Skip to main content

Africa Launching Into The Metaverse

Published 2 months ago
By Lillian Roberts

Land is being bought in Ubuntuland, a metaverse by Africarare, Africa’s first 3-D immersive virtual reality. Opportunities for artists, architects and designers are many, and open to public land sales this year.

Topline

In October 2021, Facebook announced its corporate name change to Meta, showing an increased interest in the virtual reality sector.

On February 28 2022, African company MTN and South African M&C Saatchi Abel bought plots of ‘land’ in the metaverse by Africarare, the online landscape known as Ubuntuland. MTN bought 144 plots of digital space for an undisclosed amount. M&C Saatchi Abel, award-winning advertising agency has done work for the likes of Standard Bank, Nandos, SuperSport, Mweb, Continental and Mr Delivery.

Background

Ubuntuland sold-out the debut collection of South African artist Norman Catherine NFTs for $53,000 in the gallery Mila, meaning traditional in Swahili. Ubuntuland will showcase African art, fashion, entertainment, sport, tech and creativity and will provide a platform for artists from across the continent to display and sell their work. The upcoming Inuka gallery (Swahili for ‘rise’) will feature works by emerging African artists from later in 2022.

“We just did a very small campaign to look out for artists. And we had a couple of 100 applications. We found some amazing, very young and upcoming artists. And then we are curating a couple that we think should be in the mix,” says Mic Mann, co-founder and CEO of Africarare.

“The unique afro-themed metaverse establishes local representation in a growing global digital universe and will open our continent up to significant digital and economic growth opportunities for both talent, clients and industry colleagues to come together to solve business and even societal challenges with creativity,” says Mike Abel, M&C Saatchi Group South Africa Founding Partner and CEO.

“This aligns with our own very clear commitment to pushing the bounds of South African capabilities and creativity in the work we produce across the continent. We love a good problem as a team, and we believe that creativity is the most significant key to solving these. Creating a virtual home for this is a very natural and fluid extension of our ability to do exactly this,” he says.

Ubuntuland is created by Mann Made and will be open to public land sales from 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2022 as the team continue to work on the build for their Afro-futuristic world. Together with Mann Made, M&C Saatchi Abel and Africarare will create a cultural, social, and commercial destination for African creativity in the metaverse.

“We aim to give Africans the access and resources they need to unlock their creative fire power from the home base of Africa’s digital creative destination – M&C Saatchi Abel Ubuntuland. Using our capabilities as industry leaders, we can enable and empower Africa to grow and flourish on a global playing field,” says Abel.

“For us it’s all about building a thriving engaged community and ecosystem in Ubuntuland as we develop this new metaverse. We are thrilled to be working with one of Africa and the worlds most talented creative agencies as we focus on unlocking Africa’s best talent and connect Africa to the global digital economy,” says Mann.

Landholders will be able to customize their 3-D land spaces, such as hosting shops, producing resources, renting virtual services and developing games or other applications. Certain spaces will serve the community for work, play and wellness purposes, including meeting rooms, online therapy rooms (with optional anonymity), concert stages, film festival spaces, meditation lounges and other interactive environments. And there’s more to come, such as staking, DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and blockchain play-to-earn gaming.

“Africarare will connect Africa to this booming arena of the global economy, stimulate growth and create multiple new jobs such as digital designers, creators and architects,” says Mann.

Speaking on the online wellness aspect, Mann had this to say: “I think it’s going to be a journey to get where it needs to be eventually. But I think it’s a shared experience, it’s a great thing to share a meditation with others, rather than being alone. A lot of people don’t like to meditate by themselves, they prefer doing it in some sort of group, it gives them energy, it gives them some sort of balance,” he explains.

Furthermore, a collaboration between Africarare and South African superstar Boitumelo Thulo has been announced. Popularly known as Boity, the television personality, rapper, actress, businesswoman and model, revealed her first virtual reality music video at the Africarare launch on February 28. Then she came out in real life, entering the event in the same Sun Goddess custom creation which her outfit the Queen Boity avatar form is based. The Boity tribe of 10 000 avatars will soon be available for fans, with a Boity village currently being developed and plans for virtual concerts under way.

The currency in Ubuntuland will be the $UBUNTU token, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain and available from later this year. Everything in Africarare can be bought, sold or traded using $UBUNTU tokens, including buying, developing, selling or renting plots or villages in Ubuntuland. The valuation of the token will be calculated according to what users invest, build, play or trade inside the metaverse.

“We are thrilled to be working with Africa’s greatest talent and showcase it to the world in our virtual reality metaverse allowing Africa to take part in this global phenomenon,” says Zhulik Co-founder Africarare.

Tangent

Mann is heading to VeeCon in Minnesota, Minneapolis USA, later this year. VeeCon is a multi-day conference with discussions and performances from iconic and emerging leaders in NFTs and popular culture. He says you have to own one of the Vee friends in order to go.

“And thankfully, I bought on when that came out a year ago. So I’m going, that’s amazing,” he says. The line-up includes names likes Snoop Dog, Deepak Chopra, Beeple, Mila Kunis and many more.

Stoner Cats, an animated series, where you have to buy an NFT to watch the series, is another project Mann bought an NFT in. The creatives behind Stoner Cats are Chris Cartagena, Sarah Cole, and Ash Brannon. Together they have amassed years of experience working on movies such as Toy Story 2, Happy Feet, Surf’s Up, The Grinch, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Space Jam: A New Legacy. The show is being developed by Orchard Farm Productions, Mila Kunis’s production company with her partners Cami Curtis and Lisa Sterbakov.

“So I bought one of the cats, and I’ve watched the first two episodes, they’re really brilliant. You can only watch it if you own the one of the NFTs. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity for that. We could see a lot of African filmmakers making shows and then you know, charging for them in $UBUNTU tokens, or some sort of crypto subscription,” Mann says.

Opportunities for creators and designers are opening up in the digital world, with Africa on the way to capitalize on these developments.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update

Get the best of Forbes Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Related Topics: #Africa, #Coronavirus, #Coronavirus Outbreak, #Coronavirus Pandemic, #COVID-19, #Featured, #News Letter, #newsletter, #Nigeria, #South Africa.