AJ Taylor is the woman behind the brand: I’m Ghanaian born and bred but currently residing in the UK, moved here when I was 14 years old. I’m currently a student at university and I’m 22 years old.

AJ Taylor
AJ Taylor


For ages, style has always been an expression of who you are and so for any lady who is African or has a deep love for Africa, CJAJ09 is here to help you express that through your style and clothing.

CJAJ09 as a brand is all about Heritage. Its the story of our roots and background married with our future, sense of style and who we’ve become. Its about African print fabric being reinterpreted for our daily lives. Its about wearing your heart and your roots on your sleeve, literally.

Instore, we have a range of beautiful and lustworthy clothing made with the best and most beautiful of Ankara fabrics to cater for all styles, occassons and sizes. No matter your style or where you are looking to go, you will find something in our online store. We also offer a custom made clothing service to those who want to express their absolute individuality.

Our ever expanding range now includes bags and purses and a line of Adinkra symbol tees for ladies, with an accessories range to be launched early fall and menswear range to follow next year. Our aim is to provide a full range of clothing for everyone interested in Africa and its fashion. And all this is coming to you at unbelievably affordable prices.

CJAJ09 aims to offer its customers an ability to express yourself, represent your roots and shine in your own way without breaking the bank, through high quality, extremely affordable beautiful clothing. We offer international shipping so no matter where you are based, you can still shop with us. So Drop by our website and fall in Love with Africa like never before.

Visit us at www.cjaj09.com. To see more of what we have in store click here and go here to shop. To keep up with us and be the first to find out what’s new instore, join our facebook page or our mailing list.

CJAJ09- Rich In Ethnicity, Elegant In Style, Affordable In Price.


Black Girl On Mars’ Bandit Queen Press – the story behind the press and your chance to win a book

Bandit Queen Press is a movement paying tribute to the word publishing : to make public; and to creative sovereignty.

Bandit Queen Press

BWIE: When did you start Bandit Queen Press?

BGOM: I started Bandit Queen Press in 2007 after I wrote a collection of poetry entitled The Organist’s Daughter. Having many years experience in New York City publishing, I knew that I wanted to shepherd my book through every stage of the production: from conceiving, writing, printing, promoting to distribution. This I felt, would maintain the integrity of the book.

BWIE: What is the essence of Bandit Queen Press?

BGOM: Combining my words with what I believe to be the souls of trees: paper; I created literal works of art that honor the integral energy in the experience of creation. Each book becomes a virtual call and response between its contents and materials available.

Bandit Queen Press

BWIE: What is Bandit Queen Press’ vision?

BGOM: My vision for Bandit Queen Press is to continue to explore the role of myself as the autodidactic creator.

A bandit queen press publication inspires time: sometimes being creative means being bandit!
Money: it matters not what one’s resources are. Creativity is limitless.
and dreams: realize your dream!

Black Girl on Mars

Bandit Queen Press means live life beyond survival mode.

For a chance to win a book from Bandit Queen Press answer the following question here in the comments or via email to contact@blackwomenineurope.com:

Has poetry changed your life? If so, how?

Good luck!

AkiDwA’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations: Fundraising and Recognition Dinner, 23 September 2011


We would like to cordially invite you to attend AkiDwA’s 10th Anniversary Fundraising and Recognition Dinner on the 23rd of September 2011, to be held at the Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1. 

Akina Dada wa Africa (AkiDwA- Swahili for sisterhood), was established in August 2001 by a group of African women to address the needs of an expanding population of African and migrant women residing in Ireland. To mark our organisation’s achievements and the strength of the migrant women we have worked with over the years, and to recognise the crucial work that individuals and organisations have played in our success, we have planned a programme of activities, from the 12th of September to the 23rdSeptember 2011, across the country (full programme of activities attached). 

Our final event will be a fundraising and recognition dinner, on the 23rd of September, at which those who have supported AkiDwA’s mission of promoting equality and justice for migrant women, will be acknowledged and awarded a certificate of recognition. 

Tickets for this evening event are €70 per person and €650 per table of ten. Each ticket enters the individual into a draw with prizes including a return flight for two to Mombasa, Kenya, a two-night B&B stay for two at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin or the Gresham Metropole in Cork and free Swahili lessons for beginners at the Dublin Swahili Institute. 

Please contact our Development and Event Officer Amaka Okonkwo at amaka@akidwa.ie or at 01 834 9851 by 1st September 2011 with your interest or to book tickets, which must be purchased before or on this date.

View the full list of anniversary activities.

Dr. Renata Bies of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname lectures on the loss of language and African culture in Suriname and the rest of the Caribbean in Amsterdam


August 23 is the UNESCO International Day for the commemoration of the slave trade and the abolition of slavery. But on this day we commemorate the death of our first director, Dr.. Glenn Willemsen, with a special series of lectures.

This year’s guest of honor is Dr. Renata Bies of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Her lecture will be on the loss of language and African culture in Suriname and the rest of the Caribbean. Below is an English summary of her lecture, but the lecture itself will be in Dutch. The lecture is free and intended for a public audience however, we advise you to sign up in advance so you are assured of a seat.

Op 23 augustus is de Internationale UNESCO dag ter herdenking van de slavenhandel en de afschaffing van slavernij. Maar ook herdenken we op deze dag het overlijden van onze eerste directeur, Dr. Glenn Willemsen, met een speciale serie van lezingen.


Dit jaar is de eregast Dr. Renata de Bies van Anton de Kom Universiteit, Suriname. Haar lezing zal het verlies van taal en de Afrikaanse cultuur in Suriname en de rest van het Caribisch gebied behandelen. Hieronder vindt u een Engelstalige samenvatting van haar lezing, maar de lezing zal zelf wel in het Nederlands zijn. De lezing is gratis en bedoeld voor een openbaar publiek. Ook kunnen bezoekers van de lezing van te voren gratis de tentoonstellingen van het NiNsee bekijken. Wel raden wij u aan om van te voren aan te melden, zodat u verzekerd bent van een zitplaats.

Datum: 23 augustus, 2011
Locatie: Muiderkerk, Linnaeusstraat 37, Amsterdam. De Muiderkerk zit pal naast NiNsee, tegenover het Oosterpark
13:00-17:30 Museum open voor bezoekers
17:30 Aanvang
17:45 Welkomstwoord door directeur Artwell Cain
18:00 Lezing Dr. Renata de Bies
19:00 Borrel/Receptie
Voor verdere details, kunt u contact opnemen met Amy Abdou a.abdou@ninsee.nl
Voor reserveringen kunt u mailen naar info@ninsee.nl


The languages of the enslaved Africans having survived the Middle Passage did not make it in the new homelands of these Africans. In these new homelands the Africans acquired new languages. In Suriname the enslaved African had to go through a process of language shift twice. In the first shift, a natural one, African languages died in the new society. In the second shift where the oppressor had imposed his language upon the enslaved African, the former was unable to completely destroy the mother tongue of all the enslaved, as he had done with the family structure. Sranantongo, Nengre, the new mother tongue language of the enslaved was retained; be it that its domains of use had been decreased. The oppressor partially succeeded in imposing his language upon Surinamese society. The Dutch language in Suriname: Surinamese Dutch was and is highly influenced by Sranantongo and so amongst other has become the carrier of African culture as well. The oppressor imposed his language upon Surinamese society, but he was not able to successfully impose his culture upon this society. The descendants of enslaved Africans in Suriname up to now share cultural elements, traditions rites and so on with their ancestral lands in Africa.

Igiaba Scego – winner of the Mondella award for La mia casa è dove sono

Hat tip: Euromight

Source: The Black Blog @ vogue.it

Igiaba Scego was born in Rome in 1974 to Somali parents. She writes for l’Unità, “Internazionale” and many other magazines that talk about migrations and African cultures, such as “Nigrizia”. Among her books: Pecore nere (Laterza 2005), Oltre Babilonia (Donzelli 2008) and La mia casa è dove sono (Rizzoli 2010) winner of the Mondello award.

Igiaba Scego

What do you always have in your handbag?
“Too much stuff! In fact, my bags are always either gigantic or don’t close right. I need like a Mary Poppins handbag… they should invent it. What I always have in my handbag: extra glasses, a toothbrush, a book, lipstick.”

Something about yourself you would never change
“My brain.”

A symbol you hate
“I hate the swastika and the fasces.”

Your favorite character from the Odyssey
“Well, him Ulysses.”

Your favorite snack when you were at school
“When I was little? I can’t remember. I think something with chocolate. I love chocolate.”

A moment that you would like to relive
“From my life or from history? From my life I would love to relive the second time (yes, the second time, wow!) that I was able to meet for 5 minutes (5 whole minutes!) Caetano Veloso. I worship that man. I love Brazilian music.”

Advice from the summer
“Read (lots and lots), love others, eat healthy and believe in a world where violence has no place.”

Picture above, Igiaba Scego. Courtesy of speranzacasillo.com
Interview by Cristina Ali Farah


Carolyn Moncel moved from Chicago to Paris, currently resides in Lausanne and is the author of two books

A virtual media and web consultant by day and author by night, Carolyn Davenport-Moncel moved to Paris from Chicago, her hometown, in 2001. In Paris, she started the first English-speaking Virtual Assistance firm. Known for her online articles on media relations, Moncel owns MotionTemps, LLC (www.motiontemps.com), a Digital Project and Web Content Management firm with offices in Chicago, Paris and Geneva; and its subsidiary, Mondavé Communications (www.mondaveinc.com), a media relations training and publishing company.

Carolyn Moncel

She has written, placed articles and been featured in such diverse publications as Entrepreneur.com, Expatica.com, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Wired News, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Working Mother, Bonjour Paris, and PrissyMag.com.

Author of Encounters in Paris – A Collection of Short Stories, Carolyn currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband and two daughters. Her latest work is called 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover—A Novella and Other Short Stories. Her next collection of short stories, Encounters in Chicago – A Collection of Short Stories will debut in fall 2012. Discover her other works at www.carolynmoncel.com.