Forty-two miles from Silicon Valley, social entrepreneur Alafia Stewart, fields calls and emails for her freshly launched platform, Juju Square, an online peer-to-peer spiritual supply shop for those who practice or express interest in African traditional and diaspora religions.
Like most entrepreneurs, this is not her first venture, and it grew out of a personal need.
In this podcast, we talk to Alafia, an educator and self-described meme-median (a cross between a meme creator and comedian), on how she created Juju Square and aspects of African spirituality and its dispersal throughout the world.
There are more than 100 million people who practice some form of African traditional and diasporic religion, making it one of the top 10 practices in the world. Stewart, an Oakland-based priest in the indigenous Yoruba faith of Ifa, is one of them.
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“If there is going to be coin that is spent, it should be spent within community,” Stewart said. “Jewish communities have [their own virtual marketplaces]. Buddhist communities, Chinese communities, ethnic communities of all kind have these things. Why don’t we have them? It’s not that we don’t have the buying power. It’s not that we don’t have the genius to do it. Its that we were lacking at the time a platform and now we have one. Juju Square is designed specifically for us to be able to build bridges, to unify, to explore.”