Tiffany Mugo heads up HOLAAfrica, which strives to present information and stories of real queer life on the continent.
Within five minutes of our conversation, Tiffany Mugo has me snort-laughing. It’s one of those can’t-stop-I-might-pee laughs. It’s an undignified and less than professional way to start an interview, but Mugo’s energy is infectious, so is her laugh. And she is funny as hell.
We tell each other what we’re having for breakfast: she’s having muesli. I am eating strawberry cream biscuits. We agree I have the better sounding morning meal. We laugh again. In fact, we laugh all the way through our chat.
I get the feeling that if we were in High School together, our teachers would never have allowed us to sit next to each other.
As we talk, it becomes evident that Mugo is a busy individual. She and her partner head up HOLAAfrica, an organisation that deals with queer sex and sexuality across the continent.
She presents a podcast called Basically Life which deals with issues around the queer experience and with her partner, runs the docu-series Mxsterminds which documents achievements by queer people across Africa.
She is also an author, having written Touch, a book on sex and sexuality that can be found on the HOLAAfrica website. Oh. And she’s going for her masters in community psychology.
“For the podcast I talk to people about their lives and their sex lives,” Mugo tells me, “It’s a very free-falling podcast. For me it’s not about getting people who are experts in the field, it’s about getting people’s lived experiences.”
Mugo is dedicated to curating the experiences of queer people. Her focus is on every day queer folk, their daily lives and in particular, their intimate lives. This is something that drives the podcast, and led to a compilation of stories of queer experience, which she put together along with Kim Windvogel.
“It’s about curating the lived experiences of queer people”
It all emerged from the creation of HOLAAfrica as a humble blog, which grew and evolved into the podcast. The books and workshops that Mugo has done also fall under the HOLAAfrica umbrella. “It’s a passion project gone wild,” she says.
The Mxsterminds docu-series also slots in under HOLAAfrica, with a specific focus on the careers and achievements of queer people across the African continent.
“For us it’s about curating the lived experiences of queer people outside of their sexuality because for such a long time it’s just been about who we’re having sex with,” says Mugo.
“We also want to talk about everyday life. We want to create a holistic, interpersonal narrative that is so much more than who we sleep with and discussing our rights. We want to look at what our intimate lives look like.”
Mugo embarks on her masters in community psychology in 2024. This means that Mugo will be taking a step back from HOLA while her partner deals with the nitty-gritty of running the platform and organisation. Mugo will still be working in the background because, she says, “I love a good spreadsheet.”
Her aim, next year, is to help create more spaces where queer people can have conversations about their lives, about intimacy, and yes, sexuality. HOLA will be reaching out to several countries in the new year to engage in queer life conversation.
I come away from our chat inspired. Mugo certainly has a great deal of work to do in the queer space, however, it is something close to her heart, and that passion shows.
Half an hour later, an Uber Connect package arrives from her. Two of her books. I smile as I read the inscription (I cheekily asked her to sign the books if she were to send them), and it’s an inscription that I feel comes as the unspoken tag line of all she does: “With love, Tiff.”
You can find HOLAAfrica here. If you’d like to listen to the podcasts, go to BasicallyLifePodcast and you’ll find the Mxsterminds docu-series here.