In 1938, when the Nigerian author D.O. Fagunwa published his seminal work, Ògbójú Ọdẹ nínú Igbó Irúnmalẹ̀, it was the first novel ever written in the Yoruba language of southwest Nigeria. It was translated into English in the late 1960s by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, while he was held as political prisoner. Soyinka’s translation was titled Forest of a Thousand Daemons and it captured Fagunwa’s vivid imagery of the brave hunter Akara-ogun taking on spirits, snake people, magical trees, and many other mythical beings in this forest.
But the brave hunter never meets a unicorn.
That same mindset is needed among startups in Africa. They don’t need to borrow from the mythologies of other cultures to prove themselves worthy. The unicorn in Silicon Valley terms is a startup valued at over a billion dollars. In Africa, that’s as rare as the mythical creature itself. Yet, some believe African hubs need to produce their own unicorns to be seen as successful.