Take a virtual trip into the heart of Africa

Visitors to Knaresborough library will be able to take a virtual journey into the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of Africa’s most dangerous and beautiful countries.

image from virtual reality experience

We are teaming up with the BBC to present the virtual reality pop-up event.

Visitors will put on a virtual reality headset and find themselves on assignment with BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead as he explores this conflicted country. They will meet gorillas up close and personal, visit the ruins of the palace of former President Mobutu deep in the jungle, join United Nations soldiers in an armoured vehicle as they visit a refugee camp, fish the rapids and meet Sapeurs, members of the La Sape social movement that emphasises style and appearance.

Alastair says: “To take viewers on an immersive journey up the Congo River is a great opportunity for them to experience just how much more there is to this vast country than the stereotypes of war and disease. Hopefully, by going on an expedition with us on the river, viewers will get a deeper understanding of the history, the challenges, and the great potential of the DRC.”

The libraries service’s VR equipment complements the other digital kit in which libraries have invested. This includes micro-computers and inventor kits to inspire people, particularly the young, to engage with science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. The Knaresborough event will be the fourth to make use of the VR equipment and more are being planned.

Neil Irving, the County Council’s Assistant Director for Policy, Partnerships and Communities, said: “Our libraries are always seeking to push the boundaries of what they can offer. Our virtual reality kit enables us to work with the BBC in bringing exciting and innovative digital experiences to our customers.” 

The pop-up event will run at Knaresborough library on Wednesday, 24 April, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Call 01609 533610 or email knaresborough.library@northyorks.gov.uk to book your free 20-minute slot.

This story was published 17 April 2019