Category Archives: Diva World News

Have You Heard?

A new pilot stands up to modern slavery in the Nigerian community

A new pilot campaign launched today will help tackle modern slavery within the Nigerian community in the UK. It will focus on helping those trapped in domestic  slavery, where victims are typically kept against their will, mistreated and forced to work long hours with no pay.

Leading local charities, community and faith groups including Celestial Church of Christ Manchester, Redeemed Christian Church of God – The Pathfinder and Nigerian Community in Manchester are working together to raise awareness and increase reporting within at-risk communities.

A short film, developed in partnership with the Salvation Army and child protection charity AFRUCA, is being launched to highlight how incidents of domestic slavery are happening under the radar in Nigerian communities across the UK, and to empower communities to report concerns confidentially and anonymously to the Modern Slavery helpline.

Slavery is a problem in every country which has tried to measure it.  There are an estimated 10,000-13,000 victims of Modern Slavery in the UK today.   No community is immune; we have encountered modern day slavery in nail bars, car washes, on fishing boats and farms and in people’s homes.   Nigeria remains one of the UK’s major source countries for victims of Modern Slavery, including human trafficking.

The ‘Have you Heard?’ film, produced by award-winning Nigerian film maker Ogo Okpue, demonstrates the devastating impact of being held as a domestic slave (also known as illegal househelp), underlines the potential consequences for perpetrators and the specialist support available to victims.

Young Nigerian women are particularly at risk – one such victim is Glory*. Thirteen year old Glory was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria by a woman who told her mother she could have a better life in London. In reality she was forced to work between 6am-9pm, and often beyond. Glory was shouted at and beaten for incidents as minor as not realising her Madame had finished her cup of tea, with the frequency of the beatings increasing as time went on. Sometimes her Madame’s husband would visit Glory in the night and sexually assault heri.

Anne Read, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery at The Salvation Army said: 

“Have you Heard? brings a very hidden crime to the surface and drives the message home that it’s the responsibility of all of us to spot the signs that someone is being kept in unfair conditions and report it. It may be a crime that happens behind closed doors but the signs are out there – we just need to look for them and do something about it. People should feel confident that anything suspicious they report will be acted on and anyone rescued from this kind of exploitation will receive the specialist support they need from The Salvation Army and our partners.”

Debbie Ariyo, Chief Executive of AFRUCA said: 

“There are many indicators which point to someone being kept in forced domestic servitude. If you have a suspicion, ask yourself does the person seem afraid and anxious? Do they seem to stand out from other family members? What conditions is the person living in? We’re hoping Have you Heard? will encourage people to report suspicions so victims can be get the crucial support they need.”

The Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Sarah Newton said:

“Domestic slavery devastates the lives of victims and strips them of their basic human rights. We are proud to support the Nigerian community in bringing this terrible crime into the spotlight.”

“The Government is driving world-leading action to tackle modern slavery but we cannot do it alone.  Professionals, charities and the wider community all have a vital part to play as we work together to end this.”

To report concerns, seek advice or get help call the confidential UK Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700 or visit the website

The Have you Heard? film is available at


Tina Lobondi Showcases At We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The Department of Arts & Culture, as part of its Africa Month Festival, hosted  the We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza on 27 May 2015. Appointing African Fashion International (AFI), the leading fashion promotions company in Africa, to coordinate the Fashion Extravaganza. The event, held at the Museum of African Design in the fashionable and culturally diverse Maboneng area in Johannesburg, featured fashion designers from across the continent.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The evening celebrated the style, design and heritage of the African continent. Showcasing designers include Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), ARAPAPA at Santa Anzo (Uganda), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), Alphadi (Niger), Sophie Zinga (Senegal), Tina Lobondi (DRC), Kiko Romeo (Kenya) and MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa). Garments, rooted in African heritage and re-imagined in a global context, were showcased on a runway, worn by models from South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the DRC.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

Fashion and clothing is a central aspect of cultural identity. In further celebrating this, guests were be given the unique opportunity to view a fashion exhibition of garments created by The Carnival Company – in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture – as part of We Are Africa Month celebrations. These garments are inspired by the diverse African heritage, particularly African masquerade and carnival attire.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The evening’s event was held together by Master of Ceremonies Gaetano Kagwa, a Ugandan media personality. Alongside the fashion showcase, Xhosa songstress Simphiwe Dana and spoken-word by poet Naima McClean, known as the First Lady of Urban Cool, performed, bringing together the evening’s celebration of African culture. Adding to the cultural experience of the night, Sanza Sandile (a Swaziland-born chef known as the ‘king of Yeoville’) served a “journey through African cuisine”, his take on Afro-fusion cooking with a modern twist.

Tina Lobondi
Tina Lobondi

The We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza was part of the exciting programme for Africa Month that took place throughout the month of May. Africa Month is a festival of ideas and cultural exchange, organized by the Department of Arts & Culture. It provided a platform and network for conversations about the African continent. These will go beyond the challenges to successes experienced and a recommitment to work for the continued development and integration of the continent. The theme for this inaugural Africa Month, launched by the Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa at Freedom Park (Pretoria) on 1 April 2015, is We Are Africa – ‘Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo’.

By Marica Quarsingh

Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is set to wow brides-to-be at this month’s Bluewater Bridal Fair.

Jamaica is one of the world’s favourite and most unique wedding and honeymoon destination. From 17 – 19 October 2014, the JTB in partnership with Jewel Resorts will be at Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent, for one of the UK’s largest wedding fairs. Jamaica has the reputation for being a great place to ‘tie the knot’, and JTB officers will be available at the Fair to discuss wedding options with prospective brides and grooms on getting married in the Caribbean’s most appealing wedding destination. The team will also offer exclusive wedding packages to attendees. There will also be information on must-do honeymoon experiences, from climbing Dunn’s River Falls to cycling through the breathtaking Blue Mountains as well as options on romantic resorts or locations where children can come along and be part of the big day.

Couples can marry just 24 hours after arriving on the island, with hotels like Jewel Resorts providing their guests with all-inclusive wedding packages for a stress-free occasion. At Bluewater, Jewel Resorts will share information about their celebrated wedding packages, available at each of their three Jamaican resorts. Whether it’s an intimate ceremony or a larger celebration, brides at Jewel Resorts can pick from wedding packages ranging from ‘Precious Gem’ to ‘Diamond’ which allows them to combine their dream-honeymoon with their nuptials. In addition to the beautiful ambience and luxurious accommodation, Jewel Resorts also offer complimentary Honeymoon Registry, and allow friends and family of the wedding party to treat newly-weds to special wedding gifts, such as upgrading to a honeymoon suite or a couple’s massage.

Nollywood Veteran Richard Mofe-Damijo Suffering Mystery Ailment

Looking a shadow of his former self, Nollywood veteran Richard Mofe-Damijo is allegedly having a serious health issue. The divo who once set female hearts aflutter is battling a life threatening liver ailment. The news is yet to be confirmed by Richard’s camp, but going by the image that was posted on actress Stella Damasus’s facebook page, all is not well. Her comment that accompanied the image asking people to pray for him set alarm-bells ring. She said:  “One of the Popular Nollywood Actor and a brother from another Mother Richard Mofe-Damijo A.K.A. RMD is currently battling with Live threatening sickness now, this is evident from this picture. May God preserve his life and heal him For us”.

Before and Now

Richard last public outing was on the 9th of May to honour the Nollywood icon and producer Amaka Igwe who sadly passed away from asthma related ailment on the 29th of April 2014. Whatever the ailment is, we wish a speedy recovery for Richard as we still want him to set our hearts aflutter.

The city of Dallas embraces African fashions and cultural heritage

L-R: Publisher Tosan Aduayi, Kimma Wreh of Tekay Designs and Regina Onyeibe (The City of Dallas Africa Liaison officer)

On May 16th, 2014, the City of Dallas and Trendy Africa Magazine co-hosted the second Dallas International Fashion Event to spotlight global fashion and the cultural heritage of Africa, including a mix of Asian and European cultures.  The event was a platform for international relations.  Held at the Dallas City Performance Hall, the evenings lineup featured dancers, entertainers, dignitaries, and international fashion designers.

L-R: Regina Onyeibe, Eeefy Ike, Publisher Tosan Aduayi

The event was presented by Trendy Africa Magazine to benefit the Dallas Youth Council.  Nigerian Senator Florence Ita Giwa, Dallas Councilwoman Vonciel Jones-Hill, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa and Publisher May Olusola were among the honorees to receive the distinguished Tammae Award. TAMMAE is an annual mothers appreciation concept by Trendy Africa Magazine to honor women who have impacted their communities through personal and professional efforts.

L-R: Robert Brune of Arik Air New York, Tosan Aduayi and Chibuzor Okonta of Trendy Africa Magazine

The presenting fashion designers were Afua Sam – Studio DMaxsi (Ghana), Aphropolitan (USA), Teddy Legredion – Blokes-N-Divas (Nigeria), Nick Rose – Bose Trendy Beads (Nigeria), Eefy Ike  Style Is Innate (Nigeria), Wumi Oluwadafe – Wumi O Collection (Nigeria), Cassidy Elizabeth Mae Brown – Elizabeth Mae (USA), Lucas Escalada  LNE (Equatorial Guinea), and Kimma Wreh – TeKay Designs (Liberia).

L-R: Florence Ita Giwa, Senator of Nigeria, Abike Dabiri Erewa member of the Nigeria Federal House of Representatives, Publisher Tosan Aduayi and May Olusola, Publisher and founder of MannaEXPRESS
Kimma Wreh of TeKay Designs w/ event models.

I am pleased to be chosen as one of the key fashion presenters during this showcase. explains Kimma Wreh of TeKay Designs.  I create the type of African-inspired dresses and ethnic bridal gowns that many people dont get to see.  Dallas Texas is recognized as the ninth-largest city and a highly culturally diverse city in the U.S.  This fashion platform provided the Dallas community an opportunity to experience alternative fashion styles that are accessible here in Texas. Thats why this showcase is so important!  Fashion design and styling is a good example of how people can generate the best ideas when we embrace our cultural differences.

The Dallas Int’l Fashion event was attended by special guests including: Dwaine Caraway (Dallas City Councilman), Karl Z. (City of Dallas), Lee McKinney (Assistant Director, office of Economic Development, City of Dallas), Honorable Abike Dabiri Erewa (Chairman, Diaspora committee and Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria), Ime Udo (member National Council for Arts and Culture, in Nigeria), Bob Brunner (Vice President – Arik Air Int’l), Eeefy Ike (Int’l Motivational Speaker and Fashion Designer), Regina Onyeibe (The City of Dallas, Africa liaison officer), and Chinwe Isaac (Nigerian Actress and Film Producer).

African Lions Rising

With delegates from across Africa in attendance, the Africa Lions Rising event which was held at the HoneyWell Auditorium, Lagos Business School for the Africa Business Conference proved that the private sector growth in Africa is an arm of the economy that could propel and enhance Intra-African Trade.

The event facilitated a great networking hub where private, businesses, senior public sector representatives and academia were able to forge partnerships to scale their current operations across the continent and shape the Africa of present and beyond.

This year’s event shed light on key issues and opportunities in Africa’s Manufacturing, Energy, Agri-Business, Fashion, ICT, Media & Entertainment and Solid Mineral sectors.

Keynote speaker, Rod Glover Blondin, renowned Economist and Advisor to Africa Exchange Holdings, spoke about trading and creating value across Africa, he said; “African businesses need to put in both economic and social prosperity – Africapitalism. We need to put in a sustainability index, to be a part of social capitalism and do our business with integrity; all these pay off in the end”.

He went on to add; “As private sector proponents, we need to actively voice our concerns, put forward solutions and suggestions, work with the public sector (not for them) and do not fight corruption with corruption”.

Actress Genevieve Nnaji

Actress Genevieve Nnaji, Audu Maikori of Chocolate City Records and Sam Onyemelukwe of Trace TV were also present to shed light on how the booming entertainment industry was helping to grow the African economy.

The second instalment of African Lions Rising proves that enhancing Intra-African Trade via private sector growth  may be the most viable way for Africa to shed the third world economy tag.

“A decade ago, Africa resembled the Asia of the 1960s, a jumble of undemocratic regimes, broken by conflict and poverty, with few prospects for progress. Today the story is different, Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents on Earth!” ~ Unknown


A pioneer in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has revealed the experiences of African women facing this controversial practice in a captivating new book.

Berhane Ras-Work has released The Unbidden Pain, taking the reader on a moving journey through her 27-year campaign against female excision, towards a culture where this tradition might finally be eradicated.

Ras-Work’s personal narrative touchingly shows how global attention was gradually secured around the issue, and how positive changes were achieved through the encouragement of community responsibility, offering hope to women throughout the world.

She extensively records experiences of victory in the face of daunting challenges, doubts, crises and the grotesquely odd situations faced by women and girls. Through her words, Ras-Work demonstrates how self-assertiveness and bonding has helped to resolve this sensitive issue.

By acknowledging the place of discourse within the community, among youths, leaders and technocrats, she shows a practical and refreshing way of ensuring women’s rights within an evolving Africa.

About the Author: Berhane Ras-Work has been instrumental in the fight against harmful traditional practices, especially FGM. She is a pioneer in encouraging community responsibility and helped form the Inter-African Committee on Harmful Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC) where she has dedicated her entire life to supporting women and girls. Her commitment to the campaign against FGM has earned her several national and international awards, including The Netherlands Medal and the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria and she says her life’s ambition is to see a world devoid of practices that harm the integrity of women and girls. The dossier on FGM would not be complete without her. She is married to Terrefe Ras-Work and has three children.

TESCO Partners With SIMPLY AFRICAN FOOD To Stock Ofada Stew & Jollof Rice!

Simply African brand had partnered with the British multi-national superstore TESCO to stock two favourite West African Delicacies. As diversity and inclusivity goes, TESCO has gone one better! The superstore brand is now offering the popular West African (Nigerian) Ofada Stew & Jollof Rice. A firm favourite amongst many West Africans, and a marked winner to capture footfall of the diaspora market residing in the UK to their stores. Too tired to cook the Sunday staple, can’t cook it, or can’t be bothered to get to that favourite Nigerian restaurant of yours? Then head down to your nearest TESCO store! Yummy culinary delights divas!


Ingredients for Ofada Stew

Before you cook Ofada Stew

  1. Wash and blend the peppers and the onion. Remember to remove the seeds from the green tatashe or the green bell peppers.
  2. Grind the crayfish and the locust bean seasoning with a dry mill.

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook all the meat and fish with the stock cube till well done.
  2. Pour the pepper blend into a separate pot and cook on high heat till all the water dries up.
  3. Pour the red palm oil into a clean dry pot and bleach till it turns clear. It should look like vegetable oil when done. It took me 12 minutes on low to medium heat to bleach the one in the video below. Your own time may vary depending on the type of heater you have and the quantity of oil.
  4. Leave the oil to cool down a bit then add the boiled pepper puree. Fry till all the water has dried from the pepper.
  5. Add the crayfish and locust bean seasoning, the orisirisi meat and fish and stir well.
  6. Add salt to taste, leave to simmer and it is ready to be served.

Serve with Ofada Rice. To get the full effects, line the plate with uma leaves. You can also use banana leaves.

Tips for bleaching red palm oil

  1. Bleach the palm oil with a clean dry stainless steel pot. Aluminium pots work well too. Never use non-stick pots or enamel pots when bleaching red palm oil.
  2. If possible, use a free flowing pure red palm oil. The congealed almost yellow ones contain some water.
  3. Use low heat when bleaching the oil. This ensures that the oil is not very dark when done.
  4. Do so in a well ventilated area. Turn on your kitchen extractor to remove the smoke as much as possible. Turn off your smoke alarm if any, you don’t want everyone to know that you are cooking Ofada Stew. 😉
  5. Do not leave the pot unattended because the oil will catch fire if overheated. Check it constantly and turn off the heat once the bleaching is complete.
  6. Do allow the oil to cool down a bit before adding the ingredients. This will prevent hot splashes of oil and will keep your food from burning due to the high temperatures.


IDRIS ELBA Off The Market *Worldwide Heartbreak*

Idris Elba & New Partner Naiyana Gareth

After starring in two of the hottest TV series on TV, The Wire and Luther, he is now being tipped for an Oscar for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in the new biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Idris Elba has broken millions of hearts after going public with his new lady love Naiyana Gareth – a London-based hair and make-up artist. They were pictured looking loved up  at this week’s Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year awards at Claridge’s Hotel in London where he picked up the Man of the Year’ gong [congratulations Mr Elba.]

Idris Elba With Award

Though the news just broke, sources claim that the pair have in-fact been dating for a few months. Possibly true as that looks like a baby bump we spot on Naiyana’s hot bod [look at picture again.]

Whatever, they case maybe, [we are still sobbing into our hot chocolate mugs] we wish the pair only the very best. Mr Elba, our crushes linger, but our love for you our divo, on what you’ve achieved personally and professionally extends to your woman too…#WeWantThatInvite  *cheeky grins all round.*

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, will be released in the UK in January,also starring former Bond girl Naomie Harris. Watch trailer below (click link)

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – Official Trailer (HD) Idris Elba


Karen Millen OBE & Team Raise £46,314 For Teens Unite!!

Karen Millen OBE and team raise £46,314 for Teens Unite by completing Vietnam to Cambodia cycling challenge

Teens Unite Bike Team At Angkor Wat

Date: 9th-21st January 2013

Who: Group of twelve of the charity’s supporters including Teens Unite founders Karen Millen OBE and Debbie Pezzani.

What: The team cycled 500km (310 miles) from Vietnam to Cambodia.

The challenge began in the fast paced city of Ho Chi Minh, from where the group cycled on to visit the historic Cu Chi Tunnels. Having crossed the border into Cambodia, the team did many kilometers on quiet roads, through local village communities on the way to the capital Phnom Penh. The challenge ended up in Angkor Wat, where the group embarked on an in-depth cycle of the renowned complex of Angkor.

The challenge saw the twelve complete 7 days of cycling up to 96km a day in extremely hot and humid conditions.

Charity: Teens Unite was founded in 2007 by Debbie Pezzani and Karen Millen OBE and supports teenagers with cancer and other life limiting illnesses. The charity aims to help young people build on their self esteem and self confidence and reduce feelings of isolation by taking them on fun days out such as concerts, football matches and motivational workshops. Teens Unite have also just opened the first respite care centre for young people aged 13 – 24 in the UK.

What makes Teens Unite unique is that the charity supports teenagers through treatment and beyond, for as long as they need or want the support. Many teens find that once their treatment has stopped this is when they most need support as they have missed large amounts of school, work or university due to their treatment. This inevitably affects their friendships and self confidence. The main aim of the charity is to get the teens together as often as possible in a fun-filled environment; giving them the chance to talk to each other and gain strength from realising that they are not alone in their battle.

Teens Unite recently asked the teens they support to fill in a questionnaire about the charity. One teen said that “Teens Unite is my lifeline”. This powerful quote kept the team motivated throughout their challenge.

Why: Karen talked about her motivations behind the challenge:

Karen Millen OBE Spending Time With A Cambodian Family

“I decided to take on this challenge to coincide with a major development in the growth of the charity that Debbie and I set up 5 years ago. Teens Unite have recently opened the first specialist respite care centre for young people aged 13-24 in the UK. In order to raise funds and awareness so that all the teenagers we support are able to come for a break at the house I knew I would need to take on a big challenge.  I am keen on keeping fit; however, it wasn’t until after I had agreed to cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia that I actually owned a bicycle! Watching the Olympics throughout the summer inspired me to do something I have never done before. I was worried about the heat and humidity but I have met so many inspirational teenagers through the charity that I knew I had to cross the finishing line for each and every one of them”.

Karen talks post challenge:

“This has been the most amazing experience. It was an incredible journey of extreme contrasts; a challenge that covered so many things both emotionally and physically. I think it gave us all a great sense of purpose and achievement. The combined total that this challenge has raised is fantastic – far more than we had hoped for, and the money will go a long way to help Teens Unite to help more teens”.

Debbie Pezzani talked about the challenge:

Debbie Pezzani and Karen Millen OBE

‘It was a trip of a lifetime. Not for the faint hearted but it was a challenge that I feel it enriched my life in many ways; culturally, historically and personally. It really made me appreciate all that we have having seen others who have so little that are so happy. We are delighted that the challenge has raised over £46,000, and we plan to spend a portion of the money working with the teens on a series of events in 2013. We will make up an events committee of teenagers who we spend a couple of months working with to put on a spectacular evening. The teens gain priceless experience working in a team, having meetings with businesses and securing deals. They also have the opportunity to experience an area that they may be considering as a future career option by choosing to work alongside the chefs, waiters, PR or marketing teams. These events have been a huge success in the past and the teens have reported how the experience not only gained them more confidence in themselves, but also in their future work prospects. The rest of the money will go into running the Teens Unite Respite Home and ensuring that all our teens have the opportunity to benefit from a respite break in 2013. A huge thank you must go to all the bikers and their sponsors for helping us to raise such a phenomenal amount’.