MR Olusegun Awolowo, former Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Friday said exhibition of Nigerian arts and crafts would enhance job creation.

Awolowo also said it could help in poverty reduction as well as solve many of the nation’s economic problems.

He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the 15th International Arts and Crafts (INAC) Exposition taking place in Abuja.

He said he was at the event to see what the country had been showcasing and promoting to the world.

“I’m here to see what Nigeria has been showcasing and promoting to the world. I used to run exportation in NEPC and I am very aware of the work the NCAC is doing.

“This is a very brilliant development, because we can solve many of our economic problems, and provide jobs through culture and arts.

“Most importantly, we can export many of our things,” he said.

He noted that going round the exhibitions, one could see all products the other countries brought to showcase and promote.

“Nigeria does not have only oil and that is the mistake we keep making. It is very good to see what can be promoted in what we have and to see more joy in culture and arts,” Awolowo said.

Meanwhile, training facilitators at the event have commended the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for showcasing and promoting Nigerian arts and crafts in the country.

Mrs Wumi Adekunle, Managing Director, Wumi African Textile, appreciated the NCAC for giving her the opportunity to train some youths on indigenous weaving known as Aso Oke production.

Adekunle, who explained that she had been in the business in the last 20 years, said the training would go a long way in creating jobs and reducing poverty in the country.

“As you can see, every tribe or ethnic group uses Aso Oke. For instance, we do different design and colour for Idoma and Tiv in Benue.

“Even, during Independence Day Anniversary, Nigerians buy it to make Nigeria’s flags, caps, gele and wrapper. In fact, the business is lucrative to earn a living,” she said.

Similarly, Mrs Gloria Oduebo, Director, Glorious Crafts, said she was in the NCAC exposition to train students in bead making, facial makeup and general household services such as cooking local foods.

According to her, there are skills in every child. I’m here to help these students to discover the type of skills or talents in them.

“I started this training in 2012 and have so far trained more than 1,000 students. An idle mind is a devil workshop. There is need to keep our youths busy.

“With this skills acquisition, our youths can earn their living and feed themselves, even their families.

She, however, said government needed to empower them with take-off grants after the training and create market for their products through networking,” she said. (NAN)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a loan of $170 million to finance a digital and creative enterprises program in Nigeria.

The investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative promoting investment in digital and creative industries. It is part of Nigeria’s efforts to build back better, greener, and more inclusively, to create more sustainable jobs for the teeming youthful population.

The program targets more than 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 years who are recognized as leaders of innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled start-ups or as leaders of creative sector micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The program is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

“Governments have a much greater role than just policy making. They need to be innovative and create an enabling environment that includes infrastructure and de-risking to harness private sector investments in key growth sectors,” said African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

The investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program will also support the leaders through enterprise support organizations – groups that support, train, and sometimes fund entrepreneurs – including innovation hubs, accelerators, venture capital and private equity firms. Bank financing of i-DICE will help the Government initiative further consolidate Nigeria’s position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and as a youth entrepreneurship hub.

“This program is among the latest series of our operations meant to bolster the implementation of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy. Given that tech-enabled enterprises cut across all the economic growth sectors, the program’s focus on the digital sector will deepen Nigeria’s job creation efforts,” said Beth Dunford, Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

The initiative will stimulate investments in 226 technology and creative start-ups and provide non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium enterprises. The program is expected to create 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs, of which the Bank’s financing will support the creation of about 850,000 jobs. The value added to the Nigerian economy connected to the program is estimated at $6.4 billion.

The program will boost Nigeria’s venture capital market through independently managed funds focusing on digital and creative enterprise. These funds aim to attract an initial capitalization of $433 million in private and public sector financing.

“This program will generate significant economic benefits to Nigeria,” said Lamin Barrow, Director General of the Bank’s Nigeria Country Department. “The program interventions will help respond to the challenges of youth employment in Nigeria, which could intensify without scalable interventions. I want to recognize the strong country ownership, under the leadership of Vice President Osinbajo,” he added.

The African Development Bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprises 57 operations across 30 public and 27 private sector operations, valued at about $4.61 billion. The i-DICE Program aligns well with the Bank’s strategic priority areas, better known as the High 5s – specifically, “Industrialize Africa,” “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa,” and “Feed Africa.”

Members of South Africa’s Zip Zap Circus.
Washington Post/Getty Images

Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford

Across cultures, the self-making powers of storytelling are widely recognised. Steve Biko, the South African Black Consciousness thinker, once said that we need to speak from where we stand. Seeing the impact of our environment on our thinking about ourselves can change our thinking, he suggested. Telling our stories is an important way of doing so.

Though stories are universal, access to them is not. We are involved in a project that’s trying to address this. The United Kingdom Research and Innovation fund’s Accelerate project is working with adolescent groups in Africa to understand how young people see their lives in terms of story. And how inequality configures their relations to storytelling.

We’ve found that the stories young people on the continent encounter – in films, web content and even young adult literature – tend to be about others, from elsewhere. There are barriers to having their own stories heard, and those stories tend to be undervalued.

Our aim is to design appropriate interventions geared to improving adolescent lives through the activity of storytelling.

What we found out

To get closer to the issues we ran a workshop in Cape Town, called Narrative and Adolescence.

Professional storytellers, performers and young people’s groups explored how storytelling approaches might allow adolescents to feel more positively centred in their contexts. We also wanted to discover more about the access young people had to stories.

Using performance, drawing, and role-play, our workshop explored how storytelling provides a platform for thinking about our environments in new, self-aware ways. We immediately found that there are many different ways of thinking about story. There are “negative” stories – tales of gangsters and pregnant teenagers – and “positive” stories – tales of breakthrough and survival featuring sparky trend-setters and valiant underdogs.

We noticed many of the young people felt that the stories imposed on them by the media or chiding parents tended to be negative. We also noticed that they often saw positive stories as coming from elsewhere. Breakthrough stories in many cases involved an escape from their communities to affluent places abroad.

Clearly, the young people felt motivated by different kinds of story, not only a particular set of stories, such as about national heroes, but an accessible spectrum of stories ranging from Cinderella tales through to self-help narratives. They also enjoyed the creativity of storytelling. Their enjoyment supported our sense that such activities might help improve their lives.

The power of stories

Our thinking about having your story heard correlates with research on narrative approaches in various fields, including medicine and economics. Many studies show how art can help structure experiences like illness, even when that experience seems to lack structure. Experiential psychology provides ample evidence that “how we see the world” is as important as “how the world is”. So, the activity of storytelling can itself make an impact on how we see the world.

A newspaper report in which young South Africans were asked what they needed during lockdown underlines the importance of story as a platform to articulate their needs. They enjoyed hopeful stories of recovery involving people “like them”.

Our workshops bore out these ideas. They pointed to our need to feel that wherever we are in the world, our storytelling is worth supporting.

Uneven geographies of storytelling

However, economic, social and other factors condition the way people access storytelling platforms such as theatre, spoken word events and reading groups. The geographies of storytelling are uneven. Which in no way means that African countries suffer a dearth of stories.

Quite the contrary. It’s the platforms for such creativity that are circumscribed. This means that where you come from affects the narratives you have available to feed your imagination. Though creativity is clearly not correlated to wealth, there are people whose material conditions limit their access to a range of possible narratives. Particularly to those narratives involving people like them speaking from where they stand.

The interactions we have with young people in our ongoing research project suggest that reasons for narrative inequality include a lack of representation in global popular culture. They are not seeing enough of themselves in the stories they can access. Moreover, dominant value-systems tend to associate individual freedom with consumption.

Audience members watch a screening of the film Black Panther in Nairobi, Kenya.

In South Africa, education and, increasingly, entrepreneurship, form the primary narratives of social aspiration. Other stories are not as strongly validated. Resources for storytelling are also lacking. These inequalities are exacerbated by factors like language and accent-marking.

A 2016-18 Nigerian creative writing competition, organised by Accelerate researcher Isang Awah, interestingly demonstrated the reluctance of some young Nigerians to view themselves as central protagonists in their own stories. Awah suggests that a lack of stories featuring ordinary young Nigerians conditions the stories they consider valuable.

As the writers Binyavanga Wainaina and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie argue, if we only have access to certain stories, we imagine in less exploratory ways. These two African authors insist on the need to throw off colonial models and to free imaginations. Biko, similarly, argued for the vital need for people to shape their own forms of consciousness.

Expanding storytelling

If we think stories matter, then two other things matter – not just what stories we tell, but also how stories are accessed. If individuals are empowered by hearing stories that speak to their own conditions, then there is an excellent case for policy-makers and researchers on Africa to intervene to make more stories and more storytelling facilities available to more young African people.

Alongside designing development interventions, we can expand the infrastructures of storytelling, for example by funding community radio stations and storytelling slams.

We need to support adolescents on the continent with infrastructures that will enable them to tell their stories. The infrastructures of storytelling can be a powerful force for change.

Zimpande Kawanu and Archie Davies are co-authors of this article. Zimpande, a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, is currently enrolled in the MFA programme at the University of Cape Town. Davies is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield.The Conversation

Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Author Akwaeke Emezi.
Theo Wargo/WireImage

Aretha Phiri, Rhodes University and Rocío Cobo-Piñero, Universidad de Sevilla

Queering the Black Atlantic: Transgender Spaces in Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater is a paper by Rocío Cobo-Piñero. It considers Emezi’s award-winning semi-autobiographical novel about Ada, who is an ogbanje, a spirit born in a human body. It uses the novel to suggest ways in which emerging African queer literature could disrupt traditional, heterosexist readings of the world. The paper specifically addresses Paul Gilroy’s
1993 text The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Aretha Phiri interviewed the author.

Aretha Phiri: Where queer bodies in Africa continue to be violently oppressed, what are the implications of a book like Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater?

Rocío Cobo-Piñero: African literature has witnessed a growth of memoir and fiction that deals with queer sexualities. For example, Chris Abani’s GraceLand in 2004, Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees in 2015, and Freshwater in 2018.

The three are coming-of-age novels with queer protagonists: Abani chronicles the life of Elvis Oke in a slum of Lagos during the 1970s. Okparanta narrates the story of a young lesbian girl during the Nigerian civil war. And Emezi explores the separate selves of a transgender adolescent in contemporary Nigeria and as a migrant abroad.

It is interesting and contradictory that these authors come from Nigeria, the country with some of the most draconian laws against homosexuality on the continent, as well as some of its most noted literary voices. When the anti-gay bill was passed in Nigeria in 2014, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie used her fame to speak out, calling it unjust and undemocratic.

Author Chris Abani reading on stage.
Justin Baker/Getty Images

This sheds light on how members of the Nigerian and the African literary community in the diaspora speak back to homophobia. And how they explore the everyday fears, desires, pleasures, and anxieties of those who experience same-sex attraction or do not identify with a specific gender.

Aretha Phiri: You argued that Freshwater advances a ‘different centre’ which generates new African ways of knowing. But some of the Nigerian academics at the colloquium took angst at your queer reading of tribal spiritual cultures and cosmologies.

Rocío Cobo-Piñero: To begin with, it is rare that trans Africans get to write their own story. Emezi not only tells the story of their transition in the novel and an autobiographical essay, but also forces readers to consider that there is another dimension to the contemporary understanding of gender. African spirituality and gender identities were perceived to be more fluid before colonialism.

To some extent, I understood the negative reaction to Emezi’s bold reflections on pre-colonial spiritual beliefs. Take the ogbanje, found in the Yoruba, Igbo and Urhobo pre-colonial cultures. Emezi uses anthropologist Misty Bastian’s idea that to be ogbanje is to be categorised as ‘other’ in terms of gender. This idea transcends Western binary categories. Ogbanje children could fall under a third gender category, of ‘human-looking spirit’. Emezi embraces this ‘otherness’, neither male nor female, through the ogbanje protagonist of the novel. The poetic account of Ada’s gender transition, through the voices of spirits, offers a new vision of transgender spirituality through an African lens.

Author Chinelo Okparanta.
Manny Carabel/Getty Images

Aretha Phiri: Could you explain the significance of queer literature within (contemporary) African scholarship?

Rocío Cobo-Piñero: The recent presence of queer desires and bodies – lesbian, gay, intersex, transgender, or indeterminate – has gained new visibility in the political discourse of African democracies. There are numerous publications attesting to the growth of these studies. Queer African studies can be seen as a space in which, as activist and professor Jacqui Alexander puts it

The contours of cultural and sexual identities become questioned and blurred

Queer representations in African film also comprise a kind of restorative project for long-silenced realities, like Under the Rainbow, Rafiki, The Wound, The Pearl of Africa and Difficult Love.

Aretha Phiri: You make a rather bold claim, based on critical scholarship, that the Black Atlantic ‘was always queer’. And you reference Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, the academic and author of, among other books, Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism, to support your argument. Could you elaborate?

Rocío Cobo-Piñero: Tinsley’s provocative assertion is that the Black Atlantic has always been ‘the queer Atlantic’. She contends that Gilroy never told us in his ground-breaking The Black Atlantic how queer relationships were forged within the sex-segregated holds of slave ships. Or how captured people formed affective bonds.

These bonds, she argues, were queer, not only in the sense of same-sex loving identity. They asserted humanity by challenging the slave trade’s logic of human bodies as capital accumulation. Queerness is instrumental and becomes politicised, a practice of resistance.

Archives are limiting and there are very few colonial chronicles or anthropological studies that account for same-sex erotic bonds among captive men and women. Which is why creative writers have turned to what academic Saidiya Hartman calls ’critical fabulation’. It’s a creative method to help imagine relationships between female captives in the Middle Passage – a sort of counter-history of slavery. A history of an unrecoverable past.

Grove Atlantic

Aretha Phiri: As a scholar located in the global south – Spain – how do you see the future of queer studies developing?

Rocío Cobo-Piñero: This is a difficult question. I predict that queer studies within global Black Atlantic and diaspora scholarship will become more diverse and situated, in line with new challenges. An example is the young South African scholar B Camminga’s 2019 study Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa. It documents the journeys of people fleeing persecution, violence, and discrimination based on their gender identity. If we take into account the dangerous rise of far right and extremist political thinking, the need to promote tolerance is more acute than ever.

This article is part of a series called Decolonising the Black Atlantic in which black and queer women literary academics rethink and disrupt traditional Black Atlantic studies. The series is based on papers delivered at the Revising the Black Atlantic: African Diaspora Perspectives colloquium at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.The Conversation

Aretha Phiri, Associate Professor, Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University and Rocío Cobo-Piñero, Associate professor, Universidad de Sevilla

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images

Aretha Phiri, Rhodes University and Sam Naidu, Rhodes University

Crime and detective fiction continues to top bestseller lists across the world, spawning TV series and films. In the hands of African writers, though, the genre offers a particularly textured world view.

That Ever-blurry Line Between Us and the Criminals: Re-Visioning Justice in African Noir is a colloquium paper by Sam Naidu. It focuses on African crime and detective fiction as a complex and disruptive variety of classic, Western crime and detective fiction.

In probing the transatlantic relationship between Africa and the West, Naidu presents a useful critique of seminal Black Atlantic studies like Paul Gilroy’s
1993 The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Aretha Phiri interviewed the author.

Aretha Phiri: Your paper addresses classic noir and African noir, sub-genres of crime and detective fiction?

Sam Naidu: African crime fiction builds on and extends classic crime fiction to explore philosophical questions about identity, knowledge and power. Referencing the same dark aesthetic of classic noir – characterised by themes of alienation, pessimism, moral ambivalence and disorientation – African crime fiction amplifies political awareness. And, occasionally, it destabilises the conventions of classic crime fiction, which arose during the aftermath of the two world wars when the world was in the grip of the Cold War.

Aretha Phiri: What is the ‘political’ relationship between classic and African crime fiction?

Sam Naidu: African crime fiction builds on and extends classic crime fiction’s exploration of philosophical questions about identity, knowledge and power in the modern world.

Politically, there is a deliberate shift to consider fundamental questions about Africa and its specific requirements. The novels I have read demonstrate a preoccupation with the ambiguity of justice. They express a poignant, Afro-pessimistic lament for a continent and its injustices.

They provide this focus in terms of colonialism and the power differentials of neo-colonialism in Africa. So, you find that economic exploitation and inequalities, race, war, genocide, corruption and state capture are common subject matter.

Aretha Phiri: You read Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ’s novel Black Star Nairobi (2013) as a valuable way of demonstrating the disruption of the classical by the African? What’s it about?

Sam Naidu: It’s set mainly in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2007. It’s the eve of Barack Obama’s election as the first black US president and presidential elections in Kenya. O (short for Odihambo), a Kenyan former policeman who still works part-time for the police, has teamed up with Ishmael from the US, a former cop. Together they’ve formed a detective agency, Black Star, which is given a lucky break when O’s former boss hires them to investigate the murder of an unidentified person whose corpse is found gruesomely disfigured in the Ngong Forest outside Nairobi.

Melville House International, 2013

Aretha Phiri: You conclude in your paper that the predominant effect of African crime fiction is not so much a ‘dark’ sensibility as it is one of obscurity and poignant Afro-pessimism?

Sam Naidu: I reach this conclusion based on the literary texts. This is not my opinion of the state of the continent. The novels are very dark. They overwhelm the reader, with the mess, tragedy, garbage, cruelty, indignity and inhumanity that Africans face in reality. Due, of course, to historical and ongoing systemic oppression and corruption. For characters – and for readers – this can lead to muddledness and despair.

But the novels also offer a counterpoint – in the form of fearless detectives on the quest for justice. In the midst of the disquiet there is a faint flicker … It is this murkiness, taken to new depths, which makes African crime fiction particularly effective and significant. For example, the novel closes with a highly lyrical and metaphorical scene of African musicians in a market. Ishmael describes the competing rhythms of African music – a metaphor for the strife and power struggles of the continent. Despite the discord he detects a harmony – “a tense harmony”.

Aretha Phiri: How does Black Star Nairobi manage to disrupt classic crime fiction?

Sam Naidu: For example, through its innovative use of setting, characterisation, pace and conclusion to comment on ontological, existential and ethical themes to do with justice, it’s an exemplary African noir text. It explicitly extends classic noir into the realms of neo-noir.

Its blend of previous influences, use of setting, and its specific thematic concern with Afro-pessimism prompt the observation that African crime fiction extends classic noir into new literary, geo-political, and moral territories.

Murkiness, so characteristic of classic noir sensibility, mutates, at times, in African crime texts such as Black Star Nairobi and Leye Adenle’s When Trouble Sleeps, to a deliberate generic nebulousness. And thematically, to a moral blurriness so obscure as to disorient the reader and dismantle the basic binaries on which classic detective and crime fiction were predicated.

In classic noir or classic crime fiction there are clear detective heroes set up against indisputable villains (think of Sherlock Holmes) but in African crime fiction the heroes and villains often exchange roles or are complicit in some way.

Aretha Phiri: You describe this evolving genre as occupying a kind of borderland. How does this connect to your research in migration and diaspora?

Sam Naidu: In my work on literature of migration and diaspora I am mainly concerned with the experience of migrants. I am, however, also interested in how literary genres migrate. What processes of cross-pollination occur as a result of diaspora?

Aretha Phiri: What do you see African crime fiction contributing to Black Atlantic scholarship?

Sam Naidu: As a form of postcolonial, transnational writing, African crime fiction points to the relations between Africa and America. Gilroy’s Black Atlantic puts forward that race is fluid and ever-changing, rather than static. That it is transnational and intercultural, rather than national. I am arguing that African crime fiction represents race as a transnational or diasporic phenomenon while at the same time engaging with the notion that race is closely bound up with both nationality and ethnicity.

So, look at the detective hero figure Ishmael. He is an African-American who returns to Africa, gesturing, of course, to transatlantic slavery and colonialism. He’s neither African nor American – he is both. The novel explores his hybridity. At the same time, the novel presents Kenya as nation marred by ethnic clashes and wide-scale civil unrest.

African crime fiction, being the second most popular literary genre on the continent after romance, is worthy of study because of its accessibility, wide-spread, diverse readership and also its capacity for socio-political analysis. It is the ideal vehicle for such pertinent ‘detection’.

This article is part of a series called Decolonising the Black Atlantic in which black and queer women literary academics rethink and disrupt traditional Black Atlantic studies. The series is based on papers delivered at the Revising the Black Atlantic: African Diaspora Perspectives colloquium at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.The Conversation

Aretha Phiri, Senior lecturer, Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University and Sam Naidu, Professor, Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

<img src=”” />
A mural by famed Cape Town artist Faith47.
<span class=”attribution”><span class=”source”>Frédéric Soltan/Corbis/Getty Images</span></span>

<span><a href=”″>Jen Snowball</a>, <em><a href=”″>Rhodes University</a></em></span>

<p>In 1941 Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood actress, and George Antheil, an experimental composer, patented “frequency hopping”. The technique is still used today for secure radio communications, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. </p>

<p><a href=”″>Frequency hopping</a> employs a spectrum of frequency for radio communications that’s repeatedly changed according to an agreed sequence between sender and receiver. This secures a message against interception. Lamarr hoped the <a href=””>idea</a> would help in the <a href=””>defence</a> of her adopted country, the US, in the second world war. </p>

<p>Antheil’s experience helped. He composed for multiple players, up to 16 pianos at a time, and had developed a mechanism to help keep them in sync. This also worked to enable frequency hopping technology. It’s one startling example of how combining the creative imagination with the world of technology can lead to new discoveries. </p>

<p>We wanted to find out more about South African firms that are fusing creative skills with digital technologies to produce new products and services. </p>

<p>In November 2019, the <a href=””>South African Cultural Observatory</a> partnered with a group of UK academics to <a href=””>track</a> how these firms – graphic designers, film makers, music producers and the like – are using this fusion to drive growth.</p>

<p>There’s increasing interest in the <a href=””>contribution</a> of the creative economy to growth and job creation in South Africa. But innovation research is still mostly focused on STEM sectors – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. </p>

<p>Our research examined the links and connections between digital technologies, innovation, intellectual property, and diversity in the cultural and creative industries. Our findings showed that there is an agile group of mostly small, highly innovative, firms that combine cultural and digital skills to meet market demand. </p>

<h2>Our study</h2>

<p>Cape Town was chosen for a pilot <a href=””>study</a> because of its reputation as a creative city. The <a href=””>concept</a> refers to clusters of creative firms, but also includes events and skills. </p>

<p>A cluster of 349 cultural and creative firms operating in the Cape Town metro area were located and mapped. Through telephone interviews and an online survey 74 responses were received. The research design was partly based on a similar <a href=””>study</a> in the UK’s Brighton cluster, which allowed for interesting international comparisons. </p>

<p>South Africa does not have an officially recognised definition of the cultural and creative industries, but much research and policy makes use of UNESCO’s <a href=””>Framework for Cultural Statistics</a>. This includes more ‘traditional’ cultural sectors – like fine art, heritage, performing arts, music, film and book publishing – and also more commercial ones – like fashion, architecture, video games and advertising. </p>

<p>Forming the largest group responding to our survey were firms related to design (fashion design 19%; graphic design 14%; architecture 1%). This was followed by film, television, video and radio (12%); crafts (12%); music and performing arts (7%); and photography (7%). The sample also had representatives from advertising and marketing (12%); IT, software and computer services (4%); museums, galleries and libraries (3%). </p>

<figure class=”align-center zoomable”>
<a href=”;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip”><img alt=”” src=”;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip” srcset=”;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w,;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w,;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w,;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w,;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w,;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w” sizes=”(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px”></a>
<span class=”caption”>The main hall of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in the cultural city of Cape Town.</span>
<span class=”attribution”><span class=”source”>Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images</span></span>

<h2>We found an agile business community</h2>

<p>There is strong evidence of a cluster of firms in Cape Town that are “fused” to combine digital technology with creative inputs to produce goods and services. </p>

<p>They exhibit high levels of innovation in business processes, goods and services, with 82% reporting involvement in some form of innovation over the last three years. Most common was process innovation (the way of running the business), which included things like digitisation (82%), big data usage (21%), and artificial intelligence (18%). Next most frequent were development of new products or services and/or the significant improvement of existing ones (72%), and marketing innovations (50%). Some form of formal research and development was engaged in by 45% of firms. </p>

<p>They’re an interdisciplinary cluster. An average of 51% of employees had a qualification in design; 42% in arts or humanities; 32% in commerce; and 20% had a STEM qualification. </p>

<p>More than a third of firms are start-ups, founded in the past five years. Most are small. The median number of employees was four, and 23% were owner operated with no employees. But they have the ability to draw on a wide range of external skills. A median of five freelancers were employed per firm in the previous financial year. The most commonly sourced skills were graphic, multimedia and web design and software development. Similar to what was found in Brighton, this business model allows them to be agile and productive in the volatile, project-based world of the creative economy.</p>

<p>Our results showed that, for at least some of these small firms, combining a range of skills crossing between the creative or cultural and digital sectors has resulted in faster growth rates than their bigger, older counterparts. </p>

<h2>But it’s a vulnerable time</h2>

<p>Yet it is this project-based way of working that makes many of these firms especially vulnerable during tough economic times. An <a href=””>analysis</a> of the Statistics South Africa Labour Force Survey, using the UNESCO definitions, showed that 50% of people in cultural occupations are employed informally, compared to 32% in other occupations. Freelancers make up 35% of cultural workers, compared to 10% of non-cultural workers. </p>

<p>The cultural and creative sector has also always had a vital, but seldom acknowledged, role to play in innovation. Despite this, only a minority of firms in our study used formal intellectual property protection, or earned revenue from intellectual property.</p>

<p>The exclusion of the cultural and creative sector from South Africa’s Draft White <a href=”″>Paper</a> on Science, Technology and Innovation (2018) may be a mistake. Similar papers by other countries, like the <a href=””>UK</a>, do acknowledge the link between culture, technology and innovation. </p>

<p>Similarly, cultural <a href=””>policy</a> could profitably include support for various kinds of innovations taking place in the cultural and creative industries, such as by these firms. </p>

<p>Especially in times of change and upheaval, the next marvellous idea may just come from those working at the interface between the creative and the technological.<!– Below is The Conversation’s page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. –><img src=”” alt=”The Conversation” width=”1″ height=”1″ style=”border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important” /><!– End of code. If you don’t see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: –></p>

<p><span><a href=”″>Jen Snowball</a>, Professor of Economics and Researcher at the South African Cultural Observatory, <em><a href=”″>Rhodes University</a></em></span></p>

<p>This article is republished from <a href=””>The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href=”″>original article</a>.</p>


Director Kunle Afolayan, actress/singer Genevieve Nnaji and moderator Wendy Mitchell discuss the international rise of Nollywood at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
Tara Ziemba/Getty Images)

Françoise Ugochukwu, The Open University

The Nollywood industry – which came to life in the early 1990s – is often seen as a natural heir to the Nigerian TV series which had already produced roughly 14,000 feature films in the previous decade. These video-films of the early years have now become full feature films, and an integral part of popular life in Nigeria. Local audiences appreciate these homegrown productions relating to daily life in the country.

The films – about 1,000 are produced a year – offer a mix of urban scenes and village encounters. They appeal to both young people and to families, reaching out to local audiences in several Nigerian languages. The films are mainly produced in the big cities in the south of the country such as Lagos, Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Ibadan or Calabar, though they are usually set in Lagos or Abuja and involve crews and actors from various ethnic backgrounds.

While Yoruba and Hausa filmmakers have opted for productions foregrounding their respective languages, statistics show that the number of films in Igbo, the language most commonly spoken in Eastern Nigeria, has been infinitesimal. Most of the films emanating from Igboland are in Nigerian English, a choice which has allowed them to reach out to wider audiences in other parts of the country and abroad. This has made them an instant hit and projected Nollywood on the international scene.

The number of films produced in other Nigerian languages such as Esan, Edo (Bini), Urhobo, Ijo, Hausa and Ogba has equally gained momentum.

Nigerian film director of the Nollywood film
Stefan Heunis/AFP/Getty Images

Over less than three decades, Nollywood has gained an international reputation and inspired new film industries across Africa. The industry is widely considered as a showcase of the country. Interestingly, although a growing number of these films are now set in locations abroad, most remain firmly grounded in Nigerian cultures.

Over the years, the African public has come to discover and appreciate Nollywood. Nevertheless, outside Nigeria, its main public remains the Nigerian diaspora. Research carried out in London and Paris nine years ago sought out the opinions of Nigerians living abroad about the films.

The research showed that respondents spend a significant portion of their leisure time together with other Nigerians or other Africans, viewing Nigerian videofilms. They overwhelmingly preferred them to foreign films. These observations have since been enriched by follow-up interviews, confirming that these results remain relevant.

Scripting and scene-setting

By and large, protagonists in Nollywood films adhere to ancestral beliefs and carry on with most rural traditions.

The ancestral village that nurtured these beliefs never disappears entirely. It is nearly always the scene of at least a few family encounters. The acknowledgements that follow the film give precious few details about the places used, such as community centres, hospitals or churches. The village is usually signalled by narrow paths, mud houses, grassy compounds and farmlands, people in wrappers, bare-chested men or chiefs in traditional attire and oja music.

The set is far less important than the content; it is just there to provide a background to the protagonists’ actions and to reinforce the message that the individuals’ behaviour is partly determined by their family background.

Both the ‘old’ Nollywood and its ‘new’ version that has developed within the past 20 years have highlighted the premium value still given to the concept of extended family, the bedrock on which most scenarios are constructed. Yet storylines point to the flaws of the traditional family system and reflect on the malaise experienced by a country in the throes of rapid changes, leaving traditions behind and often incapable of replacing them with new values.

Subjects woven into the plots include polygamy turned sour, marital infidelity and couples drifting apart, obsession with male heirs and problems associated with childlessness, and strained relationships with in-laws and with rural folks.

A man passes by Nigerian movie billboards at a cinema in Lagos.
Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

Films also denounce other social ills. These include the traditional maltreatment of widows, political corruption and some of the troubles associated with urban life.

All these topics appeal to a broad African audience and have helped to lead to African co-productions.

The crucial role of Nollywood in diaspora

Nearly half of those interviewed in my research said they preferred watching Nigerian films in English. A quarter preferred Yoruba while 16% preferred Igbo. Even so, over 58% of those interviewed considered that Nigerian languages played a role in the pleasure they derived from viewing films. They clearly perceived those languages as part of their cultural heritage and identity, a legacy to be cherished and protected.

Respondents equally considered their Nigerian language as a vital tool to communicate with older relatives in Nigeria and keep in touch with their roots. One of them says it beautifully:

It makes me feel more at home once I speak my language.

Unsurprisingly, language featured prominently in the list of what attracts viewers to Nollywood, second (50%) after the storyline (71.7%). Factors such as landscape and clothes, body language, houses and dances trailed behind.

Viewing Nigerian movies can therefore be seen and experienced as a trip down memory lane, a virtual journey back home and group therapy. A number of respondents also insisted on the educational value of the films, saying that “they have a moral tale to tell”.

Looking forward

Given the growing number of Nigerians migrating abroad in the current political climate, and given the proven benefits gained from regular watching as proven by my research and interviews, one cannot but encourage the current trend, which has seen a number of London and Paris cinema houses screening films belonging to the new Nollywood co-productions. Their recorded success will no doubt help Nigerians adjust to their diasporic situation while enriching the cultural scene of host countries.The Conversation

Françoise Ugochukwu, Senior Research Fellow, Development, Policy and Practice (DPP), Open University (UK), The Open University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Back row (From L-R): Banky W, Ted Sarandos (Netflix Chief Content Officer), Kate Henshaw, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Felipe Tewes (Netflix Italian & African Originals Director), Omoni Oboli, Ben Amadasun (Netflix Africa Licensing Director) and Akin Omotoso
Front Row (L-R) Mo Abudu, Adesua Etomi, Dorothy Ghettuba (Netflix African Originals lead) , Kunle Afolayan, Kemi Adetiba and Ramsey Noah.

Samuel Samiai Andrews, University of Gondar

Netflix has increased its investment in Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood. The dominant streaming company announced its presence via its newly created Twitter handle, NetflixNaija, while also detailing plans to commission original content by partnering with local creatives and investing in the space. The streamer has ordered an as-yet-untitled six-part series that will be directed by local directors Akin Omotoso, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi.

This is a welcome development for the industry. Apart from the visibility and increased viewership, Netflix also gives Nigerian filmmakers a strategy to combat the adverse impact of piracy in Nigeria. It’s not the first attempt at this. An indigenous streaming platform, IrokoTV, established in 2011, has been using streaming to distribute Nollywood content while staying out of the reach of pirates.

Nollywood is the second largest employer after agriculture in Nigeria. In 2014, Nollywood was worth $5.1 billion and made up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP. Although the first Nigerian films were made in the 1960s it wasn’t until the 1990s and 2000s that the industry blossomed as filmmakers took advantage of digital technology and internet distribution. Nollywood filmmakers have largely run an independent model for over three decades, producing about 50 movies a week.

Lax copyright laws and enforcement allow piracy to continue, though. For years, pirates have stolen Nigerian filmmakers’ profits at the end of the distribution chain by replicating and distributing films within days of VCD/DVD release. These losses lock up the industry’s full potential, as filmmakers experience difficulty in attracting funding for ambitious projects.

Creative freedom? Not yet

Netflix investment is great, but maximising the new resources depends on certain legal fundamentals. Are Nollywood filmmakers and stakeholders conversant with the ownership rights regime in the evolving digital copyright era? Will Nollywood get value for its rich creative resources when negotiating across licensing and other transactional platforms? How well would the Nigerian intellectual property laws – particularly its copyright laws – protect Nollywood creators in dealings with Netflix and other sophisticated partners?

Nollywood is disadvantaged at present, but there is hope.

A customer looks at some Nollywood movies in a shop at Idumota market in Lagos.
Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

Licensing is defined as the process of obtaining permission from the owner of a TV show or movie for various purposes, and online streaming is no different. A licensing agreement is established under the terms of a legally binding contract between the content owners and Netflix, and each agreement varies. Some licences will last into perpetuity, while others are limited for a time. This is why Netflix is constantly updating consumers on what will be available, and also what will soon disappear.

Netflix licenses out content that does not belong to it from the entity that owns that content. This vastly oversimplifies the process, but Netflix gets written permission from rights holders to show their movies. That permission comes in the form of a licence (a contract) that allows the use of copyrighted creations, contingent upon various limitations and fees.

For original content, the company gets into specialised agreements with production houses. These agreements are made within the copyright regimes of the United States. Sound knowledge of these licence contracts and how they are structured is crucial for Nollywood’s growth.

Nigeria lags behind on copyright

Nigeria’s copyright law was first governed by the English Copyright Act 1911, which was made applicable to Nigeria by the colonial powers of Great Britain. Nigeria applied the 1911 Act until it was replaced with the Copyright Act of 1970. This act was considered inadequate because it failed to combat and punish the increasing rate of piracy and other copyright infringements. Hence the birth of the 1988 Act, later amended and recodified.

In 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission led the drafting of a new copyright bill, published in 2015. But the country’s National Assembly hasn’t passed it into law.

From the late 1990s, the global intellectual property regime encountered disruptive changes because of the influence of digital technology. The World Intellectual Property Organisation led the charge to change intellectual property laws to respond to digital creations and protect creativity. The outcome is the current global digitalised intellectual property regimes.

Nigeria, with its archaic copyright regime, still lags behind. The country’s copyright laws and others which may complement copyright – including torts, contract and e-commerce laws – have not been updated since 1999. How can Nigerian creatives thrive globally if the minimum threshold for protecting their content isn’t modernised?

Nollywood’s creative handicap

Being the most successful video streaming platform, Netflix possesses the resources to protect its legal and business interest. Some commentators believe that it might become a monopoly in the streaming industry. This scenario will adversely affect Nollywood by limiting the bargaining space for alternatives. Local player IrokoTV needs to devise new strategies to compete.

In my earlier research between 2016 and 2018, I had discussions and interviews with some Nollywood stakeholders who raised their concerns about the inadequacy of digital copyright regimes in Nigeria to protect their creative interest.

A street clothing seller passes by two movie vendor stands at Idumota market in Lagos.
Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

If these concerns aren’t properly addressed, Nollywood creators may be operating in an unequal legal and economic environment which favours the video-on-demand partners. Nigeria’s copyright laws are outdated and in need of reform to adapt to current digitalised intellectual property regimes and productive methods.

How Nigeria can fix it

For Nollywood to fully compete at the global level, it should adopt a smart, proactive approach. Nigerian creators and policymakers need collaboration to achieve progress. Most importantly, it is time for the proposed amended Nigerian Copyright Act to become law. The amended law will help protect Nollywood in the digital market place.

Nigerian copyright management organisations and performer rights organisations have to educate themselves and plan programmes to enforce the rights of their members. With digital platforms, the formation of contracts entails different legal regimes. Nigerian creatives need a reformed and recognised idea submission agency based on a deliberate policy and legal framework.

Nollywood should also focus on the economics of creativity. The industry needs metrics to track and measure skills and output of performances. A collaborative partnership with experts in economics, analytics, statistics and adjacent fields will help. Nigerian universities should revamp their curricula to train existing and emerging lawyers to master the intricacies of digital licensing so they can advise Nollywood’s creative industry.The Conversation

Samuel Samiai Andrews, Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Gondar

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Inaugural edition of the Pride Lagos Creative Enterprise Week (PLCEW) will take place in November 2019.

The PLCEW is dedicated to the business of the creative industries. The creative industries when coordinated holistically can contribute significantly to the gross domestic product of Nigeria and also help address the issue of youth unemployment in the country to a significant extent.

The PLCEW will:

  • Chart pathways that creatives can navigate to enable them to get empowered and make a success of their creativity.
  • Provide insights on how to earn a reasonable living from their creativity.
  • Provide a fantastic learning opportunity for creatives in different genres.
  • Encourage creative professionals of all levels to share their knowledge and nurture the next generation of creatives by sharing the knowledge, tips and tactics they’ve learned over years.
  • Help creatives expand their contacts and networks.
  • Encourage creatives to cooperate and synergize in order to grow and prosper.
  • Celebrate the success of the creative community in the radio and television industries.

Through a series of events, talks, seminars, workshops and activities, creatives in different genres will be enabled to turn their creativity and creative ideas into income-earning enterprises.

The organizing committee of the PLCEW is set to announce the Creative Enterprise Team and Advisory Board on Saturday, December 1, 2018