Style

Check Out This Thrilling New Book of Style Photos From Kenya's Nest Collective

The photos in Not African Enough argue that Kenyan Designers have a lot more to offer than wax print.

Kenyan creatives are challenging the belief that wax prints sum up African fashion in a 367-paged book with striking images and thoughtful essays. Not African Enough (NAE) is The Nest Collective's first fashion book (but second publication) documenting an exciting group of Kenyan designers through photography and essays.

Fourteen pros showcase modern looks in apparel and accessories that reflect the country's multi-cultural vibe, and the designers' global outlook including Adèle Dejak, Wambui, Kibue, Ami Doshi Shah, Ambica Shah, and Katungulu Mwendwa.

Scroll down for a gallery of photos from the book.

The Nest has a record of successful sartorial ventures including a few fashion films (Urban Hunter, Dinka Translation and To Catch A Dream—to name a few ) and at one point, an online store (Chico Leco) once favored by Nairobi's cool kids. Influencers and bloggers are already tweeting and Instagramming copies of the book.

"I have a love-hate relationship with wax print because I feel like it's not a great portrayal of our industry—we don't manufacture those prints here," explains Firyal Nur.

The designer does feature a few prints in her collection, but says: "I'm trying to understand how I can take what I love from them and reflect that without being part of this vicious cycle of wax print." So while not all designers are gaga for wax prints made in Netherlands or China, designer Anyango Mpinga admits to appreciating them—to a point. "I have always loved prints. However, I have never wanted what we so fondly refer to as 'African prints' to define my authenticity as an African designer."

Muqaddam Latif and Keith Macharia of M+K designed, skipped the African prints to show how sexy speckled hair-on leather pencil skirts, satin jumpsuits and shirt dresses can be with a fire womenswear collection that is modern and sleek.

If you're curious to find out more about the changes and conversations on the ground in Kenya, NAE definitely delivers. Adding to the book's appeal is the insightful commentary about disrupting the status quo, elevating fashion show production, exploring minimalism, creating a Kenyan national dress and navigating the tricky world of e-commerce .

One of the disruptors in the Kenyan fashion scene is Sunny Dolat, who is the NAE Creative Director. He has come a long way from scouring Nairobi's open-air markets for inexpensive yet fabulous pieces. Back in 2011, collaborations with visual artist/filmmaker Jim Chuchu (Tuko Macho) for their 'Stingo'—slang for 'style'—project required a lot of resourcefulness. Since then, Dolat has become a noted influencer who reflects on the changes in the industry, stating: "Conversations with government are also much more productive. They have become more open to the sector's huge economic potential especially regarding job promotion, and are figuring out how to chip in through policy reforms, as well as manufacturing and import subsidies."

Not African Enough leaves no doubt that the industry's growth and global appeal is growing, and that luxury and world-class design live in Kenya. The present and future state of fashion in Kenya never looked so cool.

Photos from Not African Enough

Designer - M+K

Photographer Maganga Mwagogo, Model - Juliet Kiruhi

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Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images

South Africans are Reacting to the Constitutional Court's Ruling on Spanking

Not everyone is happy that spanking is now unconstitutional.

Yesterday, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that the spanking of children is now unconstitutional. The ruling upheld a previous ruling by the High Court back in 2017, that criminalized spanking after a father beat his 13-year-old son "in a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement". Parents or guardians can no longer use the common law defense of "reasonable chastisement" should they be charged with assault for spanking their children. While many South Africans as well as children's rights activists and organizations have welcomed the ruling, others have rubbished it entirely.

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AKA is Taking His Orchestra Show to Durban

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Here's What the South African Government has Promised to Do About Gender-based Violence

They have pledged 1.1 billion Rand towards the fight against gender-based violence.

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Cover of Isha Sesay's 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree'

'Beneath the Tamarind Tree'—an Excerpt From Isha Sesay's Book About Remembering the Chibok Girls

Read an exclusive excerpt from the Sierra Leonean reporter's new book, which offers firsthand accounts of what happened to the girls while in Boko Haram captivity in an attempt to make the world remember.

Below is an excerpt from the seventh chapter in Sierra-Leonean journalist and author Isha Sesay's new book, "Beneath the Tamarind Tree," the "first definitive account" of what took place on the ground following the abduction of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014.

Continue on to read more, and revisit our interview with the reporter about why it's important for the world to remember the girls' stories, here.

***

"We should burn these girls!"

"No, let's take them with us!"

"Why not leave them here?"

The men were still arguing, dozens of them trading verbal blows while Saa and the other horrified girls looked on. None of the men seemed particularly troubled by the fact that the lives of almost three hundred schoolgirls hung in the balance. Amid all the yelling, the girls had been divided into groups. Each batch would burn in a different room in the school buildings that were aflame just a few feet away. Tensions were escalating when a slim man with outsize eyes suddenly appeared. Saa had never seen him before. Like many of the insurgents, he too looked young and was just as scruffy. But when he spoke, tempers seemed to cool for a moment.

"Ah! What are you trying to do?"

"We wanted to burn them!"

"Why not take them with us, since we have an empty vehicle?"

His suggestion triggered a fresh round of quarreling. The same positions were expressed, and the newcomer continued to calmly repeat his idea of taking the girls with them, till he finally got his way. The girls later discovered his name was Mallam Abba. He was a commander.

"Follow us!" the men shouted.

None of it made any sense to Saa. Why? To where? As the insurgents shuffled her out of the compound, she felt as if her whole life were on fire. All Saa could see was the ominous orange glow of flames consuming every one of her school buildings. With every step, the fears within her grew. She struggled to make sense of the competing thoughts throbbing in her head. This isn't supposed to be happening. The insurgents had asked about the boys and the brick-making machine; they'd systematically emptied the school store, carrying bag after bag of foodstuffs and loading all of it into the huge waiting truck. With everything now packed away, Saa had thought the insurgents would simply let the girls go home. After all, that's what had happened during their previous attacks on schools—they'd always let the schoolgirls go, after handing out a warning to abandon their education and strict instructions to get married. Saa had simply expected the same thing to happen once more, not this.

She scanned the crowd of faces surrounding her; the creased brows and startled expressions of the others made it clear that everyone was equally confused. Whatever the turmoil they were feeling, they kept it to themselves. No one said a word. Saa fell into a sort of orderly scrum with the men corralling and motioning her forward with their guns, each weapon held high and pointed straight at the girls.

Saa and Blessing moved in unison, along with the hundreds of others, snaking along in the dark through the open compound gate, past the small guard post usually occupied by Mr. Jida, which now sat empty. Yelling came from nearby Chibok town. Saa could smell burning, then heard the sound of gunshots and people running. It was bedlam.

Just beyond the compound walls sat a crowd of bushes. As she and the men moved out into the open, Saa felt their thorns spring forward, eager to pull at her clothing and scratch and pierce her body. Careful not to yell out in pain, she tried to keep her clothes beyond the reach of the grasping thicket with no time to pause and examine what might be broken skin.

Saa retreated into herself and turned to the faith that had anchored her entire life. Lord, am I going to die tonight, or will I survive? Desperate to live, unspoken prayers filled her mind and she pleaded, repeatedly, God save me.

She was still praying as they walked down the dirt path away from the flaming school. The shabby-looking men with their wild eyes gave no explanation or directions. They simply motioned with their heads and the sweep of their rifles, making it clear to keep moving. As the reality began to sink in, Saa felt her chest tightening. Her heart was going to beat its way out of her body. But she couldn't allow herself to cry or make any sound. Any kind of display would make her a target, and who knew what these men might do?

The insurgents walked alongside, behind, and in front of her; they were everywhere. Every time Saa looked around, their menacing forms filled her view. Initially, all the girls were steered away from the main road and onto a rambling path overgrown with bushes; the detour was likely made in an attempt to avoid detection.

Parents lining up for reunion with daughters (c) Adam Dobby


***

This excerpt was published with permission from the author. 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree' is available now.

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