Wednesday, May 27, 2009

African butterfly: An interview with Angelique Kidjo

I recently had the great fortune of meeting and interviewing Grammy Award-winning world music songstress Angelique Kidjo. The fiery diva, who hails from Benin in West Africa, was in Byron Bay to perform at the Bluesfest. During the interview I asked her questions about her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the founding of The Batonga Foundation through which she supports the education of young women in Africa.

According to Ms Kidjo the greatest threat facing women today in Africa is the lack of education. "When you are a girl born in Africa you have no identity, you belong to your family – your mother and your dad have the right to decide on your life. That's why there are so many early marriages," Kidjo explains.

"We have to change Africa," she argues. "We need women leadership. We need women to be empowered in order to save the life of their children. So we need to educate the women...Because you have to have that protection of education in order to be a leader wise enough, and strong enough, and powerful enough to make the men of your country realise that we are not enemies, we are partners."

To find out more about The Batonga Foundation and how you can help out visit:

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Santa Fe style

Yes, I know it's been ages since my last post. Needless to say, I have numerous, not so good, excuses. Not only have I been working, but I've been off celebrating my 40th birthday (yes, I really am THAT old), attending Byron Bay's Bluefest, tripping around the countryside for parties and weddings, and I've been sick with the flu the last few weeks to boot! To get back in the swing of things I thought I'd share a recent slideshow of my photographs I put together on Santa Fe, New Mexico, for MSN New Travel. Enjoy!

Often referred to as the 'City Different', Santa Fe, New Mexico, lives up to its reputation as a truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Dominated by adobe buildings and pueblo style architecture and lined with rows of chic art galleries and superb restaurants, it is consistently rated one of the world's top travel destinations. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and with an elevation of 7000 feet, Santa Fe is not only the United States' oldest state capital but its highest. Standing at the cross-roads of Spanish, Mexican and Native American cultures, this charming southwestern town has created a unique style and ambiance all of its own. Home to around 70,000 people, Santa Fe has long been a rich source of original American design. Founded in 1610 by Spanish colonists, European traditions were quickly adapted to the Pueblo Indian building materials and methods, creating an architectural style that is one of the most distinct in the world.

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