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About Yabome Gilpin-Jackson
Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson is an award-winning scholar, Organization Development Consultant, writer and curator of African identity and leadership stories. She was born in Germany, grew up in Sierra Leone, and completed her studies in Canada and the USA. She is an experienced professional with expertise in Leadership and Organizational Development and systematic organizing for transformation and social change. Yabome has been named International African Woman of the Year by UK-based Women4Africa and was the first ever recipient of the Organization Development Network’s Emerging Organization Development Practitioner award in the US. She has also received the prestigious Harry Jerome Professional Excellence Award in Canada. Yabome, who is married and the mother of 3 children, has also published several journal articles and book chapters and continues to research, write and speak – most recently at Princeton University - on the importance of holding global mindsets and honouring diversity and social inclusion in our locally global world.
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Forward, onward, fully into the land of its potential.
To the realization of the blossoming dream of prosperity held by so many, for so long, throughout this place we call home.
Again I ask, Who Will Lead Africa?
This volume includes the response to that African Town Crier's call. Thirty submissions. Exemplars of everyday African Leaders. Today's leaders. Defying the narrative of impossible and working for the prosperity of Africa. These are but a sample of the movement...
We Will Lead Africa contributes an open call to practitioners to join the African Leadership conversation, and allow practice to further inform our theorizing and conclusions of where we are now and what more is needed to attain the Africa we want. It is a shift from viewing leadership in Africa from the sociopolitical lens or a theoretical lens, to a focus on leadership at every level. It neither denies the overemphasized challenges of the continent, nor privileges the Africa rising narrative. This volume simply draws on the power of personal narratives to highlight all the complexities and inspirations of leading in Africa. It is about the power of storytelling to inspire even more change and shape the futures we want.
Submitters represented all regions of the continent, many of whose work cuts across multiple countries on the continent – North, West, Central, East and South. The intersectional and diverse nature of our continent is evident in this small slice of 30 submissions. The stories in this volume cover a range of industries and topics for African Development. Many of the stories cut across multiple areas. However, for simplicity, they can be thought of in the following grouping:
- Eight on Literacy and Education – meeting the massive education needs on the continent for literacy and primary education for rural and underprivileged/underserved groups all the way through higher education – Chinezi Chijioke, Elizabeth Johnson, Frankie Kie, Mwalimu Musheshe, Cecil Nutakor, Chinyere Nwabugwu, Yeniva Sisay-Sogbeh and Modupe Taylor-Pearce.
- Eight on Social Entrepreneurship, Change and Policy – including the stories from Adewale Ajadi, Ajarat Bada, Veronica Flynn Bruey, Chris Mulenga, Sal Muthayan, Daphne Nederhorst, Ndidi Nwuneli, Fatou Wurie.
- Five on Arts and Culture – Africans everywhere using expressions of Arts and Culture, from music to theatre to food to art and artefacts to inspire change, creativity and leadership in others, while providing development, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. These submissions are from Bolanle Austen-Peters, Liza Bel (on behalf of four Africans), Mina Girgis, Ricardo Pinto Jorge and Simon Okelo.
- Four on Healthcare and Wellness – addressing healthcare needs and practices for those on the margins – girls, rural populations, autistic children, and youth seeking novel opportunities. These submissions are from Toks Bakare, LueRachelle Brim-Atkins, Pablo Imani, Robert Kalyesubula.
- Four on Media and Communications – with a clear call to own and tell African stores less told, by Mimi Kalinda, Nereya Otieno, Adeline Sede Kamga and Julian Spezzati.
- One on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) innovations by Chuma Asuzu. It is worth noting that we were unable to get a similar submission about an all-girls code club and to acknowledge the focus and role of STEM in Africa’s sustainable development agendas.
We hope to inspire more leaders to action:
We: Collaborative and accountable leaders, taking unified action.
Will: The leadership WILL, grit and courage to do something, anything, now and for the future, demonstrated through action-oriented and aspirational leadership.
This book expands on the idea of transformation after trauma through the concept of Resonance and provides practical guidance for accessing it. Resonance is presented as the key to posttraumatic growth and transformation and is defined as a moment of awakening, through personal stories, that creates an opportunity for transformative learning. This book presents an integrative, holistic and narrative development understanding to individual, organizational and social systems change and transformation after trauma. It proposes a Trauma-Informed Narrative Development Pathway for consideration at all levels of systems and institutions who support people post-trauma. Resonance is critical, timely, and relevant now more than ever. As we continue to work for a world of social justice where preventable sufferings are no longer normalized, a posttraumatic transformation lens allows us to take a developmental perspective to supporting ourselves and those among us touched by trauma to achieve transformational outcomes. In a world with ongoing suffering, the ability to return to core identity memories and access greater connection and love for humanity unleashes the desire to take actions to create a better world for all.
Identities is a short story collection of global African experiences. The stories in this collection evoke the lived experiences of Africans of diverse backgrounds, races, ethnicities and identities. It explores everyday identity concerns of diasporan Africans such as experiences of being asked where are you from? immigrant and refugee integration, personal vs. ascribed social standing, remittance responsibilities, traditional vs. contemporary cultural values and many others. This collection is ultimately about the experiences of bridging, balancing and weaving together the multiple strands that form contemporary African Identities on and off the continent.
Stories included in the collection are titled:
1. Where are you from?
-A young African woman experiences and describes frequent encounters of being asked: Where are you from?
2. Too much water in the garri
-First generation Canadian siblings take their first journey to Sierra Leone, West Africa, orchestrated by their parents.
3. Once upon a time at Fourah Bay College
-A student describes the carefree campus life that is interrupted by war and unexpectedly propels a group of friends far and wide into the diaspora.
4. The Rainbow
-A mother contends with explaining to her adopted daughter, who is an Ebola survivor, why bad things happen to children.
5. Back to the beginning
-The story of the struggle of one of the young couples from Fourah Bay College affected by the Sierra Leone war, to adjust to life and immigration to Gambia and Canada afterwards, told through the lens of the wife's postpartum depression experience.
6. The day Aunty Amie died
-A young man's experience in Canada on the day his once formidable Aunt dies back in Sierra Leone, that ends in a serendipitous encounter.
7. The Conference
-A scholar and her best friend struggle to reconcile the ongoing discrepancies and complexities of a conference community working for social change in Africa.
8. Standing in the rain
-A group of students of diverse African backgrounds and descent form a life-long community support group.
9. When I became a Black man
-A young man describes his first police encounter with racial profiling.
-The journey of a Canadian university administrator and an African graduate student to their wedding in Freetown, Sierra Leone that takes them back into the history and connection between the black American loyalists that settled in Nova Scotia, Canada and the Creole Peoples of Sierra Leone.
* Six Influencers – These women are shaping domestic and international policies in public sector, gender, agriculture, trade and information technology. In this section, you will meet: Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Baratang Miya, Seno Namwandi, Eileen Bogweh Nchanji, Nitasha Ramparsad and Nomusa Taylor-Dube.
*Three Health Innovators – Here you will meet the sister-team Yasmine and Heba Aguib who are advancing health research and innovation and catch a glimpse of the health advocacy happening on the continent through the stories of Vanessa Adebayo and Taíla Carrilho.
*Six Entrepreneurs & Business Women – These women are leading the way in business, as well as creating opportunities for other girls and women. Meet Lynda Aphing-Kouassi, Sara Fakir & Tatiana Pereira, Ijangolet S. Ogwang, Sandra Onwuekwe, Bezawit Shewarega and Wacelia M. Zacarias Zualo.
*Five Educators – These women span generations, showing that African women have and continue to leave their mark in the African Academy. Meet Stella Bvuma, Tshepiso Maleswena, Mbuywana Mbikusita-Lewanika, Audrey Msimanga and Tracey L. McCormick.
*Five Bridge Builders – These women are creating platforms to enable and facilitate opportunities and spaces for other women to learn and grow together, support each other and gain access to opportunities that seemed beyond reach now. Meet Marcia Ashong, Vuyi Chaza, Marina Diboma, Kebone Moloko & Siyabonga Ntuli & Buyelwa Xundu and Diana Wilson.
*Seven (De)Constructors – These leaders cross the arenas of Sports, Arts and Pan-Africanism. The stories are about women disrupting status quo narratives for social impact. They are pioneers for change in the fabric and culture of African identities. They are the stories of Marcia Tate Arunga, Celma Costa, Elizabeth Mwambulukutu, Dorothy J J Okatch, Caroline Pouw via Lydia Radoli, Peace Hilary Tumwesigire and Maame Afon Yelbert-Sai.
This volume exemplifies the We Will Lead Africa ethos and expresses the variety, creativity and magic that the inclusion of women brings. We are proud that this volume was wholly curated by African women – in addition to our editorial team and the contributors, we thank and acknowledge Romy Gad el Rab for her work on cover design with photos supplied by contributor, Elizabeth Mwambulukutu, Oni Aningo for her poetic submission of Steel Magnolia for our prologue and Cheryl S. Ntumy for her science fiction submission of the History of Her to help us imagine future possibilities for girls’ and women’s lives in our epilogue.
The companion discussion guide is designed for educators and book club enthusiasts or even an individual reader – to delve deeper into the themes that Identities provokes. The guide is meant to jumpstart you into further meaning-making through your own storytelling.
For each story in the collection, this guide includes a story quote or snippet, behind the book commentary adapted from the blog series on the book and discussion questions. However, these are just guidelines. The invitation is for you to tell the stories your way and make this guide your own. This guide is meant to facilitate discussion and learning after reading each story. The questions are designed to promote open dialogue and not for debates on each person’s position relative to the issues and questions raised. The intent therefore is that all who use this guide in a group setting will engage in transformational listening and questioning of each other for the purpose of learning.