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Unexpected Rainforest

Mosi oa Tunya/ Victoria Falls, Zambia

While visiting the falls I didn’t expect a lush rainforest because it was a dry season. But I should have known better. Going down to the second gorge to see the falls from the riverbank we walked through a beautiful and lush rainforest. Everywhere else the nature was dry and brown but down there the falls and Zambezi river gave so much moisture that the forest was very much alive.

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Fire! Or Bushfire to be Precise

In Swaziland there is a big outdoor musicfestival called Bushfire in the end of may. First of all the place where the festival is held is the amazing House On Fire. The place itself is a worth of seeing. It’s like from a fairytale with imaginative sculptures and other stuff.

During  three days they have a great setting of international and local artists, bands and other performers. Most of the performers are from Swaziland, South Africa and Zimbabwe but there is also groups from e.g. Switzerland, Japan and Colombia. This year they have two artists/performers I’ve seen before: Pelepele Cultural Group and Bholoja. Both of them are from Swaziland and they are very good or maybe I should say excellent. Bholoja has a great song Zero to Hero. You should check it out. And if you are in Southern Africa in the end of the month go to Bushfire. If I’d be in Southern Africa I’d go there right away.

Inspired by You (and Africa Of Course)

For this post I got inspired by Alison Nicholls who wrote about the circumstances how she became an artist (it’s story that includes Africa). Along with photographing I also love to paint and do different kind of art projects as my hobby. Many times my source of inspiration is Africa. Or it would be if I’d be able to get my art done. I have many ideas and I have done preparations for some projects but the actual painting or what ever the project requires awaits. I have been able to finish two paintings since 2009 but now I haven’t painted in three years. I would love to paint but some how I’m not able to start. When I just would get started I’m sure I would also get finished. So I need to work with that starting thing. But let’s get back to the inspiration.

In Africa a part of the inspiration comes from the nature and animals and a part comes from the people. But I’m also inspired by presumptions, visions and images that non-African people have about Africa. In my art as in my blog I want to shake those a little bit and open new perspectives. That’s why I would like you (if you are not African) to answer a question: What comes first to your mind when some one mentions Africa? If you are African please answer to this: To what kind of assumptions about Africa you have bumped into?

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My African Playlist – Part 1

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I would like to introduce to you some intresting singers and bands from Africa that I have come across with. Hope you enjoy this small tour to African (mostly South African) music.

Youssou N’dour (Senegal) was the first African singer whose song I’ve ever heard. I guess that same applies to many other Europeans born in 1980’s. The song was of course 7 seconds which he had recorded with Neneh Cherry. That beautiful song was a part of my childhood.

Maybe the most well known South African artist is Miriam Makeba aka Mama African. She made a career in United States and sang at John F. Kennydy’s birthdayparty.  Her fight against apartheid cost her a passport and citizenship. She couldn’t go back home South Africa for thirty years. Pata Pata is her best known song.

Durban (South Africa) based group of DJs – DJ Sox, Smallz, DJ Bobo and DJ Menace – released Money Maker in 2008 and it sold platinum in South Africa. I’m not so in to housemusic myself but this song brings to my mind my co-workers 4-year old twins who used to sing the chorus and dance to the beat. They made it so cute way. Because of great memories this is on my playlist.

My personal favorite is South African Johnny Clegg. I have seen his liveshow once and it was fantastic. I danced every song even though I hadn’t heard any of them before. Johnny Clegg is a singer and a songwriter born in England. He has lived most of his life (from the childhood) in Africa. He combines Western and African rythms intrestingly and sings in English, Zulu, France and Afrikaans. Before solo career he made music with two bands: Juluka and Savuka. During the apartheid era mixed race bands like those were not approved in South Africa but they still managed to find they audience. Here’s few great songs from Johnny Clegg: Great Heart, Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World and The Crossing.

Why Am I Blogging?

I started blogging just over two months ago for the first time in my life. Now I’m taking a part to the Zero to Hero -challenge for new bloggers. The first mission we got in that challenge  is introducing ourselves. You can read a little bit about me and my relationship to my topic, Africa, from About Me -page. But let’s get back to the question at the topic. Why am I blogging?

That’s actually an easy question. I love and adore Africa and want to share my love to you but I also want to show all the different aspects of the continent. From the news we often see just conflicts from Africa. From TV we see documents about nature. From the internet we can read about violence and hunger. Sometimes we might get lucky and hear common people stories. In here I want to share with you all that: stories from everyday life, pictures of beautiful animals and sceeneries, problems and struggle, love and hope, pain and joy, beauty and trouble. I myself haven’t seen everything, I haven’t seen all the different faces of Africa, but I’m working on it and in the meanwhile I share those things I’ve already seen and experienced.

How do you think I’ve managed this far? I would love to get some feedback from you.