A new 25-minute documentary titled Also For Grownups: Emerging Voices In South African Animation is now available on Showmax and explores South Africa’s explosive animation scene back in 2019 as a result of Netflix’s first animated Original from Africa, Triggerfish’s series Mama K’s Team 4. Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, the series follows four teenage girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia, where they get recruited by a retired secret agent who strives to save the world. Also For Grownups: Emerging Voices In South African Animation was directed by Tim Wege and Pete O’Donoghue and highlights the future of the next generation of African animators.
While Black people are taking up space in as many industries as they possibly can, many of these spaces remain dominated by white folks. Animation is certainly no different. However, as more opportunities arise and Black animators are given their dues (think Peter Ramsey winning an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature” for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) there is tremendous potential for African animators especially to tell their own stories. Showmax’s Also For Grownups: Emerging Voices In South African Animation does just that.
The documentary features the likes of Dipopaai Studios founders Sthembiso Mpehle and Kearatwa KK Sedidi, Kasi Sketchbook founders Ntako Terence ‘Tako’ Maluleke and Simangaliso ‘Panda’ Sibaya to even Ramsey himself. It seeks to rigorously challenge stereotypes about animation in Africa with one of the participants saying, “The biggest thing we’re trying to break is the stereotype that animation is for kids.” He goes on to add, “That’s the biggest thing in Africa and South Africa where if you make animation it’s for kids whereas when you go overseas, animation is everyone.” And hence the apt title of the documentary.