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The Africans, A Radio Play in Three Acts

With The Africans, A Radio Play in Three Acts, Christian Nyampeta develops what he calls a “multiform audio-social structure”. The radio play portrays a battle between individualism, universalism and social collectivism. It stages key scenes of The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971), a novel by the late Kenyan philosopher and novelist Ali A. Mazrui (1933-2014).

The Africans, A Radio Play in Three Acts

Act 1

After an unexpected car crash, Hamisi wakes up in After-Africa, where he is welcomed by strangely familiar hosts: Salisha and her partner Abiranja. By the time he is introduced to the customs, geographies and rites of the Hereafter, Hamisi has to undertake his own initiation by standing as Counsel for Salvation in what is announced to be an epic trial: the trial of Christopher Okigbo, a young Nigerian poet who reached the gates of After-Africa as a result of his armed involvement in the Biafran war. The infinitely elastic Grand Stadium of After Africa is attended by millions who, from every geographical corner, await the verdict of the respected Elders of Judgement: was the poet entitled to place his individual civic engagement above his universal duty as an artist ?


Based on The Trial of Christopher Okigbo, a novel by Ali Mazrui

Written and directed by:
Christian Nyampeta

Voiced by:
Phindile Dube, Prince Joshua Botongore, Moya Michael, Otobong Nkanga, Obi Okigbo and Mohamed Toukabri

Original musical compositions by:
Julien Simbi

Produced by:
Sofia Dati and Helena Kritis
Recording by:
Johan Vandermaelen
Interns: Nathan Ishar and Sophia Attigui

Writing advisors: Shariffa Ali, Hannah Black, Rahima Gambo, Emmanuel Iduma, and Andros Zins-Browne

Additional sources include More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction by Kodwo Eshun, and Women and the Nigeria-Biafra War: Reframing Gender and Conflict in Africa, edited by Gloria Chuku and Sussie U. Aham-Okoro

Commissioned by WIELS Centre for Contemporary Art in the frame of the exhibition

“Risquons-Tout”, curated by Dirk Snauwaert, Zoë Gray, Devrim Bayar, Helena Kritis and Sofia Dati in 2020

Co-commissioned by Ntone Edjabe at Chimurenga Panafrican Space Station.

With the special support of the Flemish Government, Mondriaan Fonds, Africalia and The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

With thanks to: Lisa Akinyi May, Mai Abu ELDahab, Laïla Bouquet, Eric Cyuzuzo, Benoit De Wael, Mariama Errami, Elisabeth Severino Fernandes, Mwanza Goutier, Zen Jefferson, Emma Kamau, Lissa Kinnaer, Nicole Bongo Letuppe, Adams Mensah, Kristin Rogghe, Oussama Tabti, Cees Vossen, Mary Wang and Xiaoyu Weng.