FOUNDER, WINE & WHINE
Damilola (Dami) Odufuwa isn’t satisfied with sweeping generalizations about the African experience. She understands that experience is not a monolith and has fiercely defended that truth to correct the course of perception on a global scale in media and entertainment. It helps that Odufuwa is already a media maven at the age of 28; the Nigerian has worked at some of Africa’s most promising startups, and even its more traditional media companies, including MTV Africa; Nigerian-based companies Konbini and Zikoko as the editor-in-chief; and CNN Africa, where she led their social media verticals. But now, Damilola is striking out on her own with her new venture Wine & Whine, a Lagos-based online community and monthly event where Nigerian women “can feel physically and emotionally safe to have the important conversations and ask necessary questions” about sexual abuse, financial literacy and more. And still, telling the stories of African women, truthfully, wholly and with all nuances, is at the front of her mind.
“I love putting people on. Especially Black people and especially Black women,” she tells OkayAfrica. “Telling engaging African stories brings me joy…everyone has a different experience in their various African countries and every one of those experiences is real.”
Having worked closely with and propelled the voices of thousands of young Africans, Odufuwa sees them as the future. And she says people who aren’t seeing this fact need to get on board fast. “In Africa, there is the idea of respecting your elders. While that's great, it leads to situations where young people's voices are relegated to the back,” she says. “But Africa has the youngest population in the world, and it's growing fast. I strongly believe that the youth inform culture—trends, what's cool, new sounds etc., and they deserve a seat at the table.”
As for Odufuwa, she is well on her way to ensuring that happens. “In the future, I'm working towards starting my own media company and women's publication targeted at young, bold, feminist African women like me,” she says. “I want a world where girls are treated equally and have equal opportunities.”