people interviewed for the Africa Maker website

It was such a nerve racking day, but I got through it! We all got through it. I am so proud of myself and my classmates! We all dug deeper and came up with some amazing presentations.

Here is the video:

ITP Thesis week 2019: Adekemi Sijuwade - Africa Maker from ITP_NYU on Vimeo.


Here is the final presentation:

Here is a link to the final thesis presentation:

And the text to accompany the slides:

Thesis Speech Notes

Slide 1

Hi my name is Adekemi Sijuwade, I am a creative technologist, with a background in Journalism, mostly as a website editor and producer. Today I am presenting my Thesis, titled, Africa Maker

Slide 2

Africa Maker is a magazine style website for and about African inventors and creative technologists in Africa and the Diaspora.

It is a narrative-driven platform that seeks to showcase emerging African and African Diaspora technologists.

Africa maker will also share this content on social media

In addition, this platform will embrace telling the narrative of African makers in many formats such as with podcasts, 360 video, virtual reality, augmented reality

Africa Maker will also curate Africa-related technology articles, tutorials, resources and event-listings on the website.


Slide 3-8

Africans throughout the continent are creating innovative technological solutions that are specific to living in the unique African environment

  • For example from the Africa MakerFacebook page:
  • Pictured here is, Team Save-A-Soul, a group of young Nigerian girls, who made an app, FD-Detector, or Fake Drug Detector…, to combat one of the largest markets for fake pharmaceuticals. The teenage girls won the top position at the 2018 Technovation World Pitch Summit.
  • Here, Emmanuel Gabriel, the founder of OBTranslate, a computer assisted translation tool that uses machine learning, artificial intelligence and neural network systems to translate more than 2000+ African languages.
  • “Green Nettle Textile”, one the winners of the 2019 Global Change Award by clothing company H&M, has converted nettle stalks into a linen-like fabric, to create an eco-fabric out of natural rather than synthetic materials.
  • Sign-io, by Roy Allela is A sign-language-to-speech-translation glove that has been developed to address the language barrier between sign-language users and the general public.
  • Moses and John Olafenwa, founders of DeepQuest AI. They created DeepStack, an AI server that can be used completely offline or on the cloud for Face Recognition, Object Detection, Scene Recognition and Custom Recognition. Their API was recently used by a group of UCLA students in an innovation competition to create a prototype for Intelligent trash bins that use computer vision to detect where to throw debris.


Slide 9

In addition, Africans in the Diaspora feel that the narrative of the technology they are creating is not well represented in the media, in data sets and in artificial intelligence algorithms.

For example: From US based Mimi Onuoha, whom I interviewed, said in her recent installation: Missing Datasets. From her description: “Black folks are both over-collected and under-represented in American datasets, featuring strongly as objects of collection but rarely as subjects with agency over collection, ownership, and power.”


Slide 10


Unifying factor:

--Interested in African events

--Interested in innovation, especially in Africa

--Possibly identifies as a creative professional

--Interested in sharing ideas

Slide 11

Here we have a user story: Omoge, a young African woman frustrated with housework , decides to create an electronic sweeper made from the same fibers as the traditional yoruba broom. She sees visits, sees tutorials, and decides to make a low-energy, solar-powered sweeper that uses recycled servo motors. She writes a user-manual for her device and submits it to the Africa Maker website.

Slide 12

There is something stirring up on the continent. Innovation and technology in Africa is gaining traction and investment power, contributing to this space being one of the fastest growing sectors in Africa. According to a press release by the United Kingdom, the continent’s startups raised 50 percent more venture capital in 2017 than in 2016, the majority of this is being invested in South Africa (£130 million), Kenya (£114 million) and Nigeria (£89 million.)

The graphic here describes the concentration and funding to, Tech Hubs; spaces that provide support by way of internet access, electricity and administrative systems to the immediate local innovator community. These type spaces include incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, fab labs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other innovation spaces. The regions leading the way for these spaces are Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt in North Africa; Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal in West Africa; Kenya and Uganda in East Africa; and South Africa in Southern Africa.


Slide 13

How is Africa Maker different?

The purpose of Africa Maker is to support the innovator by telling their stories and their processes, while also arming them with knowledge sharing content and information about where to find these events, tech hubs, funding and other opportunities.


Slide 14

Fascinating reading, it’s like the world is seeing what I am seeing

Everyday something new to post on my website and Facebook Page


Slide 15

First edition of Africa  maker, i interviewed:

  • Ayo Okunseinde: A creative technologist and adjunct professor at NYU ITP, as well as Parsons
  • Mimi Onuoha: A creative technologist and adjunct professor at NYU ITP, as well as Olin College
  • Rasu Jilani (informally, for sources): Director of Recruiting and Community Engagement at New Inc.
  • Jordan Muthra: A creative technologist that just created a music streaming app called Island Stream
  • Abhita Austin: A music technology specialist and founder of The Creators Suite, a company to promote women in music.


Slide 16

African Diaspora Creative Technologists in New York, and in my research don’t feel well represented.

“If you think about ideas of machine learning and a lot of the outputs that are coming out of machine learning... That [model] may not be considered right about me, and may misrepresent people of color. It's a function of the system.” -- Ayo Okunseinde


Slides 17-22

Website Tour

Homepage--Feature articles, Notable News

Notable News -- Curated content from many sources

Tutorials -- Also curated coding and physical computing tutorials from around the web

Event listings of African innovation-related summits and festivals worldwide

Opportunities page: List of Funding, Organizations, etc


Facebook page: I scour the internet and social media and have been posting articles on the Africa maker facebook page


Slide 23 -- Next Steps


  • Network with African technologists
  • Use AI to translate content from one language to another
  • Curate writers, editors and producers in Africa and diaspora
  • Use services and developers in Africa, like Andela
  • Collect instructional material for tutorials especially from those I have interviewed.
  • More market research in Africa.  For example what are the unique algorithmic specifications of the models being created for blockchain, deep learning, and other emerging technologies by those in Africa? What are the needs of the people that get translated into creating data that they are using artificial intelligence to propagate?


Slide 24

Thanks to



My Family

Stefani Bardin

Clarinda MacLow

People interviewed


ITP Community at Large for these wonderful, tough, wonderful years