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Rise of Afro-Futurism: African Story from Different Perspective through Technology

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Jonathan Dotse - Ghanaian Afrofuturist and Science Fiction Writer

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 – 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 Digital Dialogue, 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.

 

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.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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MURIC Boasts it Got NBC to Ban Falz Video

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Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said that after unsuccessfully trying to get Falz, a Nigerian singer to take down his viral video “This is Nigeria” they ‘ambushed’ him using National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

 

Recall that the NBC had a few days back banned the song it alleged is “laced with vulgar lyrics”.

 

But in a statement, Monday by Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, claimed credit for the NBC’s action adding that they avoided going to court as that might take years to resolve.

 

“We asked Falz to withdraw the video or we would sue him,” the statement read.

 

“Instead of showing remorse he dared us. We knew he could delay the court case for years because he is a lawyer and he would use every trick in the books to frustrate us. That was why he was boasting.

Falz, a Nigerian singer

“Therefore, instead of going to court, we decided to ambush him by sending a petition to the video board. This week, the NBC banned the video and others like it.

 

“He should be the one to go to court now if he likes. Let him go and show how brilliant he is in court.

 

“He and his fans laughed at us when we complained about his provocative and vulgar video. But there is no doubt that he who laughs last laughs best. It is hoped that Nigerian artistes will borrow a leaf from this episode.”

 

The group commended the NBC they said  “Falz and other artistes should encourage the youth to emulate our heroes instead of pushing them to ape rogues. Finally, we commend NBC and the video censors board for acting swiftly.”

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NGO Calls for Sack of Kawu, NBC Boss over Hate Speech

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Paradigm Initiative, Pan-African digital rights advocacy group, has called on the Acting President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to terminate the appointment of Modibbo Kawu as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, for alleged engagement in spreading hate speech.

 

The group made the call in a letter sent to the acting president last Wednesday, August 8.

 

The group urged the acting president to relieve the DG of the NBC of his duties “to allow for fair investigation of comments attributed to him and to serve as a needed example and precedent for politicians and public officers irrespective of political affiliation”

Modibbo Kawu

Mr. Kawu’s duty as the Director General of the NBC entails ensuring that the execution of the policies of the commission and its day to day administration is carried out smoothly.

 

The organization further noted that “in carrying out this responsibility… several sanctions and heavy fines have been imposed by the DG against radio, television stations and media houses who have been adjudged as promoting “anti-democratic” content such as misinformation and content capable of inciting violence or causing disaffection in the polity.”

 

However, a Premium Times report on the 5th of August 2018 revealed that Mr. Kawu engaged in posting a string of undemocratic messages on a Whatsapp group of northern editors and intellectuals.

 

In the said group, he made statements of tribal and ethnic implications; capable of inciting hate.

 

According to Boye Adegoke, Program Manager in Paradigm Initiative, “Given the sensitive nature of Mr. Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

 

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the Director General of the Commission responsible for amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

 

“At a time when the Nigerian government is putting in efforts to curb fake news, hate speech and harmful content, it is almost laughable that the very person put in the frontline of championing this cause is reported to be engaging in acts such as this,” Adegoke concluded.

 

Paradigm Initiative ended the letter reminding the acting president that Nigeria is a democratic nation in which no one should be above the law and in which equity and justice prevail.

 

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GEM, COSON Partner on Intellectual Property Rights

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In a bid to properly educate and enlighten the Nigerian populace and the entertainment industry in particular, the Growth and Empowerment Project, GEM, funded by the World Bank and domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has entered into a new partnership with Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, Nigeria’s wave making collective management organization.

In the partnership, GEM has domiciled at COSON House, a just developed tool kit for education in intellectual property with emphasis on copyright, aimed at ensuring a well-rounded, global understanding of the subject in Nigeria.

At a meeting held at the boardroom of COSON House, Ikeja, on Thursday, during which the partnership was sealed, Mr. Bello Abba Yakasai, Cluster Manager, GEM Project, said that the initiative was borne out of the need to engender a culture of respect for intellectual property rights among practitioners in the industry and users of intellectual property in the country.

This, he said appeared to have been difficult in the past, owing to the ambiguous nature of the subject.

Yakasai said: “What we aim to achieve with this tool kit is to simplify the grey areas with respect to Intellectual Property so as to make it understandable by everyone.

“The IP manual, we are certain, will bring about a reorientation amongst everyone; be it the owners of the intellectual property or the end users”.

The tool kit developed under the GEM project by Mr. John Asein, an internationally respected expert on copyright and a former Director of the Nigerian Copyright Institute will be formerly presented to the intellectual property community at a special event, “Let’s Talk Copyright” (LTC) which will hold at the COSON House Arena on September 1, 2018.

Let’s Talk Copyright will be the climax of the 2018 No Music Day celebration.

As has been the practice over the last eight years, different representatives of COSON, in a Media Blitz, will simultaneously be at key broadcast stations across the country on September 1, the annual No Music Day, to discuss with Nigerians the intriguing subject of intellectual property which is shaping the new global economy.

After the Media Blitz, various artistes, performers, movie makers, broadcasters, legal practitioners and the media are expected to descend on COSON House for “Let’s Talk Copyright” (LTC) where the new Tool Kit will be unveiled by the creator, Mr. John Asein supported by officials of GEM and the World Bank.

According to Mr. Yakasai, the decision to partner with COSON on the project is in recognition of the unassailable impact that COSON has made across the continent with respect to intellectual property.

In the words of Mr. Yakasai , “COSON, more than any other institution in Nigeria, has shown that it has the capacity to manage such an important resource and to put it to good use for the larger society” Responding to Mr. Yakasai, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji thanked the GEM team for their continued confidence in COSON.

He said that with COSON as custodian of the IP tool kit, GEM and its partner agencies can rest assured that the tools will be properly deployed and that the message will get to every stakeholder in the industry In attendance at the meeting were the COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Chibueze Moses Okereke and COSON Head of Legal, Ms. Simi Wash-Pam.

 

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