These are the highlights of the Esports Conversation which was held live on Youtube on Saturday 28th of January 2023. Powered by LagosMums and the Lagos Esports Forum.
Speakers at the event were;
Sayo Owolabi, Founder/CEO, Lagos Esports Forum
Yetty Williams, Founder/CEO, LagosMums
Ife Akintaju, COO Mobiele
Cholwe Shabukali, CEO Team Gematrix
Mr Peter Chilembo (Snr), Lawyer/Gamer Dad
Peter Chilembo (Jnr), Esports Athlete/Gold Medalist AEC 2022
Nifesi Adefila, Programs Manager, LagosMums
After introductions, the conversation started with a definition of Esports by Ife Akintaju. He said, “the full meaning of Esports is Electronic Sports. Which stands for Electronic Gaming. Esports is a sport where video gaming has moved from leisure time to competitive scenarios whereby people compete for laurels, medals, and prizes.”
In her welcome address, the CEO and founder of LagosMums, Yetty Williams, noted her excitement to see how the world has evolved since LagosMums started. “From the future of jobs to AI disrupting education to our children being born in this fast-paced world. As parents, who grew up in an analog world, it is important for us to understand what is changing and how things are changing,” she said. In her research, she found out Esports has been recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Team.
11-year-old gold medalist, Peter Chilembo (Jnr) shared how it feels to be the first gold medalist at an African esports event.
Peter (Jnr) said, “It feels great being the first gold medalist. I won my first medal and it was a good experience. I started playing when I was 3 back in 2014 and there will be many more gold medals”.
How do you encourage Peter to game and not see it as just an activity for leisure? Mr. Peter Chilembo (Snr)
Mr. Peter Chilembo (Snr) responded by saying, “I have been a gamer myself. In this part of the world, esports is about entertainment. I introduced him to gaming, and when I realised there was a career opportunity in it, I supported him. Both physically and emotionally, knowing that there’s a future beyond just fun and playing in the house.
One of the key ways to support your child is to get them the tools and to also listen to them. Also, control is important as you hand them the tools.”
My journey into esports and clearing the misconception that Esports caters to just boys/men- Chilowe
I started as a casual gamer, and I still am. My gaming journey started when I was about 5 or 6. I played games like Mortal Combats etc. As a child, I went all out in gaming. At an event I attended in 2015, I realised Esports was a career. That was pivotal for me! There I saw a lot of players playing Mortal Combat 9 and winning prize money. It was a different experience.
In 2017, I decided to set up a business and started to think more like a business person and not just a gamer. That’s when I founded Gematrix with my co-founder.
The problem is many female gamers are alienated from the pro side of gaming. Female programs and tournaments should be created by organisations ready to influence change. I wouldn’t personally advocate for a female-only tournament. But, because we are just getting started, we might need to start first with the females alone to help them get comfortable with the game. The beauty of Esports is that its intellectual and cognitive nature makes it more inclusive.
Seeing the potential of esports, what parents can do better to encourage their gaming children- Yetty Williams
“As parents for us to raise children for a future that we don’t know, we must get comfortable raising them through what we don’t know. With Esports being a new area, one of the things we need to do is learn how it works. I recommend doing 3 things; Educate yourself about what they are doing; empower them to make the right choices and empathise with your child. Parents need to engage, discuss with and listen to their children. It is not time-wasting. An understanding that not all screen time is created the same or bad, will help parents’, said Yetty.
How schools can key into esports for children- Sayo Owolabi
“Schools first need to understand the space. You can’t give what you don’t have. There are schemes for scholarships now. Schools need to create a curriculum around it, first. Then facilities should be made available. Quality mobile gaming facilities should be provided. Students can now be exposed to other cultures and be opened up to international opportunities on the global stage, afterward,” Sayo said. Yetty also noted that schools can include esports in their extra-curricular activities. They can find companies who would like to invest in esports for the students and then start from there.
Questions from Parents during the Conversation
- What do Parents and Kids Need to Start in Esports?
Parents need to be interested in what their child does. Your interest and encouragement will help them go further. Let your child just start, expose them to all that they need.
2. Is becoming a Pro-player in Esports the only career in Esports?
Esports is just like traditional sports. There are so many career opportunities for you and your child in Esports beyond gaming. There is media, content creation, and writing.
By finding out what is obtainable in your child’s field of interest, you seem cool to your child. Through this, more doors for conversations with your child are opened.
Sayo Owolabi gave the closing remarks. He thanked Yetty Wiliams of LagosMums for the opportunity to collaborate. “This is just the beginning. Work is in progress on creating avenues for students in schools across Lagos to get involved in Esport”, said Sayo. He thanked the speakers and anchors and the viewers for being a part of the conversation.
Interested in watching the replay of The Esports Conversation? Click here to access the Replay.