In the last seven months, I’ve experienced a lot in my life, I’ve fought obstacles, conquered dreams, slept in multiple homes, met different minds, survived in different conditions, faced depression, experienced true freedom and happiness. I’ve lived the life of a nomad with privileges and the consciousness of a ‘New Age African’ coursing through Nigeria. It’s a unique experience going through the motions of that which Nigeria is, I understand Lagos doesn’t define all of Nigeria and I’m happy in my last seven months I’ve not only lived in Lagos, but I stayed in Ibadan, Ogun and plan on visiting Abuja before the year runs out. It’s not so much, but it’s given me a unique view of what a new age African country is right now, what the world sees as they shower tags like ‘emerging market’, ‘booming economy’, ‘yearly market growth’.
There’s a synchronous wave in the air as I go through life, the minds of Nigerians both young and old are being torn open. Something is feeding them information; you could say it’s the internet but not everyone is connected, you could say it’s just natural that Africa grows after years of corruption, colonial exploitation, civil wars and misdirection, you could say the ‘New Age’ is truly a special moment in Africa’s history that will pioneer something never before seen. Whatever it may be, one thing’s for certain, there’s an impending change. I’ve had the opportunity to engage in so many contrasting conversations, each enlightening in its own right. For example, speaking to a young man who sold spare parts and realized there’s no physical market and he wants to open an online store instead, then to the Yahoo boy who understands how complex and powerful Google is, how Facebook is controlling the influence of a generation, or the kids from a village town in Ibadan who, once I brought my phone out yelled ‘o fe se snapchat’ — translation ‘he wants to Snapchat’ and struck a pose.
Africa is moving forward somehow, I don’t know how but my guess is, information is faster spread, diverse ideologies more embraced, new methods are being invented and for the first time across mediums of art, fashion, music, technology, innovation, business, etc, we’re actually defining true structures and understanding what those forms mean. Africa is shaping up as it should have years ago, there’s a mini eco-system carefully growing amidst the concrete of Africa’s ruin.
It’s a New Age, it has to be.
The identity of being an African, being able to decipher a path, to find a solution and to dream, to inspire not only Africa but the world with your soul. Something is bubbling the black soul to breathe and be liberated.
This is the inspiration behind #OccupyAfrica.
Occupy Africa envisions a future where every African soul can call Africa home and actually be home, a dream from Africa, live and be global from Africa. Something incredible is happening, I implore everyone in Africa to be apart of it. Around Africa over the past few years we’ve experienced growth in different areas, we’ve seen the introduction of global brands to our shores in quick succession, brands who before now, couldn’t give a rat’s ass about us, some may credit it simply to globalisation and what not. Regardless of the cause, the fact remains that it IS happening. and we could talk all day about who’s right or wrong, but I’d rather we focus on the effects and build from there.
Between 2015 — 2017 there has been an awakening period in the Africansubconscious, the new age has been in evolving at a steady pace for years but these three years especially 2017, has been the highlight of its existence and its coming out to redesign our future.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was in Nigeria last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai came this year, a 21-year-old Tomisin Akins founder of a company called Lucid Lemons curated one of the biggest millennial shows in Lagos this summer, one of Africa’s biggest cities, Odunsi(the engine) made it to Billboard global charts, Anastyboy, a publication defying gender and cultural norms swept the western arts and fashion limelight, Konbini opened a Nigerian branch, Native Mag released their first physical copy, and so on. You can almost breathe the air of change.
As a journalist, I’ve been able to document the minds behind these changes, and I’m thrilled by the events unfolding. The world sees this too and it’s natural for everyone to want a piece of the future, we all want to create our empires in this future. This is good and it’s bad. I’ll start with the bad, and. it’s in both black and white.
The white being first world citizens seeing Africa as their new sinkhole to throw money in.
- We’ve already seen this in the tech circle with investments from Mark Zuckerberg in Andela and investments from other VCs in tech startups like paystack, bigcabal, not only tech is enjoying these new benefits though.
- The music scene has seen an influx of brands trying to capture the youthful demographic, like Sony music Africa and Sony music global signing every African out they can leverage on the global world’s new obsession for all things afrobeats.
- Also, YouTube sponsoring content creators to help push Google into Africa, and allotting 25 million dollars in funding for African startups.
- The opening of more grounded African branches by publications like CNN, BBC.
Yes, the influx of dollars and foreign currency from our counterparts is good but its majorly bad, why? Well, it’s a new wave of oppression waiting to happen. While these cooperations ‘sponsor’ and ‘push’, they are owning this new market we’re trying to create. Our currencies are lower than theirs which means they’re literally buying away our brightest minds and companies, adding it to the already wide span of resources they control. I’m not saying we should hold pitchforks and light torches to deter them from our property, but we need to understand how to handle the influx of these companies while still maintaining our integrity. The government and the people, rather than capitulating, should be able to capitalise on the ‘infiltration’ of these global brands into Africa while keeping us at the top and allowing their tools help us grow. Besides, most of them claim their motivations rooted in developing an even playing field, let’s call their bluff.
It’s going to be very delicate, but we need to keep Africa owned by Africa, we need to make sure we don’t sell our land and people like we once did. The truth is; these companies need us because the African market is one of the most complex and notorious in the world due to our broken systems and ‘uncharacteristic’ mindsets (by their regard), only black people who’ve lived through the hardship can understand how to build on it, these companies know they need us, yet they come with deception and make it seem like it’s a 100 percent favour they’re doing us. We need to take hold of the situation and make them play by our rules.
The black part deals with the people of Africa ourselves. I’m a big big fan of African startups (being a founder of quite a few myself), we have so many companies starting right now across New Age Africa, everyone is growing and furthering their visions and brands.
Some fail, some get bought and still crash, but at the end of the day, it’s really inspiring seeing minds in my generation, minds below 20 already starting companies and chasing dreams. Still, there’s so much to learn because Africa has never existed with such vigor and structure. Even if it did, we’ve never pushed this hard to fight against the norm, thus, we must push harder. Once or twice you must’ve come across an article on supporting African brands, though it may seem like Africans have caught the wind, but we those articles wouldn’t be written as much if we’ve actually supported African brands enough.
Look through the internet at African cyber-landscape now, there’s literally a startup doing something you’ve always dreamt about but never thought it could be possible in Africa, and if no one is doing it pick up the mantle and create the company yourself, we need to create Africa by structuring and innovating institutions ourselves. We all know the government is shit, a private sector controlled by New Age Africa is the future. Don’t get me wrong, we very much need fresh minds in the politics of every African country to help reshape archaic public institutions that hinder the growth of the future we aim to build, legislation is paramount to effecting real and sustainable change.
We also need to concentrate on the ideas emanating from African minds. In my travels, I’ve learnt to appreciate the African mind, culture and vision so much more because we have these special and distinct ideas/abilities that much of the world is yet to grasp.
If you just listen to some of the ideas these kids have, open their Twitter pages and social media accounts. Fuck the parents killing dreams, I’m telling every African that the time is now to do what you’ve always wanted. Move Africa forward and be happy at it while you spread joy and happiness from your soul to your people who need it after this long and seemingly never-ending suffering. Make the world a better place, if not for you, then for your children who do not deserve to suffer for the sins of their grandfathers left unresolved.
Africa is not destined to be a developing region forever, an awakening is past due.