I am a writer who is afraid of writing;
I am an speaker who is afraid to speak to more than two people at a time;
I am an activist who is full of courage but always fearful;
I am a reader who reads and dreams at the same time;
I am an educator who is constantly learning;
I am real and fake and often cannot tell the difference at a given moment;
I love people but feel safer on my own;
I am always on the run but cannot hide;
my home is where my heart is which may or may not be where my home is;
I love to take photos but after 20 years still cannot get it right – but just occasionally very occasionally I get it right and that makes all the failures worthwhile;
I am full of confidence and drowning in self-doubt;
each day without fail I wake up with anxiety but I always manage to make it through the day;
I am visible and therefore vulnerable to shame;
I am invisible and therefore vulnerable to being silenced;
I am connected but full of disconnections to people, to situations, to experiences.
I have a longing yet my belly is full. I am imperfect but yearn to be perfect.
I have passed through many places, created many spaces, loved many people, made many wrongs but in all my life I do not know what I have done. This is me and with whom I must live with on the most intimate of terms - but I know with the certainty that night follows day that I am not alone in this.
Sokari Ekine - @blacklooks - founder and editor of Black Looks, is a writer, educationalist and digital activist. She is editor of SMS Uprising: Mobile Phone Activism in Africa  co-editor of African Awakenings [Firoze Manji, 2011] and the forthcoming Queer African Reader [Hakima Abbas. 2012]. Sokari is a weekly contributor to Pambazuka News and her writings have appeared in progressive media and academic journals in Africa, Europe and the US. Sokari also blogs at Tumblr
Mia Nikasimo, co-editor, is a Nigerian writer and transgender activist based in London.
If you would like to contribute to Black Looks send us an email on info AT blacklooks DOT org
Below are some of the writers who have contributed regularly to Black Looks over the past 5 years.
Eccentric Yoruba – @eccentricyoruba - The African Flying Machine Rests
Sherlina Nageer is a Guyanese feminist, writer, activist and one of the founders of the Occupy Guyana [GT] movement.
Donald Molosi - @actordonald - is an international actor in film, stage and TV, writer and poet. 2009-2010 Florence Chandler Fellow for Acting 2008 Best Actor Award winner – Dialogue One Festival in MA, USA. 2003 Recipient of the Khama Brilliant Spirit Award. Donald is feminist man, a writer and poet. He is from Botswana
Robtel Neajai Pailey was born in Monrovia, Liberia. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Development Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), as a Mo Ibrahim Foundation scholar. She is also an opinion fellow with New Narratives (www.newnarratives.org), a project supporting leading independent media in Africa.
Rethabile Masilo - is a Lesotho blogger presently living in Paris. He blogs at Sotho and Poéfrika, a group blog for poets and writers – a creative venture for for creative people, Africans, non-Africans, black, white, colourful, writers about African issues. Or about life, simply.
Annie Quarcoopome - is from Ghana and is a graduate of Williams College in the US. She has spent 6 months studying French Caribbean Literature in Martinique and is presently working back home in Accra. Black Looks and Global Woman
Kameelah Rasheed - is a graduate student at Standford Univeristy. She spent 2007 as a Fulbright scholar attending Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kameelahwrites
Kym Platt - is also based in the US and works in the media and advertising. Askthisblackwoman
Chinwe Azubuike is a contemporary African Poet regarded as a strong female contemporary voice from Africa, born in Nigeria. An indegene of Imo State, she is the daughter of the late Wisdom Azubuike who served in the Biafran War, and Mary Azubuike, her mother.
Chinwe’s humble beginnings were a far cry from the literary educated class of poets- born into a relatively poor family. Over the past decade she has gradually crafted her own powerful voice and found a unique style of no-nonsense writing that comes directly from her heart- seeing herself as a spokeswoman for Nigeria’s deprived underclass.
The bulk of her work, which is reflected in her poetry, focuses on female issues; of love, life and torture with specific references to ethnic family traditions in Nigeria and West Africa.
Her meteoric rise in African literary circles came about following a talk she was invited to give on female circumcision for the BBC World Service in 2004. Since then, she has given various readings and spoken candidly on various radio stations in the capital. Her work, which includes a worldwide campaign for women, against the victimization and deprivation of human rights of “the Widow” in Nigeria- an issue borne out of her own bitter experience when her father sadly passed away, has been published in various online publications and offline magazines in London and throughout the world.
Annwen Bates is a South African cultural theorist who is living and working in an ivory tower amongst the aloes. She lives in Capetown.
Andile Mngxitama is South African activist in the Landless Peoples’ Movement (LPM), a group he was instrumental in organizing. Andile has published extensively on the issue of land reform, and other pressing Pan-African issues. He is co-editor of Biko Lives -Conversations and Contestations with Gibson and Alexander, forthcoming this year.
Vuyo R Seripe is a freelance writer and artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Apart from working on corporate writing projects, she contributes articles to a variety of publications and is a keen observer of South Africa’s emerging urban cultures.”
Del Hornbuckle is a librarian and member of the Progressive Librarians Association – her website is Dogonland.;
The new banner: All the people pictured have touched my life in many different ways. Each of them has used their voices, words, music and actions to stand up for social justice and the struggle for humanity and rights.
From left to right:
Audrey Lorde – Black feminist, lesbian, mother, poet
Miriam Makeba - Mama Africa, singer and anti-apartheid activist
Busi Sigasa – Busi was a young South Africa lesbian – a rape survivor and living with HIV who dreamed of being a poet and writer. She died on 12th March 2007 in her home in Soweto.
Victor Mukasa - A Ugandan transgender person and human rights defender. Victor has been one of the most consistent and active human rights defenders for LGBTIQ rights and decriminalization in Uganda and across Africa.
Eudy Simelane – A young South African lesbian and soccer player who was raped and murdered on April 28th, 2008.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti - Nigerian feminist and activist who fought for suffrage and equal rights for her countrywomen and against colonialism, traditional and military dictatorship.
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