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Illustration by Malcolm Wope, courtesy of Netflix.

'Mama K's Team 4' Is the First Netflix Animated Original To Come Out of Africa

"I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who save the day in their own fun and crazy way," creator Malenga Mulendema says.

Netflix has announced its first animated original series from Africa—Mama K's Team 4.

Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, the series follows four teen girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia, where they get recruited by a retired secret agent who still strives to save the world. The series' illustrator is Cameroon's own Malcolm Wope, who was inspired by 90s R&B; and hip hop girl groups.

Mama K's Team 4 is yet another addition to Netflix's growing slate of original animated programming designed for kids and families everywhere.


"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," Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at Netflix, says in a statement.

Illustration by Malcolm Wope, courtesy of 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."

For Mulendema, Mama K's Team 4 is her answer to not seeing heroes who looked and came from a world like hers growing up. "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," she says. "Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero."

Illustration by Malcolm Wope, courtesy of Netflix.

Mama K's Team 4 is produced by Cape Town's Triggerfish Animation and CAKE, London's leading kids' entertainment company. Mulendema was also one of eight winners in the 2015 Triggerfish Story Lab initiative—a Pan-African talent search.

Both Triggerfish and CAKE have launched a continent-wide search for local female writing talent to join the series' creative team. "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," Vanessa Ann Sinden, Triggerfish's development producer, adds.

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Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

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Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

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