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Why We Created a Hands-on Writing Internship for a New Generation of Culture Critics

With the growth in Africa’s cultural and creative scene in the last few years comes an increase in demand for well-equipped culture writers to cover the interesting stories of creativity flourishing among Africans, British Africans, African Americans, and, in fact, every other demographic representing Black people across the globe.

Major media platforms worldwide increasingly encourage coverage of indigenous African talent outputs and cultural development efforts. And that’s not the most interesting part. Suppose you’ve been paying attention over the last few months. In that case, you’ll have noticed that these platforms are not only at the forefront of celebrating both emerging and established African talents, but they’ve also been commissioning more African writers and appointing African editors to document these talents. For example, the current editor of Vogue is Nigerian. The editor-in-chief of British Vogue is Ghanaian. A Ghanaian has been named the editor-in-chief of British Vogue. Dazed also hired a Sierra Leonean as its editor in 2021.

It is on this note that The Moveee, as a new media brand dedicated to spotlighting and empowering creative expressions of Africa and its diaspora, sets up the first edition of its project-focused cultural critiquing, writing, and reporting internship programme to serve as a launchpad for even more writers to cover the rapidly growing creative and cultural scene across the continent. The purpose of the internship programme is dual. First, it aims to provide a practical playground, a learning platform for budding culture writers to explore their writing abilities. Secondly, it aims to produce interesting stories of promising young Africans’ creative exploration and innovation at home and abroad.

Our primary cultural contribution at the moment, in our opinion, is the routine preparation and introduction of new generations of writers to the market.

The program’s first cohort had 116 applications across four countries, and 30 of these were invited to join the programme. The programme began in June and ended this October. It featured portfolio development through real bimonthly writing projects, peer review, and leadership experience for the selected writers. At the end of the programme, about 20 writers are ready to take on the culture writing world with a versatile portfolio of work.

Some of the works published under this programme include a review of photographer Yagazie Emezi’s works about Nigeria’s environmental crisis; a review of Fireboy’s Playboy from the perspective of a Gen Z who feels represented in the album; and a commentary on Damilare Kuku’s breakout debut, Nearly All the Men in Lagos are Mad

Beyond reviews, participants of the programme contributed cultural commentaries to The Moveee—a displeasure against the persistent fatphobia wired into society, a look into the potential link between queerness and creativity, and a note on the cultural divide between age groups in Nigeria’s creative scene.

Over 70 stories were published, including interviews, reviews, curated lists, and cultural commentaries. While this is the first edition of this programme, and so there would naturally be room for a lot of improvement in subsequent ones, all of the participating writers have positive remarks about the experience.

One of the participants testified that the programme has been worth the time and dedication. “I improved my writing skills and pushed myself out of my comfort zone, which yielded positive results,” she said. “Most importantly, the internship opened me up to bigger opportunities.”

The programme was designed to help participants flex their muscles working on different content types and build a portfolio of about four pieces of content. “I would describe my experience as rewarding in every way possible,” another participant said. “It has helped me develop different writing forms while also learning to communicate creatively.” He added that it had been an opportunity to boost his resume and portfolio.

The application window for the next edition of the programme will be opened in a few weeks, and the feedback from the first set of participants will help create a better version of the coming edition. And the ones that will come after it.

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