Happy New Year! The party might seem like it’s over, but in fact, it’s just about to begin.

With this new year, TRUE Africa intends to point you in new directions. We feel we’ve got a bit of new year’s wisdom to share and because 2016 holds new momentum, there are a few fresh faces we want you to discover. We have a lot of new stories coming your way, and we are always happy to expand on these stories in the many conversations we’ve started on social media.

We will be a lot more aggressive in leading with our music, film, fashion and sports coverage.

We feel we’ve made significant progress over the last few months and TRUE Africa is feeling much more solid than when we launched, way back on September 1, 2015. From the reader feedback we’ve been getting every day, it seems many of you are beginning to understand what TRUE Africa is about.

Still, the editorial mix will get hotter this year, and we will be a lot more aggressive in leading with our music, film, fashion and sports coverage. Our editors and writers are also focused on giving TRUE Africa the right editorial backbone, with identity narratives a bigger part of the mix. This means that, in 2016, our stories will be less serious, more fun, and more sexy.

In particular, our editors are heartened by the new forms of leadership style that we see emerging all over Africa and the diasporas worldwide. The 16 new faces you see here are all working on new projects that will help to make Africa even more exciting a continent this year. Of course, most still have some challenges to overcome in their chosen area, as anyone would, but they are finding their own voice, which is about clarity, authority and honesty.

Finding and showcasing talent is always a top priority for us.

In my conversations with them, I find that they are team players, trying to find – and keep – the right partners. Finding and showcasing talent is always a top priority for us and our 16 for 16 are about to achieve a great deal in this new year. They told us about their big project for 2016 and we are hugely excited by the possibilities.

Saad Eddine Said, 33, Morocco

Recently chosen by the World Bank as one of the most promising tech startups in the Mediterranean region, Saad’s E-Room is a platform which uses open-source technology to connect people in remote areas with a professional team of doctors, nurses and teachers.

The E-Room is connected to different medical devices and uses sound and video-conference to bring medical expertise and provide medical consultations and assistance in emergency situations. It also brings educational support services to the younger generations by bringing an adapted programme to teach them languages, maths and science. It is an affordable technology that can play a huge role in the sustainability of remote communities and minorities around the entire African continent.

Check out more here

Ndeye Fatou Diop, 21, Senegal

Fatou has become very active in the ‘Binet X-Afrique’, a student group for African students and Africa lovers at l’École Polytechnique in Paris. The goal is to promote the continent and show all the possibilities that it has to offer. She’s already organised dinners, fashion shows and concerts to help people discover African culture and the next big event, slated for February 26, is the ‘Anzisha Forum’, which aims to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship on the continent. The forum will be an opportunity to provide African startups with access to both capital and the powerful Polytechnique network.

Check out more here

Kiri Rupiah, 28, Zimbabwe

Making a difference means writing more; specifically about Africa but avoiding the myopic narrative of flies, corruption and war. How does Kiri get to express herself in an authentic, unfettered voice? One way is to become a tastemaker who is able to document African pop culture instead of being a consumer of what has been deemed cool, relevant or pertinent.

The main priority, going forward, is to expand her natural beauty blog into a full-fledged business with consultations as well as made-to-order and ethically-sourced natural products.

Check out more here

Solène Dengler, 26, Austria

Having attended the COP 21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Solène now wants to help empower youth-led initiatives working towards shaping a more environmentally and socially sustainable world. Espaces Verts du Sahel is an NGO from Chad whose members train young leaders to become knowledge coaches in environment and climate change in their own families, schools and communities in Chad and other countries in the Sahel region. There are also youth organisations like CliMates, which has members worldwide. Young CliMates leaders from many nations including Nepal, Mexico and Mali participated in the COP 21 negotiations during the two weeks.

Check out more here

Jamie Goode, 30, United Kingdom

Vision Togo is leading an m-health project in Togo. Having raised over US$300,000 for the deployment of technology, training and equipment, the idea is to modify the traditional approach to public health to suit local conditions. Vision Togo’s main partners are the Ford Foundation and Samsung.

In Togo, this means that Jamie has to work mainly in rural areas without good roads. Because there are only approximately 600 doctors in a country of seven million people, the idea is to look at alternatives to placing expensive local surgeries and clinics in under-served communities. Vision Togo is currently in the pilot phase of two projects, a medical call centre programme and a mobile clinic programme.

Check out more here

Sitta Tarawally, 27, Sierra Leone

Sitta is an artist, writer, blogger, dancer, artist manager and actor. Having traveled across Africa, Europe and America, this ‘international refugee’ is searching for a home where big dreams can come through. She wants to uplift people through film and she even wants to begin to think of a legacy. Having graduated with a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Oklahoma, moved into her very own space and started a first full-time job, it’s now about feeling excited for the next stages of a life devoted to film. Priorities are exploring gender issues, reporting on the mishandling of rape cases in Sierra Leone, auditioning for Nollywood and fearlessly focusing on truly becoming an actor.

Check out more here

Isidore Sinkondo, 31, Burkina Faso

The founder of Ouagadougou-based cleaning services company Quick-Clean is launching the West African Entrepreneurship and Innovation Foundation. Having benefited from the support of the American Embassy in Burkina Faso, and attended the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, Isidore now feels that celebrating entrepreneurship in a post-revolutionary environment means finding new ways to  leverage crowdfunding in order to build capacity across the region. His new series of seminars and workshops are meant to help train budding entrepreneurs, local artisans and farmers in remote areas.

Check out more here

Bokar Turé, 34, Guinea

After working on various energy projects at the African Development Bank, Bokar now wants to manage the installation of world-class mini-grid systems in no less than half a dozen countries across Africa. He intends to continue participating in the development of the continent by steering the Akon Lighting Africa team to lighting more homes and villages with solar electricity. The responsibility of rapidly expanding access to electricity in numerous parts of Africa is a demanding one that Akon, Samba Bathily, and Thione Niang, the co-founders of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, have imparted to the team.

Check out more here

Anne-Lise Fotso, 30, Cameroon

2015 was a big year for the Africa Centre in London, with a successful summer festival in Covent Garden. Now, Anne-Lise’s 2016 to-do list is filled with big ideas and many things to accomplish as the new programme manager at the Africa Centre. Current plans include an arts and music festival in August 2016 and a charity gala in London. Managing a portfolio of projects to promote opportunities to engage in African contemporary creativity is no easy feat, but helping to build a greater understanding of the Africa brand in a global context is so very exciting.

Check out more here

Aymar Ayeman Esse, 27, Bénin

Okuta is a 52-minute film devoted to the rocks on the 41 hills in the Bénin city of Dassa-Zoumè, about 200 km from Cotonou on the main north-south highway. The film, which won several awards, is about the sacred relationship many locals have with those rocks, which were once used as protection and as weapons in times of colonial invasion.

Aymar, the director, who also released a film called Rencontre Virtuelle, a winner of two prizes at the Fespaco Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadougou, is now writing new African stories with international appeal. He says he is inspired by Angélique Kidjo and Djimon Hounsou, two global citizens who put Bénin on the map.

Check out more here

Nathalie Gambah Kpanté, 28, Togo

The fourth of seven children, Nathalie decided, after studying sociology and management at university, to launch a social business in the agriculture sector. As a student, she sold home-made louga, a candy that mixes peanut and caramel. On campus, fellow students and street vendors became her clients, and after graduation she worked with various NGOs before launching, in 2013, the enterprise that would become Choco-Togo. Choco-Togo conducts research on the local coffee and cocoa trade and also produces organic ‘Made in Togo’ chocolate, with the long-term view of developing cocoa tourism in Togo. Choco-Togo won the grand prize at this year’s Forum des Jeunes Entrepreneurs.

Check out more here

Raysa Castillo, 29, Dominican Republic

Raised in Santo Domingo by a hairdresser mother, and a lot of aunts, Raysa was always surrounded by beauty products, which is why she decided, early on, to become a  makeup artist. When her small island became a bit too narrow for her creativity, she moved to Switzerland, where she perfected her skills. Then, she moved to Italy, because she was always attracted to the culture, and to Spain, before settling in Morocco, where she learnt more about African colours. Now relocated in Paris, and freelancing for black women’s magazines like Amina, she names Londoner Pat McGrath as her single biggest inspiration.

Check out more here

Olukunle Kayode, 30, Nigeria

Coming a traditional Yoruba family in Osun state, and attending four different secondary schools in three different countries, is called being able to adapt. The skill of adapting to new cultures, new environments, and new norms takes a fair amount of discipline. However, in all of Olukunle’s adaptations, one thing has remained consistent, and that is a love of football. From playing it bare feet on the streets of Abuja, to wearing the full regalia while representing his university college in Lancaster, in the UK, there has always been an allure about the game that has consistently kept him intrigued. Having played football as an amateur in Nigeria he saw an opportunity to unite communities and tribes in an ever divisive world. In 2016, he is taking on a new initiative that aims to shine a light on precarious football talent across the continent of Africa.

Check out more here

Emmanuel Kazadi, 20, Democratic Republic of Congo

Emmanuel paints, designs, and makes cool stuff. Having collaborated with emerging musicians and artists in Africa and America, his big project for 2016 is to take Superfly, his newly launched T-shirt line, to the next level. Basically, he wants to reach new heights by playing to his transcontinental sensibilities. Now that the launch of the Superfly brand is behind him, with proud representation at Wood Shoppe, the Lower East Side New York City store that specialises in T-shirts for woodworkers, he is on the lookout for other clothing retailers and e-commerce platforms that are interested in the new.

Check out more here

Benjamin Fernandes, 23, Tanzania

Now that he is going for his MBA as an Africa Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Benjamin can finally slow down. Already a recognised TV personality and award-winning public speaker and entrepreneur in his native country, he is set to become an influential voice in Dar es Salaam. His obsession: how the nation can achieve a better life for its citizens.

Always interested in media and technology, he wants to encourage young people to look on education as the surest route out of poverty and to a fulfilled life. In 2016, he wants to continually work on developing solutions regarding the pressing economic situation for people in the rural regions of Tanzania.

Check out more here

Christelle Thomas, 42, France

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Christelle focused on learning a great deal about the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in history. These lessons shaped her inclusive approach to working in teams that could find real solutions to fight the virus. All she wants, is to make a difference. As the new year begins, she will be working on a revised response, a health network that builds bridges.

The network was designed around the accumulated experiences of people who were involved in the fight against Ebola. The goal is to seize each and every opportunity to actually bring the number of Ebola cases down to zero. Ultimately, it’s about helping to strengthen health systems in West African countries.

Check out more here