Pride Magazine Nigeria (PNG) interviews one of the founders and Chief Technical Officer of Skika Afrika Chukwudi Anyiam-Osigwe (CAO). Skika Afrika is a career development platform where creatives on the African continent can collaborate with one another, showcase their art and get booked to display their art. It serves to increase connectivity and cohesion in the creative industry and empower creatives to build and sustain their creative careers.
PNG: What does the name Skika mean and why did you and your team choose the name Skika Afrika?
CAO: Skika Afrika is loosely translated to mean ‘Be heard Africa’. Skika is derived from the Swahili word kusikika, and was inspired by the need to stretch African stories beyond the single story that is often portrayed in global media. The genesis of Skika actually started with one of our founders, Samantha Weya, when she was 16. She found herself increasingly frustrated with the silencing of voices in marginalised communities, in Kenya and Africa as a whole and the lack of society’s willingness to observe perspective. Flash forward a few years she’s in university, trying to conceptualise the business model for Skika and Chimamanda does a Ted Talk titled “The Danger of a Single Story” and in that moment, Skika’s mission became clear as day. The name took some time to get to but once we took a step back to consider the vision, there was no better fit.
PNG: Skika Afrika aims to help creatives on the African continent be heard. How is Skika Afrika hoping to achieve this?
CAO: There is no doubt that the African continent has a good number of creatives that specialise in different types of art but too often they go unheard, unappreciated and undervalued. We are using community building within our technological infrastructure to reduce the aforementioned challenges and empower creatives to build successful careers.
The internet is a great tool in its ability to reach billions, and we plan to use it to our advantage to boost the exposure of creatives and their access to opportunities where they can get paid for doing what they love.
Apart from giving them a platform to be discovered, we will be working long and hard engaging various venues, creative enterprises, event holders, educational institutions and mentors who can give the creatives a chance to shine brighter. We want creatives worrying less about how people will get to know and hear about them or how they are going to afford their next guitar or art exhibition. We want them focusing on creating art, more and more of it!
PNG: What are the things a creative should expect when s/he gets on to the Skika Africa platform?
CAO: By joining our platform, creatives become part of a community where they can meet other creatives to collaborate with and produce even more art. They can also connect with various platforms to showcase their art or get booked by them for a paying gig.
PNG: What kind of creatives are you hoping to get onto the Skika Africa platform?
CAO: Skika Africa is set up to cater for a wide range of creatives – actors, comedians, dancers, directors, fashion designers, models, musicians, make-up artists, filmmakers, photographers, writers and the list goes on and on.
PNG: Do you vet the creatives who can come onto the platform?
CAO: The truth is no, we do not. We let the community do that. The reviews left by others will let everyone know if a creative is who they say they are. Also, the creatives will be uploading so much material/media to showcase their talent and let their work display their expertise.
PNG: What is your message to the creatives out there on the African continent?
CAO: To quote one Lupita Ny’ongo “your dreams are valid”. It’s about time you are heard and it’s about time your art is taken seriously. We are extremely excited to see what the future holds and we want all creatives on the continent to help us build this vibrant community. So sign up at www.skikaafrika.com or follow us @skikaafrika_ng/ @skikaafrika_ke (Instagram and Twitter) or Skika Afrika (Facebook). We will be launching later this year, so watch this space!!!
PNG: The inaugural edition of the Pride Lagos Creative Enterprise Week is coming up in 2019, will Skika Afrika be a part of this event?
CAO: Sure. We plan to take part in the Creative Enterprise Week and play our role in contributing to the growth of the creative industry.