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.

News Brief
Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Sincerely Ria Is Giving Guinean Fashion Its Flowers

And designer Mariama Diallo's NYFW debut celebrates the vibrancy and uniqueness of Guinea and its Fulani culture.