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Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes: Basil Okpara Jnr

His game generating interest was piqued at age 7 when his father scolded him for spending so much time playing games rather than building his own games for others to play. Basil took this as a challenge and paid more attention to learning how to make his own games.

Basil Okpara Snr’s Narrative

Growing up, Basil used to play a lot of mobile games says his father, Basil Okpara Sr. He went on to say,

I bought him a tablet when he was 4 years old because I saw that he was always grabbing phones to play games with. He played Candy Crush and Temple Run a lot.

According to Basil Okpara Snr,

There was this day he was on the tablet, as usual, he was so carried away with the game he was playing that I got upset with him. Out of annoyance, I said to him, ‘you are always playing games, can’t you think about building your own games so others can play yours too?’. I was angry when I said it, and I did not know he took it seriously,” he added.

That was the genesis of the discovery of this genius and possibly, Africa’s future technological brain.

Basil Okpara Jnr: Nine Years Old and a Wonder

At 9 years of age, the young Nigerian boy, Basil Okpara Jr. has become a serial game developer, through the utilization of the skill sets he attained at a five-day boot camp organised for children aged five to 15. Using that knowledge, he has developed 30 mobile games with the help of a free programming application called Scratch 2 which allows users to create games, animations, and stories online or offline. The camp was organized by Codefest International and was a camp put in place to give children like Basil access to emerging technologies like robotics and virtual reality.

His keen interest and gross obsession with game playing (and eventually, creation) led to his parents, buying him a laptop to that purpose as well as registering him for technology-oriented boot-camps where he learnt how to build games.

Though the games are still in their raw form and can currently only be accessed on computers that have Scratch 2 installed, one can actually access about 5 of his games on Google Play Store, one of which is ‘Frog Attack’.

Africa has the largest youth population in the world, and like Basil, this population is taking the lead when it comes to innovation on the continent. Basil wants to be a Scientist in future. He is one of the exceptional young ones making waves in technology.

As the saying goes, life is in phases and men are in sizes. Well, we could also add that Heroes are in different sizes and their heroics are in different stages. Basil is a proof to a generation and a country that there is so much hope for the technological sect of this country, more so, no child is too young to create, and also, in every child is some form of genius: Explore your Genius!




Featured Image Source: @VisaNigeria – Twitter

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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