Unless you use algorithms or some or other number-crunching system, lists – like the one I’m about to share with you – are always subjective. SA Blog Awards, African Blogger Awards and others are highly sought-after accolades by all accounts, yet organisers and conveners still deal with accusations that their awards are unregulated, unfair and rigged, among other criticisms.
Sour grapes? Well, obviously. If you work hard at your craft, garner a huge following, make lots of money from associations and campaigns and have an enviable webfluence, how disappointing not to be acknowledged for that.
It’s always interesting to peruse the list of nominees and winners of these awards, and while the winners deserve the applause, the best kinds of lists are the subjective ones – much like the best blogs. They display a clear point of view (whether it be fanciful or frivolous), have a particularly pleasing aesthetic and show the ability to share or tell a story by offering a fresh perspective through images and/or words.
For the purposes of this list, the aforementioned are the criteria used for including the selected blogs – the overarching criteria being that the bloggers/platforms are based in Africa. There are bound to be many I have left out.
So, in no particular order:
1. Edited by Adiya Atuluku and based in Abuja, Nigeria, Muse Origins showcases African creativity from food to fashion and music. “Looking at Africa through the eyes of contemporary art, photography, architecture and design is perhaps the most appropriate way of approaching this vast, powerful continent, so creatively rich and diverse that today it is still one of Western modernity’s greatest sources of inspiration” as quoted from the site. They’ll be launching an online marketplace soon.
2. Lovers of vintage – boys and girls – will love Cape Town-based bestie bloggers Emily and Liza of I Heart Your Outfit, who offer gorgeous vintage finds in great condition through their I Heart Vintage shop.
4. French Senegalese photographer Delphine Diallo is a mixed media artist who has worked with Nike and Converse. Be prepared to get lost in her body of work – scrolling endlessly.
5. Styled by Africa is all about African fashion, innovation, travel and creativity and run by co-founders Kiran Yoliswa and Alae Ismail. You can shop in their online boutique, SBA.
6. Two Zambian girls, Lo and Maz of Fest Gurus, are mapping their journey across Africa spotlighting cultural festivals on the continent with the aim of engendering a festival culture among Africans. They’re armed with a camera and crew and are using crowdfunding to achieve their dream. They say it was the post “Music Festivals in Africa” by OkayAfrica that inspired their journey.
7. Art and style enthusiasts from East Africa as well as siblings, Velma Rossa and Papa Petit run 2mnysiblngs to showcase their personal style and culture. All their images are so pinnable.
8. An ingenious move by Kenya-based Nendo Ventures, they’ve recently launched The A-Z of African Twitter as a means of highlighting “moments of context and insight amidst the torrential stream of news, updates and content generated by the connected African content”.
9. Cape Town-based Diana Moss of Miss Moss fame has created a handy city guide for out-of-town and not-plugged-in lovers of food, drink and shopping called Cape Town City Guide. She describes the space as what she’d tell her friends to see and do in Cape Town if they asked her for recommendations.
10. Based in Casablanca, Morocco, Louis Philippe de Gagoue is a personal shopper, model, stylist and fashion blogger with a vibrant, quirky and deeply cool fashion sense. In an interview with Project Quality, he said: “When I put pieces together to make an outfit, I’m also mixing cultures, civilisations and travels through history. Other inspirations include music (I am also a huge fan of the pop art movement), nature, my environment, people who I meet, my friends, family.” His looks are featured on Lookbook.nu – the go-to fashion, youth culture, and community site created by San Francisco inhabitant Yuri Lee – for stylistas looking to increase their profile.
11. Content curation at its best, this Africa-based Tumblr, Dynamic Africa, features news, lifestyle and popular culture, stories and information concerning Africa. In an interview with Hyperallergic.com, the Nigerian founder Funke M, a culture curator and observer based in South Africa, says the site started out as “fYeahAfrica” with a stated goal of showcasing African cultures, history and lives and experiences of Africans – past and present. The Tumblr then began doing themed monthly posts, which Funke says she continued with as she found it much easier to structure posts around a specific theme. “It allowed me to sift through the vast world of information available on the web and give my blog more of a concrete look and direction.”