Introducing Ubunifu Space, a platform dedicated to showcasing music from young Africans within Africa and the diaspora.
The Ubunifu Space is a youthful, lively and interactive YouTube channel that has managed to hit over 10 million total views and 70k subscribers within the first year of launching back in 2017. With their catchy MHD intro theme song, to their infectious phrase ‘ Until next time.. Peace’, the group are capturing the attention of the online world.
The basis of the channel is to watch fresh, new African music from every part of the continent; East, West, South and Central and simply react to it. The word ‘Ubunifu’ is a Swahili word which is a dialect spoken in Kenya and other regions of East Africa, which means ‘Creative’. Therefore ‘The Ubunifu Space’ when translated means ‘The creative space’.
Bryan Obonyo, a 23-year-old Kenyan based in South London and one of the co-hosts of Ubunifu started the platform because he felt that the African music promoted outside Africa was generally the commercial West African afrobeats sound such as the likes of Wizkid and Davido and therefore saw a gap in the market for East and South African music.
‘I would like to think, when somebody comes onto our channel or into our ‘Space’, they are taken away by the variety of creative sounds they can listen to, that derive from either within Africa or sounds that are being created by Africans and Caribbean’s who have grown up outside of their respected regions but are making music that are influenced by their cultures. There is talent in other parts of the continent that are overlooked’.
So how did it begin?
“Initially it came about from my last trip to Kenya in 2016. So when I travelled to Kenya previously, the music never caught my attention. However, when I went again, I could tell that the standard had really improved from previous years. So when I got back to the UK I made it my mission to research and find other songs coming out from Kenya and the East African region and I found so many songs which were really good, but did not seem to be getting much coverage thats when I brought my friends on board and the Ubunifu Space was born.”
He wants this platform to be a source for people not just from the UK but around the globe who would want to discover new African sounds not just from West Africa but from other parts of the continent as well, to come to this platform to explore. There’s an important link between the UK and Africa and a lot of the diaspora here in the UK would like to say that they are very much in touch with their roots and culture.
Meet the team
The group consists of six members who are all co-host of the channel.
Bryan: Business graduate and founder/vlogger for the Ubunifu Space
Monique: Working creative within the theatre industry
Shay Sade: Presenter & Music Editor for GUAP
David: Visual creative at Sony
Ian: Writer with a focus on literature and culture.
Tonye: Music Enthusiast
What does the Ubunifu Space mean to you ?
David ‘ Ubunifu represents a lot for me, as it is a platform built with my close friends with the same beliefs and we are able to showcase different cultures.
Shay Sade ‘ I would say it connects, Ubunifu connects and that’s what music should do. We should be connecting with other people from around the world and sharing with others and I think that’s what’s so special about what we do.
Monique ‘ Ubunifu is a platform that has reaffirmed me as an African from the diaspora and rightfully exposed talent on a global stage’
Ian ‘ The Ubunifu space is like a celebration, its time to start celebrating the continent and glorifying all the good things that it does.
Bryan ‘ Ubunifu means creative unity, Africans have reached far corners of the world but we always find a common ground we can relate to and thats what I want Ubunifu to be’
The group who are all childhood friends have racked up their own following through the channel whilst pursing their own ventures.
On the flip side, The Ubunifu Space has a Kenyan team who react to music from the urban UK scene, which further strengthens how much UK music has progressed in terms of stature and prominence. This platform also shows that there are many genres coming out of Africa, from R&B to House and not just Afrobeats as the default genre.
Amongst their reactions the team have also hosted a number of interviews with notable African artists such as Riky Rick essentially highlighting that they do more than react to music but are invested in the culture. The channel is a bridge between the diaspora and Africa and connecting the two worlds through music culture and debate amongst other types of content. With the rise in the Black British YouTube market, the Ubunifu space brings a refreshing style of content to the Internet and remains themselves through it all.
One of their biggest reactions which received a extraordinary amount of press was to Distruction Boyz- Omunye which propelled the group into the spotlight in the African media which Mzansi Inside & RGB on (SABC1), South Africa’s equivalent to BBC1 covered their reaction which received over 350k views and Casper Nyvoest- Tito Mboweni which received over 500k views. This is just to name a few.
The guys are truly on a roll to change the musical landscape from Africa and connect their home turfs of the UK to the continent whilst having fun, entertaining and teaching along the way.
Even though Afrobeats from West Africa is undeniably the most popular from the continent.
The space aims to shed a light on the regions that do not get as much coverage and to show the diaspora that there are other great music from different regions coming out of the continent.
What’s next for the Ubunifu space?
With a push for varied content we can expect to see more creative videos, a recent playlist has been launched which is available on Spotify and Apple music, working with other British YouTube vloggers plus we can expect to see trips to regions within Africa. The team also hope to reach 100k subscribers within the first quarter of the year, so check out their channel above and get subscribing.
Youtube: Ubunifu Space