The Metaverse Comes to Africa
Nascent metaverse offerings are mostly a U.S. thing as companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) lead the charge, but now Africa is getting in on the virtual world action.
Africarare Ltd. today announced a namesake metaverse that is reportedly the continent's first homegrown metaverse endeavor.
Still in early stages, the much-hyped but rarely seen metaverse is described by Wikipedia as "a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal and immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets." The metaverse is described more colloquially as a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. It's associated with blockchain tech, cryptocurrency, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and other emerging technologies.
In Africarare, those NFTs and cryptocurrencies play a central role, as its parent company plans to commercialize a 3D virtual reality experience set in Ubuntuland, a virtual world of creativity, cryptocurrency and commerce powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Although associated with a Linux distribution, Ubuntu is a traditional African term that equates to the English word "humanity" or phrase "humanity toward others." In Africarare's Ubuntuland, $UBUNTU Token is the official currency. In these early stages, it's primarily used to buy virtual land.
"Land owners can use their land to create experiences like art exhibitions, stores, social experiences, games, virtual concerts and much more," The Africarare site says. "Using the $UBUNTU Token, Ubuntuland can be bought, traded or kept as well as used for various experiences such as art exhibitions, games, social experiences."
Although transactions mainly deal with land right now, Africarare said its marketplace will be the place to also buy avatars, avatar additions and other goods and services such as African art, skins and digital services.
"Two art galleries will feature in Africarare, dedicated to showcasing Africa's prolific creativity," the company said in a news release. "The Mila gallery (Swahili for 'tradition'), already open, will host curated collections by some of Africa's foremost artists, while the Inuka gallery (Swahili for 'rise') will feature works by emerging African artists. Both galleries will stage various exhibitions on an ongoing basis with art pieces being be sold as NFT."
Guests can now set up an avatar
to enter the Mila gallery and navigate around to see various attraction, as pictured in this graphic captured from a visit made by this reporter:
In addition to the marketplace, a Central Hub land area is reserved for Africarare custom-made experiences that range from art to education, including experiences such as galleries, live performances, stand-up comedy, video content channels, film festivals safaris and more.
"Africarare is focused on building and uplifting Africa," said Mic Mann, co-founder and CEO of Africarare. "Our metaverse 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.
"Aside from the fact that Africa is our home, we're doing this because we're extremely bullish about the future of the continent," said Shayne Mann, co-founder of Africarare. "With Africarare being built on collaborative partnerships, the possibilities for commercialization are endless."
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.