The Africa Issue | The 2012 Annual Edit

The thing about Africa is that Africa will always have issues.

We’re not talking about AIDS, war, or poverty though. We’re talking about creative entrepreneurs, movers-and-shakers, and economic opportunities. And this results in issues….

…entire issues of magazines solely dedicated to highlighting Africa’s beauty, prowess, and economic viability, otherwise known as “The Africa Issue” or some derivation thereof.

In 2012, we witnessed “Africa Rising” (again), we were introduced to an “Undiscovered Africa” (an Africa that many already knew of), and the notion of “Rebranding Africa” (after one-sidedly branding Africa) was on the forefront of many agendas.

Across all of these issues, no matter how you spin it, the one thing that remains consistant is that Africa is undoubtedly a global force to reckon with – from food to fashion, beauty to business, and everything in between.

Below, we highlight 12 magazines that dedicated an issue entirely to Africa this past year.

Alila Mag | “The Black Issue”

“Alila is, above all, an Italian magazine and with this edition we wanted to give space to the many Black voices that wouldn’t otherwise be heard in Italy.” – Alice Manfroni, Editor of Alila Magazine

Alila celebrated their two year anniversary with an issue dedicated to black beauty and creativity. For Issue 13, “The Black Issue”, Alila started with African music, design and art, then offered creative content from around the world. Take a look inside “The Black Issue” here.

Art Nouveau | “Nu Africa”

“I had to take it back. Take it back to the motherland. Like the Sankofa, there’s no moving forward, without looking back.” – Corinne Stevie for Nu Africa

Art Nouveau is an art & culture magazine focusing on “contemporary art & design, avant-garde fashion and an eclectic mix of music.” For Issue 8, Art Nouveau focused on art & culture coming from the motherland. Take a look inside “Nu Africa” here.

Diplomat | “Invest Africa”

Diplomat is a foreign affairs magazine published to provide insight and provoke discussion within the diplomatic community and those working in foreign affairs. For the September issue, Diplomat focused on the investment opportunities in Africa, with contributions from the Cameroon High Commissioner and the Republic of Djibouti’s Minister of Economy, Finance Industry and Planning. Take a look inside “Invest Africa” here.

Exberliner | “Africa In Berlin”

Exberliner is a city-guide to all things happening in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin. For the September issue, Exberliner highlighted the African experience in Berlin – from a West African drumming school run by German-born Guinean-trained Nathan Berg, to a popular one-woman restaurant owned and run by Togolese Assibi Wartenberg, also known as “Mama Africa”. Take a look inside “Africa In Berlin” here.

Kaleidescope | “A is for Africa”

Kaleidoscope is an international quarterly magazine, based in Milan, with a focus on art and culture. For Summer 2012, Kaleidoscope dedicated the issue to art produced in, or related to, the African continent. According to Kaleidoscope:

“T

his issue intends to be the most up-to-date and thorough exploration of the African scene of contemporary art and culture, from Egypt to South Africa via Ethiopia and Nigeria, conducted in collaboration with a dream team of both international contributors and influential thinkers and practitioners working in and around Africa today.”

Take a look inside “A is for Africa” here.

L’Uomo Vogue | “Rebranding Africa”

L’Uomo Vogue dedicated their May/June 2012 issue to “present(ing) a new portrait of an Africa that is positive, creative and confident of its own strengths.” Although the intent was pure, the execution – well, not so much. The unprecedented cover choice, one-sided interviews, and of course the whole “re-branding” fiasco made this one of the most buzzed about magazine issues to hit newsstands in 2012. Mishaps do happen. We still believe that Franza Sozanni is an advocate who ultimately meant well, as she has certainly helped to bring positive attention, and most importantly business, to several Africa designers this past year.

The Ofi Press | “West Africa Edition”

The Ofi Press is a literary magazine that publishes “international poetry and fiction from Mexico City”, spearheaded by Editor Jack Little. In a unique partnership, The Ofi Press collaborated with Bakwa Magazine (a magazine about literature, art, culture, and photography based in Cameroon) to produce The West Africa Edition. All submissions were published in both English and Spanish, giving reach to The Ofi Press’ predominantly Latin American audience. Bakwa Magazine, in turn, produced a special Mexico Edition for their largely Cameroon based audience. Now this is the type of cultural exchange that we adore! Take a look inside the “West Africa Edition” here.

Plate | “Undiscovered Africa”

Plate is a culinary magazine for professional chefs and restaurateurs, however their vast array of delicious recipes certainly cater to the culinary curious as well. For the November/December issue, Plate focused on African cuisine, “where the indigenous ingredients range from the exotic (rooibos and ostrich) to those anticipated (ground meats and jewel-toned spice blends).” Renowned chefs, such as Marcus Samuelsson and Pierre Thiam, contributed mouth watering recipes including South African Bobotie and Pierre Thiam’s Fish Stew. Plate also spotlighted Penn State’s pioneering course on African cuisine. With over 70 African and African-inspired recipes featured online, whether you are African or not, you just might discover a new dish or two! Take a look inside “Undiscovered Africa” here.

Time | “Africa Rising”

Time Magazine first took note of “Africa Rising” with their March 30, 1998 issue. Time declared, “After decades of famine and war, life is finally looking up for many Africans.” Almost 15 years later, Time Magazine still feels that Africa is on the come up. Their second “Africa Rising” issue was released on December 03, 2012, citing that Africa is “the world’s next economic powerhouse. But huge challenges lie ahead.” Take a Look inside “Africa Rising” here.

Tribes | “Spark Africa”

Tribes Magazine is a quarterly publication focusing on urban music, arts, and culture worldwide. For Summer 2012, Tribes Magazine focused on Africa’s contributions globally. The issue is named after Kenyan-based Creative and Artist Management Consultancy Spark Africa, co-spearheaded by Buddha Blaze. Transit Magazine caught up with Buddha Blaze to discuss the East African Hip Hop movement. Cover girl, Nigerian Singer and Activist, Nneka dishes about her music, inspiration and raising awareness about corruption in her hometown of Warri. Take a look inside “Tribes” here.

Tranzit | The Africa Issue

Tranzit Magazine dubs itself as a “Global Guide To Living”, focusing on exploring different cultures from around the world. For Spring/Summer 2012, Tranzit focused on Africa, starting with cover girl Alek Wek. The Sudanese Model and Philanthropist discusses her journey from being a refugee to a UN Ambassador and everything in between. Tranzit also takes the reader to the beautiful and affordable island of Seychelles, located off the coast of Madagascar, offering up suggestions of where to eat, sleep and things to do while there. Tranzit closes this issue with a brief discussion of the natural resources that are catapulting Africa into an economic and global powerhouse. Take a look inside “The Africa Issue” here.

Under The Influence | “The Africa Issue”

“Influence is essential. It enables us to re-define our thoughts, create and inspire; hopefully creating a unique vision that will one day influence someone else”

– David Szeto

Under The Influence is a bi-annual magazine, published in the UK, exploring various spheres of influence across fashion, photography, design, writing, art and music. Every issue, the magazine focuses on a singular theme, thereby creating an exchange of ideas, all-the-while communicating fashion, creativity, luxury, and art. For Fall/Winter 2012, Under The Influence focused on Africa, highlighting Model/Philanthropist Alek Wek, Designer/Investor Ozwald Boateng, Curator/Art Critic Okwui Enwezor, Photographer Malick Sidibe, Musician Femi Kuti and more. Take a look inside “Under The Influence” here.

The 2012 Annual Edit is a series where we take a look back at the people, places, and things that impacted global African fashion and culture this past year.

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