top of page
  • Writer's pictureQM

Lockdown With A Buzz: How Nigeria’s Youths Are Channeling Their Creativity

By Kingsley Mark Akpan

This piece by Kingsley Mark Akpan beams the spotlight on Uyo, a city in southern Nigeria and a microcosm of Africa's blossoming creative industry, and how its teeming creatives have been thriving in the new reality that is the world fighting for its very survival.

A sneeze or smile from a loved one making the world pause/stop has been a phrase replete in many hit love songs over the decades. But at no time in recent history has the world literally been paused by a ‘sneeze’ than the Coronavirus pandemic which has over the months altered life as we knew it. Away from the movies and all we thought we knew, the heroes saving the world are decked in gowns, scrubs and masks while the rest of us just, you know, hang in there waiting to be saved. While we wait with bated breathes, what’s there to fill in the time? Especially in a place like Africa?

The Covid19-induced lockdown in Africa has further limited socioeconomic viability in many countries but how are its young people coping? How are youths in Nigeria nay Africa channeling their creativity during the lockdown even with the widely enforced social distancing? The key to knowing all of that lies in the direct interactions with the continent’s creative youths themselves.

In recent years, entertainment has become Nigeria’s most recognizable exports. From famous, award-winning Afrobeats trendsetters like Wizkid and Burna Boy to Alternative music artistes like Johnny Drille taking the music scene by storm, music has become the new oil. Not to mention its film industry too. A few years ago, to have any chance of making it as an artiste, the country’s economic and entertainment capital, Lagos, seemed the only place of having a shot but with the increased internet penetration and social media use, that is changing. Cities all over the country are buzzing as entertainment hotspots themselves, including the Southern, near-coastal city of Uyo.

With the possibilities of the growth spurt seeming endless, the lockdown with no scheduled end in sight hits with a bang. L.J Saaaviour, a rapper who doubles as a songwriter, puts a spin on it when asked about what the lockdown meant to his craft and how he’s been drawing inspiration. “Well, I can’t attend shows and make appearances this period; and as a fulltime artiste, it means my source of income is on hold. I can’t record new songs too ‘cause movement is restricted and funding recording sessions right now is even a problem.”