Salha Kaitesi: Many of our traditions and stories have been lost

ElleAfrique Salha Kaitesi
Salha Kaitesi of @ElleAfrique shares her advice on starting a blogzine. It's not so hard! Click To Tweet

Salha Kaitesi is a social entrepreneur currently managing two projects: Beauty of Rwanda, a not-for-profit organisation that economically empowers women and girls in Rwanda; and ElleAfrique, a blogzine dedicated to challenging the perceptions of African girls and women in the world today. 

The blogzine features writers and wide-ranging topics from across Africa, providing a space for African women to empower and celebrate one another and unite through their stories.

How does ElleAfrique stand out in comparison to other lifestyle magazines that target African women?

ElleAfrique stands out for several reasons but what truly makes it special is that it’s a platform dedicated to the everyday African woman. Most of our contributors are not “professional” bloggers/writers, they’re just everyday women with a story to tell and wisdom to share. ElleAfrique bloggers are university students, stay at home mums, professionals and everything in between.

Our blogzine also covers a range of topics, from the negative effects of the war in Burundi to the latest fashion trends in Cameroon, and span the entire continent because we have gathered women from many different parts of Africa and given them a voice through our platform.  The special ingredient to our success is our contributors.

What’s the most difficult aspect of running an online website in an age where advertising money is hard to come by and entry barriers are low?

Starting a blog has never been easier. What’s important is uniqueness because there are thousands of blogs out there. Attracting new readers with fresh content while maintaining our current readership has been vital to the success of ElleAfrique. It’s a constant balancing act. Constantly monitoring the performance of the blog has been key to keeping on top of things.

I have an amazing management group of women that work with me. The blog would not be what it is today without them (and those who share their stories, of course). ElleAfrique is successful because of the entire group.

@ElleAfrique is a platform dedicated to telling the stories of the everyday African woman Click To Tweet

Are there stories about African women begging to be told that no one is telling but should?

I believe the stories of our mothers and grandmothers are absent in magazines and media in general.  However, they are important because these matriarchs, through their life experiences, have shaped today’s African woman.

Through modernization, civilisation and the mass exodus of many towards the “Western world”, many of our traditions and stories have been lost. Writing and reading about them will strengthen our connection to our past and bring greater perspective to our present.

What’s your advice to anyone starting an online African magazine?

Having a unique niche is great, but even if that niche is already being covered elsewhere you can always turn your model into something that is still appealing to future readers.

Starting an online magazine isn’t as hard as you might think, but you must be prepared to work really hard. Your small idea can become a household name!

When I started ElleAfrique, it was being managed by someone else because I knew nothing about blogging. But I took the time to learn about web design and building a blog. Knowledge of online marketing was also an advantage and an important area to be familiar with.

Salha Kaitesi - What's important is uniqueness because there are thousands of blogs out there Click To Tweet

What does the future hold for ElleAfrique?

The African woman is multifaceted, multitalented and multicultural and it is because of this that we want all of her represented. I think the best way to achieve this is to have at least one contributor from each country in Africa.

We want to attract brands that cater to African women and to be a bridge for businesses to reach their target market. Ultimately, our mission is to change the narrative about the African woman, and who better to do this than the everyday African women, living on the continent or in the diaspora.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

About Shayera Dark

Shayera Dark was a communications fellow at SLA. Her written work has appeared in Harper's Magazine, Okay Africa, Brittle Paper, AFREADA and Aljazeera among others.

She is currently working on her first novel.

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