Jopolo: Spaceships from pre-colonial Africa

Dilman Dila

Writer, filmmaker, digital artist, and storyteller Dilman Dila presents an interactive graphic novel that re-imagines ancient African stories about star travel, about people who came from the sky and about those who went up there. Jopolo is a non-linear story presented in a series of images and texts with links that enable a reader to jump from a point in one story to any point in another story.

At the heart of the tale is a man whose wife dies, and his grief propels him to set off for the stars in search of her. All the narratives present an image of ancient Africa as one steeped in science and technology. Jopolo borrows from a traditional view of science, which is inseparable from animist philosophies: technologies that create better lives are technologies that do not harm the environment or lead to the extinction of other life forms.

How to view: This an interactive graphic novel. Their are several stories embedded in the novel so click on different highlighted items to follow different storylines.


Presented as part of the Creativate Digital Arts Festival


Dilman Dila is a writer, filmmaker, digital artist, and storyteller. He is the author of a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, A Killing in the Sun, and of the novella, A Fledgling Abiba. He has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2013) and for the Nommo Awards for Best Novella (2017), and long listed for the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition (2014), among many accolades. His digital art has been on exhibition in USA and in Uganda, and his films include the masterpiece What Happened in Room 13 (2007), which has attracted over 8-million views online, and The Felistas Fable (2013), which was nominated for Best First Feature by a Director at AMAA (2014) and which won four major awards at Uganda Film Festival (2014). You can watch some of his popular short films on and you can see more about his life and works on his website