Adekunle ‘Nodash’ Adejuiyigbe, award-winning filmmaker, urges screenwriters to device better realities for Africa through their stories.
Adejuiyigbe said this on his Instagram page @i_am_nodash in an open letter to screenwriters where he detailed lessons from the 2019 Carthage International Film Festival.
His award-winning film ‘The Delivery Boy’, an interesting love story that explores the back story of terrorists, represented Nigeria at the festival.
Adejuiyigbe wrote, “Dear fellow writers, you see those keypads, the ones on your computers and phones? They are actually not keypads, they are triggers on the strongest nuclear weapon of all, The weapon called “story”.
“With those keys we can liberate the continent, with them, we can also Hiroshima the hell out of ourselves. It’s a choice. Africa might have been invaded by guns but it was conquered by stories.
“Those stories became narratives and those narratives became filters through which we see ourselves and this distorted worldview is what we call reality.
“So if ‘reality’ is simply the handiwork of other writers, then our jobs as African writers is not to describe that reality, nope, our job is to engineer a better reality into existence.”
Adejuiyigbe noted that the writers might face challenges while trying to write better stories about Nigeria and Africa, however, he encouraged them to rise to the challenge.
He added that the process of aspirational writing was the difference between a writer and a journalist. According to him, it is a journalist’s job to assess and report Africa but it is a writer’s job to build it.
“Where are the resources to build with? Where do we draw inspiration from? I mean, we were punished for speaking our native languages in primary school weren’t we?
“How do we expect writers who were raised to think lowly of Africa to write stories that empower Africans?
“But this is the beauty of being an African writer in a time like this. For every page you write you have to go a mile within your own self.
“For every conflict your characters face, you face 20 within your own soul. So the African writer is essentially a character in a story that won’t end in his/her lifetime.
“It is a big responsibility because the story is the foundation of all creative projects. If the story has no magic, the best directors, actors and cameras cannot save it,” he said.