afrocyberpunk

Detail of a promotional poster for the Nigerian cyberpunk movie 'Kajola' (Akinmolayan 2010)
Finally Africa! In 2005 I learned that cyberpunk literature offers a platform for the issues of Latin America (Toledano Redondo 2005), and five years later the existence of a literary steampunk scene in Brazil (Lori-Ribeiro & Silva 2010) came to my knowledge. What’s apt for the Latin American World seems to be apt for Africa, too. Jonathan Dotse, an IT student and science-fiction writer living in Accra, Ghana, runs the blog AfroCyberPunk, which

is here to explore the possibilities of African science fiction and to expose it’s immense creative potential to the world. For too long, science fiction has failed to make a presence in African literature, confining African creativity to the present and past.
    Science fiction has had significant impact on the technological development of the industrialized societies, and there is no reason why it cannot do the same for Africa. Wherever in the world you find yourself, my intention is to get you thinking about the direction in which Africa is heading and use this as a lens to alter your perspective of the continent today.

Jonathan is currently working on his ‘debut novel, a cyberpunk mystery/thriller set in the sprawling metropolis of Accra in the middle of the 21st century.’ Here are the closing paragraphs of his recent article Developing world: Beyond the frontiers of science fiction published at IEET:

Since I began writing my novel more than two years ago, the story has undergone a transformation which parallels the same trend that I see beginning in science fiction; a bold move out of largely familiar territory towards the developing worlds on the frontiers of the contemporary imagination. This article from The Independent sums up my sentiments quite succinctly, citing Nnedi Okorafor, Ian MacDonald, Lauren Beukes, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Alastair Reynolds as writers whose award-winning works herald a changing trend in the settings of contemporary science fiction novels, while District 9 and Kajola represent noteworthy attempts by African movie-makers to break into the science fiction genre. Through the course of this decade, we can expect to witness the emergence of a new brand of science fiction; one which makes the developing world central—rather than peripheral—to its narrative.
    It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the future will not be a monopoly of the current superpowers, but lies in the hands of tech-savvy youth from around the world, trying desperately to survive at all costs in an increasingly asymmetrical world. Youths from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa represent the single largest subgroup of the human population, and with the aid of advanced technology they will go on to shape the geopolitical destiny of our civilization. Science fiction has a lot of catching up to do in order to chronicle this new frontier in which the developing world plays a defining role; a frontier that has been neglected by mainstream science fiction for just about long enough. I’m proud to count myself among the new wave of writers exploring the immense potential of developing world science fiction, and I now look to the future with a renewed sense of anticipation, because the future I’ve waited for all my life is finally coming home.

LODI-RIBEIRO, GERSON AND LUIS FILIPE SILVA (eds.). 2010. Vaporpunk: Relatos ‘steampunk’ publicado so as ordens de suas majestades. ?: Editora Draco.
TOLEDANO REDONDO, JUAN CARLOS. 2005. From socialist realism to anarchist-capitalism: Cuban cyberpunk. Science Fiction Studies 32(3): 442-466.
AfroCyberPunk via entry at kueperpunk—tnx!
Share