Julie Gichuru, women’s writing and women’s leadership

Picture courtesy of Julie Gichuru's official website
Picture courtesy of Julie Gichuru’s official website.

Perhaps the most exciting news about this year’s Creatives Academy is that Julie Gichuru will be on board as one of our facilitators. But what is more exciting is that the news came at an interesting time.

For one, the African Leadership Dialogues show which she hosts was featuring African women political leaders. Among them was Dr. Jessie Kabwila, who said that African literature is doing a good job of documenting the agency of African women, suggesting that African writing is a good place to understand what African women are doing.

At around the same time, I attended an award ceremony for the Hadithi za Gibebe competition, where all the finalists were men. The absence of women sparked a conversation about why women don’t seem to be writing as compellingly as their stories are.

And just earlier that same day, I had told my Francophone world class that in my experience teaching and mentoring students, the male students have proved more diligent in following my guidelines, keeping in contact with me, and ultimately getting published.

So why are our young women not writing, or writing compellingly?

That’s what we hope to address in this edition of Creatives Academy, when writing has so much power, as Dr. Kabwila says. Julie Gichuru has already indicated her opinion that we need to encourage more women to write and gain more exposure:

Obama became the first black president of the United States and a leader in the world because he had shared his life and journey through writing. So women of Africa, and the men who love us, let’s get our stories out there and change the world. See you in two weeks!        – Wandia Njoya


2 thoughts on “Julie Gichuru, women’s writing and women’s leadership

  1. I am not sure I would agree with you. I think of some of the most exciting literature that has come out of the Continent recently, and it is all women – Jennifer Makumbi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Yvonne Owour, Okwiri, Taiye Selasi, Chimamanda – I could go on.

    Even here in the Kenyan context, online particularly, I see really interesting incredible work being written by women. I don’t think it is that we are not writing. Or writing compellingly. Perhaps we just aren’t as aggressive as men about making our voices heard, demanding to be listened, feeling like our stories are important.

    But I think it is changing….


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