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Pichulik of South Africa Collaborates With By Malene Birger in Copenhagen

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Scandinavian minimalism got a dose of South African sass when one of the vanguards of Copenhagen style, By Malene Birger, collaborated with Cape Town-based ethical jewelry and accessories atelier Pichulik to create a pair of earrings and a limited edition belt in two colorways that was launched online on International Women’s Day. 

By Malene Birger, now under the helm of design director Maja Dixdotter, is known for its spare and feminine aesthetic interpreted through luxurious fabrics. Pichulik, founded by Katherine-Mary Pichulik, is recognized for its distinctive use of rope in a rainbow of colors combined with metal and stone. Both brands share a handcrafted approach to fashion and attention to detail. The brand’s Kathlin belt in black and chanterelle is sinuous and dramatic, consisting of rows of rope with a wraparound knot and gold-toned hardware. The sculptural earrings have an earthy and bohemian feel, two-tone rope detailing and gold-toned hardware, offered in a black, gray and taupe combination, as well as a chanterelle and rust orange version.

The Pichulik earrings designed in collaboration with By Malene Birger.

“I have always appreciated the understated elegance and wanderlust of By Malene Birger,” said Pichulik.

“It feels like we’re quite aligned, actually,” Dixdotter added. “Pichulik’s pieces fit seamlessly into our woman’s wardrobe, and our two aesthetics speak to the same woman.”

Pichulik described that woman as “a considered woman.” By that she means a woman who is intelligent, curious and intentional about how she lives her life, which encompasses the objects, activities and people that form part of it. “She is conscious of her impact, and how her decisions affect others.”

Dixdotter admitted that some parts of her business have suffered in the pandemic; By Malene Birger scaled down collections and scaled up its qualities and sustainability focus, while finding “new ways of working when it comes to production.”

The By Malene Birger x Pichulik line is available online and in By Malene Birger stores for a limited time period. The belts retail for 1,499 Danish krone, or $232, while the earrings are priced at 599 Danish krone, or $95. The brand will donate 100 Danish krone, or $16, of each piece sold to Women for Women International, a charity that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

“We’re super happy that it’s been well-received, with the earrings selling out online on the first day,” said Dixdottir.

Nseobong David (Staff Reporter)
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COVOD-19

I got my first COVID shot in Nigeria, second in the UK – difference was infuriating

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  • In Nigeria, less than 3% of the population has gotten the Covid vaccine. In the UK, 68% of people are fully vaccinated.

  • Life is returning to normal in both places – but in Nigeria, most people must make do without the vaccine.

  • There’s a growing push to speed up vaccine access in poor countries.

I got my first COVID-19 vaccine shot in Nigeria in September.

I arrived at the health center at 5 in the morning and waited in line for hours. When it was finally my turn, the center was so packed with people that I had to stand up while getting my shot. Still, I considered myself lucky, since the day’s supply often runs out.

A couple of weeks later, I was in the UK.

On Oct. 1, I strolled into an empty walk-in vaccination site and got my second dose. There was no registration system to navigate, no wait, and no risk that the center would run out of vaccine shots.

The two experiences were totally different and offered a stark illustration of how uneven the path out of this now two-year-long epidemic has been for those in Western countries versus places like West Africa.

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The author, Paul Adepoju (left), got his first Covid vaccine shot in Nigeria. The center was so crowded that there was no room to sit down. 

A hand holds up a vaccination card with empty chairs in the background. The author got his second shot at Turreff Hall, a UK vaccination site in the town of Donnington. Paul Adepoju

In Nigeria, a country of 200 million people, just over 7 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to the World Health Organization. The most progress has been made in Lagos, a city that’s home to over 21 million people, where nearly 474,000 residents have been fully vaccinated.

In the UK, around three quarters of the population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 68% are fully vaccinated. A booster shot is already available to those who qualify.

Thanks to the large number of fully vaccinated individuals across America, the UK, and other countries that have more than enough doses to vaccinate all their residents, stadiums, nightclubs, schools, comedy clubs, churches and others are returning to normal. Even as mask and vaccine mandates are still polarizing, the vaccine is available at supermarkets and health centers to whoever wants it.

The picture is very different in Nigeria, where vaccine doses have been trickling in from the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility. Things are largely back to normal – mostly because people don’t have much of a choice. In January, the World Bank predicted that the pandemic will contribute to 10.9 million more Nigerians entering poverty in the next year.

Nigeria has said that a vaccination will soon be mandatory for civil servants. Schools have resumed full in-person classes. Tightly packed churches are also holding multiple services weekly and wedding parties are fully back at venues nationwide without vaccine requirements.

Meanwhile, people are still dying of COVID in Nigeria. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 207,979 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 2,756 deaths. (That’s also the case in the UK, where officials just announced 45,066 new COVID cases and 157 additional deaths.)

But due to inadequate, and the high cost, of testing, Nigeria’s numbers likely mask the true scale of the pandemic.

On October 14, the WHO announced that six in seven COVID-19 infections go undetected in Africa.

“With limited testing, we’re still flying blind in far too many communities in Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, said in a statement. “Most tests are carried out on people with symptoms, but much of the transmission is driven by asymptomatic people, so what we see could just be the tip of the iceberg.”

A long, stressful wait

In Ibadan, Nigeria’s third-largest city, the Alegongo Primary Healthcare Center opens at 9am. People begin lining up at around 5 in the morning, hopeful that they will get a COVID vaccine. The whole process might take five hours.

Until early September, the center said they could only administer 50 shots a day, and only to people over the age of 18. On most days, if you arrived after 6:30 in the morning, you would be out of luck and would have to try again another day. Now, the center has about 100 doses per day to give out.

A row of people, some masked and some not, sit on a bench as others stand nearby.

The Alegongo Primary Healthcare Center in In Ibadan, Nigeria, where the author got his first vaccine shot. Paul Adepoju

Taiwo Ilori, a middle-aged businessman who I met on line, said it had taken him three tries to get his elderly parents vaccinated, and only then did he try himself.

It’s not enough to simply show up. If you want a vaccine, you must first sign up on the vaccination registration portal. There’s no choice as to which vaccine you will get.

Health workers on night shifts at the center are often saddled with the task of arranging people on the queue and trying to enforce social distancing. Meanwhile, the facility also provides emergency services, routine care for illnesses like malaria and typhoid, care of pregnant women, and immunization shots.

In my case, and from what I’ve heard from others, there was no information given about possible side effects, how the vaccine works, or post-vaccine shot monitoring.

“It is very calm here”

Turreff Hall in Donnington, a UK city 120 miles northwest of London, has been serving as a COVID-19 vaccination center for the area. Here, over 70% of people aged 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. In some age groups, more than 97% have been fully vaccinated.

It has been very easy to get vaccinated at the historic hall, which was built during the Second World War by the American army. You can show up anytime between 9am and 4pm.

A protest against Covid-19 vaccine patents on October 12, 2021 in London. Rob Pinney/Getty Images

When I visited at around 12:40pm on Oct. 1 – it happened to be Nigeria’s Independence Day – I found an open space with empty chairs that were spaced a socially-distanced length apart.

The employees running the site told me that since most everyone in the area had been vaccinated, only a few people, especially visitors and foreigners, now visit for the shots. When locals show up, it’s mostly those that qualify for booster doses.

“It is very calm here these days even though we have sufficient vaccine doses,” one of the officials said.

Right away, I was given my vaccination shot and told about possible side-effects. Afterwards, I was told to wait for 15 minutes in one of the chairs in case I experienced any post-vaccination complications.

I got the Pfizer vaccine, although the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines were also available at different sites nearby.

‘Ignoring a whole continent’

From early September, when universities prepared to begin their fall semester, there’s been a surge in Nigerian students travelling to the UK, as well as confusion around the vaccination rules.

Since February, anyone arriving from Nigeria and other African countries – even if they were fully vaccinated – was required to show a negative COVID test before boarding a UK-bound airplane, and then isolate for 10 days upon arrival and submit to another two COVID tests.

This week the UK government announced that fully-vaccinated travelers from Nigeria would no longer be required to self-isolate or take multiple COVID tests.

Two men walk past a billboard that says "No Card / No Entry"

Pedestrians walk past a billboard in Benin City in southern Nigeria on Sept. 16, 2021. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

The UK estimates that around 190,000 people born in Nigeria live in the UK, including around 10,000 university students.

“I was fully vaccinated before I came to the UK but it was very embarrassing to find out that the vaccination I received meant nothing to officials here,” a Nigerian student in Birmingham, who asked not to be referred to by name, told me. During her quarantine, she said, she received a check-in visit from the UK’s National Health Service. “At some point they indirectly threatened me when they said a Nigerian woman and her two kids were deported because they were not at home when the officials visited their address.”

At the recently held General Assembly of the United Nations, several African leaders urged countries like the UK to urgently stop vaccine hoarding and share with African countries.

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo noted that around 900 million people in Africa need to be vaccinated in order to get to a level of vaccine coverage that the UK and other Western countries have attained.

This week, the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNN that Western countries should delay administering booster shots until people around the world have access to the vaccine.

“To start boosters is really the worst we can do as a global community,” he said. “It is unjust and also unfair because we will not stop the pandemic by ignoring a whole continent, and the continent that doesn’t have any manufacturing capacity of other means.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nseobong David (Staff Reporter)
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Lifestyle

From Black stories to the migrant experience, Charlotte Film Festival highlights diversity

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The five-day festival returns with more than 100 films, both short and feature length, from North Carolina and around the world.

The Charlotte Film Festival is back and in-person. The annual event runs through Sunday, Oct. 17, at Ayrsley Grand Cinema, featuring more than 100 films from independent filmmakers, some of them local.

Now in its 13th year, the festival was intentional about showcasing a diverse roster of LatinX, LGBT and Black filmmakers, programming director Taylor Montalto said.

The festival received more than 600 submissions, and 20 to 25 of the films selected are from Black filmmakers or Black focused.

Despite the festival’s safety precautions — masks will be required for all screenings — Montalto said organizers expect attendance to be impacted by the pandemic.

However, she said, “the show must go on,” citing the importance of providing a platform for local filmmakers.

“It is difficult to kind of bring it back, and to get people interested to support independent films, but we’re kind of hoping that this will be a way for people to get excited about something positive after the year that we’ve all had,” Montalto said.

Nseobong David (Staff Reporter)
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Lifestyle

Is It A Waste of Time to Explain Oneself?: Helen Paul’s Black Eye Attributed to Domestic Violence

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In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (either in the ascending or descending order), the third tier of the pyramid model is Belongingness and Love Needs/Desires.

Recently, a popular entertainer, Helen Paul, made an Instagram post narrating her ordeal which led to her usage of sunglasses even while taking pictures. She mentioned that some people who were oblivious of the true situation assumed she was being proud.

@itshelenpaul: “Sometime ago, I was involved in a car accident in Abuja. I suffered a concussion to my head and had to wear sunglasses for a while. When taking pictures with others, I would leave my sunglasses on and many complained that I didn’t want my face to show in pictures with them. Some even assumed I was being proud, being a star. They were totally oblivious of the true situation. Not all things are truly what they appear to be. Many are hiding a lot and showing the best side on social media. Focus on the majors and forget the minors. Thank God every day for all blessings, great and small…Four months ago…”

Her fans and supporters showered her with loads of love and sympathy in the comment section as expected. However, some comments suggested a different narrative to her story. (See screenshots below).

Being misunderstood is part of human relations but forcing one’s unsolicited and unwitnessed narrative down the throat of another’s story is uncivil.  Generally, different memes have flooded the internet displaying the level of criticism that exists in our society. One of which is a clip from an old Nigerian movie featuring a veteran actor popularly called Mr. Ibu and another actor fondly called Pawpaw (after the names of the characters they played in some movie, respectively). The former is the father and the latter, the son.

It is this desire to feel loved that sends us into a self-explanatory mode for fear of being called awful adjectives such as bad, proud, arrogant, bossy, snub, and the likes.

In this clip, Mr. Ibu is riding his bicycle with his son and their load on it. They are stopped by a passerby accusing them of being wicked to the bicycle by exerting too much weight on it. Considering this accusation, Mr. Ibu decides to relieve the bicycle of his weight, leaving that of his son and the load. He is stopped again by the criticism of a passerby who is irritated by the current scene. He calls pawpaw wicked and imagines how he (Pawpaw) could ride on a bicycle while his father is on foot. Again, Mr. Ibu conforms to the notion of this passerby and exchanges position with his son. The journey continues. Ibu rides while Pawpaw follows. This is yet another ‘abomination’. Two passersby baffle at the scene and rebuke Mr. Ibu for being a heartless father who would ride a bicycle, leaving his little son on foot. He (Mr. Ibu) decides now, to step down and pull the bicycle alongside his son (both of them now on foot). As has always been the case, he is stopped and questioned for putting up such a ridiculous act. In frustration, he abandons the bicycle. This mirrors, clearly, the level of unconstructive criticism people deal with and if not careful, lose themselves in trying to conform.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (either in the ascending or descending order), the third tier of the pyramid model is Belongingness and Love Needs/Desires.

As humans, one of our fundamental desires is the desire to feel loved irrespective of the self-defensive comments all over social media screaming otherwise. It is this desire to feel loved that sends us into a self-explanatory mode for fear of being called awful adjectives such as bad, proud, arrogant, bossy, snub, and the likes. Now, you may ask, is it a waste of time to explain oneself? The answer would be “not when necessary and with the right people”.

As we have seen and might have witnessed personally, there are people whose eyes are clouded with shades of negativity, hence all they see is coloured the same. A story of a stranded girl who was helped by a stranger would mean to them that she offered her body in return, even though the gender of the helper was not mentioned. A story of a boy whose status took a great shift, would in their eyes mean that he is involved in some sort of illegal work. These people would not hesitate to attribute the joyful announcement of the arrival of a couple’s long-awaited baby to some fetish help” or water such news down with the sarcastic question, “is it not IVF?” If along the way, the baby dies and there is a medical explanation of what went wrong, then, their verbal excitement would go “I knew it!” The opposite of every story seems to be their interest, hence it is absolutely, a waste of time trying to get the approval of such people.

Does this mean that people telling their stories do not conceal some parts? Perhaps, they do, but it is not in our place to paint their walls black just because they did not grant us access to the whole room. As long as the story they are telling does not require accountability (for instance, stories involving the welfare of a nation, a team, an organization, and so on), it is humane to refrain from asserting dark assumptions even though we do not believe them. If we further claim that it is important to reach out to people who might not have the courage to speak up, then, as a friend in need, we could do reach out privately and still respect their boundaries.

♦ Favour Chiagozie Ebubechukwu is an Editorial  Staff Writer and columnist with the WAP

Nseobong David (Staff Reporter)
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