About me

23 February 2012 | 16:12 | about | Leave a comment (four)
Femke in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, July 2002 (Photo Ruth Ayisi)
I am a Dutch freelance journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. In my journalistic work I focus on Sub Saharan Africa, where I've been traveling to regularly the last ten years to report. When my time came to settle, I decided to move to Africa's biggest city and the continent's most populous country, where I am the only Dutch speaking resident correspondent.

My first novel was recently published in the Netherlands. Koning van de barraca's (King of the barracas) describes the love affair between Daniel and Cristina, a Mozambican Casanova and a Portuguese voluntourist. Before that I wrote two non-fiction books on Africa. All books are in Dutch (for now). For Gin-tonic & Cholera I lived in six cities all over Africa to write a book on urban life on the continent. Just like in the previous book A Night in A Mortar, on the subject of women in Africa, I zoomed in on the daily lives of people, thus portraying current affairs.

I am a writer at heart, but the last couple of years I have discovered other ways of telling a story. Photography, radio and video have become as important a part of my features as text.
Feel free to mail me if you have any questions or remarks.


23 February 2012 | 15:34 | about | Leave a comment
Journalist and writer Femke van Zeijl (Photo by Victor Ehikhamenor)

Femke van Zeijl, born September 22nd 1971, Berkel-Enschot, The Netherlands

Journalistic work

2012 - now
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, reporting among others for NRC Handelsblad, Opzij, Vrij Nederland, One World, VPRO's Bureau Buitenland, Dhaka Tribune and Al Jazeera.

Publication of third book, the novel Koning van de barraca's (King of the Barracas).

Second book publication, Gin-tonic & Cholera, on everyday urban life in Africa (nonfiction).

First book publication, Een nacht in een vijzel (A Night in a Mortar) on women in Africa (non-fiction).

2005 - now
Teacher in journalism (guest lectures, workshops and student counselling):
- Fontys Hogeschool Journalistiek in Tilburg,
- School voor Journalistiek in Utrecht.
- Utrecht University.

2004 - 2005
Political and socio-economic editor at opinion magazine for women Opzij.

2002 - now
Debate moderator and presenter.

2002 - now
Freelance feature writer, photographer, radio- and video maker in Sub-Saharan Africa (16 countries a.o. Mozambique, Angola, D.R. Congo, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Nigeria).

Visiting contributing editor at German national newspaper Die Frankfurter Rundschau as part of a German-Dutch journalist exchange.

1999 - now
Freelance journalist for Dutch and international media, a.o.:
- National newspaper NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands),
- Opinion magazine Vrij Nederland (Netherlands),
- News radiostation BNR (Netherlands),
- Foreign affairs journal Courrier International (France),
- Feminist monthly Ms Magazine (U.S.A.).

1996 - 1998
Contributing editor local newspaper Dagblad De Gelderlander.

Other journalistic activities

2013 - now
Organiser of seminars and workshops for journalists in Nigeria.

2008 - 2012
Member of the board of ZAM-net, publisher of ZAM Africa Magazine.

Belgian Filip Decock Award for journalism in developing countries.

2003 - 2008
Member of the board and eventually chairwoman of Stichting Vrouw & Media (national foundation for the advancement of women in journalism).


1994 - 1998
Academie voor Journalistiek in Tilburg, four year Journalism course.

University of Utrecht, History Department, Contemporary History.

1983 - 1989
Cobbenhagencollege secondary school in Tilburg, vwo final school exams passed, roughly equivalent to GCSE A-levels.

Other activities

Private Portuguese language course in Maputo, Mozambique.

Portuguese language course at Kosmus Language School in Lisbon, Portugal.

1999 - 2005
Organised Thomas Jazzdansdagen, yearly week long jazz dance course with 150 participants and 5 international dance teachers.

1987 - 1990
KNGB Course Jazz Dance Teacher, obtained second degree teaching qualification.

Other skills

Dutch, English, French, German and Portuguese.

Knowledge of html, building websites, experience with Linux, Mac and Windows platforms, Final Cut Pro, Reaper and other video and radio editing programs.