We’re celebrating our first birthday and what a year it has been! What started from an idea on the TEDxEuston pledge wall, has grown in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
The initial vision behind AFREADA was simple, we wanted to create a free space to explore Africa through stories. It wasn’t about “changing perceptions”, or “rewriting narratives” – it was about us, our stories, and our unrelenting love for African Literature. We wanted access to short fiction from across the Continent, in a few clicks. That was our goal.
We are pleased to share that since launching last year, we have published in excess of 100 powerful stories from Ethiopia to Madagascar and received well over 50,000 views from 129 countries across the world (including French Polynesia – a country we hadn’t heard of prior to analysing our Stats!) We have had the pleasure of collaborating with amazing partners, joining panel discussions at literary festivals, and running engaging competitions. (Ok, we’ve only run one competition but it was a pretty cool one… read more about it here, and read the winning entry here)
We’ve explored topical themes with stories from human trafficking in Europe to Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. But the 2-minute reads that have no correlation to societal issues have proved to be just as powerful. The everyday, comical stories about neighborhood bullies in Ghana, the romantic stories that emerge from a roadside breakdown in Zambia, and the speculative fiction about amputated fingers in South Africa, allow us to celebrate our differences whilst identifying a shared African experience.
The importance of stories like these have been recognised, so much so that we are elated to share that some of our contributors have been spotted on our platform, and offered the opportunity to produce and release extended pieces of work with award-winning publishers. That’s all the encouragement we need to go away for a few weeks, and come back with more heat in 2017.
Next year, we’re looking forward to bringing you more engaging content from a more diverse pool of exceptional writers. You can expect more collaborations with literary organisations, more dynamic partnerships with publishers, creative competitions, and experiments with transmedia and innovative storytelling.
But for now, we want to thank our growing community of writers and readers. AFREADA doesn’t exist without your support. We’ll be here for as long as you keep reading and sharing your work.
Happy New Year in advance. #BringOn2017
Ps. For those of you who are judging us, we have since Googled “French Polynesia”, and we are now very familiar with the 100+ islands in the South Pacific. For those of you who still think French Polynesia is a fictional country from a Disney movie, you can click here for more info.