Launched in 2017, The Ubunifu Space is a YouTube channel and online platform. The platform celebrates sounds from African artists in the continent and diaspora. The collective consists of five friends – Bryan, Monique, Shay, David and Ian – who watch videos by artists from the African continent and the diaspora, and film their reactions, all from the comfort of Bryan’s front room. It did not take long before the Youtube channel began to gain momentum. Celebrating twin energies of young British Black musicians and dynamic rising musical voices in Africa and the diaspora, they have built genuine human connection.
A quarter of a million subscribers and over 40 million YouTube views later and the Ubunifu Space is a cultural powerhouse. Their reaction videos have become a sought-after tool for artists trying to gain exposure with new music; they recently launched a regular show on the country’s fastest-rising radio station, No Signal in addition this they are launching their biggest project to date.
#UBUONTOUR sees the stars of the channel fly to South Africa and Kenya in late November, through December, sparking the beginning of their summertime and the most popular time of the year. “We wanted to create a full circle,” says the Space’s founder Bryan Obonyo, “We’d learned a lot from watching videos but we wanted to fly out. Experience the music, the culture and interact with the artists and followers who share our enthusiasm.”
The film shows the five friends interacting with their fans on the continent for the first time, moments which amplify just how much their channel has resonated. “Obviously you have Instagram and YouTube comments but there were people crying when they saw us!” Monique Touko reflects, “It’s all a bit mad really.”
The first acts of the drama begin on Monday 21st December 2020, with the release of episodes 1 and 2. On Monday 28th December gives fans further content to seek their teeth into, with the release of Episodes 3 and Monday 4th January Episode 4 following their visit to Cape Town involving visits to the landmark Table Mountain and more. The fifth episode in the saga on Monday 11th January sees the five-strong band head to Gqom capital Durban dropping before exploring the exotic lost city of Sun City in episode 6 to be released Monday 18th January 2021.
The dust doesn’t ever seem to settle, as the group return to Johannesburg for episode 7 which includes their meet and greet, reaching our screens on Monday 25th January 2021. The #UBUONTOUR series comes to a close in episode 8, where the collective jet off to Nairobi, Kenya for the final leg of their journey, ready for viewing on Monday 1st February 2021.
The documentary will be the first time the five friends are seen outside of Bryan’s living room. From an early morning flight at Heathrow right through to hazy cab rides home in Johannesburg, it’s an all-access pass to five friends living out a unique journey. “A lot of the time people see us reacting but don’t see us as individuals” Monique States.
Beyond the late nights the series captures five young people on a personal journey. Self-described “Diaspora children” connecting with historic land and seeing first-hand what happens when a simple idea connects music fans who are 6,000 miles apart. Reflecting on the trip, Shay says “It was surreal, I couldn’t believe it and till this day I’m in shock. The culture in both countries blew me away and I honestly felt like I was at home. South Africa and Kenya remain close to my heart and I learnt and felt so much out there, can’t wait to return”.
Director: Day Marumo
Editor: Day Marumo and Ubunifu Space
Featured Artists: Riky Rick, Moonchild Sanelly, Cassper Nyovest, Busiswa, Sho Madjozi, DJ Maphorisa, Shekhinah, Youngsta CPT
Contributors: South African Tourism, Peaks of Africa, Melenial Media
Episode 1: Johannesburg Part 1 Monday 21st December 2020 5pm GMT
Episode 2: Johannesburg Part 2 Monday 21st December 2020 5pm GM
Episode 3: Cape Town Part 1 Monday 28th December 2020 5pm GMT
Episode 4: Cape Town Part 2 Monday 4th January 2021 5pm GMT
Episode 5: Durban Monday 11th January 2021 5pm GMT
Episode 6: Sun City Monday 18th January 2021 5pm GMT
Episode 7: Johannesburg Round 2 Monday 25th January 2021 5pm GMT
Episode 8: Nairobi Monday 1st February 2021 5pm GMT