Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Saturday, 17 March 2018

TRIBE DIASPORE PRESENT 'TALES OF THE TRIBES' AT IKOYI LONDON


I recently made a first time trip to the West African Gourmet restaurant IKOYI in Central London where Tribe Diaspore hosted a ‘Tales of the tribe’ themed brunch. Tribe Diaspore founded by Seun Ogundiran is a platform that keeps people connected through conversations about the African Diaspora. The founder presented the event alongside Ra’ifah Rafiq of the podcast Mostly Lit. The question of the day was ‘Where is home?’ inspired by the author Yaa Gyasi’s novel ‘Homegoing’. Before we dived into the trick question for many of the demographic who attended the event ;(being of African and Carribean descent) Seun read a poem of his own. The poem looked at his love for his birthplace, the UK and his Nigerian heritage but not quite knowing where ‘home’ is.

The notion of being in limbo sits with many first or second generation Black Brits. Not quite knowing where to call home. However that being said not everybody has this issue. This made the discussion interesting to see how and why others identify themselves the way they have chosen to. The question was then thrown to us the attendees. Although the opinions varied many had similarities. Many identified as British going on the basis that the UK is where they were born and is the life they have known yet still having immense pride for their country of heritage. At the same time others identified as African regardless of where they were born. One lady made a great point that “your identity (place of birth) is not necessarily your home and your home is not your identity”. This will depend on the individual. Your birthplace can be your home but it is not set in stone, it does not have to be. Someone else added that you might not have found home yet referring to future opportunities in terms of travelling overseas.
Photo of mariamtijani.com
Just as the conversation was in full swing amongst us, it was time for brunch. Ikoyi served crispy yam and scrambled egg with a special pepper sauce followed by plantain french toast and peppered bacon drizzled in Zobo Jam. The last dish was Roasted Mushroom and Suya Flatbread not to forget the tasty Papaya and Roasted White chocolate Shake. It’s fair to say Ikoyi have put their own twist on African delicacies to create their own signature dishes. It is a fine dining experience to say the least. Another element I admired was the ambiance of IKOYI, the interior designed by Studio Ashby, the neutral yet warm colour scheme against the ceramics details and lighting features worked perfectly against the statement terrazzo flooring. The brunch was a great opportunity to meet and discuss with others on their own viewpoint of the question.

I wish the conversation lasted much longer, but before we all knew it brunch was over (as brunches always go). However I did leave that event thinking ‘where is home/what is identity?’ is a discussion that should be had more across the board.


What is the Diaspora?
The dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

Where is home?
Honestly, when I’m asked ‘where are you from?’ it would depend who I am talking to but majority of the time I would answer Sierra Leone (even though I’m UK born). I do this because I really dislike the ‘No, where are you really from?’ question and tone (as if I’m telling a lie when I mention my birthplace). So I tend to beat whoever is asking at their own game and say my hereditary country Sierra Leone. 

On that note I am someone who believes that your home does not need to be where you were born or the place you have ancestral connection. They are the most logical places to call home but they are not necessarily ‘home’.  I totally agreed with that point someone made as I remembered my sister calling me ‘fake Senegalese’ during my time there and how I would talk about the place. I’m not from there but I felt very much at home there. Home is where you make your home. Home is where you feel comfortable. The event got me thinking; can you have more than one home? But I will save that for another day/post.
   

           




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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

CELEBRATE GHANA'S 61ST INDEPENDENCE WITH ONUA HOME

Image of Onua Home

Yesterday marked the 61st year of Ghana's Independence. What makes this milestone remarkable is that Ghana in 1957 was the first African country to gain Independence from Great Britain lead by Ghana's first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah. To celebrate Ghana 61 years on I have partnered with Onua Home to offer a lovely discount to the subscribers and visitors of Yasmin Tells. Onua is a word in Ghana's native language Twi that translates as 'sibling'. The sibling duo Emmanuela and Phillip Frimpong inspire to dress household ornaments in a same richness as Ghanian clothes and materials are. Onua Home provide a range of accessories from Andrinkra Symbol Mugs to Cushions. Check out their online shop and don't forget to make use of the 25% off discount code.


Code: YTGHANA61

Active for one week only


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Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Basics: An ode to Wakanda

 

I’ve been back home in the UK from my trip to Ghana for two months now and its no secret that I find it extremely difficult to blog about the UK – Ok, maybe not difficult as I haven’t tried too hard to do so but that is because enough bloggers do that and that is there niche. Unless I’m going to a cool event, I have no zeal whatsoever to blog about travel in the UK, but who knows that could all change.

This time last week I had no motivation in the world to blog, to be honest I’ve even thought of packing it all in. Only to be reminded of how far I’ve come every time I mention it to my friends. I was looking back at photos I had taken the very first time I visited Dakar, Senegal. I went to find them again after watching the Black Panther movie as the euphoria I felt reminded me of that feeling I had back in 2013; The excitement and relief that a country on the continent is so beautiful and contrary to the pitiful stereotypes of Africa. A highlight of last month was most definitely the long awaited film Black Panther, I’m not here to review it or give any spoilers if you are yet to see it but it is fair to say the film is a game changer. In my twenty-five years of life I had never seen an all black cast depicted as strong and influential characters, it was so refreshing. I know the feeling is mutual amongst many black people as the #wakandaforever and #inwakanda hash tags continue via social media. I was stunned by the amount of research that went into the film in terms of the production as they merged a variation of cultures from West, North, South and East Africa to form Wakanda from the Malian architecture to Senegalese Music to the South African Ndebele tribal graphics. It was overwhelming to process, another similar emotion I feel now and then while creating content online.
 
GOREE ISLAND, SENEGAL 2014
All of these blogging strategies, Pinterest and all that jazz to boost your blog profile are time consuming and overwhelming to learn. It almost takes the fun out of blogging. I was speaking to my Dad recently about the pressure around blogging and how everything now heavily revolves around your stats and figures. It is a lot to take in alongside creating great content. It can be difficult not to look at what other bloggers are doing and compare yourself and think you are not doing things right, failing to realize what works for them may not work for you, every blogger is different. There is a general ideology that ‘consistency is key’ but what is the point of being consistent/active if you’re not adding value? I’ve really had to be honest and ask myself that. It’s ok to not be active and to take a step back to rest and prepare, as the saying goes ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and I’m pretty sure Hannah Beachler the Set Designer of Black Panther spent multiple hours grafting before making Wakanda come to life.

Other than thoroughly enjoying the film, I guess it reminded me too of my purpose as a ‘Travel and Design Blogger’. Something I feel that I segregate quite often when I really do not need to. In the words of my Dad “Remember why you started”. The reason I continued blogging was to document travelling elsewhere, especially the continent of my heritage, to the places that are not advertised the way they should be. To learn more about cultural history that was never taught in school. To document the design, people and artisan culture I was discovering on a daily basis, to make comparisons and observe the similarities of neighboring countries in Africa within culture and design.
DAKAR, SENGEL 2014

If you did not know Yasmin TELLS stands for Travel, Explore, Live and Learn. I feel I sometimes stray away from the purpose of my blog, which is not a bad thing, but Black Panther’s virtual city Wakanda gave me the wake up call I needed. Whenever you are suffering from a creative block or feel like giving up, remember why you started and focus on your core strengths.




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