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 and the product range has since expanded to include coffees, cocoas and condiments like flavoured salts and meat rubs. Caranda's products are made using fresh organic ingredients sourced from over thirty African countries, featuring the very best quality from regions and countries known to produce the best; such as cocoa from Ghana; black tea from Malawi and Rwanda; chamomile from Egypt; coffee beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and , rooibos from South Africa; and Bissap from Senegal, Tunisia and Mali. Supporting local growers Doughba buys the leaves, herbs, beans and the other ingredients used from small farms across Africa and donates ten percent of Caranda's profits to groups supporting growers communities. In addition to this Doughba founded Project Momentum, an initiative which works to deliver medical aid directly to areas of need across the African continent, and every purchase of a Caranda product helps make this happen.
Tea is Caranda's speciality, with around forty varieties and constantly creating new blends, the range of organic teas and herbal tea blends are available in their pure form or flavoured with mouthwatering tastes and scents that include mango chunks, pomegranate, hibiscus, Madagascan vanilla bean, blackberry leaves, cloves, lemon verbena, cinnamon and Algerian mint; and are perfect for chilling the fridge for a refreshing ice cold, ice tea. The Caranda tea range particularly draws inspiration from the history of the San people of Botswana and Namibia, and Doughba is also inspired by the role tea plays across the different cultures of the world whether as a refreshing drink to being a central part of cultural ceremonies. The packaging is emotive, heralding the grace and dignity of a diverse African people through delicately detailed pencil drawings and captivating imagery enhanced with an array of complementary colours across tins, packets and gift boxes. Caranda's unique blends can be found in over 200 speciality stores across the US, as well as in leading teahouses, hotels and restaurants, including that of top chef Marcus Samuelsson
, whom I have featured previously on African Daydreams
...savouring and celebrating the best in premium African flavours
Products ranges on website currently priced at: USD$7 -USD$30For further information about Caranda Fine Foods and to purchase visit: www.carandafoods.com
Lovetta Conto is a gifted young woman on a mission; smart, determined to succeed and affect positive change. A few years ago at just seventeen years of age Lovetta set about turning bullets into beautiful poignant pieces of jewellery with a story; traded under the name ‘Akawelle
’ which translates as ‘also known as love’.
Born in Liberia Lovetta was raised in a refugee camp after her family, like hundreds of others was forced to flee the civil war to Ghana. Lovetta's story
gives insight into life in the refugee camps; she speaks of the sense of despondency and hopelessness felt and how through it all she never gave up on her belief that there was more to her life and achieving her full potential; crediting her father with instilling this belief in her. Lovetta’s journey shows how in the midst of darkness and despair hope can find a way through, it was whilst in the camp that Lovetta's potential for leadership was spotted by co-founder of the Strongheart Fellowship
, Cori Stern and the talented teen’s life soon changed as Lovetta began a programme of travel, study and helping others in a similar situation to hers. The Strongheart Fellowship's aim is to help young people with hard lives change their future in the hope that one day they too will help others. Displaying the wisdom of someone more than twice her age, of the Strongheart Fellowship programme Lovetta says ‘I’ve become stronger in my own broken places. That is why I say I am not ashamed of my past. It has made me who I am...’.
Lovetta initially had wanted to study law but eventually realised design was her true passion and faced a dilemma a lot of young Africans face when choosing a future career, our parents want us to do well and settle in a secure profession such as law, medicine, teaching and accountancy and don't tend to see a career in design as being profitable or secure. I faced the same issues when I announced I wanted to be a fashion designer instead of studying law. Gathering the courage to follow her dreams, Lovetta is a fighter whose weapon of choice is creating beauty from the destructive ugly symbols of war and she transforms them into objects of beauty, symbols of hope, known as the Akawelle Necklace
. Money from the Akawelle necklace goes towards Lovetta’s future and helped create the first Strongheart House in Liberia, where she lives with other young people who are going through hard times; in aditiion to this Lovetta also attends the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.
… Lovetta is a testament to the power of self-belief and following ones dreams.
Prices range from: USD$75-USD$130
For further information about visit: www.akawelle.com
To find more about the Strongheart Fellowship visit: www.strongheartfellowship.org
'...we never have and still don't see an Africa that's categorised by negative generalisations' one company's response to an oft asked question as to why anyone would ever consider trying to establish and run a successful business in Africa. Well footwear brand Oliberté
, the company in question is attempting to do just that and are in good company if some of the inspirational and pioneering African businesses I have shared are anything to go by. Canadian social entrepreneur, Tal Dehtiar established Oliberté two years ago amidst the challenges of finding financial backers willing to help him realise his vision.
Profiled on CNN
in February 2011, the footwear manufacturer presently operates in Ethiopia, Liberia and Kenya; and has set itself the goal of creating a successful premium footwear brand; one that will not only create thousands of jobs by tapping into Africa's growing middle-class - an acknowledgment of the widely accepted view that a thriving middle-class is a key component to the success of any country - but also one that will serve to encourage other businesses to do work across the continent. Cameroon, Congo, Uganda and Zambia are in the company's sights to expand into over the next few years as more factory and supplier partners are sought.
[Image credits: top, Rovia Men's Trainer; bottom, Elika Ladies Trainer - Oliberté]
To achieve their goal Oliberté partners with carefully selected factories, suppliers, farmers and workers and embodies the values of: playing fair towards all those they work with, ensuring that they comply with Oliberté's standards and policies, demonstrating respect and equity for all in the workplace - in all factories women make up 50% of the workforce, filling junior and senior positions. Oliberté's values also include being mindful of the impact on the environment through waste reduction and various recycling initiatives, for example if you can't reuse or recycle your unwanted Oliberté shoes send them back to the company who will gladly recycle them on you behalf; and lastly quality through the materials and production techniques used.
[Image credit: Andella Ladies Ballerina Pump - Oliberté]
Oliberté's range of classic casual shoes and trendy trainers come in collections for both men and women and are made from hand-picked leathers, goat skin lining that helps the skin breathe naturally and natural rubber crepe soles tapped straight from rubber trees, minimising the use the of toxic equipment and chemicals. Relying on craftmanship the shoes are hand stitched or hand guided on machines to maintain the personal touch and can average 1000 stitches per shoe.
[Image credit: Narivo Men's Loafer - Oliberté]
The leather looks incredibly soft and supple with colour ranges coming in standard black and brown complimented by vibrant reds, soft grey-blues, beiges and greens to name a few.
... may just be the thing to spoil your Dad with this Father's Day.
Prices on the website range from: $100-$140
For further information about Oliberté and to find a stockist visit: www.oliberte.com
To watch the CNN interview visit: edition.cnn.com
Calling all surfers… I have always heard about surfers in search of the perfect wave that draws enthusiasts from all over the world to places like Hawaii, California, Indonesia and Australia. Enter Robertsport, Liberia a place whose uninterrupted surf is literally sending waves throughout the surfing community and attracting tourists to the relatively unspoilt coastline.
However, it appears the word is spreading too quickly for some bringing with it concerns. I came across the increasing popularity of Liberia’s surfing tourism via CNN’s Inside Africa’s
recent feature on this surfer’s paradise who ask the question ‘Africa’s unspoilt surf paradise – but for how long?’, raising the age-old debate about the harmful nature of mass-tourism versus the economic benefits to the local communities. Africa has some of the most amazing place to visit in the world, with tourism vital to many of the countries economies. So what to do? And is there such a thing as a happy medium?
[Image credit: Shoana Cachelle - Nana's Lodge]
Located 2 hours outside the capital city, Monrovia is Nana’s Lodge
, welcomimg guests to the lush tropical coastline of Robertsport. Accommodation at Nana’s Lodge comprises 11 Luxury tents each with two double beds and their own private balcony, which allows for spectacular sunset and sunrise views over the Atlantic. In addition to surfing Nana’s Lodge also enjoys a lively year round event calendar of concerts, festivals, sports fests and beach parties.
[Image credit: Shoana Cachelle - Nana's Lodge] [Image credits: Left, Surf Liberia and right, Shoana Cachelle - Nana's Lodge]
Looking at the images I can see why people are drawn to Liberia’s coastline... it looks absolutely breathtaking!
For further information and to enquire about prices visit: www.nanalodge.comTo read the CNN Inside Africa article visit: edition.cnn.comTo find more about surfing in Liberia visit: www.surfliberia.com
Winning a legion of fans during her stint on Season 5 of Bravo TV’s Project Runway, Korto Momolu certainly is not one to shy away from jewel-toned brights, prints and feminine silhouettes, along with her cultural accents all contributing to a look of effortless elegance. What I especially love about Korto Momolu’s designs are the fluid, sensual dreamy structures of her maxi dresses and her use of vibrant colour palettes.
This collection was slightly more subdued using winter staples of black, gray and cream. But I am appeased with the appearance of the fuchsia and orange that contrast beautifully with the black, providing the perfect pick-me-up for the long winter days and nights ahead.
[Image credits/source: fashionologie]
Look-out for her Spring/Summer 2011 previews, a fresh summery collection in shades of yellows, blues and taupe.