Black Lives Matter // A note about covid-19 \\ Let's make masks // Free us and canada shipping for orders $95+

Weekly Newsletter May 19, 2020

We've got you covered!

Thanks to the feedback and encouragement from many of you, after producing and donating masks in Kenya over the past few weeks, we are now producing non-medical masks that are available for sale in the US and in Europe! We will be donating all of the proceeds to GiveDirectly's* Kenya Covid-19 Fund, which is sending digital cash transfers directly to low-income families in Kibera and Mathare in Nairobi. The economic impact of the pandemic is being felt around the world, and we believe strongly in the dignity and value of cash transfers to allow people to take care of themselves and their communities.

The masks are made with 100% cotton kitenge and have two layers with contrasting prints on either side. Each mask has a pocket in the middle where you can insert a filter and elastic ear-straps for an easy and secure fit. We've made them in two sizes, so hopefully they can fit you, your family and friends!

Each mask is handmade and unique, so the prints will vary from what's pictured!

Given the obvious nature of these masks, all sales are final!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Dialectic by Zadie Smith

Is that Zadie Smith, one of our favorite authors of all time, in a Zuri? Why yes, yes it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She needs no introduction, really, all we can say is read her work! From her first short story collection, Grand Union, The Dialectic is incisive and quick, and you'll wish to keep reading!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Bisa Butler, In the Artist’s Studio

Hosted by the Museum of the African Diaspora, this conversation with artist Bisa Butler about her work and her inspirations is a fascinating must watch!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Black Chick Lit

This podcast talks books by and about black women, and we especially recommend this episode from a few years ago where they discuss Swing Time by Zadie Smith. With humor and deep insight, hosts Dani and Mollie share books they love and we assure you, you'll love them, too!

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Weekly Newsletter May 12, 2020

Playing with Pattern!

It all started with a "what would happen if..." and a "I wonder if I could..." and then before we knew it, we had three dresses on at once and it was MARVELOUS. So if you're wondering about layers and mixing and matching, here are some tips from our pattern layering pros:

WHAT WE'RE COOKING // The Bomb Fishcakes by Jasmine Macharia

We love a good fishcake, and we're huge fans of Nairobi's own celebrity chef, Jasmine Macharia. These butternut-based goodies are baked, not fried, and designed to be made and enjoyed at home! Perfect for dinner or lunch with a crunchy salad or oven fries! Fun fact: she's making a special cameo on our website--looking good, Jaz!!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Sampa the Great

Born in Zambia and raised in Botswana, Sampa's music is a totally original sound, bridging hip-hop with traditional southern African musical influences. This album "Birds and the Bee9" is my favorite of hers--super smooth, adding energy to the room while still allowing for space and conversation.  Try playing this album the next time you're making dinner; you will not want to turn it off!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // STILL PROCESSING by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris

Hosts Jenna and Wesley are culture writers at the New York Times, and in this podcast, they discuss everything from Halle Berry's "Catwoman" to how human relationships have evolved in our new social distanced internet culture. We especially recommend their recent episode, "How to Learn From a Plague," where they talk about activism during the AIDs epidemic and how it applies today.

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Weekly Newsletter Apr 28, 2020

Bits & Bobs & Odds & Ends

Those of you who have stopped in our stores know that we have lots of fun accessories made by different cooperatives that we work with across Kenya. We've finally added most of them on our site (we'll be adding a few more through the week), so if your pup is in need of a pop of beaded brilliance, or you're in spring cleaning mode and want to brighten up your home with colorful organizers, we've got beautiful collars, handwoven baskets and lots more on the site now!

Meet the weavers! We work with this wonderful group of ladies in central Kenya to make our baskets. This tradition of weaving is passed down through generations and is mostly done by the elders. We're really proud of Victoria, Rebecca, and the entire team for producing such a special collection for us this past year.

 

 

Update from Kenya // 15,000 and counting!

Thanks to your support through donations and purchases, we've produced and donated 15,000 masks to Penda Health and Jacaranda Health. Penda has distributed masks in Nairobi to their staff at their 13 medical centers and support office, their operational partners including drivers who transport their medical staff, community partners including chiefs and police stations, and to their community members. (Hello to Beatrice, Grace and Mr. Kamau in the photos above!) Jacaranda has distributed the masks in their maternity hospital and to their partner clinics outside of Nairobi.

We are continuing to produce masks that we will donate to these two organizations, and if you would like to contribute, send us an email!

Let's sew together! // Homemade how-to

Join us in making masks! Inja and Dee Dee from our SF team have created wonderful tutorials on how to make a mask at home by hand or with a sewing machine! As always, share your pics with us! We love this photo from Noorallah of the masks she made for herself and her family!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw

In this podcast, Kimberlé Crenshaw discusses issues through an intersectional lens, investigating how race, gender and class overlap during her conversations with leading thinkers. We'd particularly recommend listening to episode 6 where she traces the relationship between slavery and the continued systemic oppression of black women today.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Chiwoniso

Chiwoniso was a beautiful singer, but what really stands out about her music is her use of the mbira (an african thumb piano that, until the late 60's, was played exclusively by men.) This album is a classic example of her work--crisp, pure and electrifying. 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Jende and Neni recently immigrated to the US from Cameroon, and they're struggling to make ends meet when Jende gets an opportunity that transforms their lives working for a wealthy family. The financial crisis hits and this new life is thrown into flux as we see varying perspectives and reactions from Jende and Neni and their employers to their world on the edge of financial ruin. Beautifully written and deeply felt, Mbue's depiction of inequality in America is relevant still today.
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Weekly Newsletter Apr 21, 2020

Happy Earth Day!

We are so privileged to be able to live and work in Kenya, where we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the vast outdoors and appreciate its magnificent flora and fauna. We're also profoundly aware that our earth is in peril, and that without action, in addition to causing irrevocable harm to the earth, water and air around us, we will also be causing immeasurable human harm, with the greatest impact on already poor and marginalized regions like here in East Africa. We hope that you will join us today in celebrating our beautiful Earth, and also think about what we can proactively do as individuals to protect our shared planet.

If you're interested in learning more about the impact of climate change in East Africa, we encourage you to listen this deeply researched and thoughtful piece about the human consequences of climate change in Somalia by Laura Heaton and Nichole Sobecki (who also happen to be Zuri sisters!).

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Heather McGhee and Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with Chris Jackson

Listening to these three in this far-ranging conversation discussing subjects from the power of imaginative fiction in creating a more equitable future to the all-encompassing costs of racism will energize and activate you! Can't get enough of Heather McGhee? We highly recommend watching her recent TED talk

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees by Jamie Lowe

Baobab trees grow in 32 countries on the African continent and have thrived for thousands of years providing sustenance, spiritual and material, to the communities that live in their shadows. In the last 12 years, 9 of the 13 oldest baobabs have died, and in this piece, writer Jamie Lowe explores why this is happening, and its impact.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Sudan Archives

This album is just SO GOOD. Trained in classical violin, Brittney Parks' music is best described as avant garde R&B (in other words, forget what you think you know about violin, and forget what you think you know about R&B.) She's 25 and she's a dynamo; let's all follow along to see what she'll do next, shall we?

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter Apr 14, 2020

#zurifromhome

Many of us are spending more time than usual at home these days, and we'd love to see how you're styling your Zuri! Whether it's for Zoom, to help with homework, throwing together yet another snack or just lounging around, show us how you #zurifromhome! (And if you're not home because you're out on the front lines, THANK YOU!) Tag us on Instagram or email us a photo -- we could all use a few more rays of sunshine in our inboxes :)

Update from Kenya // 10,000 masks and counting!

As you know, we've shifted our production in Kenya to making masks, and we're really proud to announce that we've produced and donated 10,000 masks as of today to Penda Health, a system of l3 clinics operating in low-income, high density communities across Nairobi, and Jacaranda Health, a non-profit that mentors nurses in public hospitals and operates a maternity hospital in Nairobi. Penda and Jacaranda are distributing the masks to their teams, patients and in their communities (Delphine, Susan, Paul, Titus, Matilda and Caroline are showing them in action above), and we're glad to be able to make an impact. Thanks to your donations from last week, we're able to produce an additional 700 masks! If you'd like to contribute, please respond to this email for details!

Tutorial // Make Your Own Mask

We've compiled all of our instructions for how to make a mask at home into a single place! Visit this link to see step-by-step instructions by Dee Dee with photos, a video tutorial by Inja explaining how to hand-sew a mask, and printable patterns! The CDC now recommends that everyone wear masks when outside, so we encourage you to make one at home!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Blackbelt Voices by Adena J. White, Kara Wilkins, and Katrina Dupins

"Blackbelt shares stories from and about Black folks down South." We love this podcast and can't recommend it enough! Hosts Adena J. White, Kara Wilkins, and Katrina Dupins produce this podcast from Arkansas, and the stories they share are thought-provoking and engaging. We'd recommend starting with episode 1 about the importance of the census, and would like to take this moment as an opportunity to remind you to please out your census form if you haven't already!

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Simi

 

Originally from Lagos, Simi's music is a sweet and joyful antidote to the "stay at home" blues. Since she collaborated with several different artists for Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 (her 31st birthday celebration album), each song has a totally different feel. The next time I turn 31, I'll do the same thing.  

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WHAT WE'RE READING // A Preventable Cancer Is on the Rise in Alabama by Eyal Press

In Alabama, because of the state's refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, women are more likely to die of cervical cancer than anywhere else in the US, and black women are almost twice as likely as white women to die from this preventable cancer. This article confronts a clear injustice and pushes the reader to reflect on how we can use our agency to make our country more equitable for all. 

 

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