Arts + Culture

9 Must-see TED Talks By Africans In Tech

Here's a list of nine stunning TED Talks by Africans who are using technology as a catalyst for change.

DIASPORA—From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” to Chris Abani’s “Telling Stories From Africa,” African thinkers have consistently delivered unforgettable TED Talks—many of which deal with identity, representation and the power of narratives.


Another narrative is currently being written around digital innovation and information technology on the continent, and much to our delight, there are a number of TED Talks that touch on these very subjects.

Everyday Africans are exploring new ways to approach challenges and foster growth in their communities. Below is a list of nine stunning TED Talks from Africans throughout the continent, who are using technology as a catalyst for change.

Regina Agyare (Ghana)

In "Changing Africa's Single Story With Science and Technology," the social entrepreneur, tells us how technology can be utilized to transform harmful narratives surrounding African life.

Juliana Rotich (Kenya)

In "BRCK Internet access built for Africans" the tech entrepreneur, talks about how she’s working to help bring reliable internet connectivity to African cities with the wifi-enabling microserver, BRCK.

Saki Mafundikwa (Zimbabwe)

In "Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets" graphic designer, Saki Mafundikwa, urges fellow African designers to explore various forms of written communication as a source for creative thinking.

William Kamkwamba (Malawi)

The inventor was only 14 years old when he built an energy-generating windmill for his family to use. In "How I built a Windmill," he shares how he built it, using only scrap parts and inspiration from a book he read as a child entitled “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”

Siyanda Mohutsiwa (Botswana)

In "How Young Africans Found a Voice on Twitter," the young tech maven explores how the social media site has revolutionized the way African millennials communicate and share their stories.

Bandi Mbubi (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

In "Demand a Fair Trade Cell Phone," Mbubi advocates for a major shift in the way cell phones, computers and other electronic devices are produced. His TED Talk is a poignant call to end the practice of tantalum mining, which aids war in the DRC.

Ory Okolloh (Kenya)

In this illuminating talk, entitled "How I became an Activist," the co-founder of open source software company Ushahidi.com, speaks about how she's channeled her tech work into social activism.

Achenyo Idachaba (Nigeria)

In "How I turned a Deadly Plant Into a Thriving Business" the green entrepreneur tells us how she’s transforming the poisonous water hyacinth plant into eco-friendly handcrafted items, through her company, MitiMeth.

Ludwick Marishane (South Africa)

In "A Bath Without Water," the South African innovator behind DryBath—the world's first bath-substituting lotion, chronicles how he created a groundbreaking product that provides a productive solution to water shortages. Marishane was named the 2011 Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his invention.

BONUS: Enuma Okoro (Nigeria)

Ok so this one isn't really about tech, but we enjoy it all the same. Watch as the award-winning writer, champions diversity and stresses the importance of cross-cultural exchanges.

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The Five Must-Have Apps for Diaspora Africans in 2020

These mobile apps and digital platforms are making it easier for Africans across the world to find jobs and scholarships, get new citizenship and send money overseas.

Sponsored content from WorldRemit

Mobile apps and digital platforms have fundamentally transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it's ordering food, keeping track of our work or life goals to sending money to our loved ones, these apps and digital platforms have made lives easier, efficient and more productive.

As the brand new year begins, we have compiled a list of five must-have apps and digital platforms that we believe will help Africans in the diaspora, especially in the U.S. make the most of the year.

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(Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

#StopRobbingUs: Nigerian Techies Are Getting Arrested on Their Way to Work and They’re Pissed

We talked to Bosun Tijani, part of a movement in Nigerian tech fighting back against police extortion.

While young, hardworking Nigerians entering the tech industry may dream of the riches and high regard given to their counterparts in Silicon Valley, the reality is much grimmer. In addition to the hassle of learning code, workers are being harassed and extorted by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police for simply looking like techies, which in Nigeria comes with a whole set of different assumptions. The police assume young Nigerians with laptops and smartphones are involved with internet fraud, not software development, and believe they have excess funds. It's confusing as the "Giant of Africa" is seen as a leading force on the continent for digital and technological progress.

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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