Photos

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 Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

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This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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