YouTube has launched the African Reading Challenge, an online reading marathon aimed at promoting African writers.
The video streaming app will bring in 54 readers from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Each country will be represented by 18 readers in a bid meant to promote the reading culture in the three countries.
Kenya will be represented by Story moja founder Muthoni Garland, popular storyteller James Murua, creative writers Anne Moraa and Aleya Kassam, renowned journalist and writer John Sibi-Okumu, poet and actress Laura Ekumbo and actor-cum-writer Mugambi Nthiga among others.
The month-long event will feature the Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a book by Nigerian poet Lola Shoneyin. The 2010 publication was the winner in a twitter poll held by Google last year when the tech giant sought to find out which book Netizens wanted to hear read out aloud.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives focuses on polygamy in modern-day Nigeria, giving an entertaining perspective and insightful portrayal. It highlights the struggles, rivalries, intricate family politics and mash-up of personalities entangled in a polygamous set-up. The book also tackles traditional stereotypes on barrenness.
“Childlessness has always been blamed on women, I am happy that the Twitter poll selected a book that is one of my best African literature,” Laureen Mayoye, an avid reader commented.
“One may argue that the book was called, Baba Segi’s because a child doesn’t have to be biologically yours so as to be considered your own. An adopted child is also a child and it ties up with the new reforms in the republic,” she explains.
Interested parties have been invited to join the reading challenge by uploading a 10-second video of themselves reading the book with the hashtag #AfricanReadingChallenge.