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Image by Ofoe Amegavie.

This Stunning Photo Series Re-imagines What Cities Could Look Like in the Future

As Accra undergoes massive urbanization, buildings 'in limbo' are providing an alternative space for creatives and the youth.

Unfinished buildings are commonplace in Accra, Ghana, a city whose landscape is changing every single day. High-rise structures and concrete worlds are overtaking traditional neighborhoods and leaving urban spaces in a state of "limbo"⁠—the future of the city fossilized within the fragments of its past. One of these many unfinished buildings is an estate in the neighborhood of East Legon, and is now the site of a provocative art exhibition, the first of many that will be showcased in unfinished properties across Accra.

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Travel
Photo by Audrey Lang.

Travel Diary: Audrey Lang Connects To a New Home Away from Home—Côte d'Ivoire

An OkayAfrica contributor captures her vibrant and on-the-go experience in Côte d'Ivoire's Abidjan and neighboring cities.

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, our contributor Audrey Lang shares her musings while exploring Côte d'Ivoire for the first time.

During a visit to Dakar, Senegal for the Biennale last summer, I met an advertiser and DJ named Lio. He excitedly described his impending move to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire and implored I make it my next stop on the African continent. Lio spoke of an invigorating creative scene in which he would thrive and I yearned to interact with the creatives telling its story so I could do the same. With little convincing, I obliged.

My desire to travel around the African continent is aimed at being able to refute a common media narrative that is often detrimental to its creatives and locals. Luckily, we are living in times where Africans far and wide are at the helm of a change in tide. Our stories are being told the right way—raw and unapologetically. They are as diverse as they are expansive. What is manifesting is nothing short of extraordinary.

Furthermore, because I am a second generation Cameroonian-American, travel is also aimed at connecting to a home I've never had the chance to live in, yet feels very much like it is mine. I am a product of an environment in which I was consistently reminded that despite the fact I live here, I am not from here. With time, I have learned that trips such as these are critical to forging a path in a world that so often attempts to dictate how you should identify and how this identity should make you feel. More often than not, my connection with heritage drives me.

Côte d'Ivoire is a West African country with idyllic beaches, a French-colonial legacy and a people who are friendly and warm. This country is honestly a gem that's heavily slept on.

From the moment I hop off the plane, I am moved by an ease. There is an air of not taking things too seriously. The doctors who administer my yellow fever shot jokingly offer to take me to get attiéké, alloco and garba (notable local dishes). The immigration agent who stamps my passport happily speaks on her phone about what appears to be a matter of no importance to her work.

Abidjan is a refreshing mix of post-colonial France and traditional culture. It's a sprawling metropolis with people very much on the go. I caught myself smiling at the locals' take on urban attire that reminds me of America.

The images I took engaging with the local landscape of Abidjan and some neighboring cities and towns do the best job of conveying just how lively the country is—check them out below.

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Arts + Culture
Olalekan Jeyifous at 'African Mobilities' exhibition. Photo by Laura Trumpp.

'African Mobilities' Is the Exhibition Centering African Voices in the Architectural Discourse

We speak with South African architect and curator Mpho Matsipa on her exhibition "African Mobilities" which is on view in Munich until August 19.

At first glance, you would not expect architecture to be the area where social changes are reflected most quickly. Every construction site in your city proves it all over again: The planning, designing and erecting of structures and buildings does take its time.

African Mobilities is an exhibition focusing on movement. Migrating, circulating people and the exchange of ideas, resources and aesthetics across borders. How does that relate to architecture?

African cities are reconsidered as sites of innovation, rapid transformations, new architectural typologies, infrastructures and technologies, highlights the curator Mpho Matsipa in her statement. The exhibition seeks to explore how architecture responds to the complexity of African Mobilities—beyond the figure of the refugee.

At the same time, the exhibition breaks with the expectations that are connected with the media image of Africa and from which the field of architecture is not excluded.

"If I speak to my colleagues in various parts in Africa they don't identify with the ways in which we are represented. This is about centering African voices and imaginations about the future and not always being consigned to a discourse of crisis that only allows for one particular kind of response," Matsipa says. Workshops and conferences over a period of two years were held in different African cities, Munich and New York, leading up to the exhibition African Mobilities. The result is a multi-disciplinary show with fresh perspective on the interface of art, architecture and social research.

But the reach of the ideas behind the exhibition does not end at the threshold of the showroom. Instead of an exhibition catalog, the website africanmobilities.org was launched, as a resource for the ongoing discourse on mobility. On there, the Chimurenga Library, an online archive with more than 500 books, music titles and movies, lays the foundation for a different kind of architecture—the cultural infrastructure of ideas, motifs and stories. Because that is where the very origin of architecture lies.

We speak more in depth with Matsipa about African Mobilities in the Q&A below.

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Arts + Culture

NextGen: Olalekan Jeyifous Confronts Social Issues in His Architectural Dystopias

We take an in-depth look at Olalekan Jeyifous' art and how his work fuses architecture and Afrofuturist narratives to critique social issues.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it.

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'Mogadishu – Lost Moderns'

'Mogadishu – Lost Moderns' from architect Rashid Ali and photographer Andrew Cross is on display at the Mosaic Rooms in London March 7th-April 26th.

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