Our Story

The Story Behind Upendo

Africa is the most ethnically diverse continent, and the birthplace of the rest of the world. Surprisingly, most people have no idea just how genetically diverse Africa is, seeing Africa as homogenous, and not as a continent that houses numerous countries, cultures and people very different from each other.

We could say the same thing about ourselves! How often are we truly digging into our true individualities? Seeing ourselves in a prismatic light? Hardly ever. Could it be, because we are lacking upendo? Upendo is the Swahili word for love. When you lack self-love, you are not empowered to see yourself in every light! You are also not empowered to love others for who they are. There was once a woman named Yaa Asantewaa, who grew up in beautiful Ejisu, a West African Village, and later became its queen mother. Asantewaa was strong, intelligent, but also a little stubborn. When she was asked by an old medicine woman, Lamisi, to learn how to be at peace with herself, she resisted, thinking it a waste of time. But later when Lamisi asked her to channel her feeling for the people of her village, Asantewaa finally felt at peace, and awash in a new feeling: love. It was love that drove her to be the best version of herself. When Asantewaa told her father about the lesson she learned, she said "You can't be a true leader unless you know who you are."
We believe same. To know your roots is to love yourself, and to love yourself is to love the world.

Welcome to Project Upendo

What We Do

Upendo is a hub of African-inspired culture, products, services, and community. Our mission is to help you rediscover yourself through unique, authentic, and quality products that you would otherwise have difficulty finding in a traditional retailer.
We are very serious about working with brands that share our values, as well as ensuring that we are representing ALL of Africa, not just one part of it! You will find yourself immersed in culture from the West, East, North, South, and Central regions of this culturally diverse continent. Community and a state of the art shopping experience are not mutually exclusive. Our mission will not be complete until every customer that steps into our store is overwhelmed with an ecstatic feeling of empowerment and a clear state of mind. Standing for genuineness and authenticity as well as simplicity and quality, we offer an extensive array of products and services that will cater to all our customers’ needs.
Even more than a marketplace, we are a community. And our community starts with the African entrepreneurs we work with to create your curated shopping experience.
Upendo is incredibly careful about vetting our brands for quality, while also ensuring we are empowering as many new entrepreneurs as possible. We also work with up and coming bloggers and content creators all of whom have African roots. Who would have thought you could have education, inspiration, and sophistication all in one place? You can on Upendo.
Read more about our community

Our Community

our community

The Upendo Mission

Our principles inform our mission, collaborations, and purpose.
There are other websites that highlight African lifestyles, and even feature African brands. What we have noticed is that there is no centralized platform or community that works to bring EVERYONE together around the beauty and love of Africa. Our purpose is to live life authentically, and with love. Our mission is to be an intersectional and diverse platform, highlighting multiple countries of Africa from the North, South, East, West, and Central regions of the continent. To do this it is imperative to be in touch with your roots, and where better to start than Africa!


We only sell authentic products, made by authentic people, to authentic people.


Our products, literature, associated events, and overall content sparks a desire for rediscovery in the customer. When you rediscover elements of Africa, you rediscover elements of yourself.


Our products and the brands who produce them are pre-vetted for quality and value. We do not aim to work with brands who in any way harm the environment or other people. Our platform is based on love, and as such, advocates for positivity and inclusivity.


We do not align with one religious practice but rather a collective spirituality. We believe that by coming together in celebration of our diversity, we have the power to change the world and ourselves for the better. We support growth of self, and of community.

Our Core Principles

This can be used on one of our pages to communicate unity