New Audiobooks App Shares Untold Stories From Africa

The tradition of storytelling on the continent of Africa dates back centuries. Storytelling has been used in numerous cultures to preserve knowledge, entertain, share lessons, and more. Now, the cultural art will be made even more accessible via an app. 

The founder of SOFTtribe, the largest software company in Ghana, Herman Chinery-Hesse, is set to launch Afrikan Echoes, an audiobooks app that will share untold stories from the continent. 

The app is set to launch in March and will feature 50 original, unpublished stories by African authors, each translated in several languages including Yoruba, Amharic, and Swahili. 

According to a report by CNN, storytellers from around the continent will be able to pitch their work to the app via voice notes in their native languages. The app’s creative team will evaluate the stories before getting them recorded in the studio and onto the app. 

Afrikan Echoes will be available on Android and users will pay $1 per story. App users can expect a diverse genre selection to choose from including action, history, romance, and autobiographies. 

“In today’s world, the oral tradition can be translated into electronic audio,” Chinery-Hesse said in an interview with CNN. “So suddenly, we have Africa’s oral traditions on steroids, which is what we are trying to achieve here.” 

One of the app’s goals, according to Chinery-Hesse, is putting these stories on a global stage, “We would like a situation where non-Africans can listen to African stories told by Africans, in an African way,” he said. 

Another goal is to help bolster literacy among people living in rural areas. The app will use a model that allows users to access and share books offline and use text messages to alert about new releases. 

Afrikan Echoes is currently based in Chinery-Hesse’s hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The app was funded by SOFTtribe and took $100,000 to launch.

Chinery-Hesse has been intentional about keeping the app entirely African-owned and purposefully didn’t fundraise to get the app started. 

Photo: Getty Images

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