The Africa Center in partnership with The Africa Soft Power Project presents a discussion on the gears driving the youth-led social movement against police brutality in Nigeria.
Gen xYZ: Unsilenced Voices Propelling Change through Creative Power and Social Media #ENDSARS will be a deep dive into the gears driving the youth-led social movement against police brutality and bad governance in Nigeria with implications across the African continent.
As people around the world demand more from their governments and institutions, social movements have become more adept at challenging power structures and using new media tools to achieve their goals.
With its distributed leadership model, the #EndSARS movement in Nigeria has been an profound display of ingenuity by youth who have crowd-funded these protests, organized medical and legal support, food and social responsibility initiatives – while remaining transparent and demanding accountability via these platforms.
The sheer scale of the protests and the remarkable level of organization heralds the arrival of young Nigerians and the collective awakening of Generation Z for a better society with accountability and justice for all. These Nigerians overcame ethnic, religious, political and class differences to find a common voice and in a very significant way – placing their identity as committed Nigerians before all else.
These conversations explore #EndSARS as an extraordinary movement largely driven by young people, while focusing on what comes next. The sessions delve into the evolution of the struggle for state accountability, wins and losses of the movement over time, and the lessons for all Africans and people of African heritage.
Technology plays a vital role in social movements around the world. In the #EndSARS movement, it provides a framework to inform, support, amplify and organize protests while giving the movement the means to circumvent the limits of traditional institutions.
Social Media and technology provide a level of transparency that many governments find difficult to deflect; while offering a platform for citizens to demand accountability and justice.
From social media platforms, online news media to payment platforms, this session discusses how the landscape of social movements and activism has been altered by technology; and what opportunities these constantly evolving innovations hold for the future of governance in Africa.
Moderator: Seyitan Atigarin – Award-winning TV Presenter & News Anchor, Arise News TV
When Nigerian singer, Runtown, and entertainer, Falz took to the streets of Lagos, Nigeria to protest against police brutality, they amplified the #EndSARS movement, framed it as a movement affecting every social class in the nation and placed it at the top of public agenda.
Like Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, and the Hong Kong protests before it, the #EndSARS movement has been boosted by voices from the creative industries.
The 2020 edition of Big Brother Nigeria received over 900 million votes leading to concerns about the priorities of Gen Z and assumptions about their apathy towards politics and governance. However, their gaze has now shifted to the social issues confronting all Nigerians; a switch in focus that makes governments uncomfortable. This session examines how celebrities, influencers and the creative industry power social movements globally and how these voices can continue to leverage “soft power” in the fight for Africa’s future.
Moderator: Oreka Godis – Actor, Producer & TV Host
Event photo credit: Tosin James