Photography by Marianne Olaleye

Our 17th issue, the Exposure Issue, will focus on the theme of vulnerability, highlighting individuals who have used openness, humility, strength, and self expression to challenge rigid value systems and affect change in their communities. We hope the stories featured will move you to share your own stories with our community. This issue is being co-produced by one of Ayiba’s favorite writers, Sheba Anyanwu. We can’t wait for you to see her vision come through with each post. Stay tuned!

Dear Reader,

If I told you that growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, vulnerability was not something I learned, would you believe me? I know I’m not alone in this.Time and again, as I edge out of my 20s I have met many young Africans my age who recognize that somehow many of us are without this rather important tool for navigating the world. And without it, we might not be as evolved as we think we are.

I will get right to the point and say that there is an issue with building and maintaining vulnerability in our communities. Along the way, we have somehow confused its suppression with strength and its presence with weakness, except when it exists in the confines of romantic relationships. Where has that taken us as African men, women, professionals, creatives? This gap in intimacy has created barriers in communication, barriers in understanding, and now more than ever, we need to break down that wall which prevents us from sharing what is important to us.

When we are afraid, or unwilling to share, we create and encourage an environment of shame. We distort reality by feeding only the stories that reflect this one-dimensional view of our humanity. In this issue, Ayiba Magazine attempts to strip away some of these layers and feature stories about people and experiences where intimacy is encouraged, where we can negotiate between what is true and what is falsehood, where we and our subjects can show what lies beneath and speak what is true to their person and to their situation. We are using this issue to place our stamp on vulnerability and claim it as ours, as something that also belongs to us, something we have common. I hope that what we showcase here can take you on a journey in the way same way that it has taken us.


Sheba Anyanwu

Our cover was shot by UK based photographer, Marianne Olaleye.
Twitter: @__mariannepaul

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