When Murewa Olubela searched online for lists of African magazines to submit to in 2012 and only found a handful, she knew something had to change, and fast.
Already a blogger at the time, the first thing she did was to compile a list on her blog of all African journals and magazines she knew of in one post that quickly became and still remains her most popular blog post yet.
Life got in the way however, and it wasn’t until 2015, when she got a request from the owner of a literary journal asking for his journal to be included in the blog post, that she realized the need to expand the project.
African journals needed a directory of sorts, and Murewa was determined to bring this to reality.
Fast-forward to 2016 and Africanliterarymagazines.singlestory.org is every African writer’s one stop shop for all things regarding opportunities for African writing. Information and news about local and international publications, submissions, and other tools important to young writers are regularly updated.
Murewa shares responsibilities for the site with Timehin Adegbeye, another young and equally enthusiastic writer. According to Murewa, the site is her way of “just doing her part.”
African Literary Magazines is part of a larger initiative started by Murewa, the Single Story Foundation.
The Single Story Foundation is a nonprofit organization which provides storytelling opportunities for Africans at home and in diaspora. [It] challenges the Western narratives, seeks for change in the way the African narrative is told, and fosters an environment where young Africans can promote their technological, creative, educational and imaginative achievements or developments.
Murewa believes that Africans are already telling their stories and that those stories only need increased visibility. According to her, African stories are only accessible and ubiquitous to people already in the African writing community, and hardly at all to people who are not. She believes that by creating more avenues and making it easier for African writers to find means to publish their stories, she advocates for realistic story-telling.
Both her online directory and the Single Story Foundation, are ways in which Murewa hopes to open up African literature to a whole new demographic outside of the already existing community.
A graduate of English (Creative Writing) and Mass Communication (Marketing), Murewa Olubela is currently working on an MBA and an MA in Strategic Communication.
She has big dreams for African literature, and if her online directory is anything to go by, we have a lot to look forward to.