While digital content has made it easier for people across the globe to access previously underrepresented stories, there is still a significant gap when it comes to online and offline content focused on authentic African stories. After the birth of a new generation of their family tree, Anna, Lucy, Jainaba and YaAdam came together to ensure that more African children knew about their rich history and culture.
Why did you believe that Princess Halima needed to be created and how did you find yourself being the one to make it happen?
We are half Gambian and Tanzanian and wanted to bring Africa to the forefront and educate our readers that Africa is a continent full of rich history, and not the misconceived idea that Africa is a single country. We want our readers to find an escape into Africa’s vast richness and history while following Princess Halima in all her adventures. And most importantly, we want to empower young minds with knowledge that will pique their interest to one-day jump on a plane and make the journey to Tanzania, Ghana, or Nigeria or any other country in Africa!
The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima project was inspired by the birth of the first baby (grandchild) in the family, Halima Bah. Halima is of Guinean, Gambian, Tanzanian descent. With such a rich combination of African culture and history, we thought the best way to educate Halima about her many homelands was to start the series of books through which she will get to not only discover her heritage, but also learn about the African continent as a whole.
Why don’t you believe that books such as Princess Halima have been created before in the market?
You will find that most stories about Africa are told through animal characters. It boils down to controlling our own narratives and images of ourselves in the world. Storytelling is one of the most important traditions humans possess to influence, shape beliefs and behaviors. We could not exist without the values, the wisdom and the courage shared from past generations through the art of storytelling. As such, this campaign is an effort to control the stories and images of our beautiful continent.
What makes Princess Halima different from all of the other educational content out there on the market?
Princess Halima is a brave, curious and courageous African girl that is intrigued by the wonders of the world but specifically her continent of Africa. As a Princess, she luckily gets to travel across the continent visiting cousins, friends and family. During each visit she takes time to explore all that these beautiful countries have to offer from the culture, fashion, languages, parks and historic sites etc. These adventures and experiences shape her worldly view, and those of her readers.
For your business to get to the next level, would you prefer funding or a high value mentor? Which one would you choose and why?
We would prefer both but to be completely honest, at this point we would select funding over a mentor. We have built a machine over the past two to three years that is working for us. Every member of our team handles different aspects to ensure we are reaching our goals and meeting deadlines.Click To Tweet
What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your journey that you want to share with young African women entrepreneurs?
The most valuable lesson we have learned is patience. We have also gained an understanding that although we are passionate about this project and believe in its power, it will still take time for others to jump on board. In addition, we have learned that while we have received significant support from our African communities it wasn’t that overwhelming support we anticipated. However, it doesn’t mean that the interest and love isn’t there, it just takes time for others so see your vision and feel your passion for something you so strongly believe in.
What story can you not wait to tell next?
We are excited to tell the story of our homeland, The Gambia also known as the Smiling Coast. The smallest country in mainland Africa is going through some transitional changes right with the results of a recent election which has birthed the movement #GambiaHasDecided. This movement speaks to the ultimate pride, honor and fight Gambians have. Princess Halima’s story will capture its beauty and strength.
Favorite story or nursery rhyme as a child
Favorite story Shaka Zulu, was scared of it but loved it at the same time.
What did you want to be when you grew up
Work in the international development(United Nations) field like our mother.
Any travel tips for when you’re on the go with young ones
Get them a good book like ours, you can’t go wrong with The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima
What author are you most inspired by
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Nigeria
Ebook or hard copy
Hard copy! I love the smell of books and closing the book upon completion gives me a sense of accomplishment.