The Africa vibe
So there’s something about the current Africa trend that really speaks to you. Maybe it’s the drama, the vibrancy.
Or perhaps it’s the memories it evokes or dreams it spawns – of dusty landscapes, lone acacias, tribal chants echoing across the deep valleys and that distinct smell of the African bush.
Can you relate?
Boho chic and wildlife protection
From Ralph Lauren’s boho chic vibe and Louis Vuitton’s safari inspired luggage through to Madonna magnetized by Malawi, and Prince Harry working at the sharp end of wildlife protection with vets in South Africa; raising funds for charities such as Tusk Trust and the Zoological Society of London, Africa’s appeal is universal.
The continent knows no boundaries
Like the vast rivers that flow when drought is at bay, our affection for the continent seems to know no boundaries. It captivates entrepreneurs, travellers, creatives, and royalty. It has a place in the hearts of so many.
Why is it you can never hope to describe the emotion Africa creates? You are lifted. Out of whatever pit, unbound from whatever tie, released from whatever fear. You are lifted and you see it all from above.
Francesca Marciano (Italian novelist and filmmaker; extract from “Rules of the Wild”)
Iconic, graceful, wooden giraffes
So if you’re looking to introduce African home interiors into your UK abode, where do you start?
From furniture and fabrics, from the iconic graceful, wooden Giraffes, to art and sculpture, the African vibe can really breathe life into a neutral or everyday décor style.
From the vivid, handmade batik paintings of African people at work to the diverse and vibrant contemporary art scene – African art is always a conversation piece. (I of course love Leigh Voigt’s atmospheric Nguni cattle pictures in the African veld – to me they ‘smell’ of Africa.)
Finely hewn ceramics: tribal wooden carvings and dramatic masks against a cream/neutral backdrop add drama to any room. The beautifully crafted African beaded wire animals are eye-catching conversation pieces. I have large beaded Eland and Kudu heads which are frequently admired.
Gorgeous Nguni cowhide cushions with their vivid mottles and markings add character and an African feel to a contemporary cream décor, or ‘safari’ chic to leather sofas.
4. Table accessories
I don’t believe any of the contemporary silver tableware in the UK can beat the original, beautifully sculpted, Carrol Boyes pewter serving spoons and bowls. We received ours as a wedding gift and everyone covets them!
A statement Nguni cowhide rug with its beautiful natural and incredible symmetrical patterns injects real drama to a modern, cream room; a ski lodge and converted barn. Rugs from other continents are available from places like John Lewis and The English Cowhide Company.
I will never forget my first Jonny Clegg/Juluka concert in Joburg. The electric atmosphere as they sang ‘Scatterlings of Africa’ (always conjures up images of Jonny’s accompanying video of him stick dancing with Zulus). The smells and spice of Africa are always evoked when I play ‘Asimbonanga’ and ‘Spirit of the Great Heart’. Then there’s the poignant, rhythmical Kwela music of fab Mango Groove’s ‘Spirit of the Great Heart’; to the enigmatic Rodriguez’ “I wonder”. Then there’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Soweto Gospel choir; and who’d ever forget Shakira’s opening ‘ Waka Waka ‘This Time For Africa’ at the World Cup in 2010……..?!
Over to you
How have you managed to incorporate the essence of African in your home? Please leave a comment, let me know.
Add to the vibe
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