In gaiety moments, literature can blow your mind, indulging you into futuristic anticipations that float your brain on optimism, a hankering that carries you away from the muddles of this planet.
In the not so floric times, it is allowed to divulge into the trepidation of the future and roll your psyche back to question the vagaries of climate change, the consternation of Artificial Intelligence, the erosion of Africa’s cultural values and the degradation of nature due to man’s interference.
And in Marc Rigaudis’s play titled Usoni (Swahili for ‘the future’), he paints a picture of a Global North ravaged by the effects of climate change, forcing populations to seek refuge in the Global South – Africa.
In his 160-page piece of art, Ophelia, the protagonist, initially from the El-Molo community in Kenya, runs away from her Paris home, and starts to trace her way back to her motherland, after years of nuclear tests in Europe render the continent uninhabitable.
All European countries, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea find themselves in a deeply polluted environment, with the eruption of super-hot volcanoes evaporating all surface drinking-water.
Those men who had been spectators of famines find themselves actors in the dramas that they had seen in the Global South.
Rain water becomes too acidic for the human body, and one day to the next the populations, used to water flowing in torrents in rivers, suddenly find themselves in the middle of a desert. Most of them die of thirst.
In an apocalyptic vision in 2063, Rigaudis foresees these nations covered with a thick mantle of lava that flows majestically and invincibly, annihilating all forms of life; a tide of disaster, advancing inexorably, catching everyone who tried to flee before it.
The occasional deaths of Africans while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of better life every year is reversed, and the remaining few families left in the North start finding their way to Africa – the only safe place on the planet.
Kenya's gaming enthusiasts, creatives and innovators are teaming up to combat climate change with video games.
Max Musau, head of innovation at United States International University Africa (USIU) in Nairobi and Marc Rigaudis have teamed up to develop a video game to get the conversation of climate change and futurism active -- even among the young.
Dubbed Jiwe Studios, the online game downloadable from the web is the meeting point of literature and technology, equipping children with digital skills as they play a game based on the current geo-political happenings, where Africa has become the battleground.
Based in Lavington, Nairobi, the initiative is run by a team of eight thinkers, all drawn from the literature and technology arenas.
“Am inspired by Wangari Maathai’s initiatives to protect the environment for ecological sustenance. I wrote this play to awaken the African continent, to let it know that it is the cradle of mankind, and all natural resources in the world must be protected,” Mr Rigaudis, who is a creative director, told the Nation.
With over 40 years in film production, he was inspired to write the sci-fi play by the everyday advances in technology where millions of devices are designed without proper electronic and nuclear waste management strategies in place.
Such devices, when abandoned in the open, and rained on, pass huge deposits of dangerous metals into the soil and rivers, ending up in large water bodies where evaporation takes place.
“With the current rate, acid rain could be too toxic in the coming decades for man to drink. Wanton deforestation and refusal by key countries to tone down nuclear power tests and carbon emissions, could end life as we know it,” he warns.
According to Mr Musau, himself a lover of video animations, telling the African story through a 30-minute video game is the best way to let children comprehend the value of a healthy environment.
“There will be a new scramble for Africa if Western powers continue to pollute the environment. The conversation around electric cars is what Africa needs. Children need to learn that reducing carbon print is key to the future survival of mankind,” he says.
With the gaming industry projected to surpass Sh20 trillion by 2023 according to Newzoo, the duo aims to get Africa talking while tapping on Kenya’s high smartphone penetration and lowering cost of mobile internet.
“Africa has been listening to other continents for too long. It is time to speak up and come up with solutions to sustain its future population. All global calamities and tech advancements are happening in real time, and Africa needs its set of remedies,” notes Mr Rigaudis.