It was early 2000s, the beginnings of Internet for the layman. And already, were all the promises of this tool. To offer the world and afford the world without barriers! It was difficult for the young African woman newly settled in Europe that I was not to seize such an opportunity! That of being able to write and say my Africa, especially the African woman as I knew her An Africa. A woman so different from the image that I discovered then in the West.
And came CultureFemme!
How often have I insisted on saying: « It’s written in one word, not two ». Culture + Femme = CultureFemme. A symbolic name. In the beginning, it was first a site, hours, months to decipher the HTML, the PHP language. At that time, WordPress and what this tool allows us to have today didn’t exist yet (bloggers, you really have to thank its creators!).
Ah the « joys » of Dreamweaver, to do one by one the pages of the site! It was rock’n’roll, sometimes near to let you tearing your hair, but it was exciting. The public responds en masse. More than 100,000 unique visitors/month to discover our topics about society, our articles on the black woman (African, Caribbean, etc.)
It was a bias taken, as to value the natural and frizzy hair, the diversity of black skin with a focus on ebony skins. Why? Because they were the ones we saw the least. At that time, especially in the French-speaking world, it was a kind of challenge to find black visuals to illustrate our articles. Free or low-cost image banks were at their beginning or so, offered very little choice side profiles of African descent. Since, things have changed and so much better!
Our first cover so full of symbols
With the success of the site, a paper version is launched for the first time in 2005 with a cover which speaks for itself. Why? Because « A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces ». Everybody remembers this quote of a famous African writer (Wole Soyinka, Editor’s note).
Big dive between rough experiences ! Any independent magazine boss in France will understand me. And great joys (like to see how the magazine was enthusiastically received in the West Indies and in the African capitals where it was distributed).
It was my first entrepreneurial experience, in an area where people told you something, while acting the opposite. Example, major brands that through their press department flood you with boxes of products. Why? Because they are waiting a mention in your articles. But to take an advert in your magazine ? You are stamped too « ethnic », too much « niche market » etc.
A magazine mostly independent magazine, lives by advertising or subscriptions, regardless of its sales rate. What to do if you don’t have enough both and you refuse to fall back on ads of lighteners and products to bleach skin? Ouch, you put the key under the doormat.
But a few years later (specifically in 2012), you are caught up again in the virus of entrepreneurship. This time, the ad is at the rendez-vous even if the big brands are still as faithful to their « yes it’s ok to make previews of my products. » No, I don’t want to take an advert. » Nevertheless, the adventure comes under much better hospices but oops! You haven’t taken enough into account a point, the magazine, especially written, is in a « complicated » situation for years in France.
You finally understand one thing: the future is digital. Despite the many disappointed, you stop the adventure. You close the page CultureFemme, thanking all those who near or far participated in this trip. You are going to continue to talk about the world, Africa, women, culture. To talk about themes related to self-image but otherwise, through your literary works, other projects like Dzaleu.com that I invite you to discover here.
Conclusion? Any experience is a school
Any experience being teaching, do not hesitate to look behind you. Look back not for simple pleasure in the past. Do it to thank for the lessons learned, no matter how painful some have been. Look back to be proud of yourself. Yes, proud of what you have accomplished, what to calmly embrace what remains to build because … Yə ayəgə yi á enyiŋ yi á man! Does the school of life ends ! as one would say at home in Ewondo land. ©Minsilizanga.com
Today, I invite you to find me on Dzaleu.com.
I am the Editorial Manager of this site.
Another way to put beauty, the arts and talent ahead: