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SMW Lagos 2018: Telling African stories through proper use of technology

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Organisers of the Social Media Week, which ended in Lagos last year. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

In an era where the box office success of Black Panther has stirred emotions and ideas in favour of inclusiveness, the debate about having Africans tell African stories has, again, gained momentum.

There are, at least, two sides to the coin: one side believes Africans have been telling their stories. The narratives of the powerful Western media, however, have stifled their voices, hence, the need for inclusiveness and diversity in the global creative space. The other side contends that Africa has not done enough.

However, she has to, using the tools right until outsiders stop to listen.The proper use of technology can help Africa tell her stories, and perhaps, recreate the narratives about her peoples and their cultures, says Ngozi Odita, the co-founder and executive director of Social Media Week Lagos, in a recent tweet chat with The Guardian.

“I did talks at different tech conferences and art institutions on the subject and how we’re using digital tools to reframe the conversation around Africa, but I felt it is important to bring the conversation home,” Odita says.

“Nigerians and Africans need to tell our own stories on our own terms.”

Now in its sixth edition, SMW Lagos “provides the ideas, trends, insights and inspiration to help people and businesses understand how to achieve more in a hyper-connected world.”

With the 2018 edition holding next week, the organisers are focusing on how Africans can stay connected by sharing their stories more closely and exploring the conflict between the communal essence of storytelling and individualism.

“As Africans, we know sharing our stories is important, we also know that we can do more together,” the organisers say in a statement published on its website.

“Striking a balance is key. SMW Lagos will look at how our individual stories, experiences and competencies contribute to the whole. Investing in people and fuelling their ideas gives them the capacity to do more.

“We understand that it takes a village, but we also know that every member of a community must add value for it to truly prosper.”


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