My recent visit to London was far too short, but I was able lucky enough to catch a special screening at the British Library of the Pumzi movie, a breakthrough African sci-fi film — with strong echoes of Logan’s Run — that I particularly enjoyed. It was a rare to opportunity for dialogue with the director herself, Wanuri Kahiu as well as superwoman Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, celebrated Nigerian-born astronomer. Also represented in the audience were the ubiquitous FOKN Bois, an avante-garde Ghanaian hip-hop duo, perhaps best described as ‘strict sub-Saharan psychomental.’ And of course, afropolitan guru and DJ, Kobby Graham, DUST Magazine editor and ‘funky professor’ at Ashesi University, wasn’t too far from the scene. In case you missed it, here’s the trailer for the Pumzi movie:
Sc-Fi film about futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III –The Water War. Nature is extinct. The outside is dead. Asha lives and works as a museum curator in one of the indoor communities set up by the Maitu Council. When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it and the seed starts to germinate instantly. Asha appeals to the Council to grant her permission to investigate the possibility of life on the outside but the Council denies her exit visa. Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life on the outside.
Imagine a young African boy staring wide-eyed at the grainy images of an old television set tuned to a VHF channel; a child discovering for the first time the sights and sounds of a wonderfully weird world beyond city limits. This is one of my earliest memories; growing up during the mid-nineties in a tranquil compound house in Maamobi; an enclave of the Nima suburb, one of the most notorious slums in Accra. Besides the government-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, only two other television stations operated in the country at the time, and satellite television was way beyond my family’s means. Nevertheless, all kinds of interesting programming from around the world occasionally found its way onto those public broadcasts. This was how I first met science fiction; not from the tomes of great authors, but from distilled approximations of their grand visions.
Be sure to check out some of the other interesting articles on his site as well. Also, I’m currently on holiday in London for a few weeks, and anyone intetested in meeting up a coffee and chat can feel free to buzz me on my gmail. Any time I lose here is being made up for with tons of sci-fi inspiration from this mind-boggingly surreal post-industrial megapolis. I’ll be back with more updates and comments on this insightful experience.