Two decades ago, as I was picking up an oil-painting from the Tinga Tinga artisan market in Dar city where I grew up, I bid farewell to the artist and blabbed out, “I’ll help you market your artwork to the world”. As I flew out of Dar skies that night, I never knew that that those simple words, which I call my artisan’s promise, would linger my mind for years to come.
**Tinga Tinga paintings on display at the Oysterbay Tinga Tinga Art Market, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
As years went by and thoughts of this unfulfilled artisan promise popped in my mind ever so often, I just did not know exactly what to do with those thoughts! I believe I somewhat fulfilled this promise in 2011-2012 when myself and sister friends Lucy, Madeline, and Irene, founded and organized Dar Fashion Festival, a 3-day fashion extravaganza, which among other things, showcased emerging fashion designers. This effort was a candid introduction to the extent of creative talent waiting to be fully explored. Later in 2017, I wrote a whole page of ideas on what I could do, but never acted on them.
**Images from Dar Fashion Festival 2011 and 2012
In the past year or so, while trying to make sense of my own creative journey and allowing myself to listen to my inner voice, was the "what and how" made clearly apparent to me (Yes, I am a true believer of the magical secret of the law of affinity!!!). What I knew to be true two decades ago, is still true today ─ African creatives are ever increasingly blossoming, but they face many challenges, including understanding markets, connecting with customers, and getting their products efficiently out to the world, among others. I also knew people want to wear and decorate with quality African goods but find them largely inaccessible in the mainstream markets.
PAMBA+NA was born out of the need to both fulfill the artisan’s promise and delight the world with Africa’s creative riches. I invite you to come along with me on this journey with a humble start, as we work to bring more of Africa to the world.