#Okay100Women

DR. NNEDI OKORAFOR

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Dr. Nnedi Okorafor is a stunning voice in African science fiction literature. Self described as a rudimentary cyborg, the Nigerian-American author and professor specializes in young adult fantasy focused on African and African American adolescents—particularly girls. She has some sci fi novels for us older readers, too.


When we think of young female characters with supernatural abilities, we imagine Buffy, Willow, the pink and yellow Power Rangers, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch—at least, those were the magical heroines I grew up with. Kids of color today have Okorafor’s characters, who not only possess great abilities and strength, but deal with the intersections of identity, culture, family and war, across galaxies, in their communities and even at school. This consciousness of the sphere of the African and black experience, dotted with magical realism and science fiction, makes Okorafor’s stories all the more compelling.

Okorafor has won several awards and accolades for her novels, including the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature and the Children’s Africana Book Award for Best Book for Young Readers, just to name a few, literally. Her most popular works include the Akata Witch Series, Binti and Who Fears Death.

-AA

Interview

Malian Rapper Ami Yerewolo Rises Against All Odds

Ami Yerewolo reflects on her hard-won rap career, new album AY and why she insists on creating support spaces for young female rappers in Mali and beyond.

"No one is a prophet in his or her own land!" This is an accurate way to describe Ami Yerewolo's career to a tee. The Malian rapper's music has not always been popular in her home country, where female rappers are generally frowned upon. Instead, it has taken off abroad. Yerewolo's upbeat sound mixes traditional Malian elements with fast drums, contemporary beats and significant lyrics that compel listeners to reflect on life — all of which makes her songs carry a universal appeal. Her new album, AY (titled after the rapper's initials) has just been released by the label Othentiq.

Yerewolo shares her frank thoughts below...

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