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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."

Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.

Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.

South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai or "King Tha" as she's affectionately known, is set to bring the Africa Month celebrations to an end with a virtual concert commemorating Africa Day this Saturday on May 30th. The "Play Your Part Africa" concert is a collaboration between Brand South Africa, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture as well as Constitution Hill which has hosted major cultural and historic events over the years.

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Photo courtesy of @sahraisha

#BlackOutEid​: Young Black Muslims Shine as They Celebrate Eid

Young Black Muslims have found creative ways to celebrate community and share their best Eid looks, even as they #StayAtHome.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim fam! Today marks Eid al-Fitr, the official end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite things being a little different this year (on account of the current pandemic, of course) this hasn't stopped many from finding creative ways to fast, pray and connect with their community during these times. It certainly hasn't stopped young Black Muslims from participating in the virtual tradition known as #BlackOutEid while they continue to #StayAtHome.

#BlackOutEid is an annual celebration which highlights the diversity within the Muslim world. It began in 2015, when Aamina Mohamed created the hashtag to combat the erasure of Black people within the community. Since then, the hashtag has been used across social media with Black Muslims using it to share their sharpest Eid looks.

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