The Story of Johari / by Evey Sekajipo

When my husband and I found out I was pregnant on December 8, 2006, we couldn't wait to tell all our friends and family members the GREAT news. Later that month, my husband and I decided to research names, We didn't know the gender of the baby, so we searched for boy and girl African names. We debated with the names Kamau and Amarius for our son. But for our daughter, we we both LOVED the name "Johari". Johari is Swahili for "gem" or "something of value". 

August 20, 2007, I gave birth to my beautiful first born, Amarius! He is an awesome gift, already living up to his name (Af. Am. One who is wise and strong). For the past 5 years, my husband and I have been trying to have another child and we've held on to the name Johari for our first daughter.  

Last spring, the Lord made it known to me that I needed to start expanding Mama Africana to reach girls in Elementary schools. In response to that call, I designed a program that will fit the needs of 5th grade black girls in Hillsborough county public schools. When it came time for me to come up with a name for this program, I felt the Lord whisper to me the name of my future daughter-- "Johari". WHAT!? I wrestled a bit, and said, "Lord, NO!! That's the name of my daughter, I can't name it that." Then he responded, "This is your daughter. This is your child". I then broke down and cried. I immediately shared this news with my amazingly supportive husband and with excitement, he smiled, and said to me.. "we're going to have a baby!" 

Johari starts this Wednesday. I am looking forward to working with all the gems at Booker T Washington Elementary School. I look forward to letting them know that they are of value and that regardless of what people say or think about them, they were designed to do great things.

I would love to tell the girls of Johari my story behind the name. If the Lord allows me to have a daughter in the future, I will still name her Johari and tell her the story of a grassroots movement, whose aim is to empower and mentor black girls in elementary schools, was named after. That'll be really cool.

But for the's time to nurture and grow this Johari program. I am excited and ready!

I just wanted to share this with you. If you'd like to get involved, please contact me ASAP.

Evelyn Sekajipo

Mama Africana Network- Executive Director




Johari is a 9-week mentoring group for 5th grade black girls in Hillsborough County Public Elementary Schools.


To partner with Hillsborough County Elementary schools to support, empower, educate, motivate, and prepare black girls to strive to be affective leaders in the middle school setting. The word "Johari" is Swahili for "gem" or "something of value".

Girls of Hillsborough County today are maturing at a younger age with a shortage of   positive role models around them. Johari hopes to be an impetus for an awakening among young girls in understanding their value and how they can impact the world.


5th Grade girls who are challenged in maintaining good conduct, and or a strong academic performance in their school setting. (some 4th grade girl may qualify)

Number of girls per group: 5-10

Facilitator per group:1

How often they will meet: Once a week for 9 consecutive weeks. From 30-1hr (immediately after school)

How will this be funded: Mama Africana Network, and other private donationS