AI Expo Africa, Wesgro, and Zindi launch the Deepfake Africa Challenge

The objective of the challenge is to create convincing deepfakes to highlight the power of this synthetic media. Picture: Henk Kruger, ANA.

The objective of the challenge is to create convincing deepfakes to highlight the power of this synthetic media. Picture: Henk Kruger, ANA.

Published May 12, 2021


In a bid to raise awareness about deepfake media, tools, and ethics on the African continent, AI Expo Africa in collaboration with Wesgro Film and Media African Data Science platform Zindi has launched a Deepfake Africa Challenge.

The objective of the challenge is to create convincing deepfakes to highlight the power of this synthetic media.

A Deepfake is a video of a person that is digitally altered to make the person appear as someone else.

According to AI Media, deepfakes have been prominent in the news in the last two years as the tools and platforms that allow for such content to be produced are widely available and easy to use by skilled and casual users.

“While some deepfakes can be used to create fun, viral videos or new synthetic applications such as digital avatars that have multiple applications, they also can be used to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with the potential to deceive with subsequent negative impacts for people, organisations and wider society,” AI media said.

AI Media founder and CEO Nick Bradshaw said the challenge aims to also illustrate the creative potential for exploitation for both positive and negative outcomes and focusing debate about its ethical use or misuse in an African context.

“We partnered with Zindi as they have the largest community of Data Scientists in Africa, and Wesgro Film Unit to tap into the award-winning creative industry based in the Western Cape, South Africa. This challenge is open to both creative and technical talent across Africa. We look forward to seeing the outcomes from the submission.”

Wesgro Film and Media Promotion head Monica Rorvik said: “Deepfake media can have negative outcomes. This challenge serves as an opportunity and platform that we can leverage during this interesting time of the ’Pandemic of deep fakes’ – and by working together, and checking facts, we can learn together and gain some herd immunity.”

Zindi co-founder and CEO Celina Lee said deepfakes were fast becoming a challenge.

“Through the Zindi platform we are seeking to tap into the collective insights and creativity from 26 000 African data scientists to shine a light on this topic and create debate about the potential harms these media and tools can do from a uniquely African perspective,” she said.

Submission and evaluation

AI media said submissions were welcome from across the African continent from relevant communities including: researchers, developers, content creatives, and film-makers.

“The winning submissions of the Deepfake Africa Challenge will be showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 online between 7 to 9 September,” the company said.

Submissions for the Deepfake Africa Challenge can be either video or audio-based. Each submission should be no longer than 90 seconds in length (MP4 or MP3 preferred final format). The content submitted must not be offensive or harmful in any way.

The company said winners must be citizens of an African country and must be residing in Africa.

All entries will be judged as follows:

1. Artistic creativity and relevance to the challenge topic.

2. Level of innovation used in the process to generate the content.

3. A short explanation of platforms, tools, and techniques used to generate your submission will enhance your submission and are encouraged so we can build a picture of the most common tools and techniques used.

According to the company, the judging panel will be representatives from Zindi, the AI Media Group, and Wesgro. The judges' decision will be final.


1st Place Winner: Complimentary ticket to join AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE (including 1x return economy flight & 4x nights hotel stay B&B courtesy of Radisson Blu to join us at AI Expo Africa 2022). The 1st Place Winner’s flight is eligible to delegates joining from outside the host city capped to $1 000 using economy class fare. Expenses and visas are not included.

2nd and 3rd prize winners to receive 1x complimentary ticket to AI Expo Africa 2021 online.

Top 3 placed winners will have work showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 along with write up and press mentions.


The competition closes on July 30, 2021. Final submissions must be received no later than 11.59 PM GMT 30th July 2021. Winners will be notified and announced by 17 August 2021 with the winning submissions being showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE between 7-9 September.