How rise of Afro-futurism is transforming Africa’s creative industries

Telling the African story from a different perspective through technology

Fresh off the critical acclaim and success of Black Panther, Afrofuturism is experiencing a resurgence with the thirst for new perspectives on African stories in relation to technology to grab the attention of a wider audience.

Speaking on the focus on ‘Afrofuturism’, Jonathan Dotse, a Ghanaian Afrofuturist and Science Fiction Writer presented his insights on the concept of Afrofuturism and its impact on Africa’s creative industries at the 5th edition of the #DigitalDialogue2018, a thought-leadership platform established in 2012 and facilitated by MultiChoice to address various issues facing the video entertainment industry on the continent and share industry best-practice.

(TOP: Jonathan Dotse, Afrofuturist and science fiction writer from Ghana).

Dotse spoke about his influences behind his various works saying: “Back in 2009, I attempted to write science-fiction however, I was trying to write it from an Africa perspective but found it difficult to find a believable foundation to build my content. My ideas were based on a Western perspective so I began to think more about Africa and science-fiction in a constructive and realistic way while creating awareness for the lack of Afrocentric narratives in the genre.” Defining Futurism as “any mindset that predisposed society to express their belief in terms if something far larger than present and past,” Dotse explained further saying Afrofuturism is an ancient African cultural practice undertaken as ‘resistance to cultural hegemony and loss of identity”.

According to Dotse, the African-American diaspora has played a critical role in the recent resurgence of Afrofuturism, looking at various creative works including the Woyaya album by Ghanaian Afro-pop band Osibisa; American fiction writer Octavia Butler; American jazz composer Sun Ra; US music artist Janelle Monae as well as films like Les Saignantes by Jean-Pierre Bekolo; Pumzi by Wanuri Kahui from Kenya; Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares; Kajola by Niyi Akinmolayan in Nigeria and District 9 by Neill Blomkamp from South Africa. “Expressions of Afrofuturism are present in all facets of African and African-Diaspora creativity. The African Diaspora has played a significant role in advancing defining Afrofuturism while various independence movements spurred much of the creative energy,” says Dotse. 

Dotse also shared his belief that Afrofuturism has lead to a re-awakening of self-identity among African youth and its potential to grow the strength of ‘socio-political movements seeking to boost African representation in media’. Dotse also expressed his belief that Afrofuturism will ignite and grow engagement of youth in science and technology and increasing accessibility to the tools of digital media creation and dissemination. He concluded his presentation by exploring the future prospects of Afrofuturism which include reconnecting traditional African culture with modern concepts of development and reconstructing the missing pieces of Africa’s lost history in technology to drive youth engagement in STEM and futurist thinking.


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