We have to hand it to Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. If anybody is going to put Africa on the map as a continent ripe with potential, she is. This month, the Italian men’s version of Vogue magazine, L’Uomo, is completely dedicated to Africa and its rebirth in areas such as the textile and oil industries, agriculture, tourism, fashion, and even cinema, with a focus on Nollywood and the 200 films that are produced in Nigeria every year.
In contrast to the images of poor, downtrodden African people constantly shown in the media, this issue features portraits of Presidents, First Ladies, Queens, artists, singers and musicians like multi-platinum award winning South African vocalist Lira, actors such as Ghanian soap opera star John Dumelo, writers, models and Nigeria’s most famous fashion designer, Duro Oluwu, who have been left out of the international playing field but are making strides on their own. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who appears on the cover of the magazine, sums up the continent’s plight best when he says:
“Africa does not need charity. Africa needs investment and partnership. Joining forces with civil society and private sector, including non-traditional players, like the fashion industry, has become indispensable. Sustainable development is my top priority.”
As more people look to the continent for inspiration in fashion and other areas those partnerships ought to blossom and the country can come out from under the dark cloud that’s hovered over it for too long.
L’Uomo Vogue‘s Africa issue is on newsstands now and you can also check out some of the features online at www.vogue.it/en/uomo-vogue.