Welcome to my new series, African Women in Tech, and the first interview w/ Nigerian tech entrepreneur, Abaka Adenle, lead developer of the SpeakYoruba app.
Let’s get something straight. There are lots of Africans who don’t speak their native languages, for a variety of reasons, but they want to learn. But given that the pool of resources for learning indigenous African languages isn’t as large as say, for Spanish, wouldn’t it be more productive to frame our conversations about the diminishing fluency of Nigerian languages around solutions (i.e. what we can do to increase interest in AND access to greater learning resources) vs. the polarity of judging one’s Africanness based on which languages they speak? Just a thought.
If my detest for words and definitions stems from anything at all it’s the “allies” I’ve experienced in both my personal life and my work as an activist. I’ve met hundreds of “white allies,” for instance, many of who profess their “consciousness” via some digital channel (e.g. an overly serious twitter bio or utopia-inspired vision statement) or, in person, via some self-congratulatory speech masquerading as a relevant anecdote… especially when surrounded by women of color.
One of my favorite African women artists, Shishani, has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to crowdfund her debut album, featuring her most popular singles, “Minority” and “Raining Words”. I rarely post about media that isn’t in the form of a review, but I’ve heard many of the tracks on the album after seeing her perform live in Namibia last year, I strongly recommend you give her music a listen.
I often get requests for practical day-to-day advice for caring for oneself as an activist. It’s prompted me to reflect on what it means for activists to really practice self care… not just as some fluffy theoretical concept reserved for the those who can afford fancy yoga retreats, but as an accessible set of principles, applied consistently towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.