Why AfroRetro?

Who we areAnna-Maria2 Comments
Poplar, East London.

Poplar, East London.

Why do we do anything? Why did I stress about my hair not growing? Then why did I cut it all off and then not give a damn? Why do I consider myself a feminist but still love it when my boyfriend takes me out and buys me dinner? My life, like the world is full of whys; a seeming medley of madness.  So starting a fashion and craft business with my big sister seems as logical or illogical as most things we are faced with.

So the actual why came when we lived as property guardians in a condemned council estate in Stepney Green. The majority of the Guardians were a little suspect…we didn’t know what we were guarding and from whom. But we had a lovely little commune of actors, a fashion designer, a textile designer and a helicopter pilot (I know).  One day I was walking home and two black boys, about 12 were teasing each other. When I say teasing I mean ripping the shit out of each other! When one goes to the other “Oh you African!” the other is so shocked as if the worst mum joke had been uttered and went for him. They were no longer playing!

This blew my mind on so many levels. How can being called an African be the worst cuss you can be dealt?  His reaction was so raw…he was absolutely pissed. Then I thought whoooa I’m an African. I ain’t ashamed. I love it. I love that Uganda is nestled in such a varied and rich continent. I love the music, the food, the colours and languages. I spend a lot of my time saving so I can go and visit.  I took this to big-little sis Lilly (makes sense if you see us). We discussed, argued, pontificated. Then agreed, that if you hadn’t been there or had a direct influence from someone who had a positive experience, then your view would be pretty damning too; Aids, poverty, war, corruption.

Being from Uganda I understand misrepresentation…Idi Amin…Kill the Gay Bills… not saying these aren’t part of Uganda’s history and current politics but there is a whole country of other wonders and positives that never make it to the surface. So two sisters doing it for themselves and their ancestral land through craft and fashion are gonna redress the balance… sounds like madness?  Watch this space for more of the like…