Tue 10 Oct, 2016

PRA Productions goes to space for the BBC World Service

We Shall Fly is the latest PRA Production to appear on the BBC, looking at the surprising history of African space exploration.

Presented by space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the two-part series on the BBC World Service asks why African nations are so keen to journey into the future as a space-going continent.

“Quite a few false starts have been made in Africa,” wrote the Ugandan philosopher and writer Taban Lo-Liyong, “…but most of us know the direction we are going – straight into the 21st Century. And to arrive there we are not going to go the way our grandparents would have gone – on foot and by canoe. We shall fly, we shall go by missiles, we shall go with the white man, we shall go with the yellow man. And we shall go by all means.”

We Shall Fly follows this poetic, aspirational spirit through the continent’s history, from speaking to the South African hoping to be the first black African in space, to a surprising and touching example of amateur space exploration in 1960s Zambia. What do these ambitions mean, and who believes in them?