Tech

The Rachel Dolezal of Nigerian Tech

It’s been an interesting week in the Nigeria tech and business ecosystem. This morning Edmund Olotu published an evidence-backed article countering Marek Zymoski’s fantastic tale of being chased by Interpol at the Warsaw airport because they [Interpol] were bribed by corrupt businessmen and a “godfather” in Nigeria. You can read it here.

In Marek’s story, he paints himself as a protagonist in an exciting movie and it’s hard not to get swept up in the tale, and even feel sorry for him for having fallen into the hands of these big, bad Nigerian men.

After looking through all of Edmund’s evidence, however, we are dumbfounded by the way Marek told the story.

Even more puzzling is the fact that no one asked Marek to publish that post – he did so of his volition. What could his motive be? Attention? Fame? More opportunities? Or something sick about Marek, the man?

Marek is widely known for being extra. Extra vain, extra loud, extra proud. He prides himself on helping African startups and working for the good of Africa [even spoke at TEDx about “Africa, Stupid!”]. With Marek, everything usually ends in chaos. Before we get caught up in who is now, however, let’s look at how he got here.

Marek is not a university graduate, and most of his lauded accomplishments are sketchy, to say the least. He got into the Africa tech scene in 2013 when Jovago [Jumia Travel] hired him as a cofounder. He brags about building the companies that “are first”, yet all his companies have either failed, been shut down or he was fired [although he says he resigned].

Let’s reverse the roles for a bit. What opportunities do you think a nongraduate from Nigeria can get in Poland? Would they even be allowed into the country, allowed to work, have access to top names and feel at home? This is what we did for Marek.

Marek’s childish ways have been brought to light in the way that he has handled this issue so far. He has gone as far as blowing his own horn talking about the ways that he has contributed to our ecosystem even more than people who started it. Look at this tweet and this.

There is also the fact that he is an “almost”…. almost successful in everything he has done despite the opportunities he has and funding he’s been given access to. For him to compare his contributions to people like Iyinoluwa Aboyeji of Andela and Flutterwave is ludicrous. And yet that is what he did.

Now that we have seen proof beyond reasonable doubt that Marek’s story was a complete and unnecessary lie; there is even something deeper that must be highlighted- and that is his mental health.

Marek’s behavior In the face of overwhelming evidence against him is really not normal. We know business, especially in tech is hard, and can only imagine how his entrepreneurship stints have affected him. We hope Marek gets help before he destroys himself further.

Written by Zim AlannaFreelance copyeditor and Africa tech advocate



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