Monthly Archives: December 2009

Developing Freedom: Interview with Jemila Abdulai

We recently added the following sentences to the ABOUT section of our website:

“For women to Live Unchained, they must be allowed to simply, live. For many black women across the globe, this basic entitlement is threatened on a daily basis.”

We thought it was important to acknowledge that although the intended scope of the project is vast, we recognize that so too are the challenges facing women of African descent. The resources and perseverance needed to bring about basic opportunities for women of African descent, their communities and family members is bigger than any one movement or publication–especially our own.

We were so honored and happy to connect with and learn from Jemila Abdulai, an International Development Correspondent based in Washington D.C., who believes that free women are important to Africa’s economic and political growth.

Born in Nigeria, and raised in Ghana, Jemila developed a keen interest in the history and current policies that continue to shape African development initiatives. Fluent in English and French, she also keeps her ear to the ground concerning Francophone countries, such as Senegal, where she traveled with the African Women’s Millenium Initiative (AWOMI). Jemila believes in the power of information sharing and discusses many of her experiences and ideas on her blog: www.circumspecte.com.

In this interview Jemila shares how she became involved in the African Women’s Millenium Initiative (AWOMI) in Senegal (as well as how you can travel and help with AWOMI), her interest in international development and her vision of empowered women and Africa at it’s strongest.

Can you tell us about your background?  Where are you from?  Where have you been?

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Nigeria’s Muse: Interview with Author and Professor Nnedi Okorafor

Originally from Nigeria, author Nnedimma (Nnedi) Okorafor, returns frequently; In her books she often brings her readers along the journey. Nnedi writes science fiction and fantasy novels, often exploring the hero’s experience from a young female’s perspective. Everything comes to life in her work–the trees, creatures and even the ground are animated in her stories.

In this interview, Nnedi shares her thoughts on how Nigeria influences her work, explains her thoughts on the business of writing, offers advice to aspiring authors, and shares what living unchained means to her.

You say Nigeria is your muse. How does Nigeria inspire you?

It’s not something I can really put words to. My parents have been taking me to Nigeria since I was a kid. It’s where some of the funniest, craziest, weirdest, scariest, happiest moments of my life have taken place. It’s where most of my relatives are. It’s where I’ve seen the coolest creatures.

It’s the place of the stories my parents and oldest relatives have told me. And I can’t name any books that contain the stories about Nigeria that reflect the ones in my head. That particular part of the earth speaks to me.

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She was Saartjie: Jessica Solomon Shares The Saartjie Project

Sara Baartman became popularly known as the “Hottentot Venus” throughout Europe in the 19th century.

Many black women have been exposing her story, drawing connections between her experiences and their own, as well as identifying her by a different name–Saartjie.

Jessica Solomon, along with other founding artists, formed The Saartjie Project, a Washington D.C. based performance collective to honor Saartjie’s experience.

In this interview, Jessica explains Saartjie’s history, why she started the collective, the attention it has received and why Saartjie’s story is so significant and relevant to black women today.

What is the Saartjie Project?

Wow. I always get a little stuck when asked this question because there are so many layers!

We are a tribe of creative women willing to stretch our own boundaries and those imposed on us.

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If you don’t know Jaqee, educate yourself…

We like this kokoo girl…

She is innovative…

And sweet…

Learn more about the Ugandan born musician at her website: www.jaqee.com