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.

Watch the Kajola Trailer:

 

First of all, let me apologize for taking even longer than usual to update the blog. I’ve been consumed with the not inconsiderable task of writing a novel and haven’t had enough time to find inspiration for a new article. Not to worry, I’ll be getting on that as soon as this current wave of procrastination dies down long enough for me to tear myself away from the novel.  Which will be very soon, I promise.

And thirdly, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be working with Vajra Enterprises, a D&D style role-playing game publisher on creating an African cyberpunk setting. Here is an excerpt of their press release:

Vajra Enterprises, publishers of Fates Worse Than Death, is proud to announce that they have added Jonathan Dotse of the AfroCyberPunk blog as a consultant on the future of Africa.

Jonathan Dotse’s new blog, AfroCyberPunk, has gained recent fame in the science fiction community. Jonathan’s insightful and well-written essays have made a strong case for Africa as the natural home of a cyberpunk-style society.

At Vajra Enterprises, Jonathan will develop the future of Africa in its Fates Worse Than Death setting.

Read more…

With any luck Africa will become the next hotspot for science fiction publishers.

Welcome to Africa.

You are not where you think you are. You are not on a safari, or an expedition, or a mission. Your footprint is not the first here, nor will it be the last. Africa is a tour with no guide and no schedule, a ride with no stops, no brakes, and no particular destination – there isn’t even a plan – so don’t bother booking a return trip; just go with the flow. If you are still looking for African science fiction, I advise you to put away your camera and open your eyes.

Africa is science fiction.

Not the science fiction of your grandfather or the Foundation of your Asimov, no. Africa lends herself to the dystopian gloom of failed states, the iron rule of corruption, cartels snaking cold fingers into the upper echelons of government, and high tech gangs of disillusioned youth. Follow her streets into dark melancholy and taste her despair, the bitter and the sweet simmering together to form her unique flavor. Follow the trails of waste spilling out from her gutters, follow them down to the banks of her industrial empires, her charred forests, and damp mines. You will not find your Jedi warriors here, but you might run into some street thugs or hackers, scammers, drug dealers, con men and women, street children, ritual murderers, wandering evangelists preaching hope and doom. The only Force here is hard currency, and it’s dark on both sides. Embrace her reality.

Africa is cyberpunk.

What wonders only Africa has seen since she gave us our crawling legs, released us from her nurturing arms to roam the wide outer world, soar up into the sky, the galaxies, and conquer the universe. She has always waited for us to return with our stories of voyages far and wide to add to her rich legacy. Bring her your stories. She will listen. Stand in the city streets or in the market, on the buses and trains, in the towns and villages, and broadcast your story out loud into the networks; fuel the pulse of life surging through the dense grid of veins all around you. Africa is waiting for you, because you are the future of African science fiction.

Welcome to Africa.