Free At Last?

COVID-19 Turned Africa’s Gig Nightmare Into A Robust Freelance Economy

By  |  August 3, 2021

Recall that one time when it seemed Fiverr stealthily purged itself of fake locations? It was about 2 to 3 years ago, when countless freelancing WhatsApp groups across the world blew up with despairing stories. At first, it seemed the usual everyday technical glitch, until many freelancers—Africans included—realized they’ve literally been sent back home. 

It’s a rather controversial story best known only to those hustling from empty garages, their aunt’s free boys’ quarters or top bed bunks in school hostels. News of the crackdown didn’t quite go mainstream, but it was a well-addressed event on social media groups and online freelancing fellowships—including even Fiverr Forum. But the message was clear enough: no fake locations. 

Once upon a time, it was possible for a freelancer working from Zamunda to pose as someone based in Avalon. In the same way, a dubious Tibetan gig buyer can profile as a top realtor from Transnistria, all for props.

But, in a flush that se...

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