It’s A Continent
African history is rich and complex. Yet written and oral history, especially history as captured or retold by Africans, can be difficult to come by. So I was grateful when I came across It’s A Continent. The hosts Astrid Madimba, who identifies as British and Congolese, and Chinny Ukata, a British-Nigerian, focus on exploring key historic moments of African countries in an informal yet in-depth manner.
The podcast breaks apart the view of the African continent as a single entity, highlighting and unpacking the unique nature of each of its 54 recognised countries. The podcast began in 2020 and has grown exponentially since then, evidence of the need for these African stories to be told.
Oyinkansola Aderele, co-host and creative director of Pod Save Africa, a bi-weekly podcast telling African stories from African perspectives
Feministing While Malawian, Malawi
High-energy hosts Lusungu Kalanga and Umba Zalira offer reflections on the human rights movement and other topical issues in Malawi and the continent. In one of my favourite episodes, they discuss #TakeItToTheStreetsMalawi: a movement fighting gender-based violence in Malawi that began on social media and led to marches on the streets of Lilongwe and Blantyre in February 2020, demanding government action. The episode looks at how digital platforms facilitate the building of movements and create a community of support for African feminists.
FWM nourishes me and connects deeply with the angry woman in me. Listen for valuable analysis on a wide array of themes spanning the climate crisis, abusive work environments, cybersecurity, health, friendship, sexual orientation and much more.
Audrey Kawire Wabwire is media manager of Human Rights Watch in Kenya and host of Power of the Streets, which features conversations with young people driving Africa’s human rights movement
Nipe Story, Kenya
One of my favourite podcasts hails from my home country, Kenya, and is produced and hosted by one of my favourite humans and an important name in the LGBTQ+ movement in Africa, Kevin Mwachiro.
Nipe Story is a series of short fictional stories narrated by different African writers, myself included. It allows listeners to experience oral storytelling, as we did when we were young.
The stories last between 10 and 40 minutes and often induce feelings of nostalgia, and sometimes catharsis. One episode, This is for My Aunt Penzi Who … by Idza Luhumyo, takes listeners back to the estate playground days, where we would sing methali (Swahili proverbs) and other songs while playing hopscotch in car parks. Nipe Story is the perfect podcast to end the day when your brain can no longer take the fantasy of social media or the actuality of real life.
Karen Kaz Lucas, creator and host of The Spread, Kenya, a safe space for discussions about sex and sexuality
It’s becoming popular on social media to say that everyone and their parents have a podcast. In my view, we don’t have nearly enough African podcasts.
Podcasting has democratised media. For a continent that is often misrepresented, this could be how Africans get to tell their stories in an unbiased and uncensored way.
Africana Woman, hosted by Chulu Chansa, is doing exactly that. She is a Zambian woman who begun the podcast as a safe space for African women to share their stories, hardships and triumphs. The themes brought out in the interviews range from leadership, career tips, business and even healing from trauma.
I was a radio presenter at two traditional media houses in Kenya for 10 years. In 2019 I quit to begin my new media company, so one of my favourite episodes was 53, which tackled what it’s really like to leave employment and branch out on your own.
I love this podcast as it feels like home for me. Hearing African women’s stories makes me feel less alone in my own journey.
Adelle Onyango, creator and host of Legally Clueless, Kenya, and co-author of Our Broken Silence, a collection of diary entries about experiences of sexual violence
I Like Girls, Nigeria
The first time I heard I Like Girls, I had a different idea of what this podcast would be about, but 10 episodes later, I felt right at home. The Nigerian journalist Aisha Salaudeen is the creator of this series that documents the stories of women from across Africa.
Perhaps most significant for me is how the stories range from everyday experiences to shocking events. As an African woman, there’s a lot to learn about the many realities of African women or women of African descent in a multifaceted world. One episode that resonated with me is Woman Enough, which follows the life of a trans woman, Sabs, as she navigates womanhood in a society that does not recognise her as “woman enough”.
Listening to this reminded me of our role as storytellers and the importance of telling multiple sides to a single story. As women, it’s easy to forget how many realities exist outside what we’ve termed normal, and this often comes as a disservice to us. Very often, as African women, the validity of our “woman-ness” is defined and redefined according to the current times, when it simply should be because we are human.
Kiki Mordi, founder of Document Women and executive producer of We’re Not Crazy, You Are!, a series that looks at some of the longest-standing equality movements and what they mean to women across the world
My favourite podcast is AfroQueer. Hosted by the Senegalese-American journalist Selly Thiam and Aida Holly-Nambi, a Ugandan born and raised in Kenya, the series documents the lives of queer African people living on the continent and in the diaspora. Every episode takes the listener to a new country, learning and unpacking the realities and challenges that come with living in that place. I have enjoyed listening to people from different backgrounds share how they practice their queerness and what it has been like finding their place in the world.
The impact of the podcast can be felt through the online community it has built: bringing people together and strengthening the solidarity of LGBTQIA Africans. There is an episode called The Gay Wedding That Broke the Nigerian Internet, and it is inspiring to hear love stories from African countries.
Tinatswe Mhaka, author, activist and host of The Feminist Bar podcast, featuring chats with leading feminists from multiple disciplines
The Road to 30, Nigeria
This talkshow-style podcast is hosted by two Nigerians in their 20s, Isaac and Dolly, who like many middle-class Nigerians completed their university education abroad then moved back to the country. They explore a range of themes each week, documenting the excitements and challenges of their journeys as they approach their 30th birthdays.
Films and TV shows often focus on characters in their teens, struggling to define themselves, or characters in or past their 30s. What’s refreshing about this podcast is that they paint a picture of the hustle and bustle of life for young adults in their 20s in Nigeria. Many say to be Nigerian is to be political on some level, and I particularly enjoy that the hosts are not afraid to delve into political issues occasionally. After the #EndSars protests, they read sections of the Nigerian constitution to educate their listeners, young Nigerians like themselves. They are transparent and vulnerable, making whatever topic they explore especially relatable, which no doubt contributed to Road to 30 being named one of the top podcasts in Nigeria in 2021.
Matilda Bakare, host and producer of Africalypso podcast, a culture show hosted by three Nigerians living in the diaspora and “rediscovering their Nigerian-ness”
Host Qali Id chronicles “stories of purposeful life lived across and between cultures”, and in doing so, creates a powerful and enjoyable space of reflection. Informed by Qali’s background as a young Somali who regularly moves between worlds, Qonnect traces the enmeshment of communities and cultures and examines the tricky lines between home and abroad.
Through Qonnect, Qali has created a podcast that speaks to Africans caught somewhere between “here” and “there”. Human Rights and Coffee, an episode with the entrepreneur Ladan Takow, is particularly captivating. The duo’s rapport saw them addressing heavier and lighter issues with sincerity. Qali’s voice is sorely needed in the podcasting space. We cannot recommend her podcast highly enough.
Surer and Saredo Mohamed, co-creators of the On Things We Left Behind an award-winning, story-driven podcast that explores the hidden afterlife of war
The Ranting Atheist, Nigeria
The evangelicals have taken over Africa, promising riches and prosperity, in the same way colonisers scrambled for Africa in the 1800s with, as Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o put it, a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other. They established their god and wiped out our African gods. This imported god was a fearsome dictator that nobody dared question, mirroring the image of the colonisers and post-colonial African dictators. Africa’s land and minds were conquered and critical thinking was thrown out the window.
The anonymous host of this podcast is unafraid to ask tough questions, even though he knows that what he is saying is grossly unpopular in a country where churches are full every weekend and street preachers are on every street corner. His courageous and unapologetic approach is what attracts me to listen.
My favourite episode is Weird Things I Used to Believe. He gathers fellow Africans to talk about stories that they believed without evidence. Taboos passed from generation to generation, but also the Bible, which most Africans are scared to question.
Prudence Nyamishana, host of Nyamishana’s podcast, which discusses social and political issues through in-depth dialogue with Ugandans
Case Number Zero, Kenya
One of my favourite podcasts from Kenya is Case Number Zero. It’s a captivating investigative podcast about the story of a journalist-turned-blogger named Bogonko Bosire.
When Bogonko did not cover the Westgate mall attacks in 2013, his family and friends started to wonder about his whereabouts. He has not been seen since. The podcast is in a narrative style, weaving together first-hand interviews with family and friends between 2015 and 2020. These interviews and stories paint a picture of Bogonko’s life and look for clues that might help determine what happened to him, or where he might be. Some people believe he is still alive, living in exile, others that he is in witness protection, but many believe he was murdered.
This mystery tugs at people’s curiosity and fears and need for information.
Molly Jensen, CEO of Afripods, a pan-African podcasting platform
Inside Wants Out
When I first listened this African poetry podcast, I couldn’t put my headphones down. Each poem is introduced by the poet, then performed in their mother tongue, with an English translation at the end. Hearing a poem about the separation of families and friends due to the Covid-19 pandemic as another wave crests over the world felt especially moving.
Recruited by an open call, Inside Wants Out brings together the voices and words of poets from across Africa. Poetry is essential for life, and I hope that listeners can find ways to connect with African languages, which is the future of podcasting in Africa.
Josephine Karianjahi, co-director of Africa Podfest
Created in May 2020, the ConnectiviTea podcast invites its audience to join host Rebecca Nanjego and her guests in intimate conversations ‘over a cup of tea’.
Her primary format is interviews, featuring guests including award-winning actor Diana Kahune, who talks about surviving abuse, and super app Safeboda’s co-founder Ricky Thomson Rapa on breaking boundaries.
She also responds to listeners’ questions, addressing topics such as “What we haven’t been told about sex” in a conservative society and how that affects our views of sexuality and relationships.
Sharon Rwakatungu, creator and co-host of Cinema Red Pill Podcast, Uganda, which features in-depth conversations about classic and contemporary films from Africa and beyond
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