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Fak’ugesi Festival 2020: #POWERTOTHEPIXEL

- Fak'ugesi Festival

A virtual feast of Africa’s best creative digital workshops, talks, pitches and digital art exhibitions.

Fak'ugesi Festival 2020

Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct and Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg have confirmed the Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Festival 2020  programme will run live, online for one month from 20 October to 20 November 2020.

Now in its seventh year, Fak’ugesi is a celebration of technology and creativity by Africans for Africa. Under the theme #POWERTOTHEPIXEL, the 2020 festival aims to bring regional and international audiences together through three major focus areas of


A major festival highlight is the work of anonymous South African artist a.k.a Xopher Wallace, who is the Fak’ugesi Festival 2020 #POWERTOTHEPIXEL featured Augmented Reality (AR) artist. Not only is he a winner of one of the curatorial commissions for Digital Art with exhibition titled The AFRIDELIC trip: Faces of mixed realities but is also the featured artist for the official 2020 #POWERTOTHEPIXEL face filter for Instagram, Facebook and Snap Camera. Using the Fak’ugesi iconography, Wallace’s face filter allows users to change between ‘Cyborg’ and ‘Third Eye’ to encapsulate the meeting of technology, culture, and the spirit of Fak’ugesi, try it out on Fak’ugesi’s Instagram. (video) 

The exciting virtual programme launches with the opening of 8 online digital art exhibitions which will be Always On and Free, taking place online, on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsAppThese and other contributions in the African Digital Art line-up will explore everything in digital culture today from the lives of South African teenagers in matric living through a global pandemic, to the premiere screenings of short animations from the Tshimologong Development Studio’s Young Director Program.

Special commissions

The exhibitions include five special commissions by five extraordinary new African digital art curators and are the outcome of an Africa-wide curator bootcamp led by Fak’ugesi in June and July this year and include:

Time, the Earth, and Death are Living Things, as Stories are by Ghanaian curator Elisabeth Efua Sutherland - co-created digital storytelling exhibition which maps the North, South, East & West of the continent into a rich, interactive platform that explores a collective understanding of what it means to be African in the digital age.

#DearUs, Matric 2020 by Faye Kabali-Kagwa, South African / Uganda curator - a WhatsApp driven exhibition that speaks to the lives of six South African teenagers living through a global pandemic at what should be the pinnacle of their schooling career.

Misava by South African curator and artist Nkhensani Mkhari - an online exhibition that seeks to refigure the digital as a site for radical healing and the manifestation of new metaphors of consciousness.

Spatial Fabrications: An Uninhabitable World by Soweto based PRE-EMPT Group Collective, a nonlinear Web VR orbiting around three animated films within a 360 environment. These views strive to warp politics and representations through various decolonial interventions.

The AFRIDELIC trip: Faces of mixed realities is curated by our feature face-filter artist Durban based Xopher Wallace presents themes influenced by African mysticism, using augmented reality as a realm of interaction between humanity and the spiritual or cosmic realms.


Other unmissable highlights in the African Digital Art leg of Fak’ugesi 2020 include industry pitches from the winners of this year’s Digital Lab Africa in Immersive Media, Animation, Gaming, Interactive Media, Digital Music and Digital Art. The programme will include various industry panels, skills exchanges and networking opportunities like ‘Meet the Digital Creatives’.


From 23 October the Festival shifts focus towards HERITAGE & TECHNOLOGY with an inspiring line-up including:

  • Prize giving and closing ceremony of the #HackUrCulture Hack-a-thon – a month-long starting on Heritage Day 24 Sept. and commencing on 23 Oct. an initiative led by Fak’ugesi partners Credipple and Goethe Johannesburg beginning on Heritage Day.
  • Panel discussions starting with The New Media Business of Heritage Stories featuring panellists from the South African History Archive, District Six Museum, the SABC and Kalushi producer Mandla Dube. This will be followed by an international panel titled Digitising Africa: Sustaining Access & Empowerment in Digitising African Archives with partners from the French National Audio-visual Institute INA, with Robben Island Museum and the Kenyan organisations Open Restitution and African Digital Heritage.


The much anticipated FAK’UGESI ARCADE kicks off in November with the exhibition People of Play: African Game Developers,curated by Games Industry Africa writer Vic Bassey which aims to celebrate and acknowledge gaming’s growing foothold across the African continent as well as the game developers, producers, writers and digital artists behind the industry.

This year’s gaming programme will include industry talks, skills exchanges, and will also see Fak’ugesi partner, French Institute of South Africa’s Novembre Numerique hosting a game-jam with a particular focus on South African game development.

Pre-Register for early access and tickets to limited and special events at

Partners & Funders

Fak’ugesi Festival Online 2020 is brought to you by the Tshimologong Innovation Precinct in collaboration with the Wits School of Arts. Its offering in 2020 is supported by the AFD Agence française de développement, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, National Arts Council, Gauteng Film Commission, Wits School of Arts - Arts Research Africa, French Institute of South Africa.

Partners include:Goethe Institut Johannesburg, Credipple, AnimationSA, Digital Lab Africa, WeAreVR and Games Industry Africa. 

About Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival

Fak’ugesi, which means “Switch it on” or “add power” in urban Zulu, is focused on culture, technology and innovation in Africa. It is an opportunity for young adults, with or without formal education, to learn or engage with tomorrow’s technology.

According to an Impact Report commissioned by the British Council ConnectZA- Fak’ugesi is believed to be the most important digital creativity festival in Africa. 

About Tshimologong Precinct

The Tshimologong Precinct, founded by Wits University, is a true "Silicon Valley" in Johannesburg that aims to realise African digital innovation for global markets. Its ecosystem propels entrepreneurship and grows the skills pipeline for the digital economy through collaboration with academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs.

Driven by common goals, including the desire to combine technology, innovation and creative content, Tshimologong and the French Embassy in South Africa have joined forces to create a Digital Content Hub (DCH) - and integrate and sustain the existing Digital Lab Africa Programme – the first support programming for the production of digital content across sub-Saharan Africa initiated in 2016 by the French Embassy in South Africa. The DCH is the first project from cultural industries in Africa to have obtained funding from the Agence française de développement (AFD) since the extension of their mandate to these sectors. 

About Digital Lab Africa

Created in 2016, Digital Lab Africa is an initiative of the French Institute and the French Embassy in South Africa, managed by the South African innovation hub Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct since 2018.

Digital Lab Africa (DLA) is the first platform dedicated to creative content (immersive realities, video game, animation, music, digital art) linked with innovation in Africa. The very idea of DLA is to incubate emerging talent by offering them a springboard to fast track their projects development with the support and expertise of DLA creative industries ecosystem in France and in Sub-Saharan African countries.