Eliana Silva of Angola/Mozambique is a communications and public relations specialist. She is account director at CREATE, and this year she published her first book.
Living in a moment of daily challenges basis, one thing we can take on is using the opportunity to rewrite our stories. We already know about the many challenges across African countries, but there is so much more to tell and there is power in telling our own story.
As we face a pandemic that doesn’t allow for real connection, we need stories to show us the diverse faces and experiences of African women. We must show their bravery and lift up the strength of women.
As everything goes digital, we must use these spaces to change the stories that are represented. I want to see a multitude of women standing out and showing their competence, expertise and ability to drive development of their communities and countries.
I have spent this time creating a story that I am proud of. Bina, a Descobridora do Índico (Plural Editores África) – or in English, ‘Bina, the Discoverer of the Indian Ocean’ – is a children’s book that tells the story of Bina, a young girl with albinism who travels the world on her bicycle.
It is a story of empathy, courage, respect and self-love – values that have become only more important in the current pandemic. Across sub-Saharan Africa, albinism affects one in 1,000 people and in Mozambique specifically, more than 30,000 people are living with albinism.
Creating the character, Bina, was an opportunity to represent a group of people often stigmatised in society.
With no physical book launch, the release was an online gathering in conversation with another African storyteller, Eliana Nzualo. You can view it on the publisher’s Facebook page (in Portuguese). This moment of connection was important to me, more so in this moment of potential disconnect.
It feels even more relevant to raise stories that connect with young African girls, and that represent and show acceptance of the diversity of who we are. This moment is challenging, but it remains critical that we find our voice and share the stories of brave African girls and women.