I have opinions and often feel the need to share them. Some of my Opinion Editorials and articles have been published by the likes of The Guardian, open Democracy and Essence. From 2014-2020 I started interviewing African and Afro descendant women about their experiences of sex and sexualities. The result of this work is the ‘Sex Lives of African Women’ published in the U.K. by Dialogue books in July 2021, and in the U.S. by Astra House in March 2022.
I believe this is a fundamental human right, and one which affects every area of our lives. If we do not own our bodies, our original home, what do we own? It is this belief that has inspired me to co-create spaces for African women to share, learn, and discuss issues around sex, sexualities and pleasure. This work for me began in 2009 when I co-founded Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, an award-winning website that publishes and creates content on everything from women’s experiences of orgasms to exploring how religion affects women’s abilities to have pleasurable sex.
Why I do what I do
In 1997 I was introduced to feminist theory and the work of Black feminists like bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins and Michele Wallace whilst studying for an undergraduate degree in Communications and Cultural Studies. The work of these writers gave me much needed language for what I had long felt internally and questioned. I remember being a child and asking my Mum why she cooked for my Dad and stayed up to sit with him whilst he ate his dinner yet complained about how late he came home at night. I remember saying to my Dad, when I grow up, I’m not going to cook for my husband otherwise he will expect me to do that everyday. Even as a child I chafed at the strictures of patriarchy without understanding how systemic and structural it was, and the work of Black American feminists helped me to understand myself, a young African girl who had moved away from her home in Accra to London, a city where I had been born but barely knew at the time.
It didn’t take long for me to search for a community of African feminists and I found them first in books, primarily in the literary works of Ama Ata Aidoo and Buchi Emecheta (although I was shocked later to hear Buchi say in a documentary that she didn’t identify as a feminist). Then came the African feminist community that I got introduced to, initially through Akina Mama wa Afrika in London, and later the African Women’s Development Fund in Ghana and the African Feminist Forums it convened. In more recent times, I have been able to expand my community of African feminists through connections made in digital spaces and in various activist and literary spaces.
In January 2009, I and a number of my girlfriends went on a beach holiday to Axim, a coastal town in the Western region of Ghana. Our conversation turned time and time again to sex, and over several days we opened up to one another by sharing our experiences, questions, desires, fantasies and experiences of sex. That was also the occasion of my 30th birthday and I had a moment when I realised, ‘Wow, it’s taken me 30 years to speak openly and honestly with a group of other African women about sex’. When I came back, I called one of my oldest and dearest friends Malaka and convinced her that we needed to start a blog to share African women’s experiences of sex. She had been planning to write a book called ‘Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women’, and I told her, ‘let’s start a blog, and later turn it into a book’.