African Animation (Sub-Saharan)



The major film industry in  sub-Saharan Africa has always been South Africa, which also includes animation. While  a number of internationally recognized live-action filmmakers have emerged in other countries in the recent past, animated films have lagged behind. The African Digital Art website, in an interesting post on “Animation in Kenya” notes:

The growth of animation in Kenya can be traced back to the UNESCO Africa Animated Project, which was held between 2001 and 2004. The project consisted of regional training and production workshops for local artists. The program sought to address the lack of formal training in animation and film making. Subsequently Kenya is in mid-production of the animated series Tinga Tinga Tales, animal tales target towards younger audiences.

Other Animated series include The XYZ show [see trailer above], a television series fresh out of Kenya that is certainly turning heads and leaving viewers begging for more. This African political satire animated series is the brainchild of famous political satirist GADO and promises to influence other animated projects coming out of East Africa.

Paula Callus’s invaluable African Animation blog further notes that the series, “has been looked at by the BBC, giving it exposure on an international scale.” Her site provides clips and other valuable information on what’s going on, including the following showreel from South Africa’s Animation SA, an organization of local studios; if nothing else, it shows how commercial studios there seem to fit easily into the international mainstream.

Author: Harvey Deneroff

Harvey Deneroff is a Los Angeles-based independent animation and film scholar specializing in labor history. He formerly taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was editor of Animation Magazine, Animation World Magazine, and Graiffit (published by ASIFA-Hollywood). He is the founder and past president of the Society for Animation Studies.

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