What’s On Africa select the top stories keeping you up to date with all things from and around the continent.

This week’s news starts in Kenya:

Kenya vs Uber

maxresdefaultIf you’re an Uber user, you’ll know the satisfying feeling that comes with watching a silver Prius approaching whilst being stranded at 2am in the rain, moments before having tracked the car’s 3 minute journey towards you. Efficient and user friendly, Uber rocketed to the transportation market in 2009, the brainchild of Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp.

However, the pioneers behind Taxi innovation service Uber have recently come into conflict with Kenyan Taxi drivers, escalating to Government level.

Kenyan taxi drivers are concerned that the app-based taxi service is damaging their business and livelihoods with cheaper fares, driving them out of business. They state that 15,000 traditional taxi drivers are being affected by the arrival of Uber.

They have given the government seven days to address their grievances over the entry of Uber into the market, stating that they will stage protests by blocking off roads.

The Kenya United Taxi Organisation gave the ultimatum during a press conference in the capital, Nairobi, televised by privately owned K24 TV.

They denied that they have been attacking Uber drivers and vandalizing vehicles operating as Uber taxis:

We are not at war with any transport service provider… We are fighting the strategy that Uber is using to gain monopoly of the market in a bid to dominate us,” a spokesman said.

Uber began as a response to the need for cheap and efficient taxi travel. However, it’s recent conflicts with Kenyan Taxi driver’s shows that the rapidly expanding Taxi service may not always be a welcome improvement.

We hope solutions to the conflict of interests are found as this story unfolds. 

Meet the African Artists breaking gender barriers:

Decades of established gender discourse are slowly being weathered away by the rising storm of social media. This could be to do with social media being used as a tool of subversive expression for and by the individual, as opposed to the rarefied views of mainstream media available only to a select few.

In conversations surrounding gender, race and sexuality, people are challenging conventional ideas by using various mediums. In South Africa, a shift is occurring as a growing number of artists use the internet to disrupt the accepted narrative on these topics. Using music, performance and digital platforms artists are vocalizing their views to explore the complexities across gender, race and sexuality – matters often placed into simplified “black and white” spaces. This week, What’s Trending? discovered FAKA, a performance art duo steadily establishing themselves as the voice of black and queer expression. Friends Thato Ramaisa and Buyani Duma document young black queer voices with their online platform alongside a rising amount of spaces showcasing work of a similar creative talent.

Unlabelled-Magazine-Khongi-Sono-FAKA-1-726x485“Black queer artists are often alienated by society and the art world for simply existing as themselves. We wanted to create a space that celebrates their work and allows them to present themselves, as they choose, to the world”

Using the aliases Fela Gucci and Desire Marea, Ramaisa and Duma explore themes such as godliness, race and sexuality. Their performance, Waiting For Lorraine serves as an introduction to Siyakaka Feminism which they say “explores the heteronormative ideas recycled in gay relationships”.

Find out more about FAKA and their bold forms of creating a statement on their Instagram and Twitter. 

We’re also inspired by this:

Meet the Ghanaian entrepreneur who’s building bikes out of bamboo

 

Last week we included a story about female entrepreneur, Affiong William, the entrepreneur that started a business thriving snack businessin Nigeria.

This week, What’s Trending? Is excited to feature The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a social enterprise that addresses climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and youth unemployment by creating jobs for young people. It’s outreach impact the life of women especially through the building of high quality bamboo bicycles. Though this unique initiative has been in development for time, it has recently gained an increase in coverage, featuring on various websites including the UN.

The company has already trained 35 young people, including some with disabilities and donating many bikes to local community members to ensure that kids can get to school.

 Watch the video above to hear founder Bernice Dapaah discuss her innovative idea, why bamboo has been such an ideal manufacturing material for her bikes and how it’s making a great change in her community.

Ghanaian fashion takes over Australia

If you haven’t heard of YEVU, now is the time to familiarize yourself as the brand takes it’s colorful patterns and clean cut shapes break into the Australian fashion scene as of 2013

Responsibly made, YEVU symbolises a modern take on traditional Ghanaian cloth, using local Ghanaian seamstresses and designers to craft unique clothing items and accessories. YEVU has pop up stores in Australia.

YEVU was started by Anna Robertson. After her stay in Accra she fell in love with the wax print and cotton fabric. She says she is passionate about creating a positive social impact and saw the chance to partner with small business in Ghana in order to connect Australia to West Africa and create jobs.

With a growing number of clothing lines styled by the Continent, it’s clear that there is a market as well as an interest in patterns and textures of African origin. We wonder how much of this this potential will be harnessed by people of African origin in their own communities and abroad in future.

Find out more about YEVU below.

Our App of the week;

Esoko

With the increase of social media apps as a tool of innovation it’s only right to feature the newest apps hailing from the continent.

 Agriculture is the largest economic sector in Africa, therefore it only makes sense for technology to bridge the gap between farmers and business. Esoko is a communication app for businesses, projects, NGOs and governments to connect with farmers.

Founded in 2005 by acting CEO Mark Davies under the name TradeNet in Ghana. The name later changed to Esoko in 2009, with the word ‘e’ representing electronic and ‘soko’ meaning market in Swahili.

The initial aim of the company was to provide a technology solution to collect and share market prices via SMS with farmers across most African countries.

Today it also houses agricultural content and on-the-ground deployment services for any business needs with regards to agriculture.

It is seen as the gateway to services such as marketing and goods sourcing, mobile money deployments, national farmer clubs and statistical services.

Esoko currently operates in Ghana, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Benin, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Access to Esoko’s apps and services are only available after an initial sign up and registration on the website. Read more about Esoko here.

 Last but not least, let’s get you through the week:

Song of the week

Blazing the trail in House Music, Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Accra’s most fashionable DJ Steloo is on a mission to rewrite the African story through music, fashion. We’ve included a 15 minute Ghanaian House mix, taking you on an audible journey of eclectic and soulful synths, with potent bass progressions. Thank us later!

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