An African Renaissance of Paramount Importance

By Monde Twala, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Paramount Africa and Peer Lead, BET International.


“Agojie!” “Wusu!” “Agojie!” “Wusu!”. That is the powerful war cry of the Agojie, an all-woman unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states on the continent in the 18th and 19th centuries as told by 2022 film, The Woman King. Inspired by true events, Oscar award winner Viola Davis plays General Nanisca delivering the piercing call-to-arms each time with epic fierceness as she rallies the Agojie troops against enemies determined to violate Dahomey’s honour and destroy their way of life – something the Agojie women were willing to die for.  Inspired by true events, this powerful masterpiece got me thinking about African storytelling, and just how far, today, we are willing to go to invest in the relaying of authentic African stories and importantly, what the future holds for indigenous storytelling.


Stemming from a millennia old tradition of oral storytelling, the course of history has lost some valuable components of African stories, either in interpretation or translation. Some of them, we will sadly never recover. And as the world continues to embrace its current African content renaissance, what options we have to document our stories for lifetimes to come. Naturally, film and television sit at the heart of engaging platforms that do this with ease and efficiency. However, with the pace the world is moving, even this medium is evolving with lightning speed.


With this global beckoning for the telling of African stories, as creatives, we are commissioned by our ancestry to remember, rewrite, document and reimagine who we are, and more importantly creating space for who we can become, and the importance to see that, in the context of future consumption patterns.

The Africa in All of Us

Everyone wants a piece of the melting pot of diverse cultures, languages, and traditions presented by the African continent. And we will continue to see this trend for the next decade as the world continues to seek a deeper connection with others, and naturally moves back to its origin, Africa. We will see different kinds of storytellers not only seek to tell African stories, but also find their place in them by reaching towards discovering their lineages, a trend that will influence not just African stories, but all stories as people begin to weave themselves into the stories they write and produce.

The Influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and The Metaverse

A solve to the cultural preservation issue will be utilising AI to our advantage. Paramount Global Insights South Africa polled our online community in 2020, to find out how AI is perceived among people aged 18 to 49. While 51% of respondents said they understood what AI is, the same percentage believed they don’t rely on it much. At least 44% said they relied on AI often, particularly in the form of digital assistants like Hey Google and Siri. This trend will change drastically as AI and the Metaverse begin to find a firm place in society as more and more people spend more of their time in immersive, social, and digital worlds. So why not have a Zulu speaking Siri?


Bungie Co-Founder, Halo + Destiny Director Jason Jones in 2021 tweeted “AR will displace mobile. I’m so sure of that… And all TVs will go in a landfill… so many people are going to end up with virtual pets, windows to the Taj Mahal… it’ll be sooner than 20 years”. I think he might be right… This will include the increased use of AI-powered personalisation and customisation, as well as the development of new, cutting-edge technologies that shape alternative content viewing options. The rise of AI, will come not just with the diversity of content platforms, but also the diversity of content – 5-minute movies to watch on your fridge door anyone?

The Digital Human Connection

An interesting phenomenon that hasn’t quite yet reached African shores is, co-streaming – the experience of watching content with others virtually and simultaneously, even though they are physically apart. Research conducted by Paramount, in 2021, found that 57% of Americans who stream content have co-streamed a TV show or movie in the last year.  They co-stream for a variety of reasons, however the top reasons cited for co-streaming were to watch a TV show or movie that they and their companions love, to share the experience of a favourite movie or show, to adapt to life during COVID-19, to try something new, and to hang out with others. With the growth of streaming on the continent, we will begin to see the eternal pervasive power of human connection grow no matter how much distance is between people.

Suffice it to say, the future is here, and just about everyone is ready for the African story to take the lead. Through the lens of evolution, comes the opportunity to etch our names in history, and let us use our voices to push African culture forward. Integrating technology into our content generation and preservation strategies will sustain the authenticity of our stories and ensure the African renaissance remains, while staying afloat with current trends.

Paramount Africa remains committed to the telling of authentic African stories as well as providing platforms for growth, of inclusivity, identity ownership, and mirror reflective authenticity.

Paramount Africa is a television and multimedia broadcast organization based in South Africa and Nigeria


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