Africa No Filter, a narrative change organization, and Meta, formerly Facebook, announced a partnership to launch “Future Africa: Telling Stories, Building Worlds” program, aimed at boosting the use of Virtual Reality in Africa’s storytelling in December last year, now, they have announced the six finalists of the programme that is focused on harnessing and investing in the next generation of Extended Reality (XR) creators in Africa.
Chosen from Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Cameroon, and Kenya, the six will incorporate the creative uses of music, multimedia installations, films, and sculpture to explore projects around spirituality, heritage, the cosmos, imagination and memory, and masculinity into their extended realities projects – all with a focus on telling compelling African stories that are contemporary, narrative-shifting, and immersive.
The six winners are:
- Pierre-Christophe Gam, Cameroon: A multimedia artist working on a hybrid art installation that brings together VR, film, photography, and mixed-media sculpture to imagine the future of Africa from the perspective of an African family living in 2070.
- Xabiso Vili, South Africa: A writer, performer, and new media artist with a speculative fiction piece that explores reconciliation and healing. Vili seeks to turn toxic masculinity into compassionate masculinity.
- Nirma Madhoo, Mauritius: A fashion filmmaker, XR creator, and Ph.D. candidate, her work explores African cultures as technologies, which she illustrates through ancient practices like cultural astronomy.
- Michelle Angawa, Kenya: A film editor XR creator, this creation centers around a short tragicomedy that depicts a day-in-the-life of a Nairobian Boda Boda rider, exploring desire and the complexities of living in Nairobi
- Malik Afegbua, Nigeria: A multimedia artist who is focused on curating a virtual heritage experience of the Kofar-Mata dye pit, a cultural and historical site in Kano, Nigeria.
- Lara Sousa, Mozambique: A director and producer, this creation uses the journey of Lemanjá, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of wisdom, to explore the ocean as a sacred site of spirituality.
Delivered in collaboration with Electric South and Imisi 3D, participants will get ongoing mentorship, production support, and opportunities to launch their projects in a virtual or in-person showcase. They will also receive funding of up to $30,000.
What they said:
Jessica Hagan, Arts and Culture Program Lead at ANF: “It’s reassuring to see the amount of incredible XR talent on the African continent. The creativity and innovation we encountered in the selection process has been very exciting. It shows that Africa is also on the pulse of global innovation and tech trends that are redefining how stories are told and experienced. XR content creation is costly, but African creators are not falling behind.”
Sherry Dzinoreva, Meta’s Public Policy Programs Director, Africa, Middle East, and Turkey: “This specially curated program is an opportunity to support African storytellers who are leveraging the power of the next evolution of social technology, whilst also shining a spotlight on the amazing, creative, and diverse talent pool we have here on the continent. We understand the power of Extended Reality and how it can be used to tell stories that shift narratives about and within the continent – and we’re excited to see these visions come to life.”