For the 6th episode in our Radical Publishing Futures series, host Bhakti Shringarpure meets up with Andariya's co-founder Omnia Shawkat in Khartoum, Sudan. Andariya was founded in 2015 in both Sudan and South Sudan, and eventually branched out into Uganda. Andariya focuses on "contemporary life" in the two Sudans and in East Africa, more broadly. They describe themselves as a "bilingual digital cultural multimedia platform and cross-cultural enterprise," and publish simultaneously in English and Arabic. Their mission is to reach a wide and multi-generational population within East Africa while solidifying the place for East African stories in the wider world. Andariya strives to sustain themselves without commercial sponsors and work within an independent structure. They have slowly branched out into publishing full length books and have recently started doing in-person activities at their lush garden venue called Andariya Park. These include concerts and film screenings as well as activities with an instructional bent.
Omnia Shawkat is the co-founder with Salma Amin as well as manager of Andariya for its base in Khartoum. Omnia's educational background is in Environmental Studies and she studied in Egypt and in the Netherlands. She currently manages a large team of Andariya staff in Khartoum and over a hundred freelancers in various parts of East Africa. Omnia has also been a journalist and has written articles about digital media, environmental issues, gender, women's rights, women''s crucial role in the recent Sudanese revolution. In this podcast, she speaks about Andariya's unique approach to developing and publishing stories from the region, strengthening culture and arts during an ongoing revolution in Sudan, the importance of starting small, and the challenges of working through the political instabilities in Sudan.