Lecture by Kodwo Eshun: Methods of Animating the 2nd Wars of Existence in Kojo Laing’s Achimota City
It is often pointed out that the Africanity in Afrofuturism takes no account of the invention or the production of African futures. That the Afrofuturisms formulated during the 1990s and resurgent in the 21st Century, were and are elaborated as Afrodiasporic projects by practitioners in the UK and the USA. The constraints of Afrofuturism, then and now, therefore obliges continental practitioners to either adapt the term to take account of the specificity of African futures or to invent a new concept capable of grasping the range of contemporary practices across the continent that seek to invent the future.
Implicit here is the suggestion that the common task of inventing African futures is a task that is still to be achieved. Such a mission, operative at different scales and different media, assumes that there has been little or no African futurisms, African speculations or African science fictions to date. It is this gap between continental and diasporic production, reinterpreted as a generational opportunity, that is now to be repaired and remedied by contemporary practitioners.
This argument, well intentioned as it is, inscribes a belatedness into continental cultural practices. It overlooks the practices already produced within and outside the continent that can indeed be grasped as inventions of the future. It is peculiarly deaf, blind and mute to the complexity of fictions, textual, sonic, political, philosophical, sculptural and painterly, already elaborated across the continent.