The director, the emcee and the racer: a check in2 minute read

Of Africa is coming up on our second birthday soon and we can’t help but be nostalgic. In January 2017, we launched an idea for a series of essays, interviews and art pieces that centered around the concept of “Homeland”. In reaching out to people for their stories, we experienced a true sisterhood in speedy and enthusiastic responses from around the world. Here is a check in with three of those sisters.

Abbesi Akhamie

We interviewed Nigerian American director Abbesi Akhamie towards the end of 2017 when her short film “Still Water Runs Deep” had just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. We predicted that Abbesi’s star was on the rise and we advised our readers to pull up a chair and watch her career soar. We have not been proven incorrect. “Still Water Runs Deep” has continued to be screened in dozens of festivals, most notably the Women of African Descent Film Festival in New York, Nollywoodweek Paris,  and Palm Springs International Short Film Festival in California. Her drive and her talent make her a force to be reckoned with. We can’t wait until the day she accepts her Oscar.

Read our interview with Abbesi here.

Missy D

Missy D Album Cover

“When Music Hits You feel No pain” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp and more.

The musical brilliance and intelligence of emcee Missy D shone through in her list of five songs that remind her of “Homeland”. It was clear then that Missy D’s musical influence was wide ranging and touched by just about every corner of the continent. At the time, Missy D had just released her ingenious album “When Music Hits You Feel No Pain” and she was looking forward to performing it around her city, Vancouver. Since then Missy D has become an even more vocal supporter of POC  musicians in Vancouver and beyond. She has also been in demand at her gigs and festivals like Skookum: After Dark Festival in September.

Review Missy D’s list here.

Djami Diallo

Photography by Brenda Spielman

Our interview with Djami Diallo was one of my personal favourites. Not only is Djami an engaging and intelligent person, she is also inspirational in her dreams to compete as a wheelchair racer. In the interview, Djami led us through the difficulties and successes of her career so far, emphasizing her great desire to compete for her country, Canada, and one day in the greatest competition of all: the Paralympics. In thrilling news, Djami competed for Team Canada in September and continues to go from strength to strength, all while still teaching full time.

Read more about Djami and her amazing backstory here

What have been some of your favourite pieces? Let us know in the comments! 

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Naliaka Odera is a freelance writer, editor and social media consultant. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of ‘Of Africa’, an online platform that celebrates women of African descent while fostering editorial talent. She is a proud Kenyan who has lived in Belgium, Canada and Thailand. While in Canada, she earned a BA at the University of British Columbia. She has an ongoing love affair with words and loves great conversations as well as all genres of literature. Her writing can be found at www.naliakao.com. Through Of Africa and her consultation, she stresses the importance of people learning vital communication skills to be able to speak for themselves.