IMAGE OF THE DAY
“They say that a picture says a thousand words, and we couldn't agree more. In the world of Lionesses of Africa, we celebrate women's entrepreneurship in all its forms on the continent, and we love the powerful images that conjure up the spirit of women-owned businesses and the products and services they create. These images give us an insight into the unique creativity that exists here in Africa and that is capturing the imagination of the world. Each Monday to Friday, Lionesses of Africa features a striking 'Image of the Day' that celebrates the work, or a moment in the life of, a talented African woman entrepreneur. Enjoy!”
— Melanie Hawken, LoA founder and editor-in-chief
‘Bean to Bar’ …. ’57 Chocolate is the pioneer bean to bar chocolate business in Ghana defined by creativity and luxury. Founders Kimberly and Priscilla Addison use resources grown within their country to create delicious, whimsical treats. ’57 hones in on Ghana’s Independence Day spirit and challenges the status quo that premium chocolate can only be made in Europe.
‘Modern West African Interior Design’ …. Eva Sonaike is a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand creating luxurious textiles, home-décor and accessories with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. Inspired by the cultural mélange of West-African textile tradition and European craftsmanship, a passion for interior design and an exuberant love of colour, Eva aims is to add a new and distinctive aesthetic to the luxury interiors market.
‘Extraordinary African Teas’ …. Grown solely on Africa soil and ethically sourced, YSWARA’s gourmet teas pay tribute to African elegance and refinement. Founder Swaady Martin ensures the careful blending of the finest buds, leaves and spices means you are not just drinking a fine tea, but also tasting a piece of Africa.
A A K S
‘Woven Luxury’ …. A A K S was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, A A K S creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts, characterized by bright exuberant colours. Akosua now stocks her woven bag collections in 60 stores worldwide including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters in the United States.
‘Ashanti Heritage’ …. German-born Ghanaian sisters, Nana and Afua Dabanka, created the luxury footwear label, MONAA, in homage to their regal Ashanti heritage. Crafted by expert artisans, MONAA sandals are constructed from the finest, globally sourced leathers, and refined with African-inspired embellishments. Exquisitely handcrafted, MONAA reflects the designers' transcontinental sensibility.
‘Toys to Inspire Children’ …. from La Fede in South Africa, a company that produces handcrafted heirloom toys. Founder, Chantelle Beukes started the business in 2014, after her 12 year career in the corporate world ended abruptly when the company she worked for shut it's doors. With meagre capital at her disposal she decided to purchase a few meters of fabric and a small straight stitch sewing machine. Out of these negative circumstances her business, La Fede, which means 'Faith' in Italian, was born, which today successfully produces a wonderfully quirky range of toys that inspire imaginative play for children.
‘Timeless Light Fittings’ …. from Dounia Tamri-Loeper, a US-based, Moroccan design entrepreneur and founder of Dounia Home. Lighting is her inspiration and her company creates beautiful, statement lighting pieces that not only celebrate the centuries-old techniques and designs that are uniquely Moroccan, but also elevates them to a whole new level. Her new wall sconces, featuring brass globes and gunmetal arms, can be mounted horizontally or vertically, maximizing their versatility.
‘Jewelled Satin Shoes’ …. from Timabee, an up and coming Nigerian accessories brand founded by Fatima Babakura. Fatima is passionate about the timeless process of creating the most beautiful accessories, harnessing her country’s tradition of fine craftsman-made products, but in a new contemporary way. Her beautiful range of handbags and shoes are winning fans around the world.
‘Gifting & Gardening’ …. eye catching potted plants, customized gifts items and brand design solutions are the specialism of Shop Nanjala in Kenya. Teresa Lubano is the founder and creative mind that drives the business, having worked for over a decade as an Art Director on leading brands across East Africa. She has the experience and perspective to utilize the unique mosaic of design influences that appeal to Kenya’s burgeoning middle class.
‘Chilli Heat’ …. from Swaziland is melting the snow in the fjords of Norway! Black Mamba is a fair trade brand of gourmet chilli products from the Kingdom of Swaziland made with organically grown ingredients, using no artificial flavours or preservatives. Founder, Claudia Castellanos Roques, is a passionate food entrepreneur who has created a unique taste sensation that is stimulating tastebuds around the world.
‘Orange Malva Pudding’ …. it's almost winter in South Africa and Chef Naledi is getting ready to tantalize our tastebuds with her warm desserts, perfect for those cold evenings. Naledi Toona is a South African entrepreneur offering private chef services and cooking classes. She is passionate about helping others build their knowledge and experience of cooking at home.
‘African Luxury’ …. Adèle Dejak takes a bow after her spectacular show at the AFI Cape Town Fashion Week. Adèle Dejak is a premium brand of handcrafted fashion jewellery and accessories inspired by African tribes, textiles and cultural elements. Edgy, articulate and peerless, Adèle’s pieces are a must-have for the bold, modern and style-savvy woman.
Benji + Moon
‘Pampered Pets’ …. Karen Carr and Hanneke Schutte are two South African entrepreneurs turning a passion for pets into a thriving business. Benji + Moon is a pet brand featuring a collection of locally handcrafted products for much loved pets. They work with local artisans and established designers to bring you beautifully designed pet products that suit your home and aesthetic, whilst proudly donating 5% of your purchase to CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare).
Gejja Women Foundation
‘Empowering Young Women’ …. Marjorie Atuhurra is the founder of Gejja Women Foundation, a social enterprise in Uganda that works tirelessly to ensure that women and young girls are given the opportunity to become fully participating, independent and contributing members of society. They specialize in menstrual hygiene, producing reusable sanitary pads that are distributed around the country so girls can always comfortably attend classes using their pads when they get their periods.
Start-up Night! Africa
‘Lionesses on Tour’ …. Africa’s digital women entrepreneurs shone at the 2nd 'Start-up Night! Africa' event held in Berlin on 20 March in partnership with the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Lionesses of Africa selected 2 leading women entrepreneurs - Dorcas Muthoni, founder of Open World in Kenya and Jacqueline Rogers, founder of My Pregnancy Journey - to pitch their innovative new Apps to a capacity audience of big business, government, investors and influencers at the event.
‘Glorious Bridal Dress’ … designed by the Leading Lady of African fashion Deola Sagoe, founder of The House of Deola in Nigeria. This magnificent champagne A-line dress with a tulle embellished corsage and feather detailed veil exemplifies why Deola has remained at the cutting edge of high fashion since 1989. Her globally appealing style has earned her an enviable client list, from Africa's first ladies, to society girls like Lydia Hearst and top model Alek Wek, to famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey.
‘Art from Waste’ … an installation made from old paperback books salvaged from the recycling pile by Simple Intrigue, a South African creative art studio founded by Keri Muller. She focuses on the development of unique products, corporate gifting items and art pieces. Most of Keri’s work involves salvaging waste of all sorts from books, to paper to plastic and using this to create art pieces, large installations and decor.
Karingana Wa Karingana Textiles
‘Abstract Patterned Fabric’ … by designer Wacy Zacarius, the founder of Karingana Wa Karingana Textiles in Mozambique. Her company designs custom prints, develops artisanal textiles, produces a customisable online print catalog, creates surface design and print textiles for the fashion and homeware industry, and also provides supply chain management services. Wacy is passionate about designing luxury African textiles, challenging the status quo, and giving a voice and a platform to African artists to tell their stories through their textiles.
‘Cow Horn Jewelry’ … Margaux Wong is a talented fashion and textile designer originally from Guyana, South America, now living and working in Burundi. She specializes in elegant jewelry, handcrafted sustainably from cow horn and recycled brass. Margaux describes herself as a Burundian sustainable maker of pretty things.
‘Farming Technology’ … Tatenda Ndambakuwa is a Zimbabwean digital entrepreneur and the founder of Shiri, a company helping farmers become more productive through app development and data science. After experiencing food shortages of historic proportions in 2008 in Zimbabwe, Tatenda resolved to work on food security and in agriculture and is passionately committed to making sure hunger is eradicated in her lifetime.
‘Okuta Home Ware Collection’ … from Miminat Designs, a company specialising in furniture and product design for commercial and residential projects both in the UK and internationally. Founder Mimi Shodeinde is demonstrating that African design is not only exciting in a minimal context, particularly when it comes to furniture design, but can also celebrate the best of tradition and technological innovation.
‘Trendy Girls Fashion’ … from Kameo Kids, in Durban, a South Africa based clothing brand for young girls who want to express their own individual style from a young age. Founder Narcissi Madisha manufactures and sells Girlswear for ages 2-12 years, all produced locally. She aims for Kameo Kids to be amongst the top 5 children's wear companies in the country over the next 5-10 years.
‘Unique Made-to-Order Footwear’ … created by the wonderfully talented artisans of soleRebels, the world's fastest-growing African footwear brand and the only Fair Trade-certified footwear company in the world. Growing up in a poor suburb of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu decided that there was only one way to defeat poverty – use local craftsmanship to make products that can compete in the global marketplace. She decided on footwear and today 70,000 pairs of shoes leave her factory every year destined for all parts of the world.
Ezakwantu Sewing Co-op
‘Proudly Traditional’ … Nomafu Mdlambuzi is a South African entrepreneur passionate about manufacturing traditional outfits for all occasions. Her company Ezakwantu Sewing Co-op is a family business that grew out of her mother’s original vision, to design and manufacture beautiful garments that people can wear to celebrate their traditions. Nomafu is now building on her mothers legacy and taking the business to even greater heights.
‘Imaginative Artwork’ … Victoria Verbaan is an established South African artist and illustrator working in a wide variety of artistic disciplines. She produces a range of limited edition fine art, wearable art and poster prints. Victoria’s sense of humour and personality always shine through her illustrations and artworks, winning her fans around the world.
‘Reveal the Goddess in You’ … with the sun kissed Tatou Georgette Wrap Dress available through Burgundy Fly. Co-founded by Nobesuthu Ndlovu, Burgundy Fly is South Africa's most loved fashion retailer of unique garments and accessories. Nobesuthu is passionate about showcasing the best of South Africa’s design talent in her boutiques and online shop.
Hand Made by Me
Image of the Day: ‘African Design On Show in New York’ … Sera Holland, is a South African-based textile designer and the founder of Hand Made by Me. She designs and produces a range of bespoke fabrics that are made into a variety of tableware and home decor products. This past week Sera was in New York exhibiting her beautiful new range of products at the Restaurant and Food Service Show. Read More →
Katy Valentine Collection
‘Hand Crafted Jewellery’ … from the Katy Valentine Collection, founded by Katy Valentine, a South African jewellery designer creating collections inspired by African and Indian cultures. Her pieces combine antique African beads with Jaipur gemstones and minimalist design.
Little Green Number
‘Recycling Advertising Billboard Into Funky Bags’ … Little Green Number is the brainchild of a South African social entrepreneur, Juanita van der Merwe, who is aiming to change the world for the better by not only creating unique, really funky handmade bags made from recycled advertising billboards, but also creating much-needed local jobs for young people in her community.
A A K S
‘Luxury Handcrafted in Ghana’ … A A K S, founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, is an emerging Afro Luxe brand that is taking the world of fashion accessories by storm. Akosua created her brand with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite raffia weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana. Their latest handbag, the ‘Hana’, is chic in black and natural colour blocking, with sturdy leather straps and a drawstring closure to keep all your essentials tucked in one place.
‘Beer Brewed With Bread’ … Toast Ale SA, co-founded by Bianca Hansen, uses bread that would otherwise go to waste as the foundation for brewing a delicious beer. Their award-winning craft beer is made from fresh, surplus bread from bakeries and sandwich manufacturers. All their profits go to a charity called Soil for Life to target hunger in South Africa in a sustainable way. With so much food going wasted and so many people going hungry in South Africa alone, Toast Ale is creating an impactful solution.
‘Keeping Workers Safe’ … Liesl Esau is the founder of HSE Matters, a consultancy business in South Africa providing Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Management and customized training to clients in high hazard industries. Founded in 2015, HSE Matters is passionately committed to preventing work related accidents and diseases.
Little Pine Tree
‘Toys Handmade With Love’ … Little Pine Tree is a social enterprise that empowers local women by teaching them to knit children’s toys. Launched in 2015 by Goeun Bae, this toy making workshop in Johannesburg creates a space where unemployed women from different backgrounds can meet and learn a new skill and generate much needed income. Little Pine Tree toys are sold in stores across South Africa and all profits are directed back into the project.
‘Gold Paper Bowls’ … on display at Maison Objet in Paris, produced by Quazi Design, a cutting edge craft company in Swaziland, who are changing the perception of waste paper and handcraft. All their products are hand made by local women, empowering them through skill sharing and earning a sustainable, permanent income.
‘Lighting Up Lives’ … Hafsat Yahyah used to be a groundnut street-hawker in Nigeria struglling to make 300 naira profit after many hours of hard selling each day. She decided to join Solar Sister, an incredible social enterprise that eradicates energy poverty and at the same time empowers women to become direct sales agents to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa. In less than one week, Hafsat sold products worth 48,800 naira, equivalent to 6 months profits she made as a groundnut street-hawker. Hafsat’s story is a compelling example of the power of entrepreneurship and hard work to change women’s lives! Read more.
‘ILAVA Style!’ … Rahel Mwitula Williams is a Tanzanian lifestyle brand builder with a keen eye for fashion and a big social conscience. Her proudly African lifestyle brand, ILAVA (which translates as IT CAN BE DONE), is passionate about making women feel empowered through fashion, whilst at the same time positively impacting the lives of others.
‘Chef Naledi’ … Naledi Toona is a South African entrepreneur taking her skills as a private chef to the next level in business. She specializes in private chef services for intimate events, as well as offering cooking classes. Chef Naledi is passionate about helping others build their knowledge and experience of cooking at home.
‘The FH Trunk’ … Femi Olayebi is the founder of Femi Handbags, a Nigerian accessories brand that always creates visual delights. Her unique take on beautiful, handcrafted pieces is winning her admirers across the globe. Femi has a deep appreciation for African culture and textiles and this allows her to create handbags and accessories that have a great story to tell and a wonderful visual appeal.
‘Soap Handmade With Love’ … Cristina Margarida Rocha, the founder of Daisy Social, is a Mozambican social entrepreneur empowering women through handmade soap manufacturing. Cristina has taken her love of handmade soap and used it to build a high impact social business to empower other women.
Abigail K. Photography
Image of the Day: ‘Woman Behind the Lens’ … Abigail Klopper, the founder of Abigail K. Photography in South Africa, is a women’s portrait photographer and confidence crusader, with a passion for helping women build confidence at all stages of their lives. She helps women cultivate their confidence through her Specialist Women’s Portrait Photography, her online Conscious Confidence course, professional speaking, workshops and online platforms. Read More →
Image of the Day: ‘Stylish Natural Hair’ … as featured in Hairpolitan Lifestyle, an online magazine, created by Kenyan entrepreneur, Wambui JL, sharing stories about people who are celebrating and living natural lifestyles. The magazine informs women on growing their natural hair, using natural products for their hair and skin, eating organic foods, and managing their overall wellbeing. Read More →
Image of the Day: ‘Suede Leather Rucksack’ … by Dokmai, a Rwandan company founded in 2014 by Bernadette Umunyana, producing fashion accessories for women and men including handbags, laptop bags, satchels, belts, evening clutches, purses and cosmetic bags. All their products are handmade with passion in Rwanda by skilled leather craftspeople and the company is committed to Fair Trade principles and the training of young people. Read More →
‘Bread, glorious bread!’ … Babette Kourelos, founder of Johannesburg-based artisan bread-baking company Babette’s Bread, has turned her passion for the art of bread-baking into a thriving business. At Babette’s Bread, they bake 100% natural artisan bread using only the best local and natural unbleached stone ground flour, salt, water and yeast. Using traditional artisan bread baking techniques results in bread with great character and flavour, which is also easy to digest.
‘Vibrant Tassel Earrings’ … from Inzuki, a dynamic young Rwandan brand specializing in jewellery, accessories and interior decor products, hand-made using local materials by local artisans. Founder, Teta Isibo, is renowned for her bold African fusion jewellery with a contemporary edge that is African inspired and globally loved. Inzuki is now aiming for international markets and will soon be available in the rest of Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.
‘Torero Backpacks’ … the latest handmade backpacks from Reform Studio made out of recycled plastic. The concept behind this eco-business based in Egypt all started when its founders, Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad, challenged themselves to find an innovative design solution to help solve one of Egypts most serious environmental problems: waste plastic. One experiment after another led the duo came up with the company’s first product ‘Plastex’ - a new eco-friendly material made by weaving discarded plastic bags.
Oryx Desert Salt
‘Celebrating African Salt’ … Samantha Skyring, founder of Oryx Desert Salt, is a South African entrepreneur bringing the unique desert salt of the Kalahari to the world’s kitchens. Her rapidly growing company supplies a natural, crystal-white salt from the Kalahari – unrefined, sun-dried, and free from any additives and preservatives. It is harvested in a sustainable manner from a remote and pristine area of the vast Kalahari Desert in South Africa.
‘Chocolate Tempations’ … Sugar free chilli and dark chocolate finished with a dash of African inspired bling from The Chocolatiers, a South African mother and daughter team creating artisanal, handcrafted chocolates with a conscience. This team are passionate champions of slow food, and their approach is steeped in tradition, taking their time to hand make every chocolate with love and to perfection.
‘World Read Aloud Day’ … was celebrated on February 1st and Fatuma Abdullah the founder of Akiki Dolls in South Africa made sure to encourage every one to read aloud to their children. Fatuma is the author and publisher of the wonderful children's book ‘Akiki’ - a you African girl who enjoys all manner of adventures in an urban African setting. Fatuma’s books along with her range of Akiki Dolls bring a refreshing African narrative to children, teaching them to celebrate and embrace their African heritage.
Image of the Day: ‘Luxury Knitwear’ … Candice Johnson is pictured showcasing her designer mohair knitwear range at The Copenhagen International Fashion Fair in Denmark. Miss Knitwear is a Cape Town based designer and producer of luxury knitwear, using natural yarns and materials which are locally and ethically sourced. Candice did a great job introducing her unique range that celebrates traditional South African skills and luxurious raw materials to the Scandinavian market. Read More →
‘When Lighting Becomes Art’… It’s often said that lighting makes a space or a room come alive, and for design entrepreneur Dounia Tamri-Loeper, founder of Dounia Home, lighting is her inspiration. She is creating beautiful, statement lighting pieces that not only celebrate the centuries-old techniques and designs that are uniquely Moroccan, but is elevating them to a whole new level. Read More.
Image of the Day: ‘African Print Baby Clothes’… from Kuna Kids who create a range of children's clothing that is bright and bold with a distinctive African twist. South African entrepreneur and designer, Shingai Nyagweta, founder of KuNa Kids, is building a loyal following around the world for her children’s clothing brand that embraces the uniquely local shweshwe fabrics, but incorporated into funky and practical designs. Read More →
‘Wrap Dress’… from KONA, a unique fashion and accessories company in Uganda that is inspired by a mix of Indian and African influences. Founders Bhavya Kalsi and Nimisha Kalipurayath playfully mix patterns, styles, colors, stitching techniques and materials to form Kona’s unique product line. With raw materials being sourced locally and products handmade by a team of women in Kampala, Kona’s purpose is to create employment and empowerment for local artisans. Read more.