Challenging stereotypes of African love


Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, romance e-publisher and founder of Ankara Press, is set on challenging the stereotypes associated with African romance.

“The notion that Africans don’t do romance, or in an explicit manner is a stereotype that we’ve all become used to and I don’t think that’s necessarily the case,” she said.

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Ankara Press is a publishing platform for contemporary African romance fiction.

Bakare-Yusuf says she is excited about the new kinds of romantic stories being told on the platform as it is broadening the minds of people who are now reading beyond the Mills & Boon stories. These new African stories are also challenging people’s perceptions of what they think is acceptable in a relationship as well as their ideal partners.

(READ MORE: The blossoming business of love in Kenya)

To Bakare-Yusuf’s delight these stories are being well received among women as well as men.

“A lot of men have emailed us telling us how excited they are and how they can see some of themselves reflected in some of the characters so we think it’s a positive move.”

Technology has made it easier for publishers to reach a larger audience as well as keep track of public response.

“When you publish on an online platform it’s very easy to see downloads, the sales and stuff in a way that you would have had to wait a few months to see in the past with the more traditional forms of publishing.”

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In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Ankara Press has released a collection of stories, from seven writers, who have written about what their idea of love is. The stories are available in several languages including: Swahili, Kpelle and pigeon English.