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Ikiré Jones: a menswear label Wale Oyejide merging Neapolitan tailoring & African aesthetics 

Balotelli’s Burden Shirts. Named for the near-legendary Italian soccer player of Ghanaian descent, our Balotelli pop-over shirt is an homage to the many Africans who have emigrated to Europe in search of opportunity. Whether they be players of The Beautiful Game, or tourists of the beautiful streets, not all them are welcomed with open arms. This garment is a sober reminder that there are still individuals who face mistreatment because of their hue and heritage. By combining soft-Italian tailoring with prints reminiscent of West Africa, the Balotelli bolsters the notion that beautiful things are born when we allow our cultures to boldly intertwine.

Ikiré Jones

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Soninke Women of Mauritania Painting Their Hut

(Photo from Mauritania)

The Soninke (also called Sarakole, Seraculeh, or Serahuli) are a Mandé people who descend from the Bafour and are closely related to the Imraguen of Mauritania.

They speak the Soninke language, a Mande language. They were the founders of the ancient empire of Ghana c. 750-1240 CE.

Subgroups of Soninke include the Maraka and Wangara. After contact with Muslim Almoravid traders from the north around 1066, Soninke nobles of neighboring Takrur were among the first ethnic groups from Sub-Saharan West Africa to embrace Islam.

When the Ghana empire dispersed, the resulting diaspora brought Soninkes to Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau.

This diaspora included Wangara, famous traders who spread far from traditionally Mande areas. Hence the term Wangara is used today in Ghana and Burkina Faso to describe the Soninke populations in cities and towns.

Today, Soninke around 1 million.

(Wikipedia)

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Côte d’Ivoire, Fillettes Guéré  (Ivory Coast, Guéré little girls)

'Jeunes filles Guéré du groupe des “enfants-saltimbanques” : leur costume symbolise le “serpent” (elles sont différemment maquillées). De la série “Enfants du monde”.

 Guéré young girl from the group of “child acrobats”:  their costume symbolizes the “snake” ). From the series “Children of the World”.

Photo and caption by Olivier Martel  

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Photo from the book ‘Shadow and Light: The Photographs of Bernhard Springer.’ - Poli, Kenneth editor - New York 1976.