30 September 2020 0



Why Africa Should Resist Technology

A book by




What on earth do performing arts have to do with technology? And what does Africa have to do with it?

The trend in popular entertainment provides the most convincing evidence that technology is claiming total control over the arts. Special effects in cinema are redefining film aesthetics and the merits of success are calculated in terms of the costs required by production, dictated by a medium dominated by technological prowess. Television at times is reducing human drama to two factors: the cult of celebrity as defined by someone known for his regular appearance in the media; a technology-led drama created by merely peeping over the interaction of these inflated egos. In one instance, the peeping camera has been given the friendly human name: Big Brother. The rules of drama: narrative, characters, poetry, symbolic expression and the crafting of language are nowhere to be found. Communication has weirdly developed to the point that it is possible to have a theatre play with one person busy with his mobile phone to mimic drama. The British actor Stephen Fry is being judged no longer on his latest role on stage, but his performance on Twitter… Emails and texts are pushing everyone to write more and more, while language grows poorer and solitude locks individuals in virtual prisons. Singers are desperate to make a living from their recordings that are being eaten up and vomited all over. Where quality training, hard work and years of practice produced performers of substance, it only takes a few weeks of heavily financed competition with remote ‘public voting’ processed with accurate technological accounting to produce a ready-made ‘star’. Close-ups of the camera are replacing the human eye to produce new forms of glorified exposure… Performing arts are already under siege by the insidious technology, promoted to digital perfection, forcing all human factors to submit to the rule of mathematics. What originally was a justified breakthrough with the industrial revolution and the rise of the machine, has now turned into a dangerous race towards total mechanization, at the risk of utter dehumanization. Technology has become THE culture and the signs are clear that it may become hurtful. Something needs to be done.

(total of 262 pages for this essay written in 2001)