Sexual healing: My wife refuses to have sex with me. Do we have a future together?

We live and work together, but she doesn’t want anything else to do with me. What now?

My wife of 30 years and I are separated (but still live in the same flat) and own a very successful business together. About nine years ago, we had a massive row and she told me she didn’t love me.

I am quite a dominant person, but my mother had dementia and my wife had myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for a long time, so it fell to me to hold everything together. We went to five or six counsellors, separated in our marriage but still kept trying to make it work. All this time, we have been a dynamic team running our business.

Then, about a year ago, she didn’t want anything more to do with me sexually, wouldn’t kiss me and refused to have sex. We can’t seem to move on. I am 66, she is 63 and I feel time is not on our side.

You are obviously a person who has been successful in business and, it seems, it is extremely important to you to succeed in all things, including your relationship. But the kind of problem-solving you need to apply in your work is inadequate in matters of love and sex. It is never easy to combine work and eroticism within a marriage, and, on top of that, you have suffered painful losses.

After many years of trying your best, I can understand why it is so hard for you to let go, but this relationship – apart from the business connection – has probably run its course. Since neither of you is happy, could you try to let go of the need to “succeed” in saving this relationship?

Could you reframe the idea of failure in your marriage as an opportunity? A chance for you to have many more good and happier years – but apart, and perhaps with other people? You both deserve happiness, healing and a good sex life, but, while you are still living together, this will not be possible.


• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

• If you would like fellow readers to respond to a problem of yours, send us an outline of the situation of about 150 words. For advice from readers on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns.

• All correspondence should reach us by Wednesday morning. Email: private@bloomgist.com.

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Private lives: I don’t have sex live with my boyfriend because we live with his mother.

He is kind, funny, from a well-off background, and his mum charges me minimal rent. I don’t think I’ll find anyone better, but feel I’m living like a pensioner.

My husband told me a woman kissed him, should I forgive him?
File photo: Unity Gym

I am 26 and at a top university. I live at my boyfriend’s mum’s house for minimal rent, but feelas if I am living as a pensioner. Our sex life is non-existent: we have tried weekends away, but still rarely have sex.

When we do, it is unsatisfying and awkward. I’ve lost weight and socialise more, and feel more like my old self. I avoid his advances and fantasise about my friend. My boyfriend is kind, funny and popular – our relationship seems perfect.

He comes from a well-off, middle-class background (I do not) and I feel I won’t find anyone better. I feel trapped – he loves me and would be devastated if I left.


• When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

• If you would like fellow readers to respond to a problem of yours, send us an outline of the situation of about 150 words. For advice from readers on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns.

• All correspondence should reach us by Wednesday morning. Email: private@bloomgist.com.

Should couples sleep apart?

Ford has invented a mattress that ‘nudges’ you if you start crowding your partner – but beds are for more than just sleeping.

Passion killer … Ford’s ‘lane-sharing bed’
Passion killer … Ford’s ‘lane-sharing bed’

In the same week that a Kickstarter campaign was set up to fund the production of an interactive button encouraging partners to signal they are in the mood for sex, as opposed to just, you know, telling them, the carmaker Ford has suggested an even less romantic product – stay-in-your-lane mattress technology for couples. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ford’s mattress design would include a mechanism to “nudge” partners to their own side of the bed if they began to dominate the space. According to studies (no doubt funded by bed manufacturers), one in four people report better sleep when they sleep alone, which does make some sense, given there is no risk of duvet larceny by your other half, or disruptive snoring. But the idea of couples actually sleeping in separate beds is rather saddening. It seems just a step away from the set-up of former couple Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, who lived in adjoining houses.

Perhaps it’s the practice of sleeping in separate rooms that Ford is trying to avoid, although it remains perplexing why a car manufacturer actually cares (the mattress is at the prototype stage). Maybe less tired people buy more cars? There is also, surely, a glaring issue with this mattress: there are other things couples do in bed, which involve being quite close together, and during which being “nudged” probably isn’t ideal.


Related stories


“Humans are most vulnerable when sleeping,” says Neil Stanley, the author of How to Sleep Well, “so we’re programmed to wake when something or someone touches us unexpectedly.” The thing is, though, your significant other sleeping in your bed touching you isn’t unexpected, is it? It’s sort of the point of sleeping together, in both senses of the term.

Don’t get me wrong: none of us enjoy being locked in a vice-like grip by the one-night stand we cannot wait to kick out at first light, but spooning with someone you actually like, nay, love; holding hands; “snuggling” (so sorry) – all of these things are quite nice. So, I won’t be investing in Ford’s mattress – although I am sure it will come in any colour, so long as it’s black.


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6 ways to have better relationships in 2019

By NYT Smarter Living editors

Even if the foundation of your relationship has long been built on trial and error, a relationship is nothing more than small growths and achievements, marked by the occasional misstep. The Smarter Living team has culled a few tips from our archive to help you grow in that new relationship, rekindle an old flame or turn a breakup into a positive experience.

Relax. It’s going to be O.K. A 2012 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology identified three distinct expressions of patience: interpersonal, which is maintaining calm when dealing with someone who is upset, angry or being a pest; life hardships, or finding the silver lining after a serious setback; and daily hassles, which is suppressing annoyance at delays or anything irritating that would inspire a snarky tweet.

The good news is the same study found that patience as a personality trait is modifiable. Even if you’re not a particularly patient person today, there’s still hope you can be a more patient person tomorrow. 

Whether you love them or hate them, parties are important. They are where people meet future business and romantic partners and friends, where small talk becomes the stuff of life. And who among us, save the most self-sufficient and confident partygoer (who is that insufferable person, anyway?), wouldn’t like to party better?

This guide will teach you how to make seamless, beautiful small talk that leads to important conversations and connections. It will ease you into mingling effortlessly, and it will even demonstrate the right way to leave (without ruining your life).

People who are looking to recapture a close friendship after some time apart don’t quite fit into this framework. It can be disorienting to feel like you’re back at square one with a person (or sibling) you have a shared history with.

But given that most people are only a text message, email or phone call away, it’s not always clear how — and, frankly, if — you should approach them. For anyone thinking about reconnecting with a cherished friend, here are some smart ways to regain closeness once a friendship has cooled. Read more >>>

Self-criticism can take a toll on our minds and bodies. “We’re all our own worst critics.” Ever heard that one before? Yes, it’s an obnoxious cliché, but it’s not just self-help fluff. Evolutionary psychologists have studied our natural “negativity bias,” which is that instinct in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are.

In other words: We’ve evolved to give more weight to our flaws, mistakes and shortcomings than our successes.

Pop culture has trained us to think of breakups as excuses to binge on ice cream in the dark for a month. But that doesn’t help anyone.

Immediately booking a flight to Cancun isn’t necessarily a suitable plan for everyone. Grieving takes time. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather an essential step toward accepting change.

Couples can fight about anything. It’s just a fact of relationships. But arguments about money (like that expensive trip you took) have a tendency to be particularly toxic because they’re layered with deep emotional and personal history.

These chats do have their challenges, but they can also be deeply bonding. And more important, they can keep serious money problems at bay and help us save and invest more smartly.

Jay Daniel Wright

Does the age of consent push people to have sex too soon?

Half of young women reported having a first sexual experience before they were ‘competent’. Is it the fault of the law – or is it more complicated?

Very, very few young people said they wished the first sexual encounter had been sooner.
Very, very few young people said they wished the first sexual encounter had been sooner. Photo: jacoblund/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The headline was enough to make you drop your marmalade: half of young women, and 43% of young men, said that they were not “competent” when they lost their virginity, in a survey of nearly 3,000 17- to 24-year-olds released this week. If the idea of sexual competence strikes you as inherently droll, Melissa Palmer, who conducted the study as a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, helpfully subdivided it into four areas: consent, autonomy, contraceptive use and “readiness”. The study looked only at heterosexual encounters.

Consent was measured by a three-option question about willingness: were you and your partner equally willing, were you more willing, were they more willing? This yielded the finding that nearly 20% of women felt less willing than their partner.

Autonomy depended on the circumstances of the encounter, which ranged from “I was drunk/under the influence of drugs” and “All my friends were doing it” to “It felt like a natural follow-on” and “I was in love”. Palmer notes: “Those questions basically established whether the influencer was external to the self – peer pressure or alcohol – or internal to the self, driven by your own feelings.”

Contraceptive use is straightforward, and most young people – almost 90% – had used reliable contraception.

Contraceptive use is straightforward, and most young people – almost 90% – had used reliable contraception.

The question about readiness was: “Thinking about the first time you had sex, was it about the right time, do you wish you had waited longer or do you wish you hadn’t waited so long?” Just under 40% of women, and just over a quarter of men, did not feel they’d had sex for the first time at the right time. “Very, very few wished it had been sooner,” Palmer says.

Only those respondents who answered positively in all four categories were deemed sexually competent. The report points out that there are implications beyond sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies – which have been in steady decline for the past 20 years – for young people’s wellbeing.

Does this mean the age of consent is too low? By definition it must be arbitrary, for as long as human beings are different, and mature at different rates, there can be no objective standard for sexual readiness. Self-evidently, though, an age of consent that would result in a pregnancy that would be physically harmful to the mother must be prioritising something other than the woman’s wellbeing. For that reason, I would put 14 as too young, although that’s the age of consent (at least for heterosexuals) in many countries, from Germany and Macedonia to Madagascar and Malawi. Eighteen seems pretty stringent, though, and is far more common in Africa than in Europe. In South Korea, the age of consent is 20. In the US, sexual consent laws vary from state to state, tending to put consent at 16 (though sometimes 17 or 18). Many states also have “Romeo and Juliet” laws, which reduce or eliminate penalties when parties are close in age.

Suffice to say, there is no direct correlation between what we would think of as the liberalism of a country and its age of consent, nor between the age of consent and the prevalence of sexual violence and/or gender discord, except at the extreme ends. Countries where the age of consent is “at marriage” tend to have extremely high levels of violence against women and girls, although in the Republic of Congo, the so-called rape capital of the world, the age of consent is 18. “The age of consent is a legal issue, which is something that we can’t talk about as public health researchers,” Palmer says. “The countries that have close-in-age type laws, so they don’t focus on the age of young people but the age difference between partners, seem to take a more nuanced approach.”

Historically, the age of consent in Britain was 10 or 12 until the end of the 19th century, but the concept of consent was so different – women having no sexual agency, marriage being taken as a blanket consent – that it’s not comparable. The drive in the 1880s towards an age of consent of 16 was politically underpinned by the child labour elements of the factories acts of the previous two decades, which did more of the heavy lifting in terms of differentiating between adults and children than any moral, sexual crusade. And 16 is where the age of consent has stood since, only examined in recent memory as an equality issue when the age of gay consent was brought down from 18 to 16, in 2001.

So do these laws make any difference to the lived, regular experience of sex, or is their main use for the purpose of criminalising the exploitation of children? Palmer refers to some evidence – not from her own study – that having 16 as a legal age of consent “can provide a useful safety net, in that people can say, ‘It’s not legal’, as a way of resisting pressure to have sex.” But it doesn’t always work that way. Paula Hall is a sex therapist, and clinical director of the Laurel Centre. She says: “I’ve heard a lot of young people say, ‘Rather than the age of consent, 16 is the deadline.’”

In tandem with that pressure is the availability of porn. “That becomes the easier option,” Hall says. “You can have sexual experience without risk.” But there are things you could never learn from pornography. “They don’t have minor mishaps in porn. You rarely even see anyone put a condom on, and never the fiddly bit. Certainly in porn you do not see a guy losing his erection putting a condom on – it’s all so seamless.”

Faced with these professional standards, some people are deferring actual sex for longer. “A lot of the guys that I’ve worked with who use porn compulsively are still virgins at 23, 24, 28,” Hall says. “The longer they’ve gone without a real-time partner, they start making out they’ve got more experience than they have, and they become absolutely terrified of it. They develop porn-induced erectile dysfunction. They worry about living up to the standards they see in pornography; they worry about losing their erection.”

The idea of people having sex when they are not autonomous, or not ready, suggests immediately the world of victims and culprits, but that’s not what people describe. “They’re not necessarily a victim of someone else, but a victim of failure, a victim of their own insufficiency.”

Porn also interrupts the development of emotional readiness, if only because it never mentions it. “There’s a biological readiness, knowing your body is ready,” says Hall. “But there’s the psychological and the emotional bit as well. It has the potential to be the most wonderful, most amazing, most intimate encounter in the world. But it also has the potential to be really quite soul-destroying. It can make you feel fantastic or it can make you feel like shit, and are you ready to deal with either outcome?”

There’s an answer that sounds a bit glib, which is: are you ever ready to have a sexual encounter with someone who doesn’t care as much as you do? Is there any age at which that would be OK? And there’s a very 21st-century answer, which is: don’t let anyone do anything until they have hit full resilience, which is probably at about 35. Hall thinks the age of consent is a red herring. “If we lowered the age of consent to 14 or upped it to 18 or 20, it wouldn’t make the difference we think it would make. What matters is how we talk about sex to young people, and to each other.”

Women leading the coverage as Nigerian fashion booms

It’s not easy running a fashion magazine in Nigeria.

Spurred by the leadership of entrepreneurial women and Nigeria’s cultural cachet around Africa and the world, the country’s fashion magazine industry has found a receptive audience.

From left, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Chioma Onwutalobi, Betty Irabor and Tewa Onasanya. Photo: Fom left, Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times, Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times, Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times, Sophia Spring for The New York Times

From left, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Chioma Onwutalobi, Betty Irabor and Tewa Onasanya. Photo: Fom left, Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times, Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times, Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times, Sophia Spring for The New York Times

By Adenike Olanrewaju


Printing presses are few, and high-quality paper stock is hard to find. In Lagos, the country’s largest city and the hub of its fashion industry, consistent electricity is an issue, with power going in and out throughout the day. And there is no formal distribution network, beyond selling the publications in a select few chain outlets or at major airports.

Many magazines rely on street vendors to sell single issues to commuters stuck in the notoriously slow Lagos traffic along thoroughfares like Obafemi Awolowo Way in the city’s Ikeja section. The transactions are clumsy: Customers quickly throw money out their car windows before traffic picks up and they move on.

Beyond all the logistical hurdles, roughly 87 million people in Nigeria — out of a population of around 200 million — live below the poverty line. But thanks to industries like oil, the country is also awash in wealth and opulence, and luxury brands are eager to establish firmer footholds there.

So the Nigerian fashion magazine industry has found a receptive young readership. People turn to the publications looking for the latest news about movie stars, Afrobeats artists, fashion models, social media personalities and African reality TV figures, along with events like Fashion Week in Lagos last month.

And it has benefited from the cultural cachet that Nigerian fashion and entertainment have built up around the globe.

Performers like Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and Davido have made Afrobeats, a musical style influenced by Caribbean, hip-hop, electronic and highlife music, popular worldwide. And Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is known, generates close to $700 million a year.

Nigerian designers have gained international recognition with a style sense that is inherently cultural. Amaka Osakwe’s women’s wear line Maki Oh has dressed boldface names like Michelle Obama, Lupita Nyong’o and the Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji using adire, a distinctive hand-woven dyed cloth from southwest Nigeria. On her Instagram page, the Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie showcases photos of herself in colorful, eye-grabbing outfits, along with the hashtag #MadeinNigeria. Another influential designer, Duro Olowu, who has dressed notable figures like Solange Knowles and Mrs. Obama, was born in Lagos and often posts inspiration from his home country on Instagram.

“In Lagos, the average girl on the street is wearing leopard print leggings, a red top and a big turban and she just doesn’t care,” said Bolaji Animashaun, founder of The Style HQ, a Lagos-based fashion and lifestyle website. “Our fashion is not soft. There’s something in us that is always fighting, and it comes through in our style.”

Here are four entrepreneurial women, ranging in age from 28 to 61, who are leading publications both new and old to capture this cultural milieu. In doing so, they are serving a wide audience throughout the African continent and within diasporic enclaves in the United States and Britain and telling the story of Nigeria to the world.


GENEVIEVE MAGAZINE

Betty Irabor

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Betty Irabor, sitting, who created Genevieve Magazine in 2003, and her daughter, Sonia, who is an editor there. Photo: Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

When Betty Irabor started Genevieve in 2003, advertisers paid little mind to women’s magazines.

“The Guardian, Punch, Vanguard,” Mrs. Irabor said, referring to the publications that drew ad dollars. “It was very business- and hard news-focused, and very little money was dedicated to lifestyle and fashion pages.”

And so, as a member of Lagos’s elite — Mrs. Irabor, 61, has been married to the media personality Soni Irabor for 35 years — she leveraged her personal contacts with advertisers to secure funding. Even those who agreed thought Genevieve would be short-lived. “Magazines here come and go every day,” she said.

Fifteen years later, the publication is one of Nigeria’s leading women’s magazines and has a staff of 14 working from its headquarters in Lagos’s Lekki neighborhood. It publishes 10 issues a year, retailing for 1,000 naira, or about $2.80. The covers are glitzy and celebrity-driven: Its July/August edition featured the Nigerian actress Adesua Etomi, who starred in the Nollywood hit “The Wedding Party,” and the film veteran Joke Silva graced September’s cover. As publisher, Mrs. Irabor has become a celebrity of sorts herself; she was recently part of a Lancôme ad campaign.

The magazine has placed an emphasis on its digital operations, the better to serve an increasingly younger audience that wants round-the-clock coverage of celebrity news. And it is a family affair. Mrs. Irabor’s daughter, Sonia, 28, is an editor at the magazine, helping her mother stay abreast of what topics will appeal to young, cosmopolitan Nigerian professionals. Sonia’s confirmation name is also what gave the publication its title.

Mrs. Irabor is still pushing to bring attention to subjects she thinks the public is ready to read about. She has written a memoir, “Dust to Dew,” that chronicles her yearslong struggle with depression. In it, she reflects on a “mental breakdown” that she says was brought on by long hours at work and bouts of insomnia.

“I believe it’s time to get the conversation going,” she said. “I went through this and have survived. It will be O.K.”


TODAY’S WOMAN

Adesuwa Onyenokwe

Adesuwa Onyenokwe of Today’s Woman magazine, which publishes 10 issues a year and has an online audience of more than 200,000.

Adesuwa Onyenokwe of Today’s Woman magazine, which publishes 10 issues a year and has an online audience of more than 200,000. Photo: Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

After a 15-year stint as a reporter for Nigeria’s largest television network, NTA, Adesuwa Onyenokwe was tired of reporting stories that had no women in them. So she created a program for Nigerian public television called “Today’s Woman With Adesuwa.”

But, for a working mother of seven, producing the show soon became a challenge, too.

“I wanted to be more in control of my time,” said Ms. Onyenokwe, who is 55. “I wanted to see my kids.”

Her latest endeavor is Today’s Woman, a lifestyle and news magazine that publishes 10 times a year. Today’s Woman has also developed an app that costs 500 naira a month, or about $1.40. The app allows the magazine’s online audience of 200,000-plus readers to share content with one another.

Instead of featuring celebrities, its covers usually highlight topics many in Nigeria still consider taboo; articles like “Drug Abuse Is Closer Than You Think” and “Say No to Domestic Violence.”

“No one was really addressing these problems,” she said. “Beyond the fashion, we’re insistent on addressing things that should matter.”

Ms. Onyenokwe remains committed to the magazine, but her plans for living a more relaxed lifestyle seem laughable now.

“My kids all say that I work harder than I’ve ever worked before,” she said. “But I believe in the importance of shining a light on important issues and just telling the story.”


GLAM AFRICA

Chioma Onwutalobi

Chioma Onwutalobi, editor of Glam Africa, left Nigeria at 17 and leads the publication from its office in the fashionable London neighborhood of Shoreditch.

Chioma Onwutalobi, editor of Glam Africa, left Nigeria at 17 and leads the publication from its office in the fashionable London neighborhood of Shoreditch. Photo: Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

Chioma Onwutalobi got her start as a gossip blogger, finding time to write even as she was earning a law degree at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain. After graduating, she started Glam Africa in 2015.

“I come from a very entrepreneurial family, so making something out of nothing was never a foreign concept to me,” she said.

Her quarterly magazine, focused on celebrity and lifestyle news, now has a circulation of 1.4 million, making it one of the most-read periodicals among women in Africa. It has offices in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Britain, with plans to expand to the United States.

It also places a premium on fostering a sense of intimacy with its audience. It hosts an annual Glam Africa gala, as well as smaller events throughout the year — usually brunches and tea parties — that often attract professionals with disposable income like doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. They are sponsored by European beauty brands like Schwarzkopf Got2b.

Recently, the magazine began a “Beyond Beauty” campaign featuring Britain-based social media influencers and bloggers sharing their experiences with self-acceptance and self-worth. At one event in London, a panel of women discussed their experiences with conditions like alopecia, in which a person loses her body hair, and vitiligo, in which the skin loses pigment, causing discolored patches. One panelist shared her struggles with discrimination based on skin tone, and another with the visible injuries she experienced from a burn accident.

Ms. Onwutalobi, 28, leads the magazine from its headquarters in the fashionable Shoreditch neighborhood in London, where she has lived since leaving Nigeria at 17. Every other month or so, Ms. Onwutalobi travels to the magazine’s offices in Africa to meet with potential advertisers, scout for writers and broker partnerships with local vendors. The majority of her staff is younger than 30, but when Ms. Onwutalobi has meetings with people outside the magazine, she is often the youngest executive in attendance.

“Being a woman, a young woman, it’s hard for people to listen to you,” she said. “Hands down, the hardest thing is getting men to listen to me. Sometimes, I have to spend an hour getting the men in the room to see me as an equal. It’s frustrating.”

She added: “This shouldn’t be an issue anymore. If African women are to be empowered, we’re going to need men to do their part.”


EXQUISITE MAGAZINE

Tewa Onasanya

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“Africa is having a moment,” said Tewa Onasanya, the founder and editor in chief of Exquisite Magazine. Photo: Sophia Spring for The New York Times

As founder and editor in chief of Exquisite Magazine, a lifestyle publication based in Lagos, Tewa Onasanya said she wanted to reveal the richness of homegrown African culture.

Ms. Onasanya, 40, a British-Nigerian, started the magazine in 2003 when, she said, the rest of the world looked to African diasporic enclaves in the United States and in Britain for inspiration. Now, people are able to find fashion inspiration directly from the continent, she said. She mentioned how gratifying it was to see Wizkid — best known to American audiences for his appearance in the Drake song “One Dance” — walking in a recent Dolce & Gabbana show and to hear how the sounds she grew up with are now considered mainstream.

“Nowadays, you hear Afrobeats in the clubs and you say to yourself, ‘Yes, we’re here,’” she said.

“Before, our culture existed in pockets abroad — in the U.K., in the United States,” she added. “But now everyone is starting to look to our talents here at home. Africa is having a moment.”

Exquisite covers fashion and celebrity news for an audience of primarily middle-income and affluent women in Nigeria. Its quarterly print publication has a circulation of about 10,000, but its website has 152,000 subscribers and gets about a million visits each week. It is also distributed through an email newsletter and the message platform WhatsApp, which is used widely in Africa.

When the supermodel Naomi Campbell arrived in Nigeria this year and expressed a desire to see Vogue magazine begin an African edition, Ms. Onasanya — like many others in the Nigerian fashion community — disagreed.

“I am a Vogue fan,” she said. “But starting a Vogue Africa seems a bit unnecessary, almost like reinventing the wheel. We have Lagos Fashion Week now; we have a thriving community of local designers and models, all with their ears to the street, so we’re not lacking in content.”

The magazine has a team of 11 and now has its own awards event: ELOY — Exquisite Ladies of the Year, which honors African women. It also holds two fund-raising walks to raise awareness for cervical cancer, a disease that kills one women every hour in Nigeria.

“Finally, people — ourselves included — are realizing our value and how important showing Africa’s talents to the world is,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Idris Elba writes stage show about life after Nelson Mandela

Idris Elba has co-written a stage show about life in South Africa after Nelson Mandela, which will have its premiere in Manchester next summer.

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Photo: David Sandison

The Luther star has written Tree with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the new artistic director of London’s Young Vic theatre.

Elba played the late South African president in the 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Tree will combine drama with music, dance and film, and will be part of the 2019 Manchester International Festival.

However, Elba won’t appear in the show, which is also inspired by the 2014 album Mi Mandela, which saw the actor bring together British and South African musicians.

Five places to visit and shop in Tanzania

For in-the-know locals and travelers alike, the downtown area is a place to linger and shop in a city known as a quick layover to safari destinations.

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By By Shivani Vora


This sprawling city in the northern tourist region of Tanzania is the gateway to popular safari destinations and Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro. But even if your stay is a brief stopover, you shouldn’t miss some of the stores that locals enjoy in Arusha’s downtown, an area of mostly low-slung concrete buildings where street vendors hawk everything from local crafts and fruit to children’s toys. These establishments sell goods made exclusively in this East African country and show off a side of Tanzania that’s beyond its prime game viewing.

A social enterprise and destination for design lovers, Shanga sells handicrafts made by Tanzanians with disabilities. These artisans produce an expansive range of goods such as drinking and wine glasses made with recycled colored glass, woven cotton shawls and place mats and decorative metal objects. Prices from $1.

Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, shanga.org

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When Arushans want to buy local culinary staples such as peanuts and cashews, honey, dried fruits like bananas and mangoes, and spices like turmeric, chai masala and clove powder, they go to this simple store. On the second floor of a mall, Gohil’s stocks premium versions of these staples at affordable prices. Prices from $1.

20, First Floor, AIM Mall, gohils.co.tz

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About 100 Masai women who live in the countryside around Arusha make the fashionable jewelry sold at this airy store. Their works range from delicate to dramatic, but beadwork is a common thread among the pieces — a slender cream bead bracelet was recently for sale, for example, but so was a thick cuff with bright red, blue and green beads. On Tuesday, market day, the women come from the countryside to display their talents on the lawn just outside the boutique. Prices from $15.

13 Kanisa Road, sidaidesigns.com

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Just beyond downtown, you can see verdant coffee plantations in the distance. A trip to this lush 1,200 acre coffee farm, built around 1899, is well worth it to learn about the pride Tanzanians take in their high-quality coffee production. Burka grows Arabica beans and produces five blends including its signature bold house variety; and for $35 a person, it’s possible to get a tour of the estate and the roasting facility, as well as a tasting. Prices from $7.

Dodoma Road, burkacoffee.com

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Beate Allard, a Tanzanian with a Swiss background, sells stylish home goods and clothing out of an airy 1952 bungalow that’s adjacent to her Mediterranean restaurant, The Blue Heron. Expect eye catching wares such as lampshades made of cowhides, beaded candle holders, handwoven table linens and wooden footstools adorned with bright, patterned fabrics. Prices from $3.

The Blue Heron, Haile Selassie Road


A version of this article originbally apeared on The New York Times website with the title: Five Places to Shop in Arusha, Tanzania.

Cover photo: Shanga is a destination for design lovers in downtown Arusha, selling goods made by Tanzanians with disabilities. Photo: Adriane Ohanesian for The New York Times

African fashion excites Lagos

Models will be sashaying in Nigeria’s main city for the next few days for Lagos Fashion Week, which opened on Thursday night.

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For the first time in eight years, the fashion show has expanded the number of designers from across Africa and will be featuring more than 50 of them.2423bc79-be5a-4cd4-baa8-46d7da8d13c9c5aeb61d-5e3b-452a-a5c1-ce2bdc5e1abaad582310-0362-4dca-a23c-b18998f6aadd

One collection on Thursday, curated by the magazine publisher Betty Irabor, was about showcasing strength and confidence on the runway.