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Design Indaba, Google Unveil Colours of Africa to Showcase African Creatives

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Colours of Africa

An online initiative known as Colours of Africa has been launched by Design Indaba in partnership with Google Arts & Culture.

The project brings online and showcases 60 specially-curated artworks produced by over 60 unique African creatives chosen by Design Indaba – each invited to contribute a work that captures the ‘colour’ and character of their home country.

Selected by Design Indaba’s founder Ravi Naidoo, the creatives will showcase the best of African craft, product, industrial design, fashion, film, animation, graphic, food, music, jewellery and architecture.

“Africa is known for its bold, unapologetic use of colour. Each country, city and community is identifiable by its unique palette. As Africans, we can tell powerful stories through colour. This project tells a story of a continent through the universally accessible lens,” says Naidoo.

The first artistic undertaking of this scale, the project will allow viewers to discover stories of Africa as told by the African creative community. The artworks will be showcased online where users are invited to spin the kaleidoscope to explore the works in an effort to take users on a journey through Africa,  inviting them to view each country through the eyes of a local artist.

“Google has always been acutely aware and in full support of the immense creative melting pot that exists on the continent. Collaborating with Design Indaba on this project allows us to bring this support to fruition. By empowering and amplifying African voices to tell the unique stories of their cultures through their work and creativity, we hope to provide much-needed exposure, cultivate a newfound curiosity, and provide a window into the vast beauty that exists on the continent,” says Nitin Gajria, Managing Director at Google.

The project involves creatives from almost every discipline imaginable, from architecture, illustration, painting and ceramics through to writing, engineering, the performing arts and visual communications. Their creations have been converted into images, videos, texts and illustrations. The multidisciplinary mix of 60 artists includes Algerian photographer Ramzy Bensaadi, fashion designer Bisrat Negassi from Eritrea, filmmaker Archange Kiyindou “Yamakasi” from the Republic of Congo and visual artist Ngadi Smart from Sierra Leone.

To bring the project to life, Design Indaba collaborated with former Design Indaba conference speaker Noel Pretorius and his creative partner, Elin Sjöberg, who collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab to create the design concept and interface for the digital exhibition. The exhibition features a kaleidoscopic navigation tool that can be used to explore the art in a randomised way, giving the visitor a unique experience while allowing the art itself to shine.

“Nothing like this exists to date, so we’re very excited to break new ground. This is an important artistic catalogue, the first of its kind to plot the expanse of African artistry on Google Arts & Culture. We salute Google for taking this important step to provide the world with a resource like this – not everyone can afford to travel here or access physical art fairs and museums to view this kind of work,” continues Naidoo.

In addition to the Colours of Africa platform, the initiative will also see the launch of over 4 000 images, videos and 20 carefully curated exhibits from Design Indaba’s extensive archive. Award-winning initiatives like Sheltersuit, Arch for Arch and Emerging Creatives will be profiled extensively for the first time online.

New works by some of the most important creatives working on the continent and abroad will also be displayed. These include Fozia Ismail (featured creative on Serpentine Gallery’s Creative Exchange programme), Mayada Adil El Sayed (represented Sudanese women at the Generation Equality Forum) and Lady Skollie (winner of the 10th FNB art prize).

Design Indaba, which celebrated its 25th year in 2020, draws top thinkers and guests from across the globe. Acknowledged as the world’s best design conference, it continues to be a leader in foregrounding African creativity, making it the logical ‘home’ for this project.

“We look forward to giving viewers a ticket to experiencing a whole new world, one that is outside of their everyday surroundings and creative knowledge. This project answers the vital call for all to notice and embraces African art in all its wonder,” concludes Nitin Gajria at Google.

As part of the project launch, Design Indaba commissioned Nigerian multi-talented creative and accomplished professional artist, Chief Nike Monica Okundaye, to capture the unique spirit of her country in a colour which represents home to her. She created an original painting titled ‘The Female Drummer/Àyánbìnrin’.

Colour: Royal Blue

Country: Nigeria

Artwork Rationale:

The colour blue in Nigerian indigenous cultures is the colour of love. Before a king ascends the throne, he often has to wear royal indigo blue. In Yorùbá, this is called ẹtù. In northern Nigeria, the colour is also used for the chief or the king. Same in eastern Nigeria. In the north, they sometimes even pound the blue into the turban when they marry a new wife. The whole face is sometimes blue to show love to the new bride. During their Durba, they sometimes wear the shining blue colour in the turbans to show love to the people at the festival.

“I used blue for this painting titled ‘The Female Drummer/Àyánbìnrin’ to illustrate both the love you see here between the drummer and her lover and the love desperately needed in the time of the coronavirus lockdown. In Yorùbá societies, the talking drummer is usually at the front of the palace, sending messages to the king through the medium of the drum — messages that the visitor themselves might not understand. The unique thing about this painting, done during the lockdown, is the use of a female drummer instead of the typical male ones seen in traditional Yorùbá art. My work involves female empowerment — I have trained disadvantaged women, widows, and young women for many years on fabric art — so I am always happy to put women at the forefront of my artistic philosophy”, says Nike Okundaye, Founder and Managing Director of Nike Center for Art and Culture.

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Nigerian Music Stars in Hot Demand Worldwide—NCC

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Nigerian music stars

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has tasked content creators in the country to take advantage of the many advancements in the nation’s growing telecommunications industry, saying much can be achieved through music artists, who are hotcakes globally.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, stated this in Lagos over the weekend while speaking at the 10th Annual Brands and Marketing Conference of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) where the NCC was conferred with the Regulator of the Decade award.

Represented by the Executive Commissioner for Stakeholder Management, Mr Adeleke Adewolu, the EVC noted that the ongoing process, for which arrangements are in top gear, followed the successful auctioning of two bands of the 3.5GHz spectrum in December of 2021.

Mr Danbatta informed the participants at the conference that content creation and consumption had grown around the telecommunications infrastructure provided by technology, which Nigerian entertainers had leveraged to become global brands.

He said,  “Due to heavy leverage on digital platforms, the Nigerian entertainment industry has gone global. Nollywood is one of the biggest movie industries in the world. In fact, more movies are produced by Nollywood yearly in comparison to Hollywood.

“Nigerian music stars are in hot demand worldwide because of their popularity and brand recognition on social media. We should add that many of these global superstars emerging from Nigeria launched into stardom by leveraging caller tunes and other mobile content platforms to grow their brands and huge followers online.”

Mr Danbatta declared that, “Digital platforms are fostering different types of systemic change, creating new brands, eroding the value of some brands, whilst at the same time increasing the value of other brands. The innovation-transformation-disruption cycle has come to stay and will be exacerbated as technology continues to evolve.”

The EVC  assured that the NCC would continue to aggressively drive the rollout and seamless operation of infrastructure to drive new digital technologies to benefit all sectors of our economy.

“It is our hope that Nigerian brands will continue to leverage robust infrastructure to grow their value and ensure that our country derives maximum benefit from unfolding digital transformation efforts,” he said.

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Gospel Singer Sammie Okposo Slumps, Dies

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Sammie Okposo

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Reports just filtering in indicate that a popular gospel artist in Nigeria, Sammie Okposo, has passed on.

Details of this unfortunate incident are still sketchy, but it was gathered that he passed away on Friday at the age of 51 after he slumped.

Recall that some months ago, Sammie Okposo was in the news over issues concerning his marriage.

The Wellu Wellu crooner later apologised to his fans and others for betraying their trust, promising to be a better person.

Three years ago, the Delta State-born music star had a close encounter with death after the propeller shaft of his car pulled off while on motion.

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More than a Music Streaming Service – Why You Should Allocate Media Spend To Spotify

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Spotify music streaming service

By Carla Harrison

If I were to pick up your phone right now, there’s a very good chance that I’d find Spotify among your apps. It is, after all, the world’s most popular music streaming service, with 433 million users (188 million of whom are paid subscribers) in 183 countries. Since its launch in 2008, it’s transformed the way the world listens to music and helps launch the careers of artists around the world.

And if you use Spotify, you’re probably also aware that it’s expanded from just music streaming into podcasting, with some 4 million podcast titles joining its library of 82 million songs. But did you know that it’s also a powerful advertising platform with a growing focus on the African continent?

Any brand that’s serious about expansion, particularly in high-growth markets such as Nigeria, simply cannot afford to ignore it.

The pros of radio, plus more  

In order to understand what makes Spotify such an appealing platform for advertisers, it’s worth first reminding ourselves of the strengths offered by traditional radio. In general, for example, radio ads are more cost-effective than other forms. You can also get away with increased frequency, meaning that your message is more likely to stick.

Spotify offers all the benefits of radio advertising plus more. With growing numbers of people listening to digital audio streaming every day, you’re guaranteed an active and engaged audience. At the same time, you’re also reaching them while they listen to what they love. And because Spotify’s targeting options are so advanced, your brand can reach specific people based on age, gender, music genre, and playlist. Unlike radio, Spotify guarantees 100% completed listens in its reporting. It can also provide metrics around which type of audience engaged with your ad and a companion banner which allows users to click through to a webpage.

The streaming service is an innovator in the advertising space too. Its 3D audio feature, for instance, allows brands to provide premium quality advertising through an immersive, dynamic, and sensory audio experience. As a result, listeners don’t just hear an ad; they feel it.

But Spotify offers more than just audio ads. It also allows brands to reinforce their messages with high-impact display and video ad formats. Spotify video ads are actually the best performing in the industry, as they had to be built for viewability. The ads are 100% viewable and 100% audible, and Spotify only charges for 100% completion.

Making an impact in Africa 

It’s also worth pointing out that Spotify is seeing significant levels of growth across Africa. While the streaming service has been available in South Africa since 2018, its real expansion into Africa only came in early 2021, when it launched in an additional 40 countries.

But just a year after launching in Nigeria, the number of artists streamed per user had grown by 60%, and Nigerian music fans had created 1.3 million user-generated playlists. Additionally, nearly 21 000 songs had been added to the platform, placing Nigeria as the country with the second most streams after Pakistan in the new markets, with Kenya third in the ranking.

That growth isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon, either. According to Statista, music streaming revenues in Nigeria are expected to show an annual growth rate of 12.61% between 2022 and 2027. It’s also worth noting that penetration in the overall streaming market currently sits at just 4.1%. With an additional 35 million Nigerians set to come online by 2026 (all of whom will be hungry for the consumer experiences that come with affordable and ubiquitous access), Spotify looks primed for significant growth.

That comes with obvious growth benefits for advertisers, especially when you factor in that 39.6% of music streaming users are in the medium-income group. As Nigeria’s economy continues to grow, that income group will become larger and more valuable.

Partnering with the experts 

Brands looking to utilise Spotify as a marketing platform don’t have to go in blind, either. By working with experts that have specialist teams, they can get the most out of their campaigns. The right partners will also offer advertisers price transparency, ensuring that they get advertising on the platform at the most affordable rates.

In doing so, they can ensure that they always reach the right audiences at the right time with the right message. Moreover, with Spotify, they’re reaching people during the moments they love. And that’s always incredibly valuable for any marketer. Small wonder then, that Spotify is seen as the most trusted ad platform among consumers. Factor in the brand safety it offers, and you have a winning combination.

A culmination of factors 

Ultimately then, Spotify represents the culmination of a number of factors that should be of interest to anyone with a media budget that needs to be spent. And as Africa, and Nigeria in particular, that combination of engaged, active audiences, the ability to target specific audiences, and innovative advertising products will only become more important.

Carla Harrison is the East African Sales Manager at Ad Dynamo by Aleph

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