6 Weeks, 6 African Cities, 6 Sketchbooks
Hey! My name is Alisha, I’m a final year architecture student (undergrad) at Hull School of Architecture, East Yorkshire and i’m proposing to travel around 6 African cities in 6 weeks with 6 sketchbooks. I am currently a Young Urbanist at the Academy of Urbanism and an ambassador for MAiMA (Modern Architecture in Modern Africa).
I am a British-born Nigerian and whilst I’ve been institutionalised by the Western perspective, it is not the definitive truth of architecture as the stories played out within the Global South are hardly ever told/heard/ completely dismissed.
In correlation to my dissertation, I believe that Africans are the infrastructure towards prosperity on the continent. Furthermore, with alot of digging I realised that the majority of architecture schools are harnessed by the Western education models due to the structures shaped by colonialism. It is then no surprise that a UN Habitat report in 2010, suggested that the “entire continent of Africa has the same amount of architects as that of Italy, most of which are based in South Africa and Egypt.” This is detrimental to the rise of African architects hounding in to respond to the urban metropolis, however with new built environment centres catering towards the African landscape this hope continues to rise.
The foundation of why I want to travel is based upon the interest I have for African urbanity + architecture and the affects that these have on the surrounding communities/ cities. I believe this project to be an essential tool in my career as architect.
By sketching my travels I can document my own experiences rather than leaning on other people’s views of what it should and shouldn’t be. There’s something about sketchbooks that capture a narrative that I don’t think words/ photos could really capture/tell so by using this as almost like a diary entry I can explore and determine what these African cities mean to me. The challenge is to have 5/+ drawings per day.
At the same time, after I finish this university year in the next 2 months, I’m on placement. Within the architecture placement travelling in regards to a research proposal is accepted, hence the furthering of this project. I am heavily inspired by Ghanaian architect, David Adjaye, who travelled through all the 54 countries in Africa and published his own interpretations. I believe that as Africans we don’t travel enough around our own continent and I believe this can further creativity needed in our architecture schools. I hope that this becomes a catalyst for more Africans to travel more within the continent! I have already met so many great individuals + organisations who have kept pushing me to further this project and i’m excited for what is to come!
What 6 cities are you travelling to and why?
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Cape Town, South Africa
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
These cities were determined mainly due to the distribution of architecture schools, fast rate growing economies, transport links, rapid population growth and flood risks due to climate change (water cities). I initially planned to travel to Dakar and Cote D’Ivoire, however hardly any of the French colonies have any architecture schools.
How are you fundraising?
Last summer I ran my first 10k run in London at 1 hour and 7 mins. I am currently training for another 10k at the Regents Park Summer Run on the 5th June. However, I’m using this to challenge myself to run the Copenhagen half marathon in September which I have just signed up for! Woooooo!!!
Where is the money going?
Where can we track your progress + project?
I will be using my blog – The Afropolitan throughout my journey! I will also be meeting people at checkpoints at each city which will be monitored + featured on the MAiMA website.
How can I support?
Become a donor! Any help, whether it be small or big is gratefully appreciated! 🙂
How can I contact you?
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter: @alishafruu
Thank you 🙂