(Founder, Africa HD)
STORYTELLING: REPURPOSING AN AFRICAN TRADITION FOR THE DIGITAL ERA
Storytelling has been a tradition in Africa since time began. Long before the written word, storytelling was how information was passed down to new generations.
Stories were mainly told in the evenings, around a fire, under moonlight skies, by the elders in the village. Drums provided the sound effects. The storyteller controlled the moment with the crescendo and decrescendo of his voice. He employed sing-along songs that captured the attention of even the youngest listeners, prompting them to respond and be an active part of the story.
Storytellers were both entertainers and educators. They had a big responsibility in shaping the impressionable minds of young listeners, and in bending the opinions of the more mature audience. It is a responsibility that they took very seriously.
While times have changed, the functions and responsibilities of the storyteller have not. The storyteller still serves as both entertainer and educator. He still has the power to shape the minds of young listeners, and change the perceptions and opinions held by the more mature audience.
Enter James Makawa, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Africa HD, a global entertainment company with offices in Los Angeles, California and Johannesburg, South Africa. Later this year Mr. Makawa will launch a new global television network (also called Africa HD) and an online portal (africahd.com) that will capture, define and amplify the African Experience in breathtaking High Definition for audiences worldwide. The channel’s unique content strategy covers all of today’s popular genres including lifestyle, travel, fashion, food, soaps, drama, documentaries, feature films, concerts, cultural events, talk, business news, sports and, of course, wildlife.
Within each of these genres lie hundreds of stories that are waiting to be seen and heard by a global audience that is eager to engage with Africa-inspired content, eager to explore the road less traveled and ready to evolve with a deeper understanding of a continent that throughout the course of history has been very misunderstood.
In founding Africa HD Makawa has repurposed an African tradition for the digital era and created a conduit through which ideas can be shared, information can be exchanged and strangers can become friends.