Afro Cyberpunk Comes To Chale Wote

Christina De Midde

Afronauts by Christina De Midde

African involvement in science fiction is hardly mentioned in popular culture discourse, blame that on our education system set up like a robot manufacturing plant. Inside that matrix, intelligence means being able to regurgitate information verbatim with no room for critical thought. Something is happening to young people in Ghana though; they don’t want to take “orders” any more and the seeming lack of innovation is gradually being replaced by a continent-wide curiosity of a futuristic, visionary  narrative that probes and tugs at the imagination in ways that demand that one creates technology and science projects, if even just for the heck of it.

Africa isn’t sitting out this playground of bio-hacking, AI, faster-than-light star ships, nuclear wastelands, parallel universes, mutants and everything nerdy via literature and films like Pumzi, Crumbs, E.X.O, and Nigerians In Space. Actually, futurist narratives and multidimensional existence have long been part of our music, art and folklore. At the periphery of it all is one of nature’s Ctrl+S keybindings, JONATHAN DOTSE.

Jonathan Dotse

Jonathan Dotse

Jon together with his AfroCyberPunk time travelers are on an exploratory mission to develop and promote science and speculative fiction relevant to Africa. A futurist and alumni of Ashesi University, Jon’s work explores African modernity and future connections between technology and society.

Children break apart CRT monitors to salvage metal from inside, at Agbogbloshie dump. Many children work at the dump salvaging metals which they sell to middlemen. They do not wear any protective clothing and so expose themselves to lethal doses of hazardous chemicals like mercury and lead.

Children break apart CRT monitors to salvage metal from inside, at the Agbogbloshie dump.

His think pieces examine the nuances of unfettered access to information, censorship, power magnates, Africa as a dump-site of obsolete tech among others and the ramifications of not creating our own stories around technologies which he succinctly captures in one statement, “a society without science fiction may be standing in the light, but it is surely stepping into darkness.”

The 22year old thinker has a detective mystery-thriller with a gripping synopsis set in Accra in the works you should definitely watch out for. Here is an excerpt from the story titled Virus you should also check out.

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Illustration by Setor Fiadzegbey

In the spirit of African Electronics, the theme of this year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Jon and his cohorts, Kabiru Seidu and Angelaantonio Grossi are bringing PANDORA, a virtual reality exhibition to Jamestown.
Pandora they say, is a virtual reality exhibition that will take participants on an engaging journey through Accra using a custom-built VR console. The exhibition is an exploration of the imaginative possibilities of VR technology in Africa, based on a mobile VR device designed and created in Accra.

Explaining the connection between Pandora and African Electronics, they say:

In a very literal sense, our project is meant to exhibit a prototype African electronic device, and to share our love of technological innovation with other African youth. This project aims to promote Ghana as a place where technology is not only consumed but also produced.

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