A Portrait by Jana Prochazka
Halimat Adekunle moved from Nigeria to Amsterdam five years ago to study “Fashion and Branding” at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. The now 28-year-old had to fight to stay in the Netherlands as an immigrant and had to discover her own strength to find her footing in a new country. Halimat does not like the focus of current reporting: “When it comes to Israel, Islam, all that kind of stuff. The media seems not interested.”
Halimat studied law in Nigeria but chose to pursue a career in Fashion Design. She left her mother and four siblings and decided to move to Amsterdam for a better life and opportunities. However, it was not easy for her. “Living in a country where you have no family can sometimes be depressing”, she says about her time abroad. Freshly separated from her partner, she had to work full-time to stay in Amsterdam as an immigrant – all alone with her three-month-old baby. That time left a big mark on her.
“I think I learned not to really rely on people,” Halimat says. But it was also part of her journey of self-discovery.
Although she is a fashion major student, she decided to do a minor in “International Journalism” to improve her writing skills and learn about audio and video production. Nevertheless, Halimat is not satisfied with current journalism focusing on the Western world. She points out: “It’s 2022 and whatever happens in the middle Asian countries or Africa is overlooked. I still think that the world is not seen equally.” Halimat cites the corona pandemic as an example. She believes that the virus was only taken seriously because it affected Europe and the United States. “If Covid was an African thing or just happened in Asia, I’m very sure there wouldn’t have been as much reporting as it was”, Halimat states.
As a journalist, she would raise awareness about inequality of minorities and fight for human rights – but she has other plans. One day she would like to return to Nigeria and own her own fashion brand.