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.
Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, the series follows four teen girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia, where they get recruited by a retired secret agent who still strives to save the world. The series’ illustrator is Cameroon’s own Malcolm Wope, who was inspired by 90s R&B and hip-hop girl groups.
According to the writer, Mulendema, she 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 her words;
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 from anywhere can be a superhero.
For this reason, Netflix and Triggerfish are now collaborating to search for female African writers to join the creative team for the series. According to Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at Netflix, she 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 that brings Malenga’s incredible and unique vision to life on Netflix.
‘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.
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.