Kekere Storytellers Fund Champions 2021/2022
Meet the next generation of content creators, wordsmiths, performance artists, visual artists and journalists who have been awarded grants by the Africa No Filter Kekere Storytellers Fund. The storytellers are from Morocco, Madagascar, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Guinea, Zambia, and Ghana. They’ll produce digital and in-person projects that range from short films, podcasts and articles to photographic series, travel series, spoken word and dance performances and a colouring book for children.
Bryan Emry lives and works in Nairobi. He is a budding photographer stylist who works with celebrities and fashion brands to produce content, adverts and series. His $2000 grant will produce a documentary that follows some ballet dancers in Nairobi.
Tinnah Joma started establishing her name in Madagascar’s Slam poetry circles when she was just 14 years old. The multidisciplinary artist uses dance and oral traditions to create work that engages with human rights, domestic violence, racism, freedom of expression, and Autism awareness. She’s using her $2000 grant to stage a multidisciplinary spoken word and dance project called I am an African.
Jante Juma is a multi-disciplinary creative artist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Jante has worked on photography and film projects, including the award-winning feature film, Why U Hate. She was also part of The Great Caravan in 2019. It’s a movement of African creatives travelling and collaborating to create art that shifts stereotypes. Her $1700 grant will produce a photo book that showcases Nairobi’s contemporary art scene and some artists who make it vibrant.
Joewackle J. Kusi is a Ghanaian writer, filmmaker and podcaster. His focus is on telling stories that have soul. His work includes the feature film, Lucky and a short film called Boy Bo Dey Cry. He’s the creator and producer of Check Your DM, a podcast that brings real stories of how young African celebrities navigate life, career, dating and sex in the age of social media. He’s working on a radio and online drama that explores culture and class using Ghana’s independence year as a backdrop.
Abdulsalam Hamza is a travel documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Abuja, Nigeria. He sees photography and filmmaking as a medium of expression and s a great way to preserve memories, make meaningful connections and experience the world. He believes that photography can inform, educate, and shape narratives. His $1800 funding will produce the second season of Gembu Vlogs, a travel series set around the Mambilla Plateau region of Nigeria.
Frank Ogallo is a digital storyteller with experience in curating, designing, managing and developing marketing campaigns across the African region. He has also authored a children's book to show the adverse effects of climate change. Ogallo’s funding - $1000- will produce short-form stories and podcasts that follow a group of African athletes to provide a unique insight into their daily life and conversations about the power of sports.
Fumbani Phiri is a multi-award-winning playwright and director for National Theatre Makers Awards in Malawi. He has worked on theatre collaborations and festival participation in Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Belgium, the USA, Sweden, Rwanda and Zambia. Phiri is publishing a digital book of five plays, all of them monologues written in five languages spoken in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Sharp-Lee Mthimkulu, South Africa
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sharp-Lee Mthimkulu is a multi-disciplined artist and creative of Zimbabwean descent. Since graduating from the University of Johannesburg under the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) in 2013, he has evolved as an artist, recently incorporating sculpting into his practice. He will use the $1800 grant to produce the second volume of By Way of Illustration, a coffee table book that documents contemporary African illustrators.
Onyango Otieno is a Kenyan trauma therapist, strategic digital advocacy trainer, mental health advocate, podcaster, writer and poet. His work centres on African masculinity and its role in ensuring gender equity, especially championing for African men’s involvement in sexual and reproductive health and rights. He also facilitates trauma healing circles of boys and men and leads a 200-member mental health online support group where members use storytelling as a tool for tackling mental illness stigma. His $1500 grant will fund the publication of Poems to My Father.
The Critics Company
The Critics Company is an award-winning multimedia and entertainment company in Kaduna, Nigeria. Known for its Sci-Fi films, it aims to create magical experiences through the art of filmmaking. After gaining global recognition in 2019, the group of teenagers have continued to make short films in different genres. Their work, Chase, has amassed over 1 Million views on Youtube.
Tseliso Monaheng is a freelance writer, photographer and filmmaker born and raised in Maseru. He currently lives and works in Johannesburg. He has been published in Chimurenga Chronic, Rolling Stone (SA), City Press, the Sunday Times, The Fader (USA). He has also filmed documentaries for NGOs and directed a feature-length documentary called Gentle Magic, which looks at the history of skin lightening among black and brown women in South Africa. His $2000 funding will produce a short film, podcast and a written series about emerging jazz musicians in South Africa.
Michael Mulusa is a Zambian filmmaker, advocate and speaker. His first Shot film Imizwa was nominated for the London lift-off film festival and the Jordanian international film festival. He is currently a student at YFP Africa. Mulusa’s funding of $1700 will produce a short film about an 11-year old aspiring inventor who wants to use tech to inspire and innovate.
Ivy Alexander is a Nairobi-based guitarist and member of numerous bands and recording projects. The British Arts Council selected her to collaborate with UK-based jazz musicians as part of the 2018 Safaricom International Jazz Festival. She was the in-house guitarist for the 2018/2019 season of Coke Studio Africa.
Mohamed Dione was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in New York City. He is of Guinean and Senegalese descent. He worked on plays, TV shows, commercials, music videos and films. His award-winning short film Maffé Tiga (Peanut Butter Stew) has screened at festivals and on television worldwide. His documentary series Momo Dione: Going Home highlights his journey back to Africa after numerous years abroad. Dione uses his $2000 grant to produce the second season of the series. It’s set in Guinea, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana. “This grant means I get to keep doing what I love, what I’m best at, and what is needed. This continues the journey,” he said.
Edith Ochieng is a Nairobi-based writing fellow at African Liberty and a literary journalist at Africa in Dialogue. She is also a creative writer, with work published in The Lazy Women, Brittle Paper, Jalada, Critical Read, Urban Ivy, and Jellyfish Review. Her $1500 grant is funding an illustrated print and digital book about women who shaped and continue to shape Africa. “In many African countries, women’s achievements are still downplayed or attributed to men. I’m afraid that there will be nowhere for girls to read about the brave female warriors, leaders and formidable women,” she said.
Uzoma Dunkwu is an “Artrepreneur” based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a self-taught digital artist with over eight years of experience working with local and international clients in the creative space, including Netflix, NPR, Psyop & Stoopid Buddies Stoodios. He was a panellist at the 2020 Social Media Week, Nigeria International Film Summit (NFIS 2019) and guest appearances at the Teatime show on Plus TV Africa, GoTV. He curated Nigeria’s biggest art contest (Sketchathon) in June-July 2018. Dunkwu’s $2000 is funding a colouring book that wants to introduce children to the continent’s cultural diversity.
Emmanuel Ndefo works as a Nigerian dancer, choreographer, researcher, traveller, performance and textile artist. Ndefo’s $2000 grant will support a photography and dance project profiling young artists from Sabon Gari, Kaduna State. “I want the world to see the potential of Sabon Gari as the commercial capital of kano, to shine a light on local initiative and to educate people about community development needs in the town. Part of the work produced in this fellowship would be set aside as advocacy material to campaign for the establishment of a museum or cultural centre in Sabon Gari,” he said.
Hind Bouqartacha is a Moroccan photographer and videographer based in Rabat. She fell in love with photography in 2013 while studying for her M.A Cinema Documentary in Tetouan. Her clients’ portfolio includes international and Moroccan brands like Billboard magazine, Dove, Getty images, My Kilim, Sissi Morocco and Rhita Creations. She’s using her $1000 grant to complete a photo documentary that dispels the myth that women in her country lack agency. “In these hard times, this grant is that light in the darkness. Around me, it's no longer easy to find support; Moroccan art is no longer a priority. So with this grant, I will have the green light and the financial push I need to keep creating and telling stories of people that deserve to be heard,” she said.