Harnessing African Heritage: The Tech Revolution in Gaming


There’s a blend of mythology and mystery as gaming developers delve into Africa’s rich history, weaving stories that span centuries.

The African gaming market is on the brink of global recognition as studios challenge Western norms with a mix of mythology, mystery, and inclusivity.

In Nigeria, Maliyo Games has joined forces with Disney to create a mobile game for the animated series Iwájú. In Kenya, Mekan Games launched a hypercasual game called The President, which became the number one mobile game in the United States in 2022, amassing over 10 million downloads. Kiro’o Games from Cameroon is a flourishing studio producing games, animations, and applications.

In South Africa, Khumo Moerane has partnered with Leti Arts from Ghana to develop a game demo titled Karmzah Run, featuring a superheroine archaeologist with cerebral palsy. Recently, Leti Arts’ game, Sweave, was accepted the Gameloft platform. Moerane’s parent company is ITTHYNK Gaming, and his studio is named Disputed People.

Additionally, they are working on an entirely new gaming franchise in South Africa called PRYDE: The Lion of Africa. This game, which is still in development, is inspired by African gods and mythology.

“Folklore and mythology are cultural artifacts passed down by our ancestors, revealing the values and important lessons they wanted to impart to future generations,” Moerane tells FORBES AFRICA. “These mythologies provide insight into how our ancestors viewed themselves in relation to other people, the land, their spirituality, and the flora and fauna of Africa.”

“The game delves into the rich history of Africa, reflecting the studio’s commitment to celebrating the continent. We aim to rekindle the awe-inspiring essence of Africa and remember the joy of the epic godly powers within us, awakening the world to the true magic that exists here in Africa. Despite all the turmoil the continent has faced, these stories have survived, and we want to carry them forward.”

The game is an ambitious one, but it has energized Moerane and his collaborators because it is Africa-centric. The world is beginning to notice African games and the talented individuals behind them. There’s a vibrant energy in the sector that may shift the narrative away from Africa being merely a market for big companies to sell their games.

“The value has traditionally been concentrated in Europe, America, and China, as companies focus on creating games that appeal to those markets,” says Moerane. “I think that’s the tricky part for Africa – how can gaming within this market gain traction and visibility?”

For gamers in Africa, it’s a question that many would like answered. Aside from South Africans portrayed as villains in games like Uncharted, or various African locations used to enhance the excitement of games filled with American accents, there are few games that resonate directly with the local gamer. Since the first monsters emerged from a portal in Half-Life or the first space marine fought the forces of hell in Doom, African gamers have experienced minimal representation.

“I’ve been gaming for years, and it struck me that I’ve never actually played a game with an African hero or one set within African mythology. This realization was an eye-opener for me,” says Moerane. “It has inspired my work on PRYDE: The Lion of Africa.”

It has been a challenge for us. We’ve had to find the right talent to assist us. We’ve collaborated with students and individuals eager to use their skills to create a game out of their love for gaming. We’ve also connected with people at game jams, such as the one in Kenya. However, what we truly need are business-minded individuals with the acumen to run a studio. We need corporate-minded people to support the creatives, enabling this industry to soar,” hopes Moerane.



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