Social TV
Sports And Art

Bridging gender gaps in Africa’s creative sectors

The Fashion Industry in Africa is vibrant and innovative, drawing inspiration from the continent’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary arts and culture. The UNESCO analysis shows that the continent holds all the cards to become one of the next world fashion leaders. However, despite an abundance of talent and creativity, fashion designers in Africa face challenges in translating their talent, skill, and designs into successful businesses.

As we observe International Women’s Day 2024, we need a stronger commitment to advancing gender parity through the creative and cultural industries. This is where the British Council’s Creative DNA programme comes in. It’s specifically designed to accelerate fashion businesses by nurturing designers’ business skills, knowledge, and networks in Africa and the UK.

The Creative DNA programme, initially successful in Kenya with three completed cohorts, has expanded to Ethiopia, Senegal, and Uganda, and plans to launch in more sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Ghana in 2024. This will offer more African fashion designers the opportunity to grow and succeed in the industry.

Market access is crucial to growth within Africa’s cultural and creative economies. They require policy, education, and market access interventions to unlock the industry’s full potential. At the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) 2023 held during the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, the British Council brought together 24 designers from across the continent for market access, network expansion and business growth opportunities in addition to showcasing their collections. They connected with buyers and creators from across the globe , reinforcing the idea that creatives can build sustainable livelihoods from their talent. The showcase highlighted the importance of real-time networking and business opportunities that translate into sales and exposure for the designers.

The 2024 Hub of Africa Fashion Week (HAFW), which took place from January 9-14 in Addis Ababa, featured a grand showcase that highlighted the diverse talent of designers from across Africa, in collaboration with the British Council’s Creative DNA programme. This collaboration emphasised the critical role of international partnerships in promoting and supporting the African fashion industry, bringing together creative talents and showcasing their work on a global stage.

Betselot Zewge, founder and creative director of Zemenay, Ethiopia’s first plus-size clothing line, says the British Council’s fashion incubation programme has significantly Supported her and many young women in the fashion industry.

“It equipped us with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to excel in the highly competitive and creative world of fashion. This programme drives innovation and a sustainable approach to design, and it has enabled me to become an active participant in shaping my destiny and that of my country. For instance, my participation in CANEX at IATF 2023 in Cairo and being featured on prestigious platforms such as Vogue USA and Italy point to the opportunities and visibility that the British Council’s initiatives have created for women and young girls.”

Zewge was driven by a desire to challenge the mainstream fashion industry’s exclusivity and environmental impact. “As I was growing up, the lack of clothing options made me feel alienated. That’s what spurred me to create a fashion line that celebrates all body types. Also, witnessing the detrimental effects of the fashion industry on the environment strengthened my commitment to sustainability. I’m passionate about creating beautiful garments that honour our planet and our heritage, using traditional techniques and materials to preserve cultural stories and support local communities. Through collaborations with the British Council and its partners, I’ve been able to support sustainable women’s initiatives and contribute to economic development in Ethiopia.”

ACP-EU Ignite Culture Programme The ACP-EU Ignite Culture Programme, initiated in January 2021 amid the global pandemic, is a collaborative effort by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, financed by the European Union and executed by the British Council and HEVA Fund, is distinguished by its scale, with a €7 million budget from 2021-2024.

It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and cultural innovation, particularly among women and youth, generating employment, improving incomes for artists and cultural workers, and increasing the visibility of East African cultural products on the international stage.

With €4.5m committed to support 37 grantees in 10 countries, enterprises and livelihoods of creative practitioners in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda have been changed. Our grantees are implementing outstanding projects across different value chains for their target communities and demographics.

From the House of Digital Art in Mauritius to the women weavers supported by African Mosaique in Ethiopia, the Swahili-inspired furniture designs by Saba Studios, the first accredited tertiary course on poetry by Kenya Cultural Centre, an online course on East African Modernism by Makerere University, a vibrant centre curated by Nafasi Art Space, and colourful festivals by Busara Promotions, the programme has supported:

Related posts

Stay Safe with virtual fundraising methods

Viwe Tyolwana

IRONMAN South Africa gets ready to make history

Mpofu Sthandile

Golfers give hope to blind and partially sighted people

Mpofu Sthandile

National Geographic presents Impact with Gal Gadot

Mpofu Sthandile

Black Coffee uses talent to raises over R89k for COVID-19 fund

Amanda Mkhize

Celebrating the role of the South African film industry in shaping the Nation Brand reputation

Sourced Content
Social TV
Translate »