How do you tell a story powerfully? Represent yourself. That’s the theme in the stories that will be produced by 11 emerging and mid-career artists selected to be in the second cohort of the Kekere Storytellers Fund.
The latest projects powered by the Kekere Fund are about artists are mirrors of their communities; whether it is empowering communities through filmmaking, creating an Instagram platform that amplifies women in music, using 3D animation to inspire agency or giving voice to communities through theatre and feature stories.
The stories will be created by artists who are based in Cameroon, Benin, Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa. They have been powered with microgrants worth between $500 and $2000 to work on projects that embody their experiences of Africa and being African, representing originality, freedom, creativity, and innovation.
In keeping with Africa No Filter’s broader grant-making strategy, the Kekere Storytellers Fund supports performance and visual artists, as well as content creators in the media space. For the second cohort, which also marks year two of Africa No Filter (ANF), diversity took centre stage, from the countries represented to the type of stories being told to the platforms they will be shared on. These include films, a magazine, a theatre production, art exhibitions, a Vegan blog, a YouTube channel that showcases creatives, conversations with Nigeria’s LGBTQ+ community and drumming circles.
“Our mission for Kekere is clear and remains the same - to empower African on-the-ground storytellers through funding and other support. Once again, we were looking for innovative, passionate storytellers with fantastic projects that showcased Africans and the continent in an interesting and refreshing way,” said Jessica Hagan, Arts and Culture program lead at ANF.
“Our first cohort of Kekere grantees introduced us into the wonderful world of young, often unsupported African storytellers. This has inspired us to focus even more on trying to amplify storytellers and content creators who rarely have access to opportunities. We hope that this investment will be the beginning of more diverse and nuanced stories and partnerships across the continent,” added Natasha Kimani, Media and Research lead at ANF.
The Kekere Storytellers Fund was launched in November 2020 as part Africa No Filter’s way of disrupting traditional funding by ensuring that no voice remains unheard. To this end, applications were submitted in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese. Applications were also submitted in writing and through Voice Recordings.
Additionally, Grants were paid out using Western Union’s vast network of cash agents and banks to ensure that anyone in Africa can apply, even storytellers based in communities with limited access to traditional banking services.
The second cohort of the Kekere Storytellers Fund is made up of:
1. Salma Mahmoud - Khartoum, Sudan, 1989
2. Cedric Bichano - Isingiro, Uganda.
3. Ambassadeur - Kigali, Rwanda
4. Anda Mtshelma - Johannesburg, South Africa
5. Nadia Matovu - Kampala, Uganda
6. Eveline Mbisah - Doula, Cameroon
7. Cheraé Halley - Johannesburg, South Africa
8. Kasiva Mutua - Nairobi, Kenya
9. Youhana Nassif - Cairo, Egypt
10. Chisom Job - Lagos, Nigeria
11. Erhuardt Muchemwa - Harare, Zimbabwe