×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Picks Up Its First Animated Series From Africa, ‘Mama K’s Team 4’

Netflix is adding to its growing slate of African content with its first original animated series, “Mama K’s Team 4,” produced by South Africa’s award-winning Triggerfish Animation Studios and British kids’ and family entertainment production company CAKE.

The series follows four teenage girls living in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, who are recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world. It was created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who in 2015 was one of eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African talent search backed by the Cape Town-based animation studio and The Walt Disney Co. The series is designed by the Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope.

In the past decade, Triggerfish has become a powerhouse in South Africa’s burgeoning animation industry. Its first two animated features, “Adventures in Zambezia” (2012) and “Khumba” (2013), are two of the five top-grossing South African movies of all time.

Mulendema said she was inspired by the experience of watching cartoons as a child in her native Zambia, where none of the heroes looked like her or lived in a world that resembled her own. “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,” she said. “Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero.”

“Mama K’s Team 4” is the latest African original for Netflix, which recently announced its first two dramatic series on the continent. The streamer is now collaborating with Triggerfish and CAKE on a pan-African search for local female writing talent to join the creative team on the series.

“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 that brings Malenga’s incredible and unique vision to life on Netflix,” said Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at the streamer. “‘Mama K’s Team 4’ has 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.”

Triggerfish’s collaborations with the U.K.’s Magic Light Pictures have produced four multi-award-winning BBC Christmas adaptations, including Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” (2016), which was nominated for an Oscar and won more than 15 international awards, including an International Emmy. The studio is currently in production on its third animated feature, “Seal Team.”

Vanessa Ann Sinden, Triggerfish’s development producer, said: “After animating four multi-award-winning BBC Christmas specials set in England, including the Oscar-nominated ‘Revolting Rhymes,’ Triggerfish is delighted to bring an African capital city to life on Netflix.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Billy Porter ABC Disney FX Party

    Emmys 2019: Inside the Post-Show Parties

    After the final awards were presented at the 71st Emmys, televisions biggest stars and execs headed off for final toasts to this year’s festivities. Things kicked off at the Governors Ball but didn’t end until the wee hours at parties throughout Los Angeles. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on all the hottest after-parties… [...]

  • Batwoman CW

    'Batwoman': CW Drama Tops New Fall Shows in Two TV Awareness Studies (EXCLUSIVE)

    If awareness of a new show were directly correlated to viewership, then The CW”s “Batwoman” would be the biggest hit of the new fall TV season. According to two new studies, both exclusively obtained by Variety, “Batwoman” leads this fall’s crop of freshman broadcast series in terms of both viewers “aware” of a show, and [...]

  • Andre Previn Dead

    Emmys' In Memoriam Shows Photo of Living Composer Instead of Andre Previn

    Any “In Memoriam” segment on an awards show results in immediate viewer furor over which recently deceased figures got left out. In the case of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, it was more about who got included: the very much still-with-us composer Leonard Slatkin — or at least his photographic representation, as he was misidentified as Andre [...]

  • Supernatural -- "The Rising Son" --

    'Walker, Texas Ranger' Reboot Starring Jared Padalecki in Development

    “Supernatural” star Jared Padalecki could soon be starring in a reboot of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” Variety has confirmed. CBS Television Studios is currently developing a new version of the classic Chuck Norris-led series with Padalecki in the title role. No network is currently attached. The series would focus on Walker as he returns from years undercover. [...]

  • This is Us

    What to Watch on TV This Week: 'The Politician,' 'This Is Us' Season 4 Premiere

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” drops on Netflix, and “This Is Us” season 4 [...]

  • UMC-Marriage-Boot-Camp-Hip-Hop-Edition-WE-tv

    WE tv, UMC Reteam on Bonus Content for 'Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition' Season 2

    AMC Networks is touting the benefits of cross-pollinating content and promos across its TV and streaming properties. In the latest bit of synergy, the programmer’s WE tv announced the continuation of its partnership with sister company UMC (Urban Movie Channel) to produce a second season of “confessional” episodes for WE tv reality series “Marriage Boot [...]

  • BLUFF CITY LAW -- "Pilot" Episode

    TV Review: 'Bluff City Law'

    As a legal procedural emanating from outside the imaginings of Dick Wolf, “Bluff City Law” at least represents something novel for NBC. But its understanding of the workings of the legal profession is frustratingly limited in a familiar way — not merely because it falls so nearly into timeworn cliché but also because it seems [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content