Sarah Nakintu

Sarah Nakintu...

This gorgeous beauty is Sarah Nakintu. She has her own line of luxury handbags.

Here’s an interview she recently did:

Who is Sarah Nakintu?

Sarah Nakintu: I moved to the U.S. in 2005 for higher education and to explore something a little bit outside Kampala, where I’d been born and raised. When you grow up with African parents, it can be a challenge to do what you want. I always loved fashion and I wanted to do fashion from when I was really young, but my parents were all about school. You know, go to school, get an education, and be like a lawyer or something.

I think New York just opened my eyes so much to people doing what they love and people hustling and trying to get things done. With time, I just thought maybe I can really do what I love as opposed to doing something that my parents wanted me to do.

What drew you to fashion?

With fashion, you’re really able to bring out your imagination. I travel so much these days and every time I go to a place, I’m very inspired. I can see what New York looks like and look at cities like Milan. How do people there dress? I’m really interested in seeing how it all trickles down. How can something be a painting today and tomorrow it’s fully interpreted into a dress or a bag?

What was it like growing up in Uganda?

I grew up in boarding school, so I was very sheltered. Uganda is a religious country. You’re kind of expected to be a good person and go to church—do what your parents are telling you to do kind of thing. A lot of judgment as well, so you can’t disgrace your parents.

I remember my aunties and my sisters and my whole family would be like, ‘You know you’re too loud. You really need to tone it down.’ The only person, really, that was appreciative of me and who I was was my dad who encouraged me to be myself.

Yeah, I have definitely always been very interested in fashion. With or without money, it’s always been my thing.

What was the moment like when you told your family that you wanted to pursue fashion full-time?

I didn’t really tell them. With things like this, it’s really better to go and do it and then once you’re successful or you’ve moved the needle a little bit, you can tell them. I think I’ve tried to tell them like, ‘Hey, I’m doing this handbag thing,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, okay. Sure. Whatever.’ I have a lot of ideas, so I’m sure they were thinking, ‘Oh, that’s one of her crazy ideas.’ I didn’t get their blessing—I just went ahead and did it. That moment was scary for me because I had a full-time job and I was earning really well and in New York it’s hard to just give up a full-time job to go and do something where you have no idea if it’s going to succeed.

Sarah Nakintu2...

How is Kintu African-inspired?

Often when you tell people that you’re doing something African-inspired, they’re expecting African pattern or African material or something like that—this is not necessarily what I wanted to do. I represent modern Africa and the different types of people that come out of our continent. There are so many ways to do African inspiration.

A lot of brands do African-inspired in a way that’s a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do a bag that you can take from morning to day to night. We wanted to do a luxury line that’s African-inspired. You know, very subtle but still there. The closure is the shape of a cow horn. If you’re East African or know about East African culture, the cow is very central to our subsistence. Animal print is actually completely African-inspired. We worked with African animals and we did it in a very modern manner, which it’s really, really interesting to a lot of buyers. It’s something that they’ve not seen before and they love it.

Why is sustainability important to you?

Our bags are made really well with long-lasting materials. You can pass them on to your children. I think that’s really important. There’s also sustainability in terms of where we make our bags and who we make them with. When we worked in India and Kenya, we’re paying a living wage. We pay artisans what they deserved as opposed to just saying just because you’re based in Kenya, we’re not going to pay you well.

That’s also important to me because remember, I’m African. Just being there and remembering the women in the market working really hard or the farmers that I grew up seeing or the tailor, that’s sewing. They work really hard. They groom and they grow and they hone their craft. We need to start paying them really well and recognizing their talent and taking it global. I feel really passionate about being able to bring those skills and then also create the next generation of artisans.

Kiara Kabukuru

Kiara..

A native of Kampala, Uganda, Kiara Kabukuru fled the country with her family as a political refugee at the age of six. At age sixteen, Kabukuru was discovered at a local shopping mall in her adopted hometown, Los Angeles, California, by fashion photographer Bill Bodwell; she quickly captured the attention of the industry’s most esteemed photographers and designers, and garnered praise for her consummate professionalism, youthful joie de vivre, and soulful expression.

Kabukuru received her big break courtesy of a Coca-Cola campaign, which led to star turns in advertising promotions for DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and Clinique, the latter photographed by Mario Testino. The venerable photographer also captured her for a series of Gucci advertisements during the height of Tom Ford’s reign as the house’s creative director. Additional Kabukuru-led campaigns include Chanel, Calvin Klein, and Dolce & Gabbana, among others.

In 1997, Kabukuru appeared on a groundbreaking cover of Vogue – the ninth model of color to grace an issue in the magazine’s 127-year history. Shortly thereafter, she also appeared on the covers of Vogue Spain, and Germany, in addition to Elle UK, and i-D magazine photographed by Craig McDean. Kabukuru also sat for legendary lensmen Peter Lindbergh, Steven Klein, Ruven Afanador, and Paolo Roversi for various editorial features.

Kiara...

However, in 2000, her red-hot career was suddenly halted after a near-fatal cycling accident in New York City. Kabukuru was set to sign a deal with CoverGirl cosmetics when she was hit by an 18-wheeler and dragged along the city pavement. Kabukuru spent two months in a wheelchair with broken bones and sustained injuries, and required seven reconstructive surgeries over the course of nearly one decade.

In 2008, Kabukuru re-emerged stronger, and more beautiful than ever, and at the advice of her good friend and fellow model Gisele Bündchen, began modeling again. Steven Meisel photographed her for the seminal Black Issue of Vogue Italia, and Pierpaolo Ferrari, and Bruce Weber recently photographed her for CR Fashion Book. Select editorial features include W, and Porter magazine, the print offshoot of luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter, among others.

Kabukuru had a homecoming of sorts when she appeared in a series of campaigns for CoverGirl, and walked in Tom Ford’s prêt-à-porter collection during the fall of 2013 season. Additional catwalk appearances include Christian Dior, Missoni, Givenchy, and Armani.

Off-duty, Kabukuru is actively involved with Momentum Bike Clubs, an organization dedicated to providing mentoring services to at-risk youth. The group also encourages health and wellness focused activities, and facilitates positive relationship building. As a testament to her commitment to the organization and its young participants, Kabukuru rode a bicycle for the first time since her accident in 2011, and has made several trips to Upstate New York to ride with the club’s youth members, and share her story of resilience and hope.

Additionally, the model citizen recently received a standing ovation from her fashion industry peers when she spoke at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) pre-fashion week health and wellness summit for new models, alongside Donna Karan, and SELF magazine Editor-in-Chief, Joyce Chang.

In her spare time, Kabukuru is learning sign language. She currently resides in New York City.

African Proverbs about Children and Parenting

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“Honor a child and it will honor you.” AFRICA

“A child who asks questions is not stupid.” GHANA

“It takes a whole village to raise a child.” NIGERIA

“Children talk with God.” BOTSWANA

“Let not your growing child hate you.” ETHIOPIA

“Work the clay while it is still wet.” TANZANIA

“Let your child shout but do not shout at it.” NORTH AFRICA

“Do not put fear into a child.” KENYA

“A stray chick is a target for birds of prey.” TANZANIA

“Children with a grandmother lack nothing.” KENYA

“The father is a shield for the family.” ETHIOPIA

“The one who beats children should not be entrusted with children.” UGANDA

“Plants vary according to the quality of the soil.” UGANDA

“A good home makes a good farm.” GHANA

“Family squabbles bring about family disintegration.” GHANA

African Proverbs about Leadership

Warriors

A shepherd does not strike his sheep. ~Nigerian Proverb

The foolish cannot be leaders. ~Kenyan Proverb

Rulers are like hills; when darkness falls, they all speak alike. ~Ugandan Proverb

The words of the elders become sweet some day. ~Malawian Proverb

The elders of the village are the boundaries. ~Ghanaian Proverb

A leader does not wish for war. ~Kenyan Proverb

A community without elders does not prosper. ~Mozambican Proverb

An elder can be advised but never insulted. ~Kenyan Proverb

If the owner of the land leads you, you cannot get lost. ~Ugandan Proverb

Two leaders do not fight in one house. ~Ugandan Proverb

Madness does not govern a country; discussion does. ~Ethiopian Proverb

Do not be a leader and use it to your own advantage. ~Ugandan Proverb

Patience puts a crown on the head. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader in the community without a pot belly is a stingy man. ~Nigerian Proverb

The leader knows the reality. ~Kenyan Proverb

One does not like to be under a strict leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

From the word of an elder is derived a bone. ~Rwandan and Rundian Proverb

That which gains the attention of a leader will be solved. ~Ugandan Proverb

Prefer the leader who comes to you. ~Ugandan Proverb

Without a leader, black ants are confused. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader who understands proverbs reconciles difficulties. ~Nigerian Proverb

He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~Ugandan Proverb

The fate that befalls the lowly will befall the leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

If a leader loves you, he makes sure you build your house on rock. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader’s handbag is never completely empty. ~Ugandan Proverb

The one nearest to the enemy is the real leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~Ghanaian Proverb

Being a leader is like a borrowed garment. ~Ugandan Proverb

If you are a leader, be like the moon, not like the sun. ~Congolese Proverb