The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.
Rokhaya Diallo is a writer, journalist, film director and activist. Born in Paris, she has been at the forefront of discussions surrounding race and inequality in France and abroad. Among Rokhaya’s published works are the co-authored France Belongs to Us and France: One and Multicultural. She runs Rokmyworld a blog featuring fashion, music, haircare and more.
How should young feminists in Africa should make their voices heard?
Just like all women in the world, I think young African feminists must appear in the public sphere. This means becoming part of the destiny of their fellow citizens, using all tools at their disposal for their voices to be heard and become activists. They’ve also got to use their cultures in all areas of politics – in the noble sense of the word – as they commit themselves to the causes most dear to them.
African women have to become international points of reference.
African women have to become international points of reference. Vigilance is their best weapon; they must observe any and all obstacles to women’s freedom (whether words or actions), react systematically and let nothing pass.
Finally, I believe that they must seize this global world, travel when they can and above all, share their ideas, their positions and their situations with others around the world. African women have to become international points of reference.
You have spoke in favour of freedom of speech in France. What steps do you think African nations can take towards that?
I think it’s essential for all opinions to be expressed and debated within a democratic framework. It’s never good to seek to quiet the opinions we disagree with because they end up being expressed elsewhere and sometimes in a brutal fashion.
I use the internet and social media networks a lot for work; both are formidable means of expression. They allow us to be rid of media agendas and tackle topics that are important to us without any restrictions on our freedom of speech. It’s a powerful, resonating realm that can give an international scope to local issues.
I want to salute the ordinary citizens who remain in Africa to make a difference.
Africans should ramp up their use of social networks. This will increase the volume of their voices in the world and become a force to be reckoned with. I also attach enormous importance to culture and the way African cultural productions could support the most subversive messages.
Who’s your African of the year?
In our tragedy-ridden and troubled times, I can’t help but think of those Africans who risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life. I also want to salute the ordinary citizens who remain in Africa to make a difference.
Follow Rokhaya on Twitter @RokhayaDiallo
Check out rokhayadiallo.com
Come back tomorrow for the next TRUE Africa 100 and keep up to date using the hashtag #TRUEAfrica