Okayafrica's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

The year's best streetwear, accessories, books and more from Africa and the Diaspora

Top Left to Right: 'Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara; STREETCHIEF; Modern Pharaoh; Mizizi. Bottom Left to Right: Caven Etomi; Fanm Djanm; Ikire Jones; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists.'

Throughout the year, we here at Okayafrica have spotlighted hundreds of small business owners and creatives making outstanding strides in fashion, film, art and beyond. With the holiday season upon us, what better time to delve deeper into these entrepreneurs' one-of-a-kind works than now?

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

We've rounded up the best and brightest brands and products guaranteed to eliminate any last-minute shopping crises and elevate one's gift-giving game. The creators behind these picks selection hail from all over; their signature styles as distinct as their home bases, representing cities like Monrovia, Brooklyn, London, Abidjan and Washington D.C. So, it's safe to say that there's something for just about everyone on your holiday gift list. Browse through our entire guide for some overall inspiration or head straight to a particular category by clicking below.



Accessories, Shoes & Beauty

Art & Home Decor


Fairytales For Lost Children –Diriye Osman

In 2014, Somali-born short story writer, essayist, critic and visual artist Diriye Osman became the first African to win a Polari First Book Prize (the UK prize awarded to a British author whose debut book explores the LGBT experience.) Osman’s Fairytales For Lost Children tell the stories of young, gay and lesbian Somalis as they navigate matters of family, identity and the immigrant experience in Kenya, Somalia and South London.


The Pack –Paul Louise-Julie

New York-based French-Caribbean illustrator and author Paul Louise-Julie’s African mythology comic series debuted earlier this year with an issue about a group of ancient Egyptian werewolves. Louise-Julie, who also has an African-inspired futuristic space opera in the works, says he plans to release part three of The Pack’s Egyptian saga soon.


Africa 39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara –Edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Africa 39 brings together short stories from 39 writers under the age of 40 from sub-Saharan Africa and the Diaspora. The project was launched at the Port Harcourt Book Festival in October 2014. The anthology includes selections by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dinaw Mengestu, Taiye Selasi, Lola Shoneyin and an introduction by Wole Soyinka.


The Groundnut –Duval Timothy, Folayemi Brown and Jacob Fodio Todd

Duval Timothy, Folayemi Brown and Fodio Todd are the longtime friends behind the South London-based food platform and supper club known as The Groundnut. This year, the trio shared over 60 of their favorite contemporary African recipes in a self-titled cookbook.

The Fishermen –Chigozie Obioma

Set in a Nigerian town in the mid 1990’s, The Fishermen centers on a Cain and Abel-esque story of four brothers whose encounter with a volatile local madman leads to a mystic prophecy and a momentous, tragic event. “Awesome in the true sense of the word: crackling with life, freighted with death, vertiginous both in its style and in the elemental power of its story,” Man Booker Prize-winning author Eleanor Catton writes about the book. “Few novels deserve to be called 'mythic,' but Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen is certainly one of them. A truly magnificent debut."

We Should All Be Feminists –Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chances are you’ve heard the clip of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie advocating feminism on Beyonce’s track "Flawless." But have you heard the entire speech? Well, the award-winning novelist’s personal essay, which was adapted from her celebrated TEDx talk, is now available in a pocket-sized book. Whether you’ve never heard the speech or you’ve watched it more times than you can count, We Should All Be Feminists deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf. In fact, Sweden recently made headlines after giving a copy of the manifesto to every 16-year-old student in the country.

Boy, Snow, Bird –Helen Oyeyemi

Highly acclaimed by both critics and readers alike, Nigerian-born British author Helen Oyeyemi's Boy, Snow, Bird presents readers with an unexpected twist on the classic fairy tale Snow White. This intricate story of family secrets lives at the tricky intersection of race, beauty and vanity.


The Golden Baobab Tree –Nkiacha Atemnkeng

Encourage your younger loved ones to sharpen their reading skills with this illustrated book written by Cameroonian writer Nkiacha Atemnkeng.


The Big Ceremony –Ozi Okaro

Nigerian writer Ozi Okaro wanted to provide children from her homeland with an engaging introduction to the vivid cultural experience that is a traditional Nigerian wedding. So, she pulled double duty penning and illustrating The Big Ceremony to help readers learn more about the customs of their ancestors and their heritage.

Sahara Rocks! –Arnaud Contreras

Sahara Rocks! is the culmination of French author, filmmaker and photographer Arnaud Contreras’ work documenting the Sahara’s dynamic music scene and its tech-savvy youth while traveling alongside artists such as Tinariwen, Bombino and Tamikrest over the course of 15 years. “I want to portray the modernity of young Tuaregs, Arabs, Songhaï, and Moors who share both good and bad news through their social medias accounts and their cell phones,” writes Contreras. “Today’s Saharan music – rock, blues, guitar – is the soundtrack to their wanderings, their parties, their struggles, and the only visa that can permit their culture to cross frontiers." After launching a crowdfunding campaign in 2014, the photobook officially hit shelves in September.

Next Page
News Brief
Photo by Kwesi Yanful, courtesy of MIZIZI.

MIZIZI Has Released a Special Edition 'Lion King' Jersey in Collaboration with Disney

The sleek baseball jersey was designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "The Lion King."

MIZIZI returns with yet another timely collaboration—this time with Disney to commemorate the 25th anniversary of our childhood classic, The Lion King.

The African streetwear brand says through the jersey's kid sizes, it now has the opportunity to cater to the next generation of viewers of the upcoming live-action remake that's to open in theaters this week. "The Lion King marked many of our childhoods," the brand says in a statement. "Much before we were aware of our identities, it resonated with us."

Keep reading... Show less
Photo via TONL

Readers Share Literature that Gets Them Through the Holidays with Family

Books thin enough to slip into your bible

When I met the writer Taban Lo Liyong in Kampala, he gave me his most "carefree" book called Christmas in Lodwar. "It was the book where I was enjoying myself the most. You can read it by opening any page and it will make you feel better," he said.

Christmas in Lodwar was written about a Christmas Liyong once spent north of Lordwar, Kenya in 1979 when his Volvo Saloon broke down on his way to South Sudan. Open any page and you will find him meditating on leather aprons, political Jesus, learning pidgin, or village gossip. I decided to wait until the end of the year to read it because it was perfectly sized to fit into my bible, and I knew I'd need something to read through all the New Year's and Christmas services my family would take me to.

Keep reading... Show less
GuiltyBeatz, Kwesi Arthur & Mr Eazi's "Pilolo" visualizer video (Youtube).

The 20 Best Ghanaian Songs of 2019

Featuring Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, Amaarae, Kwesi Arthur, Shatta Wale, Efya GuiltyBeatz, Joey B, R2Bees and many more.

2019 was definitely an exciting year for Ghanaian music.

Right from the top of the year, we saw both new and established make their mark with songs that would soundtrack the nation's airwaves, functions, and nights for months to come. In 2019 we got to experience an E.L comeback, Shatta Wale and Beyoncé on the same song, numerous solid Ghana-Naija collaborations, and bop after bop by old and new artists alike.

We also saw the rise of brand new artists, starting from the likes of J.Derobie's wave making debut in January, to Kofi Mole's widespread trap anthem, to Fameye's declaration of brokeness, to the promising future superstar Sam Opoku. As far as projects go, 2019 was a good year for that in the Ghana music space as well. We were blessed with an EP from Sarkodie, an album by the superstar duo R2Bees, talented singer King Promise's debut album, Ko-Jo Cue's stellar debut, and M.anifest's 7-track feel-good EP, among several others.

Ghanaian music has been stepping its game up lately, and there's only one way to go from here. Below, we give you the rundown on the Ghanaian songs that stole ears and hearts and set the pace for the country's sound this year.

Check out the list below. Listen in no particular order.—Nnamdi Okirike

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Keep reading... Show less
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for AFI)

Cynthia Erivo Earns Golden Globe Nomination for 'Harriet'

Check out the full list of 2020 nominees (and the snubs).

Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo has earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman in Harriet. She's earned a nomination for Best Original Song for 'Stand Up."

She's nominated in the "Best Performance by an Actress In a Motion Picture—Drama" alongside Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Renée Zellwegger and Saoirse Ronan.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox