The Maker Faire in Ghana helped combine the African and American visions of gadgetry. Conference organisers hoped to answer the question: what happens when you put the drivers of ingenious concepts from across the African continent together and add resources to the mix? The answer is instead of steampunk technology, you get bushpunk low-fi tech.
I guess it's easier to see the steampunk connection in the English version of Maker Faire. Taking the climate of a Victorian H.G Well's England and exaggerating the idea of harnessing steam power to nuclear proportions has given us the design aesthetic and alter-verse referred to as Steampunk, which has been the wellspring of a genre of speculative, revisionist, and "path not taken" fiction comprising of everything from Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy to Mike Mignola's hilarious Adventures of Screw On Head and so much more.
While steampunk today is more or less a realm that holds our fascination because of its aesthetic possibilities and has a subculture of sorts, bushpunk sounds, to me, like so much more. In "bushpunk" we unhitch our imagination from steam power and, instead, have it revolve around a cannibalizing and re-purposing/solar and battery-powered/SMS/low-tech/low-bandwidth/velcro world which spits out of necessity things like bicycles made out of bamboo:
... furniture made out of empty plastic bottles...
... solar flaps attached to our accessories
So, let's say this were a Terry Gilliam movie and we could remove all the stops and let our imaginations go helter skelter, what will a Bushpunk realm look and feel like?
Note, this world won't run on an exaggerated sense of steam power. But that said, it does need a power source and upon the exaggerated credibility of that source will everything bushpunkish ensue. If one thinks of a power source as one would of humidity then it is a power source that's already there, hence necessitating a world of low-fi tech gadgets and devices which, like root hairs, are desperate to tap the power source of the sun, soil, air and what have you for that extra mobile phone or laptop charge. Thus, in Bushpunk, gadgetry makes everything take on a root hair-like quality desperate to tap everything around it for the purpose of charging the batteries of a more conventional world.
Hmm... looking back, those machines in the Matrix were on to something.