By Ragan M. Conteh
Techfrica Company Sierra Leone, on Friday 9th October 2020, at their main 383 Bai Bureh Road Mamboreh Junction office in Freetown, held a press conference to showcase African music and talents in the country.
Addressing newsmen, the Operations Manager of Techfrica Sierra Leone Company, Abdul Aziz Koroma, informed that Techfrica is an African technology and entertainment company owned by a Sierra Leonean.
“Techfrica goal is to help tackle social, economic, infrastructure, educational and environmental difficulties, from electricity, to roads, to flooding, to agriculture to even creating our own cars, airplanes, phones and more,” he said.
Techfrica Company’s motto is ‘By Africans, For Africans, Used By all.’
According to Abdul Aziz Koroma, this patriotic Sierra Leonean created the first internet radio station known as African Radio online and the Music streaming platform known as Audiofrica. He said he also created various other platforms in Sierra Leone for streaming songs and videos that have been operating for the past three years with signed and recognised artists in the country.
Giving an overview and history of Techfrica and its Founder and CEO, Mr. Al-Hassan Hafiz Bakarr-Kanu Sr., the Operations Manager informed the media that Techfrica is currently one of Africa’s leading technology and entertainment companies, which was born in Freetown in 1977.
Abudul Aziz Koroma went further that, in 1986 at age 9, the founder’s mother sent for him to live with her in the United States of America, and he made his way there.
Mr. Hafiz, according to the Operations Manager of Techfrica, was very thorough in the idea of technology and wanting better for his people and country. He further explained that, at the age of three, he did not like the fact that there was no light in his house in Sierra Leone. He decided to take a car battery, wires and light bulb to bring light.
He revealed that, in 1998 at the age of 21 while in college, the founder decided to create nightlife events for the African community as there was none, adding that his first company was called Mama Africa Productions in 1998, where he also opened club Mama Africa and in 2002 rebranded as Club Afrik.
“The Night club was one of the very first African clubs in the US at the time, where he promoted DJs, artists, models and dancers, etc.,” he narrated.
Because he wanted to give voice to the African Community in 2005, the founder and CEO, Mr. Al-Hassan Hafiz Bakarr-Kanu Sr., decided to start a media company called African Radio, ‘The BIG Voice Of Africa.’
Mr. Koroma pointed out that the CEO wanted to showcase Sierra Leone and African music and talents on air, as it was not getting any airplay, adding that the CEO went to a local FM station to enquire about bringing African music there.
He said they charged them one thousand dollars ($1,000) a month, to play for 2 hours every Saturday, adding that this was the Founder and CEO’s first heavy investment.
The Operations Manager went on that they started The African Radio Show and produced over 10 shows that became popular. “It is so popular that the owner asked him to do his shows everyday and will not have to pay fees anymore,” he said.
Koroma explained that many did not believe it will work, because Africans are not on the internet. “He started online Radio at his house with his DJs, listeners and engineers abandoning him because they did not believe in internet radio and said he was wasting his time and hard earned monies.
Between 2007 and 2012, Abdul Aziz explained, the CEO created over 20 franchise stations representing most of Africa and Europe, including Asian countries.
“The CEO created African Radio Naija, Ghana, Liberia, UK, Asia and his home country, Sierra Leone,” he noted.
He intimated that, in 2010 and 2012, the Founder and CEO, Mr. Al-Hassan Hafiz Bakarr-Kanu Sr., created the first African social networking site called Africasface and VoiceKast, which is similar to Facebook, but did not last as many Africans were not online yet or familiar with the app.
“With this he began to broadcast SLBS live globally, and even broadcasted the elections at that time,” Mr. Koroma said.
In 2014, when technology was becoming popular, he decided to create a tech company where Techfrica was born, adding that, with Techfrica, the CEO wanted to use technology to combat some of the issues facing Africa, but to also show that Africans can also be technically inclined.
Abdul Aziz Koroma intimated that, since the Founder and CEO was a DJ and worked with many artists, he decided to find solution for them as many complained of platform.
“This same year audiofrica was born to be a platform for African artits and music, but also for the artists to earn money,” he said.
In 2017, they launched in the USA and 2018 in Sierra Leone, they decided to create other platforms that will give Africans an edge, adding that, to date, it has over 20 platforms and it is running and including videofrica.
The Station Manager of Star TV, Abdul Rahman Kamara, who chaired the press conference, said the media plays an integral role in promoting the entertainment sector, adding that journalists can also make or break, while he appealed to the media for a robust awareness-raising about the platforms created to help artists and promote entertainment in the country.
The President of the Eastern Artist Union, Atical Foyoh, who unveiled the artists for the pay per stream, also underscores the recent development in the entertainment sector, especially so when Techfrica Company is aiming to boost artists in Sierra Leone.
He however appealed to all Sierra Leonean artists to use Techfrica Company platform for their benefit and pledged the Artists Union’s unflinching support to the company.
The ceremony was climaxed by live musical performance.