Remembering Nelson Mandela through VR (Tribute)


Celebrate the 100th birthday of one history’s most influential figures, Mandela in this immersive VR experience for the Oculus Go.

Philanthropist. Revolutionary. President. Very few individuals have managed to live a life as influential and accomplished as South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Throughout his many years fighting against apartheid in South Africa, the legendary humanitarian has suffered institutionalized racism, violence, even a prison term that would end up lasting a soul-crushing 27 years.

Despite all these hardships, however, Mandela still managed to emerge a better man, one that would eventually become a beacon of hope in a world marred by a regular stream of hate and violence. But how exactly did this noble descendent go from law student to anti-apartheid revolutionary?

Liliesleaf, a South African heritage site, in a partnership with VictoryVR andIQbusiness, is here to answer that question with Walking in Mandela’s Footsteps, an immersive VR experience which tells the incredible true story of Mandela’s life, from the humble village of Qunu, South Africa, where he was raised, to the terrifying jail cell where he was imprisoned for over two decades. It is there that users will be exposed to a haunting, 27 seconds of deafening silence.

“It has been a real pleasure and honor to work on such a dynamic, creative and erstwhile project,” said Nicholas Wolpe, CEO of Liliesleaf. “It is our best hope that this experience gives users the chance to better understand the foundations of Nelson Mandela’s life and the struggle for liberation he undertook.”

Throughout the 30-minute adventure, users will have the opportunity to learn more about the resolution by interacting with several digital versions of Mandela’s real-life possessions, rendered via a handheld scanner and imported into Unity. Various other objects, such as Mandela’s infamous passbook, were implemented using real-life photographs or scanned archives.

“I’m excited that VictoryVR will have a chance to expose students around the world to the life of one of the great liberators of our time. It’s amazing that inside VR, I can sit where Mandela sat, and hold the items he held,” said Steve Grubbs, CEO of VictoryVR.

“With the launch of untethered and cost-effective devices like the Oculus Go, it allows us to take the experience to everybody. It was amazing to create the experience, and I hope that the users will be equally amazed and find themselves fully immersed in the virtual life of Madiba wherever you are” said Adi Stephan, head of learning for IQbusiness.

Walking in Mandela’s Footsteps is available in the Oculus Go for $1.99. The experience will be released on the Vive Focus and Pico headsets shortly after the 100th celebration.

A portion of the proceeds will go directly to Liliesleaf in support of their efforts to immortalize the work of both Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress in spreading peace, justice, and equality.



About Author

IT and video games are Bryan's topics of interest since a very early age. Video games, the Internet, game consoles and computers became his normal toys, as a result, writing about the infancy of the Web, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality, the games industry and hardware in general. Writing, along with his other interests: programming, hardware, photography, and traveling. Technology, in general, makes him tick.

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