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Travel Diary: For J. Nambowa Traveling Africa is Pure Joy

In the first of our June travel diary entries, j. nambowa aka Jessica Nabongo takes us to Djibouti, Morocco, Uganda and Kenya.

KAMPALAJune is "No Borders" month at OkayAfrica. That can mean a lot of things and we'll get to that, but one thing we wouldn't want to miss out on is the sheer joy of travel on the African continent. So, to honor the carefree black traveler we'll be posting new photo diaries from a wide range of African and diaspora super-travelers of their favorite places and why.


We start with the incredible blogger, photographer and nomad, Jessica Nabongo who runs the site Catch Me if You Can. As she writes on her site:

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to Ugandan immigrants, Jessica, better known as j. nambowa lives a duality that could be described as Afropolitan. Seeds of travel and wander were planted at an early age when she embarked on her first international journey, traveling to London and Uganda at the age of six. Largely encouraged by family summer holidays in the Caribbean and trips home to Uganda, Jessica's curiosity for different cultures and deep desire to see every country in the world has intensified in the last six years.

Follow Nabongo for more incredible travel pics on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: @jnambowa. And on Periscope: @thecatchmeifyoucan. The following are some of her favorite spots on the African continent and the best things to do when you're there.

Lake Assal in Djibouti

Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo

"Lake Assal is the lowest point on the African continent and the second lowest point in the world. The lake is also the saltiest in the world. Saltier than the Dead Sea!"

Spices in Marrakech

Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo

"The souks in Marrakech are full of spices of all colors and flavors."

Shopping in Kampala

Photo: Sarah Waiswa/@lafrohemian

"My favorite place to shop for handicrafts in Uganda is at the National Theater in the nation's capital. If you visit, be sure to stop and say hi to my aunt in stall 14!"

Nairobi Vibes

Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo

"While traveling I love linking up with creatives. For this shoot I linked up with photographer Brian Siambi (@urbanskript) and stylist Bryan Emry (@bryan.emry). With inspiration from Kenyan designer Katungulu Mwendwa and using her garden as a backdrop we captured the spark that is fueling the creative movement in the continent."

News Brief

Michael Kiwanuka Wins Highly Coveted 2020 Mercury Prize

The British-Ugandan artist proves that staying true to yourself will get you further than you can imagine.

British-Ugandan musician Michael Kiwanuka has gone on to win the 2020 Mercury Prize at this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The win was assigned to Kiwanuka's 2019 album KIWANUKA, produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. KIWANUKA, Michael's third full-length so far, seems to be the artists' most personal one yet.

In his own words, Kiwanuka told New Statesman, "I thought, what better way to say that you're comfortable with who you are than by using just your name? KIWANUKA goes against fame, it goes against success. It's not in the pocket, it's not a smooth rock'n'roll name that's up in lights. It can be clumsy, if you haven't seen it before."

Well, we are certainly grateful for the singer's personal evolution as it has landed him top honors in the industry, as well as, amongst his die hard fans.

The artist said of his win, "I don't even know what to say - I'm speechless. This is amazing...I don't even have any words. This is ridiculous, it's crazy! I'm so happy. Third time's a charm. It's blown my mind. I'm over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I'm so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I'm over the moon."

Watch Michael Kiwanuka's performance of "You Ain't The Problem" off of his Mercury Prize winning album "KIWANUKA" here.

Mercury Prize 2020 Winner | Michael Kiwanuka - You Ain't The Problem (Later... With Jools Holland) www.youtube.com

Photo by: Edwin Remsberg / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

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Listen to Langa Mavuso's Debut Album 'LANGA'

Soothing and deeply moving, Langa Mavuso's debut album 'LANGA' is an exquisite musical offering we didn't know we needed until now.

South African singer Langa Mavuso has released his highly anticipated debut album titled LANGA. The 12-track project features pre-released tracks including the beloved "Intliziyo" featuring Loyiso, "Mvula" and "Love Lost" which dropped at the end of May this year. The album also features Zadok, Aimee George, Manana and Zöe Modiga. LANGA follows Mavuso's 2018 Liminal Sketches EP.
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