Chapatti

When I was growing up, chapatti were a special treat. With a full-time job, 3 children and lots of hobbies, my mom did not usually have the 2 -3 hours it took to knead, knead, knead, let rest and then fry to golden, flaky perfection those floury disks of goodness. So we would have them on an occasionally Saturday, with chicken or beans, or whatever other accompaniment was on hand.

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Many stories matter

One of the goals of this online project is to enable Africans to tell their own, different stories about ourselves. We are tired of hearing the same old one.

In her TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains it more elegantly and beautifully than I can

“If all I knew about Africa were from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals and incomprehensible people fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind white foreigner. “

See it for yourself here, it’s worth the twenty minutes (and however long it takes you to load the thing on our slow African internet):

Also, if you have not yet read her books, shame on you!

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How to write about Africa

the view from the afternoon

In the town where I grew up there was a wide lovely road called Kabelenga.

On one stretch of the road, at a particular time of year (Jacaranda season), the trees around would burst into a royal canopy of purple flowers.

These elegant and ostentatious flowers are originally from South America, and are actually considered an invasive species in some countries because they can prevent the growth of native plants.

They can be found all over the world, but I will always be reminded of that one road in the town I grew up in…

The cocacola-isation of “Waving Flag”

K’naan is one of my favourite artists. I have missed seeing him in concert twice, once in Detroit and another time in Uganda (K’naan if you’re listening, you need to go on tour again).  I think he is one of a minority of artists that speaks to the experiences of those of us that don’t ride escalades, choke bitches and brush our teeth with Jack Daniels. So I was really excited to hear that one of his songs had been chosen for the Coca Cola World Cup 2010 anthem (also because I cannot stand that Akon/Keri Hilson travesty, cannot stand it!)

That being said, I really enjoyed Waving flag in its original incarnation. The lyrics to the “Celebration mix” version of Waving Flag read like a tooth left in Coca Cola overnight (see what I did there?)

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So…. what’s Vuga?

Vuga! is a word that features in many bantu languages.

In Kifumbira it means to talk or to speak

In Runyankole it means to advance or to push forward, “Okwevuga” is a traditional Ankole form of rapping, in which the heroic deeds of the individual being honoured are recited for the entertainment and information of an audience.

In isiZulu, Vuga means wake up!

The conversation about Africa has for too long been dominated by outsiders,  from the infamous Joseph Conrad book “The Heart of Darkness” to the latest CNN special on whatever African disaster is holding the West’s attention for the next 2.35 minutes.

Vuga! is an online project designed to provide a platform for young African voices. Here you will see African stories, African pictures and videos submitted by young people all over the continent who wish to see their Africa, represented in the media.

Vuga! runs on your contributions. Got a picture of you chilling at the beach with your friends? Send it to vugaafrica@gmail.com. A funny video shot on African soil? Send it to vugaafrica@gmail.com. An essay on music, culture or sport pertaining to Africa? Send it to vugaafrica@gmail.com. A fictional story about what you imagine the chapati-seller gets up to at night. Send it to vugaafrica@gmail.com

You get the point.

So SEND ME YOUR SUBMISSIONS!