CNN explores South Africa’s animation industry

After Black Panther’s recent success, the animation industry has grown in South Africa and more young artists are now creating animation projects that break the boundaries of race and reason. This week on Inside Africa, CNN International follows some of South Africa’s animators, from inception to action, as the artists create their own stories.

Diprente Studios in Johannesburg has made a number of dramas set in South Africa. The success of Anansi, their series about an African spider-God, has paved the way for the making of other African stories. However, the studios’ director Isaac Mogajane explains that animation can sometimes be difficult for film studios to get into: “There’s been one or two big animated features and series coming out of Africa but not a lot. Because it just takes so much, you [need] so much support financially and in resources to justify creating a show. There’s a lot of talent yearning to get this stuff out there but the resources are a constraint at the moment.”

Mogajane acknowledges how the success of the recent Black Panther movie has changed the game for African animators and has helped boost sales of his series: “Selling Ananci post Black Panther and selling it before Black Panther are two totally different things. Black Panther wasn’t just a success, it’s one of the biggest successes of all time… So anybody saying ‘I don’t think Ananci won’t work because it’s too African’ or ‘I don’t think that people are going to understand these creatures because they not grounded in European mythology’ has had their argument blown out of the water.”

The programme hears how Mogajane wanted to portray African culture in his series: “When I conceived the show, there was a specific look and feel I wanted to create. It was one that reflected urban Africa in the way that we live it. Not in the way that it is usually portrayed in global media. Not the sad, depressed kind of thing… But in Johannesburg where it’s thriving and there’s life and there’s coolness and there’s fashion and there’s music.”

Part of Mogajane’s team is professional concept artist Terence Maluleke, who describes how he uses inspiration from his childhood in his animations: “I believe that your culture makes you the person you are today. You draw from what you are, you take references from all your childhood experiences.”

Maluleke outlines how animation offers a vehicle for Africa to celebrate its stories: “As Africans, we can also come up with our own identity and that comes through telling our stories, embracing our own cultures, infusing it into the animation world, infusing it into our artwork, infusing our backgrounds into the stories… that will make it unique.”

‘Inside Africa’ airs on Friday 1st June at 10:30 SAST on CNN International

 The show also airs at the following times:

Friday 1st June at 18:30 SAST

Saturday 2nd June at 04:30 SAST and 19:30 SAST

Sunday 3rd June at 05:30 SAST and 12:30 SAST

Monday 4th June at 02:30 SAST


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