Category Archives: Events

Passion For Motherland Returns To London


Founded by Congolese Supermodel Lisette Mibo in London, Passion for Motherland (PFM) mission is to empower street children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically in its capital Kinshasa. This empowerment movement occurs through the provision of shelter, education, healthcare, rehabilitation and family mediation programmes, as well as economic tools such as micro-economic loans.

In its 4th-edition now, Passion for Motherland (PFM) is getting ready for its annual fundraising event this summer in the metropolitan city of London, on Saturday, 20th August 2016 – from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm – at the Holiday Inn Hotel Regents Park.

Moved by the urge to put people together, Founder Lisette Mibo and the entire team behind her is aiming to raise funds and build awareness around the cause of street children in the DR Congo. For the past three consecutive years, Supermodel Lisette Mibo aims to further support existing charities running empowering projects at grassroots level in her home-country. Changing the narratives, through charity, the Congolese Model turned Humanitarian will once again bring crowds together, help showcase new talents in the Fashion, and Cultural industries, help entertain the guests while raising money for the night.


The 4th edition of Passion for Motherland (PFM) will be a combination of a vibrant fashion show with live music, powerful poetry and a variety of specialist African stalls.
This year’s showcase is particularly important because all funds raised will be dedicated to supporting two projects:

– The initial construction of our very own shelter in Kinshasa, which will provide a safer environment for up to 300 street children over the next 3 years;
– Supporting Charité et Secours (CHARISECOURS), one of the organisations already helping street children on very limited budget.



Tickets: Standard £25 – Front row/VIP: £50 – Limited VIP Tables: £100

For tickets information: /


The CA AWARDS Now Open For Nominations

CA award (CREATIVITY AWARD) recognises the creativity of Afro Caribbean talent globally.  The only award that celebrates and highlights Afro-Caribbean contributions in all sectors including; Sports, film, arts, enterprise, and careers.

The largest and most prestigious African award in the UK, past recipients include,  Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (founder BUFF), Dele Momudu (publisher Ovation), Dr Alistair Soyode (founder BEN TV),Prof. Rotimi Jaiyesimi (renowned medical Doctor and lecturer ),  Akin Salami (Founder OHTV) , Pauline Long (Founder BEFFTA) and a host of others.

Elegibility:  Anyone of African or Caribbean heritage anywhere in the world with talent and making contributions in the sectors mentioned in the categories can be nominated .

Nomination: You can nominate yourself or be nominated by someone else. After nominations, the independent awards directors will go through the evidences and shortlist the finalists. Thereafter, voting commences. This year, the results are completely in the hands of the public.


Dinner: CA award 2016 will be held with a lavish 3 course dinner on;

Date: 19th of Nov, 2016

Time : 5.00pm – Arrivals, wine reception, red carpet , media and networking.

Venue: At Hilton Hotel Tower Bridge London, SE1 2BY.

Independent Award Directors – To be announced on Monday June 20, 2016.




Culture: Kassav et des artistes sud-africains s’unissent contre la xénophobie

Des artistes sud-africains s’associeront au groupe de zouk Kassav’ lors de leur concert contre la xénophobie le 26 avril 2015 au Bassline de Newtown à 21h30.


En réaction aux récentes attaques xénophobes en Afrique du Sud, des musiciens locaux manifesteront leur solidarité aux victimes en se joignant au groupe français Kassav’, qui interprétera One Love de Bob Marley.

Il s’agira de leur première performance en Afrique du sud, à la veille du Freedom Day national.

Provenant de la Martinique et de la Guadeloupe, Kassav a su créer un son singulier, comportant à la fois des éléments de musique créole et de fanfare caribéenne, teintées de rock, de musique africaine et de pop.

Les membres de ce groupe, le bassiste Georges Décimus, les chanteurs Jocelyn Beroard and Jean-Philippe Marthely, le pianiste Jean-Claude Naimro, le guitariste Jacob Desvarieux, ont enchanté les mélomanes à travers le monde.

lindt chocolate fondant

Détails de l’évènement :

Tarif  : 200 R pour les réservations en ligne / 250 R pour l’achat au guichet
Reservation :
Emplacement : The Bassline, Newtown, Johannesburg

Pour en savoir plus sur Kassav’ :

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Celebration • TROPICS Magazine 5th Anniversary | Best Editorials of 2014


11 March 2010 – 11 March 2015.

In one of our most read issues, Venicia Guinot, the Founder/Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of TROPICS MAGAZINE wrote, “There are a lot of magazines about fashion and lifestyle. TROPICS is NOT one of them. TROPICS is the first bilingual (English & French) magazine from Africa catering to the most powerful people on the planet today: the multi-racial community.” On this, our 5th anniversary, the time has come to reflect on this generation of global leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and makers. These people, their companies, and their ideas have shaped the future we live in today. Below, we’ve gathered some profiles of the people we think “Pave The Way Forward” for the next generations.


SHUKLA BOSE • The woman who left a high-flying career to educate India’s poorest children.

Shukla Bose is the founder and CEO of the Parikrma Humanity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that runs English-medium schools for under-privileged children in Bangalore, India.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>>  Shukla Bose.

CHIDI OKOYE • The inspirational Artist & Poet.

Sculptor Chidi Okoye: A brief professional accomplishments of a well known Nigerian Artist based in Atlanta, Painter; modern African Artist, Poet and sculptor.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Chidi Okoye.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI • The young powerful figure from Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Malala Yousafzai.

BARCLAY PAUL OKARI • The 22-year old Entrepreneur producing reusable sanitary pads for poor African girls.

Paul Barclay is a serial entrepreneur from Kenya who has developed washable sanitary towels. Paul realized that many women in his community were not in a sufficiently stable financial situation to allow them to continuously purchase packs of disposable sanitary towels. He assembled a team of inventors to develop a sanitary towel that could be reused. His venture, Impact Africa, manufactures inexpensive, washable sanitary towels that have the potential to allow thousands of women to re-allocate their monthly budgets to other needs.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Barclay Paul Okari.

DJ BLACK COFFEE • A night with Black Coffee in New York city.

Black Coffee is a South African multi award winning record producer and DJ. Black Coffee began his career back in 1994 and has released four albums and one live DVD under his Johannesburg based record label called Soulistic Music.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Black Coffee.

DAVID TLALE • The fashion genius from South Africa.

Over the past 10 years since David Tlale launched his brand in 2003 winning the “Elle New Talent in South Africa, and being noted as the Best Designer by the Sunday Times in South Africa, this award winning designer David Tlale has proven that he is indeed a design force with creations that go far beyond expectations

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> David Tlale.

ANGELA PLUMMER • The Creative Hair Artist per excellence.

Internationally Renowned Hair Artist Angela Plummer grew up in North London and started braiding hair at the tender age of ten at the time braiding was only a hobby, Angela never though that later on in life this would be her career. Angela’s creativity is expressed throughout her work which she describes as Artistic, Avant Garde and Bespoke over the years Angela has developed a very distinctive style of braiding.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Angela Plummer.

CLAIRE MAWISA • The South African pearl.

Born in Cape Town, 7 October 1978, Claire Mawisa spent her early years living in Gugulethu. At the age of 5 she and her family moved to Kenilworth. Many years later she would eventually leave this leafy Cape Town suburb to settle in Johannesburg. At 14 years old Claire was approached, at the Cape Town V&A Waterfront, by a model boss of one of South Africa’s most recognized model agencies and was asked if she would be interested in modeling. Claire’s mother needed some persuasion but in the end agreed to meet with the Topco Models boss, Lindsay Shuttleworth.
After signing with Topco Models, Claire was entered into the prestigious model competition, Cosmopolitan Model of the Year 1994, with the intent of familiarising her with the model/fashion industry. The novice model achieved the unthinkable and went on to win the competition, beating professional and established models. The gorgeous 15 years old became the youngest and the second black South African beauty to be featured on the cover of the local Cosmopolitan magazine.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Claire Mawisa.

GREY GOMEZ • The Model on Vogue from South Asia.

Playboy Playmate, FHM Model and Topmodel Grey Gomez in exclusivity for the world’s biggest bilingual Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine. The Photoshooting of the Playboy Playmate, FHM Model and Topmodel Grey Gomez was produced exclusively for Tropics Magazine in a team cooperation of Chili Palmers and one of the trendiest photographer of the Philippines Wesley Villarica together with the greatest Make-up artist of Asia Barbara Bennett and creative stylist Lia Quiteves Contreras and associate stylist Yukie

Santo at the Parallax Studio Makati, Philippines.

Executive Producer:
Chili Palmers

Playboy Playmate, FHM Model and Topmodel:
Grey Gomez

VIP, Fashion and Lifestyle Photographer:
Wesley Villarica

Make up artist:
Barbara Bennett

Creative Stylist:
Lia Quiteves Contreras

Associate Stylist
Yukie Santo

Executive Studio
Parallax Studio

Copyright 2014
Tropics Mag M

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Grey Gomez.

MAHLET SEIFU • The Ethiopian/Canadian Beauty Tropical Shoot

Our fashion editorial with Mahlet Seifu, the professional model based in Canada made our issue 52 a hit and a must-read edition. Mahlet is also the founder of Me.Tu Style, a fabulous fashion label that create beautiful purses and clutches.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>>  Mahlet Seifu.

CHRISTINA MENDEZ • The epitome of the new renaissance.

Christina Mendez is a New York City-based plus-size model and entertainment personality. The daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mendez was born on March 13, 1981 and raised in New York City. She is an alum of both Manhattan‘s Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities and Morris Brown College in Atlanta.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>>  Christina Mendez.

SUZAN MUTESI • The African Fashion Designer who conquered Australia

Suzan Mutesi is an African Australian actress, model and fashion designer. She is also called as “The African Fashion Icon that Conquered Australian Fashion”. She has won an award as the African Fashion Designer of the year for 2012.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>>  Suzan Mutesi.

ADRIENNE NTANKEU • President of ANIDA FRANCE  in France & Albinism Activist.

Adrienne Ntankeu was born in April 1978 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. When she was 5, she was sent to France in her family because of her albinism. She had a tough childhood: she went through continuous humiliation and ill-treatment. She had help from social services at the age of 19. They gave her the opportunity to go back to Cameroon for 6 months to get to know her own family. She then started to understand how hard life is for Albinos in Africa. In 2011, she founded the association ANIDA because she was outraged by albinos massacres in Africa.

“I decided to fight – with the help of other associations – to help defend these people. I am just one in a million but I want to help my brothers and sisters all around the globe. I want to change mentalities and tell ignorant people that being an albino is not a stigma.”

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Adrienne Ntankeu.

FAITH KARIMI • A professional Media woman representing Africa at CNN

Faith Karimi is one of two Kenyans working at CNN, where she has been a newsdesk editor since 2009. She started her journalism career as a second-year university student by working for U.S. newspapers on a wide range of jobs — including editing, writing opinion pieces and working for the sports section. In 2002, she interned at The New York Times’ bureau in Nairobi. She also wrote a lifestyle column for The Standard (Nairobi) on life in the Diaspora.
Her reporting has won numerous awards such as a best columnist recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists. While in college, she was named a Chips Quinn Scholar twice — an honor awarded to student journalists who excel in academics.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>>  Faith Karimi.


Danubia is a brazilian-born model now well established in London. Modelling from an early age in Brazil and participating in competitions such as Elite Model Look and Miss Tourism World, she is now an experienced catwalk model regularly appearing in London fashion week for designers such as Danny TangFashions Finest and The Lingerie Collective for Fashion TV in recent years. She has featured in shows for Youssef Kamoun at Birmingham fashion week, Aveda, Bastyan, TONI&GUY, Vietinio, Sebastian London and By Caprice lingerie. She speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish which has allowed her to work around the globe in Europe, South America and Africa.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Danubia Sousa.

LISETTE MIBO • The muti-awards winning Congolese Model & Humanitarian

Lisette Mibo is the first born of five girls, graduated with a degree in Social Science (BA in criminology with Sociology). Two times awarded “Best Female Model” in 2012 and 2013, featured numerously on the covers of magazines such as Amina magazine (France), OhYes magazine (Ghana), DivaScribe magazine (UK), Tropics Magazine (South Africa), Zen magazine (Nigeria) and many more… taken part at the international catwalk shows in Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom where she currently resides. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ms Mibo was born in 1987 in Kinshasa, the birthplace of infectious Afro rhythms and dances. She discovered her passion for modeling during her college years, however she started professionally soon after the birth of her daughter in 2011 and she has never looked back and continues to rise.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Lisette Mibo.

MARYSE MBO AKO • The brains behind the Atlanta-based jewelry brand “MAYE FOR MARYSE”

Our issue 52 and first-ever printed issue of TROPICS Magazine featured the amazing work of Maryse Mbo-AKo, an outstanding Entrepreneur from Ivory Coast living in Atlanta, USA who produced a top quality series displaying her brand and hijabs in collaboration with the MyMiracles Photography studio in the USA.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Maryse Mbo-Ako.

URS ALTHAUS • The legendary actor and very sought-after international Actor

Actually Urs Althaus wanted to become a professional soccer player. But what happened in reality was some thing that nobody in Altdorf, where he was raised by his single mother, would ever have expected. After finishing his business studies, this illegitimate child of his Swiss mother, and a Nigerian medical student, whom he never met, stormed the fashion runways of this world. He walked for designers like Calvin Klein, Valentino, Armani, Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent. He was the first black model ever to appear on the cover of the American fashion Magazine “GQ”. He danced with Liza Minelli, Cindy Crawford and Brooke Shields in the Clubs of Paris, London and New York. In 1978, in New York, he founded the company “Xtazy Ltd.”, the first Model Ensemble in the World. Eight years later, also in New York, and together with Gary Gatys he created the fashion label “Gary Gatys Ltd”. As an agent between 1990 – 2001 he represented Supermodels like Giselle Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer. He had a private audience with His Highness the Dalai Lama and breakfasted with Richard Gere. As an actor he stood before the camera next to Marcello Mastroianni and

    • in the filming of Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” – with Sean Connery.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Urs Althaus.

AGATHA RUIZ DE LA PRADA x BISILA BOKOKO • Between friendship and business collaborations

Ágatha Ruíz de la Prada y Sentmenat is a Spanish noble and fashion designer. She is the 12th marchioness of Castelldosríus, Grandee of Spain and the 19th baroness of Santa Pau. Ágatha entered fashion in 1981 with her women´s collection in Madrid.[2] She opened her first studio in the Spanish capital and began to participate in fashion shows in Madrid and Barcelona. Agatha was a promoter of the “Movida Madrileña,” an artistic and Cultural Revolution in the 1980s.

On the other hand, Bisila Bokoko is a pioneering business leader with a laudable record of success establishing global alliance partnerships, building high performance organizations and creating pathways for businesses looking to enter new international markets. She currently serves as the CEO and Founder of BBES International, a business development and market development consulting firm. BBES provides boutique services to a wide range of companies across various markets and industries including gastronomy, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, arts and culture. BBES helps companies transform ideas into action and creates pathways for businesses looking to enter new international markets.

Read the story inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Bisila Bokoko x Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

MANISH MALHOTRA • The India fashion icon read to conquer the world

Manish Malhotra is one of India’s most successful fashion designers. Malhotra has designed for many leading actresses in Bollywood.

Read the stories of these two amazing women inside TROPICS Magazine >>> Manish Malhotra.


Finally, let’s sa farewell to our incredible team worldwide for their incredible.

Meet the brains behind Tropics Magazine >>>

The 50th UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA) to elevate global young entrepreneurs in Geneva, Switzerland

New York, NYC — On April 28th, 2014 high-level policy makers from Africa highlighted their experiences supporting young entrepreneurs in an effort to defuse what UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi called an “employment time bomb” in developing countries as their populations grow and get younger.

Coming up is the UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award Ceremony which is set to take place on October 15th in the Human Rights Council Room XX (3rd Floor from 18:30 – 19:45) in Geneva, Switzerland.

For the fiftieth consecutive year, audiences around the world will have the best seat in the house when they witness the progress that UNCTAD has made over the years and the challenges that lie ahead.

The Finalists are living testimony of the impact that initiatives that support entrepreneurship can have. These include job creation, innovation, increasing the quality of life of the women and their communities and giving them a voice and an outlet to inspire others.

One of the highlights of the commission was, last April, the announcement of the 10 finalists for the UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA). The awards have been presented every two years since 2008. This year was particularly competitive, as more than 100 nominations were received.

The 2014 finalists of the 50th UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA)

The 2014 finalists (in alphabetical order by country) are:

Lorena Maria Eugenia Picasso, (Argentina): manufactures innovative educational games to stimulate the development of cognitive, motor, emotional and social abilities as well as therapeutic products which specialize in rehabilitation.

Kelly Dantas de Vasconcelos, Universidad da Crianca, (Brazil): provides educational services for children, focusing on a teaching methodology which highlights innovation and technology.

Tracy Antoinette Green Douglas, Pandama Retreat, (Guyana): produces a range of fruit wines, fruit soaps and art products using all local resources. It is a place of retreat where the local community and tourists can connect with nature.

Lina Jalil Khalifeh, SheFighter, (Jordan): established the first self-defense studio for women and girls in the Middle East and has a mission to generate awareness and decrease violence towards women.

Maya Sewnath, SSS Furntiure, (Mauritius): manufactures tailor-made wooden furniture using local raw materials and specializes in the wedding and children’s market.

Lara Cookey, Contextplay Matrix Ltd., (Nigeria): designs educational toys and recreational tools for early child development, including learning materials, playground equipment and furniture.

Thiane Diagne, JOUR J Couture, (Senegal): creates prêt-a-porter luxury clothing lines, which combine traditional Senegalese culture with innovative, high-quality designs.

Renay van der Berg, ProComm, (South Africa): specializes in a range of integrated business services, including brand management, to allow enterprises to be sustainable.

Angelica M Rumsey, Angel Bites Ltd, (Zambia): manages the packaging and trading of dried foods that are a delicacy in Zambia and focuses on high hygiene and quality standards.

Divine Ndhlukula, SECURICO Security Services, (Zimbabwe): is a leading supplier of security solutions in Zimbabwe, including electronic security system installation, guarding, cash management and private investigation services.

The final three winners will be announced during UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum which will take place from 13 to 16 October 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. To mark the theme of this year’s Forum – “Investing in Sustainable Development” – two additional candidates were announced, who will receive a special recognition for their work as social and green entrepreneurs, respectively:


Special Recognition, Social entrepreneurship:

Leena A. Irshaid, Renas Women Association, (Jordan): established the only pickling factory in Jordan that is founded, owned and managed by women. It mobilizes unemployed female agricultural engineers by training and hiring them.


Special Recognition, Green entrepreneurship:

Pabla Anabela Torres, BioPro, (Argentina): start-up company which researches, develops, produces and markets organic products designed for crop protection and pest control, including a bio-pesticide.


Masters of the UNCTAD 2014 Ceremony, Mrs. Bisila Bokoko & Mr. Olivier Dominik.


The Masters of Ceremony of this year’s event are Mr. Olivier Dominik from Radio Suisse Television and, Mrs. Bisila Bokoko, Founder of the “Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Program” and Global Brand Ambassador for international brands such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Pikolinos, Carmencita, Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation etc. who will  be the pannel Moderator on “Integrating Women into Global Value Chains” and will also be the host at the awards ceremony for Empretec in Geneva on the 15th of October 2014.


Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi
UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi

UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi said, “I wish to congratulate all the finalists and hope that UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Awards will highlight both the challenges faced by women in entrepreneurship and the positive multiplier effect that women’s entrepreneurship can have in society.”

The UNCTAD will continue its work strengthening the local capacity in developing countries in transition through entrepreneurship promotion.



To get more details about the event, the finalists and the hosts, please see below:

For UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA), please visit

For Mrs. Bisila Bokoko, please visit or email for all press and media related inquiries.



SYDNEY: August the 20th, 2014 – The Heart of Gold Africa Foundation, led by Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Suzan Mutesi from the Suzan Mutesi Fashion House, raised $2,500 for Uganda’s children and women at the first annual fundraising event held Aug. 15th of August at Water View Olympic Park

12333The event included a black tie ball, three (3) course dinners at Water View Olympic Park for two hundreds (200) participants. Lavishly costumed models became live installations/sculptures and were an amazing sight to view upon entering the reception hall. Local talented people from the creative fields of Fashion and Entertainment industries all came out in full form to support this worthy cause. Guests were welcomed with special dance and drum performances and were entertained throughout the night by a string of rising talent including The X-Factor’s Rob Vegas, Diana Rouvas from The Voice (whose awe-inspiring performance inspired standing ovations on many occasions throughout the night), Gazele Adira Abelle and Soli Tesema. There was a runway show from Fashion labels such as Wa-Nyika, and host Suzan Mutesi.

The Heart of Gold Africa Foundation hosted more than ten (10) celebrities: Three Wishes, Rochelle and Dan from the Bachelor, Timomatic Musician and Judge on X-Factor, Miss World Australia, Xfactor‘s Bec Quin and Model Alex. The black tie concluded with an Impromptu performance of “Amazing Grace” from all celebrities and a special performance from so you think you can dance Choreographer Tiana Canterbury and the Afrodisiaq.

“We are truly blessed. The generosity of our guests is absolutely amazing. The support of all of our sponsors and the dedication of all our volunteers is what made this event such a success,” said Suzan Mutesi. “We feel fortunate to be able to make this large contribution to Uganda’s children and women.”

The title sponsors for this ceremony were: Tropics Magazine, SBS, All Wedding Wishes, Suzan Mutesi Fashion House, AAMMA, African Women Groups, Oz Signs, WaterView, Kitten Jam and Hugos.

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About the Heart of Gold Africa Foundation

The Heart of Gold Africa Foundation is very proactively involved in helping people less fortunate than ourselves
Mission. This is a foundation that impacts human needs with love. The organization accepts help and value others reconciling humanity. The Heart of Gold Africa Foundation is a Christian organization which aims to make a positive difference to children and families of all faiths or none. Its main aim is to provide comfortable platform with a strong foundation. We aim to provide education and training, living skills and outreach that has been deprived from the local families, orphans and the Disabled. We want to provide sustainable access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene& health education to the communities in rural Uganda. Heart of gold Africa foundation offers opportunities for young people and adults to embrace their potential and envision their life taking a different path. The Foundation works to re-establish choice, self-worth and confidence in a safe environment, empowering young people and adults to move forward in their lives and make positive choices for their futures.
For more information about the Heart of Gold Africa Foundation, visit , or contact the Heart of Gold Africa Foundation at . For information about starting a new activity to benefit our organization, get in touch with us directly.


Media Contact:

The Heart of Gold Africa Foundation
“Educate. Love. Support”

Venicia Guinot • Tel: +27 (0) 72-749-2347

Obamas Host African Leaders at a Dinner Soiree (Photos)

African heads of state—many outfitted in elegant, brightly colored, traditional attire—gathered under a canopy tent on the White House’s South Lawn Tuesday night for a state dinner-esque gala. They dined, mingled and did some dancing with a little help from Lionel Richie.

Although the event wasn’t billed as a state dinner, it most certainly had an air to it.

Dignitaries and heads of state in attendance for the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit were feted Tuesday night at the White House. Chief of Protocol Peter Selfridge told the Washington Post that he was prepared to pull out all the stops for the guests, including official greeting duties. He shook hands and walked the VIPs up and down the red carpet as they pulled up in black town cars. The roll call lasted more than an hour.

“We strive to throw out the red carpet, both literally and figuratively, from their arrival at the airport to the end of the summit,” Selfridge said. “Just multiply everything by 50.”

The gala concluded an action-packed day of economic talks between U.S. and African officials and representatives from close to 100 American and African companies, which culminated in a pledge of $14 billion by the Obama administration in U.S. corporate economic investment on the continent.

President Barack Obama kicked off the feast with a brief toast. “Never before have we hosted a dinner at the White House like this, with so many presidents, so many prime ministers all at once,” he told the esteemed guests. “Tonight we are making history, and it’s an honor to have you all here.”

Obama spoke about his pride as an American with immediate blood ties to Africa, his family’s homecoming to Kenya, and alluded to the three-day summit’s theme, “Investing in the Next Generation.” He lifted his glass and proposed a toast to “new Africa.”

The Obamas circulated the tent, exchanging pleasantries with the African leaders and other high-profile guests like former President Jimmy Carter, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, actors Robert De Niro and Chiwetel Ejiofor, among others, over the course of the night. First lady Michelle Obama, with her hair swept into a bun, stunned in a Prabal Gurung-designed, canary-yellow gown with front-and-back cutouts.

The peak of the soiree arrived when Lionel Richie took to the stage, telling the audience, “Tonight, we’re going to party.” He serenaded the guests with his hits “All Night Long,” “Easy,” “Hello” and “Say You (Say Me).”

Here are some of the highlights from the night’s festivities:

Senegalese President Macky Sall arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Guinean President Alpha Condé arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Cameroonian President Paul Biya arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad arrives at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and spouse Lordina Dramani Mahama arrive at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and spouse Keïta Aminata Maiga arrive at the White House for a group dinner during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
First lady Michelle Obama raises her glass for a toast during a dinner for participants of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) talks with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett during a group dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on the South Lawn of the White House Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Singer Lionel Richie performs during a group dinner on the South Lawn of the White House during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Aug. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


Written by Erin C.J. Robertson from The Root.