Lola Shoneyin’s novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Lives was the featured text on the YouTube #AfricaReads challenge featuring over forty Africans from across the continent on April 21, 2021.

Google Africa recently kicked off the YouTube Africa Reads Challenge where selected extracts would be read on their platform by influential personalities as a way of encouraging others to join. The first book selected by voting was the novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Lives written by Lola Shoneyin.

On being the first novel selected for the challenge Lola Shoneyin said, “I want to say a big thank you to you for choosing my novel for the Google Africa Reads challenge. I have devoted most of my adult life to promoting literacy through being a school teacher but also dreaming up innovative ways of putting books authored by Africans in the hands of African readers. Books are wonderful. Not only do they help us develop empathy, but they are also extremely helpful in navigating the complexity and the diversity of our beautiful continent.

The over forty writers, influencers and key opinion leaders from across Africa who read from the popular book were Patricia Kihoro, Anita Nderu, Yemisi Adesanya, Sara Mitaru-Kimanthi, Ibrahim Salawu, Rajvir Soin, Agatha Amata, Elsie Godwin, Laura Ekumbo, John Sibi-Okumu, Lerato Sengadi, Khaya Dlanga, Muyiwa Afolabi, Muthoni Garland, Aleya Kassim, James Murua, Sitawa Namwalie, Anda Paul, Janet Machuka, Steve Harris, Pearl Thusi, Eric Latiff, Sharon Mundia, Penny Lebyane, Sindiswe Van Zyl, Thembe Mahlaba, Betty Irabor, Kinyanjui Kombani, Ory Okolloh, Tewe Olujimi, Upile Chisala, Tomiwa Talabi, Anne Moraa, Koffi Idowu-Nuel, Mugambi Nthiga, Ada Ogunkeye, Pamilerin Adegoke, Sanda Ojiambo, Thandiwe Gama, Mihlali Ndamase, and Maps Maponyane. Joining the African personalities were Google’s Director for Africa Nitin Gajria and Head of EMEA for YouTube, Cecile Frot-Coutaz.

“We are extremely excited about the YouTube Africa Reading Challenge. Reading novels is such a critical skill and we hope this event will help fuel a reading culture on the continent, while also highlighting some of the exceptional literary works by African writers,” Google’s Director for Africa Nitin Gajria said.

Lola Shoneyin added, “If you are interested in joining this challenge but don’t have the book yet, you can now access the e-book and the audio book read by me on the One Read App. Happy reading.”

You can watch the whole challenge below;