Gearing For Africa – Netflix Announces Its First Animated Series

By  |  May 14, 2019

As it continues to grow its African original content, Global video mainstreaming platform Netflix has announced its first original animated African series titled ‘Mama K’s Team 4.’

The series is produced by South Africa based studio, Triggerfish Animation, and London based kids and family entertainment specialist, CAKE. The Cape Town-based animation studio has been consistent in producing children’s animation content despite the financial challenges it has been facing.

In Africa, Netflix strategically chose South Africa as their maiden point, to serve as an access point to the entire African continent. As at October 2018, two years after it entered the South African market, it was estimated that Netflix had between 300,000 and 400,000 subscribers.

Nine months after its African launch, Netflix deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria to ease the difficulties of content delivery for its local users.

The streaming giant injected a USD 8 Bn original production budget into Nollywood. The move to infuse finances into the Nigerian film industry is part of Netflix’s plans to diversify its content library to suit the global audience.

In a strategy to penetrate the vast African continent, the global streaming giant revealed plans to order original series from Africa in 2019 to add to its ever-increasing list.

Mama K’s Team 4 revolves around four teen girls living in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia. They are recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world. The series was created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema and designed by the Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wopea.

According to Variety, Mulendema drew her inspiration to create Mama K’s from her own experience. While growing up in her native Zambia, she watched cartoon heroes that looked nothing like her.

“In creating a superhero show set in Lusaka, I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who save the day in their own fun and crazy way. Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone fromg anywhere can be a superhero,” commented Malenga.

Netflix’s vice president of original animation, Melissa Cobb said, “In addition to giving African writers a global platform on which to be heard, we are excited to present this powerful and entertaining new animated series,”

The network hopes that the series will bring a new sense of representation to the Netflix audience.

“Mama K’s Team 4 had the potential to give a whole new generation of African children the opportunity to see themselves on screen in the powerful, aspirational characters they look up to.”

CEO & Creative Director at CAKE, Tom van Waveren concluded, “We are delighted to be partnering with Triggerfish and Netflix on Mama K’s Team 4, a uniquely empowering, but most of all fun project, which brings a fresh perspective to a classic cartoon genre.”

The new superhero series has however not given a release date yet.

The series joins Netflix’s growing list of original African films. In a strategic move aimed at to penetrating the vast African market, the global streaming platform last year bought worldwide rights to Genevieve Nnaji’s comedy “Lionheart.”

Featured Image Courtesy: Netflix

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