Photos

The Warm, Welcoming Senegalese Coast Shines Through Sophie Zinga's 'Hibiscus' Collection

Photographer Florence Ngala and Sengalese designer Sophie Zinga collaborate for a gorgeous fashion editorial.

It's beyond heartening to see how things come full circle for young African artists.


Florence Ngala, who we featured first in our series, This Week In Photos, reached out to me with a gorgeous fashion editorial featuring designs from Senegal's Sophie Zinga. How this collaboration came to be is a great example of how you never know who can come across your work—thanks to the internet.

"It's actually a funny story," she says via email. "Nigerian artist Oroma Elewa and I had met before (she's awesome) and after having a second encounter and a chat, she went on to get in touch with me about working with her during NYFW. While traveling to meet with her in Chelsea, I saw the amazing and super dope Amy Sall getting into a cab and took a street style shot of her. I sent her the photo and she posted it, which is how Sophie, a good friend of hers, went on to find my work and reach out to me about shooting for her."

This link up was an opportunity for Ngala to visit and work on the continent for the first time, and produce work she came to love.

The collection, entitled "Hibiscus," is inspired by the flower native to the designer, as well as the hibiscus flower's socioeconomic impact on Senegal and in countries in the Caribbean (care for any sorrel, anyone?).

"There is a widely popular drink called bissap, which is made from the hibiscus flower," Zinga says. "Bissap is a national drink which is widely offered during the most important ceremonies in Senegal and has medicinal virtues. The hibiscus is widely referenced in the collection in terms of its vivid colors and its texture."

For Ngala, her inspiration from the photography angle came from Zinga's exquisite designs and how her creativity and effort shines through the collection. "She already had a strong vision for the vibe she wanted in the images," Ngala says.

Ngala continues:

When working with her, she expressed how inspired she was by the "African Cosmopolitan," the working, global-minded, savvy woman. She wanted the images to be clean and to have a modern, high end look, while at the same time, paying homage to her roots.

She'd explained to me that this is why she casted the models she did because they looked "quintessentially Senegalese" as well as why she decided to shoot the images in the country where she's from. We scouted other locations but ended up reverting to her childhood home, which her parents gracefully let us use. This was also cool because I brought to her attention that I thought it would be so dope to hold the shoot there after she shared with me that this was where she grew her brand out of years prior.

Have a look at selects from Hibiscus below.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Credits

Location: Dakar, Senegal

Photography: Florence Ngala

Models: Aminata Faye, Aicha Gueye

Creative Director: Sophie Zinga

Makeup: Aida Ndiaye

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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