|Happy First Birthday Gorfayn
When I launched Gorfayn a year ago today, I never imagined how well it will do or how warm it will be embraced. Today, after thirty-three pieces of original, humorous, and innovative writing, Gorfayn serves as one of the few platforms that truly give voice to all Somalis from all parts of the Somali speaking world equally.
The writing we do fall into three main categories. We publish a round-up of the week’s biggest stories in an effort to keep our audience abreast of Somalia’s current affairs. This section, entitled Weekly Digest, is currently being expanded and refurbished and will resume shortly. The second category, which is our flagship offering, is Commentary. This is where we have been attempting to delve into single issues to make them accessible even to those that are not politically inclined. Our final and most sought-after category is our Opinion page where we give a platform to accomplished and potential writers alike. Here, we also seek out experts in their fields to write about certain issues that, we feel, need more in-depth analysis.
The journey so far
I have been the sole writer of the first two categories and thus was somewhat straightforward as I did not rely on others. However, the Opinion page has been interesting to get it off the ground. When I first had the idea of the platform, I had this dream where I would encourage young people, that I think are capable of producing publishable work, to write.
This was a bumpy road to put mildly. The current Somali youth are the most literate and bilingual in the history of the country. I saw their potential and sought to harness their laden talents. However, it was not easy to find many who were willing to put pen to paper. I remember sitting down with one young person after another persuading them to put all their lengthy yet temporary tweets into a written articles for posterity.
Many of these young people have not thought about formulating their passionate pleas about climate change, for instance, into a coherent and substantive writing that can reach wider audiences. It took many tries to get them to writing and once they did, boy did they come back to write more! Nowadays, gone are the days where I had to persuade people to write. As I compose this prose, there are over six new pitches waiting for me to respond to.
Today our contributors sit at the heart of our organisation, and some of them have now become great friends of mine.
The organisation has grown too. Today we have four staff members. We aim to expand our services soon, hire staff writers, and grow the organisation so it lasts well beyond my limited time on this earth.
Happy first birthday Gorfayn, here’s to many more productive years insha Allah.