Andani.Africa works to develop knowledge on creative economies on the African continent - and digital futures are one of our pillar areas of study. In early 2021, Andani.Africa developed the digital skills track - an ongoing audit of the development and application of creative digital skills on the African continent. It, therefore, made perfect sense to partner with Goethe Institut to develop the first phase of this research to begin to frame the site of digital skills acquisition and implementation on the African continent. This research report is therefore the first step towards a long-term, ongoing knowledge platform on how the digital is likely to shape creativity in Africa.
For this report we focus in on real lives and real experiences - telling the story of what it means to become young African digital creative entrepreneurs today.
Based on data collected from surveys, interviews and focus groups, the process of attaining creative digital skills presents as complex and non-linear. Respondents indicated a largely common experience of seeking creative digital skills in an exploratory way, with multiple turning points and stumbling blocks. The wandering path of creative digital skills is an aggregate of the experiences of interviewees, survey respondents and focus groups and presents us with the story of how creatives go about building their careers. Most career journeys include their twists and turns, and growth and knowledge development over time - very few are a straight and smooth ride. This is especially the case in the field of digital skills, where technologies are constantly shifting, For many from Township backgrounds, particularly those in low-income contexts, with limited resources and relatively low exposure within the basic education system to both technology and the arts, this wandering process becomes even more acute.
SA ranks 116th out of 140 countries in the World Banks assessment of digital skills among the populationWorld Bank Group 2019
For many creative digital skills, the literature and interviews indicate that while there is a growing framework of educational environment for creative digital skills acquisition, there remains a number of challenges:
Our research points to strategies for enabling the strengths and capacities of creative digital entrepreneurs. We have identified a number of practical actions that can be deeply impactful, and that respond to the specificities of the creative digital arena, and the access and resources of many creative digital entrepreneurs.