Thank you to all friends and followers who supported me during my trip through Africa.
André Pilz and little NALA
( Artikel geschrieben von Sandra Löwe, freie Schule Schwepnitz )
Das Nala Projekt
In unserer Weihnachtsprojektwoche besuchte uns Frau Susan Friedrich, um das Nala Projekt vorzustellen und über ihre eigenen Erlebnisse von ihrer Reise nach Äthiopien zu berichten. Nala ist ein
afrikanisches Mädchen, in Form einer Puppe, welches sich neugierig auf die Reise begibt, um Menschen und Tiere kennenzulernen und zu sehen, welche Abenteuer ihr auf der Reise begegnen. Auf ihrer
Reise wird sie von Andre begleitet, mit dem sie gerade per Fahrrad quer durch Afrika reist.
Frau Friedrich besuchte und begleitete die Beiden im Oktober 2015 für eine Woche auf ihrem Weg durch Äthiopien. Ihre Eindrücke und Erlebnisse schilderte sie den Schülern der Klassen 5, 7 und 10
anhand von Fotos und Worten.
Die Kinder in Äthiopien laufen tagtäglich in die Schule, mitunter stundenlang, um unterrichtet werden zu können. Schule in Äthiopien ist ganz anders als bei uns. Papier und Stifte sind sehr
selten und somit ein kostbares Gut, mit dem sehr sorgsam umgegangen wird. Nala interessiert sich vor allem für die Gedanken der Schüler in Form von Zeichnungen. Deswegen hat sie Stifte und
Zeichenblätter im Gepäck, die verteilt und sofort benutzt werden. Oft entstehen wunderbare Bilder voller Geschichten. Nala will mit Hilfe der Kunst die Menschen zueinander bringen und friedvolle
Begegnungen entstehen lassen.
Unsere Schüler zeichneten am Ende des Vortrages auch etwas und zwar das, was sie Nala über sich mit auf dem Weg geben möchten – das was ihnen wichtig ist, was sie persönlich ausmacht.
Wir danken Frau Friedrich recht herzlich, dass sie uns über das Nala Projekt und Äthiopien berichtete. Äthiopien ist ein wundervolles Land und Afrika ist viel mehr als seine Probleme, um es mit
den Worten von Frau Friedrich zu sagen.
Wer mehr über das Nala Projekt erfahren möchte, kann sich unter folgendem link informieren:
Interview with Happy (center) for the Palette & Brush TV Show in
Dar es Salaam / Tanzania
at the 2nd NALA exhibition in
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Dar es Salaam /
New Article about
The NALA Project
in The Guardian
I am a bit angry because:
1. They print the wrong Photo.
I submitted photos of
NALA and the Artworks.
but they choose only a photo of myself, which I not agreed.
2. They only copied Text from other NALA articles (newspaper and online) am really sorry for that.
Online Article about The NALA Project on akatasia.com or follow the article direct: http://akatasia.com/articles/questions-andre-pilz-nala-project/
Akatasia is an online platform with a mission to promote the best of Africa by showcasing African-related and African-inspired news, products and services.
Questions with André Pilz of The Nala Project JUL 14, 2014 • ART, ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS •
Last week I learnt about The NALA project. As I was studying the website and the artwork, I was inspired and came to the realization that it is possible to live out your dreams and fantasies. No
matter how far-fetched or ludicrous they may seem, as long as that’s what fuels your soul, then absolutely go for it. That being said André Pilz (the founder of the NALA project) is a German
artist who was based in Cape Town up until recently when he decided to embark on a bicycle tour across Africa to Europe. Where he hopes to end up? In London to see his lifelong music idol
Nigerian-British singer Helen folasade Adu or SADE. As a fellow Sade fan, I was intrigued to learn more and find out what Mr Pilz hopes will come out of the project.
While listening to Sade’s song Sally’ one day, I started doodling on some paper. Before I knew it, I had created a simple little character NALA. At the time during NALA’s creation, I was feeling
sad, because SADE was touring Europe and I was in South Africa at the time. With very little finances, I wasn’t able to make it to Europe to see her perform. I am a German citizen, was living in
Cape Town for 8 years but I got sick and tired of my daily life, so felt it was time to leave and explore new things. I came up with the idea to cycle from Cape Town to London. I wanted to create
a SADE Fanbook where all the fans I meet along the way can write a tribute message to her. I have always had the dream to cycling through Africa, so this made sense and NALA’s
significance became more apparent.
Who is NALA?
NALA is now a 8 years old Girl. She grew up in Township near Cape Town in South Africa.
The Story began when she was 6. In traditional african culture from age 8, little Girls are expected to help with domestic chores, like washing the clothes, cleaning the house, washing dishes,
buying some stuff in the shop…… while the boys can enjoy outside with friends ( cycling, soccer, having fun) NALA was 5 years old, when she started helping out around the house.
One day during the domestic work, she noticed some shimmering mountains in the background. She started imagining what was behind the mountains. The more she thought about it, the more her
curiosity about the majestic mountains grew. One day she was sitting outside on the steps and she was very sad. A little bird came and ask NALA, ‘what’s wrong? why you are so sad?’ NALA told him
the story and the bird said to her. “ Well NALA if this is your dream, than you must go and find out what’s behind the mountains.
Don’t dream your life, live your dreams. These words inspired NALA to escape from home and begin a long journey. NALA felt free. She met so many lovely people, animals and nature, that she
decides to continue her journey. I like that you used a young female to mirror your goal of following your dream.
Was there significance as to why you used a young girl?
African Woman’s work a lot harder than men. NALA is an advocate for the empowerment of woman in Africa. The Philosophy is easy, simply listen to your heart and follow your dreams.
How much planning did you do before starting this journey? and how are you funding this project?
I created NALA in 2011. Luckily I was able to travel twice a year to Germany for some casual jobs. From that I was able to save for the journey. So the next few years were spent between South
Africa and Germany, just working to save money. It wasn’t much but I had to budget by eating local food, sleeping in local guesthouses, camping wild for free and using couchsurfing.org (extremely
low budget). I have 10 euro per day to spend on food and sleep for the duration of my journey. In 2012, I had created the Website for the Project to document my travels. Before starting the
project, I flew to Switzerland (countryside) to see my friend and get some quiet time to think about everything. Honestly, It’s not really a trip you can plan.
Have there been any challenges so far? Do you any concerns you have i.e. safety, health etc
Challenges are mostly cycling up high mountains. All the border crossing were easy and no problems with the police. I did get a little sickness like, flu, angina, runny tummy…(you know what I
mean). Nothing too serious. There are challenges with regards to organizing transportation for the NALA artwork either to South Africa or to Germany for storage and sometimes the transportation
from one country to the next was a big challenge. (getting my 80kg Artbox from Zambia to Malawi and from Malawi to Tanzania posed some issues). Sometimes I hope to have a bit more support to send
the artworks. Traffic can also a problem, In Zimbabwe, they don’t have a shoulder next to the Highway, but a lot of heavy Traffic (Trucks and Buses) and careless drivers. One day, a big Truck
overtook me at approximately 15 cm distance ( I past a parking truck on the road, In the same time another Truck came from the front and a big Bus (Coach) came from the Back. It was very short, I
was really lucky not to get caught by the Bus from the back.
What has been the highlight?
Landscapes, (Desert in Namibia ), Silence, amazing Starry skies. The Tour is still a Highlight. Doing what I want to do. To be absolutely free. No restrictions.
Can anyone get involved with the project or is it solely people that you meet on your trip?
Well, normally only people who I met on my Trip ( Artists and Tailors who make the NALA Dresses) but If anyone wants to get involved, he can contact me and we can see how we can work together.
They can just send me an email. I also open for other Ideas from everybody. Of course there are some Ideas in my mind. I was thinking about The NALA Painting Day where schools can be involved in
But I am open to discussions and collaborations.
Was there a reason you choice cycling as apposed to taking the plane to London? What do you travel with?
So with a plane, its too fast and expensive. A car is also too fast and expensive, and I didn’t feel like sitting in a metal cage. With a bicycle you get to explore the outdoors, enjoy nature,
smell the air and also I feel like you pose less threat on a bike. I feel free on the bike. People are more open to speak with you. On the other hand there is a dangerous aspect because I am more
exposed to crime, weather and traffic. But then, this is part of the adventure. I think the highlight at the end will be knowing that I used my own muscle power to reach my target. I travel with
a 28inch Bicycle, Brand: Hercules Jump, Aluminum frame, Schwalbe Tyres, Brooks sattle, V-breaks, simple things but good quality. My gear includes a tent, air-mattress, pillow, sleeping bag,
stove, little Laptop (Notebook) , MP3Player, a few Clothes, 2kg of Paintbrushes, SADE Fanbook, DSLR Camera, and my tripod. So where are you now and when do you hope to reach London? Currently I
am in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania after cycling 11.915 km ( 7.387 miles ) and 15 month on the road. I started on April 1, 2013. The rough route will be Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, than
I will cross DRC to Congo Brazzaville, then Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, then Ivory coast and than I will figure out how to reach Morocco and then Spain….. I guess I will reach
London in approximately 2 Years (It depends on how far I can cross Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). East Africa is easy, but West Africa is another Issue. I don’t pay bribe, so I guess I have
to wait sometimes longer than others to get something. We will see..
What happens when you get to London?
When I reach London, I am hoping to find a Gallery or a similar exhibition hall where I can exhibit all the NALA artworks incl. the story of the NALA journey. I will print photos and postcards to
sell with proceeds going towards helping the artists and some projects in Africa (haven’t decided yet). I hope to make NALA products, like little NALA dolls, bags, whatever.. At a later stage I
will write Illustrated Books from NALA´s Journey. When I am able to exhibit those Artworks, I will design print Catalogs that shows all the Artworks including artists bio’s and Info. I think
there is so much more to do and who knows. On this type of journey many Ideas pop up.
Have you contacted Sade yet? Does she know about this project?
I will try to invite her for the opening of the NALA Exhibition in London and I will present the fanbook over to her as a way to thank her for the music. I haven’t contacted her yet. I don’t have
contact details of her or the management. It is really hard to get.
My Idea is to contact two of their band members (from the life tour in 2011) via Facebook, only when I cross Nigeria. ( The Sade Fans International (SFI) Facebook page has helped me a lot to
As a member, I always get updates. They have shared my story and some of the artwork with fellow members.
Another random inspiration from around the world: The NALA Project
I met André Pilz camped out next to the lake in Cape Maclear, Malawi. He has been cycling his way through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi for the last year and a
month. To date he has cycled 9,460km, averaging about 75 to 80 km a day sometimes up to 100km reaching speeds as high as 20 km/hr. Originally from Germany, he had been living in Cape Town, South
Africa for the last 6 years.
He started in Cape Town and plans to reach London, England in two more years by bicycle. Continuing north to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and hopefully into the Democratic Republic of Congo
(if it’s safe enough at the time), down to Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali along West Africa and North into Spain.
I’ve met a few cyclists doing similar routes but what made André stand out, was that he was organizing a charitable art project called ‘The NALA Project’ that would create an online network of
talented local artists in every country he visits, giving them much needed exposure on a global scale. Many of them don’t have e-mail addresses, mailing addresses or phone numbers let alone the
knowledge of using a computer to access the Internet. They rely solely on foot traffic from the occasional tourist or more often selling their work at wholesale for reselling at souvenir shops.
In return they provide him with the means to fund various charity projects in Africa.
NALA is a character he created while planning his trip inspired by his favorite musician, SADE. A loyal fan since childhood, André originally planned to create a scrap book with messages from
SADE fans he met along the way on his travels to present to the singer once he arrives in London as a request to perform in South Africa.
The story begins in Cape Town, South Africa where NALA is from. She is a 6 year old girl who spends most of her time helping her mother with chores around the house while her brothers play all
day. One day she was hanging clothing she had washed, up on the clothes hanger when she looked up, over at the mountain before her and had this overwhelming curiosity to find out what was behind
it. She found a bicycle and set off on an adventure to see for herself. NALA’s journey mirrors André’s but he chose a girl because of the challenges females face in many countries here in Africa
as a symbol for empowerment for women. The message he wants to get across: to simply listen to your heart and follow your dreams.
Cycling gives you an entirely different perspective on travel. The scenery, sights, smells and human connections become a more intimate experience because it forces you to slow down and really
take in your surroundings. You can be alone with your thoughts for days on end before you see another soul and notice things, you would normally miss on motorized transport. This is how André
finds his artists. In remote villages, a small hut on the side of the road where they inconspicuously work away at their craft.
He approaches them with his NALA character and asks them to create an art piece of her. If they are keen and show a genuine effort they can pick 10 of their best pieces to be displayed on his
website as well as a bio of themselves. The NALA art piece is donated to André where his collection will be showcased in an Art Exhibition in England. The pieces will later be sold and a portion
of the proceeds will go to various charity projects in Africa.
An artist himself, André carries all of his artwork supplies including his paint brushes across Africa with him, totaling over 34 kg and uses them to paint murals for people along the way to
supplement his trip and his project.
I asked him if he plans to go back to Cape Town to his old life after this journey and as expected he is unsure. He says that many people who take extended leaves to travel, usually could never
go back to their former careers or way of life and a lot can happen in 2 years. He's considered living in other exotic countries. “Perhaps someplace like Brazil, it would have to have mountains,
ocean, milk and cheese…”
You can check out his charity project at www.the-nala-project.com or join his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheNalaProject to follow his 3 year pilgrimage. Any well
wishes, words of encouragement or messages for SADE's fan book are welcome.
Or if you know of anyone in any of these countries that need murals or any painting done please spread the word. Although André is pursuing this incredible journey at his own expense, he would be
greatful for any sponsorship to transport all of the artwork from Germany to England.
Sitting at a friend’s barbeque the other day, I almost missed the opportunity to meet someone who at that moment appeared awkwardly quiet. It was easy to dismiss Andre Pilz as someone who is
too shy to interact with others. Surprisingly though we ended up talking and he started telling me about his past and present which, I found incredibly fascinating.
My interest was caught when he asked me if I know Sade. Having been a lover of Helen Folasade Adu’s music since I first heard “Smooth Operator” and “Your Love is King” lifted from the debut
album “Diamond Life”, I was intrigued by what Andre’s question would trigger. In addition to the music, to me Sade is the personification of a woman becoming more dazzling with age. Sade Adu
who is of African descent through her Nigerian father is part of the Grammy-award winning English group known as Sade. Andre informed me that Sade has never performed or toured in Africa and
that is where he has decided to step in. He would like to help fulfill this dream for many of Sade’s African fans who would most likely appreciate seeing Sade on stage in the land of her
father and forefathers.
Andre has been a Sade fan for the past 25 years when he first heard her on the radio. Her deep, soothing voice moved him to find out who the person behind it was. For years he carried the
dream of seeing Sade live in concert in his heart. The band that seldom has tours finally decided to have a Europe Tour in 2011. As exciting as this may have been for many of the European
fans, Andre found himself on the wrong continent at the time. Finally the dream became a reality when Andre had the opportunity to see Sade in concert not just once but twice in Leipzig,
Germany and also in Las Vegas, America. He was so moved by her performance that Andre, who has been living in Cape Town for about a decade, decided that he would like to expand his fulfilled
dream by sharing it with the rest of the African continent.
He claims that if he as an non-athletic guy can travel by bicycle from Cape-Town through the African continent to reach England to hand over a “petition” from Sade’s African fans, then
perhaps Sade would be able to reach Africa to perform for her people. On his journey he carries a big Sade Fanbook where admirers can place messages for Sade.
Andre is not alone in his travels as alongside him is his friend Nala. Some might regard Nala as an invisible friend, but if you see Andre and see the effort he puts behind his dream, you
will see Nala too. In some of the different places that Andre passes through, he interacts with visual artists that he encourages into painting, sculpting and re-creating art using Nala as
their model. Therefore Nala can be seen in artworks dressed in traditional attire of the people in that place or looking at the desert when passing through it on her trip with Andre. The
six-year old South-African girl from Cape Town has interesting stories to tell of her adventures which can be found on this Project Nala website
To additionally help fulfill some of the individual dreams of some of the African artists that he works with, he is planning to eventually collect all artwork made along the way to showcast
and sell in an exhibition when he finally reaches England. This will hopefully expose the artists to bigger opportunities that they may harvest from in the future. Many of the artworks can be
seen on www.the-nala-project.com . He hopes that Sade will be able to attend this function at which he would hand over the Sade
Fanbook so that she may be touched by the love she has on the African continent.
This is one man’s dream derived from passion and longing for opportunity for himself and for others. Andre has passed the stage that many of us are still in. The stage of being pre-occupied
with what others would say if we follow our dreams at the expanse of looking silly or even failing. He has chosen to offer his time and savings to be able to say “I have tried and I have
learned.” Many of us are privileged in some way and can use this to fuel our dreams. For doing this, I hope Andre will meet a lot of Sade fans along his ambassadorial journey.
For those that want to virtually accompany Andre and Nala on their adventure can be kept updated via Nala’s Facebook page . So far they have made it from
Cape Town, South Africa to Windhoek, Namibia. Maybe one day we will be able to stand with Sade and sing along with her to “By your side” on the continent of our ancestors.
7. August 2013 Windhoek / Namibia
The NALA Project was in the TV.
at NBC Namibia on 7.August 2013, 7 pm at the show Tutaleni
unfortunalety there is no live stream or any DVD.
NBC wanted 400 N$ ( 40€ ) for the DVD which I am not be able to pay.
21.June 2013 Windhoek / Namibia
NBC Radio Station ( at the "what´s up" broadcast with Clio)
André explanes Clio the NALA - SADE Project live on Air at the
NBC Radio station in Windhoek.
6.June 2013 Windhoek / Namibia
Article about the SADE Project in the New Era Newspaper,
Windhoek / Namibia
unfortunalety they not wrote so much about the NALA philosophie and the project and the work with the art students from the Katutura Art Centre..
(click on image to enlarge)
NALA Project in the Cape Chameleon Magazin, Cape Town
Article about the NALA Project in the Cape Chameleon Magazin, Cape Town
The suit was hand sewn by Paulina Salinas, visual artist from Loja, Ecuador.
Today I would like to introduce you to NALA's newest costume.
The typical attire of Saraguro women consists of a round white hat with black dots, a set of earrings; 12 color necklaces; wool overflow; silver pipe and a shirt. In addition a black skirt and
sandals or espadrilles.
NALA is very happy about this masterpiece.
Thank you very much, Paulina.
El último vestido de NALA de Loja, Ecuador
El traje fue cosido a mano por Paulina Salinas, artista visual de Loja, Ecuador.
Hoy me gustaría presentarles el nuevo disfraz de NALA.
La vestimenta típica de la mujer saraguro, compone de sombrero redondo color blanco, con pintas negras, juego de aretes; collares con 12 colores; reboso de lana; tupo de plata; camisa; faja;
anaco; pollera; y, las sandalias o alpargatas.
NALA está muy contenta con esta obra maestra.
Muchas gracias, Paulina.
NALA Artwork by Carlos Romero ( Colombia )
Muchas gracias por tu apoyo.
... tuya NALA.
NALA Artwork by Giovany Novoa ( Ecuador )
Muchas gracias por tu apoyo.
... tuya NALA.
NEW NALA ARTWORK
This new NALA Artwork was painted by Wilfrido Lusitande Piaguaje from San Pablo near Shushufindi at the Amazonas in
Equador. Wilfrido used more then 180 hours to paint this
amazing artwork with NALA.
Can you see the toucan that is in the painting?
Nala wanted a toucan so badly that she unfortunately didn't see it while she was wandering around in the forest. Although she saw no animals, she felt an inner peace and marveled at every tree
and leaf she saw. It was so incredibly interesting and unique to explore this small part of the Amazon. The many colorful butterflies sat on NALA's hand and told her stories about the sloth, the
pink dolphins and the bee elf, the smallest bird in the world.