How podcasts are taking over the African narrative


The Afripods team (from left) Molly Jensen, Stanley Muthoka, Adam Mathai, Angela Machua, Kevin Y Brown, Gathoni Ngumba and Calvin Wanguku during on Africa Podcast Day on February 12, 2022 at Baraza Media Lab.

Photo credit: POOL

What you need to know:

  • Afripods have provided African podcasters with a platform where they can upload their recordings and distribute them on different players.
  • According to a recent study by Africa Podfest, Kenya has the highest number of podcast listeners out of six African countries studied in the report.

When Adelle Onyango quit her radio presenter job at Kiss FM, she found her freedom in her podcast, Legally Clueless. Telling stories on her own platform with no restrictions became her full time job after 10 years of being on radio.

“I think I reached a point where I wanted to spotlight incredible Africans but some of them are not socialites or musicians but they are doing some absolutely fantastic work and nobody is celebrating them,” she said.

Africa is known for its rich history of storytelling. Grandparents gathered their children around a fire under the night skies when electricity was not yet a necessity in homesteads. The reason for the gathering was to tell folktales that were passed down from one generation to the next. Rural-urban migration may have killed this important tradition and flow of information that might not ever be recovered again. 

“One of the effects of colonisation is that a lot of our history was either burned or not documented. We have not really done a good job of archiving our past. But can you imagine if we would use podcasts to document all of it?” Adelle posed. 

In an effort to promote Pan-Africanism, Adelle has recorded episodes in different parts of the continent such as Mozambique.

“I felt embarrassed as an African that I relied on western media to tell me about another country that is on my continent,” she said.

She strongly feels that podcasts will help Africans to learn and understand more about each other. She also believes that they are going to help Africans build their own identities.

Such growth will require technological advancements that will elevate new and aspiring podcasters.

Afripods CEO Molly Jensen said, “Globally, the trends show that podcasts are going to take off in Africa. It makes sense that podcasts would be a natural fit for a continent full of storytellers.”

Afripods is a podcast hosting company that aims to build the largest library of African audio stories on the planet. 

Currently, podcasts have been recorded in 50 different African languages on Afripods. Podcasts offer an unique opportunity for people to be able to learn their own vernacular languages. They can also offer a cheap means of inclusivity that no other form of media can easily provide. 

Since 2020, Afripods have provided African podcasters with a platform where they can upload their recordings and distribute them on different players such as Spotify, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts for free while advertisers can pay to have their ads on the podcasts.

Podcasts are still in their infancy in Africa which is why there are very few reports that show indicators of the growth and performance of podcasts in the continent. However, a recent study by Africa Podfest showed that the accessibility provided by podcasts is a key motivator to getting African podcasters started due to its low budget requirements and the accessibility it offers as an audio medium as opposed to visual media. 

Kenya has the highest number of podcast listeners out of six African countries studied in the report. It also revealed that podcasts appear to be mostly consumed by male and female audiences between the age of 25 and 35 with the male audience being a large number of the listeners. 

“The reason why we started the Sandwich podcast was because we realised we have so much to talk about in terms of being young individuals and we literally had no one online who related to us,” said Tony Kibet from the Sandwich podcast.

Tony and his fellow podcasters, Owen Njunguna, George Nyamita and Joan Melly have experienced the impact of their podcast ever since they started recording it in a servant’s quarter with just a phone and one microphone. Their podcast was listed as one of the most streamed podcasts in Kenya by Spotify last year. Other local podcasts that made it to the top ten were The Mics Are Open and Adelle’s Legally Clueless. 


Africa Podfest Co-Founder Josephine Karianjahi (left) and Afripods CEO Molly Jensen during Africa Podcast Day on February 12, 2022 at Baraza Media Lab. 

Podcasts are becoming one of the most accessible ways to gain knowledge or get entertained. Topics discussed on the podcasts such as self help, personal development, culture, arts, business, leadership and entertainment are the most streamed themes according to the Africa Podfest report.

Musician Kaz Lucas started a sex positive podcast called The Spread. In a TED talk, she explained why she chose to educate young people on consent and sexuality through her podcast.

“I truly think that the strategy to raising adults with healthy sexual behaviors is to first teach kids about consent super early, way before sex is even a topic of conversation,” she said.

Afripods CEO Molly Jensen believes that anyone who has a voice can have a podcast which is the beauty of storytelling.

“Some of the biggest podcasters may have not traditionally been influencers or media professionals. These are people who are able to build authentic communities that are able to grow with them. They become personalities because of their stories and what they are talking about,” she said.


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