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Paris-Based Slate Afrique Celebrates 1st Anniversary

  • Lisa Bryant

A screen capture of the Slate Afrique website

A screen capture of the Slate Afrique website

One of the youngest pan-Africa publications is celebrating its one-year anniversary. A French-language spinoff of popular Internet magazine, Slate Afrique aims to bring quality news to African and foreign readers. Our reporter visited the publication's Paris-based headquarters.

Pierre Cherruau is on the phone, speaking to a foreign journalist about the future of French-Rwandan relations. Cherruau's analysis about Africa is in big demand these days. The 42-year-old journalist is editor of Slate Afrique, an online magazine that covers news about the continent and the African diaspora.

So do other media. But Cherruau says Slate Afrique is different.

"You have hard news, but you don't really have analysis and explanation about what is happening in Africa," said Cherruau.

A sampling of this week's articles includes a look at how Nigeria's religious clashes are scaring its neighbors, a feature on a Moroccan rapper and analysis on Tunisia a year after its revolution.

Cherruau estimates Slate Afrique's readership at about a million a month - a number he believes will grow as Africa becomes more wired into the World Wide Web.

"That's one of the reasons why we decided to start Slate Afrique," he said. "It's because we believe it's time for African people to have access to quality news, quality information. And to have access to this quality information for free."

Slate Afrique is part of - the French spinoff of popular U.S. Internet magazine Cherruau has a Paris staff of half a dozen young journalists, most of them African. But he counts many more correspondents in the field, ranging from Tunisian blogger Taoufik Ben Brik to seasoned Ivorian journalist and writer, Venance Konan.

"We believe, for example, that when we talk about Nigeria, it's good to have the point of view of a writer like Wole Soyinka," said Cherruau. "It could be somebody coming from journalism, but also coming from the university, a writer. Someone with a deep knowledge about the country - not just someone who has been in the country for just two days and has to write an article straight away."

One of Slate Afrique's newest journalists is 30-year-old blogger Alimou Sow, from Guinea.

Sow is interning at Slate Afrique. He hopes to share his experience here with counterparts back home.

Cherruau is no stranger to Africa. He lived in Nigeria for two years, writing books and articles for French newspapers. Back in France, he spent 12 years as Africa editor of the weekly publication Courrier International.

While Slate Afrique is currently based in Paris, Cherruau hopes to eventually move its headquarters to Africa. There are also plans for an English version.

Cherruau and his staff will be celebrating Slate Afrique's year anniversary with a birthday cake. But he's mostly looking ahead.

"We believe it's just the beginning," he said. "Because the development of Slate Afrique is really linked to the development of Africa."

And Cherruau believes this will be Africa's century - marking its emergence as a key world player.