The BBC World Service recently aired a short radio documentary titled ‘Is Science Fiction Coming to Africa?’ It was produced by Deborah Basckin for the Your World program, and was presented by South Africa’s Lauren Beukes, the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke award winner. In the program, Lauren interviews District 9 director Neill Blomkamp (South Africa), Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria), Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), Tchidi Chikere (Nigeria), and myself, representing Ghana.
Science fiction often explores the interaction between people and technology. In Africa that theme plays out in surprising ways, from making an appointment with a traditional healer over email, to women in remote villages collecting water while chatting on their mobiles.
It’s this mix of magic and technology, challenge and innovation that shapes the science fiction coming out of the continent.
Leaving behind the traditional visions of a high-tech Tokyo, futuristic LA or dystopian New York, and challenging clichéd views of the entire African continent, this is a science fiction being told by the people who live there.