A Letter from the Editor: Introducing OkayAfrica Stories

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

OkayAfrica community,

While we have been learning to accept, and adjust to our temporary norm, COVID-19 has changed life in every corner of the globe. As a brand and a publication, we are always looking for new impactful ways to tell the stories of life, art, and culture in our global community. In the past, through our editorial coverage on OkayAfrica, we have been able to reclaim narratives and focus on allowing new voices access to the masses. Now it's time to replicate that model with fewer barriers so we can hear directly from you about how you are impacted by COVID-19.

As the news of the pandemic began to unfold with focus on celebrity cases, I longed to see faces whose experiences mirrored those of our audience, I wondered how our readers were coping, I considered the uncertainty of the young artists, travelers, scholars, dreamers whose lives and pursuits were suddenly halted. But more than that I thought endlessly about the ways we could hear directly from you and how you could connect with one another. For that reason, I am so proud to introduce you to our OkayAfrica Stories, a new user-generated content platform dedicated to your voices.

OkayAfrica's Stories powered by Hypno will give us all a direct look into the lives of those surviving the current global pandemic on the continent. My hope is that the UGC platform will bring communities together to create, share and explore original content. The platform works on both mobile and web to automate the production of branded video content starring you. Members of our community will be able to record 60sec videos in response to automated prompts based on the categories of their choice. Once recorded, the video joins our public collection of videos from everyday Africans around the world expressing their realities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The goal has always been the same, in a pandemic and otherwise, it is our mission to connect the globe to the stories of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. If we cannot do this by gathering via travel, around food, through dance, and have it captured by photography, we will be called to do what we always do: innovate. The things we can learn from one another are endless, the power and comfort that comes when we centralize our voices are boundless.

We are looking to provide the comfort of togetherness, and an outlet for expression, delivered when you need It, when you can handle it and where you can access it. While are only physically apart, our stories will continue to be what brings us together.

We want to hear from you, where you are, how you are.

I am so excited to introduce you to OkayAfrica Stories and look forward to the stories you will share that I know will provide warm comfort and inspiration for your peers.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Rachel Hislop
Editor in Chief, OkayAfrica

Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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