There’s a vibrant and thought-provoking Kenyan Superhero Series (pictured above) on Google Arts & Culture which resonates with Matoyana Media’s ongoing vision to highlight inspiring Warrior Women. Our past and present is rich with women activists who are still being discovered and recognised for the changes they’ve made to society.
In Part Two of our Warrior Women Activist Series (see Part One here) here are four more who incredible women changing the world through their activism and the power of their pens.
“Write a story that matters to you, a story that only you can write. It will give you the drive to actually finish the novel, and it will be something unique that no other author could create.” Tomi Adeyemi
1.) Tomi Adeyemi is an Author, Speaker and Teacher. She’s on the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and her website has been nominated as one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. She was born in the US in 1993 to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. Her father was a physician in Nigeria but a taxi driver in Chicago while he waited for the transfer of his qualifications and her mother worked as a cleaning woman. Growing up she won scholarships, including one to go to Harvard, where she graduated with an Honours Degree in English Literature. She went on to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil, which inspired her to write her breakout novel, Children of Blood and Bone.
Tomi’s activism shines through in the stories she tells, about which she says, “I want a little black girl to pick up my book one day and see herself as the star. I want her to know that she’s beautiful, and she matters, and she can have a crazy, magical adventure even if an ignorant part of the world tells her she can never be Hermione Granger.” She believes that, “Children of colour need a mirror to see themselves in. And then people who don’t have that experience, they need a window. They need a really personalized way to see what people who are different from them are going through.” We also love her for sharing her knowledge and skills with aspiring writers. If you’re looking for inspiration as an author, check out her writing tips and free writing resource library here.
“Whether we know their names or not, we have all benefited from the disruptive lives of great women made in South Africa.” Lwando Xaso
2.) South African, Lwando Xaso, received her law degree (LL.B.) from the University of Johannesburg in 2005, and her Masters in Law (LL.M.) in Constitutional Governance and Administrative Justice at the University of Cape Town in 2009. She has worked as a researcher for the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit and clerked for Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Ms. Xaso contributed to the book “One Law One Nation” by Lauren Segal and Sharon Cort in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Constitution of South Africa. (KLAU Center for Civil and Human Rights)
Lwando is also a writer exploring the interaction between race, gender, history and popular culture. She is the author of a soon to be published book called Made in South Africa, A Black Woman’s Stories of Rage, Resistance and Progress. (Daily Maverick) Her writing resonates with the generations of South African’s who, at times, feel voiceless and powerless. About life she says, “I have learnt that there aren’t any fast and easy answers to the problems that the world faces but our duty is to try.” About life in South Africa she’s recently written an article in which she says, “Despite the number of times that South Africa has stumbled, I remain forward-looking and hold an abiding faith in the people of South Africa to achieve the impossible.” A sentiment which resonates deeply with us too, as we hope for change and prosperity within our country.
“I’ve always seen writing as a form of activism. If nothing else, books give us a glimpse into lives that we may not have known about before; they can promote empathy. There is the movement Black Lives Matter and the organisation Black Lives Matter, and I respect what both are doing. I know [The Hate U Give] is an “issue” book, but I didn’t necessarily want it to be that way… I wanted to make something that is so political seem personal. ” Angie Thomas
3.) Author of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas, debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for young adult hardcover books within the first week of its publication in 2017. The book was written to shed light to the ongoing issue of police brutality in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s important to note that Angie had difficulty getting her work published , receiving 60 rejections for a children’s book she wrote. This changed when she contacted a non-profit organisation, We Need Diverse Books, and submitted her work for its inaugural awards, and won. Her next book, On the Come Up (2019) was a best seller and she is in the process of completing her next one, Concrete Rose.
“Battle scars aren’t the only marks of a testimony. Sometimes, the testimony is just the fact that you are unscathed, that the relationship that didn’t work out saved you a headache, that the business deal fell through before it even started, or that you’re living a quiet, drama-free life.” Andrena Sawyer
“The kind of legacy you leave will only reflect the kind of life you lived.” Andrena Sawyer
“Regrets begin the moment we’re comfortable with settling.” Andrena Sawyer.
4.) Andrena Sawyer is an author, consultant, strategist and ministry founder whose background includes surviving the civil war in Sierra Leone. As the She Leads Africa website so accurately says, “Her authenticity and battle-tested principles inspire audiences to embrace their past, own their present and maximize their future. “
As the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting, a non-profit and small business consulting company in Washington DC, Andrena is an activist who is passionate about seeing women succeed and believes that we should, “Think big. Pray bigger. Grace is at work for you in ways you’re too human to understand.” If you’re looking for a great literary read by Andrena start with The Long Way Home, and for a business book with a difference you can’t go wrong with The Misadventures of a New Entrepreneur – 5 Things They Won’t Teach You in Business School.
Matoyana Media is a champion and supporter of female entrepreneurs, in 2018 we created a “Fearless Women” video and podcast series, interviewing 23 entrepreneurial-minded women, asking them to share their stories about how they work at being fearless in their businesses and lives.
Last year we tapped into our inner-warrior and produced a modern-day Warrior Women series, representing African women from around the continent, of all ages, races and career types. How activism has shown up in your life, particularly during the CODID-19 pandemic. Under the banners of equity, inclusion, liberation, justice, solidarity, resiliency and interdependency these are the type of activists we’re seeing more of – which one (or more) are you?