Netflix announced its first original African animated series, "Mama K’s Team 4", produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios and leading London-based kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE.
Mama K’s Team 4 tells the story of four teen girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia who are recruited by a retired secret agent still committed to saving the world. The series joins Netflix’s growing slate of original animated programming designed for kids and families everywhere, brought to 190 countries by artists from around the world.
Mama K’s Team 4 is created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who was one of eight winners in the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a pan-african talent search.
Designed by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope, it draws visual inspiration from retro-’90s R&B and hip hop girl groups.
To join the creative team on the series, Netflix is collaborating with Triggerfish Animation studio and CAKE to launch a continent-wide search for local female writing talent.
Malenga grew up watching cartoons on TV and found herself asking why no heroes looked like her and why they didn’t live in a world that felt like 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. Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero,” commented Malenga.
"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 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.”
“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,” added Vanessa Ann Sinden, Triggerfish’s development producer. “Female writers from Africa who have had their work produced for either TV, film or theatre can find out more about the Writers Lab and how to apply from the careers page of our website, www.triggerfish.com.”
CEO & Creative Director at CAKE, Tom van Waveren concluded, “We are delighted to be partnering with Triggerfish and Netflix on Mama K’s Team 4, a uniquely empowering, but most of all fun project, which brings a fresh perspective to a classic cartoon genre."