popular
From Mad Horse City. Photo courtesy of Wale Lawal.

This Is What Lagos Could Look Like in 2115

We speak with Nigerian artist Wale Lawal on his project with Olalekan Jeyifous, "Mad Horse City," currently showing at the "Africa Is Not a Refugee Camp" exhibition in Munich.

Africa Is Not a Refugee Camp, the exhibition showing at the Architekturmuseum der TU München, warns viewers about what they will not see.

Curator Mpho Matsipa notes that "there are expectations that are set when people go to see exhibitions about Africa." But in this case, instead of the widely trumpeted narrative of a continent in dire need of developmental aid, this exhibition actively reimagines African cities and presents ideas that touch on themes of migration, architecture, and Afrofuturism. According to its mission statement, the exhibition seeks to explore how architecture responds to the complexity of African mobility beyond the figure of the refugee.


In the body of work featured, African cities are "reconsidered as sites of innovation, rapid transformations, new architectural typologies, infrastructures and technologies." The exhibition features artists from Abidjan, Lagos, Johannesburg, and almost a dozen other cities on the continent. As an opportunity to ground the exhibition in a real dialogue, many of the artists met and collaborated in various African cities to exchange ideas prior to the exhibition. The result of those meetings include work that speaks directly to the issues plaguing these cities.

For example, Mad Horse City, produced by Olalekan Jeyifous and Wale Lawal is an ode to Lagos. Both artists had never met in person until the Lagos exchange, although they had followed each other's work. In 2016, Jeyifous, a Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based architect, produced Shanty Megastructures, a 3D reimagining of Lagos in 2050. The images juxtaposed a sprawling mega city besot with development and the marginalized communities it often displaces to get there.

From Mad Horse City. Photo courtesy of Wale Lawal.

According to Lawal, these images reflected an "emphasis on organic interactions between the city's inhabitants and its spaces."

When the time came to create work for the Munich exhibition, Jeyifous reached out to Lawal, who works as a writer and editor in Lagos, to produce Mad Horse City, a series of animated and written vignettes describing life in a futuristic Lagos. The collection, which is named after a term used by Lawal to describe the energy of Lagos, comprises of three moments that depict Lagos in the year 2115.

Lawal describes Offline, the first of the three narratives, as a journey to escape the ubiquity of the internet that leads a woman to visit an illegal botanical garden where people pay to disconnect. In Òmìníra, the second of the three moments, two scavengers from a fishing community inspired by Makoko test the boundaries they've been given in their starkly unequal society. In Dreamscape, a proxy bypass enables a young man to illegally download and experience the dreams of people based in other jurisdictions.

From Mad Horse City. Photo courtesy of Wale Lawal.

Òmìníra's eerily familiar leanings toward the tragedies of the Makoko fishing community, where 3,000 people lost their homes after a state sanctioned demolition in 2012, and most recently, Otodo Gbame, where close to 30,000 have been displaced due to similar circumstances, is not a coincidence. Lawal points to the immense focus on the migration of Africans outside the continent, but he encourages us to look within—where both voluntary and involuntary migration happens at a more alarming rate with consequences just as dire as what is portrayed internationally.

"[We want to] press beyond the established and rising narratives by thinking about the politics of mobilities that occur even within individual African countries," Lawal says. For example, these politics include "how states, through mechanisms such as checkpoints, may police their own citizens, creating invisible often violent local borders," he continues.

For Matsipa, it is important for those telling these stories are African artists and thinkers who can present a more holistic idea of what the continent is and what it can be. "A lot of the literature on African cities is not produced by African writers, which is why Africa is often framed as a developmental subject, a figure of crisis," she adds.

From Mad Horse City. Photo courtesy of Wale Lawal.

The exhibition also presents an opportunity to build a public around architecture and the way African cities are designed and who they are designed for. Although the exhibition will only run in Munich until August 19, the conversation it broaches will continue long after that.

"In this way, the exhibition is not extractive as is often the case with artifact-oriented exhibits, but immersive and ongoing," concludes Lawal.

Music
Stogie T. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Watch Stogie T And Nasty C Discuss South African Hip-Hop’s Generational Gap in This Must-Watch Video

Candid conversation between Stogie T and Nasty C.

South African rap OG Stogie T and newbie Nasty C recently held an interesting conversation on Vuzutv's V Entertainment show.

The two lyricists chewed some fat on a range of issues, including getting better treatment outside South Africa, Stogie T being the Joe Budden of South African hip-hop, being great lyricists, and the generational gap in the game.

Keep reading... Show less
News

Here are the Young African Visionaries Who Made the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Get familiar with some of the names on the 2019 list.

Forbes magazines yearly 30 Under 30 list is here, and just like last year, a number of young African visionaries have made the list.

The list recognizes accomplished young people in the areas of media, art & style, food & drink, education, science, music, sports, healthcare and a number of other industries.

Here's how the magazine described this year's selection process:

The list features 600 trailblazers in 20 industries. Choosing these honorees among thousands of nominees is long and daunting, a three-layer process that relies on the knowledge and authority of our wide-reaching community, skilled reporters and expert judges. The final product: a collection of bold risk-takers putting a new twist on the old tools of the trade

This year's arts & style section includes 20 year-old Nigerian born fashion designer Taofeek Abijako, the creator of the menswear brand Head of State+, as well as 28-year-old Nigerian artist Kayode Ojo.

Ghanaian-American computer scientist and digital activist Joy Buolamwini (28) represents in the enterprise and technology section. She's the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, which identifies biases in algorithms. While 29-year-old Sally Nuamah, a Ghanaian-American professor at Duke University earned a spot in the education section for her accomplishments in the field.

The Nigerian co-founders of Helium Health, a company turning hospitals across West Africa digital were recognized in the healthcare portion of the list. The 25-year-old Nigerian founder of Lightning Labs, Olaoluwa Osuntokun (25), is named in the finance section.

Malawian-American policy advisor, Michelle Mbekeani (29) also made this year's list. Born in Libya to Sudanese parents, senior copywriter at Droga5 Nedal Ahmed (29), makes the list in the marketing and advertising section.

Shamrock Frimpong (27), the Ghanaian social entrepreneur behind the Cocoa360 is also included on the list.

Twenty-three year-old Nigerian-Greek basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks is also on the list.

Congrats to all the young honorees! You can see the full list here.

Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 15 Best South African Summer Songs of 2018

These are the hits South Africans will be losing their morals to this December.

In summer, especially the month of December, South Africa becomes something else.

December (or should we say Dezemba) is a lifestyle of some sort, where people forget about their troubles, work… pretty much everything and become shamelessly hedonistic—and we are totally here for that.

But there's nothing that makes Dezemba more memorable than the songs of the summer. It's those songs that are a permanent fixture on every South African's playlist as they take a break from a long and stressful year (2018 has been a lot!).

Below, we list some songs that have potential to be the soundtrack to December in South Africa. Some have already picked up in the past few months, while others are teeming with potential.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.