We had a chat with Nduulwa, The host of Dear Diaspora- Dear Diaspora is a podcast celebrating the African diaspora- its change-makers, innovators and entrepreneurs working to make our world a better place to live in.
Its really important that as an African inspired digital media company, we use our platforms to continuously tell the story of black folks in the motherland and in the diaspora.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and Dear Diaspora Podcast, and how it all began.
My name is Nduulwa and I’m the host of Dear Diaspora. I spent the first ten years of my life in Lusaka, Zambia before immigrating to the United States. My mom moved the US when we were quite young, so my brother and I were raised by our grandmother in Lusaka..for about five years at least. When we moved to the US to join our mom, Omaha, Nebraska became our second home.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to make a “difference” but I wasn’t exactly clear how. I dreamt of working for large NGOs but after studying international studies in college, I became a bit disillusioned by how aid has been used as a tool for development, particularly in Africa. I think there’s a better way, and I think we can be a bit more creative.
Dear Diaspora officially launched on September 1, 2019. As I started to listen to more podcasts, I quickly noticed something missing. After getting my MBA, I was really interested in learning more about business but couldn’t seem to find any podcasts sharing the experiences of those doing business or working on projects that will benefit the continent. When listening to the stories of entrepreneurs on some of my favorite podcasts, I often couldn’t relate to or identify with the guests so I figured I’d just create what I wanted to hear. Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora are doing phenomenal work but it often goes unnoticed — Dear Diaspora shines a light on that work and amplifies it.
2. With the newest podcast series, what do you hope listeners will gain from it ?
I hope listeners feel inspired after listening to the episodes. I hope they feel seen, heard and empowered to do whatever it is they are called to do. We most often hear about what’s going wrong with the continent so I also hope listeners walk away feeling hopeful and encouraged.
3. What lessons have you learned from Dear Diaspora ?
Dear Diaspora has taught me a few things. Mainly, I now realize that everyone is a change-maker, whether or not they claim the title. You could be an entrepreneur or CEO solely focused on making money, but you’ve probably inspired someone just because you’ve shared your story and shown them what’s possible.
The work many people are doing is revolutionary, even if they don’t think about it as revolutionary. Because of history, colonialism, etc…we are seeing a lot of “firsts” and will continue to. We are now taking matters into our own hands and it’s incredible to witness.
4. What’s the most intriguing story of a black person living in the Diaspora you have heard while doing your Dear Diaspora Series ?
One of my podcast guests, Balkissa Mahamane, built a school in rural Niger. Before construction began, people asked her why she was wasting her time building a school in a remote area. She knew there was a need and so she took charge and did it, funding it herself. She’s not with affiliated with some giant NGO – she’s just a woman who values education and wants to make it accessible to all children. I think that’s pretty revolutionary.
5. What’s like, as an African woman living in America ?
That’s a pretty broad question, but I’ll answer it the best way I can. As a young, 24-year-old African woman living in the US, I feel very privileged and lucky that I have the power and agency to make my own choices.
Being an African woman, however, doesn’t mean I’m not subjected to some of the biases or inequalities that Black women in America are. For instance, Black women in America on average make about $.60 on the dollar in comparison to white men. Being an African woman doesn’t spare me from that systematic inequality. I can negotiate as much as I want, and get as many degrees as I want to, but I bet you that I will rarely ever get paid the same as a white male in a similar role.
6. What’s a common misconception about Africans living in Diaspora ?
That our lives our easy. Well, we often do have significantly more access to opportunities but it certainly comes at a price. I often think about my mom and how hard she worked–and continues to work–to provide for us growing up. In the US, particularly, I feel like all we do is work. Even as you start to earn more money and become a part of the middle class, you aren’t really able to build wealth because of all the debt you’re in. And we can’t forget remittance payments and providing for our families back home. Everyone’s circumstances are different obviously but I’m speaking from what I see everyday.
7. How do you think we can have more African-Americans visit the Motherland ?
Ghana is doing it right, in my opinion. We need to make it easier for people to get visas and travel to the continent. People want to have nearly seamless travel experiences, so we need to make it easier to get visas, book flights, accommodation, transportation, etc. Also, more events like Afrochella. All those things will cost a lot of money of course so some serious investment will be necessary.
8. Here at MoyoAfrika, we’re all about sharing stories and enlightening our readers about African culture and travel.
If you could go to any African country, where would you go and why ?
Ghana is probably going to be the first country I visit, for all the reasons I mentioned in the previous question.
Senegal and Zanzibar would be next on my list. Senegal for the food, art and French influence. Zanzibar for the beaches.
9. If you had a chance to be mentored by someone in your field, who would that be ?
I would love to be mentored by Sandrah Appiah, she’s the founder of Face2Face Africa. I love the events and experiences she creates through her platform, and I want to learn more about creating experiences.
10. What’s your long-term goal ?
I have so many. Like I mentioned in question 9, I’d love to create experiences through the Dear Diaspora platform. Not sure about the kind of experiences yet, but they will have something to do with travel/business. I’ve also thought about producing other types of content in the future. And maybe even starting a fund that invests in businesses on the continent. All these things are achievable, just not sure when the right time will be, and who I will need to have on board to make it happen. I’m always open to collaborating, btw, nothing great is ever achieved alone!