Jessica Naa Adjeley Konney found living alone quite boring so she chose to stay on campus after lectures to while away time.

As spending time on campus meant more time on the internet, she discovered blogging and entertainment blogs in Ghana like Ameyaw Debrah. This led to her decision to turn her boredom into a passion to keep her busy after school hours.

Even though she knew nothing about blogging, she took a bold step and her experience in journalism/writing to set up a blog called Fashion 101 which later turned to Trendsnblendsgh as she saw the need to rebrand once her blog began to grow.

She chose fashion blogging because there was no platform specifically dedicated to fashion in Ghana especially Ghanaian fashion. Over time, her blog has grown to become one of the best in Ghana and the Harper’s Bazaar of Africa called Trendsnblendsgh the go-to online hub for everything African Fashion starting with Ghana.

Jessica now covers fashion events, features fashion entrepreneurs, offers style tips, offers professional advice to young fashion brands etc.

 Describe how you first got into blogging


Blogging for me started as a hobby to while away time during my days at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. I used to spend so much time on campus after school back in the day because I had nowhere to go as I lived alone, so being at home was quite boring.

While on campus, I surfed the internet a lot and that was when I realized that there were entertainment websites like Ameyaw Debrah, Ghana gist blogging about entertainment and there were fewer blogs on fashion so that was the moment I decided to turn my boredom into a passion to keep me busy after school hours.

Interestingly, I had no clue about blogging whatsoever but I took the bold step to set up my blog using and called it Fashion 101.

With no direction whatsoever I set out to start fashion blogging. I thought to myself that once I had experience in journalism and writing I could definitely put together some content for this blog and I guess I did.

How do you keep your social media pages lit and drive traffic to your blog?


I see myself as a fashion journalist because I’m always on the lookout for contents that will make the news.

After every post, I made sure to share the link to my blog on all my social media platforms (back then it was just Facebook and Twitter) and I consistently kept sharing.

I also attended fashion events and introduced myself as a fashion blogger because it was the most common term people could understand. This wasn’t easy initially because it was new to event organizers but consistency and relevant content got me where I am today.

With regards to keeping the social media pages lit, we take a lot of time to curate images from different sources.

We are always looking out for the best photos that will not only engage our audience but keep our timeline clean as well. We sometimes collaborate with photographers for some of the stunning images but quite often we source these photos from other pages or brands.

How do you get clients and generate revenue/income?


For a long time, I felt the numbers or traffic wasn’t enough for me to monetize so I explored other ways to raise revenue or income.  

I started offering digital marketing services to clients for as low as about 100Ghc back then. Then, I also charged brands who promoted their lookbooks on my blog and platforms and that’s basically been how I make money.

Trendsnblendsgh has gone into brand consultation services and helping young brands establish themselves all at a small fee. Monetization is however on our to-do list for the year.

People don't see your dream as big as you do so don't rely on them for validation - @dje_djelyn Click To Tweet

Would you say fashion blogging is a great financial plan? Do you see a future with this career path?


To be honest it’s not a great financial plan unless you’re determined to make it one. It’s new and fresh to people, especially in Ghana.

Fashion entrepreneurs here don’t understand why you need to be paid for your services and it’s quite difficult and frustrating trying to get them to understand. I’d say have a financial backing, extra sources of income so it sustains the passion.

At this point, I see it as a great career path for me. To be an editor-in-chief of one of Africa’s most renowned fashion website and some more career opportunities in this same field.

Did you encounter any challenges when you started Trendsandblendgh? What did you learn from it?


Always waiting for approval or validation/support. When I started trendsandblendsgh, I wasn’t so confident as an individual and also in what I was doing.  

I was seeking validation from others to tell me if this post was good enough or this idea was great. What this did was to slow me down entirely because until I had gotten approval or even support from someone I wouldn’t move. It’s one thing I have learned to fight and rise from.

People don’t see your dream as big as you do so if you want to rely on them for validation, approval or support you might as well not start anything at all.

Other than you, which 3 fashion bloggers are your absolute favorite and why?


For style bloggers I love Irony of Ashi, her style is simply elegant.

I dote on Afua Rida, I love her uniqueness in styling.

I also love my friend Nuel Bans of debonair Afrik, I love his creative issues and admire his passion.

Who is your number one fashion inspiration, favorite fashion magazine, and designer?


With the rise of style influencers, it’s becoming extremely difficult to stick to one fashion icon or style icon. I tend to pick up inspiration from different people.

Elle Magazine is my favorite, but from Africa, it’ll be Glitz Magazine.

I love Christie Brown certainly a wish to own more CB pieces in my closet.

If you could be any fashion icon for a day, who will you be and which local or international celebrities closet would you like to raid?


I’d definitely be Anna Wintour. There’s so much I’d love to influence in the fashion industry even if it’s for a day and doing it in the perfect bob cut and dark shades definitely a yes!

I could spend the entire day in Tracee Ellis Ross and Bonang Matheba’s closets trying out their clothes, shoes etc. I would practically sleep in there.

What has been your proudest achievement?


There has been so many but I’d say my interview with BBC Africa – Lerato Mbele remains my proudest. I grew up watching BBC and secretly wanting to be on BBC.

So, to have been on BBC Africa talking fashion was definitely a winner for me and anyone who’s believed in me as well.

I want trendsandblendsgh to become one of the largest online fashion news site in Africa with its hub in Ghana- @dje_djelyn Click To Tweet

What is your endgame with trendsandblendsgh? Are you close to achieving it?


I’m nowhere near the endgame I must say, I want trendsandblendsgh to become one of the largest online fashion news site in Africa with its hub in Ghana, a team of writers, creatives and all that is needed to make it work.

What are some of your current fashion obsessions and beauty essentials?


I’m obsessed with jumpsuits, black outfits, and nude shoes.

Current Beauty essentials: matte lipstick in red and burgundy. Hand cream, a pack of tissues and face powder.

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Evelyn Ngugi: Hard Work Only Makes Things Better

The YouTube world has grown exponentially in the past few years thanks to more and more people using it as a platform for content creation.

YouTube has produced big names in the digital world such as Lily Singh, Patricia Bright, Jenna Marbles and the like. Kenyan-American YouTuber, Evelyn Ngugi is well on her way to the creme of the crop of content creators with her channel, Evelyn from the Internets which currently boasts 150k+ subscribers and even got the stamp of approval from the Queen bee herself, Beyonce.

Evelyn recently took a trip back to her home country for the first time in over a decade and spent some time meeting her internet cousins (her name for her subscribers) and discovering Kenya again as an adult.

SLA managed to get some time to chat with the hilarious Texas native on her growth in YouTube, her thoughts on the creative industry in Africa and what’s in store for her in the future.

You started making YouTube videos way before it became the IT thing to do. What got you interested in that medium of sharing?

Tinkering with different media has always been an interest of mine. As a child, I would dub my “radio show” over old cassette tapes.

As a teenager, I would enlist my little brother to record “TV shows” and burn them onto blank DVDs. YouTube/the Internet was just next up, in terms of accessible technology.

How has social media helped grow your brand?

I’m more interested to know what people think my brand is, to begin with! Social media changed the game because it makes people and their processes accessible. For example, we used to only be able to interact with musicians or actors when their work was released or they had a press interview.

With social media, those barriers are gone. It’s scary and cool but mostly cool. Social media helps grow brands by putting creators directly in touch with consumers.

Focus on making an amazing product first. Social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise - Evelyn Ngugi Click To Tweet

We love that you stan hard for various Black Girl Beauty Brands. What advice would you give to young women out there looking to start and/or build their own brand?

Focus on making an amazing product first. These social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise anyway.

So many people want to be a “brand” but they don’t actually have a product yet.


You recently took a break from the daily routines of life as explained in your recent video. Why did that happen?

The break was the decision and goal I made for late 2017 and the rest of 2018! Something about being 27, girl… it makes you realize that you are in control of your time.

Do I want to spend the tail end of my precious twenties feeling stuck, or do I want to pivot into something greater? I chose greater.

What inspires you as a creative and what drives you as an entrepreneur?

I’m definitely a creative, but not an entrepreneur (yet). I think that’s just a misconception of being on the Internet. I’ve been #TeamHaveA9to5 my entire adulthood (which isn’t long) and I’m only now figuring out if I want to work for myself.

What inspires me as a creative are how innate and infinite my imaginations are and how hard work only makes things better.

So toddlers are creative, but those toddlers eventually grow up and become Martin Scorsese or something and that’s just incredible to think about. Not even trying to be funny, but as an entrepreneur, I imagine not being homeless or hungry would be the biggest driver.

You cut your own check and that sounds stressful fam!

You recently visited Kenya for the first time in over a decade. What are your thoughts about the creative space in Kenya vs other African countries?

Hmmm – that’s such a huge question for a first generation kid-essentially-turned tourist! From my brief time there, I noticed creative folks were frustrated.

What does it mean for music to sound Kenyan? Fashion to look Kenyan? When we talk about Nigeria or South Africa or even neighboring Tanzania, some of those things are more clearly defined or accepted.

I think Kenyan artists need more financial, governmental, and societal support to elevate Kenyan creative works where they belong.

Who are your top 5 YouTubers?

I feel like these answers change every time – thanks to YouTube algorithm! So right now, in no particular order:

KickThePJ: He’s just fantastical and whimsical and embodies what I still admire about YouTube. Making stuff up. Making stuff with your hands. Combining the two. A multi-media filmmaker.

Beleaf In Fatherhood: As a single, child-free person, it is difficult to find a family channel that holds my attention. This family combines my love of dope music with an attention to detail and story that is unmatched.

Oh, and it’s #blacklove all the way.

Patricia Bright: She is OG YouTube. She is still here. And she’s killing it. I think she’s gorgeous and hilarious and if you can make someone who wears black 90% of the time (me) still be thoroughly entertained by a 30-minute video of you trying on clothes??! SUBSCRIBE.

F0XY: Jade has such a distinct comedic tone and voice and I just want her to win. Because if she wins, I feel like I can too. She’s relatable like that. Inappropriate and so, so relatable.

Lavendaire: She is a sweet whisper of lavender essential oil infused vapor that calms me down and helps me be productive all at the same time. Gorgeously branded channel and impactful content.

Do you plan on moving on from YouTube to mainstream television or the big screen?

My plan for 2018 is to do more screenwriting and share more stories – both my own and those of my fellow earthlings.

Where those stories end up for your viewing pleasure isn’t necessarily the most important part of my plan. But if a TV show or movie wants to holla, I’ll definitely clear my google calendar!! Shoot!

What would you be if you weren’t a YouTuber?

YouTube is just a platform. I’d be doing the same thing I’m doing now, just on whatever website ended up popping off instead of YouTube. I’m a journalist, storyteller, funny girl, and hopefully, a friend in your head.

What is your mantra in life?

“Be thoughtful and silly.” That’s a quote from Hank Green about what it means to be an adult. Growing up and becoming boring/bored terrifies me, so I find comfort in that idea.

Being silly is still allowed – thank God. Stay childlike, not childish.

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Joy Kendi: Your 20’s are not for chilling. Work hard now, so you can relax later

Joy Kendi is a lifestyle blogger, vlogger and content creator who covers everything from fashion, beauty, and travel.

She has built her creative career from the ground up, constantly teaching herself along the way to allow for continuous growth in her profession.

Joy is a SLAYboss and runs things on her own terms earning her global recognition and her story below tells us that this journey is only the beginning of far greater things to come.

When did you first get into blogging?

I’ve always been interested in fashion, ever since I was a young girl. I wanted to get into design after high school but most of the schools I applied to didn’t offer scholarships and I don’t come from a wealthy family so I had to scrap that idea.

I took up styling right after college for about six months and I hated it. So I quit that and the blogging bug hit me.

Back then, when blogging was still quite relevant and at the time it was just a hobby, I had been following a few blogs.  Never thought I could make money off of it, until about a year later when Nancie Mwai (popular blogger in Kenya) got the opportunity to go to Germany because of her blog and my entire mindset on it changed.

Then I decided to focus on it more and figure out how to make it more of a business. I knew nothing at the time but I just hit the ground running, going to different offices, telling them about me and what I can offer them.

That’s really how I learned most of the stuff I know now, through trying and getting rejected.

Weirdly enough, everything didn’t change until I shaved my head and I’m not sure why but going bald was the first step in getting people to see me as a different person and not just a regular blogger.

Your 20s are not for chilling, work yourself to the core now - @justjoykendi Click To Tweet

I realized that fashion is very limiting, especially in Kenya, so I started to expand more into beauty.  Then tried travel and food and all that turned into a lifestyle direction for me.

Less than two years ago, lifestyle blogging opened a lot of doors for me because it meant I could do anything – be it advertising phones, makeup, hotels, restaurants, airlines, even countries!


What three things do you consider while creating content and/or partnering up with a brand?

My biggest thing to consider when I’m partnering up with a brand is to answer the question – do I or will I actually use the said product? If I do use it, does it go with my brand? And third, will this propel me in a positive or a negative direction?

When it comes to content creation, I think about:

1. How much work is it and how much time will it take on my end because that’s how I figure out my rate.

2. What have other content creators within the continent done in regards to the product that I need to create content for?

3. Is there a possibility of collaboration with others? If I know a friend or fellow blogger who can do it too, I will always try to bring them in and we both benefit from the job.



Was this your career of choice? What would you be if you hadn’t gone the blogging route?

If I wasn’t doing this I’d probably still be working in TV/film production. When I was still in school, I was interning at a local TV network, KTN and I was also working in a production company, behind the scenes doing things like writing scripts.

I got burnt out for a while though, which is why I eventually quit at the beginning of this year and solely focused on content creation.

I went to the University of YouTube and watched how other people do photoshoots and edits Click To Tweet

You take 90% of your images, manages your blog and brand on your own. Is there a particular reason why you chose to be a one-woman team?

Well when I first started out, my boyfriend would take my pictures. Due to our different schedules though, I realized I needed to learn how to do this on my own.

When starting out you don’t usually have a flowing income to be able to pay photographers so they would usually do it as a favor to build their portfolio as you build yours.

If they get a paying gig, they will pick that over you thus leaving you stranded once again, so getting a photographer wasn’t an option for me.

I went to the University of YouTube and watched how other people would do things like editing, photo shoots, what cameras to use, what kind of specs to look for and with that information, I slowly started to invest in myself.

I write all my proposals, attend meetings, create content, and do my own accounts Click To Tweet

I saved any money I got to buy my own equipment i.e. camera and lighting equipment, a laptop, computer programmes etc.

It is important that I have a say in what I do, and have control over what goes on with my work such as the editing process.

Before now, I used to have a manager who was actually very nice but sometimes we’d bump heads over things like working with certain companies so these among other reasons is why I decided it’s better to learn and do everything myself.

It’s a very stressful job I can’t lie – I write all my own proposals, attend all the meetings, create the content, send to the client, wait for approval, do my own accounts… It’s so much work but it’s how I prefer to work and also means I don’t have to pay anyone else.


What challenges have you faced as a blogger so far?

Getting paid is the biggest challenge and there’s a lot of corruption especially in regards to big global companies that hire agencies here to handle their brand. A budget usually set aside for influencers such as myself is misused by the agency and we end up getting short-changed.

Another challenge is getting burnt out. I kinda got burnt out with blogging, I got bored and couldn’t see more ways to make talking about outfits exciting again. That’s why I got into YouTube, which is so fresh and so much fun. Getting burnt out helped me expand and open up new opportunities, which I never thought I could do before.

One last challenge I will add is learning how to say no. I usually have a list of companies that I would like to work with and if a similar company approaches me that isn’t on my list, I will say no to them, with the belief that the company I really want to work for will come knocking one day.

It’s hard because that is essentially saying no to a paycheck, but I have a belief in my brand and how big it can grow and I think the companies I have written down, will be key in helping my brand grow.

Don’t assume that everyone knows you exist, you have to make yourself known Click To Tweet

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

The Hidesign campaign I just wrapped up in India. My face is in ELLE magazine, in an entire two-page spread!

The HiDesign people linked up with me online because they were planning on opening up a couple of stores in Nairobi. They liked my style so they wanted to meet me.

The head of the company explained how he started the company, his inspiration being how great colored skin complements leather. I was so inspired by his story and his vision, I decided to take a picture with the bag gifted to me by the company, just to say thank you while using his inspiration as my inspiration.

The picture that I posted is what got me the job as the face of Hidesign bags, just like that. Most of the jobs that I’ve gotten came about by chance, mostly because of the passion I have for what I do.

My next goal is Vogue, I’m putting it out into the universe!


Do you think vlogging is the new blogging? Do you think blogging will still hold relevance in the future?

People are not interested in reading blogs anymore, they’d rather just use 5 minutes, look at what you did over the weekend and move on.

Vlogging also gives your audience a different view of you. Blogging isn’t what it used to be. It’s hard to tell whether it’s ever going to come back to what it was.

Things are moving fast and people want to consume as much information as they can in a very short time.


How would you encourage young women who want to build a brand using social media?

I can’t really tell you how to do it because a lot of things have changed and getting things like followers now isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I would say figure out your brand first if your content is good, companies will be willing to work with you. Figure out your demographic, what stories you are trying to tell because not everything works for everyone, that helps a lot with your direction.

You need to be very patient, it gets hard, especially when just starting out but you have to put yourself out there. Don’t assume that everyone knows you exist, you have to make yourself known.


Who are your top three favorite fashion bloggers and YouTubers?

YouTubers: Casey Neistat, Philip DeFranco, Jenna Marbles

Fashion Bloggers: Karla Dera, Song of Style and Fashion bomb daily

What is your life mantra?

‘Work hard now, so you can relax later’. Your 20s are not for chilling, work yourself to the core now, where soon enough your name will make money on its own.

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

Grace Ouendo: Promoting creativity and innovation in Africa

grace ouendo
To develop a unique voice, blog your passions - Grace Ouendo Click To Tweet

Beninese Grace Ouendo is very passionate about Blogging and Technology. When she founded the LadyGracious blog, her aim was to promote creativity and innovation in Africa.

The plan was not just to have a blog but Grace also thought it would be life changing to enhance African girl’s tech skills. So this #MotherlandMogul is a Founding Member and Communications Manager of the NGO, Access to Computer for Every Girl. To top it off Grace Ouendo is also a community manager.

Grace was interviewed recently and this is what she had to share with us…

What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?

There are two things that are quite frustrating in blogging. One is generating ideas when your inspiration is gone but you still have to produce content for your website it is quite frustrating.

The second thing is chasing your interviewees, when you have to get the information out of a resource person, sometimes you have to comply to the availability of your resource person and it gets frustrating when your meetup rendezvous is not working you just feel like giving up.

What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the LadyGracious website?

To enhance traffic to the LadyGracious website it’s all about networking with the category of people who are passionate about the development of Africa in every domain, broad-mind people who like discovering things happening on the African continent, and there is currently a wave of proud African youths that are trying to make Africa proud.

Grace Ouendo

Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?

Reading: Having a journalism background, one thing I loved doing since childhood is reading. I read a lot about blogging on the internet. He who reads cannot run away from writing. So knowledge acquired from reading was translated in writing for the web.

Curiosity: I single-handedly learnt how to start a blog, I have never received any training till today, just because curiosity is what is helping me come this far.

Observation: I observe a lot my environment, my circle of friends and things around me, so I try to learn from others by observing and thinking through what they do and pick the good from it.

Grace says, 'The best thing a blogger can give his/her audience is added value' Click To Tweet

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to their readers?

The best thing a blogger can give his/her audience is added value. When your audience reads from you and goes back with new knowledge or information they will always come back because you give them value.

I must say there are quite a lot of blogs these days showing almost the same thing, do you have any tips for the newbies on how to develop a unique voice?

For the little I know, to develop a unique voice, blog your passions. In reading, readers will feel that this is something you love and are passionate about.

Another, is to be creative, bring out something that is particular to you, by observing other blogs you can easily find something they don’t have that you can offer your audience.

Grace Ouendo

Great! So now moving on to the NGO, Access To Computer For Every Girl. How did it start and did you have a blueprint?

It all started with a text message, a male friend had the idea and was like, ‘Lets do this together’ and I was like, ‘Why not’.

With my knowledge in ICT, it’s the best way for me to share what I know. Yes, we did have a blueprint. Our blueprint is dynamic, we adjust it seasonally as we are growing in number, in years and in credibility.

How is the organization funded?

Currently, the NGO is funded by ourselves, family and friends. We are also actively applying for grants and funds offered by international structures.

What’s a typical day like training the girls?

It’s always exciting because we get to meet new faces. On a typical day the group of trainers assigned for that particular training go to the school to set-up the computers, there is a maximum of 4 trainers present.

We roll out the lesson and then move to the practicals, whereby you have to monitor if the girls have understood the assignment given or not.

Grace Ouendo says, Women should level up and take their businesses international. Click To Tweet

With the future in mind, why do you think its important for women to embrace technology now?

Technology is ruling the world, its a fact. To be successful, popular even professional you can’t get far without technology being involved.

Therefore women have to level-up, because international business opportunities are online which I often published on my website. Any woman’s dream or business can go international with the right use of technology.

Grace Ouendo

Grace, what’s your vision for Access to Computer for Every girl for the next few years?

The world of technology is quickly advancing and our aim is to break the digital divide by giving girls technology at a very young age.

In the next few years we want to get to the level where we are able to give out free computers to schools, communities and more especially to girls leaving in remote villages.

Basically with LadyGracious it’s just you and when it comes to the NGO, you are working with other people who are your co-founders. What do you find different working in both setups?

With the website, I have a team as well, my chief-editor, graphic designer, photographer etc.

The difference is that with the website you go and search for the information and deliver it to the world whereas with the NGO its more like giving out your knowledge to a group of people. When it comes to team work it’s always tough but the job gets done anyway.

Tell us, would you rather live your entire life in a virtual reality where all your wishes are granted or in the real world?

I would loooove to live in virtual reality forever but, if all my wishes were granted I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be of any help to myself nor society. So yeah, that’s why its called virtual reality.

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

Elsie Mutsaka: You must do what sets your heart on fire

Elsie Mutsaka
I realised that my brand and I are one and so my blog should be the same @ElsieMuts Click To Tweet

Elsie Mutsaka is an up and coming PR dynamo, social media marketer and blogger from Zimbabwe based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her accessible fashion aesthetic is inspiring women from all walks of life to be confident in their style.

After discovering her personal style, Elsie started getting questions about her outfits and where she gets pieces. That encouraged her to start blogging and share her style with a wider range of people.

SLA contributor Anelisa Nokoyo had a chat with Elzie to find out what inspired her quirky fashion blog, and what she has in store for the future.

When did you start blogging?

Initially, I started blogging last year, April 2016 under the name differentlyconfident. Then this year I changed my domain name to my full name. I realised that my brand and I are one and so my blog should be the same.

What would you like to achieve with your blog?

I have always wanted to share my style with people and through this blog, I manage to do just that. Most importantly I wanted to bring about the idea that style is not about the price tag or label, and that you can look perfectly chic while still living within your means.

Growing up I had times when I was not as confident about how I looked, but as I grew older I became comfortable in my skin, looks, and style. That’s the exact same message that I would like the people that read my site to get each time they read my posts.

It’s basically a site for any type of woman to visit and get outfit inspiration, love the skin they’re in and know that they can create their own unique style. Also, while people shy away from thrifting, I find that it’s one of my favourite things to do with my sister each holiday, as you get stuff that nobody else has.

So I always mention where I get my clothes for each blog post and I’m not embarrassed that I shopped a SALE or that I thrifted. Ultimately, I intend on building a brand that inspires and speaks to women who fully know and understand themselves or who at least aspire to.

What do you enjoy most about blogging, and what are some of the challenges?

I really enjoy putting outfits together and reading comments from people who read the posts. Most of the time I really appreciate it when people give their honest opinion and usually, my family and friends do the most.

I think one of the challenges is when the writer’s block strikes. Sometimes you really have good photography but you are just not satisfied with your writing, but when I eventually get it together it’s amazing because I get to think out loud.

What are some of the wardrobe essentials that you think each woman should have?

Well, personally I believe everyone should have a really good quality blazer, a good pair of denim jeans, black pair of heels, very good quality handbag and at least one vintage or pop of colour item.

I could go on and on, but those are my faves, just that I own more than one of each. Whenever I am asked to, I style people or help them create their dream wardrobe so the essentials differ sometimes depending on your style.

Besides fashion, what else do you write about?

Besides fashion sometimes I write about things that matter to me like issues that women face, but I do this as a contributor for other platforms. Other times on my blog I share about my beauty routines which are quite simple.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt since delving into the world of blogging?

I have learnt that you must do what sets your heart on fire, sometimes trends in the blogging sphere are awesome but they are not always your thing. It’s okay to do what you feel comfortable in.

Also, there are so many bloggers out there and everyone has a niche and something unique they bring to the table, so it’s good to celebrate others. I enjoy commenting on other people’s blogs. It does not take anything away from me when their work and skill grows, and if you appreciate other people’s work oftentimes the favour is returned.

If you appreciate other people’s work oftentimes the favour is returned Click To Tweet

What else do you do besides blogging and how do you blend the two occupations together?

So, besides this blog, I do public relations, which means I spend my days working as a social media marketer for an online store and managing other platforms for clients. Because the social media thing is my 9-5, I usually blog in the evenings and do shoots on Saturday mornings.

It’s all about organising your very little time well. The two also blend well because it’s all use of the digital media, so sometimes I reply to comments on the job.

bcct You need to use what you have and what’s around you

Give us your top three tips that you’d give to anyone who wants to start blogging…

Once you figure that you want to blog GO FOR IT! I mean just do it. Secondly, just trust the process and even if like 3 people read your blog that’s okay, it takes time to grow an audience. When I first started blogging a close friend of mine offered to take pictures of me, she had no camera experience whatsoever but as my blogging got better, her photography did as well and because she believed in me so much I gained confidence.

What I am trying to say is you need to use what you have and what’s around you. I did not have a professional photographer but I had a friend and that helped me grow, and here I am.

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

Catch Elsie on her blog, to get some on-point fashion tips and lifestyle news.

Tabitha Tongoi: Authenticity matters

Write from personal experience has helped @CravingYellow remain consistent Click To Tweet

When a post on your blog clocks about 40,000 views in under 24 hours, I think it’s safe to call you a highly successful blogger. Tabitha Tongoi creator and owner of the Craving Yellow blog, still gets astounded to know that she reaches that many people with her effervescent nature and views on life’s ups and downs.

The 26-year-old Kenyan, natural hair enthusiast and lover of all things yellow has been blogging for over two years now. Tabitha touches on everything hair, beauty, lifestyle and of course, finding yellow i.e. finding joy in life’s simple pleasures. She has lived, worked and studied in four continents, her current home being Melbourne, Australia.

Tabitha is currently on holiday in Nairobi and SLA contributor Diana Odera caught up with her to get to know more about life as an African blogger in the diaspora.

Who is Tabitha outside of the craving yellow moniker?

Personally, I feel like I’m a thinker and I’m a writer. In my free time, I’m always thinking of new ideas, researching on creative projects etc. I love the mind space. I’m always engaging with my mind so I guess I’m a bit of an introvert; I spend a lot of time observing the world and people.

When it comes to my extended life – I’m the last born of 3, I have an older sister and an older brother who just got married last year.

Career wise – I am getting into the blogging space, I studied Political Science, which was never meant to bring me here but here I am.

I’m a bit of a nerd, I love to read and study, I‘ve always loved school. I also love to give and I love to encourage others and see them succeed.

How did the Craving Yellow movement begin?

It started when I was in my last year of uni. I had just come back from England, which was an amazing experience that made me grow into myself, learn how to formulate my own ideas and be confident in myself. Once I was back in the US with that mindset, I took a class on the power of documentary photography in telling new stories that are untold.

I had just finished reading Americanah and I was so inspired so I decided to turn the camera on myself and tell my story because I felt there weren’t enough women in the diaspora who’s stories were being told, if any. So I started off on that premise, I knew I loved hair and people would talk to me about hair so that was a constant conversation starter.

Hair was the hook but I also wanted to talk about other things e.g. who are you? When you go home what type of conversations are you having with yourself as a young African woman living abroad? It gradually took on a life of its own from there on. I saw a lot of my friends get into depression, addiction and just losing themselves so it was also about touching on these types of conversations and experiences that women face.

I was so inspired so I decided to turn the camera on myself and tell my story Click To Tweet

Your blog focuses on your natural hair journey as well as beauty and lifestyle topics. How do you go about creating great content that is relatable and consistent?

The premise has always been my hair because that is what I can teach people about as a skill I have. I haven’t been as regimented as I’d like to be because I have a full-time job and run the blog on the side.

On average I make sure to release 2-3 youtube videos, mostly on hair and hair reviews. On the blog, I put out two posts a month on hair and for lifestyle topics. I think that because I write from my own personal experience, the type of content stays consistent. I don’t write what everyone else is writing about so it just comes to me naturally. When I’m not able to write, I don’t force myself at all just to appear like I’m writing.


At any point, have you felt the pressure from trolls online or any negative feedback that you may get on your blog – pressure to make you change from your premise?

In terms of hair care, in Kenya as compared to abroad, I have only felt pressured when I’m compared to fashion bloggers who have a very different production process and different content. Sometimes people blur the two.

By default, because the hair blogging field here is very small, it’s easy to be compared to others. But I think in terms of my own journey, one thing I really appreciate is having lived abroad and having had to be in my own mind space and create this blog with no outside interruptions. I admire what people do but I’m very clear in what my message is and what my premise is, I’ve never been threatened or intimidated.

Having lived in four continents, how have these diverse environments contributed to your personal growth, your professional and academic career?

I’ve really had to learn who I am and to be fine with that. I always stand out everywhere I go, so I’ve been forced to really look into myself and ask myself internally – who am I and what do I stand for, what are my passions, what drives me? etc.

As a whole, it’s allowed me to have a very clear vision of who I am as a young person, more than I would have if I had stayed in Kenya. I’ve learnt to be my own island. Adaptability has been another strength I’ve gained, great work ethic as well.

What keeps you motivated?

I think about young girls out there who are probably struggling with a lot and need just a bit to encourage them to push on and keep at it. A lot of women struggle with issues on love, lifestyle related issues, family, loneliness etc.

Whenever I feel lazy I remember that maybe someone is watching me and this is what’s keeping them motivated. That’s a privilege to be in a position like this. I put myself out there, not afraid of the risks or the negativity, I believe if my mission is true, people will see it.

When did you know it was time to monetize your site?

That actually just happened on its own to tell you the truth. When I set out to blog, I never really had a template, especially blogging internationally. Brands started reaching out to me about eight months after I began blogging and that was brand reviews.

In regards to monetization, that began a year and two months into blogging. It’s just happened gradually and sporadically. I’ve never approached a brand, they usually get in touch with me first because I do have a full-time job so I was never doing this for the money aspect. If it’s something that I know will be interesting content for my followers then I will consider it.

I’ve mostly just been testing the water, it’s not anything that was formalized, in fact, the job I‘m doing now, I got it because of my blog. I’ve never had a steady, livable amount of money come only from blogging. The thing people have to note with blogging is that it’s a journey and a step by step process.

So if you go out looking for money, people smell that on you and turn away and subscribers/followers get bored. You end up losing your personal touch. I’m still learning the ropes with this section but it’s looking more plausible as the blog grows.

I’ve never had a livable amount of money come only from blogging, it's a step by step process Click To Tweet


What skills does one need to become a successful global blogger like yourself?

Blogging seems to be the in thing right now. I don’t think I’m as successful as you say but I think it starts with who you are. You have to really know what your purpose is and it has to be unshakeable. If you start blogging for Instagram likes, you’re going to die out real quick.

So for starters – know what story you want to tell and always write from where you want to write from. Don’t do things because it’s popular, don’t imitate other people – just do your own thing. By doing that, you establish your niche and your followers who will be reading other blogs as well will see why they should stick around with you and love you for who you are.

Authenticity matters and confidence in your message is very important. You’ll always find someone who’ll listen to your story.

Mpho Makhafola: You’ll look back on this time and be proud of the woman you became

Mpho Makhafola greatest passion in life is inspiring young women through her writing Click To Tweet

Mpho Makofola is an inspired storyteller and creator of the Young Mothers Series, a platform that grew out of her very interesting and addictive blog, I Am My Own Gift. Through the blog, she has created a safe haven for young mothers to feel accepted and loved.

Mpho’s blog in a way validates the worth of young mothers as valuable members of society. It creates a sense of community, belongingness, and sisterhood as well as a safe space for young mothers to share their stories about the joys and hurdles of existing in a world that largely discriminates against them.

Tell us about yourself, who is Mpho?

Mpho Makhafola is a linguist who studied at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). She is also a blogger and an educator at an all-girls school in Pretoria.

Her greatest passions in life include writing and inspiring young women through her blog posts and being surrounded by strong women who in turn inspire and motivate her to be great. Mpho loves a good laugh and is absolutely a girly-girl who loves having her nails did and her face beat 🙂

What is that one tipping point that caused you to create the Young Mothers Series on your blog? And are you yourself a young mum?

What inspired the Young Mothers Series was all the young mothers I have the privilege to have met and engaged with. Many if not all of us have a friend or family member who is/was a young mom and I noticed just how negative society is towards these young women and how falling pregnant young has been and is still such a taboo across all races and groups.

This really broke my heart because I believe that being a young mom is a challenge in itself. Why add on to that by hiding your pregnancy and loathing oneself just because society is so negative? Why not accept of one of life’s greatest gifts to women, motherhood? So the continued judgement and ostracism of young mothers pushed me to seek these young women out, document their journeys to motherhood and give them a voice to say, “Yes world, I fell pregnant young, but I am still capable of achieving my goals and pushing myself to get my education and so much more. A baby doesn’t mean the end of my life and all that is good in it”.

And no, I am not a young mom myself. I initially thought this would make it hard to capture the stories of these young mom’s realistically without watering them down because I “can’t relate”. I really tried by all means to treat each feature as a new experience and always remembering that these young women deserved their truth’s to be shared as raw and beautiful as they are.

The Young Mothers Series helps young moms with whatever they are struggling with at the moment Click To Tweet

Mpho Makofola 1

What is your favourite thing about the blog?

It has to be the impact that it has had on strangers, on the featured mommy’s and even on me. Some of the responses I got still get me emotional. I had no idea of the struggles and emotional trauma some of these young moms go through because the world is so unkind to them. I mean some even had family turn against them, partners desert them and literally had no support at all throughout their pregnancies. And I’ve always been so humbled to hear that my blog has resonated with someone or given them hope in knowing that they are not alone.

Besides the young mother series, I was also lucky to feature a number of amazing personalities like Fareida Metsileng (pharoahfi), a young poet Thuto Gaasenwe and I also did a blog post for NUK and Artemis brands in relation to the young mother’s series.

What obstacles have you overcome in order to be the kind of woman who’s capable of reaching out to uplift other women?

I’ve always said that it’s hard being a woman, we go through mountains of struggles and obstacles are constantly put in our way to break us yet we still show unbelievable strength and manage somehow to put on that lipstick and fight on.

I’ve had my fair share of challenges, struggled a lot with self-image and body issues, insecurities, relationships and all of that negativity seeped into all areas of my life. My blog started out as a place to vent about my relationship frustrations and how hurt I was at that point. But God had better plans for my hard times and I managed to still heal and share on myself whilst healing women out there who shared some if not all of my sentiments.

Mpho Makhafola young mother's series

Mpho Makhafola young mother's series 1

I also was raised in an underprivileged area so I always felt the need to fit in with friends and be someone I wasn’t, especially in high school. I had to really dig deep to find myself and be comfortable with who I was and where I came from and not be ashamed of myself and blame myself for things I had no control over.

So I saw the need for the upliftment of women especially in our personal lives, we are often so ashamed to speak about our hurts. I decided to basically tear myself apart and to share deeply into my life in order to piece other women together one blog post at a time.

I saw the need for the upliftment of women especially in our personal lives - Mpho Makhafola Click To Tweet

What inspires you to continue your work every day?

It has to be my admiration for women. I am absolutely amazed when I see women pioneering in life and breaking down barriers to achieve and be phenomenal. I just light up inside when I see a fellow sister making waves.

And of course, the thought that this blog post I write could help someone with whatever they are struggling with at the moment and give them a new outlook on life.

What else do you do outside of blogging?

Besides blogging I am an educator, a student and a lover of life!

What message would you like to share with young mothers who’re dealing with backlash for being who they are?

Ha-ha! This is actually the question I always asked the young mothers, but to her, I would say…YES! You’re a young mom but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable. Your child can only mean you fight harder to reach your goals not that you give up on them.

YES society will not make it easy for you, it’ll probably kick you when you’re down. But there is strength and so much beauty in your journey, nobody is more suited for this path than you! You’ll look back on this time and be proud of the woman you became. Fight on heroine!

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

Minna Salami: I’m impatient with the idea that the reason we should empower women is to grow the economy

Minna Salami
Like all ideologies, feminism is an always changing one - Minna Salami Click To Tweet

Listed by ELLE Magazine as one of “12 women changing the world”, Minna Salami is a Nigerian-Finnish writer, blogger and commentator who has contributed to the popularisation of African feminism through her blog, MsAfropolitan

Her writing appears in the UK Guardian, Al Jazeera and The Independent. She is a columnist for the Huffington Post and The Guardian Nigeria, where she writes a bi-monthly column. Salami is a member of Duke University’s Global Educator Network and the Guardian Books and Africa Networks. 

Salami is a frequent speaker at international universities and featured on the BBC, SVT, Deutsche Welle, as well as TEDx Talks. She holds an MA (Distinction) in Gender Studies from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and a BA (Distinction) in Political Science from the University of Lund, Sweden. 

She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, in a multi-racial and inter-faith household where four languages were spoken, and has since lived in Sweden, Spain, New York and London. 

As a blogger who has written about feminist issues for many years, can you define in three words who a feminist is? Why does the word frighten some?

I’d like to first say that like all ideologies, feminism is an always changing one. So anything I say is simply my contribution to the forever changing landscape of what it means to be a feminist.

In that vein, here’s what I think. A feminist is a person who believes that feminism is the best tool (movement, framework, ideology) for the cultural, political, sexual and psychological liberation of women, men and all genders. By the way, I believe that although men, through manipulation, violence and force, now inhabit the top position in the gender pyramid, they are also imprisoned by our current forms of social relations, even if their “prison” has golden bars.

Anyway, in defining a feminist this way, I’m simultaneously suggesting that a feminist is not merely a strong woman who happens to be a politician, a single mother of three, a sassy seductress, a successful entrepreneur etc. as many seem to think. While such women may be living their lives in a feminist way, a feminist is ultimately one who at least has an awareness of the political philosophy of feminism.

That said, if the choice was between a great number of women living feminist lives but not referring to themselves as feminists –or– between a small number of women referring to themselves as feminist and living feminist lives, the former would be my clear preference.

The reason that I nevertheless formulate it the way I do is because I think that the canon of feminist philosophy is a treasure. Just like anyone who calls themselves a Marxist, would engage with economic systems, workers, the bourgeoisie etc., feminists benefit from engaging with feminist theory.

Sorry, that was more than three words. I really can’t define a feminist in three words!

Who is the empowered woman, and what’s your opinion on the use of the word ’empowered’ as a marketing tool?

At the risk of sounding too spiritual, or something, let me first say that I believe that if there is a purpose to life, then it is self-actualisation. Some might call this “becoming the highest version of yourself”.

Now, there are two types of obstacles to self-actualisation. The first are psychological obstacles, e.g. fear, family abuse, depression etc. The second are socially constructed obstacles. These can, depending on your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class or race, follow similar patterns. To use an academic term – these obstacles form ‘institutionalised oppression’ – meaning that they are obstacles that are systematic and reinforced by established laws, customs, and practices.

I believe that if there is a purpose to life, then it is self-actualisation - @MsAfropolitan Click To Tweet

Bearing those two types of obstacles in mind, I would say that an empowered woman is one who is able to identify and subsequently transcend the obstacles that stand in the way of her self-actualisation. It’s not the same process for everyone, and it’s not an easy process for anyone, but society sets it up especially difficult for certain groups.

As for the business of empowerment, yes everyone from Coca-Cola to Ariel to H&M is now in the business of empowering women. The problem is that their formula is to cater to the first types of psychological obstacles I mentioned above while ignoring the institutionalised oppressions caused by traditions, social attitudes, sexual norms, the institution of family, international politics, the legal system, higher education, religions, professional spaces etc. This makes most so-called feminist marketing campaigns not only hypocritical but counterproductive.

That said, there are also brand campaigns that get it right and address both types of oppression in creative and innovative ways. Goldieblox had a pretty cool campaign some years ago. I’m not saying that using empowerment as a marketing tool is in itself an issue. What matters is that consumers discern genuine from faux empowerment.

What are the two biggest challenges facing professional women in Nigeria, and how can they be solved?

I would say, firstly, the absence of adequate constitutional rights. And secondly, the absence of a robust civil society fighting for adequate constitutional rights. The absence of both disturbs the smooth flow of a woman’s professional life. This is because there are no clear parameters for dealing with challenges that women are bound to encounter in professional life such as sexual harassment, maternity leave, domestic life-work balance, insurance policies, minimum wages, equal pay, and so on.

Feminist civil society groups are needed for various reasons. They educate women about their rights (or lack of rights) in the workplace through workshops, conferences etc. They formulate gender-sensitive policies and push for constitutional reform. Civil society groups teach women about feminism and how it can help them achieve real empowerment. They gather statistics and equip women with practical tools such as how to obtain bank loans or how to use technology to their advantage. They encourage women to become journalists, activists and to enter politics.

Organisations such as yours, She Leads Africa, are crucial for solving challenges in business. Other examples of vital organisations are the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) for funding initiatives, Women’s Rights and Health for health concerns and KIND for girls and leadership. At the end of the day, it is up to women to use and change the law to effect change.

The law is our best weapon against patriarchy.

A lot of women have been conditioned to see other women as the enemy. They refuse to collaborate with, amplify or help female colleagues, even though doing so benefits them. Why do you think that is? And what’s your advice for women working in male-dominated fields?

I guess there is a logic to the fact that when a group of people are marginalised they are bound to become competitive over the scraps left for them. But I would like to also consider the personal internal environment in which unhealthy competitiveness resides. It seems to me that our culture conditions women to feel a sense of lack within themselves.

In our society, there is always something a woman lacks —a husband, a boy child, a slim body, youth, wisdom, confidence, humbleness etc. Her internal world therefore becomes a milieu of confusion, one day she’s being asked to be this, the next day the opposite… So because she is constantly feeling that something is missing, she becomes bothered when she perceives another woman is in possession of it.

To end this, we need to cultivate a culture where women feel the opposite of lack, namely a sense of wholeness. Women working in male dominant fields, as most women are, need to cultivate a sense of inner acceptance that they are enough just as they are, which will enable them to want the same for others.

Minna Salami: We need to cultivate a culture where women feel the opposite of lack Click To Tweet

How to do that? I could write a book about it, but let me just say for now that it has to with placing female-centric values at the centre of our world view. Women will often evaluate themselves from a male-centric viewpoint which is never going to make them feel whole and complete.

There’s been a lot of discourse about empowering women for the sake of economic growth. Do you think it’s dangerous for policy makers to focus on achieving gender equality for economic reasons rather than because it’s a human right?

Yes, I’m impatient with the idea that the reason we should empower women is to grow the economy. Not because economic growth isn’t important, although I do think we focus on it excessively as the planet cannot handle continuous growth. Nor is it because economic growth does not benefit women, it certainly has the potential to.

However, equality should evidently be driven by other reasons than capitalism. It should be driven by visions of a holistic and prosperous society in which people of all genders gain satisfaction/value from their work. The more there is work satisfaction, the more the economy will become self-sufficient as people will spend money on local products, services, leisure activities etc.

Furthermore, the statistics raise a few questions. After all, more women are contributing to our economy and yet Nigeria is in a recession.

The question women should be asking is: How is the money they are contributing to the economy benefiting women? The system should work for us and not vice versa. Put it this way, gender equality is indeed necessary for economic growth, but economic growth is not the only reason we want gender equality.

You’ve given speeches around the world on feminism, what misconceptions do people have about African women with relation to gender equality and feminism?

The main misconception that people have is that African feminism is a “different” feminism in the sense that it is more lenient, that it lets men get away with still being the head of the family while the woman is the neck. That kind of thinking.

There is some truth to this presumption – that the type of feminist activism that revolutionises society at its core, as happened in much of the west in the 70s and that’s happening in Eastern Europe and some parts if Latin America now, is yet to change the status quo in the African continent.

However, it is in Africa that I have encountered women with the most dedication to the feminist revolution; women who do not pander to patriarchal narratives, and women who inject a deep humanism and criticism to the global feminist discussion.

What’s does the future hold for your award-winning blog, MsAfropolitan?

Hopefully more of the same. As well as new types of discussion and awareness-raising. At the moment, I’m developing an essay/concept titled “Oyalogy”, which is based on the Yoruba goddess [of winds, lightening, rebirth and death] Oya; and is a mythopoetic approach to African feminism.

I’m planning to turn it into a performance piece. The project is still in the early stages but my aim is to share it with women in different parts of the continent in order to encourage a dialogue around the issues raised in it.

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

Vivian “Jokotade” Adeniyi: You are the only limitation to your potential

Jokotade: Believe it or not, The Jokotade Network didn’t happen by a plan Click To Tweet

Vivian Jokotade Adeniyi, fondly known as “Jokotade”, is a Nigerian-American author, speaker, and thought leader on topics relating to women, business and leadership. She is the founder of The Jokotade Network which hosts a variety of talk shows with audiences in over 100 countries. In addition to running her own network, Jokotade is a wife, mother and an entrepreneur.

Her life as a serial entrepreneur began at the age of six ,when she started assisting her mother with her retail goods business in Lagos, Nigeria. Jokotade has since launched a growing list of businesses. These include a leading full-service design and print firm located in Houston, Texas —a business she started with less than $100 over 12 years ago.

SLA contributing writer, Uloma Ogba, caught up with this Motherland Mogul to get the inside scoop on how exactly Jokotade does it all, while looking fabulous.

What does Jokotade mean and what exactly do you do?

My name Jokotade (pronounced JOE-KOH-TAH-DAY), is a Nigerian Yoruba name given to a child whose parents suffered the loss of a child prior to the birth of the named.  Its literal meaning is “sit with the crown” or “sit with royalty”. This signifies that this child will not die, but will stay and live with her parents and family. This powerful name was concurrently given by both of my grandmothers at my traditional Nigerian naming ceremony.

I use the name “Jokotade” for my speaking and writing platform because it is a very powerful and purposeful name. The name tells a story of my origin, gives you insight into my identity and speaks powerfully to my destiny. I write all of the inspiring details surrounding my birth in my breakout, bestselling book – Fresh Start.  Once you discover my full story, I have a sense you’ll simply call me “Jokotade”.

Vivian Jokotade Adeniyi: The name Jokotade tells a story of my origin & gives you insight into my identity Click To Tweet

Could you give the readers some insight into your background?

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the United States of America with my parents in 1997. Shortly after I arrived in the US, I got to work beginning my American life as a hair braider. This was my only choice at the time, as I had to wait a full year to begin my university education.

I finally gained admission to the University of Houston where I majored in Computer Information Systems (CIS) with special interests in marketing and communications.


What drove you to start your first business and continues to drive you to reach for new opportunities?

I’ll be honest —my motivation was hunger.  I was hungry for the opportunity to live out my potential.  I was hungry for the opportunity to start over in the United States; after experiencing a very rough and downward financial season with my parents back home in Nigeria.

For several years my dad (who is now a retired surgeon) had successfully operated a private medical practice. But right at the time I was finishing up my secondary school education, his practice suffered grievous losses due to lack of payments.

The idea of possibilities, of what can be, of who I can become, has driven me and continues to drive me everyday. It’s a beautiful thing to know that everyday you wake up, you truly can become more than you imagine.

I see each waking day as a canvas to paint on. I hope to make each day a beautiful work of art to remember.

Jokotade of @jokotadeshow is motivated to reach for new opportunities by hunger Click To Tweet

While in university, you started a business selling clothes and accessories to other students. How did you come up with that idea? What was the process like for you, setting up a business alongside your classes? How were you able to find balance there?

Do you know of any university student who couldn’t use some extra cash?

If there is one lesson I learned early as a hungry student, it is this —pay attention to the problems you can solve for people. In university, I became the go-to person when it came to shopping or finding affordable resources.

The idea of selling accessories to other students was born from a place of paying attention to these kinds of problems and the questions I was often asked. I simply turned these inquiries into a business. I often say that the best business ideas are the ones that solve as many problems as possible for as many people as possible.

Juggling my side business wasn’t easy but it was worth it —it helped me pay for a car. This reward motivated me to find a way to “juggle my hustle”. I made time to deliver goods over the weekend and focused on my classes during the week.

Jokotade: The idea of possibilities has driven me and continues to drive me everyday. Click To Tweet

After university you were involved in a couple of different activities which eventually culminated in what we now see today as The Jokotade Network. Can you take the readers through the journey of how you got to this point? What were some of the major milestones and challenges you faced along the way?

Believe it or not, The Jokotade Network didn’t happen by a plan. It happened by growth. Let me explain.

I began the Jokotade platform as a fashion and style blog…can you imagine? You see in 2013, I noticed there were several fashion and style bloggers but rarely did any of the bloggers feature the style of clothes I love to wear –classic, sophisticated, refined and polished.

Back then, there were hardly any who even featured stylish African clothes in these preferences. So you know what I did? I saw a gap in the market and I rose to fill it. I started blogging, featuring a choice of clothes that reflected my style. My selections and features quickly became a hit on social media, especially my Afrocentric selections. It literally caused a renaissance!

As I continued posting more photos, I noticed that my audience wanted more. The young women who followed me reached out to me asking me more questions about other areas of life. My audience asked how I balanced my passions with my marriage. They asked about raising a family. They asked about personal development. These were topics I could relate to.

A year later in 2014, I felt inspired to start a podcast with my name. I titled it The Jokotade Show. I had no idea what it would evolve into. The Jokotade Show became an avenue for me to cover a diverse set of topics to meet the many different needs of my audience.  I also developed an app for the convenience of my audience. Fast forward to 2016 in further response to those diverse needs, I broke up The Jokotade Show into specialized segments. This resulted in The Jokotade Network of Shows covering topics on life, love and business.

This process didn’t come easy for me in any way. I’ll be honest with you, I was nervous because I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. I had no one around me who had attempted this path before. I also got pregnant with my second baby during this period and as a result I struggled with consistency. It wasn’t easy but my followers stuck with me. I did my best to give them periodic updates.

Aida Bamba: The gourmet in the city

Aida Bamba
What makes Serial Foodie unique is me and my pen - Aida Bamba Click To Tweet

Ever heard of the saying that the period after a break up is your most creative? Aida Bamba started blogging in July 2015 after breaking up with her then boyfriend. Aida had put a pause to her passion for writing for her ex but then after the break-up decided not to put the desires of others ahead of hers.

Firm in her resolve not to stop herself anymore, Aida Bamba eventually started blogging at Serial Foodie. Serial Foodie explores and reviews restaurants in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. As a foodie with a flair for cooking and an Agro-Food engineer, Aida brings her unique background to food blogging. This lady can tell if you haven’t put enough mint in a mojito.

Why did you decide to start Serial Foodie?

I decided to launch Serial Foodie in December 2015. I started my blog on advice from Orphelie Thalmas one of the best bloggers in Ivory Coast. She informed me that several people had loved an article I’d written reviewing a restaurant and suggested that I might have to specialise.

I had already made a tour of many restaurants at that time. Not to mention, I have a talent for cooking and I’m an Agro-Food engineer by training, therefore have an understanding on a number of processes. I decided it was a good idea to specialise in food blogging and that I was going to follow Orphelie’s advice.

Together, we chose the name of the blog, Serial Foodie and the slogan, “A gourmet in the city”. And that’s how Serial Foodie was born.

You started blogging after a break up, can you tell us about that?

I have always had complex emotional relationships. I have too many things to think about, there are many things in mind that I would like to achieve. This often disconnects me from reality. When you’re in a relationship, it is not obvious.

In that relationship, I wanted to give the maximum and that lead to sacrificing myself. I put my passion for writing on hold. Unfortunately, my sacrifices did not lead to anything and we parted ways.

What do you think makes Serial Foodie unique?

What makes Serial Foodie unique is me and my pen. My way of transcribing the experiences lived in restaurants is my own. For me, to describe an experience in a restaurant is not limited to just saying; “I went here, I tasted these dishes, I liked it or not, the price ranges are, the place is located here and the number is…”

For me, what counts is reception. How did I get to this restaurant? Do I like its decoration and ambience? What of the hygienic aspect? Then, my special feature is to focus on the dish. To give information on the components that I perceive; the recipes, the good flavours, the bad flavours.

I will know for example if a cocktail lacks an ingredient or if a step has been missed. This is what I propose to those who read my blog; a unique experience that until now has only been offered by me.

serial-foodieAbidjan has the reputation of being very cosmopolitan, what’s the foodie scene like there?

Since the end of the crisis, the city of Abidjan has seen an increase in the number of restaurants. These restaurants cover all edges and are diverse.

From Asian specialities to local cuisines, the foodie scene is moving and well.

What do you do outside blogging?

Apart from being a blogger, I’m an assistant at Instant2Vie, a photo studio. I’m also a social media manager.

I manage brand image, from person to enterprise. I am freelance and work from my home; it’s not easy but I love this! I entered into the world of freelancing through my blog but I’m also an Agro-Food engineer as I mentioned above.

I will know if a cocktail lacks an ingredient or if a step has been missed - Aida Bamba Click To Tweet

You’re also a writer with a published novel, can you tell us more about this?

I wrote my first non-fiction book in 2005. The title is, “Les Revers de la Vie” or “The Reversal of Life”. To be honest, the publishing house has never paid me my rights even though the book is still on sale.

I decided to overcome this disappointment on my own and come out anew after the loss of my father last April. “The Reversal of Life” is available on Amazon Kindle.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in Abidjan, where would you recommend people reading this go?

My suggestions for Abidjan are:

  • Breakfast: Pause Café, Nougatine, Comptoir des Artisans, Bao Café, Couleur Café, Flow.
  • Brunch: Flow, Nougatine, Norima, Pause Café, Radisson Blu
  • Lunch: Le Kallisté, le Rallye, Salad and Sun, La Maison des Combattants, Norima, Le Bao, Le Comptoir des Artisans,
  • Dinner: Wasabi, Oishi, Kanpai, Kallisté, Don Antonio, Hippopothamus, Norima, Mondial, Saakan, Chez Jay’s.

If I were to choose one restaurant, it’ll be Norima Restaurant Vallon. My menu options are; mini cowboy burger and buffalo chicken wings for starters. The Mongolian beef rice bowl for main and kiwi mojito or pina colada for drinks!

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