Bobby Kolade Talks About His Involvment With, ‘Africa Designers For Tomorrow’


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Not content with putting the final touches on his online store and designing his new collection, Berlin-based designer Bobby Kolade has added to his ever-growing accomplishments: being on the final jury panel of the latest African fashion initiative: Africa Designers For Tomorrow (ADFT).

What is the ADFT I hear you say?  A competition set up by Waridi Schrobsdorff- a former Kenyan top model, based in Berlin.  Under her company-FA254- ADFT plans to give emerging African designers, ‘a door to the European market’.

Waridi Schrobsdorff

Founder, Waridi Schrobsdorff

I caught up with Bobby Kolade to learn more about his involvement with the project.

MFSL: So how did you get involved with ADFT?

BK: A couple of months ago, I got an email from Waridi and in it she explained the project and asked me to be part of the final jury panel. I was very interested in the concept and things went from there.

MFSL: What do you feel sets this competition apart from all the many African fashion designer competitions?

BK: Well this competition is mainly for Eastern Africans. It also has a formidable panel which includes Christiane Arp (Chief Editor of German Vogue), Melissa Drier (German Correspondent, Women’s Wear Daily) and Nina Puez (eBay Director Fashion and Lifestyle). Furthermore, the fact that the winner’s collection will be put into production by Ebay is something that rarely happens at fashion competitions.

MFSL: What will your role be when you fly over to Nairobi in November?

BK: The ADFT event will be from the 3rd to 8th November and my role will be to talk to the designers and share my experience in the industry. More like an exchange program. I’ll also be talking about building a coherent collection.
  I’ll also be using my design experience to advise the designers, and of course select the winner of the competition.

ADFT in Kenya

ADFT in Kenya

MFSL: What have you done as ‘jury’ so far?

BK: In order to get to the final selection, a pre-selection was made in Kenya. That pre-selection was then transported to Berlin. The Jury panel then had one day to look through all the collections and make the final selection.

MFSL: That sounds like so much fun!

BK: Actually, it was a lot of fun. I got into it really quickly, and it was very interesting to look at the various designer’s collections and portfolios.

MFSL: What is the most common mistake you saw designers make?

BK: A few of the designers fell into the trap of making one strong piece and then losing focus.

MFSL: What was the ‘X Factor’ you were searching for when whittling down the designers?

BK: I was looking for something contemporary and fresh: something that is ‘African’ without being overtly traditional or trying too hard to look ‘African’.

MFSL: What are you looking forward to most about going to Nairobi for the event?

BK: Meeting the designers, being in the sun in November, seeing more of the Kitenge… I’m also really curious to find out what it means to be a fashion designer in Nairobi.

MFSL: What does that mean? Because there are loads of working designers in Nairobi.

BK: I mean how and do they produce? Are there a decent amount of African-based customers buying their pieces? I am also curious to find out what materials they work with, how they work and so on. I grew up in Uganda but at that time fashion was really not in the equation for me, so I have no idea about this.

MFSL: And what everyone wants to know: what does the winner get in this competition?

BK: There are going to be three category winners (Apparel, Accessories, Home Decoration). Each of the category winners will have the opportunity to develop and produce their product on an e-commerce international platform (Ebay, Urbanara and Monoqi). The winner’s collection will be presented during Berlin Fashion Week 2015. Also he/she will have the opportunity to produce their pieces with internationally renowned fashion companies.

MFSL: Who is sponsoring the event?

BK: One of the sponsors is eBay Fashion, who is the exclusive distributing partner of the apparel category winner.

MFSL: OMG, that’s huge, that shows Waridi has great business acumen: Thank God!! I am so fed up of all these bloody ‘African Fashion’ competitions popping up everywhere and half of them have no proper business plan in place. So there is this great and glitzy fashion show, and then the designers are left high and dry with no buyers, production assistance, business plan etc.

BK: Yes, Waridi really pulls it off here. I can’t wait to go!

MFSL: It’s going to be great! I’m looking forward to you coming back and giving us the scoop.

To learn more about ADFT, click here.

For more details on Bobby Kolade, click here.

Bobby Kolade '39' Collection. Harling & Darsell Photography

Bobby Kolade ’39’ Collection. Harling & Darsell Photography


Breaking The Silence Concert: Giving Berlin-based African Women A Voice


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On Friday, 19th September I attended the Break The Silence concert at Bohannon Soul Club.  The event was put together to raise money for the web series being created by The Centre, which will focus on telling the various stories about the lives and loves of African women based in Berlin.  The scripted drama series will be written by Naomi Beukes-Meyer. Needless to say, I am beyond curious about how this turns out.

Kicking of the night was the lively and animated singer, Dana Shanti:

???????????????????????????????I loved his beat boxing:

004005Then came Brussels-based Shishani Vranckx. Visually, she really reminded me of a 90s Halle Berry with longer hair.

???????????????????????????????Don’t be deceived by her petite and seemingly demure appearance (as I was), this gal can saaAAANG and was great at working the crowd. By the middle of her set, I was almost falling on the stage because the crowd got so amped up, they were pushing me to get closer to her. But I loved the energy!

???????????????????????????????Shishani sang about the many issues that plague our continent- Poverty, Corruption, Discrimination, and delivered her lyrics with genuine heartfelt passion.

???????????????????????????????Needless to say the camera loves her…

???????????????????????????????After Shishani came T’Neeya, and I really enjoyed her set.  Some of her songs were delivered in what sounded to me like, Cameroonian pidgin English, which is very similar to Nigerian pidgin English, so it was great to be in Berlin and hear love songs crooned using the words, ‘Nah you…’ T’Neeya’s voice has that old soul flavour enriched with experience, if it could drip it would fall slowly like warm golden honey…when she sings her love songs, you feel what she’s saying in your gut…

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As you well know, I am a huuUUGE 80s fan and I went crazy when T’Neeya did a catchy cover of the 80s hit ‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off‘, song by the dearly departed Jermaine Stewart.  To me its one of the greatest pop songs ever written and I tip my hat to T’Neeya for giving it its due Props!

During T’Neeya’s performance, she pointed to me and said, ‘I love this girl here dancing…!’ Yah!!

???????????????????????????????After grooving to T’Neeya’s tunes, I had to take a breather so I don’t have shots from the next singer, Carmel Zoum. But if you read my blog, you’ll know I featured her in my last post, so you know that she lights up the stage for sure.

I had such a fun evening that night and at the end of the event I felt a real sense of pride. Reason being, it was one of those nights were you plan to go an event with friends, and then one by one the cancellation texts/calls come in. But the thing is, strange as it may be for some to hear this: I love having nights out alone.

I know that as long as I have great music, my two feet and my camera:  I won’t be alone in any sense of the word.  For instance, on this night I danced with the crowd, spoke to the singers, had chats with the people I took pictures of…and I love the freedom of doing what I want, when I want.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Loooved his hat and general style:

???????????????????????????????I wore my 50s inspired H & M skirt with one of my favourite vests: 80s ‘True Blue’ Madonna Rocked!

056To everyone who played a part in making this concert what it was, Big Thanks for a super night!


‘She Wants To Move…’


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‘I love to dance…‘: these are the first words uttered by Sarah Jessica Parker’s character at the beginning of the legendary 80s dance flick, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’.  I remember watching this film as a child and relating strongly to those words.  Fast forward the years, and I still feel very passionately about dancing, I’m not a professional dancer by any means, but it’s the one thing I do that makes me feel the most alive, free, happy, confident…I’m not a dancer but I love to move.

I had a fantastic dance session recently at the Africa Music Convention (AMC) during Berlin Music Week 2014. AMC is a project led by the Partnership with Africa Foundation, as part of the COMENGA programme with financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economics Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The AMC consisted of two evenings of music curated by Andi & Hannes Teichmann and Zuri Maria Daiß. I attended the concert on the 2nd evening, and one my highlights of the night was watching the performance by musician, Carmel Zoum.

Carmel Zoum

Carmel Zoum

1200px-0034 I settled on this outfit which is mainly made up of a bustier and two long scarves: one I fashioned into a turban, the second I turned into a makeshift skirt.  I adore the bright shade of green and vibrant butterfly print on my ‘skirt’, every time I wear it, my mood is instantly uplifted.

1200px-00771200px-0101Another one of the highlights of the night was meeting the petite and funky, Giuliana Savari.  I can always spot a fellow groover: someone who feels the music from her soul right down to the tippy toes on her feet.

1200px-0279On a side note, Giuliana’s crop top, toned abs, skinnies and short blonde hair get-up reminded me of a 90s Gwen Stefani: a look I really like, and that brings back great memories from the decade of ‘Girl Power':

Giuliana also designs clothes, which includes making customised pieces for musicians under the catchy name Miss Schleckeis.

Music and dance connects people and I love how these pictures show how much fun we had.

1200px-05721200px-03281200px-05881200px-02771200px-0278Finally, a big thanks to photographer, Philipp Primus who captured the energy of the night so well. These pictures bring a big smile to my face…they were totally unplanned, and yet reflect perfectly some of my biggest passions: Music, Dance, Style…showing off, Haha!

You can see more of Philipp’s work here.


I Love Me Some London Party Style…


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September’s here and London Fashion Week S/S 15 is just round the corner.  I won’t be attending the shows this season, but in honour of the City of Britannia Cool, here are some images from the magazine party I went to when I was in London recently.

I’m all about this fab brown/beige mix going on with her cape and platform sandals.

???????????????????????????????010012022025So Fresh And So Clean, Clean…

026027Cutey Cute, I love big noses tsigh…

031028029030032033037045Fun times were had with my LDN Partner in Crime, don’t you love his Tartan n Booted look?

???????????????????????????????018017015There’s something so 80s Fab Fresh about these two…




Winner Of My Blog Giveaway!



If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that a few weeks back I did a Blog Giveaway, where a fab multi-coloured necklace was up for grabs.  I am happy that I can finally announce the winner- the lovely Ammah, who writes one of my favourite blogs.  Like me, she is a self-confessed ‘Accessories Addict’, and I thoroughly enjoy her weekly updates where she showcases the latest ‘To Die For’ accessories, explains their historical origins and so on.  What keeps me coming back to Ammah’s blog is I learn a lot via her posts and she keeps me clued up, for instance if not for her, I would never have got to know of the highly addictive YouTube web series that is being dubbed as the ‘ African Sex and City’ called, An African City.

I am also a huge fan of her personal style which includes some great statement T’s, unique print garments and utterly desirable hairstyles which can be in the shape of twists, Brandy Braids, simple up-do’s…  That’s why I am particularly happy to see how she styled the Blog Giveaway Necklace, with the rest of her own pieces.

She looks great doesn’t she?  I love how the colours of her kimono accentuate the different jewel-tones of the necklace.  And I can’t wait till my hair is long enough, so I can style it in those Princess-like Celie Twists!

Thanks for the feature Amma and your lovely words, Rock On Girl!

My 7th Feature In The ‘Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Weekly Roundup





Last Weekend

Labor Day marks the last day of “Summer” even if it’s actually September 21st… but who’s counting? Oh yeah, EVERYONE! Fashion Month kicks off next week, so everyone get your rest. Get everything you need to be done for regular life done this weekend if you can, because we’ll all be glued to the runways for the next month. So now is the time to muse about life and style, to stock up on your Fall wardrobe, and catch up on your magazines… don’t know where to start? These links will help!

Links à la Mode:  August 28th

SPONSOR: Shopbop Soulland, RyderR&B Standard Issue, ArpenteurOfficine GeneraleMCM Bags, White + OHW?, Spiewak, KSNY Bags, Smith+Mara & 360 Sweater

Want to be featured in Links à la Mode?

1. Read the clarified rules and submit your links on this page: Links à la Mode.
2. If your link was selected and you need this week’s code, visit this page: Links à la Mode Code.

Rita Ora, Michalsky Party, Cool Peeps, Whatever…


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Try as I might to deny it, the not-so-balmy winds blowing my way tell me that summer is most definitely over in Berlin.  As I look back over the last few sweltering (-ish) months, one of my highlights was definitely Berlin-based designer- Michalsky’s- bi-annual, ‘StyleNite’ party, on the 11th July. I adore the combination of fashion and music, and this was what the event was all about; Spring S/S 15 collections were shown as various live acts performed.  Berlin-based trio band, Ballet School played a few of their catchy tracks as Michaelsky sent his models down the catwalk. The lead vocalist’s (Rosie Blair) high-pitched voice and the 80s-esque nostalgic beats that accompanied the group’s sweet and catchy melodies gave me delicious chills, which made me enjoy the fashion aspect of the show even more.


I was also pleasantly surprised by Rita Ora’s set, I had always pegged her as the ‘Poor Man’s Rihanna’ (That’s right, I said it). But unlike RiRi, Rita can actually sing live.  She had great energy and bounded all over the wide-stretched stage in her flirty Michalsky, black tulle skirt, as she belted out her latest songs.


On a sidenote, I have to give kudos to one of the supporters of StyleNite- WELLA Professionals who considerately dropped their customised fans in the stadium seats, allowing us to keep our cool as we watched the show.  Can more shows provide this during summer please? Thank you.

StyleNight had all the ingredients of a great fashion party: free flowing champagne, cocktails et al, mouth-watering canapés (courtesy of the caterer’s, Flying Buffet), great DJ’s and last but not least, a diverse bunch of sartorial guests.

Here are some of the stylish peeps that caught my eye:

Regarding Menswear, some kept it cool and casual, with the ol’ reliable T-Shirt, Jeans and Trainers combo.

002Loved how this guy pulls of his Mix n Match ensemble with panache:

???????????????????????????????For the most part, the gents tailored up, fixed up and looked sharp:

???????????????????????????????055062A beard that makes me want to shelter in it during winter, makes me weak at the knees:

066These groups had a nice vibe.

025018Ladies looked like the very essence of Summer Cool in Prints:

020022064If she’s not a model, she should be, watch out Cassie!

059But for the most part, the ladies kept it tight in Monochrome:

004007016017024She looks like she walked out of the set of Lenny Kravitz’s latest music video.  Love her look!

061As for me, I wore this vintage 70s dress from one of my favourite vintage shops in Berlin- Mankii- and fashioned one of my favourite wrappers into a turban:



Blog Comment Of The Week


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On May 12th 2012, I wrote an article titled, ‘What’s It Like Being A Black Girl In Berlin?’

To date, this is one of the hardest articles I’ve written, I had to dip deep and it was extremely personal.  Due to the nature of the subject matter, I knew it would strike up some controversy, but really nothing could have prepared me for the mixed bag of feedback I got. What surprised me the most was getting negative feedback from the people I thought were closest to me at the time.

Two years plus later, I still stand by every word I wrote and that is why I get so happy when after all this time, I still get Comments (be it positive or negative) on the article.

As you’ve noticed, for the most part, I kinda tell it like it is and this is not a style to everybody’s liking.  I didn’t write this article for approval or validation, I wrote it to challenge stereotypes, make people reflect, say what a lot of people think but are afraid to say out loud…

This is why I love it when people get what I say and get ‘me’.  The below comment I received last Saturday, is all the fuel I need to keep on blogging.  To know I have made a positive impact on just one person’s attitude/life/way of seeing things due to my words and experiences- this is truly priceless and most soul rewarding!

Thanks so much for your insightful words Ayanda!

Ayanda said (word for word):

Hi! Sorry if this is late, but I just had to thank you for writing this blog! Your positive attitude is so refreshing and enlightened. There are so many blogs out there about being a black girl in Berlin that are very negative and it can get very discouraging reading such bad sentiments constantly. I’m glad to have stumbled on your blog – You make me excited to go over to Germany, to be open minded and to just have FUN! Plus, you’re such a lovely, stunning young woman! Subscribbeeddd!! ^.


African Fashion Connoisseur, Diana Opoti Shows Us How To ‘Buy African’


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One of my favourite African Fashion campaigns at the moment, is the one currently being led by Diana Opoti.  Having been known to state on more than one occasion that, the best way to support African Fashion is to wear African fashion brands, the Nairobi-based African Fashion expert decided to put her money where her mouth was by launching her #100DAYSOFAFRICANFASHION campaign.

Quite simply, this means that for 100 days, Diana has set herself the stylish mission of wearing a different ensemble designed by various African designers, taking pictures, uploading them on various forms of Social Media and highlighting at least one of the African-designed items.

As I write this article, Diana is now on her 50-something outfit and looks to be going strong.  Wearing both local and international African brands, she has showcased pieces from designers like Kiko Romeo Deepasingh Dosaja, David Tlale, Katungulu Mwendwa, Lalesso, Sindiso Khumalo, Duaba Serwa, Njema Helena and Christie Brown.

What I love most about this initiative is that it:

1) Highlights the local African brands that we don’t get to hear much about.  This is particularly important for me, because if you follow African fashion, we all know by now the brands we end up hearing about time and time again.  Really, kudos to them but I’m all about raising the talented, lesser known creatives.

2) Shows the many faces of African Fashion, due to popular media, African Fashion still gets pidgeon-holed in the Prints Brigade, but it’s so much more than that, and this campaign shows that with sartorial aplomb.

3) Demonstrates that more African designers are making more sizes available in the size 10 (UK) and above regions.  These days a lot of the times when I see African fashion, the clothes are usually on a model in a magazine, on a model on a commercial retail site or on a blogger/fashion ‘IT’ girl with a ‘model figure’. And bearing in mind that a lot of complaints from consumers about African Fashion is that: the selection of size 12 (UK) clothes and above, sold in a lot of Africa based stores are limited- Diana’s campaign shows the brand’s that are making clothes for ‘real African women’ and women at large.

4) Increases the opportunities of interaction and feedback between the brands and consumers.  For e.g. each time, Diana posts a picture on Facebook, it results in a flood of requests from interested readers who want to know where to buy x,y and z.  As Diana tags the designers with each post, this means that not only does this give designers a stronger incentive to produce more ready-to-wear pieces on demand; the designer can contact the consumer directly and they can also see which are their most popular designs.

Here are my 10 favourite outfits, Diana has worn thus far that reflect the endless style opportunities African Fashion has to offer:

Tailored, Fitted and Fabulous

Top and Skirt: Kiko Romeo, Handbag: Aprelle Duang

Top and Skirt: Kiko Romeo, Handbag: Aprelle Duang

Top and skirt: Christie Brown

Top and skirt: Christie Brown

Evening Extravaganz-A!

Dress: Kooroo (Kenyan fashion label)

Dress: Kooroo (Kenyan fashion label)

Dress by Wambui Mukenyi

Dress by Wambui Mukengi

All That Glitters Is Silver And Gold

Metallic embroidered shift dress: Deepasingh Dosaja, African print Kitenge jacket: Kiko Romeo

Metallic embroidered shift dress: Deepasingh Dosaja, African print Kitenge jacket: Kiko Romeo.

The Classic Trench Revamped

Trench by Kiko Romeo, made from 100% cotton drill and hand painted by Sudanese fine artist Eltayeb Dawelbait.

Trench by Kiko Romeo, made from 100% cotton drill and hand painted by Sudanese fine artist Eltayeb Dawelbait.

Short Stories

Cotton weave long sleeved Tee: Kooroo (Kenya), Shorts: Millie Collines (Rwanda/Kenya)

Cotton weave long sleeved Tee: Kooroo (Kenya), Shorts: Millie Collines (Rwanda/Kenya)


Print dress from the collection, Summer Memoirs by Bestow Elan.

Print dress from the collection, Summer Memoirs by Bestow Elan.


Dress by Zanzibar based designer, Doreen Mashika.

Dress by Zanzibar based designer, Doreen Mashika.


Dress by Jenni Button (SA)

After scrolling through the images I chose, I noticed that on more than one occasion, I had picked an ensemble made by Kenyan designer: Kiko Romeo, so that’s definitely a designer I’ll be doing more research on!  I love it!

In the meantime, keep up with Diana Opoti’s latest and greatest on her site: 100 Days Of African Fashion.

All images courtesy of Diana Opoti




Disaster Strikes! My Camera Is R.I.P: Which Digital Camera Do I Buy?



I haven’t published a Post in a while. Why? Because two Saturday’s ago, I was having a gay ol’ time on a boat celebrating a close friend’s birthday, and at one point I gave someone my camera to take a picture of me to capture the moment; as he was taking the picture, the boat stopped sharply and my camera slipped, fell and went kaput.

In summary, I’m pretty devastated about it.  Yes it wasn’t a great camera and to be honest, I was looking into changing it but it was still my lil’ shitty baby…And the death of my camera has caused a ripple effect, one of which being, I’ve kinda lost the inspiration to blog, on account of I can’t take pictures. Yes, I can download from the net but I don’t want to do that presently.  Yes, I can use my iPhone but I don’t want to do that either.  Yes, I understand that the lens or whatever in there can take better pictures than many camera’s on the market today, but I’m searching for My Prince and that Prince is a camera.

But I’m not one to wallow in the slimy pit of despair for long, the fact is I love blogging and I love photography, so I’ve decided to move forwards and buy a camera in the next coming days.  This is where I need your help. Yes, I can go on Google and type in the requisite Search Words to come up with a few options that match my budget, preferences etc. But I would also love my readers who know a thing or two about photography and cameras (for newbies)  to chime in here.

Ok. So. Imagine, I am sat down with you, I’ve just told you my tale of woe, and I ask you what kind of digital camera you think I should purchase.  What camera options would you give me bearing in mind:

1) Purpose of camera

a) To take images for the digital platform of the fashion magazine I work for. They require images in High Resolution.

b ) To take pictures for my blog.

2) Size of camera I want/complexity desired

My camera that died was a Canon, Digital Camera, IXUS 115 HS.

It didn’t take the quality of pictures I wanted, however it had factors I really liked which I want in my next camera:

a) Super easy to use, i.e it was pretty simple to take a picture, play around with different settings and transport images from the camera to my laptop: I love photography but in no way do I wish to be a photographer, so I don’t want a camera where I feel I need to do a Photography PHD to understand how it functions.

b) Small/Compact (as the image hopefully shows): this is super important to me.  My camera has to fit in my evening bags, Dhhharlings.

3) The Quality of Pictures I want to take are:

A few of my favourite fashion blogs for photography include:


See how the colours P.O.P, you can see each leaf so cleary, and the imagery is so vivid? My R.I.P camera could never do that and that’s what I want.  I went to the FAQ section on her blog to see what camera she uses and she uses a, ‘A Canon 50D with a 50mm 1.4 lens. I also used to take pictures with an Olympus E-500 with a 50-150mm lens and still use a Nikon D5100 with a 50mm 1/1.8G lens and a Tamron 18-200mm zoom lens and an occasional super wide angle lens’.

Naturally, I had to get a Photography mate to translate this code and basically, the gist is her cameras are rather large, you know those ‘serious’ looking ones.  Here is an image of the Canon 50D:

radiantliteHmmm, is this small, super easy to use, fits into my evening bag, I’m thinking No. But correct me if I’m wrong.

b) I also love Louis’s photography and I will be asking him what camera he uses:

4) Lens

I was told by a photographer lover that when I buy my camera I should focus on the lens.  Apparently, it’s all about the lens.  My RIP camera lens was 5.0-20.0mm.  This is Goobidy Gook to me, but since my camera didn’t take good quality images, I’m guessing this is not such a good measurement…

5) And saving the best for last: Budget

This is tricky for me because in the last 3 years, I have had two cameras die on me in the exact same way, so I’m hesitant in investing. Especially because I don’t take pictures in controlled situations, e.g. a fashion shoot set.

That being said, I have all these ideas for my blog and I need a good camera to see those visions turn into reality, so my budget is: 300 euros maximum and this includes the memory card, camera case etc.

And there you have it, so Readers please chime in with which type of camera you think I should buy based on your experiences and what you’ve heard on the grapevine?  If you have any questions, based on what I’ve said above, please ask.  Your questions will really help me think and make me more certain of what I want, learn more about cameras etc…

In the meantime, I’ll get stuck on this great article by IFB titled:

5 Fantastic Digital Cameras For Fashion Bloggers

Have a good weekend everyone, I hope it’s Disaster Free!


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