Just off the east coast of the island of Madagascar, is where you can find some of Africa’s most pristine beaches and exotic wildlife. Mauritius, an island nation itself, draws in visitors from all over wanting to walk its soft-sand beaches
What if we told you that you could make this exotic island your home office for the next year?
Well, you can! The nation recently announced a new Premium Travel Visa program for non-citizens, looking to change the scenery as we continue to move through this new normal of remote work. The visa is valid for at least 12 months, with an option to extend your stay.
The new Premium Travel Visa for Mauritius is available to all non-citizens and valid for up to one year, though it can be renewed. Travellers interested in an extended stay must arrive to this island nation as a tourist, retiree, or as a professional traveling with their family and intending to work remotely.
Applicants must also show proof of their long-stay plans and have travel and health insurance coverage for the initial part of their stay. As with most programs in the new wave of long-stay visas, visitors in Mauritius are not allowed to enter the country’s workforce and must have a source of income outside of Mauritius. Other supporting evidence that must be supplied include details about the applicant’s purpose of visit and their accommodations, as well as other basic immigration requirements.
Once you arrive, you are required to quarantine for 14-days, as well as present a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Mauritius has been able to keep their cases pretty low throughout the pandemic.
The applications for the visa will be available soon. To learn more and to apply once available, visit; edbmauritius.org.
As the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide surpasses 1 million, Rio de Janeiro has delayed its annual Carnival parade for the first time in a century.
According to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, Brazil has the second-worst death toll worldwide, with more than 140,000 deaths and more than 4.7 million confirmed cases.
Carnival organizers concluded the global event could not go on because of Brazil’s vulnerability to the coronavirus. The traditional parades attract more than 7 million people over the course of five days.
Rio’s League of Samba Schools, LIESA, said the continued spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold the traditional parades that are a cultural mainstay, and, for many, a huge portion of locals’ livelihood.
“Carnival is a party upon which many humble workers depend. The samba schools are community institutions, and the parades are just one detail of all that,” Luiz Antonio Simas, a historian who specializes in Rio’s Carnival, told the Associated Press. “An entire cultural and productive chain was disrupted by COVID.”
Organizers have not announced a new date for the delayed event but Rio’s tourism agency saidthat it’s uncertain to know when large public events can resume without a coronavirus vaccine.
The festival was scheduled from Feb.12th through Feb. 17th, 2021, which is known to attract 2 million people per day to parties on the Brazilian city streets known as blocos.
The last year Rio’s Carnival was suspended was 1912, following the foreign relations minister’s death at the time.
Many African nations are starting to reopen airports, remove curfews, and slowly resume international tourism.
Most countries in Africa have been very strict on containing the spread of the virus, with most of them going into complete lockdowns earlier this year. That means nobody in and nobody out. Now that case numbers are relatively low across the continent, some nations have already reopened, with others making plans on how to reopen responsibly
Here are the countries on the continent that are currently open to tourism.
Although land and sea borders are currently closed, commercial flights have resumed. International travelers will have to present negative COVID-19 test results 5 days before arriving.
Travelers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
This African country reopened its borders on August 15th and visitors will be required to present negative COVID-19 cases within 3 days of arriving.
Travelers may have to quarantine and get tested again after arriving.
Egypt opened its borders on July 1st to travelers. Upon arrival, visitors are expected to have a valid visa, wear face masks, complete a health declaration card, provide proof of health insurance, and complete a temperature check.
When visiting Ethiopia, travelers are expected to provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results taken within 5 days of arrival. A 14-day quarantine will also be required as well as being tested again when arriving.
If visitors don’t have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, a mandatory quarantine will go into effect at an Egyptian government designated hotel for 7 days at the expense of the traveler. A test will be administered at the end of the 7-day quarantine.
Starting September 1st, Ghana will open its borders to international passenger flights. Travelers will have to show negative COVID-19 test results taken within 3 days of arriving as well as being tested at the airport upon arrival.
Land and sea travel will still be prohibited.
Kenya reopened for International tourism on August 1st. Visitors will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.
July 1st marked the reopening of Liberia’s borders. Visitors will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of arrival as well as a health and temperature check upon arrival.
All nations can visit Rwanda, which reopened on June 17th. You must email your negative COVID-19 test to email@example.com within 3 days of arrival as well as print a copy of the email to show to customs when arriving.
Visitors will be tested again after arriving.
Sao Tome and Principe
Visitors arriving in Sao Tome and Principe will have to be tested and quarantined for 14 days in addition to showing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of arrival.
Senegal reopened its international borders on July 15th but land and sea borders are still closed. When arriving in Senegal, visitors will have to complete a health declaration form as well as provide a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 7 days from departure.
Seychelles opened its borders on June 1st and are accepting visitors from ‘low’ and ‘medium’ risk countries.
Travelers will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of arrival.
Sierra Leone reopened its borders on July 22nd but land borders are still closed. In order to enter, visitors must complete a travel authorization card, have a valid visa, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of arrival, and pre-pay for testing upon arrival.
There will be no quarantine in place for travelers to Tanzania but visitors will have to go through temperature checks, wearing masks, and social distancing.
Visitors must complete an online immigration form prior to arriving and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of arrival.
Tunisia reopened it’s international borders on June 27th and is allowing visitors from certain countries to enter with no testing or quarantine while others will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 3 days of departure.
All nations are able to visit Zambia as long as proof of a negative COVID-19 test is provided.
Nana Kwasi Wiafe is the founder and creative director of Very Ghanaian; a clothing line. He is also a stylist and 2020 has been an amazing year for him. He worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s visual album ‘Black is King’. He also worked with Kim Jones, a fashion designer and Amoako Boafo, an artist, as a stylist on the Dior Men Spring Summer Collection 2020.
Describe your journey to becoming a designer/creating a brand?
Growing up have always been interested in telling my own story and with my love for fashion it was no coincidence I decided to create a brand which is aimed at doing just that .
My journey started as a model initially, even tho I still actively model I have been able to use that platform as a pivot to transition into styling and now a designer and creative director for my brand Very Ghanaian .
You worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s visual album “Black is king” for the Ghana crew. How was the process, planning the looks?
The process normally starts with inspiration, team meetings ,listening to the music and with the mood board establishing the story telling direction, I move on with pulling of looks and putting them together for each scene.
Beyoncé and her entire team go to great lengths to execute their vision so a lot of research goes into every look to ensure it’s complimentary to the overall vision .
I also love showing emerging brands/talents so I always make an effort to feature these brands.
A big thank you to my brother Joshua Kissi who was the director for the Ghana visuals, he has always believed in my talent and put me on whenever an opportunity comes up and the rest of the team David Boanuh and Sharifah Issaka
Where do you see African Fashion’s future and it’s influence on the whole fashion industry?
I believe the future is African fashion, brands here are telling incredible African stories rich in history,culture,heritage and inspiring at the same time.
Recent research has shown that people buy into brands that they connect to more especially with the stories they’re telling and brands like Tongoro, Maxhosa, Very Ghanaian , Loza Maleombho ,kente gentleman, Orange culture, Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu etc are leading the way with that and would be leaders of the industry in future.
What roles do you think social media plays in African fashion today?
For the most part social media has been a blessing for African Fashion , it has helped the world discover emerging brands from the continent , giving them the platform to show their work and exposed a lot of talent which wasn’t happening in the past.
For me the lows of being a designer is building the business side of it alone , without a team you can trust from the on set it’s a bit difficult, also production in larger quantities is a problem because we don’t have enough factories here producing sustainably.
Some of the highs that comes with it is being able to express myself through design and using that to tell my story and impact lives. For me that is all that matters.
From your page , I can tell you are passionate about promoting African style. When did you first realize that was important for you.
My love for Africa was discovered at an early stage born out of curiosity.
Our sense of style , art , history,culture and our people. We are so beautiful and cool so that piqued my interest to find out more .
Our style as Africans has inspired the world for centuries and still does so it only makes sense to push it more for people who also don’t know about it to know this style.
What would you say to anyone looking to get into fashion ?
Let purpose led you and prepare to risk it all .
In what ways would you say COVID-19 pandemic will affect the nature of the fashion industry?
Covid-19 pandemic has already affected the nature of the fashion industry for good and I believe this will continue.
For me it has change it in a good way, like crowded shows are not really needed anymore, you can equally do a show online and the world will still see it .
Having physical stores are becoming less important compared to having an online store and our way of doing business has change for good!
Any tips for young fashion entrepreneurs?
I have a few
Don’t wait too long , start now.
Protect your ideas , register your business and trademark soon as you start .
You can’t do it alone ,have a team because team work makes dream work .
Festivals in Ethiopia are typically colorful and exciting. The country has cultural, religious, and other festivals that can attract foreign tourists and local participants to come and gather to watch the procession and take part. The most known name of which held every year in Amhara and Tigray States is Shadey, Ashendye, Solel, Mariya, which is the name for a tall grass that young women usually tie around their gowns as a type of decoration. The celebration days also herald the freedom of young women. It is a popular festival which reverberates the voice of young women loudly.
Young girls or participants usually attend the occasion by dressing jeweler, embroidery, and hairstyles. It is a famous girls’ or young women’s festival among some of the most popular festivals celebrated in Ethiopia. It has been celebrating annually for centuries in the northern part of Ethiopia specifically in Tigray and Amhara States
Meet Meryanne Loum-Martin, A Parisian lawyer turned entrepreneur and founder of Jnane Tamsna, The only Black woman-owned boutique hotel located in Marrakech, Morocco.
We had a chat with her to talk about her inspiring journey from France to Marrakech, lessons she learned from the challenges and the triumphs along the way, the importance of Black female hotel ownership and how she created one of Morocco’s most beloved retreats, and the incredible plans she has for creating a space where African artists and creatives of the diaspora are celebrated!
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Meryanne Loum-Martin. My father is Senegalese, my mother was French West Indian. Paris was home until I discovered Marrakech. I always travelled a lot either as a child with my parents and as a teenager and young adult alone. I am fascinated by the world and the diversity of its cultures.
What led to your path of being a Hotelier?
By pure coincidence… Since I was a child, I was fascinated by architecture and design. As soon as I could I would always travel to explore famous architects work. I went to architecture school at 17 yrs old, after my Baccalauréat, ( French A Levels) . I was totally at ease with creative subjects but was too bad in Maths to become an architect. Unfortunately it is part of the architecture studies in France. So I went to law school and became a lawyer, like everyone in my family. On my mother’s side I am 4 th generation, on my father”s 2nd generation.
But I always kept as a hobby a foot into design, advising friends on their house, etc..
In the mid-eighties my parents wanted to build a holiday house abroad but close to Europe. As the self-taught designer of the family, I asked to be in charge. This is how I came to Marrakech for the first time in December 1985 to scout for land.
Immediately I fell in love with the country, dark blue skies, the regal Atlas Mountains covered with snow, the palm groves and the rose gardens . I built and designed a house for them, convinced them to do a bigger place than what our family needed so I would turn it into a business. It opened in 1989 as the 1st boutique hospitality concept in Marrakech. It had unbelievable press coverage worldwide and the most discerning and famous clients.
As Marrakech, only had big hotels before, my first property, which opened in 1989, happens to be chronologically the one which put Marrakech on the map of boutique hospitality. Our clientele was: Giorgio Armani, Mick Jagger, Brad Pitt, Princess Caroline of Monaco, European royals, David Bowie and Iman, Sade, top models, European and American socialites, fashion stars, and all Parisian CEOs. The place reputation took off as very connected people started the word of mouth. We also had amazing features in all major magazines in the US, in Europe, and worldwide.
I had carefully listened to the complaints about the holidays on offer and made a marketing study based on well-travelled friends whose expectations I trusted.
I created a “private home” experience with the excellence of a hotel service. In 1996, – I had by then resigned from Paris Bar and my law career – I moved to Marrakech and went on to do new projects. The hotel I have now www.jnanetamsna.com I built in 2001. My husband, who is passionate about plants, designed the gardens, and I did the architecture and the interiors. We broke grounds on January 6th 2001 and opened on Dec 27ththe same year with a full house. I believe building a place in 11 months and 3 weeks is a record.
What were some of the highlights and challenges that came with growing Jnane Tamsna to the point where it is?
Highlights: We are blessed that our hotel attracts wonderful people. And word of mouth has been very good. I have also been able to design and host cultural events which I love doing. Literary salons, creative writing workshops or celebrating the creativity of our diaspora, through the “ Afreeculture forum” that we launched this year. Our diaspora creativity in literature, cinema and entrepreneurship were celebrated for 4 days as Jnane Tamsna hosted conversations brilliantly moderated by authors, film screening with their directors and festive events in the evening. Among our Nigerian guests, we had the authors Taiye Sélasi, Enuma Okoro, Chika Unigwe, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and the phenomenal photographer Misan Harriman who shot the front cover of British Vogue September issue.
I am particularly happy to have now a real diversity of guests. In the last 3 years, after having been published for the 1st time in the African-American press, our clientele started to be much more diverse. And now it looks often like our own family !
For me the world of today is for example when a Norwegian family befriends around our pool an African-American family and both the adults and the children keep in touch. I love that our hotel has been such a connector for so many and for so many years. It is wonderful to know that people who met here, who all came to my own house on site for drinks, have become friends and have kept in touch, meeting abroad, sometimes travelling together.
One of the highlight I will always remember was having a famous French musician and jazz pianist on holidays with his family and discovering that a New-Yorker guest was singing at the Carlysle hotel in NY which had the most amazing jazz scene. As I have a piano in my house, I introduced them and asked them if they wanted to do a jam session. On that night I invited all the guests and my house was rocking with the best old standards.. When I am able to live this kind of moments I forget about the challenges of building, marketing and running a hotel !
Challenges: There have been many but I am the type to move forward. In the late eighties when my law career was very promising, (I had won a national competition and was representing France in international lawyers debates, the path to a bright legal career was visible) I focused on to design which was my passion and my call. People thought I was totally out of my mind ! To focus as a Black woman, on a country which was not mine, where I did not speak the language ( Arabic) and in a field notoriously for men ( construction) was certainly a challenge. I took it as an opportunity to do what I was passionate about.
I went on, taking on very tough challenges for two years, until we opened, but never being that discouraged that it would make me change ideas or drop the ball.
I was paid back beyond my wildest dreams as my design and our family property was published worldwide from Architectural Digest, to NYTimes, Vogue and within a few years, it was featured in 62 publications. My work had significant features, including a front cover. In 2001 “Harper’s and Queen” gave me the award of the best private estate in the world at an award ceremony in London.
There are challenges in every field, every job, every life, it is the way one faces it, which will make it bearable or impossible, which will make it a hurdle or an opportunity. I choose to never give up. But don’t get me wrong, there are some very difficult moments.
My constant challenge is to take into account that it is not every one who has my energy: -) … or intuition. Right now I am sitting on a fantastic new project which could really be a trailblazer for the continent. Will I find the finance for it .. ? I hope so as this would be a game changer and after this world crisis we live, we do need to create a lot of jobs.
Today’s challenge : In terms of challenges, it is not particular to our hotel, but to the tourism trade and to the world economy now. The virus has put everything on hold.
The challenge is planetary and goes way beyond my little hotel or bigger projects.
What is very important is that mankind never forget the lesson. We can live differently, we don ‘t need to waste. We need to open our eyes and be grateful for what we have. Be ambitious to grow, but not be greedy and inconsiderate. Be thoughtful about our choices. As today we are the victims of the wrong choices’ consequences .
Why Morocco? What brought you here?
Just this fact : it is 3 hours flight from Paris which was home. When my parents decided to buy a holiday home they were not interested in France or Europe. Their countries of origin were too far from Paris to go there on weekends. So what attracted us was the proximity of the most delightful exotic city.
The importance of Black female hotel ownership?
I am a Black female with a foot in very diverse circles, African American, White European, White American, English Speaking African and French Speaking African. This has given me a very diverse approach to all things. Being at a crossroads of influences has boosted my creativity. Even if other Black females have a different path as mine, I believe that females are very good with hospitality. Especially now that hospitality excellence is not necessarily attached to a corporate brand but can be carried by independently owned hotels.
As females in general and as Black females in particular, we have to constantly be better, work harder to reach executive levels in the corporate world. This constant “ having to prove ourselves” (instead of being only exhausting) has created a natural excellence for many females.
I am in absolute awe and admiration of African businesswomen. From the Nana Benz of Togo who ruled the economy 100 years ago, while being sometimes illiterate but knowing how to count, to the many African females graduating from the best Universities in the world. I am proud, happy, and elated to be a Black Female. I believe that many of us have a unique strength, we understand how both worlds work, the white world where we have gone to the best schools and our own African world. This is a very unique richness brought to us by diversity.
In the late eighties when I could feel that very individual and stylish boutique hotel would be the obvious future, I was living in a Parisian world where being a Black Female was not the conversation. I had always been the only Black in school, the only Black in law competitions, the only Black at the National School of Beaux-Arts where I went for 3 years before going to law school. I was very happy to carry the flag of Blackness as well as I could but I would be lying if I was saying that I suffered from violent prejudice. Never in my own circles. Sometimes with people I did not know like in a shop or in a post office…but these were really rare and totally minor. Today I am very happy to see that Black Female ownership is a statement. It makes me realize that indeed there were many challenges that I had to face while deciding to ignore them.
What are some of the biggest business lessons “you’ve learned along the way that serve as your ‘secrets to success “in running a company?
I believe that there might not be a universal lesson as each destination must have different challenges and hospitality is so much rooted into the essence and D.N.A of a destination. I think that the most important is to know your sphere of competence and to stick to it. I am good at creative stuff, I am bad at management and accounting. These are fields that specialists and competent persons are running for me. But when I started my business I was multitasking like a lot of new businesses have to. Then one takes the habit to control all, and to forget that this is not one’s competence. As it grows, you must let go and focus on what you know best. I am very happy now that even though I follow with a distance all aspects of the business, it is run by the best people and I can focus on creativity, intuition, vision and projection.
What is a typical day like for you?
I am working on a new project which should be a breakthrough in hospitality. The same way that my first pioneering property here, led to 1800 ones directly inspired by it in the city of Marrakech, (the N°1 tourist destination of Morocco, voted among the 1st 5 of the world 3 years ago), I do hope that my concept will be pioneering a very successful type of hospitality which will inspire others on the continent.
Right now I am working on raising finance for this new project. So my day, is a mix of working on the new project, and of running the present business. Since the lockdown, I have very often been invited to speak to conferences on zoom. I am also developing selling on line some of my porcelain collection, home accessories and luminaries. As I said I focus on creative matters. The borders are closed, so we do not expect business for a while. However, I am working on creating theme stays with future partners. My book “ Inside Marrakech” published by Rizzoli is coming out late September and I am very busy organizing virtual launches and zoom events in Black owned bookstores in the US.
How would you define good hospitality?
You have very different travelers. The business traveler needs are not the same as the millennial digital nomad’s, or the family on holidays, I would say that good hospitality is the one which understands the needs of the clients before they even formulate it. It is an attention to details which will enchant the client. It is about generosity and kindness, about flexibility and warmth. In Africa, I think it is about the visitor understanding that our gorgeous continent has a content of many layers. For generations, tourists would come to Africa for beaches or safaris. Our culture was denied its value. People thought that a cultural trip was about old churches and museums in Europe.
The rest of the world was only about outdoors. Grand Canyon in the US, Safaris in Africa or beaches..
It is time for the foreign tourist to explore and discover our modern culture, urban vibes, music, art, and the vibrant creativity of the modern African capitals.
What advice would you share with women who are the start of their hospitality careers?
I think that my strength is to have direct access to my clientele. Since my first project, I have only done projects to satisfy specific needs that I knew existed. I understand that this is a unique position that I am in. So I cannot say “do like me”. I am an accidental hotelier who never went to hospitality school… If you have gone to hospitality school, have found a job in the industry, and plan to open your own hotel or guest house one day…
To invest you need to minimize the risk. To minimize the risk you need to be sure to have the right product for the right client.
So I would carefully formulate my unique selling points. Then I would create my style, and go totally virtual on social media. Why not have an Instagram account of a virtual hotel, which would be full of ideas, events, mood boards of what you plan to do… and then when you have a lot of followers, and have established your virtual brand, then do the hotel.
Maybe there are great old buildings that are available to restore if you plan to be in a city.. and if you need an interior designer I would love to advise ! or take a new project..
What role will the diaspora play in the future of Africa travel?
The diaspora has a foot in Africa and a foot elsewhere. Most of the diaspora does not travel back home to do safaris, or stay on the beach all the time. The diaspora is often urban and will support the art , music and cultural scenes, new restaurants, city hotels, guest houses with a vibe should be supported by the diaspora when traveling back home. I also know brilliant elements of the diaspora who have gone back and started a creative business. I am thinking about studio Lani in Lagos for example. This is a perfect example of the diaspora return and impact on the creative scene.
Hotels and tourism are inseparable. In your opinion, how has the pandemic affected Morocco’s tourism sector?
Like for the whole world, the economy is on halt. It is particularly hard for a city like Marrakech which economy is based on tourism. The government has done a lot to support the population but it is getting harder and harder as we are entering the 6th month of economic paralysis. It is not only the hotels and the staff, but all that gravitates around tourists spending, the markets, the antique shops, the taxis, the local tours, really everything. It is the hardest time ever. We pray that the recovery one day will create a new trail for prosperity and health.
Finding the right swimsuit for spring and summer can be difficult, especially when you have to search through dozens of brands to find the perfect piece. Not to worry, MOYO AFRIKA has got your back. Below is a list of Black-Owned swimwear brands you should know and support this summer
Like many countries that have a history with the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Brazil has never been able to grapple the matters of race. Frankly, no other country on that side of the world with the historic significance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade has competently figured out how to navigate the matters of race.
Data shows that out of the more than 9.5 million people taken from Africa between the 16th and 19thcenturies, more than 4 million slaves landed in Rio de Janeiro. That’s nearly 10 times more than the total number of slaves sent to North America during this time frame.
After hundreds of years of silence and denial, leaders in Brazilrecognized the contributions from those of Africa descent during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and addressed the impact enslaved people made on the country’s history.
People of color felt it was a turning point for the country to tackle racism head-on in a place where the impact of slavery continue to manifest itself in the obstacles Afro-Brazilians face compared to their white counterparts.
You see it in Rio’s favelas, which translates to “low-income neighborhoods,” where Afro-Brazilians disproportionately dwell and in the workplace where on average, black Braziliansearn 57 percent less than white Brazilians.
You also witness the impacts of a post-slavery society in the criminal justice system where Black people make up more than 64 percent of the prisonpopulation, and black youth are killed at an alarming rate.
In 2017, the Permanent Forum Racial Equality, a Brazilian coalition that advocates on behalf of black and anti-racist movements, petitioned the UN’s Human Rights Council on the rate of targeted homicides of young black Brazilians, as reported in Face 2 Face Africa.
The report found that black youth are murdered in Brazil every 23 minutes. More than 70% of murder victims in Brazil are black and 93% of the time, they are men.
But the study gets worse.
Investigators concluded that they “came upon a cruel and undeniable reality: ‘the Brazilian state, directly or indirectly, perpetrates the genocide of the young black population.’”
The report only confirmed what anti-racists advocates and black people have known for some time.
But one thing that sticks out in the report is that Brazilians had come to expect young black men to be killed. Lawyer Daniel Teixeira told the Agencia Brasilthat the situation in Brazil had become “neutralized.”