It was American writer and Nobel prize laureate William Faulkner who said: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
As a writer, speaker, and activist, OluTimehin’s work focuses on gender, women’s rights and health, and sex, sexuality and sexual violence, in addition to addressing the issue of urban poverty and sustainable development.
OluTimehin, 26, is bold and unapologetic about her views on issues pertaining to marginalisation and gender inequality, and has been breaking new grounds in ensuring that her voice, which is actually the voice of the thousands, if not millions of the voiceless across Nigeria, and by extension the African continent, be heard.
In 2015, OluTimehin published an article detailing the injustice meted out to waterfront communities in East Badia and Otodo Gbame, both in Lagos, which brought the attention of the world to the plight of residents. The article was translated and published in a Norwegian syndicated daily newspaper Klassekampen and this got her an invitation to Norway for the international conference organised in preparation for 2019’s Frankfurt Book Fair.
In 2017, OluTimehin spoke at the TEDLagos Idea Search based on the demolition of waterfront communities. She titled her speech “White Sands, White Flags: The Demolition of Lagos State Waterfront Communities” and this led to her being shortlisted as a speaker in the TEDGlobal Conference 2017 which took place in Arusha, Tanzania. Her speech titled, “Who Belongs in a City?” has been described by curator of TED Talks Chris Anderson, as one of his favourites, thus placing it in his top ten talks of 2017 list alongside talks by Elon Musk and Pope Francis.
OluTimehin is an alumna of the inaugural Writing for Social Justice workshop organised by AWDF in collaboration with FEMRITE (Uganda, 2014), the Farafina Trust Creative Writing workshop (Nigeria, 2015), and the BRITDOC Queer Impact Producers Lab (USA, 2017).
OluTimehin has also spoken on several panels across Nigeria, Ghana and Brazil: Rewriting Herstory: Harnessing the Power of Feminist Writing Platforms and Networks at the Black Feminisms/AWID Forum (Brazil, 2016); Spirit Women at Chale Wote: Spirit Robot (Ghana, 2016); and Intersections: Culture, Social Justice and Feminist Narratives at the Weavers of Intersectionality: Amplifying Women’s Rights, Social Justice and Feminist Narratives in Arts, Culture and Sports convening (Ghana, 2016).
Her work has also been published in the African Feminist Forum, African Women’s Development Fund, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Bistandsaktuelt, Gender-Based Violence Prevention Network, Latterly Magazine, This is Africa, among others.
OluTimehin was also the Policy Advocacy and Strategic Communications Officer at Justice and Empowerment Initiatives (JEI), a human rights organisation in Lagos, and has worked as content editor and contributor for various magazines.
We celebrate today OluTimehin for being gritty in her quest to ensure equality, and for refusing to relent amidst all of the trolling on the internet.