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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As I highlighted in a previous editorial on Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. The Adinkra symbols designs carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic shapes to create anything from jewellery to patterned textiles. I introduce 5 contemporary African brands referencing the Adinkra symbols in their designs, and in doing so giving them relevance in a modern day and age.

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Akrafo Luxury Organic and Natural Condiments Made In Africa

fooThe SWAADY Group, creators of the luxury tea brand YSWARA, have created Akrafo a range of luxury premium organic artisanal teas, and gourmet sweet and savoury condiments ethically made in Africa. The name Akrafo refers to the soul-washers of the ancient Ashanti kingdom, who were responsible for the well-being of the community. And it is this spirit of looking out for others that is instilled into the Akrafo ethos, which upholds the SWAADY Group’s Luxe Ubuntu philosophy, of creating luxury brands with a social responsibility.

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Aduna Championing The Health Benefits Of Baobab Superfood Powder

Health, beauty and social brand, Aduna, has recently launched #MakeBaobabFamous, a nationwide campaign to help increase awareness of baobab the African superfood. Found in 32 countries across the continent the baobab tree has been revered throughout Africa for its longevity and natural well-being properties. Baobab fruit has many health benefits as it is rich in fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, which contributes to normal immune function, energy release and skin health. Yet, despite growing abundantly, baobab fruit mainly goes to waste due to a lack of demand and global awareness of the benefits, but with an estimated worth of $1 billion to rural Africa, as a superfood, […]

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Modern African Food And Recipes From The Groundnut Cookbook

Whilst passing through Waterstones Piccadilly, my eye was drawn to a colourful book display positioned in front of the elevators. Stopping to get a better a look I was introduced to The Groundnut Cookbook, exploring modern African food. The Groundnut Cookbook was written by Duval Timothy, Jacob Fodio Todd, and Folayemi Brown three friends who run a bi-monthly London supper club called The Groundnut, hence the name of the book.

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Modern African Food Colourful Cooking With Siba Mtongana

Viewers of the Africa Channel will be familiar with cooking show, ‘Cooking with Siba’, presented by food editor and writer, Siba Mtongana. Siba’s vivacious personality won her many fans, not just in her home country South Africa, but also across the Continent. In October Siba brought her fusion of modern African food and international cooking styles to a global audience with the premiere of her new show, ‘Siba’s Table’ on the Food Network UK cable channel. Siba becomes the second South African TV Chef to get a Food Network show after her mentor Jenny Morris. I did not manage to catch […]

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YSWARA Precious African Teas Championing Luxury Made In Africa

Working for many years in the design industry, I have always been fascinated with the way brands develop, the stories behind them, and so have delighted in watching the innovative luxury tea brand, Yswara blossom into something truly special. When I was first introduced to Yswara about a year and a half ago, the made in Africa tea brand was still in its infancy, developing its visual face so to speak, and whilst their current website was being created, their blog had some insightful information on the evolution of their logo and icon, which if I remember correctly is based on the […]

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African Food Made Easy Pepper & Stew Cooking Sauces

Sky Living TV channel in the UK is currently running a series called Cooks to Market. The concept of the show is to get budding cooks and food brands onto retail shelves, and see two different brands going up against each other and selling their product in food market and win the chance to pitch their idea to a panel of leading food UK experts. Of the two episodes I have managed to catch, both featured African food brands who  both outsold their rivals to go on and make impassioned pitches, which has landed both brands shelf space in Partridges, one of the […]

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Marcus Samuelsson Ambessa Includes African Inspired Teas

Amharic for Lion, Ambessa is a new range of specialty teas created by top chef Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus embarked on creating the tea blends whilst writing his recently published memoirs; Yes, Chef. For the people of Ethiopia Ambessa represents pride, strength and independence; and for Marcus’ Ambessa also represents his travels, experiences and the everyday journeys that are a part of life. The range also includes a selection of African inspired teas. [Image credit: Ambessa Teas – Marcus Samuelsson]

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Modern Artisanal Honest Chocolate Made In South Africa

Experimentation using raw cacao to produce a healthy treat led to the creation of Honest Chocolate; a small artisanal chocolate company based in Cape Town, South Africa. The company’s founder, Anthony Gird began teaching himself the art of chocolate making and was soon joined by Michael de Klerk who had also been experimenting with raw chocolate whilst in London. Using ‘traditional, old school chocolate making methods’ small batches are handmade by a team of four that includes Anthony and Michael. The Honest Chocolate made in South Africa uses raw organic cacao hat comes from Ecuador. [Image credits: clockwise from top left, […]

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Modern Mauritian Food Shelina Permalloo Master Chef UK Winner

A chef who brings ‘…bring[s] sunshine to a plate’ is how Gregg Wallace and John Torode, the judges of Masterchef UK described 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo’s cooking of modern Mauritian food. British-born of Mauritian descent Shelina was inspired to cook by her mum and aunty, developing a love of food at a young age as she helped her Mum with the cooking. Having grown-up in the UK Shelina also credits food with helping her to better understand her Mauritian heritage and culture, saying it makes her feel closer to Mauritius, her heritage and her family. Throughout the competition Shelina brought her Mauritian heritage into her […]

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Caranda Soothing Speciality Teas Inspired By Africa

A longing for the familiar tastes of home led Liberian entrepreneur, Doughba Caranda-Martin to set up Caranda Fine Foods, a business that specialises in creating a range of premium beverages and condiments inspired by the diverse regions of the African continent. Residing in the USA, Doughba recalls childhood memories of evening walks collecting the leaves and herbs that were then boiled with Lemongrass. Doughba started out blending teas inspired by Africa and the product range has since expanded to include coffees, cocoas and condiments like flavoured salts and meat rubs.

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Modern African Food Kitchens Of Africa Cooking Sauces

There is nothing wrong with slow cooking, in fact it can be an enjoyable experience as you mix, stir, season and simmer in anticipation of savouring your culinary efforts. Unfortunately in the face of hectic schedules, reality bites and slow cooking is just not possible night after night with so many other things competing for your time prompting the turn to convenience food. Convenience food has its pros, meals in minutes and it’s cons, a reputation of nasty additives, flavour enhancers and preservatives. However, the availability of pre-prepared foods like sauces can be an introduction to the tastes of other […]

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Ndali Intense Fairtrade Vanilla Extract From Uganda

I love the taste and smell of vanilla; and find creamy vanilla ice-cream, the kind where you can just see the bean flecks, and light fluffy sponges made with real vanilla extract irresistible and comforting. Good quality vanilla bean pod sticks, extract and paste is valued by bakers and chefs looking to add that familiar rich flavour and intense aroma to their culinary creations. One brand favoured by some of the UK’s leading chefs is Ndali fairtrade vanilla, which comes from a 1000-acre farm located in the midst of the explosion craters of the Ndali Volcanic Field in Western Uganda; and is a […]

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Afro Coffee Speciality South African Teas and Coffee

[Image credit: Speciality Teas – Afro Coffee] Starting out as an ordinary cafe selling coffee in Cape Town, South Africa in 2004 a radical rebrand saw the first Afro Cafe offering speciality South African teas and coffee open it’s doors to reveal a riot of bold colour, clashing patterns and cool characters; across the interior, packaging and accessories. Young and funky, Afro Coffee was out to have a bit fun, bringing its own retro tinged interpretation of the urban African vibe to a range of speciality South African teas and coffees. Owner, Grant Rushmere with the help of two Austrian partners sought to […]

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Prestat Single Origin African Cocoa Chocolate Buttons

You’d have thought I’d have had my fill of chocolate over Christmas, and given I’m still making my way through the leftovers I now have my eye on some chocolate buttons, a particular favourite, I do like the way they melt in your mouth one drop at a time…makes them a very moreish treat. The targets currently in mind are some African cocoa Single Origin Chocolate Buttons from Prestat, the quintessential London-based chocolatier whose confections I came across when I took a detour through Liberty of London’s Chocolate Shop, in search of a gift. The African cocoa used to make the […]

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Tariro Masayiti Senior Zimbabwean Winemaker, Nederburg South Africa

My Dad loves a glass of red wine every once in while, and South African wines are a particular favourite as being so far from home it’s a small reminder of the region. However nostalgia aside, over the years South African wines in general have become an increasing presence on UK retail shelves, from supermarkets to dedicated wine shops. One of the more established brands is Nederburg, one of South Africa’s oldest and most awarded wineries, whose vintages have a growing international presence, holding their own in the highly competitive markets of Europe, US, Australia; and their homegrown success can partly […]

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Modern African Food Ghalia Alia Mahmoud Egyptian Celebrity Chef

A year ago the Arab nations of North Africa were on the verge of momentous change and amidst the uncertainty of a post-revolutionary Egypt emerged a symbol of the new nation in the form of Ghalia Alia Mahmoud, a former maid and cook turned celebrity chef. Ghalia’s warm personality and humble beginnings inspired ordinary everyday Egyptians, instilling a sense of hope in the future of their nation. Thanks to a 60 minute cooking show aired three times a week on the newly launched 25TV – a revitalised Egyptian television station that was capturing and reflecting on life and issues in the new Egypt […]

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