Language is an extremely important aspect of storytelling. But language is not limited to spoken or written word. Language can broken up into symbols which carry different meanings.
On Wednesday night, British Councils’s Connect ZA in partnership with Livity Africa brought together residents of this year’s Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Festival at the Tshimologong Precinct, invited creatives, designers, artists and thinkers, to reimagine digital Africa at #DigitalHustles at Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Festival. They were all challenged to think of Africa’s rich history of storytelling through languages including urban culture slang, words and phrases and how these can be represented through the use of symbols and technology.
When asked what was the biggest take away from the event , photographer Siya Mkhasibe had this to say “What I found interesting is that there isn’t just one African story. We can’t narrow it down to just one story when there are so many that deserve to be shared. Young Africans are exposed to so much. We’ve taken and reinvented so much. And that in itself is a story worth telling.”
People were encouraged to question how we explore and embrace the African story and rethink the idea that African stories always have a historic primitive nature/focus but rather look at the African narrative through a modern and progressive prism. We, as Africans have done ourselves a disservice by constantly comparing ourselves to the western world, when we as Africans have amazing stories of our own that are worth telling. One of the attendants referred to the phenomenon as “Worstenizing”, explaining that “we don’t modernise, we worstenize” by allowing big western brands like Apple and Nike to eat away at African customs, culture and storytelling.
We should be using the tools and technology that we have at our disposal to tell African stories – and we already have the power to do so in the unique way we communicate through symbols and design and language.
Images by Siyabonga Mkhasibe.
If you are interested in more conversations around digital Africa, register here for the Creative Hustles on Tuesday, 30th August. Be sure to check out the programme here for more information on the other amazing events and activities at the Faku’gesi. For more information follow @LiveMagSA, @Connect_ZA and @Fakugesi on Twitter and use the hashtags #CreativeHustles #AfroTechRiot to join the conversation.