Fifi Ejindu_photobyMatthew Hinchcliff

The grand finale of Africa Fashion Week London 2013 and the launch of African Arts and Fashion Initiative held on Sunday 4 August 2013 at The Dorchester did more than celebrate African fashion, culture and heritage and raise awareness for the challenges faced by young African art and design talent. The evening also had a surprise in store for Africa Fashion Week London Life Patron and the founder of African Arts and Fashion Initiative, celebrated entrepreneur, architect and philanthropist. Princess Fifi Ejindu in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to her by the CEO of African Achievers Awards, Tonye Rex Idaminabo.

African Achievers Awards is a canonical effort of praise for entrepreneurs, community builders and those who have efficiently contributed to the rising of Africa. While the achievers are selected in the categories of community development, leadership, arts and culture, business and entrepreneurism, agriculture, community service, rural development and education, Lifetime African Arts and Fashion Lifetime Award is given once every five years to global African art and fashion icons.

?Princess Fifi Ejindu was awarded for her contributions towards the promotion of African Arts and Fashion across the globe. The award is given once every five years to acclaimed global African art and fashion icons,? said Tonye Rex Idaminabo, CEO of African Achievers Awards, ?She has contributed immensely by helping emerging designers and artists in achieving their goals and promoting Africa, its rich cultural heritage and talents.

?The African Arts and Fashion Initiative will continue to drive an African Arts and Style Renaissance by promoting and showcasing Africa?s rich cultural heritage globally. However, the emphasis will continue to be on motivating, sensitising and most importantly, empowering the upcoming array of talented young people in Africa,? said Princess Fifi Ejindu, Founder and CEO of African Arts and Fashion Initiative.

 ?We must harness our cultural and human resources to implement a strategic mechanism that will boost small and medium enterprises thereby creating jobs, generating wealth and hopefully, one day, eradicating poverty in Africa. The future of Africa is up to Africans so we must all rise to the challenge of youth unemployment on the continent. Apathy is no longer an option. If you sweep your doorstep and I sweep mine, together we can bridge this yawning gap. Remember, a system that cannot rescue its poor cannot save its rich on the day of reckoning,? Ejindu added.

The glitzy gala evening also hosted revered dignitaries such as Honorable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Natural Orientation Chief Edem Duke, First Lady of Cross River State, Her Excellency Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, Senator Grace Folashade Bent as well as Professor Reverend Julien Ciakudia and founder of Georges Malaika Foundation Noella Coursaris Musunka. International celebrities included Bianca Jagger, UK pop singer Alexandre Burke to mention a few.

With an art exhibition by Tiwani Arts and fashion showcases by established and emerging designers, such as Adebayo Jones and Thula Sindi and many others, the evening lived up to its promise of celebrating African arts and fashion.

Founded in 2013 by Princess Fifi Ejindu, African Arts and Fashion Initiative which aims to create start up funds for young art and design talents to assist them in turning their creativity into sustainability, thereby empowering the African youth. Launched at The Dorchester with this inaugural event, Africa Arts and Fashion Initiative is currently working towards securing beneficial partnerships and sponsorships to support emerging talent.

Princess Ejindu?s life story will be broadcast shortly on CNN African Voices which was filmed during Africa Fashion Week London 2013 at The Old Truman Brewery and African Arts and Fashion Initiative launch at The Dorchester.

Photographs: The Nostalgist, Matthew Hinchcliff, Michael Mba

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