Sierra Leone | A Fiber Optic Future

Ishmael Bull at his desk in Freetown, Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ishmael Bull has a dream to start a graphic design shop in Sierra Leone. We first chatted with him in the fall of 2012 about his job as head of the media and communication section at Africell SL and an entrepreneur of a startup built on a fiber optic future.

Sewa News: What's new in the telecommunications space in Sierra Leone?

Ish Bull: Communication is moving to a very vibrant stage with the new fiber optic installation. Before the fiber optic cable, Sierra Leone’s internet service had only been through satellite and penetration and was as low as 0.8 percent. With fiber optic, that can increase up to 20 percent penetration in just the first year.

Also afriRadio (owned by Africell’s Holding Group Lintel Ltd.) launched this year and as a non-commercial community radio station, the most important of its causes would be embarking on awareness campaigns that will take on topics affecting the core of Sierra Leone’s society. We have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with twenty-five radio stations nationwide that we link to on these issues and, as a result, we can send out messages simultaneously to the whole nation.

Afriradio also provides career jump-starts for graduates that want to volunteer into electronic broadcast and become accustomed to state-of-the-art equipment and professionalism in the world of media.

Sewa News: How is your digital and computer arts media company coming along?

Inkeemedia is somewhat like a prized jewel that I keep in a treasured chest and visit from time to time just to give it a little polish. The issue with digital art and animation is that it takes a lot of time to get any project to perfection and for this reason, for now, I only take on projects that are not too demanding and time consuming as Africell remains my main focus.

I am also taking up the world of apps and I have a few contracts lined up for Android and iOS operating platforms.

Sewa News: Did you put up the billboard we talked about last fall?

Not yet as I need to do a lot of planning with the design and installation. The idea is very simple but the result will be the first of a kind.

Sewa News: Tell us about comics and animated TV shows you've done or that are in the works?

The most pride I have had in any creation is the installation I did for my master's [degree] at the University of West London, formerly known as Thames Valley University. I created different videos to play on carefully mounted plasma screens in a blacked out hall, with the videos all relating to one single animated character to look like its interacting with the viewers in the same room.

I am planning to do this same installation in the near future, but for now I spend my leisure time creating the first ever animated TV series based on the culture of Sierra Leone. It aims to be funny, controversial and thought provoking. I’ll like to add that I really appreciate a platform like yours and I thank you immensely for giving me the opportunity to be part of it.


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