Kenya’s SemaBox launches first women only podcast incubator in Africa

Creating a culture of podcasting across Africa through capturing and sharing content with diverse views and voices

lwazi maseko
Apr 29 · 4 min read

SemaBox launched the world’s first only women’s podcast incubator, which will provide a platform for women to discuss a variety of topics that aren’t usually discussed in mainstream media.

“The biggest disrupter of media today is podcasts. [They] have introduced to us a myriad of alternative voices,” says Doris Onyango, project lead at Dada Podcast Incubator. It is the first ever to focus solely on women podcasters, and this new programme that start this past Monday, will run for 100 days.

“It is a special era for women because we are at a time where we can create the spaces that we occupy, women first occupied spaces in media as an act of rebellion from the social norms where our views and ideas that are hardly recognised,” says Joy Mala, project manager at Dada Podcast Incubator.

Mala says the women will “share bold perspectives on an array of issues that will work to educate inspire uplift and constructively engage their audiences”.

The eight Kenyan podcasters include:

Beneath the Surface podcast by Sly and Wesh. The podcasters say that their show will focus on topics that have stigma or shame such as mental health. Their podcast aims to normalise these topics and “make people feel comfortable enough to talk about them and to address them,” says Sly.

100 on Books by Nyambura Mutanyi, who says, “I feel like literature provides us with a canvas for us to imagine and reimagine the world,” her podcast will be focusing on African literature and books. She wants to put books from the global south and the diaspora at the forefront.

The Running Mates Podcast by Cathy Irungu. The podcast will be focus on women in politics and the Kenyan 2022 general elections. She says that “most of the time women lack visibility,” so she wants to inform people about the women who will be running for elections. She aims to bridge the gender gap between men and women particularly in political leadership roles.

Fearless by Uduak Amimo says she started her show after she suffered a burnout and due to the pandemic, people have been dealing with anxiety, the show celebrates people who are dealing with these anxieties, as well as building a society which is kind, compassionate and caring.

The African Theatre Podcast by Sitawa Namwalie, who says when she started theatre, she couldn’t find much information about African theatre, which inspired her podcast, to provide knowledge and insight into the history of African theatre.

Kisima Podcast by Joy and Gloria will focus on social justice. Joy says that “the youth in Kenya is disenfranchised” as decisions and policies impacting the youth are taken by people who are older and “do not care for the youth or our interests”. The podcasters explained that “politicians usually use the youth to foster their selfish agendas but this time around we are going to take action from a point of knowledge”. Adding that “we will let them know that we are not the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today”.

Zeda Talks Podcast by Mwende Ngao, who says “one of the biggest challenges has always been that I find myself in a lot of rooms where I’m the only woman or there are women but the content is mostly geared towards men or our voice is not being taken seriously”. The podcast will focus on women in media and creating a space for women to have conversations, which mainstream media wouldn’t usually allow women to have.

Mine is a Comment Podcast by Wanjiru Nguhi which will focus on governance and the underrepresentation of women, particularly how decisions are made, but women aren’t taken into consideration, “what happens to our lives when we are not in the room,” says Nguhi. For example, she says during the pandemic, the government issued a curfew but pregnant women weren’t considered on whether they would be able to go to the hospital.

Mala says Dada incubator wants to create an exchange of conversations that are not accommodated by the mainstream media and inspire a culture of podcasting.

Other resources

Strategies for audience engagement and understanding podcast analytics

Audience Engagement Tricks To Boost Your Podcast Downloads

Listener Engagement Advice From 5 Podcast Experts

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