It all began in August 2009 with District 9, the acclaimed blockbuster by South African director Neill Blomkamp about an alien refugee camp. This was followed closely by Pumzi, a short film by Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu about a post-apocalyptic East Africa. Now the largest movie industry in Africa has joined in on the action with the July 2010 release of the sci-fi movie Kajola by Nigerian director Niyi Akinmolayan.
Kajola is the Yoruba word for commonwealth. In the year 2059, Nigeria becomes a totalitarian state. After a second civil war, the rich relocate to the Island areas of Lagos state and turn it into an ultra modern city. The war torn mainland of lagos state is disconnected and abandoned.
A rebel leader, Allen learns of a plot codenamed Kajola to build cities on the mainland and eliminate the remaining survivors. He leads a rebellion against the govt. and must be stopped by Yetunde, the police chief. Though mortal enemies, both discover that everything they thought they knew were nothing but lies. Its a story of love and lust and it heightens the fact that if we don’t deal with the segregation and negligence issues facing the country today, then our future is quite predictable because TOMORROW IS TODAY.
While certainly not a masterpiece in terms of CGI effects, this movie represents one of the few definitive attempts of an African director to break into the science fiction genre. The movie breaks away from traditional Nigerian movie plots, delivering an imaginative vision of a future Nigeria that is as relevant as it is rife with cyberpunk themes. These three movies may well mark the beginning of an exciting new trend in African cinema which only confirms my belief that Africa is cyberpunk.
Hello readers, I recently had an interesting interview with blogger and social connector Johnny Laird, who asked me questions about my upcoming novel and plans for the future. Here is an excerpt of that interview:
Q: Jonathan, What was it that first inspired you to write, and who are your biggest influences?
A: I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of virtual reality and how media can be used to transport the mind into another world. I began writing because it gave me the ability to create worlds that others could enter as if they had stepped right into my imagination and I showed them around. For that reason, most of my earliest attempts at fiction were interactive hyperlinked stories.
I owe many of my ideas to the ground-breaking work of countless writers and thinkers, so it’s hard to single out a few of them. My greatest single influence must surely be William Gibson, especially if the ripple effects of his work are taken into consideration.
Q: Can you tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment.
A: I’m working on a novel set in Accra, Ghana circa 2060 AD, at a time when clinical neuroscience has reverse-engineered the human brain and uncovered the inner workings of the mind. Two-thirds of the world’s population are implanted with biocores – organic computer interfaces between the brain and cyberspace which link billions of people worldwide to the Internet.
The novel explores the psychological consequences of mind altering technology through the interwoven stories of a data thief, a computer programmer, and a cyber crime investigator who are drawn inextricably into the heart of a dark conspiracy in one turbulent night on the streets of Accra.