Africa Tumblrs: microblogs for lazy readers

Top photo tumblrs, not in any particular order, that Kola thinks you should be following if you have any interest in Africa.

Max Pixel (Public Domain).

Tumblrs are basically microblogs for lazy readers who want some eye candy. They are usually about photos; and Tumblr is one of the new genres of social media that rewards one for being able to curate the work of others without the fear of a lawsuit, thus far. Most tumblrs are judged by the number of other tumblrs following them; it brings back memories of In picking tumblrs for your viewing consideration while Africa Is a Country takes a break in August, I tried out some loose guidelines in the hopes of being fair to all: I only considered tumblrs that dealt specifically with Africa.

Hybrids mixing African topics with other topics were dropped out of contention. I also tried to drop off any tumblr that had Africa or Afrika in its name. But that was impossible as some of the best of the best all fail this test. So scratch that. I considered different genres and topics in the spirit of diversity but in the end, I just gave up on that too and went with what I liked. Without further ado, here are my top photo tumblrs, not in any particular order, that I think you should be following if you have any interest in Africa. With these tumblrs, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

The 37thState tumblr is a venture of a collective of filmmakers in Lagos. Based on their posts, one can easily tell that these are film-makers with good taste. They feature style, culture — rural or urban — and never fail to make one think “beauty” when one goes through their blog. I want whatever they are on at the 37th State.

Dynamic Africa
If you are African or black and want to be trended, there is no better stamp of approval than the Queen of African Tumblr-ing. This trendsetter is in her early 20s and based in Cape Town. Dynamic Africa is here to stay. If you are not following her, you are probably a very busy person.

Fuck Yeah African Mythology
I would love to tell you that the name of this tumblr gave me a pause before putting my stamp of approval on it, but fuck no. This is one of the few tumblrs that I can actually recommend for a nice family time (the family that reads together, stays together). This tumblr narrates African myths, legends and stories with illustrations. It is much needed considering how little many Africans know about their diverse histories and oral traditions. Stick to this and, for what it’s worth, you will get a stamp of approval from AIAC.

Nigerian Cover Project
Before the eye-rolling begins, I suggest giving this “Nigerian” titled tumblr a chance. Though it says Nigerian, this tumblr is very good at covering the continent. This tumblr is truly a continental archive of the arts of album covers from mostly eras that current tumblr fans cannot begin to imagine. Some recent album covers are also featured. For those of us that are older, this tumblr takes us down some memory lanes, both good and bad.

African Book Covers
I know there are some out there that think the last full book written by an African is “Things Fall Apart” and that Africans only write short fiction during the Caine Writing Awards. When you meet such, just direct them to this beautiful tumblr where the author has extensively curated the front covers of books written by Africans, past and present. Whether you are seeking nostalgia (African Writers Series or Pacesetters) or just want to be informed about African authors, this is a tumblr for you.

African Women
With a straight face, I am including this tumblr. Reason being that African women have been patronized for decades and their true contributions to the continent have been ignored consistently. In a world where power is might, this tumblr has decided to focus on African women who have been and are trendsetters and leaders on the continental and global stage. True, some of the selections can be called into question, no name-calling here, but one gets the message that African female visionaries have been and are multiple, diverse, and eclectic in their deeds and impacts on the continent.

Girl Goes to Africa
Caveat: you cannot buy the material on this tumblr in the market. After #Kony2012, Pulitzer-winning narcissists and violin-playing missionaries all trying to save Africa this year, one cannot help but enjoy this blog with its wit, enlightening words and vigorous correspondences. I’m just glad our readers don’t feature on this tumblr, do you?

Wine Tumbler
Shameless Self-Promotion (it’s summer, after all): Once in a while, tumblrs can be very useful in promoting niche industries in Africa. This is one such for Africa. Most do not know that there are at least 11 other countries in Africa that produce wine (bottled and corked or capped wine with labels) apart from South Africa. Most of them are actually very good at it and do export to Europe and the US. This blog [my blog] tries to visualize this niche industry on the continent to tumblr fans through photos, videos, and commentaries.

This tumblr is a muse board of an e-store, of the same name of heritage1960, purveying African-inspired and beautiful goods. While not all of you might not be their target market, I do love the curation of this Tumblr in showing the diversity in “African” fashion, both contemporary and traditional. A combination of style, beauty and African goods just make it right.

And some other (new) ones worth mentioning: The following were not included in the list above due to their pointed regional and country focus. Others stand by them to be equally good tumblr ambassadors of the continent: Picture Masr, People of the South and Typical Ugandan.

Further Reading

To create or to perish

The last film of underappreciated Senegalese director, Khady Sylla dealt with mental health. It is worth revisiting it now for its groundbreaking portrayal of depression suffered by two women friends.