Creativity And Noise was barely an idea back in 2008. I was inspired to create t-shirts when I begun to tire of “whimsical”, “edgy” prints that heavily populated the market. I started creating concept t-shirts and sharing the idea with friends and family and soon got them to see things my way, it was a good idea. I quit my job and then thought, drats, what do I know about printing t-shirts? I got a new job and my aspiration was relegated to being just a dream.
A year later, I was still working the same job when my brother-in-law asked,
“Whatever happened to the t-shirt printing business you were so keen on?”
I had all but forgotten about it. We had one of our greatest heart-to-hearts, which lit a fire in my belly. I decided to reach for two dreams, to print t-shirts and start my own business.
This time I didn’t quit my job, but devoted all my spare time to finding out about starting a t-shirt screen printing business. I found a course and soon developed a fun, new skill. After a few more months of research and planning, things started falling into place. A lengthy, brutal brainstorm with talented designer Lulu Kitololo, simmered down to Creativity And Noise the brand. Lulu’s very being, patience and nerves were further tested before we finally unearthed the CAN logo. I bought my first web domain and just like that CAN was here to stay.
One thing kept coming to me as I dreamed up t-shirt concepts: it’s a rare thing to see prints that celebrate Africa. Forever conveyed as backward, unstable, poverty stricken, dangerous and on and on and on, even Africans find it impossible to celebrate Africa. There is this “other is better” mentality that courses through Africans and I’ve had and heard too many conversations that show exactly what we think of ourselves: this is Africa, we can’t do such a thing; you can’t get that here, you have to order from “the west”; we should be happy with the little we have; we’d like to do this and have that but we can’t.
My only question is,
“Are you an African’t, or an AfriCAN?”
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on all things Africa, I’m not denying that some of the statements I've heard are true, but why do we choose to focus on the negative aspects of a whole continent? Where is the loyalty, the pride in belonging, the identifying? Where is the positive energy, the belief, the art of self betterment, the desire to do and be more?
AfriCAN is my personal project and ode to Africa that celebrates my belief that Africa and Africans, can. I urge Africans and friends of Africa to push things forward, use your creativity and noise to do something positive for Africa.
Lusungu Chikamata is the founder of Creativity And Noise and makes his home in South London. Lus was born in Manchester, raised in Kenya and has his roots in Zambia, making him quite the international citizen. With degrees in both Business and Creative Writing, Lus has worked various roles from retail sales assistant to freelance copywriter and is now caught somewhere between Screen printer and Copywriter with a passion for print, whether press or prose.
When he’s not printing things, you will find Lus engrossed in literature and/or music, playing or watching sport or video games or sharing his opinion on the latest revelation in pop culture.