We Will Lead Africa: Returnees

Call for chapter submissions for a first-of-its-kind volume of stories by and about everyday Africans born and/or raised in the Diaspora, who have made the choice to return to lead change and transformation across the continent.

We are looking for stories of people brought up in African families who have relocated to the continent after being raised “abroad.”

Despite its many challenges, Africa continues to draw young professionals back to the continent their parents once left. Nations are calling their children and there is an ever-growing number of the African diaspora returning. 

Attracted by economic opportunity and a new sense of optimism, Africa has many advantages to attract “returnees” in search of better careers and a better lifestyle. According to research, returnees cite three main reasons for returning: the desire to have an impact on the continent (63%), an interesting professional opportunity (49%), and family and social pressure (22%). (http://www.animaweb.org)

In the last decade there has been cultural resurgence, a movement in which people of African descent are embracing and celebrating their heritage. Today Africa is identified, recognized, and celebrated in media, fashion, music and food. There are cultural icons who are African. This is in stark contrast to even 10 years where denying or disassociating from any connection to Africa was normal. We are seeing the Africa Renaissance trend in initiatives such as Ghana’s 2019 Year of Return.

The complexity of being an African in the Diaspora is only understood by those who have lived the experience constantly being told, you are too African to be American, and too American to be African, or too British, too European, too…

We salute you and congratulate you for making the commitment to contribute to your ancestral home. We would love to hear your stories. Our hope is that this collection will build a convincing argument for the huge potential on the continent and to encourage people of African descent to look at opportunities ‘at home’ and encourage those in the diaspora to return.

The stories we are looking for align with our definition of everyday leadership and action for the future of Africa:

  • We: Collaborative and accountable leaders, taking unified action.
  • Will: The leadership WILL, grit and courage to do something, anything, now and for the future, demonstrated through action-oriented and aspirational leadership.
  • Lead: Everyday leaders, motivated by service, in every sector, including emerging leaders from marginalised groups. Returnee’s with a deep authenticity and integrity in their leadership, focused on a values-driven path, even if it is challenging.
  • Africa: A focus on a prosperous continent, where divides are bridged and leaders work across boundaries and borders to achieve a broader success.

This volume will exemplify the We Will Lead Africa ethos and express the variety, creativity and magic that the inclusion of returnees brings. We are looking for a diversity of experiences – from different sectors, areas of focus, geographies – told in different mediums. So we need you – sons and daughters of the dust – who are already in action, to share your story with us and the world.


We Will Lead Africa: Returnee

We believe in the power of storytelling, an inherent part of African culture, as a powerful tool for imagining, sparking and driving progress. And as a way to inspire more change and shape the futures we want. This book will speak to action and practice. It gathers the stories of those who have a deep interest in or connection to Africa, and have been stirred to action that is making a difference; stories about leadership, by returnees, in and for Africa.

Stories must be submitted, meeting all the submission criteria here. Submission must use be in Microsoft Word format to submissions@wewillleadafrica.com with the subject line WWLA RETURNEE and should use the Submission Form on our Submissions and Eligibility page as the cover sheet for their story.

Contributing Author Eligibility

You are an eligible author/group of authors if you:

  • are African by lineage, heritage, citizenship, immigration and/or self-identification;
  • identify as a Third Culture Kids – lived and raised in a culture other than your parents’ or the culture of your African lineage for a significant part of your development years OR were born outside of your parents’ or grandparent’s African country or outside the continent of Africa;
  • have returned to your ancestral African home / other African nation permanently or periodically;
  • are currently (in the past 3 years) doing work for the progress of African nation(s) that is already showing outcomes or making a difference as defined by you and/or the group(s) you are working with.
  • You may also interview others who fulfill these criteria submit a story on their behalf. If you would like to tell someone else’s story, you must have their confirmed permission in writing or where not possible in writing, their recorded verbal consent. In addition, they must be listed as a co-author.

Submission schedule and time frames will depend on number of stories submitted.

Join #WeWillLeadAfrica. Tell your story of action, change and transformation.

Editorial Team

Yeniva Sisay, M.A. Ed, is a value creator and change agent, who is passionate about the development and transformation of Africa. In 2007 Yeniva relocated to her ancestral home Sierra Leone, West Africa with a vision to develop the next generation of Sierra Leonean leaders, innovators, and change-makers. It was then that she founded EXCEL Sierra Leone; an educational organization that provides academic enrichment, character and leadership development to youth in Sierra Leone. Over the last decade, Yeniva has developed a diverse portfolio of skills and experience across private and public sectors in the United States and Africa. She is a master in instructional leadership, education consulting, with an emphasis on building and developing human capital in the ‘African context’. She is a trained and qualified teacher, a mentor and coach. She creates value on the continent; working in areas such as project management, business development, training & facilitation, brand communications and event management.
Yeniva was a contributor to We Will Lead Africa, VOLUME ONE.

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson PhD, was born in Germany, grew up in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and completed her undergraduate & graduate studies in Canada and the United States. She is a multi-award winning Leadership & Organization Development consultant, academic, writer and curator of African identity & leadership stories. She has presented on and taught about African Leadership: Now and for the Future. Yabome speaks on the issue of global African Identities, which led to her writing and publishing a short story collection titled Identities. She regularly lectures and has several peer-reviewed publications in her areas of interest. Yabome is a Founder and ongoing Editor for We Will Lead Africa.