News Brief

"For Africans, Homegrown Science Fiction Can Be a Will to Power:" Watch Nnedi Okorafor's Powerful TED Talk

The celebrated writer talks about the power of African Science fiction in a recently released Ted Talk.

"What if?" Is the simple, yet innately powerful question behind celebrated Nigerian-American author, Nnedi Okorafor's unforgettable talk from this summer at TEDGlobal in Tanzania.

In a talk entitled "Sci-Fi Stories that Imagine a Future for Africa," published earlier today on TED.com, the celebrated Nigerian-American writer, opens with an excerpt from her Biniti trilogy, in which she describes the lead character going off to attend university in another galaxy. Her reading carries her into a thoughtful reflection on the significance of African science fiction, and its potency as a political tool. "Science fiction is one of the greatest and most effective forms of political writing. It's all about the question, "What if?" says Okorafor.


The writer also touches on the term "Afrofuturism," which for her, is really "another kind of science fiction." She explains the difference between Afrofuturism and science fiction by using a straightforward octopus analogy.

Like humans, octopuses are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. However, octopus intelligence evolved from a different evolutionary line, separate from that of human beings, so the foundation is different. The same can be said about the foundations of various forms of science fiction.

From there we learn that her passion for writing science-fiction developed during family trips to Lagos as a young adult, as a means of feeding her curiosity about things that most Nigerians found ordinary.

So I'm Nigerian-American. I was born to two Nigerian immigrant parents and raised in the United States, one of the birthplaces of classic science fiction. However, it was my Nigerian heritage that led me to write science fiction. Specifically I cite those family trips to Nigeria in the late '90s. I'd been taking trips back to Nigeria with my family since I was very young. These early trips inspired me. Hence the first story that I ever even wrote took place in Nigeria.

She ends her talk by reintroducing Udide the spider, a wise storyteller and the embodiment of the deep roots and untapped sociopolitical power of African science fiction. "For Africans, homegrown science fiction can be a will to power," says the writer.

Watch Nnedi Okorafor's full TED Talk below. For more on the prolific writer, revisit our in-depth interview with her from earlier this year, where she discussed mentorship and her upcoming HBO series.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Omah Lay, Adekunle Gold, Falz and more.