The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will return to Johannesburg with its 6th edition coming underway to celebrate and explore technology and creativity by Africans for Africa. The 6th edition titled ‘Own Your Force’ will see digital makers in Africa stake their claim on their talent, industry and creative economy. The festival will kick-start from 30th August to 8th September 2019.
Wits University’s Tshimologong Innovation Precinct alongside partners in the Braamfontein area will be at the center of festivities with a program promising to yet again transform Johannesburg into a celebration of creativity, innovation, and technology from across the African continent.
The event took a halt last year by the program directors to focus on the festival’s vision and development.
Speaking on the event, Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director says participants can expect a fresh and interesting line-up that explores screen-based digital creativity in animation, virtual reality, gaming, and mixed reality cinema – with special focus on cross-sector partnership in the region for Southern and East Africa, addressing blockchain, protection of intellectual, artificial intelligence and creative property and much more.
Bristow further said, “Fak’ugesi acts as a medium that brings together diverse digital and technology sectors to partner and share skills in digital media and technology innovation.
This year theme will address the African vision of the future of digital creativity by asking the following; who owns our digital value chain? How do we value our contributions to digital culture in an African economy? How do we protect our creative and cultural equity in the digital world? Where are the threats and the opportunities for culture and technology in Africa in a world driven by market interests?
The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival program is a conference designed alongside the Goethe-Institut’s Creative Entrepreneurship office, which will attract attention to the problems of creative and digital entrepreneurship within the 4 Industrial Revolution in Africa. In preparation, Goethe will host a forum of select contributions on 4th of July 2019 at Goethe Johannesburg
Also, the event will accommodate aspiring young digital artists from the SADC region.
This year the project extends as young Swiss artists partners with their SADC counterparts. Working with Pro Helvetia as well as ANT Fund for Development and Co-operation (SDC), the residency serves to highlight and improve incredible young digital talent in Southern Africa and enhance their careers as important digital creatives.
Along with supporting young up-and-coming digital arts via the annual Residency, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will be hosting a huge contingent of African Digital makers to both presents and participate.
This year, Fak’ugesi Festival will be working with the British Council Southern African Arts to bring up to 15 storytellers and digital artists from across the continent in the ColabNowNow project, a shared encounter with Fak’ugesi Festival’s sister festival Maputo Fast Forward in Mozambique.
Additionally, in collaboration with the Tshimologong Precinct, Fak’ugesi Festival will also host the recent Digital Lab Africa competition winners who hail from South Africa, Mali, Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe to represent five creative digital start-ups in Web Creation, Animation, Gaming, VR and Digital Media.
Also this year, Fak’ugesi Arcade program will run in full force with an emphasis on gaming in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Fak’ugesi Arcade is a project within Fak’ugesi Festival, a partnership with the Wits Digital Arts Department and different gaming industry partners that act to present new work both from the region and internationally and develop a critical agenda for the development of the gaming industry in Southern Africa,” says Bristow.
Fak’ugesi Arcade will seek to feature a special cross-sector game-jam (such as scriptwriting, music, UX and Animation in gaming) and workshops to forget alliance between sectors. The Fak’ugesi Arcade team will also shine a light on local and urban games, which will include a participatory game in a WhatsApp chatbot by Dutch Artist Klassien van de Zandschulp titled “OutSpace”.
Among the array of exciting exhibitions at this year’s festival will be the Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Residency Exhibition, work by Sidi Vanetti and Swiss Artists Andrea Gysin, a VR exhibition, an Animation screening in partnership with AnimationSA, a Games Arcade and an online residency with Floating Reverie.
“The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival is the best of its kind in Africa and the only digital arts-focused festival in Sub Saharan Africa. It has risen to prominence as a platform through which many budding digital makers have launched their careers and improved skills in digital media and technology innovation,” Bristow concluded.