Meet African Arguments’ young journalist fellows!
Posted on 14th October, 2021 in News
We are delighted to announce the six inaugural fellows for the African Arguments Fellowship for Young Freelancers. For this pilot project, we received 500 applications from African freelance journalists under the age of 30 from across the continent. Following a highly competitive process, we picked the following fellows:
- Immaculata Abba, 24, Nigeria
- Ope Adetayo, 23, Nigeria
- Nicolas Nhalungo, 23, Mozambique
- Lara Reffat, 21, Egypt
- Yared Tsegaye, 25, Ethiopia
- Kanyi Wyban, 26, Kenya
All six fellows have already shown impressive ability in their careers but stood out for their desire to build on their existing skills and fulfil their immense potential.
Through the programme, they will receive a series of expert-led online trainings around key freelancing skills such as pitching, negotiating fees, writing for international audiences, avoiding stereotypes and more. The fellows will also have three paid commissions on African Arguments. This will give the fellows the opportunity to develop their craft and expand their portfolios while benefiting from dedicated one-to-one support and mentoring from the editors.
African Arguments, a pan-African online magazine, has long been committed to publishing engaging, rigorous and nuanced coverage on the continent and providing an alternative to the often simplistic, narrow and disempowering narratives found in the international media. That mission starts by amplifying the work of African writers and putting the power to determine topics, framing and approaches to telling stories in the hands of people who know their subject matter intimately. Through the fellowship, we hope to build on our experience of supporting African journalists to tell original and complex stories on topics spanning politics, culture, social issues, gender, identity and more.
James Wan, editor of African Arguments, commented: “Over the years we’ve worked with so many up-and-coming African writers who have gone on to flourish and we’re so excited to do this now in a more formalised way. We were thrilled to get so many applications – there is clearly a huge need for the kind of programme we are offering – and can’t wait to start working with our first cohort, working out how best we can support them and publishing their brilliant original work.
Looked at one way, the six fellows are all so different. Their experience and backgrounds vary massively and, between them, they write about everything from culture to the environment, mental health, politics, music, labour, and much more. But they also have some key things in common: a real hunger to learn, and a desire to tell stories and represent perspectives that mainstream media so often neglect.”
Natasha Kimani, research and media grants lead at Africa No Filter, a narrative partner for the fellowship, said: “Journalists play an important role in shaping narratives. That’s why we partnered with African Arguments to fund this fellowship. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young African journalists to be empowered and deliberately focus on journalism that shifts harmful narratives to reflect a more diverse, dynamic, and evolving continent. The fellowship also creates space for the emergence of new and diverse voices on the continent.”
Meet the fellows:
Immaculata Abba is a writer, photographer and researcher investigating the work, ideas and spaces with which Africans are making a living. Her writing has been published in The Guardian NG, Popula, Zeke and others. Her visual practice is concerned with how our social, natural and built environments enable or inhibit our desires. Her photography has been published in Saraba Mag, The Photographer’s Gallery website, and The Photographer’s Network, among others. Her zine ‘Sunrise Mill Estate’ was published in print by Another Place Press.
Ope Adetayo is a journalist and writer based in Lagos. He is a final year student of English at the University of Ilorin. His works, which have been published in English and French, have appeared in Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Vice, TRT World, African Arguments, Mail and Guardian, Sahelien, The Republic, etc. He was longlisted for the One World Media Print Award 2021.
Nicolas Nhalungo is a Mozambican writer interested in art, intersectional feminism, mental health, pop culture, science, sustainability and tech. Born in south-east Africa, educated in the Middle East, and currently studying in South Asia, this amalgamation of cultures has contributed to his understanding of the world at large. Inspired by the revolutionaries of his own country, he seeks to put Mozambique on the map and amplify marginalised voices.
Lara Reffat is from Egypt and recently graduated with a degree in journalism. Her career began in college when she pitched to a local women’s empowerment magazine. Since then, she has been dedicated to writing about social topics ranging from equality to mental health. She is interested in writing long-form and short-form articles. She hopes to pursue larger-scale projects in the future and launch an online platform or magazine centred on breaking stigmas in Egypt and across Africa.
Yared Tsegaye is a freelance journalist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For nearly four years, he has reported on stories on issues ranging from politics and economy to child labour issues in Ethiopia. He is a learning journalist, seeking to understand the complexities of shared problems and listening to the stories of neglected communities across Africa.
Kanyi Wyban is a young writer and musician based in Mathare, Kenya. He is founder of Heroes of Mathare, a story-telling project aimed at celebrating community heroes and documenting life in Mathare from a resident-centred perspective. He also bears a radical vision of greening Mathare to restore its humanity as coordinator of the Mathare Green Movement.