The animation scene globally has been particularly on the rise, being among the fastest and the most dynamic industries in the world. There have been numerous trends that have established its diverse growth allowing it to make inroads into advertising and marketing, which is a big deal.
We are all suckers for black excellence, which is exactly what Malenga Mulendema exhibits. Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the adroit creative pitched an animation TV series to the Triggerfish Animation Studio Story’s lab initiative back in 2015. Little did she know that the series would not only be picked for story development but also be the first African animation series for world leading internet entertainment service, Netflix.
As part of diversifying its content for its global audience, Netflix has teamed up with South Africa’s Triggerfish, devout African animators and London based children’s entertainment, Cake, to bring in Mama K’s Team 4, a brain child of Malenga Mulendema, to our screens. Melissa Cobb, VP of original animation at Netflix calls this vision a powerful and entertaining animation that brings Malenga’s incredible and unique vision to life.
Living in a neo-futuristic version in Zambia’s capital, Mama K’s Team 4 tells the story of 4 teenage girls with distinct talents and personalities who are recruited by a retired secret agent, Mama K, still committed to saving the world. With a humorous twist, the series shows the Super 4 fight the rich and powerful opponents, using their wits and resources to outsmart them.
Malenga, which means poet in Swahili, aims to introduce to the world the four strong African girls and most importantly illustrate that anyone from anywhere has the capability to be a superhero. Growing up, Malenga was a lover of cartoons but never saw herself mirrored in an animation. She envisioned a fresh look approach to a classic cliche cartoon format giving us this brilliant masterpiece.
Triggerfish, based in Capetown, has produced feature films such as Adventures in Zambezia (2012) and Khumba (2013), which are among the top 5 highest grossing South African Films of all time. Tom van Wevern, CAKE’S CEO and Creative Director said they were delighted to have been invited to work together with Triggerfish as they had admired their work for a long time.
Targeting 6 to 11-year-olds, the exceptional series has the potential to ensure that African kids are not alien to the fact that they can also become superheroes and other inspirational characters they aspire to be.
Malenga has gained worldwide recognition joining Wanuri Kahiu, the mastermind behind the acclaimed Rafiki Film and Dorothy Ghettumba, Manager for Netflix’s International Originals as key African Women in the Film Industry. Considering how women have been fighting for equal rights and opportunities especially in a male-dominated industry, this is a welcome development.
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