Ghana

Dashiki Reflections

This is not going to be one of my usual fashion posts where I will be talking about the outfit alone. I want to discuss a little about the outfit and much more on 2015.

I wore this dashiki dress in the summer, I was not going to post it but my dear sister-friend convinced me to put it up. Summer time is my favourite time of the year, I love the weather and you can wear more interesting and colourful things (you already know how I love colour and lots of it). I wore this dress before actually way back in sixth form, during a Black History Month event that I was involved in, so to my brothers who think I copied them, lies you tell twinnies.  Please do follow and check out their blog www.uptothepoint.wordpress.com

Dashiki Reflections 1

Dashiki Reflections 2

Outfit:

Dashiki dress- Made in Ghana

Wedges- Dune

Necklace- Wallis

Bangle- John Lewis

Bag- Modalu

Looking at the pictures again made me reflect on the year 2015. This year has been an interesting one, a mix of highs and lows. Through it all, one thing that I am most thankful for is growth. I am not where I was last year, I have grown in certain areas of my life. Firstly my walk with Christ has grown and matured, I am not where I used to be in 2014. At the beginning of this year I said to God, I want more of him. I was tired of just receiving the word from other people, waiting for encouragement from others and wanted to have a personal relationship with him. Secondly, my friendships and relationships have grown. Growth in friendships does not just mean you increasing your friendship group, it means bettering individual friendships and also allowing people into your life who are positive .This year I met someone and within three months we became so close. I truly believe God put her in my life, because at that time I was praying about something and when she walked into my life she answered my prayer with one bible verse. Why I say God put her in my life is because at that particular time I felt like God was not listening to me and she gave me a bible verse to mediate on. She had no clue that the verse she gave me was the answer to my prayer until later on.  Additionally, this year some people that I have known for a while have been cut off (not necessarily drama)  just some people are there for a certain time and you move on.

Thirdly, I learned this year that a ‘private life is a happy life’. I have always been private and will continue to be so. I do not like letting the whole world know my business and in particular in 2015 learnt not everything that happens in your life needs to be told. This relates to the first growth point, this year God told me to stop running to people when I was always disappointed or when I was rejoicing. There were times when I would pick the phone up and dial the number he would say,  ‘Rae put the phone down and speak to me first’. The first person I have learned to run to is God with everything and as the song says ‘Jesus be the center of it all’. This does not mean that you should keep everything to yourself, it is just striking that important balance. It depends on the type of person you are, some are extremely private and some blab out everything- its important to find the middle ground

Fourthly this year, I have learned to ‘launch out’. Many of us have wonderful ideas and visions, but because of fear we hold ourselves back. Late this year, I told myself I will no longer do to that myself. I am going to live life in such a way, that if I have an idea I will set out to do it. I encourage all that if you have been thinking about a venture you want to get into, or a new career or to set up a business or whatever it may be do it! Don’t wait for others to give you the go ahead otherwise you will be waiting forever. Many of us are sitting on ideas that could potentially be great but I encourage you to look into your hands. Ask yourself what are these hands good at doing? Are your hands good at drawing? Use that artistic ability. Are your hands good at writing? Use that creative ability.

What for 2016?

This time next year I will be reflecting back on the year and thinking of what I have done, what I achieved and what I could do better. I think reviewing yourself is so important, it gives you a fresh mind and the urge to do better. However do not wait to the end of the year to review yourself, you can have reviews throughout the year.

What to expect from the blog in 2016? More great posts on fashion, faith, politics, law, business, art etc. There will be a post a week (sometimes more than one). With the fashion posts expect more than ‘what am I wearing posts’ or ‘OOTDs’.  I love discussing with friends the history behind fashion and the business of fashion, so I will be writing more posts on that. This goes with other blog posts too.

Stay Blessed x

Advertisements

The Rise of the African Middle Class?

 

As a woman of African heritage, I have seen and heard many misconceptions of Africa. I am sure you have heard of this one-the infamous stereotype where Africans live in huts and drink dirty water. Growing up, I showed pictures to acquaintances and school friends of my holidays in Africa. It was always met with disbelief. They could not believe how beautiful Africa was.

As Africa’s economy is growing stronger, its image is slowly changing, something that should be welcomed and acknowledged. The image of huts and children drinking dirty water is changing into ‘Africa is finally on the path to becoming a consumer society’. They call it the ‘rise of the African middle class’. However has there not always been a middle class in Africa? Is it just because Africa’s GDP has become steady in recent years that there is now a middle class?  Has the middle class suddenly come into existence? There always has been a middle class in Africa. I hear family stories of my great grandmother (and many others in my family and beyond), being a educated woman who loved and could afford the finer things in life. Africans have always driven flashy cars and worn designer brands. There are factors that separate the African middle class of today to the African middle class of yesterday. The main difference between the middle class of the past and the middle class of today, is that there are simply more people in the middle class. There are more Africans after spending on necessities who now have the resources to spend discretionally on consumer goods.

The rise of the african middle class 1 

According to African Development Bank, the African middle class which was numbered 115 million in 1980 has risen to 326 million in the past three and a half decades. This is set to increase, with the number of middle class households in 11 key African economies (Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia excluding South Africa) to triple to 22 million by 2030 according to the Standard Bank figures. This includes lower middle class households to increase to 40 million in 2030 from the 15 million households of today.

The rise of the african middle class 3

As reported by the Standard Bank, the 11 economies account for over of half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total GDP (75% if South Africa is included), a population of over 525 million people (over half of Africa’s population) and an average growth of 6.3% in 2013 and a predicted growth of 6.5% forecast for 2014.

The rise of the african middle class 2

The surge in African household incomes has brought more into the middle class group and therefore more are spending on healthcare, financial services, mortgages, education, vehicles and luxury items. The owner of The Wish Collection, a luxury store, Caron Koonin says, “The more money people make, the more they want the finest products. There’s always aspirational value”.  When an individual’s income increases, the more likely it is they would want to spend more on luxury items. This does not just happen in Africa as analysts have reported but also across the majority of middle class households in the world. Caron Koonin’s store, in Sandton City Mall Johannesburg, is the biggest shopping centre in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Wish Collection has a  large clientele with shoppers from oil rich Angola, Nigeria and Ghana. No longer are the middle class travelling abroad in order to spend, the money is staying within the continent.

Although the African middle class will grow to 1.1 billion in 2060 as the Deloitte Report (The Rise and The Rise of the African Middle Class) suggests, there are a number of problems that could impact the growth of Africa. These risks that are threatening to disrupt the continent’s growth include the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, Islamic extremism and growing fiscal imbalances in some countries. The IMF has warned that trade and tourism and investment confidence in some countries could be affected as the outbreak takes its toll in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. There is cause of concern with security issues in Northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali and Kenya as well as conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic. Ghana and Zambia have widening fiscal deficits driven by an increase in public sector wages and other expenditures. As a result, it has fuelled inflation and exchange rates.

We must not forget that though it is good news that there are many climbing out of poverty, more needs to be done. Africa is enjoying an era of promising economic growth that has lead to ‘The rise of the African middle class’ and what many call ‘Africa Rising’. The poorest countries in Africa are likely to see the fastest growth rates in the world, averaging more than 8% in Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. However, corruption still remains and governments are slow to build efficient institutions for the long term. There is also a need for some African countries to diversify their economies beyond its commodities. Nigerian economists are concerned about the sustained lower global prices for oil, on which the state depends for at least 80% of its revenue. Ghana earlier this year (after a warning by the IMF) introduced measures in an attempt to diversify its economy by encouraging farmers to produce rice, sugar and poultry (which costs the country $1 billion a year to import).

The media in some African countries are under attack and some politicians are overreaching their mandate by extending their legal terms in office. Furthermore, jobs are lacking in a ever more educated generation especially for the youth. Take Nigeria for example, the continent’s biggest economy has 56% of its youth unemployed. Economic growth is high, but inequalities still exist. Though Africa has the fastest growing middle class and wealth is slowly trickling down, it is not translating into improving the livelihoods for the majority. Additionally, the lower end of the middle class is fragile and many are vulnerable to poverty.The recent US-Africa Leaders Summit demonstrated the great investment and business opportunities in Africa. Whilst leaders were praised at the summit for economic development in their individual countries, political and social issues are yet to be tackled. It is time for Africa’s leaders and politicians to understand economic growth alone would not solve Africa’s challenges. Investment in health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and most importantly good governance will tackle the continent’s challenges.

The head of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka said, “you can’t eat GDP ”. Strong growth is simply not enough. Better governance is the only solution to Africa’s challenges.

Kaba Girl

Kaba Girl 7

If you are a Ghanaian, you will know all about the ‘Kaba and Slit’. The Kaba and Slit is a top and skirt. The skirt is usually long and there is a matching top. The Kaba and Slit is Ghanaian traditional wear worn by women. You will find women wearing it at funerals to traditional marriages etc. It is also worn by other African women. The Kaba and Slit has been modernised recently where young girls incorporate western styles. I love it when traditional meets modern.

My outfit here is a Kaba and a skirt. I do have the matching slit which I wore for another occasion. However I wore the Kaba with a black skirt to keep it nice and sweet.

Kaba Girl 1

Kaba Girl 9

Outfit details:

Kaba- made by my seamstress, designer-Nena Boateng

Black Skirt- M & S

Glass Sandals- M & S

Clutch- shop from Paris

Bangle- M & S

Stay Blessed

x