It has been echoed and re-echoed in so many quarters that no one can tell the African story better than Africans themselves.
Lisa Nichols, motivational speaker and founder of Motivating the Masses, puts it more elaborately: “No one else can dance your dance. No one else can sing your song. No one else can write your story.”
For far too long Africa has allowed its story to be told by others – false or distorted, time will tell. The advent of the internet has revolutionised the ways stories are told and distributed, but the story has remained largely the same for Africa. The continent is either not in the league or playing catch-up.
Now consider this. Out of top 10 social networking platforms and user generated content (UGC) platform sites in the world, none is Africa-focused. Yet, Africa is projected to have the highest number of people under age 35 globally, approximately 1 billion people, in the next 10 years. The continent currently has nearly 200 million people in the diaspora, with 46,360,457 in the United States of America alone as at 2017, according to the US Census Bureau.
One thing Africans in Africa and the diaspora have in common, according to The Africa-America Institute, is that 65 per cent of these people see the continent as their “roots”, where their “heart and passion live”. They, therefore, crave for anything that tends to unite them with these roots.
It was to answer this craving, this genuine desire of Africans to tell their stories themselves the way only they could tell it, this nostalgic longing by Africans in the diaspora for not just a touch but some kind of connection, a reunion with the Motherland, that has birthed Ogelle, Africa’s pioneer online video sharing resource and entertainment platform for African content only. A user generated content (UGC) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform with Pan-African coverage in terms of diversity of content themes, content creation and representation in languages.
Founded by Osita Oparaugo, a University of Buckingham, UK-trained lawyer and New York Film Academy-certified filmmaker, Ogelle is an all-in-one platform offering unlimited entertainment that is 100 per cent African. For content creators, Ogelle affords an opportunity to create, share and monetise their content by views, no matter their country of origin, cultural heritage and language; for established filmmakers and studios, it is an avenue to generate revenue from completed projects and the commissioning of new projects; and it is also a resource centre for learning and promotion of African cultural heritage and values, and for vocation and robust e-learning tutorials with special emphasis on English Language and STEM covering 6 years of post primary education tagged ‘Ogelle e-learning – education without walls for all Africa’.
Since its launch in Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial hub, in April 2019, Ogelle has recorded 1,149,080 general users and 67,561 registered users. The platform targets 25 million general users and 1 million premium users by 2025, as well as a revenue projection of $100 million by 2025. It is working to become the highest aggregator of African resource and entertainment platforms in the next few years. Thereafter, it hopes to introduce Ogelle Box-Office (market place) and Ogelle Kids.
Ambitious as this projection may sound, it is nonetheless within reach. Africa, with a population of over 1.2 billion people, has an internet absorption rate of about 34.4 per cent in 2018 and is expected to record an additional 30 per cent by 2025. The continent is estimated to reach 750 million internet users by 2025. At the same time, the approximately 200 million Africans in diaspora have an internet absorption rate of about 80 per cent. Africa’s internet economy has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, according to a report by IFC in collaboration with Google.
Additionally, big tech’s interest in Africa and African content is on the rise. Just shortly after Twitter said it was opening its first African office in Ghana, Amazon in April announced it would invest US$280 million in opening its first African office in South Africa. Microsoft is also working with the Nigerian government to accelerate digital transformation in the country over the next three years. This is an eloquent testimony to the huge untapped market that Africa offers.
With a formidable management team comprising some of the best brains in the entertainment industry, Ogelle surely has all it takes to not only reach but exceed its set goals.
“We have a team capable of directing and producing the best shows and films in Africa. A team that has an impeccable track record within the industry for the last 10-20 years,” said Oparaugo, who is the CEO of Reddot Television Network, the parent company of Ogelle.
“In addition, we have alliances with directors and producers across Sub-Saharan Africa, men and women committed to producing original and compelling content that will speak to culture.
“We have the right media connection and grassroots’ access which is the differentiating factor to creating that larger-than-life image and to take over the creative industry in Africa that is extremely huge, largely untapped and highly lucrative due to low cost of production and promotion without compromising quality. This product’s time is now. Please come with us on this journey,” he said.
Indeed, the engines are steaming, the train is about to leave the station, and the time to catch the ride is now. As Oparaugo used to say to global businesses – “If you’re not in Africa, you’re not in business yet” – someday soon it will be said of Ogelle that if you’re not on the platform, as an African in Africa or in the diaspora, or global lover of African content, then you may need to review your choice.