Exploring the creative industry through Education’s spectrum: How Africa would have developed Artists/Athletes in schools

Africa can indeed solve the challenges faced with the opportunities within. And Education is the only way out of poverty. This is what we believed growing up, right? However, as Africa keeps on developing, schools and unemployment remain in the same bubble. As of now, Africa has 420 million youth in which two-thirds are discouraged, unemployed, or vulnerably employed with another significant portion in wage employment according to AFDB.

With a tremendous increase in college graduates in Africa, There is a massive increase in graduate numbers with a constant to no employment increase. Moreover, now the question would ask whom to blame, is it the education system? Government policies? Or the student? Initially, they are all affected. Africa will make a billion youth by 2030, imagine the number staying the same without any call to action? Are those youth going to be any better than us? Or else a rising burden to the continent, the issue is for us to solve now, by creating opportunities to generate employment and to have an economic stake to fit the upcoming billion youth.

The African share to the global creative market remains under 1% with North African countries and South Africa as critical contributors (Africa Business Magazine, 2014). For us to grow, there is a need in political will in both public and private entities to invest in the value chain like Education, infrastructure, production consumption and distribution. The African best artists still need recognition abroad or either pursue their career in the western world to make it in life, for its the western population that buys their artwork. The lack of intellectual property law with a weak policy towards avoiding, punishing and preventing piracy leaves many artists in poverty

going back to the drawing board, the education system. The school does not provide us with various necessary skills to overcome unemployment. Most of the graduates do not seek employment in what they learnt in school, and people are now developing knowledge using the internet, and explore different fields that were not present in the schools attended. There must be something missing in schools today; we are not learning what we need or needed on the market. We are not all looking for a white-collar job, how would the artist survive life in schools if there nothing provided in their interest? It is bizarre and weird to find a kid who wants to pursue accountancy as a career nowadays, most of the skills taught in schools are now well developed and presented on a low price with computer programs. We should be able to see it and plan accordingly by learning what computers cannot do better than us.

Speaking from a personal perspective, a student spends eight hours a day for twelve years to pursue basic Education to only end up unemployed or unskilled with such invested time. The Outliers, a book by Malcolm Gladwell, says that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. Imagine if at 18 we would develop masters in different fields, we would at least be more capable to generate skilled labour that would not be looking to be hired anywhere. The problem with this local Education might be that our student studies a little bit of everything without having enough time to spend in the liked field. Moreover, for a kid who is yet to know what to follow as a career, we can at least attract them to different career options using extracurriculars.

Student should indeed spend a quality amount of time to school, having lecturers all day long can not be the only way to accumulate knowledge, The extracurricular drives in, And as much as the extracurricular activities are present in about all schools, there is no tangible outcome coming from it, with a little to no consideration. Instead, it could be a booster for talent acquisition.

This blog is proposing how best Africa can consider more extracurricular activities in early Education to develop talent as early as possible in the children to work later and nourish them to become the best they can be. In Africa, we have a little to no school whereby one can acquire and pursue art, like drawing, songwriting, graphic design, acting, sport, media and filmmaking, we still consider all of such to be soft skills, but forget how needed they are in our society. Regular school can now be the best alternative where unleash, develop and practise talent if given time and consideration in the extracurricular. 

Sherrie Silver, A Rwandan dancer who choreographed “This Is America”
Photo by thenerveafrica.com

How can schools be the best platform to develop talents? And how does extracurricular help us to reach there? An average athlete in the US makes above $50,000 a year (Elad, 2019), a considerable amount far from the average white-collar amount. Sports in Africa lack much consideration, and usually, schools are not the best pool to harvest athletes in Africa. But individuals’ struggle and family background at some point. such results in many frauds in the industry and later makes us produce no better athletes. For instance, the age fraud in soccer has been a rising issue, and in every under-17 tournament an MRI wrist scan is used, and many are found guilty (Andy,2014)

With early exposure, kids can explore different fields in the creative industry like fashion, theatre, media, music and sport then have their career tracked from a young age. With this in place, schools in the same district can have regular competition and awards afterwards to attract students to develop content with each other and compete. The songwriter will stand a chance to have their written song sung by the fellow upcoming artist in the same school with other fellows playing instruments. And the theatre that is now the industry lacking actors, at least in Rwanda, would be more developed, and distribute various roles among the students and the skit writer whom their revised skit would be played by interested actors and dressed by fashion designers in the school. And so on and forth for the sports. With this in place regularly and tournaments, schools will be able to develop various talents and win different trophies. And having guidance, records with gaining grades and awards for such activities, students will like and produce more work towards the extracurricular activities and therefore employ a lot more time to make 10,000 hours later to make an expert.

With the consideration of such in the education system, we will be able to produce more competitive and skilled labour to create opportunities and fortune in new fields. Most African countries have a strong focus on agriculture and industrial growth in their latest development plans, but they will not be able to employ all the unemployed thou decreasing the unemployment rate.

As an artist with a background in the local creative industry, we lack recognition in the marketplace. People tend to consider the creative industry as a hobby as opposed to a career path, for instance charging for a graphic design gig would look surprising to colleagues for they consider it as a given service free of charge. Moreover, It is true that in Cinema, one might find a single person credited to several roles in the production for not having specialists to occupy different duties available. However, with the early introduction, consideration and effort in the extracurricular activities of schools, students would have a big platform to explore such roles and develop skills around it to later secure careers in the film industry.

Therefore, providing room and exposure for aspiring talents at a young age would challenge the narrative of traditional Education. Students would be able to graduate with projects and working experience in their respective field and able to chase careers in art and talents with an excellent CV to present to employers.


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