- African creatives are exploring virtual reality as a medium for storytelling
- Costs of production and accessibility present challenges on the continent
"I tell stories around my collections and I have always had film in my mind. VR I think is the closest medium to what I want to express and the universe I want to create," says Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane
, a Nairobi- based game developer and animator, explains the interest in VR further: "I feel that we as Africans have so many stories that have yet to reach a major platform. There a number of things I am thinking about, particularly along the lines of African mythology and legends."
Kane and Kaggia joined other African creatives at the end of October at a workshop co-curated by South African film producer Steven Markovitz, as part of the African Futures festival in Johannesburg.
"VR is a new format in its infancy, and it's an opportunity for Africa to get involved at a very early stage and be part of the global conversation," says Markovitz. "All the work I do is to challenge the dominant narrative and show Africa as a dynamic, nuanced continent." Through the immersive aspect of VR, he continues, "you can develop more empathy or understanding and challenge prejudices or misconceptions."
Jonathan Dotse, a science fiction writer from Accra, Ghana whose blog AfroCyberPunk
has steadily been gathering international media attention
has also been experimenting with VR. With colleague Kabiru Seidu , Dotse produced a short VR film, Pandora, screened at this year's Chale Wote Street Art Festival