Yvonne Owuor Adhiambo

It doesn’t have to be, but it is rare to come across an openly, poetically and eloquently well versed philosopher such as Yvonne. She identifies as “Yvonne, writer.” She remembers the rewarding praise her mentor, Biniavanga Wainaina, late author of How to Write about Africa showered upon her. Her book Dust (2014) reads like a song and her fireside chat with Metta Nairobi is most inspiring. Yvonne has a love-hate relationship with her city. Is that what some people have with technology?

Her wide smile and gentle laughter speak in a mysterious language inviting her audience to decipher her lightly coded chortles. For Yvonne, who found her voice as an award winning author many years after hiding behind the Zanzibar Film Festival, fibre optic cables are an opportunity to unleash an outstanding creative potential. Her laughter says she is looking forward to creative and inspirational co-riders on those cables.

Yvonne is passionate about technology. She imagines the potential of creative content populating the fibre optic cables that circle her continent. It’s a topic that can evoke much excitement, an idea that stimulates a new sense of luxury, a discussion that can take place by those who seek to claim their power and privilege in the making of Africa’s new generation of emerging creative industries.

Listening to Yvonne speak was a reminder of a flabbergasting 3d map – Tyler-Morgan Wall’s Earth Submarine Fibre Optic Cable Network. The map awakened a long-term unconscious fixation – the globe we stared at in primary school, or the improved satellite imagery our toddlers stared at in natural history museum exhibitions – an impression that the one and only face of planet Earth was always going to stay the same. Take a look at the above link and see if you know what I mean.

The image of the under sea cables have a transformational effect on how we choose to imagine our world. On the one hand, it brings to focus all the horror stories about ocean pollution, yet it also serves as a reminder that those cables are what keep our planet digitally connected. The speculation that follows is the start of a creative process. It relates to imagining the face of a favorite radio show host then discovering a missing heart-beat because he looks nothing like what was expected!

Neither the shock effect nor the speculation reflect Yvonne’s noble vision. Rather it is a provocation with the intent of wiring hundreds of thousands of untold African stories. Just think how terminology would translate and tell if you can relate to fibre optic cables better than that.

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