University of Afrika (UoA)
University of Afrika (UoA) was initially envisioned as the name for a collegiate-inspired collection but later minimized to a design included in our Kingdom Come collection launched in fall 2012. The UoA design draws its inspiration from the legacy of Timbuktu (a city in Mali, West Africa) as a veritable melting pot and hub for knowledge.
By the 12th century, Timbuktu became an important city with unique learning centers and a place for commercial establishment. After brainstorming various ideas on how best to tell this story, we created a badge concept for UoA. Since our primary source of inspiration (Timbuktu) played a significant role in global education, we believed a distinctive emblem such as a badge would best represent the design and story.
In the company of many great learning centers in Timbuktu, we highlighted the oldest madrasah (mosque), Djinguereber, in our UoA design to pay homage to the city’s golden era. King Moussa commissioned Djinguereber in 1327 after returning from his pilgrimage to Mecca. It became a known center for religious teachings, arts, and sciences. In the UoA badge design, the 54 Kingdoms logo sits on top of Djinguereber, indicating our commitment to protecting the history, heritage, and integrity of the center and Timbuktu as a whole.
The UoA badge is beautifully positioned on the left chest area of our men's short sleeve henley tops and collegiate-style sweaters to honor Africa’s contribution to global literacy and education.