The story behind killing Creative Africa

I got this comment yesterday from Blessing:

I just came across one of your previous platforms Creative Africa while surfing the internet, which led me here. Pls I would like to know what the platform was about and why doesn’t exist anymore, if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

Thank you Blessing. I don’t mind sharing, and your comment in fact made me realize I didn’t write down why I killed the project. So here is my recap.

For context, Creative Africa was a project I launched back in 2017/2018. I usually start projects in response to some events. And Creative Africa was no different. Everything started when I was trying to find some freelance work on Upwork.

Whenever I said I’m from Morocco, there was this expectation that I should charge less. Or even work for free. And I hated it.

I hated the idea that I’m getting paid less because I’m living in Morocco. Or an African country in general. I hated it more because the act of asking to charge less was considered “normal”. It was disgusting! For me, compensation should be based on my output. And nothing else. If I’m delivering value, then I should get paid.

Full of rage, as this happened more than once, I started thinking of a way to show the world what we can do. Show that we are creative. We have talent. And we can compete in the international. Africa is also a continent of talent.

And this is how the idea of Creative Africa started. It’s a showcase of the best African creatives around. For those who think we don’t have them. And given I was posting for remote jobs at the time. It was the perfect project to work on my coding skills and building my portfolio. So I started working on it around Oct 2017.

I published the project in February 2018 in Product Hunt. It picked up momentum and a lot of news outlets started featuring the project: LesInfos.ma, Disrupt-Africa, TechMoran. It felt good!

But the thing I’m proud of is this comment in Product Hunt:

Guys definitely check this one out. They got some SERIOUS talent on here goddamn 😲

I looked into the archives and found some of the work I featured on the platform. So I decided to include it here for reference:

I didn’t store credits with the images themselves. So couldn’t say who are the creatives here 😦

It was all about creativity. Product design, photography, typography, illustration…

And now after the context. Let me talk to you about why I stopped working on it.


Given the project received some press coverage and a lot of word of mouth marketing. I was receiving a lot of requests from creatives to get featured on the platform. But from the start, I considered the platform as a showcase of the best. So I was strict about the artworks that should make it to the homepage. In fact, I accepted about 3% of the requests I got.

That helped me keep a high standard, but also drain a lot of personal time. I was going into submissions and choosing what I can feature. Writing a rejection email if I can not feature the work. And the majority of the time, looking around at Dribbble and Behance to find some African creatives.

I was doing all this manually. And I reached a point where it was too much for me to handle. The project was taking a lot of my personal time, and it wasn’t sustainable to continue it.

The second problem I had is a technical problem. I build the project with technologies I barely understood at the time. And I built it in a way that was hard for me to automate things, or even develop new functionalities without breaking stuff.

I decided at that time it was too much to handle. And that I should stop working on it. The other solution was to keep it running but reduce the posting frequency. I’m not sure why I didn’t go that way… And now that we are talking about it. I have some plans to bring it back

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