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Namibians Head to the Polls to Cast Their Votes in the National Elections

At least 1.3 million Namibians have registered to vote in today's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Voting polls across Namibia are officially open as the country carries out its presidential and parliamentary elections. According to Aljazeera, at least 1.3 million Namibians have registered to vote in today's national elections which see 11 candidates competing for the presidency and 15 political parties vying for seats in parliament.


President Hage Geingob, of the ruling South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), is seeking to be re-elected for a second term. Unlike other liberation movements which have since becoming governments following democratic elections in Sub-Saharan Africa, SWAPO has managed to consistently maintain its support since Namibia's independence from Germany according to Henning Melber of News24. However, following economic woes and a corruption scandal that rocked the country's key fishing industry, unemployed youth especially have now turned their attention to former SWAPO member, Panduleni Itula,who is running as an independent candidate.

Esther Muinjangue, on the other,is the first woman in Namibia's history to run for president. The leader of the opposition party National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO), Muinjangue says that she wants to "restore dignity" to the 2.45 million Namibian citizens. She adds that, "You hear a lot of people complaining about the (ruling) SWAPO-led government. There was apathy among the youth but now you see at every rally...more and more young people coming on board."

Other opposition parties vying for seats in parliament include the Popular Democratic Movement and the relatively new Landless People's Movement. Aside from unemployment and poverty, several other issues which voters want to be urgently addressed include drought, education, water supply and corruption. The Namibian reports that the US embassy was selected as the official observer of the elections to ensure transparency and credibility.

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Watch the Trailer for 'Gangs of Lagos,' Amazon's First African Movie

Amazon's Gangs of Lagos will premiere on April 7th.

Nollywood is coming to Prime Video.

On Monday, the conglomerate announced that it would be releasing Gangs of Lagos, its first original African movie, on April 7th. The project, which is directed by renowned filmmaker Jáde Osiberu, features Nigerian stars like Tobi Bakare, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Chike Osebuka, Chioma Chukwuka, and Iyabo Ojo.

The movie will follow the lives of a group of friends as they navigate the bustling streets of Lagos.

In a press release, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, head of Nigerian Originals at Prime Video, described the movie as a story that highlights the importance of friendship and family.

"Gangs of Lagos is a unique story about family and friendship, against the action-packed backdrop and striking set pieces of the streets of Lagos,” Mba-Uzoukwu said. “As the first Nigerian Original to launch on Prime Video, Gangs of Lagos sets the tone and standard, with the authentically Nigerian storyline in a genre that is so popular around the globe, making it a movie for our audiences at home and abroad.”

Gangs of Lagos - Official Teaser | Prime Video Naijawww.youtube.com

Located on the country's southwest coast, Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria. Over the years, the vibrant city has become known for its bustling economy, eclectic culture, and rich history. The crime drama promises to showcase the nitty gritty rumble and tumble of Lagos, as well as the authentic elements that make it one of the most renowned cities in the world.

Ned Mitchell, head of African and Middle East Originals, Prime Video said that with the roll out, Prime Video was hoping to connect with original voices.

“At Prime Video, we are looking to work with original voices to create spectacular stories and events that audiences can connect with wherever they may be,”

Mitchell said. "Gangs of Lagos launching will truly be a global cultural moment that marks the beginning of a new era in storytelling, where audiences everywhere can see the full power of Nigerian and African voices and the depths of our continued commitment to the local TV and film industry.”
Style
Photo by Cindy Ord

The Best Style Moments of Tems

From normcore, Y2K-inspired streetwear, figure-hugging catsuits to high-fashion formalwear, the style of the alt R&B superstar has matured over the years.

With a Grammy win now among her accolades, Tems’ crossover campaign continues to hit spectacular highs. Selling out shows, collaborating with Future and Drake, conquering global charts, lending her voice to a Marvel movie soundtrack, and brunching with JAY-Z and Beyoncé are some of the things her star power has pulled.

Tems, whose 2019 breakout single “Try Me” locked down decent fame in Nigeria, was introduced to fresh ears overseas on Wizkid’s monster hit “Essence.” The Nigerian singer-songwriter has since begun her ascent into stardom. As such, her wardrobe has scaled up significantly. It has found a confident balance between upward luxury and cool-girl DIY-ness. The latter is a holdover from Lagos, bootstrapping as an artiste in the city’s alté scene.

Her stylist, Dunsin Wright, is the creative force behind her many statement looks, especially the hot streak of red carpet moments. Even so, Tems’ body is a marvel on its own, — shapely proportions that reward the camera. And therein lies the complicated relationship between an artist on the come-up and bodily anxieties. A female artiste, to be clear, who styled herself in plain, functional clothes, sunnies and sneakers, with natural hair swooped up or done in long box braids.

Sometimes a catsuit, but big shirts, jackets, and loose pants were a matter of practicality. Additionally, these wardrobe choices appeared to be a self-effacing maneuver around female objectification and to keep the focus on her music.

For corroboration: her Instagram photos were often captured in portraits. And when she stood in full view, a frontal pose was only offered. On social media, a viral appetite took hold, asking her to show more skin or give a back pose.

While Tems hasn’t explicitly addressed this, she’s currently cognizant of the demands of being a celebrity without straying too much from personal comfort. Her style journey is still ongoing. In the meantime, we select her best looks with all the style inspo it brings.

Tems Wearing Pleated Robert Wun

For her 2022 London tour that hit a stop at famous concert venue KOKO, Tems showed up on stage wearing Robert Wun. A custom teal matching set elevated by dramatic accordion pleats. Her long box braids, though the singer’s signature style, harmonized with the flowy pleated details of the look. The show of cleavage from the plunging neckline has been a continuing theme for Tems.

Wun, a London-based Hong Kong designer, had showed off the look in his studio before the concert. On Tems, it was a technical understanding of proportions. But what makes wearing Robert Wun such a big deal is that Wun’s couture debut in Paris was darkly gorgeous, and received praise from the industry.

Perhaps in the future, Tems can reunite with Wun in something decidedly couture to hit the red carpet.

Tems At the 2022 BET Awards

Tems won Best International Act at the 2022 BET Awards. She made history, becoming the first Nigerian female artist to be a recipient. On the red carpet, she made a show-stopping statement wearing a custom black bustier gown with a thigh-high slit.

From Dilara Findikoglu, it’s interesting to see Tems wear a creation from the rising Turkish-British designer. The gown is Tems’ first black formalwear on a huge stage, in strap heels and a Swarovski necklace to boot. For her glam look, her signature glossy ombre lips and wispy lashes were just right for the occasion.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: Tems poses in the press room during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images For BET

Tems at the 2022 BMI London Awards

Tems joined big winners at the BMI London Awards, taking home the prestigious Impact prize, in recognition of her artistry, creative vision and impact on the future of music. Holding a silver box clutch with an iridescent shimmer, hoop earrings, and stiletto nails polished in metallic chrome, her outfit for the ceremony merged her love for catsuits with a red carpet sensibility.

A white turtleneck gown in stretch silk crepe. London-based photographer Bet Bettencourt, who has been taking photos of Tems at events, showed another view of the gown on Instagram after the awards were over. A slew of sizzling snaps revealed a huge cutout at the back and a comfortable pose.

Tems on the red carpet in a white dress. LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Tems attends the 2022 BMI London Awards at The Savoy Hotel on October 03, 2022 in London, England.Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for BMI London Awards

Tems at the 2022 Global Citizen Festival: Accra

Performing at the Global Citizen concert in Ghana, Tems slipped in a turquoise blue lace catsuit with front cutouts from Brielle. The satin wrap of a mini skirt was a nice accent piece, held together by a crystal clasp that could be mistaken for a brooch.

Cuffing her wrist was a diamond bracelet, feet in silver pumps. Given the outdoor concert atmosphere, it was a fun, playful attire. And it’s not surprising to see Tems accessorize with white sunglasses, an ever-present staple in her wardrobe.

Tems in a turquoise body suit and white sunglassesACCRA, GHANA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tems performs on stage during Global Citizen Festival 2022: Accra on September 24, 2022 in Accra, Ghana.Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Tems at Coperni's SS' 2023 runway show

Last year, Parisian brand Coperni grabbed headlines for spraying a dress onto Bella Hadid. This was their spring/summer 2023 show, and Tems was in attendance. Leaving the looming, Romanesque architecture of the venue, the Salle des Textiles of the National Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris, the singer was dressed in Coperni herself.

A jet-black stretch satin bodycon dress, with a twist and cutout detailing. The thigh-high slit, sheer socks in Coperni bridge platform sandals, and pin-straight hair brought edginess to the picture. A crystal-embellished ring pouch bag from the brand was a statement accessory, subtly contrasting the all-black ensemble.

The dark sunglasses gave a futuristic, techno-chic vibe, an aesthetic Coperni has been working into their brand to redefine the lexicon of French style. That night, Tems took a photo with the founders, Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, showing a decent infiltration into the high-fashion circle.

Tems in Tommy Jeans

For this photo Tems posted on Instagram, she wore top-to-bottom Tommy Hilfiger and Tommy Jeans. The overlay of the colorblock windbreaker, triangle sports bralette, baggy jeans, open-toe heels, and chunky belly chain can only be described as streetwear chic. More importantly, it’s a delicate juxtaposition of the masculine and feminine dressing codes Tems had been embracing.

Anyone who followed ‘90s pop culture (think Aaliyah) and the renaissance of Y2K fashion will surely appreciate the look. Tems wearing a classic American brand isn’t a random occurrence. In late 2021, she announced she had secured a deal with the global clothing brand. And in 2022, we saw her lead a campaign for Tommy Jeans, the diffusion that targets a younger market.

Tems in Vivienne Westwood at the 2023 Grammys

With three nominations coming into the 65th Grammys, Tems bagged her first Grammy award in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category. It was for Future’s “Wait For U” featuring herself and Drake, making her the first Nigerian female artist to receive such honor.

Tems played up her femininity, styling her hair into space buns, wearing a gold-corseted Vivienne Westwood number. The bodice had the corset built in, with a draping from the waist that fell into a sweeping train. The nipped-waist silhouette flattered her curves. Layered pearl necklace and gold Tom Ford pumps, it was inarguably a moment of high fashion for the star.

Tems on the red carpet in a gold dress. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: Tems attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Tems on the Cover of Dazed Magazine

For Dazed magazine’s winter 2022 issue, Tems landed as the latest cover star. “Uncut Tems: the rise and reign of the queen of alté R&B” was the headline, and it remains her most provocative editorial spread to date. So much so that she was criticized by internet trolls for which she took to social media to defend herself.

With styling from Ibrahim Kamara, the photo shoot served up sultry images of the singer. Particular standouts: the form-fitting translucent beige dress from Dilara Findikoglu with a bodysuit underneath, strap heels and fringe-framing hair. In another shot: a Sportsmax faux fur coat worn over a Chloé leather dress, and vintage Susan Caplan gold necklace feels like a refreshing take on old Hollywood glamour.


Tems' Couture at the 2023 Oscars

Nominated for Best Original Song for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever track “Lift Me Up,” Tems arrived at her first Oscars in a sculptural, gravity-defying puff of couture. Even though she didn’t win (it was a tough category), she turned heads (literally).

By Ukranian designer, Lesya Verlingieri of Lever Couture, Tems was a commanding presence of sophistication on the sand-hued carpet. Further, it showed her maturing confidence as of late. Hand sculpted from gauzy nylon mesh, the bold and breathtaking silhouette newly placed her in the canon of celebrities to look out for at high-caliber events.

With no necklace on Tems, we aren’t sure if this is leaning into the “no-necklace” trend amongst celebrities on the red carpet. Not that the look needed one, anyway. Going bare was smart to maintain a clean focus on what she was wearing. Attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, the sculptural hood and elegant puff gave way to a slightly more stripped-down attire.

A cat ear-shaped bustier in black silk crepe, built into a full skirt with drape detail. Thigh-high slit? Of course, a repeated motif we are sure to see more of. For accessories, a transparent PVC choker with a cutout had dots of Swarovski crystals. Altogether, it had a smattering of kinky, a dip into the bondage aesthetic Tems can possibly dial up in the future.

Tems in a puffy white dress a the 95th Oscars carpet. HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Tems attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Tems in black dress on a blue carpet walkway. BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Tems attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.Photo by Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

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Photo by Nipah Dennis.

Idris Elba, Black Sherif and Sheryl Lee Ralph Join Kamala Harris in Ghana

Idris Elba, Black Sherif and Sheryl Lee Ralph recently visited a music studio in Ghana with Kamala Harris.

Idris Elba, Black Sherif,Sheryl Lee Ralph and other celebrities joined Vice President Kamala Harris in Ghana as she visited the Vibration studio at the freedom skate park in Accra, Ghana. Harris visited the community recording studio with the stars as part of her weeklong tour of Africa. The visit was a step towards highlighting the growth, talent and evolution of African creatives and the creative industry in Africa. Other notable figures who joined Harris on the tour included Baaba J, Ria Boss, and Moses Sumney.

In the past, British actor Elba, whose mother is Ghanaian, has been vocal about the West supporting and investing in African creatives. Earlier this month, he joined forces with Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu to launch a joint film and TV venture that would support new projects from rising African talent in the continent and the diaspora.

While talking with the press, the “Luther” actor said that he and his wife first met Harris at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last year.

“[Harris] said, ‘Hey, I really want to come to Africa. And we said we’d love to do that,’” Elba told White House press reporters in Ghana, according to The Hill.

“If you ever go to Africa, let me know,” Elba said. “So here we are.”

The Golden Globe winner also mentioned that the creative talent pool in Africa is rich, and it was a good idea that Harris had visited.

“I think it’s a great signal for VP to come to Ghana, to come to Africa and be that interface to show the rest of the world that actually it is a fantastic place to sort of look at in terms of partnership and investment,” said Elba.

During the event, which gathered a crowd of creatives, Lee sang “Endangered Species,” after which she addressed the attendees.

“You must invest in yourself, in your art, first. And then you birth it out to the world,” Ralph said.

After her visit to Ghana, Harris will make a stop in Tanzania and then wrap up her African tour in Zambia.

Beauty
Photo courtesy Industrie Africa.

Five Women-Led Companies Taking African Fashion to the World

These are just some of the trail-blazing women who are overcoming obstacles and globalizing African fashion with their e-commerce platforms.

E-commerce has become a vital part of the fashion industry. In recent years, it’s revolutionized the way we shop for fashion and beauty products, and made it easier for consumers to access products from all over the world. African fashion has become more accessible for anyone who wants to wear it – thanks to a number of e-commerce hubs that help bridge the gap between brand and fashion-loving consumer.

E-commerce revenue in Africa is only going to keep increasing, and by 2027, it could even reach a value of over $82 billion, according to estimates by Statista, an international consumer data and marketing company. E-commerce platforms help address many of the challenges faced by African fashion brands in getting their product to buyers, particularly when it comes to shipping.

But according to International Finance Corporation, which runs an initiative with the European Commission aimed at boosting online commerce opportunities for women in emerging markets, there is a need to close the gap between the earnings of male and female merchants. Doing so, they say, would increase Africa’s market value by about at least $14.5 billion.

There’s been a dearth of women successfully raising giant companies in this sector. Techpoint Africa reports that only 10% of female-founded startups in West Africa have raised up to $1 million since 2010. Women’s Month presents an opportunity to highlight this, and to raise up those women who have, in spite of this, managed to make their names known as leaders in this realm.

Here are 5 women who spoke to OkayAfrica about the highs and lows of owning an African e-commerce business in the fashion world.

Nisha Kanabar

An image of Nisha Kanabar in a blue dress, looking off to the side, smiling, with her arms crossed.

Nisha Kanabar created Industrie Africa to challenge how people perceived African fashion and what it could be.

Photo courtesy Nisha Kanabar.

Nisha Kanabar, a Tanzanian of Indian descent, built Industrie Africa in 2018, along with Georgia Bobley, to challenge the stereotypical constructs and bias of what people perceive African fashion to be. She wanted to harness pan-African industry voices through a global fashion lens and framework, and to create a hub of connectivity within the industry that would make it easier for the next generation of entrepreneurs to break into the business.

“I first launched Industrie Africa as an answer to the fracture and underrepresentation of Africa’s fashion industry at the time,” Kanabar tells OkayAfrica. “[I also wanted] to address the media bias, the gaping lack of global presence, [and] the ignorance of even the simplest of its vernacular. By establishing Industrie Africa, I kind of intended to create a channel for authentic connectivity – regionally and globally.”

In May 2020, Industrie Africa launched an online retail destination, enhancing its content around African fashion. Through this e-commerce platform, Kanabar intended to give people access to the top designers in Africa, and create a sustainable way of bridging existing barriers between these designers and their markets.

“It’s been a special journey with a steep learning curve,” says Kanabar. “I’ve had to break conventions and get creative in order to cultivate relationships with logistics partners, like DHL, to access payment tools that are user-friendly, or to create systems around quality and consistency.” She encourages other women who have an interest in this area of fashion to dive in. “It’s never too late to break into the space, and do what you feel passionate about,” she says. “All your experiences matter, and [it] enriches your perspective and what you bring to the table.”

Pinaman Owusu-Banahene

An image of Pinaman Owusu-Banahene looking at the camera wearing a black dress with a striking image embossed on it.

Pinaman Owusu-Banahene started building Adjoaa as a multi-brand online marketplace for African brands in 2021.

Photo courtesy Pinaman Owusu-Banahene

Pinaman Owusu-Banahene has a unique eye. The Ghana-born fashion tech entrepreneur brings her background in public policy together with her love for fashion in Africa in running ADJOAA – a one-stop shop for consumers looking to purchase garments that value sustainability and are from young design talents in Africa. The likes of LVMH semi-finalist Bloke, Ajabeng Ghana, Boyedoe, and Olooh Concept are currently stocked here. “ADJOAA is a curated multi-brand online marketplace [that was built in 2021], specializing in sustainable fashion and lifestyle products by African designers and of African descent,” Owusu-Banahene says.

She has consistently contributed to the development of this space, and in 2015, staged New Zealand’s first-ever Africa Fashion Festival, before going on to explore the e-commerce space. “Although I have been following fashion for a very long time [since 2010], I have looked at this from a perspective of economic development,” she tells OkayAfrica. “And I saw that our fashion industry and young designers [have] been at the fringes of the global fashion market.” ADJOAA aims to rectify this – so far, they’ve introduced over fifty African designers from fifteen countries in Africa and in the diaspora onto the site.

Financing, however, remains Owusu-Banehene’s biggest challenge. “Part of my work with the International Chamber of Commerce is also to highlight that access to capital is a major barrier,” she says. “I’m excited about the works that are underway to support growing fashion SMEs in the continent. We want to be more proactive about building this.”

Amira Rasool

An image of Amira Rasool in a brown dress looking towards the camera with her hand on her knee.

Amira Rasool is behind The Folklore, one of the top places to find the best African designers.

Photo courtesy Amira Rasool.

Based between New York City and Cape Town, Amira Rasool has nurtured The Folklore into an e-commerce company that gives a diverse range of brands the tools they need to reach their customers. The idea for The Folklore came about when the New Jersey-born entrepreneur moved to Cape Town in 2016 for her post-grad at the University of Cape Town, and found a growing interest in the local items she was wearing when she’d return to the U.S.

“[We built The Folklore] to source brands and place them on our platform, so merchandisers, buyers, and retailers can find them,” she tells OkayAfrica. The success The Folklore has amassed in the four years since its inception is notable: it launched during New York Fashion Week in 2018, and now has a hand-picked selection of apparel, shoes, and jewelry from more than 20 designers from the continent and in the diaspora.

“It’s been pretty challenging getting this together. A challenge for us and the brands has always been logistics and bringing said products here [to the U.S.],” Rasool says, “but it’s really why we’ve continued to collaborate and work with logistics companies to empower us and help overcome such challenges.”

Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi

A portrait of Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi looking straight at the camera.

Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi started Losode Inc. because she believed in the strength of commerce and is passionate about it.

Photo courtesy Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi

Nigeria’s Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi is the founder of Losode Inc., a multi-hyphenated e-commerce platform that places itself between fashion designers and brands that make affordable clothing and accessories in Sub-Saharan Africa, and buyers or merchandisers. “I started Losode [in 2020], and I did it because I really just believed in the strength of e-commerce, and have been passionate about it,” she tells OkayAfrica. In the last 15 years, Ajose-Adeyemi has worked across tech in Nigeria, the U.K., and the U.S., and has incorporated that knowledge into building Losode.

“With Losode, we’re building an infrastructure that will drive trade and commerce across Africa,” she says. “We don’t have a solid commerce structure in Africa.” Losode has over 30 designers and beauty brands, and the business is centered around five major core values, including empowering entrepreneurs and dismantling existing trade borders. “We’re really just bold and confident about these pillars that guide us because we’re all about smashing these borders, and building something that allows others to have access to the remarkable works of the brands in Africa,” adds Ajose-Adeyemi.

The biggest challenge her business faces, she says, is finding the right quality brands, and bringing them onto the platform. To address this, she asks each brand about its vision, and listens to their entire process. “It helps us get a better sense of who they are, and their values,” she says.

Elorm Dela-Seshie

An image of Elorm Dela-Seshie looking towards the camera with some tree leaves in the foreground.

Elorm Dela-Seshie started Adorn Me Africa to help a few small sustainable brands and independent artisans based in Ghana get more exposure in the U.S.

Photo courtesy Elorm Dela-Seshie.

Like almost every success story in fashion, Elorm Dela-Seshie was introduced to an appreciation for clothing at a young age. Growing up in the U.S., she fell in love with fashion when she saw how her parents confidently represented Africa through their Ghanaian attire. Being an African in the diaspora instilled within her a kind of curiosity for the culture, and by extension, its fashion.

“That same curiosity birthed Adorn Me Africa; which I started in 2017 as a means to play a supportive role in assisting a few small sustainable brands and independent artisans based in Ghana in hopes of getting more exposure to these brands and helping them to sell their products to a wider market within the US,” she tells OkayAfrica.

What started with a focus on contemporary fashion in one country 7 years ago has since expanded to sourcing from over 30 different brands from over 15 countries across the African continent. “Our ultimate goal is to represent and feature sustainable products and independent fashion brands from all 54 countries of the African continent,” says Dela-Seshie. This, of course, comes with its own difficulties, such as supply chain issues in importing from Africa and the cost associated with doing so.

“Despite the challenges that we’ve faced, we’ve continued to push forward and respond with innovation, strategic pivoting, and a creative perspective on how we can best position the brand to continue to make the most impact and continue to serve as many brands as we are able to,” says Dela-Seshie.

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Davido Is Bringing ‘Timeless’ to These Cities

The Nigerian superstar has announced ‘A Timeless Night with Davido’ in Lagos, London and New York.