YouTube Boosts African Literature With Launch Of 1st Africa Reading Challenge

by Olamilekan Okeowo

In a bid to boosting the profile of African Literature across the continent, YouTube on Wednesday launched its first YouTube Africa Reading Challenge, an online reading marathon.

This development was disclosed by Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Africa, in a statement. He noted that the marathon reading which will feature authors, influencers and key opinion leaders across Africa, is geared towards popularizing African authors across the continent.

He also disclosed that some personalities would read extracts from The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a novel by the Nigerian poet, Lola Shoneyin.

He said that Google was extremely excited about the YouTube Africa Reading Challenge.

“Reading novels is such a critical skill and we hope this event will help fuel a reading culture on the continent, while also highlighting some of the exceptional literary works by African writers.

“Bookworms can join the challenge by sharing a 10-second video on their social channels, reading the same book, and nominating their friends to do the same.

“Free access to read The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is available for one month via the OneRead app,’’ he said.

According to him, this offer is aimed specifically at those eager to join the challenge, but who don’t have access to a physical copy of the book.
Gajria said that interested participants simply had to download the app from the App Store to find the book under ‘News and Updates’.

According to him, the book is an entertaining, perceptive, and enlightening portrayal of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria.

It reveals the struggles, rivalries, intricate family politics, and the interplay of personalities and relationships within the complex private world of a polygamous union.

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Gajria said that the novel emerged as the top choice by Africans in a Google Africa survey conducted in July 2020.

According to him, a total of 40  people across Africa were selected to kick off the YouTube Africa Challenge and will be reading from its pages, encouraging others to join them too.

He said that the 40 personalities including writers and storytellers Muthoni Garland and James Murua, creative writers Anne Moraa and Aleya Kassam, actor and journalist John Sibi-Okumu, poet and actress Laura Ekumbo as well as actor and writer Mugambi Nthiga.

Others included Nigerian Media entrepreneur and talk show host Agatha Amata, motivational speaker Olujimi Tewe, philanthropist and writer Betty Irabor, performance coach and strategist Steve Harris, career and business coach Muyiwa Afolabi among others.

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