the benefits of entering an emerging space?

I think what's amazing is not having anyone or anything telling you that what you think is impossible. If you're carving a new territory then you must trust in your instinct and vision to effectively push where the work can be and where it exists. You're not asking permission to do anything. Of course the flip side of that is you have to bring people with you, and so part of you being able to do the work is convincing people that your vision has legitimacy and it's worth exploring, worth taking a risk to look outside of that box.

It's often quite challenging to figure out how to find the strength to push something that hasn't been done before. There's no precedent or rulebook to my work, but sometimes it's really nice to have a rulebook. [Laughs] However, I think it's made me a person who doesn't see challenges as obstacles that are in the way, but more as problems that can be solved. And I think that's the good thing.

Much of your work is about biopigments. What color excites you?

It's not really the colors that excite me. It's color as a cultural context that really fascinates me. I'm really interested in if a microbe is almost like this living factory that produces this pigment, and the technology can be shared and deployed with people as to how you work with it across the world, then what are the cultural interventions that can happen in South Africa versus in Argentina versus in the United Kingdom, based on this common microbe. I think that's always been what interests me the most, the context in which our materials exist. I think a really good example is indigo, and how from Japan to West Africa, indigo is just this really, really rich material, and the process and the craftsmanship that goes into it. I'm interested to see how the future ecology of making arises in response to biotechnologies across the world.

Where do you see yourself and your work evolving in the near or long term?

I'm sort of going through that growth moment where you've been working toward something and then you've arrived at that and you're like, "Right, what's next?" I think I'm fundamentally somebody that wants to use design as a discursive tool to understand how our technologies proliferate. My focus is really on the imagined life sciences and how they're going to become very much a part of all of our lived experiences, and particularly in the context of really urgent changes that are happening from a local level to a global level. From global warming and climate change to resource scarcity across regions, our response to what I think being able to design with living systems, can afford us in the future. So my work really is about understanding how to engage stakeholders across different sectors to grow a consensus around how we're going to leverage these sorts of technologies so that they can be technologies for good. That's really where this is going.

This article appears as part of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2018—a project highlighting the impactful work done by African women across the globe. Throughout March, we will be publishing a series of profiles, videos, interviews and feature stories on these inspirational women.

Click here to see the entire list of 2018 honorees.

Maia & The Big Sky LP cover.

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Photo: Mídia NINJA

The Assassination of Marielle Franco and the Dawn of Brazil's New Civil Rights Movement

Marielle Franco was one of a new generation of black activists trying to overturn Brazil's entrenched and violent racism

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