That said we have the pleasure of introducing you to: Fifteen-year-old Nigerian Inventor Hope Emmanuel Frank. Who scoffs at the face of the digital divide.
“When people see me on the street operating my excavator and tipper, they are usually surprised, some of them dash me money.
Hope Emmanuel Frank
Through the use of syringes, various toy parts, and old laptop batteries. Hope was able to create a working model of construction equipment he saw as a youth. What makes this so incredible is the spark of genius required to do so with limited supplies. Globally, kits similar to what Emmanuel has created are sold and used to educate children in STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. Below is an example of said kits. This is a true to life example of how the resources a population is afforded impacts the overall trajectory of citizens within that population. Better access to information should be the forefront in all Pan-African efforts.
We applaud Emmanuel for the level of dedication necessary to be inventive regardless, of physical location or socioeconomic situation.
We are in awe of a young soul staring in the face of The Digital Divide, to pursue his dream. We are happy to share this story as an inspiration to others innovating in less than ideal circumstances.
Stay tuned for more breaking news in all things Black & Tech.
Unless you live under a metaphorical rock and haven’t read our weekly updates; week in color: 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18, 20 , you are aware of the revolution that is occuring right now. As of Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Sudan. And as we write.
Sudan has been experiencing constant instability in government since the independence of South Sudan in 2011 & a huge lack of foreign currency.
On Monday; June 3, paramilitaries in Khartoum threw dozens of bodies into the Nile in an attempt to hide the number of casualties they inflicted during a pro-democracy protest at the capital.
According to doctors & activists, more than 100 people have been killed in the crackdown against demonstrators by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) across Sudan.
Sudan has been under military rule since President-dictator Omar al-Bashir was knocked off his 30-year reign.
It was suggested that a military-led transitional government would lead the country to democracy.
The Sudan Doctors’ Committee; the medical arm of the SPA, said security forces retrieved more than 40 bodies from the Nile.
This contradicts previous estimates on Monday’s attack in the central Khartoum, which puts the death toll at 20 people.
Details of rapes by the RSF are also coming to light.
The break down of possible negotiations between the military & protest leaders began due to disagreements over military or civilian leadership of a transitional body.
The internet has been shutdown in Sudan.
A recurring problem.
As things have shown so far, internet shutdowns and oppressive regimes go hand in hand. What easier way to disconnect a people than to shut down the roads by which they access the internet, specifically, twitter, to voice thoughts or instagram to share imagery.
A Technology Solution
But first, let’s get you up to speed.
With a thing called a Wireless ad hoc network.
Wireless ad hoc network:
is a decentralised type of wireless network. The network is ad hoc because it does not rely on a pre-existing infrastructure, such as routers in wired networks or access points in managed (infrastructure) wireless networks.
the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.
Now, we know a wireless ad hoc network is a wireless network that does not require infrastructure to function. We also understand that the internet can be simplified to the connection between computers, one computer accessing files and protocol on another computer.
On to the next!
Recently, the proprietary mobile app FireChat has developed a social messaging option that does not necessarily require an Internet connection.
By utilizing bluetooth and WiFi signals FireChat can connect phones together and get messages across using wireless mesh networking. (A form of ad hoc wireless network)
Repurposed for a cause: #SudanUprising the App
Now let us see if we can use these basic network principles and technology examples to create an app that would be of service to those protesting for the revolution in Sudan.
After receiving a copy of the app via, internet, Wifi, bluetooth, or simply a thumb drive, revolutionaries; like members of the Alliance for Freedom & change in Sudan, can sign up with an anonymous username, set a password, authenticate permissions and begin sharing information.
The app will function best in densely populated areas where data can be shared from phone to phone reliably.
This modified timelines allows revolutionaries to share and exchange images, thoughts, and information in a central location, creating a virtual meeting place, where physical restrictions are in place.
#StandwithSudan Community Watch
As death tolls rise, and images of violence make there way to social media timelines. Revolutionaries in Sudan will be able to strategically organize and plan demonstration routes avoiding violent military opposition. In moments of anarchy check this map to remind yourself you are never alone. The signal feature also allows revolutionaries to alert others of danger, and human rights violations.
When you search the most populated cities in the world, you will find Tokyo, in first place. With Japan ranked at a population of 37 million. Delhi, India; Shanghai, China; and São Paulo, Brazil in second, third and fourth place. Now; Lagos -a city located in West Africa-, Nigeria with an estimated population of anywhere between 9- 15 million, is currently ranked the 16th most populous city in the world.
With The United Nations publishing headlines reading: 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050; & The World Economic Forum predicting a Lagos population of 24 million by 2035. The question comes to mind. What is being done to prep for a rapidly urbanizing population? No need to panic, our designers are hard at work crafting culturally appropriate solutions for an ever expanding population.
We are proud to introduce to you: Kunle Adeyemi, Founder|Principal at NLE, and the Makoko Floating School.
Kunle Adeyemi, is an Architect, designer and Urban researcher. A quick Google search will expose you to the Pan-African Architect with an understanding of urbanization and passion for Africa Centered Design.
“Whether a chair for charity in South Africa, a revolutionary rotating art space for Prada in Seoul or the visionary plan to eliminate traffic paralysis in Lagos with the 4th Mainland Bridge, in each project the essential needs of performance, value and identity – critical for success – are fundamentally the same for me. Although quantitatively different from place to place, the responsibility of achieving these needs at maximum, with minimum means, remains the same globally. I am constantly inspired by solutions we discover in everyday life in the world’s developing cities”
Kunlé Adeyemi, 2010
Kunle is 2017 Aag Khan Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate school of Design. Previously, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Colombia Graduate School of Architecture, 2015 Gensler Visiting Critic & 2014 Baird Distinguished Visiting Critic of Cornell University, these are a just a few of his many accolades. Adekunle Adeyemi’s main focus in academia is; developing cities of the global south. His educational pursuits include a post-professional degree from Princeton University, investigating rapid urbanization, and the role of marketing economies of the global south with a concentration on Lagos, Nigeria.
Lagos, Nigeria is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It’s a beacon representing hope & opportunity, not only to Nigerians, but many West African migrants with dreams of a better life. International developers are aware of this opportunity and have began investing into projects like Eko Atlantic. Eko Atlantic is a planned city constructed on reclaimed land from the Atlantic ocean. The new land is expected to be home to at least 250,000 residents and have a daily flow of 150,000 commuters. This project is being carried out as a semi public, semi private partnership between the Lagos State Government, Federal Government, and The China Communications Construction Group. Hopefully, this project is bringing employment and training opportunities to Lagos locals.
The Eko Atlantic project is one way the future mega-city is preparing for a growing population. However; is this a culturally appropriate solution?
Lets take a dive into the Makoko Floating School.
Makoko is an informal community located in the Lagos, Lagoon. With an estimated population of 85,000, Makoko is referred to as the world’s largest floating slum. A quick glimpse of the video below till expose you to the neighborhood build on stilts that is home to a community of people ever so adjusted to life on the water, with a constant threat of eviction.
Makoko Floating school was designed specifically for the community.
Being an informal community, there is absolutely no support from the government. Therefore no public services. No public services, no schools.
Education is Freedom
Something interesting about the rapid growth in population throughout Africa the demographic of the population. Africa has a very large, young population.
Africa has a young age structure, with about 40 per cent of its population in the 0-14 age bracket and nearly one fifth (19 per cent) in the 15-24 age bracket (see table 5 and figure 12). The population pyramid for the continent for 2015 reveals the effects of high fertility manifesting itself in a population pyramid with a broad base. Every successive bar of the population pyramid is narrower, suggesting fertility levels above replacement. A higher proportion of females in the 65 and above age group is a result of the higher life expectancy at birth for women.
A critical task for the leaders of Africa today, is educating the Africans of tomorrow. Ghana has been doing a remarkable job at this with the Ghana TVET Voucher Project. Kunle Adeyemi does it again with: Makoko Floating School.
Kunle Adeyemi’s design solution is simply genius. Given limited resources and water as the environment to design for, the solution that has emerged is minimal in practical, environmentally friendly in a culturally appropriate way. A floating school for a underserved community of people who live on the water. Thus, allowing education and opportunities to those are ignored by their government. This design solution presents a design foundation for the floating city of the future. Imagine what could happen when a fleet of floating buildings, community spaces, like markets and public utilities like water and waste management is available to such a community?
Everette Taylors’s career began at the young and tender age of 19. After starting an event marketing software company; a company he eventually sold 2 years later.
After this success, Taylor took a leave of absence from Virginia Tech and relocated to Los Angeles, California, to serve as vice president of marketing at since acquired software company Qualaroo.
He was just getting started!
Since then Everette, has founded: GrowthHackers; an online growth hacking community with a mission to help companies ignite sustainable growth. Millisense; a marketing firm using data driven digital marketing to grow companies and brands. PopSocial; social media software company founded in 2016, with over $2 million in revenue within its first year.
Everette Taylor has been recruited by many heavy hitting companies in technology, from being named Marketing Officer at online printing giant Stickermule, to doing growth strategy work for Microsoft, as well as serving as Chief Marketing Officer for on-demand car rental delivery company Skurt; since acquired by Fair. Taylor’s time and attention is in demand.
An Artist will usually spend massive amounts of time working with a medium of choice; water colors, charcoal, acrylic, clay, recycled plastics or even animals preserved in formaldehyde. After the artist has gained a mastery for the medium, said artist may create a piece or collection of pieces to then share with the public.
Traditionally this is when the artist will link up with a curator. A good creator has developed relationships with gallery/ display spaces & a rolodex of clientele & knowledge of their specific taste.
This is more or less the go to market strategy for many Artists.
Artists produce the product; Curators sell the product; Galleries/ display spaces serve as the physical location for these transactions to take place.
Now let’s review this process with a bit more realism.
An Artist will have to create time in an already fast paced world to develop and refine their art. Said artist will also have to purchase or acquire whatever materials needed in the creation of their art. Limited funds = Limited materials = limits
After creating a piece or collection of pieces, the artist will usually contact a curator to assist them in showcasing their work. Curators charge a percentage for every piece of art sold. This means, an artist success often depends on the quality of Curator they have access to. The better the Curator the better the access -to gallery spaces and art collectors-, the better the access, the more a curator can charge for every sale.
It’s not what you create, it’s who displays is, & where its displayed.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
We can easily project how things may work for an artist with affluent means. They usually have easier access to supplies, curators, & galleries. A look at any institutional art gallery will show the names accredited to the creation of these pieces are those of extremely wealthy producers.
Where does that leave creatives living in other varieties of circumstance? Thankfully there is now:
ArtX is composed of three branches: Media Platform, Software/ Technology Solutions, & Community Development.
As a media platform, Artx.net; will serve as a virtual gallery space for artist to share their creations, connect or collaborate with other artist, meet curators and collectors. Artx.net is also positioned to destroy the “exclusive” connotation the art world currently holds so dearly. Making art inclusive is a pillar to the vision Everette has for Artx & the culture as a whole.
Software/ Technology Solutions
The ability to easily scale from 10 users to 10,000 users is what makes the software as a service so valuable to our society. There are often conversations in the tech world about how an app, or program has made tools exclusive to the rich accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. The whole; “you have a computer in your pocket more powerful than the computers first used to send astronauts into orbit” sort of thing. ArtX is proud to offer paid and free software tools created specifically for artist, in such a disenfranchised space. Through ArtX Amplify artist and creators alike are given access to the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This tool will allow artist to promote their work like never before. A virtual curator of sorts that will help artist find their niche, grow social followings, & better target collectors.
“I see it as a community first above everything. We want to give back to the art community, rather than taking from it”
The community branch of ArtX will assist artist financially. Scholarships launching soon will give artist much need support for studio space, art supplies, or travel to art related events around the globe. The goal is to create an ecosystem of local art events, exposing people to various art collections while providing space for artist to showcase and sell their work.
“I want people, specifically the black community, to realize how important it is to invest back into our creativity and artistry,” he said.
Talk about a solution!
We wish Everette Taylor, and ArtX much success in their journey to disrupt institutional art. This ends today’s Tech Talk. We leave you with this quote from Taylor:
People have to understand that art isn’t only something you can love and appreciate, but a way to invest and build generational wealth. Many people from marginalized and underrepresented communities haven’t had the opportunity to be educated. ArtX is going to change that. This is only Phase I of a much bigger plan,”
While we are here we will be introduced to afrofuturist developer; Nana Kwame Bediako.
Born in Ghana but educated in the U.K, Nana Kwame is a property developer with a desire to industrialize Africa.
Nana Kwame Bediako initially established Wonda World Estates as a mere side project. Wonda World firm first focused on maximizing the use of land by building two houses on one plot. Nana Kwame lived in one house while the other was being built. Then, he sold the first and moved right nextdoor; into the second one.
The firm initially focused on maximizing land usage by building two houses on one plot.
Today, Wonda World Estates, based in Accra, Ghana, boasts a building output of 200 units every 18 months. It is an unmistakable brand of building architecture and is currently planning to develop 1000 more additional homes for the public sector.
Location, Location, Location!
So what’s Nana’s key to success? UnderstandingLand Policy.
The phrase ‘Land Policy’ encompasses all policies that deal with land – agricultural land, forest land, land for housing, infrastructure etc…. It typically includes laws and regulations as well as administrative structures and programmes. Land policy generally aims at shaping a specific type of land governance;this generally includes arrangements of tenure, access, use, security, management, control, distribution, property and administration. A land policy is essentially an expression of a government’s perception of the direction to be taken on major issues related to land. As such, land policy always implies a political decision of setting priorities and following specific aims. Hands on the Land
TLDR; Land Policy is the blueprint that lets you know where things can go in a community. So, where schools are located, business can operate, and apartments developed, things of that nature; infrastructure on a macro scale.
So if one knows this:
Then one knows what roads schools can be built on. That individual knows i.e what roads to build a black owned day care. If one knows when a university is expanding enrollment, then a new rental property around the area will be considered a wise investment.
Nana took this concept and put it through a cultural algorithm. Wonda World’s portfolio boasts examples of this equation:
Avenue Lincoln Osu district, Accra, Ghana; is this developers answer to a community in need of property offering office, residential, and lodging solutions.
In the airport residential area, Kwarleyz Residenceprovides residential property that is ideal for individuals, couples, and families looking to enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle in the heart of the city. It is also perfectly suited for expatriates looking for residence in Ghana.
Petronia City is a proposed 2000-acre city development project that aims to provide the first fully integrated business hub for West Africa’s oil, gas and mining industries.
But how did he get from compounds & single buildings to developing a city?
Mr. Bediako identified a need, was equipped to provide a fitting solution at scale.
During his visit to Harvard Business School, Nana exclaims:
“Africa is trying to have Urbanization before industrialization”
Nana Kwame Bediako
This Pan-Afrofuturist is developing property to increase the number of opportunities middle class citizens will have with the discovery of oil in Takoradi, Ghana. By the way; Petronia City is 8km(~5miles) from Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana; Sekondi-Takoradi is the region’s largest city and an industrial and commercial centre, with a population of 445,205 people.
Strategic; Location, Location, Location!
Down below is an in depth interview discussing topics such as property, voting, politics, business, and religion with Nana Kwame Bediako.
What does the collaboration of technology, diaspora and the culture look like ?
If you hit run on that code you will get:
Iddris is a one of a kind Crea+iv.
Born into a Ghanaian father while living in Compton & Harbor City, Iddris, has always lived a dual reality. That, & the fact at a young age his father sent him to Ghana where he stayed for nearly 9 months; an experience many first generation African children can relate to. During his experience in Ghana Iddris learned to distinguish the difference between “Real world problems” & “First world problems”.
Shortly after returning to the US from his extended trip abroad, the first ever Apple Iphone was released. This inspired Iddris to begin learning code.
He spent 2 years studying at Torrance Public Library and later to applied for a Google internship at the tender age of 13. At the age of 14, Iddris received the Presidential Scholar award from President Barack Obama himself. The year after, Sandu, 15, was analysing data for Twitter. The explore page on instagram? 16 year old Iddris did that. He even has influence on the development of Snapchat’s Spectacles. Shortly after at age 19 he worked on an autonomous driving software at Uber. By the age of 20, Iddris was the technology powerhouse behind the late Nipsey Hussle’s Marathon Smart Store, the roads in which the culture and Tech collaborated to create a new retail experience.
“I see a young dude that is, one of us. Obviously from the culture. “ –
Design is a topic near to Iddris’ heart. He takes his influences from the likes of Steve Jobs, who was arguably the godfather of consumer electronic design, Jony Ive, the lead designer at Apple. And the 10 Principles of good design by Dieter Rams is his code to life.
“I believe we can change the world through good design.“
Often described as Kanye West X Elon Musk, Sandu has a desire to develop brands that use technology as a blueprint.
As a humanist, Iddris uses himself as a vessel for the underprivileged and under-informed or misinformed. He seeks to educate others on the topics of tech, the digital revolution and how it affects the culture. An aware individual taking actions against the digital divide.
I am a humanist.
I want to see everyone thrive.
I don’t like classism.
I don’t like gaps.
I want everyone to have equal experience.
In Gen Z: Plan A
In Gen Z: Plan A, Iddris gives us a real time notification to upgrade our operating system.
“As a minority growing up in this era we risk the chance of losing a seat at the table.”
Sandu speaks on the digital divide and suggests an exposure centered approach to education.
Here’s some of information Iddris offers up to the cloud.
Diverse infrastructure is necessary. …period.
Any software not developed by a diverse group of humans from the ground up automatically renders the software biased. Simply put, any software developed by one group of humans will only work for that group of humans.
The importance of teaching good design.
Guidelines on how to design for a better world will improve overall human experiences. Guidelines that takes into account the values of the culture will allow for the design of a technology to meet the needs of the culture.
A new design ethos: Aspirational Necessitation
Aspirational Necessitation is the idea of taking principles usually applied to aspirational products and applying them to products necessary for day to day life. Imagine if the same care and attention to detail invested into the iphone was applied to street lights.
Iddris Sandu: The AfroFuturist
“If I am going to do anything next in tech it’s going to be on the basis of infrastructure, everything for me goes back to infrastructure.”
I feel like the most impactful thing we can do is to build an experimental prototype community in Africa, which is going to be where the next generation of global leaders come from, because they’re exposed to a lot of problems that no one else wants to fix.
This, Ladies and Gentleman is a collaboration of the diaspora & technology.
An invitation to collaborate & execute with the dopest humans possible?
The dream, drive, and vision to develop Africa with a design ethos never before practiced by man is alive and growing within the culture. Now is a time unlike never before to take action. The barrier to entry has been digitally dissolved. Tools previously reserved for those who own infrastructure now exist within the cloud. The tech is here to build the future Africa we desire and deserve.
Iddris stresses the importance of the Iphone for two reasons. This was the first time people could touch software; the relationship between user and tech became intimate. Secondly, the App Store was open for the business, with an accompanying developer program that gave users the potential to program apps. This is important because of ownership. Every app is developed using a coding language. Coding languages are developed by people. If a group of biased people develop code, the code will be inherently biased, biased code biased program. Biased programing results in a less than optimal user experience.
We look forward to experiencing what happens when people of the culture develop a coding language for the culture.
That concludes today’s Tech Talk.
Remember, WE TOLD YOU
“We must not make the same mistakes those before us made, we must remember to be inclusive, diverse & help everyone else around us because we are one race, the human race.
We are going to dig into that on today’s Tech Talk.
Afropolitanism is a young concept aimed at labeling a growing group of urban African professionals with strong ties to various cultures throughout the african continent & also share experiences with those of other international walks of life.
The term Afropolitanism was first popularized in 2005 by Taiye Selasi, in an essay titled “Bye-Bye, Babar”
The modern day diaspora, beginning in the 1960’s, is said to be responsible for the exodus of Africa’s young, gifted & broke. Laying the foundation for this international community; the newest generation of African immigrants.
Taiye highlights the acceptance of complexity in most African cultures. She breaks them down into three categories:
National: what part or parts of a national identity do they select to identify with? example: Ghanaian-American, British-Nigerian.
Racical: How do we perceive our race; often political within countries with diverse racial populations.
Cultural: what is the true essence of their cultural connection to Africa? What parts of their native culture is “passed on”?
Taiye suggest that true Afropolitanism comes with intrinsic multi-dimensional thinking. Often Africans far from their place of cultural birth have adapted & evolved to identify nationally with “foreign lands” & alternate racial identities. The latter adapting from nation to nation.
Today, social media, The internet, & satellite tv allows young Africans a bigger global reach & outlook. More Africans are exposed to much of the same pop culture happening on a global scale.
“An Afropolitan is someone who has roots in Africa, raised by the world, but still has an interest in the continent & is actively making an impact.”
Brendah Nyakudya, editor of Afropolitan magazine, South Africa
“Any African person in an urban environment, with the outlook and mindset that comes with urbanization is Afropolitan. “
Tolu Ogunlesi, Nigerian Journalist
“Afropolitans are a group of people who are either of African origin or influenced by African Culture, who are emerging internationally using African Cultures in creative ways to change perceptions about Africa.”