Sean Jacobs

Reclaiming the African Narrative

Sean Jacobs

Project: Africa is A Country

The goal of this project is to expand and amplify the voice of African writers across borders and languages to challenge the global narrative

“#Mugabe has passed. And the rush to secure his legacy—for better or for worse—has begun. Our archive on the man is a good place to start (Google: 'africasacountry' and 'mugabe').”

The Big Idea

Sean Jacobs founded Africa Is A Country (AIAC) a decade ago as a personal hobby project, and has since developed it into an important platform for African writers exploring politics, culture and social issues. His fellowship is focussed on expanding AIAC’s reach, using open licensing to get important, accurate and authentic stories out into the world.

This is important work that gives a voice to unheard Africans. By sharing its content and making it available to anyone, AIAC opens the door for critical ideas to be translated into any language and used in any country, and for Africans to begin the process of reclaiming its own narrative.

Why We Funded

Sean has worked tirelessly on Africa Is A Country, and the platform is now recognised as one of the leading intellectual voices in the African hemisphere. That he has achieved it with next to no funding is testament to drive, determination and desire to see a world where Africans are in control of their own narrative. The open aspect of his work is equally important and could lay the foundations for an open alternative to a media world dominated by private, opaque interests.

Previous Shuttleworth fellows have worked on access to knowledge and fact-checking in Africa, giving citizens exposure to truth. Sean’s fellowship project is a natural extension of this work. Now, the idea is to enable Africans with the opportunity to share that truth - and their lived experiences - on a global scale.

Sean’s work focuses on:

  • Building on the success of AIAC and expanding its global reach
  • Expanding AIAC to give more underrepresented Africans a voice
  • Using Creative Commons to ensure any content can be republished and translated for any audience

Flash Grants

Dylan Valley
Koketso Moeti
Sabatho Nyamsenda