If there’s one thing followers of Dynamic Africa know about this blog, it’s that we’re not here to recycle ‘typical’ images and information about Africa that are broadcast by foreign media outlets that are often two-dimensional or service no beneficial purpose to the continent and its people.
That being said, we don’t feel it necessary to go on about the kinds of stories Western media seems to favor when framing reports on LGBTQI life in parts of the African continent. This is not to say that there are no struggles or battles being fought concerning the progression of LGBTQI rights and agency in Africa - the discrimination many individuals within the LGBTQI community face is an undeniable reality.
However, we’d like to change the focus a little by introducing you to one of the many organizations that focuses on providing agency as well as an essential community platform members of the LGBTQI community in Africa and throughout the Diaspora: HOLAAfrica!
Tell us a little about who is behind this HOLAAfrica and what the organization is all about:
HOLAAfrica (HOLAA!) is a pan-Africanist Queer online collective run by four Queer women (a Kenyan, two South Africans and a Zimbabwean) on a mission to create a community where queer African women on the continent and in the diaspora would feel welcome to share our stories, exchange ideas, debate issues, and generally create a positive safe, fun and inclusive space.
It started after being part of an action research project called “Young Women’s Leadership and Sexuality Project” and it became clear that African women didn’t have a space where they could grapple with issues around their identities, sexualities and tell stories about their lived experiences- hence HOLAA! was born.
HOLAA! seeks to create such a space with one of its driving forces being the production of queer content for women of colour by women of colour with an Afro-centric focus.
Where does the inspiration for the name of your organization come from?
Initially HOLAA! was an acronym for Hub of Lesbian Action Africa but after many a discussion about the name we realized that it was limiting because it seemed to make it too exclusive and HOLAA! was all about sharing and caring. It wasn’t just for lesbians, but bisexuals, trans-women, women who identified as queer… basically anyone with an inclining of sexuality. So it was changed to Hub of Loving Action Africa which reflects the fact that labels and categories are immaterial when it comes to women articulating themselves in HOLAA!’s spaces.
Also we did not want to let the acronym go as the idea is that HOLAA! is a space for uninhibited original expression by African women making HOLAA! is a homonym for “hollering” loudly, proudly and defiantly.
What inspired and/or motivated you to start a tumblr blog and how long have you been operating it?
The original HOLAA! is primarily a site that takes mostly written contributions from anyone who wants to share, however we are looking to branch into other mediums of expression in order to create a home for everyone, photographers, painters, dancers, anyone with a story to tell. Tumblr just seemed a logical step especially because it’s such an easy way of connecting with people with similar interests and sharing your original content.
The aim of using tumblr was to add an audio visual component to what HOLAA! was already doing and also to direct more traffic onto the central blog. And we loved the pictures floating around here. It’s been running about 3 months.
What do you enjoy most about blogging on tumblr and what do you want most for people to take away from your blog?
It’s just so easy to blog on tumblr - especially when it comes to videos and communicating with people.
The fact that people can ask HOLAA! questions anonymously is great because it allows us to communicate more effectively with the readership and LBGT Africans who do not know where to turn for support or just a little advice. We want to especially grow this part of HOLAA! for that reason. There is a need for community support especially online.
Are there any similar blogs on tumblr you’d like to recommend?
Blogs we love would definitely include:
Where else can you be found on the internet?
This is where all the action happens, the heartbeat of it all. HOLAA! posts 100% original content, features and posts about events anyone is throwing.
HOLAA! micoblogs on twitter as a way of generating discussion around central issues, spreading the word about events and creating a hub of information about what is happening in the world of Queer African women on the continent and in the diaspora.
https://twitter.com/HOLAAfricaBlog or @HOLAAfricaBlog
We share a vast array of photos and articles in this part of the HOLAA! homestead.