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9 African Footwear Brands You Need In These Streets

In the run up to the holiday season, we give you nine must-have African footwear brands in our fourth edition of our 2016 gift guide.

This is our fourth gift guide in the run-up to the holidays. Keep checking for more lists of great African products here. And for more ideas check out the Okayafrica Shop.


To complete an ensemble that represents you, what you place on your feet is just as important (if not more) as the threads, and can even take your outfit to the next level.

See our 2019 Black Friday and holiday shopping guide here

We consider the footwear from the featured shoe companies as must-haves because they are one of a kind, fresh designs that are also made with substance, from the company's mission, to the shoes' comfort to your soles.

Get your flyness on in these streets with our nine favorite African footwear brands below.

1. TawiaDesigns

The 'Nindo' shoe. Photo by Aleah Clark.

We know we're not the only ones who've been itching for a pair of remixed Kente Nike's that came on the footwear scene three years ago from TawiaDesigns. The Ghanaian-American shoe brand is Chicago-based, and prides itself in providing comfortable handmade footwear ranging from sandals, boots, lace-ups and custom sneakers.

Handcrafted in Kenya, Ghana and Morocco, TawiaDesigns' variety of shoes represent Africa's rich and diverse culture, while creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within the continent.

Shop TawiaDesigns Here

2. Thando's

Photo courtesy of Thando's.

J.G. and Taffi Ayodele founded Thando's in 2014, an innovative brand that accommodates a modern woman's busy lifestyle while supporting African artists. The power couple and New York University MBAs designed foldable flats to offer women comfort and convenience in a portable, stylish product.

The Lagos-based company produces compact ballerina flats made of trendy wax print that can be super useful on the go. Thando's crowd-sources their designs, while supporting African women in the fabric trade and underserved African artists.

Shop Thando's Here

3. Nio Far by Milcos

Nnéma Indigo sneakers. Photo by Siaka Soppo Traoré.

Nio Far should be your go-to brand for sleek sneakers made out of mudcloth fabric. Founded by Milcos Badji, a young Senegalese designer, the handmade footwear fuses casual chic and Senegalese tradition in a trendy way.

Kicks from Nio Far by Milcos are made to order: contact@nio-far.com

4. Buqisi-Ruux

Photo via Buqisi-Ruux's Facebook page.

This brand seeks to celebrate powerful African women while representing diversity, vibrancy and boldness via African-inspired heels. Founded by three young female entrepreneurs, Buqisi-Ruux, meaning 'queen of the village,' wants women to feel a sense of royalty and pride whenever they rock a pair of their shoes.

Shop Buqisi-Ruux Here

5. Ohema Ohene

Photo via Ohema Ohene's website.

British born designer Abenaa Pokuaa launched Ohema Ohene in 2008 in London. Ohema and Ohene translate to "queen" and "king" in Twi. The name of the shoe brand is also in reference of Pokuaa's Ghanaian heritage.

Catering to both men and women, Ohema Ohene blends British style with West African textiles (directly sourced from Ghana) through its high quality seasonal fashion. The brand is not limited to footwear, so be sure to check out their clothes too.

Shop Ohema Ohene Here

6. SAWA

Photo via SAWA's Facebook page.

Algerian-born shoe designer Mehdi Slimani launched SAWA as an activist fashion project to produce 'Made in Africa' footwear from start to finish. You may even have caught SAWA's special collection just for J.Crew that sold out back in 2014.

The company finally settled and developed its business model in Ethiopia after initially setting up shop in Cameroon. For Slimani, SAWA shoes are for socially-conscious buyers, and seeks to benefit the continent while challenging the narrative that it needs "saving."

Shop SAWA Here

7. MONAA

Photo via MONAA's Facebook page.

The sandals that come with this luxury footwear brand will make your feet look and feel like royalty. Founded by German-born Ghanaian sisters, Nana and Afua Dabanka, MONAA pays homage to their Ashanti heritage.

The brand's sandals are made in Ghana by top-notch artisans and are constructed from the finest, globally sourced leathers; embellished with African-inspired elements.

Shop MONAA Here

8. Oliberté

From the F/W 2016 collection. Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson for Oliberté.

Oliberté launched in 2009 as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers on the continent and eventually grew to establish their own factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012. The company also became the world's first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing factory a year later.

Oliberté's factory employs over 70 people, where 60 percent of employees are women. The sustainable brand also seeks to continue to support workers' rights on the continent.

Shop Oliberté Here

9. ENZI

Photo via ENZI's Facebook page.

ENZI is committed to high levels of production quality, design and materials while maintaining a commitment to social and environmental responsibility in Ethiopia.

A team of entrepreneurs—Jawad Braye, Christian Ward, Azariah Mengistu and Sam Imende—came together to develop a footwear brand that fully represented them, while changing the misconceived perception of Africa through their well-crafted men's footwear.

Shop ENZI Here

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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday 2019

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

Keep reading...
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Image via TONL

OkayAfrica's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Our curated list of 10 black-owned and black-created things that'll make the coolest gifts this holiday season.

And just like that, it's December. Whether you're giving gifts as part of a holiday tradition or just need to find something for your loved ones, we're using this as an excuse to highlight some of the products we've loved this year. We've curated another shortlist of black-owned and black-created things to shop for your loved ones (or for yourself!) this gifting season.

See OkayAfrica's 2019 #BuyBlack Black Friday holiday shopping guide here

Check out our 10 picks below.

Keep reading...
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Still from YouTube.

Yemi Alade Enlists Djimon Hounsou for New Music Video 'Remind You'

The veteran Beninese actor stars in the sultry music for Yemi Alade's latest single.

Yemi Alade shares her latest music video for her single "Remind You," and it stars none other than celebrated Hollywood actor Djimon Hounsou.

"Remind You" is a sultry R&B track from the singer's latest album, 2019's Woman of Steel. The vibrant music video, directed by Ovie Etseyatse, sees the singer gallivanting in an empty mansion in various elegant gowns. Honsou graces the screen throughout the video as well, but the two don't meet until the very end, when things take a funny and unexpected turn.

Keep reading...
Interview
Photo courtesy of Afro Nation.

Interview: Afro Nation Festival's Smade On Unifying Africans Across the Continent & Diaspora

As the festival prepares to make its Puerto Rico debut this spring, we sat down with Afro Nation co-founder Adesegun Adeosun aka Smade to talk about how it all started and what the future holds.

Within minutes of speaking with Adesegun Adeosun, it's apparent that Afro Nation is much more than an urban music festival.

The Afro Nation co-founder, better known as Smade, talks passionately about connecting Africans across the globe. In less than a year since its debut edition, Afro Nation has successfully done this and gone on to establish itself as the largest festival celebrating African culture on the continent and in the diaspora.

This year, Afro Nation will touch down in Puerto Rico for the first time over spring break—from the 18th to the 21st of March—on the beach of Balneario de Carolina. Headliners will include Burna Boy, Chronixx, Davido, 2Baba, Naira Marley and many more.

As the festival prepares to make its Puerto Rico debut this spring, we sat down with Smade to talk about Afro Nation, how it all started and what the future holds.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...

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