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  • How Chencha, a Small Town in Ethiopia, is rocking Africa Fashion week


    At first glance, Chencha, Ethiopia — an isolated hamlet of bamboo houses situated 300 miles south of the capital of Addis Ababa — doesn’t look like it’s the center of anything. It certainly doesn’t look like a major player on the world’s fashion stage. But then, looks can be deceiving.

    The town is home to the Dorze people — an ancient community of weaving specialists whose designs have reached catwalks as far afield as New York and Tokyo.

    When Tsehynesh Tara, a weaver who originally hails from Chencha, sees pictures of her fabrics on the backs of supermodels, she gets giddy.

    “When I first saw the photos I was so excited. I said: ‘Did I really make that? Did I make that fabric!?'” she recalls.

    Tara is one of several weavers employed by Addis-based fashion designer Mahlet Afework. The 27-year-old designer employs female weavers from Ethiopia’s rural areas. In return, weavers teach her about the history of her country and the meaning behind its fabrics.

    “Every season I try to tell these stories with my collections — I try to learn more about Ethiopia and its beautiful culture,” says Afework.

    “It’s where we come from, it’s in our blood.”

    Mahlet Afework started her career as a model and rap artist before shifting to fashion. Self-taught via Google and YouTube videos, she’s gone on to collaborate with cult UK designer Markus Lupfer and has exhibited at London college of fashion.

    In a TED talk last year she told a global audience that Ethiopian fashion is not just about paying homage to its ancestors — it can actually lift women out of poverty.

    “In Ethiopia we have more than 500 underemployed female weavers in each village. We have a responsibility to give them a job — and then show their work to the world.”

    Tara says she, for one, appreciates the opportunity.

    “I’m very happy to make a sustainable income to support my family and also to work for a well-known fashion brand in Ethiopia,” she says.

    Female empowerment

    Female weavers from Chencha are drawn to Addis Ababa to earn a living at the country’s largest clothing market, Shiromeda. But women tend to struggle in the male-dominated industry there.

    “They come to Addis but they still live in poverty,” says Afework. “The women usually get a really low income because markets tend to be on weekends, when Ethiopian women would traditionally look after their families.”

    Chencha is home to an ancient community of weavers.Chencha is home to an ancient community of weavers.

    “This is why we now employ female weavers directly,” she adds.

    Afework was first introduced to Chencha’s weavers through UN events to encourage female participation in the economy. Today, designers can meet weavers directly through organizations like the Center for African Women Economic Empowerment.

    U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited the organization this July to show his support to the Ethiopian fashion industry and its work in empowering rural weavers.

    Don’t forget where you come from

    This week, Addis Ababa will be host to Hub of Africa fashion week — a fashion show that aims to gain international exposure for leading fashion designers from Ethiopia and across the rest of Africa.

    Managing director Mahlet Teklemariam started the event in 2010. This year, Vogue Italia editor-in-chief, Francos Sozani, will host a roundtable discussion about marketing African fashion abroad.

    “We’re showing that Ethiopian fashion is not just local — it can be so much more,” says Teklemariam. “It’s about getting that exposure and networking with other designers.”

    The Addis-based event will showcase other leading lights of Ethiopian fashion, including Genet Kebeda, Ayni Ayele, Hiwote Gashaw, Fikirte Addisu and Yordanos Abera.

    As the event’s organizer, Teklemariam sees a common thread between these young designers.

    “Our designers have already traveled to events in Japan, Norway, (America) and South Africa. And even as they become international, there’s always a touch of Ethiopia in their designs.”

    She adds with a smile: “They never forget where they come from.”

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  • Ethiopia’s Melaku Belay of Fendika to Perform at Globalfest 2016 Concert


    Melaku Belay. (Courtesy photo)


     Melaku Belay, leader of the traditional Ethiopian dance troupe Fendika is featured in the lineup for the 2016 Globalfest concert in New York City.

    “Globalfest has announced the lineup for its 13th annual concert, which will feature performers from Mexico, Ethiopia and Haiti and be held at Webster Hall on Jan. 17,” the New York Times reported.

    Melaku, who is known for his innovative and virtuoso interpretation of Eskista, has performed several shows in NYC while touring with the Ethiopian American band Debo, and most memorably he participated at the Lincoln outdoors concert in 2008 with legendary saxophonist Gétatchèw Mèkurya and The Ex band.

    “Fendika an ensemble led by the exuberant dancer Melaku Belay, mixes traditional music and dance from Ethiopia,” the New York Times added.

    Jon Pareles of the New York Times described last year’s Globalfest festival as “full of fusions both geographical and temporal: local and far-flung, old and new. What fortified nearly every performance was the sense that the music still comes from some place like home,” and noted that “next year’s edition will likewise showcase an intriguing mix of artists devoted to cultural exchange and preservation.”

    Read more at The New York Times »


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  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Prostitute


     know this title just sounds stupid but trust me, after reading through the points below, you will probably be on your way to the Prostitute’s den looking for a wife. I think people who always refer prostitutes as immorally behaved should stop looking at things from one perception. They are just looking for money to fend for themselves…

    Below are five points that will act as concrete reasons as to why you should date and marry a prostitute. Check them out;

    1. They are really good in bed:

    Every man has a right to be impressed in bed and I think it would be disappointing if you married a lady who is literally poor in bed. Finding a woman who can excite you in bed is something close to a paradise on earth. Prostitutes are more experienced in bed, trust me.

    2. They are open and straightforward:

    And by open I’m referring to the mind not the dirty stuff you are already having in your mind. Girls will consider concealing the number of men they have ever slept will hence placing you in a doubtful situation. While prostitutes will be straightforward and reveal the number of guys she has slept with to you.

    3. They are adventurous and interesting:

    Prostitutes will always have funny jokes to tell; interesting stories and be part of a conversation. They will watch porn movies with you without any problem and maybe practice a new sex position with you.

    4. They know how to cook:

    I know most of you will defer with this point but trust me, prostitutes know nothing less than how to impress a guy. If it is cooking or bed matters, they give it a 100% shot. What else does a man need other than a lady who knows how to cook and is good in bed? Tell me

    5. They are very understanding:

    Guys you won’t get divorced if she finds out you have been cheating on her. You have the freedom to cheat in this type of relationship. Plus if you arrive home tired, she will do her work; they will give you head while you rest…. 


    Source: Trendingpost.co.ke

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  • Talking the business of fashion with Ethiopian designer

    Ethiopian craftsmanship is maybe best showed by the nation’s conventional garments that consolidates cotton fabrics with segments of hand-weaved multi-shaded examples. Amid exceptional occasions, for example, weddings, visitors decorate “Habesha” attire as they are alluded to.

    Be that as it may, they are lavish for the vast majority, with a percentage of the priciest pieces of clothing selling for 15,000 Birr (US$730). Furthermore, urban youth who need to stay aware of worldwide style slants likewise pick not to wear conventional dress on standard days.

    Design business visionary Egla Yetnayet Negussie, nonetheless, wants to settle on Habesha garments an ordinary decision. She runs ES Collections, a style business concentrating on joining Ethiopia’s rich social legacy with advanced outlines.

    “My objective clients are the hardest to catch – it is youngsters. On the off chance that you stroll around Addis Ababa you will see garments stores all around. I attempt to emerge by mixing the current in vogue plans with Habesha outlines,” clarifies Negussie.

    An energy for style

    Negussie constantly needed to do style, yet her guardians did not bolster the thought on the grounds that it was not a vast industry in Ethiopia at the time she selected for school. So she majored in advertising in the US. Keeping in mind in school she discovered chances to sharpen her plan aptitudes amid free workshops and courses.

    When she moved back to Ethiopia six years prior, Negussie worked for a film generation organization yet soon quit to concentrate on design.

    “I loved form all the more so began making garments and offering on the web. I got a chance to plan celebrity lane outfits for a film recompenses occasion in Ethiopia and got positive reactions. From that point I started showing myself web portraying and I simply continued onward.”

    ES Collections targets generally the world class and upper-white collar class who “acknowledge hand-made items” notwithstanding the sticker that accompanies it. The organization runs an outlet in Addis Ababa, furthermore stocks its merchandise in stores in the US.

    In any case, changing individuals’ demeanors toward customary garments in Ethiopia has not been simple, says Negussie.

    “I like attempting new stuff and getting my imagination alive my outlines. In any case, offering new thoughts is hard in light of the fact that most clients are more open to purchasing something they have seen some time recently.

    “They are not eager to believe the fashioner’s imagination so it’s difficult to present new stuff and benefit out of it. It needs a great deal of devotion.”

    She notes imagination is additionally a major foe right now in light of the fact that individuals have a tendency to duplicate plans and repeat them at lower costs. Yet, the difficulties confronted in Ethiopia are justified regardless of the increases, says Negussie.

    “Doing this business in America is unbelievable. The business for style outline is immense and my space there would be little. Yet, here in Ethiopia I can really develop my business. In the US I would work to profit to pay my bills – and that is it. Here I began from the base, however I have a chance to make it to the top and carry on with an existence that is past paying my bills.”

    Troubles returning home

    Negussie says she was roused to return home by circumstances opening up in the nation. She additionally would not like to be similar to some of Africa’s diaspora who continue looking at “going home sometime in the not so distant future”.

    On the other hand, fitting into the workplace in Ethiopia was difficult.

    “I exited here when I was in secondary school so I began my grown-up life in the US. I became acclimated to the American way of life. I attended a university there, learnt how to drive there, landed my first paid position there and everything else that you do as a grown-up. When I returned it felt like an abnormal area at first,” she reviews.

    Negussie says her greatest battle was adjusting to the idea of time in Ethiopia. In the US she once got let go for being five minutes late to labor for two continuous days. So she aced keeping due dates. She trusts absence of appreciation for due dates could be an obstruction to the achievement of Ethiopian design in the worldwide business sector.

    “In the western world they have a considerable measure of admiration for hand-made items. I used to purchase carefully assembled scarves for $40 every while the normal scarves would offer for $5. However, so as to take our ability to the universal business, we need to buckle down and we need to regard time.”

     source: shaybuna


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    Injera-1.jpgSANTIAGO URQUIJO

    The spongy, sourdough-like flatbread made from the iron-rich teff grain, called injera, is a national dish in Ethiopia. When eating, small pieces ofthe injera are torn off and used to grasp the stews served upon it.

    I’m not quite hooked on the stuff, but sometimes I’ve got to have it. On any given day in my diaspora life, I’ll be stunned into compliance and stop at an Ethiopian store to buy mixed-flour injera prepared in Canada, or splurge for the real deal: a sealed bag of pure teff injera, imported from Ethiopia.

    Unsealed, it frees a waft of subtle aroma, transporting me instantly to my grandmother’s kitchen. When she lifts the lid of her mitad, a billowing cloud of nutty steam envelops us before revealing a perfectly round sheet of spongy, thin injera. Blinking with its thousand “eyes,” the sour bread begs to be peeled off the scalding clay, cooled on a wicker sefed woven to size, and then draped over a wide-mouthedmesob basket.

    Nowadays, grandma’s kitchen is a registered business named after her and one of her daughters, who manages day-to-day operations. Equipped with four mitad, Yimegnushal & Yeshi Injera sells the desired floppy, feather-light sheets to area residents and small merchants. Larger bakeries ship injera by the thousands to members of the diaspora, for whom making pure teff injera remains a losing battle — a situation not helped by the fact that, due to rising international demand, the teff grain (injera’s only ingredient besides water) is banned from leaving the country.

    Injera-2.jpgERIC LAFFORGUE

    Teff was exclusive to its native Ethiopian Highlands for millennia, thanks to geographic and cultural isolation. According to folklore from the Aksum region, where teff has been cultivated since between 4,000 and 1,000 B.C., the ancient Ethiopians’ king and god was a dragon whose descendants ruled for centuries, exacting terrible tributes, until a northerner named Gebgebo trapped the ruling dragon and split its head with an axe. On the spot where the blood spilled, the first teff plant grew.

    That teff wasn’t named after the dragon-slayer is probably due to its size. Referring to the smallest grain in the world, early farmers must have said “teffa” (“it is lost,” in Amharic) so often that the word became synonymous with the grain. Of the 350 species of lovegrass — the plant genus to which teff belongs — only teff is cultivated for food, using an old method of scattering handfuls of seed over moist loose soil. Six months later, after the backbreaking harvest work of stalk drying, threshing by man and beast, and manual winnowing is complete, the grain is ground whole for transforming into injera.

    Injera-3.jpgPHIL DE JONG JR / JGM


    At Yimegnushal & Yeshi’s, every day is injera day. Tall blue barrels containing injera batter at different stages testify to the subtle, days-long alchemy of fermenting and diluting a basic mixture of teff flour and water to foamy readiness for baking. Each morning, preheated mitads (clay-topped griddles) await, polished with a dusting of ground cabbage seed to prevent sticking.

    So high is the current demand for injera that the teff yield from more than 6 million farmers barely meets local, much less diaspora, needs — and certainly not that of the new global market, following the discovery of teff’s gluten-free, ancient-grain status. To prevent domestic shortage and inflated prices from so much of the nutrient-rich grain leaving the country, the government in 2006 put a stop to exports of raw teff grain, at least until production can catch up.*

    Foreign interest in teff dates to the 1800s, but mass cultivation abroad began in the 1980s in Idaho with Wayne Carlson, a former Peace Corps volunteer to Ethiopia. His company, Maskal Teff, is the oldest among farms in at least 25 states across the United States. Smaller teff farms also exist in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Australia to supply teff to health-conscious foodies, the gluten intolerant, and injera addicts worldwide.

    Despite this, the grain remains an “orphan crop” — one that is under-researched and underfunded due to its regional rather than global importance — according to Ayele Gebreamlak Ayetenfisu, the director of the Teff and Rice Value Chain at Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency. Since 2011, the ATA been tasked with raising the sector’s productivity to meet local demand and then compete globally.

    Injera-4.jpgRYAN KILPATRICK

    Growth controlled by teff’s ancestral custodians prevents loss of genetic varieties of the grain, and the royalties from capitalizing on such, to foreign interests. One focus area of the ATA is transitioning farmers, the original teff production experts, to row planting: a more methodical, economical joining of seed and land than traditional scattering. Sample results having shown a voluminous, robust crop, and expanded rollout is planned. Eventually, says Ayele, Ethiopia can produce a surplus for its own international brand of teff-based products.

    In Ethiopia’s current market, however, teff is so expensive that the traditional grading system — magna (white), sergegna (mixed) and key (brown), of which magna used to be the most expensive — has been modified to include a new fourth grade, liyu magna(very white), in the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange.

    Yet the injera business remains hot. Gone are the days when counting injera was taboo and buying from outside considered shameful. Urbanites buy by the piece for reasons ranging from tiny condos, a culture of convenience, or the inability to afford bulk teff. Universities, hotels and resorts contract out the work. Part-time bakers can gross 20,000 birr monthly (nearly US$1,000), while big players like Mama Fresh sell at prepaid dollar prices to the lucrative Ethiopian diaspora market where, thanks to Ethiopian Airlines’ numerous daily direct flights, fresh injera reaches the same day it leaves the mitad.

    In Toronto, Ethiopian shop owner Desta sells many brands of mixed-flour injera — teff cut with buckwheat, barley, wheat or fenugreek — that are delivered to his store by independent distributors, alongside pure teff injera imported weekly from his Addis supplier.

    Nunu, owner of the eponymous restaurant in Toronto, offers Desta’s pure teff injera to customers as an extra-cost substitution to her in-house mixed-flour injera. She remembers when the mystery of making pure teff injera in the West was suffered communally among early immigrants, who made do with self-rising flour, using frying pans or early-model U.S.-made mitads with faulty wiring.

    “We would end up with something that was injera only in name. But now, we have injera,” she says, having arrived at a workable recipe and the Wass Mitad, 15 years in the making by Washington, D.C.–based engineer Wassie Mulugeta. And yet, the quest for pure teff injera made in the West continues. Nunu’s husband, Chris, recently consulted gluten experts in academia about why it is so impossible to duplicate, to no avail.


    Years ago, Desta imported pure teff injera only for a few older, diabetic Ethiopian immigrants. Today, he brings 2,000 pieces weekly, but customers haven’t all caught on. “People have become addicted to the mixed-flour injera because it has sugar and salt,” he says. “It is hard to go back to that pure sour taste. The older people age 40 and up will eat nothing but the original, but the kids won’t touch it.”

    For Nunu, like most, it’s a bit of both. She savors the taste of pure teff injera but gets heartburn if she eats it constantly. Another common complaint, says distributor Adisalem of Tenama Injera, is that it is thin as lace, hardly filling. Asefa of Zemen Injera is troubled by how easily teff injera spoils and is discarded due to improper refrigeration.

    Distributors have it hard. Kalkidan Bekele, a 17-year veteran laments, “The business is very moody. Even the weather can make the day’s batch unfit to distribute.” And while many urbanites in Ethiopia have become perfectly at ease with buying their injera from stores, diaspora customers distrust too-perfect commercial mixed-flour injera. Because of how hard it is to get such a result, folks suspect the use of secret ingredients by commercial bakers — including, as Washington, D.C., rumor once had it, even pharmaceuticals.

    The majority of diaspora eat homemade injera, using closely-guarded recipes achieved after years of trial and error. Even then, though, results fluctuate due to altitude, water, baking surface, teff variety and secondary flour. Many have long accepted that there has to be some mystery factor yet to be identified, because the injera hardly ever comes out the same way twice.


    But for those who love it, no effort is too much. Going without simply cannot be done. “Like asking Indians to give up rice,” says Desta, whose customers come from even the Yukon to stock up. A resident of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, who drives 30 miles for injera, says, “When I am really hungry and am desperate for food, it is the first type of food that pops into my mind.” Another adds, “I once craved firfir (injera scrambled with stew) early in the morning but didn’t have injera at home. I drove around for an hour trying to find an Ethiopian grocery store that opened earlier than 9 a.m. I didn’t find one, so I waited outside of one until it opened.”

    Whenever my own injera mood strikes, I find myself wishing I had paid attention on childhood injera days, and I resolve to memorize everything that goes on in grandma’s kitchen next time I’m in Ethiopia. But she won’t hear of it, saying, “Why exhaust yourself attempting the impossible and unnecessary?” After all, in the grand injera chain of being, everyone has a role — and mine is eating.

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