Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, has announced the release of its first African original animated series, Supa Team 4, globally on July 20, 2023. The new series follows four teenage 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 is created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who was one of the eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a pan-African talent search. The series is produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios and leading London-based kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE. The animation is done by France’s Superprod.
The voice cast features a mix of African and international talent, including John Kani, Pamela Nomvete, Zowa Ngwira, Namisa Mdlalose, Nancy Sekhokoane and Sparky Xulu. The show is also being dubbed into isiZulu, where secret agent Mama K is voiced by Linda Sokhulu. The theme song for the show is created by Zambian rapper, singer and songwriter Sampa the Great.
The series promises to be a fast-paced and action-packed adventure, as the four girls use their wits and skills to battle various supervillains, such as a huge man with metal legs and a plague of locust-like bugs, a helmeted cyborb-like character, an older woman who produces electricity through a body suit and a crocodile who is described as a “man-croco”. The girls also have to deal with their families and school life, while learning to work as a team.
Netflix’s vice president of original animation, Melissa Cobb, said in a statement: “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. Supa Team 4 has the potential to inspire young girls all over the world to dream big, have fun and save the world.”
Mulendema said she was inspired by her own experience growing up in Zambia, where she rarely saw herself represented on screen. “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,” she said.
Supa Team 4 is Netflix’s first African original animated series, but not its first African original production. The streaming giant has been investing in content from the continent since 2015, when it acquired its first Nigerian film, Beasts of No Nation. Since then, it has launched several African originals, such as Queen Sono, Blood & Water, Jiva!, How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding and King of Boys: The Return of the King.
Netflix has also announced plans to open an office in Lagos, Nigeria and has partnered with the Nigerian government to create a Nollywood Netflix Fund to support local filmmakers. The company has also signed deals with South African production companies like Realness Institute and Diprente Films to produce more content from the region5.
Supa Team 4 will premiere exclusively on Netflix on July 20, 2023.