×

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.”

More TV

  • Sky takeover. Undated file photo of

    Katie Keenan To Head Sky Cinema Acquisitions

    Katie Keenan is joining Sky as head of acquisitions at Sky Cinema, and will oversee film deals for the pay-TV giant’s channels. Keenan is a seasoned buyer. Most recently she was at Viacom’s international division and acquiring programming for its free-TV operation Channel 5 operation in the U.K., as well as for cable channels including [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer “Raw,” “Smackdown” and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • HIGHWIRE LIVE IN TIMES SQUARE WITH

    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content