Throughout history, the African culture has always been known for its folktales and stories told under the peaceful gaze of the moonlight, surrounded by children seated around the elders with their hands under their chin as they listen with apt attention for the wisdom that would be revealed with each story; communities gathered together, friends, neighbours, families sharing bonds that can only be felt by the mechanism of storytelling.

Search Inwards Group, the Publishers of Search Inwards Magazine has added to its stables, Tatsuniyya Network, a Children’s network dedicated to telling the African story and promoting ethics and values to challenge the status quo that negates cultural relativity and stereotypical content pushed into Africa and its people.  

On the 31st Day Of March, 2021. At an event themed ‘Audacious’: The African Project- “Securing the future today” which took place at the Envoy Hotel, Abuja. The event was graced by well meaning Nigerians including Mr. Edward Adamu, the Deputy Governor Central Bank of Nigeria, His Royal Highness, the Etsu of Agaie, Alhaji Nuhu Yusuf, the Governor of Niger State Represented by Mohammed Sanni Idris, Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Bako Shettima, Commissioner, Federal Revenue allocation Commission. Alhaji Haruna Dalhatu Iya,the Chairman VFD MircroFinance Bank,the MD,the Pirrotti-Abdullahi Suleiman and CFO Ibrahim Aliyu Muhammad, Kasumu Ademola the Managing Director of Kas Art Services, one of the Executives of Jaiz Bank Malam Sirajo Salisu and a host of others.

According to the concept note of the project, it is a project that is meant to counter and put forward the authentic African stories: “This initiative is intended to challenge the status quo, and the best way to tackle the negative tendencies of cartoons. What’s more is that this initiative is the first of its kind, (Like an African Disney world), it read.

Further stating that: “According to the American Psychological Association, Racial and Ethnic Socialization (RES) have benefits such as providing a strong sense of self and serving as a buffer against racism and discrimination. RES involves teaching children about their racial identity and the world around them and helping them navigate cross-racial interactions. RES can occur through implicit or explicit messages communicated to children. The best method is through moving images – animation/cartoons. 

“More and more parents are becoming aware of the need to groom and nurture their children in their African ways with African values and culture”. 

The project introduces Nigerian content to be transmitted to all African Nations and inviting every African country to collaborate and contribute their own content to grow the network.

Speaking at the unveiling of the project in Abuja, Chief Executive Officer, Hajiya Khadijah Abdullahi Iya said the market for this type of local contents is ripe and ready for the world to accept projects like this. The project, she said, draws inspiration from the success of Marvel Studio’s Black Panther.

” It is an understatement to say that the black panther movie was a HIT! It made $1.3 billion worldwide. The movie is a clear indication to how famished the African content Market place is right now. It is pertinent that we,  as Africans begin to showcase our work, our own creativity, to destroy the colonial mental programming that foreign content or values are better than ours. 

 Hajiya Khadijah also postulates that “at the heart of this African project is the prospect of massive job opportunities. It has the capacity to employ more than 2000 creatives directly and several thousands more in indirect opportunities.

“This project entails the launch of our first African animation project transmitted in various creative ways, Dan Auta and the Beast is the first amongst a Host of others which was duly screened at the event. Tatsuniyya Network plans to generate as much as fifty thousand stories from different communities in Africa for take-off and that translates to jobs and opportunities for our vibrant teaming youth.

“In 2012, three African folklores were published by the SI Magazine Publication with five more unpublished all embellished with African tales with colourful graphics essentially incorporated in the creation of this project. We initially searched for how we can get them animated for our African children’s consumption at the DISNEY STUDIOS but thought to bring it home.

“On this stage”, she added, “Africans are ready for their own voices to reverberate into the consciousness of the world! It is time to flaunt and own our identity”. Also to be included are stories on Gender Based Violence, a menace that has raised its ugly head and left scars in the lives of its victims.

Dignitaries at the event lauded the initiative, describing it as a fantastic initiative. Mr. Edward Adamu, the Keynote speaker said projects like Tatsuniyya Network would provide a good buffer for African Children especially in the face of the powerful effects of alien western civilisation in child upbringing.

Other goodwill messages at the event included commendations from the Emir of Agaie, HRH. Alh. Nuhu Yusuf, and other captains of industries from across the country. Highlight of the event was the special entrance of Timi Dakolo who sang a special number to commemorate the event .

Titi Ajayi

Head of Communications

SI Magazine1st April, 2021

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