Global streaming platform Spotify has demonstrated its commitment to bolstering the careers of African creators through on- and off-platform support programmes. In line with this, the company has announced a first-of-its-kind podcast initiative on the continent, the Africa Podcast Fund, with the goal of supporting podcasters and further amplifying their stories.
The $100,000 fund aims to bolster the careers of these podcast creators through financial grants, workshops and networking opportunities.
“Africa Podfest is excited about the development of podcasting in Africa particularly because the medium allows underrepresented African voices to tell the story of Africa,” says Melissa Mbugua, Co-Director, Africa Podfest.
The Africa Podcast Fund is offered to select creators from African countries with the biggest podcast listenerships, namely South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. The grant also includes a Cameroonian podcast with large listenerships both in France and in Francophone African countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire. Given the wide range of selected countries, the winning podcasts are recorded in a range of languages including Pidgin, English, French, Sheng, Ga, and Twi.
The fund will be administered by Africa Podfest, a Kenyan-based company focused on inspiring and elevating African podcasters by building a sustainable and inclusive podcasting industry across Africa.
The 13 recipient podcasts are: Entrepreneur, journalist and art collector Diane Audrey Ngako from Cameroon,she is the host of Si Maman M’avait Dit, which roughly translates to ‘If my mom had told me’. On her podcast, Diane Audrey gives the floor to guests, posing questions about what lessons they’ve learnt navigating their lives, careers, and relationships.
Sincerely Accra is a popular Ghanaian podcast based on urban life in the national capital Accra. Episodes alternate between vox pops and in-studio interviews, predominantly in English with an occasional blend of Pidgin, Twi and Ga. Hosted by Joseph Nti and produced by Kwame Asante, the podcast is fast-paced and colourful, featuring a mix of personalities with exciting and varying discussions driven by current opinions and pop culture.
The Sandwich Podcast, the podcast with the most listeners in Kenya, is hosted by four creatives: Joan, Kibz, Nyamita and Owen. Delivered in a mix of English, Swahili, and Sheng, topics on the podcast are inspired by the hosts’ life experiences and the guests they feature.
The Messy Inbetween is hosted by Murugi Munyi and Lydia Mukami also from Kenya, covering love, money, work, life, and advice led by lived experience and all the things that make life what it is. TMI provides a safe space for women to discuss their experiences candidly.
Mantalk.ke, hosted by Kenyan creators Eli Mwenda and Oscar Koome, recognises the need for conversations led by men on issues such as toxic masculinity, fatherhood, feminism, dating, and self care. The two hosts strive to have uncomfortable conversations, even if that means putting themselves on the spot.
Nipe Story, hosted and narrated by Kenyan writer, journalist, and queer activist Kevin Mwachiro, gives a voice to written African short stories. Mwachiro provides a platform for African writers to have their short stories heard.
I Said What I Said, one of the most popular podcasts in Nigeria, is hosted by Feyikemi Abudu, an entrepreneur who is excited about helping small businesses to grow, and Jola Ayeye, a storyteller with a core interest in contemporary African culture. Each week, they dive into the Lagos Millennial experience and share their take on current happenings in Nigerian society.
Tea With Tay, hosted by Nigerian content creator Taymesan, covers societal issues and personal experiences in a fun, light-hearted and entertaining way. Taymesan hosts celebrities and other guests engaging topical conversations that spotlight his guests’ unique and intriguing stories.
F&S Uncensored covers music, pop culture and personal experiences. Hosted by Feyikemi Akin-Bankole and Simi Badiru, The podcast offers commentary on trending pop culture topics and informed opinions on how these topics affect everyday Nigerians.
After School Is After School with Sis G.U, hosted by Gugulethu Nyatsumba, aims to speak more openly and honestly about the battles that Gugulethu continues to face in her 20s. The podcast seeks to foster a connection with the audience, with sharing life lessons and inspiring emotional growth.
South African podcast The Journey Kwantu, hosted by Vusumzi Ngxande, explores and questions matters around African spirituality and identity. On each episode, Vusumzi holds a conversation with a guest to dig into the most complex issues around African beliefs.
Wisdom & Wellness with Mpoomy Ledwaba, hosted by content creator Mpoomy Ledwaba, aims to foster connections with her guests and inspire her audience through important conversations that touch on life lessons and individual journeys.
Convos & Cocktails with Lesego Tlhabi is a podcast hosted by the prominent South African satirist, best known for her character Coconut Kelz. The focus of Lesego’s podcast is candid conversations that “we, as black women, want to have… but often don’t”.
Independent emerging podcasters with growing audiences were selected as recipients for the fund, with a focus on supporting podcasts that showcase a range of voices in terms of varying podcast formats, gender, language and content. It is through initiatives such as these that Spotify’s goal of further platforming African creators on a global scale can be realised – a goal central to shifting a historically restrictive view of storytelling out of and about the continent.