Category Archives: African Women

Interview with Imaginative Scientist Nyokabi Musila: What Science Can Teach Us About Art, Africa and Ourselves

Kenyan blogger Nyokabi Musila has a scientific mind and an artistic spirit. She believes science is a tool that can help us decide which questions to ask. While living in London, Nyokabi came to wonder: “What does Africa really mean?” She continues to return to this idea, exploring the representation of Africa and Africans in the arts.

Nyokabi is a pharmacist with a PhD in pre-clinical drug development and is currently based in Nairobi, where she has been working in a research team that has supported the development of Kenya’s first national evidence-based policy for pediatric care. Also, a columnist for a national Kenyan newspaper, she discusses the medicinal properties of food.

She nurtures her creative side by writing on various arts, including film, theatre and photography that reflect African realities on the blog www.sci-cultura.com, under the not-so-secret pseudonym, “sci-culturist.” One of her latest posts discusses photography and film projects on Nubians in Kenya and colonial legacies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here she shares her views on scientific thought, the arts, Africa and what she wants people to gain from her writing.

Why did you start the Sci-Cultura blog? What does Sci-Cultura mean?

I started Sci-Cultura for the very self-indulgent reason that I wanted to create a space where I could express my thoughts and also engage with like-minded people who were interested in the similar topics. I was bubbling up with stuff I wanted to say and blogging was the easiest outlet. In effect it is a public journal. I started off rather impersonal and factual but somewhere along the way, quite early on, I unknowingly started to inject more of me in my writing.

The meaning of Sci-Cultura is a bit like the blog itself – it has evolved, which I suppose is reflective of me as a person and what is going on for me. I’m sure you’ve gathered that I made it up. I wanted a name that expressed my scientific persona and that also incorporated a single word that captures the human experience. Cultura is the Spanish word for culture, which just rolled off my mind and I liked the ring to it. Overall, it is about the meeting of 2 worlds – science and the arts. I had initially planned for the science aspect to be obvious but found myself being led to a more subtle expression – the root of science is about seeking answers to questions.

Can you tell us about your background, and how it influences what you feature on your site?

I started the blog as a Kenyan living in London, England. Someone has said this before – when you land in Heathrow, you take on a new identity – you are labeled an African. I felt the drive to explore how being African was being expressed in the arts and to answer the question: “What does African really mean?” Continue reading

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The Diversity Within Us

Yaye Marie Ba has a passion for sharing the beauty, style and cultures of African people. On her blog she speaks with African women on many topics ranging from art to life. Her blog truly shows the diversity of Africa and the importance of learning from each other. We are pleased to have interviewed her and to share her thoughts with you.

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Yaye Marie Ba, I am half Senegalese and Guinean on my father’s side, and Malian on my maman’s side. I moved back to the capital of Senegal, Dakar, after having spent 10 years in the United States.

Can you describe your blog at www.yayemarieba.blogspot.com to us?  Why did you create this blog?  What do you hope to accomplish with this blog?

I started my blog close to four years ago out of curiosity and hunger for knowledge about my African culture. I wanted to know more about the youth of Africa, wanted to discover what we are all about. I wanted to find out what a Tunisian or Togolese young woman, for example, was all about. I know what we came from, but I didn’t know enough about where we are today in terms of social development, self confidence and entrepreneurship.

It started slowly, but today I’m proud to say that through this blog, I know that we’ve learned, and are still learning, how to keep our traditions and develop ourselves with Western ideas. Finding the right balance between the two can be hard sometimes, but I think that we’ll get there. Continue reading