×

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

  • THE EXORCIST

    'Exorcist' Star Max Von Sydow Doesn't Let Age Define His Roles

    Max von Sydow turned 90 this month, which is a milestone for most people, but age has always seemed incidental to the actor. When he played the elderly, frail Father Merrin in “The Exorcist,” von Sydow was 44 — meaning he was the same age Bradley Cooper is today. In the 1950s, von Sydow had [...]

  • Gentleman Jack Suranne Jones

    TV Review: HBO's 'Gentleman Jack'

    “Nature played a challenging trick on me, didn’t she?” Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) first utters this sentence with an arch amusement, but over the course of Sally Wainwright’s new drama “Gentleman Jack,” she repeats the sentiment with pride, exhaustion and defiance. Living in 1832 Halifax as a lesbian with a penchant for sweeping black suits [...]

  • Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress:

    Inside the Music of Netflix's 'Ingress: The Animation' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Ingress: The Animation” hit last fall in Japan, but the global release doesn’t hit Netflix until April 30, fortunately, it’s bringing a little something new to the show based on Niantic’s other popular video game. The global version of the show will feature a new musical score created by Jacob Yoffee (“Free Meek,” “Andi Mack”). [...]

  • Action Bronson Cannibis and Legalization

    Action Bronson Has Music, Marijuana and the Munchies Covered in Booming Career

    Action Bronson is a 21st century renaissance man. A hip-hop icon who recently released his fifth album, “White Bronco,” the Flushing, Queens, native, whose real name is Ariyan Arslani — with a Muslim Albanian father and Latvian Jewish mother — is probably best-known for hosting a pair of TV series for Viceland: the talk variety [...]

  • Netflix Our Planet Sophie Darlington

    Netflix's 'Our Planet' Roars to Life With Work by Top Wildlife Cinematographers

    In terms of scope, production time and — very likely — budget, Netflix’s “Our Planet” is one of the most ambitious projects from the streaming service to date. Narrated by David Attenborough and made available worldwide on April 5, the goal of the eight-part series is to capture diverse habitats across the globe and highlight [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content