Not many 10-year-olds review books and set up interviews with their role models. Even fewer are able to publish their writing. But that’s the story of Sadé Ajana, Editor-in-Chief of Sadé Magazine, founded by her mother Davina Ajana, to inspire and empower young black girls (Sadé and Davina pictured above, photo credit: Mollie Rose).

“I noticed that there wasn’t much diversity, or representation of black girls, especially in literature,” says Davina. “I wanted to create something with Sadé that would make readers feel that they could do anything in life.”

Sadé Magazine is an independent quarterly publication. The first issue, September 2020, covered history, race and activism. The second issue, ‘The African Adventure’, focused on African culture and language. The March issue, ‘The Happy Issue’, explores topics such as mindfulness and healthy eating. 

Both Davina and Sadé use Starling to manage their money - they have a business account for the magazine and a Kite card for pocket money

She who wears the crown

The name Sadé (pronounced Sha-day) means ‘she who wears the crown’ in Yoruba. The magazine is designed for black girls aged 7+ and includes positive news, fun facts, profiles of black women and activities, such as writing a poem or creating a drawing. It’s print only but posts additional articles on the website, where readers can subscribe.

Issue one of Sadé Magazine - cover
Issue one of Sadé Magazine

The magazine includes book reviews, written by Sadé and readers. There are Q&As with role models. The second issue featured Cedella Marley, author, musician and the eldest child of Bob Marley. Previous book reviews include When Stars Are Scattered, a graphic novel by Omar Mohamed about growing up in a Kenayn refugee camp, and Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies by Mireille Harper.

“I like to read a variety of books,” says Sadé, who sees reading as a key part of wellbeing. Her favourite authors are Renée Watson, Rachel Renée Russel and Kereen Getten. 

Creativity, talking to her friends and being Editor-in-Chief also play a part in her happiness. “I like the fact that I get to see people’s reactions and bond with the community,” she says. “I like knowing that people are reading my content and enjoying it.”

For Sadé, the two main highlights of being Editor-in-Chief so far are featuring in Metro news and appearing on the Channel 4 Programme Steph’s Packed Lunch: “Both were really big opportunities to raise the awareness about black girls being shown in magazines and books. Everyone got to see the importance of our magazine.”

How it started

The idea for the magazine developed from a challenge Davina set Sadé just before the first lockdown. “I asked her to send me the names of her role models, with a description and some of their quotes,” says Davina, 40. Role models included activist Rosa Parks and chemist Alice Ball, both of which featured in Issue one of Sadé. 

From there, they began to talk about what they would like to read, if they were to create their own magazine. Drawing on her experience as a brand consultant and her background in digital and print journalism, Davina guided Sadé through the creation of the first issue.

Sadé and Davina Ajana - Sadé magazine founders
Sadé and Davina Ajana run Sadé magazine together, photo credit: Mollie Rose

Davina says: “She has a very inquisitive mind and loves everything to do with history, literature, technology, science.” The magazine reflects Sadé’s broad range of interests and provides an opportunity for her to learn about the world, and pass this knowledge on to others.

Banking with Starling 

Davina signed up to a Starling business account before launching Sadé magazine last year. She found Starling online when looking for a digital bank that would save her from having to go into a branch. “Starling is at the forefront of a more modern way of banking,” says Davina. 

“We have also recently signed up for Kite - I like the fact that it’s easily accessible and user friendly. It’s a great start for financial life lessons. The three main lessons I’ve passed on are around savings, giving back and being content with what you have and what you can afford.”

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