Dele & Louisa Olafuyi
Diversity has been a very hot topic over the past 12 months. Representation in the media and literature goes a long way in forming many of the subconscious biases or negative views that exist in society. Unfortunately, this lack of representation starts at a very young age as many of the books children read do not represent the diversity of the environments they grow up in. A husband and wife who realized this issue when raising their own kids and have set up a content creation platform publishing books that tell diverse stories are Dele and Louisa Olafuyi, founders of Kunda Kids.
Dele and Louisa are both marketers with experience working for top businesses. The couple met in London in 2013 and moved to Cambridge in 2017 where Dele completed his MBA at Cambridge University, Judge Business School, and Louisa worked as a senior product marketer at Cambridge University Press. The MBA sparked an entrepreneurial bug and they knew they wanted to start a business at some point. When Covid-19 hit and lockdown started, the couple were seeking children’s books to entertain their two year-old son. They started looking for books centered on ancient African history and found very few. They also discovered that “only 2% of children’s books published in the U.K. featured a black main character,” evidence of an industry that struggles to create and celebrate diverse stories. They couldn’t find modern and engaging content for their son about Africa’s ancient history, so they decided to create their own.
Whilst they had not published a book before, they leveraged their experience in marketing and business strategy to build a business plan and roadmap for the business. They brought in illustrators, an editor and worked with a children’s book printing company to ensure the book was of the highest quality. By December of 2020, they were able to get four books written, edited, and published which by any measure is an extremely impressive feat. The finished books feature prominent figures who are not spoken about enough such as Mansa Musa, who was the Emperor of Mali and well documented as the richest man in history.
Kunda Kids Books
Sales have been very impressive for a self-published book. Kunda Kids is now selling in Europe, U.S. as well as in book stores across Africa “we take so much pride in the messages we receive from people on social media about how long they have been looking for books like this” they mention.
Looking ahead the duo is keen to expand outside of books and build a “content platform” which will provide games, music, and other forms of digital content. Additionally, as they develop their expertise they are keen to work with talented illustrators and designers to help them launch their own books which can further develop the ecosystem of diverse books. Ultimately, “Children from all backgrounds should be encouraged to enjoy a healthy balance of fun, informative and engaging stories that make them feel represented and/or introduce them to new people and places that they can enjoy learning about.”
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. To submit ideas for features or keep up to date with new releases you can find me on Twitter – @TommyASC91.
The purpose of this blog is to share honest stories of diverse, underrepresented people doing great work which can hopefully inspire others to take action.