YouTube Launches Inaugural Africa Reading Challenge

April 22, 2021
$100m YouTube Grant

By Adedapo Adesanya

YouTube has launched its first YouTube Africa Reading Challenge, an online reading marathon featuring authors, influencers and key opinion leaders across Africa.

In a bid to help popularise the works of African authors across the continent, the personalities will read extracts from The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a novel by the Nigerian poet Lola Shoneyin.

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.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin emerged as the top choice by Africans in a Google Africa survey conducted last July, which asked social media followers which novel by an African author they would like to see read live on YouTube.

A total of 40 people across Africa have since been selected to kick off the YouTube Africa Challenge and will be reading from its pages, encouraging others to join them too.

The notable names joining the reading challenge are from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

From Nigeria are media entrepreneur and talk show host Agatha Amatha, motivational speaker Olujimi Tewe, philanthropist and writer Betty Irabor, performance coach and strategist Steve Harris, and career and business coach, Muyiwa Afolabi.

From Kenya are 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, and actor and writer Mugambi Nthiga.

From South Africa, TV presenter and philanthropist Maps Maponyane, media personality Penny Lebyane, actress and model Pearl Thusi, storyteller and sociologist Upile Chisala, and award-winning marketer Khaya Dlanga.

Speaking on this, Ms Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Africa said, “We are 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. 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. They simply have to download the app from the App Store and find the book under News and Updates.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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