Episode 7: How Off To Magazine is Celebrating African Cities One Issue at a Time | Urban Limitrophe | #offtomag #anafricancitystory

In this episode, I speak with Liz Gomis, about the inspiration and process of developing OFF TO Magazine. OFF TO Magazine is a bilingual, biannual magazine available online and through print, that explores African Cities through the eyes of local citizens.  Each issue centers around one African city and uses the experience of local journalists, writers, artists, architects, urban planners, historians, and more, to dispel some myths about the city and share why it is a region worth heading off to.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • how OFF TO Magazine lets the local citizens of each featured city guide the content of each issue,
  • common misconceptions about Africa and how they negatively shape the rest of the world's understanding of its various cities, regions and people,
  • why there needs to be a more holistic representation of African cities in popular media, 
  • how the magazine connects Africans across the diaspora, 
  • and much more!

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University of Toronto School of Cities

This episode is sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and co-supported by the Department of Geography and Planning. The School of Cities "convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just". To learn more about their work visit www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca.


This episode is also sponsored by Glowreel. Glowreel is a weekly newsletter, curated by women of colour and delivered straight to inboxes every Monday. Glowreel is here to highlight the stories and achievements of BIPOC women. The aim is to empower and inspire BIPOC women to celebrate their wins, discuss important issues impacting BIPOC women, and to encourage anyone who identifies as a BIPOC woman to blaze their own trail!

The newsletter is easy to digest, with a little bit of sass thrown in! It includes a:

  • weekly news round up of the stories you need to know - we cover business, beauty, politics, sports, entertainment and everything in between.
  • feature of a BIPOC woman or women who is making waves in her community - no matter what size that wave is!
  • deep-dive on a BIPOC woman in history who broke down barriers for the rest of us.
To subscribe to the newsletter or submit a story please visit www.glowreel.co

Guest: Liz Gomis

Unraveling unheard stories with my lens and pen since 2003, I’ve always been running around from France [where I was born] to Senegal , from Brazil to Mozambique working for all types of media as a journalist. Started in Radio Nova ended up in Canal Plus TV to finally find my way as a freelancer, I directed documentaries in Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal & Ghana (Africa Riding, Let’s Dance)/ gave video workshops in Burkina Faso with Saran Koly (Unicef)/ taught radio basics for kids in the suburbs of Paris(Banlieues Bleues Fest.)/ managed film sets as an executive producer for US event companies (Afropunk, Live Nation)…As a diaspora kid, I’ve always had to find answers by myself to connect the dots between my African heritage to my western life. I became a journalist to find those answers and play my part to decolonize western media and contribute to a global changing of mindset to look at the African continent with less distorting glasses.  Today I’m gathering a team of African nomadic, creative women fully committed to offer the new narrative we are eager to embrace. #beyondthepostcard #offtomag

Connect with Off To Magazine


  • 05:28 | Introduction to OFF TO Magazine
  • 06:17 | What inspired Liz to start OFF TO Magazine?
  • 08:57 | What kind of content can readers can expect in each issue?
  • 13:29 | How does Liz select the city to be highlighted in each issue?
  • 21:18 | What misconceptions about Africa is OFF TO Mag trying to overcome?
  • 28:58 | How does OFF TO Mag build connections between Africans on the continent and across the diaspora?
  • 35:03 | What are some highlights from the Kinshasa issue?
  • 39:43 | What’s next for the OFF TO Magazine? (Liz shares details about her upcoming Maputo issue and new podcast)
  • 42:13 | How can people get involved with the OFF TO Magazine?

Show Notes

Want to learn more? Check out this episode's references!

Ankomah, J. (2020, April 17). How Ghana’s “Year of Return” Sparked a Pan-African Phenomenon. Culture Trip. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/africa/ghana/articles/how-ghanas-year-of-return-sparked-a-pan-african-phenomenon/

Khabo, N. K. (2021, April 14). African Cities, Known for Their Vibrant Cultures, Will Be the Next Big Travel Destinations. Conde Nast Traveler. Retrieved from https://www.cntraveler.com/story/african-cities-known-for-their-vibrant-cultures-will-be-the-next-big-travel-destinations

Mason, B. (2018, November 16). Why your mental map of the world is (probably) wrong. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/all-over-the-map-mental-mapping-misconceptions

Roberts, S., & van Housten, A. (2021, January 25). How African Media Covers Africa. Africa No Filter. Retrieved from https://africanofilter.org/uploads/files/How-African-Media-Covers-Africa_-WEBSITE.pdf?x47173

Salazar, N.B. (2009). Imaged or Imagined? Cultural Representations and the “Tourismification” of Peoples and Places. Cahiers d'Études africanes, 49-71. https://doi.org/10.4000/etudesafricaines.18628

Wainaina, B. (2019, May 2). How to Write About Africa. Grant. Retrieved from https://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/

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Episode 7: How Off To Magazine is Celebrating African Cities One Issue at a Time | Urban Limitrophe | #offtomag #anafricancitystory
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