May’s issue of L’Uomo Vogue has brought a broad smile to our faces when we read the title “Rebranding Africa” beneath a portrait of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
The joy only increased when we realized that Franca Sozzani –Editor in Chief of both L’Uomo Vogue and Vogue Italia– had entirely dedicated the magazine to this continent. As she states for the Huffington Post “Africa needs to rebuild a new image, far removed from the one the media usually conveys reporting on wars and famines that, although actually occurring, are not the only side to show.”
And what an enthralling side of the show; with impeccable photography, we are guided through the portraits of Presidents and first ladies, queens, artists, musicians, actors, fashion designers, writers, models, chefs…a string of faces that shape a continent with an output that ranges from textile and oil industry, to cotton, coffee, and cocoa, to tourism, and cinema –Nigerian Nollywood produces 200 films every year–.
In Ban Ki-Moon’s own words, “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”
The underlying message is to leave aside, for a moment, the terrible image of extreme poverty, sickness, and wars to embrace the emergence of this other Africa as a force to be reckoned with, and thus, by giving voice to the positive side of the continent we can really help improve the negative aspects of it.
“I am inviting you all to read this issue with such an attitude,” says the Editor, “each one of us can support this continent without showing exaggerated pity, but believing in the resources of the young and also trying to consider their development and not only their difficulties. Young people represent Africa, and our duty is to support them.” Ms. Sozzani, who had already done an “all black” issue for Vogue Italia back in 2008, is also the first Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion4Development.
You can read the whole issue at Zinio’s newsstand, and it is one worth the while.