News Brief

Netflix Has Picked Up an Animated Musical Inspired by Shona Mythology

"Tunga" is the brainchild of Zimbabwean-born screenwriter Godwin Jabangwe.

The latest African story to become a Netflix original will be an animated, family-friendly musical based on Zimbabwean culture, Deadline reports. The streaming service won a four-way bidding battle for Tunga, created by Zimbabwean-born screenwriter and newcomer to the film industry Godwin Jabangwe.


Inspired by the mythology from Jabangwe's Shona culture, the musical follows a young girl named Tunga, who embarks on an adventure to a mythical lost city after the death of her father. There, she must meet her spiritual elders who will teach her how to summon the rain and save her village from drought.

"Accompanying Tunga is her animal totem Zuze—a wooden figurine that comes to life as a trouble-making honey badger—who Tunga must learn to trust and work with in order to complete her journey," Deadline continues.

Jabangwe first discovered a knack for screenwriting while working long shifts at a community college library—eventually graduating from UCLA's screenwriting MFA program.

"I never dreamed that a story set in Zimbabwe, on the streets that I grew up playing soccer with a homemade ball, would get made," Jabangwe says to Deadline. "I'm thrilled to be working with Netflix to bring Tunga to life and grateful to Imagine Impact for helping me take the strand of an idea and weaving it into a tale that I truly hope the world will love."

Tunga is the first deal out of 22 projects developed in the Impact 1 program from Imagine Entertainment co-founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. The initiative seeks to fund new writers and champion new voices to develop film and TV projects that were pitched to the industry towards the end of 2018. The program pairs each creator with a mentor, or what they call a "shaper"—Jabangwe's was Kate Purdee, co-executive producer of Bojack Horseman. The next iteration of the program will begin this April.

News Brief
Photo courtesy of Upile Chisala.

Join Upile Chisala For Soothing Readings of Her Latest Works

Malawian poet Upile Chisala is set to deliver readings from her three poetry collections on Instagram Live.

Malawian poet Upile Chisala is set to deliver readings of her latest works of poetry on Instagram Live this week.

On the 8th of April, she'll be hosting a session where she'll read from her first two works Soft Magic and Nectar while the session on the 9th of April will include a reading from her latest work titled A Fire Like You. Both sessions will take place at 8 PM (SAST).

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Interview
Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Interview
Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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