Netflix is launching its first African animated series called Mama K’s Team 4. They are searching for experienced African female writers for this TV Series based on the daily school life of four teenagers living in Zambia. This is in partnership with Triggerfish Animation Studios, which is a computer animation film studio based in Cape Town, South Africa.

We often hear about the need for people to tell their own stories and for Africans to reclaim narratives about the continent. They already are — I just think we’re not listening. Most of the time, we don’t know how or where to look for these stories. – Jacky Habib

Experienced African female writers:

Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema and illustrated by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope, the series is based on four strong African girls and set in the futuristic city of Lusaka, Zambia.

Applicants for the Mama K’s Team 4 script must have had their work produced for either TV or film and should be English-speaking African citizens or permanent residents who can identify with the source material centering on four teenagers from Zambia navigating the hurdles of daily school life, while working together to save the world.

What qualifications are needed? 

Prospective African female writers must submit a maximum one-page letter of motivation, a CV and a script sample in English of no more than a combined 10 pages, preferably demonstrating a passion for animation and an ability to write for children in the action-comedy genre. DEADLINE for submissions – 17 MAY 2019 (Mama K’s Team 4 Starts 15 July 2019)

Why don't our superheroes look like us? – Malenga Mulendema. This question was the trigger and inspiration for the creation of #MamaKsTeam4 Click To Tweet
Mama K’s Team 4- African Female Writers needed for Netflix’s 1st African Animated Series
Mama K’s Team 4- African Female Writers needed for Netflix’s 1st African Animated Series

Triggerfish Animation Studios + CAKE + NETFLIX

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service. It announced its first original African animated series, Mama K’s Team 4, produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios and leading London-based kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE.

South Africa’s award-winning Triggerfish Animation Studios and British kids’ and family entertainment production company CAKE have joined forces with Netflix to do a continent-wide talent search to staff the creative team of the series, Variety reported.

We often hear about the need for people to tell their own stories and for Africans to reclaim narratives about the continent. They already are — I just think we're not listening. Most of the time, we don't know how or where to look… Click To Tweet
Mama K's Team 4- Netflix to launch African girl superhero cartoon
Mama K’s Team 4- Netflix to launch African girl superhero cartoon

Mama K’s Team 4: four teen girls living in Lusaka, Zambia:

Mama K’s Team 4 tells the story of four teen girls living in the neo-futuristic African city of Lusaka, Zambia who are recruited by a retired secret agent still committed to saving the world.

The series joins Netflix’s growing slate of original animated programming designed for kids and families everywhere, brought to 190 countries by artists from around the world.

If you’re an African woman with a penchant for a pen, Netflix could be the next stop on your career journey. The streaming giant has added even more flair to its diverse, original programming by picking up new animated African series, “Mama K’s Team 4.”

But it needs some indigenous Black Girl Magic to ensure the success of its latest venture.

If you’re an African woman with a penchant for a pen, Mama K’s Team 4 needs some indigenous Black Girl Magic and Netflix could be the next stop of your career. #MamaKsTeam4 Click To Tweet
Mama K's Team 4 - Created and Illustrated by Malenga Mulendema and Malcolm Wope
Mama K’s Team 4 – Created and Illustrated by Malenga Mulendema and Malcolm Wope

Created and Illustrated by Malenga Mulendema and Malcolm Wope:

Created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema and illustrated by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope, the series is set in the futuristic city of Lusaka, Zambia.

It features all-Black, all-female characters and follows the stories of four teenage girls recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world, according to The BlerdGurl.

No stranger to breaking ground or adding original African content, Netflix’s VP of original animation, Melissa Cobb, said it couldn’t be prouder to have “Mama K’s Team 4” under its umbrella.

“In addition to giving African female 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,” Cobb said.

Malenga Mulendema’s Inspiration to Create Mama K’s Team 4:

Mulendema said she was inspired to create the series because she grew up loving cartoons, but none of the characters looked like, or related to her. reported The Shadow League.

“In creating a superhero show set in Lusaka, I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who saves the day in their own fun and crazy way… Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero,” Mulendema said.

Mama K's Team 4 Created and Illustrated by Malenga Mulendema and Malcolm Wope
Mama K’s Team 4 Created and Illustrated by Malenga Mulendema and Malcolm Wope

Known to outpace other content giants when attracting Black and young viewers, Netflix looks to use “Mama K’s Team 4” to continue that trend.

Female writers from Africa who have had their work produced for TV, film or theatre can find out more about the Writers Lab and how to apply at www.triggerfish.com, according to Vanessa Ann Sinden, Triggerfish’s development producer.

Feedback and Reception from people Across Africa:

Historically, women of colour have been underrepresented in the media. Which is why its good to see #Netflix introduce its first African cartoon series; #MamaKsTeam4, 4 teenage girls who live in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, and are on a mission to save the world. – @nikimari.

Just as an example of women’s oppression we could look at the whole concept of virginity. What it means? Why it is expected from only one gender? Human rights violations in an effort to enforce purity… Open this article in a new tab to find out if the Concept of Virginity was Invented to Oppress and Control Women.

Editor’s Note
Historically, women of colour have been underrepresented. Which is why its good to see #Netflix introduce its first African cartoon series; #MamaKsTeam4, 4 teen girls on a mission to save the world. – @nikimari Click To Tweet ?SIGN US UP for some #BlackGirlMagic this morning! Netflix’s first Original African animated series, #MamaKsTeam4, comes from Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema & @TriggerFishZA!? – @NetflixSA Click To Tweet Hey World. My excitement right now ??First African animated series going to be on Netflix. Like that's not a powerful statement enough, IT'S BASED IN ZAMBIA,WRITTEN BY A ZAMBIAN!!!#MamaKsTeam4 – @TheNameIsZondo Click To Tweet Netflix is adding to its growing slate of African content with its first original animated series, #MamaKsTeam4. – @Zambianeagle Click To Tweet Congrats Malenga Mulendema for #MamaKsTeam4. You see why you shouldn’t stop your kids from writing and doing graphic design on the computer… you never know where their work ends up. – @gEOmusiwa Click To Tweet Congrats Zambia's Malenga Mulendema: creates 1st African children's animated show for TV and movie streaming service Netflix. #MamaKsTeam4 follows the adventures of an all-girl spy team. – @hallaboutafrica Click To Tweet

The Creation of Mama K’s Team 4:

Mama K’s Team 4 is created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who was one of eight winners in the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a pan-African talent search. Designed by Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope, it draws visual inspiration from retro-’90s R&B and hip hop girl groups. To join the creative team on the series, Netflix is collaborating with Triggerfish Animation studio and CAKE to launch a continent-wide search for local female writing talent.

Why don’t our superheroes look like us?

Malenga grew up watching cartoons on TV and found herself asking why no heroes looked like her and why they didn’t live in a world that felt like her own. “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. Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero,” commented Malenga.

Mama K’s Team 4- African Female Writers needed for Netflix’s 1st African Animated Series
Mama K’s Team 4- African Female Writers needed for Netflix’s 1st African Animated Series

“In addition to giving African female 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,” said Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at 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.”

“After animating four multi-award-winning BBC Christmas specials set in England, including the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, Triggerfish is delighted to bring an African capital city to life on Netflix,” added Vanessa Ann Sinden, Triggerfish’s development producer. “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.”

CEO & Creative Director at CAKE, Tom van Waveren concluded, “We are delighted to be partnering with Triggerfish and Netflix on Mama K’s Team 4, a uniquely empowering, but most of all fun project, which brings a fresh perspective to a classic cartoon genre.”

What is Triggerfish Animation Studios all About?

Triggerfish Animation Studios South Africa
Triggerfish Animation Studios South Africa

Triggerfish is an amazing platform for the best creative talent in Africa to collaborate and showcase their skills through animated storytelling and filmmaking.

The awards our work has won the world over–Oscar nomination, Emmy, Annie, Cristal–are a testament to the tenacity and obsession of our team.

Here’s some of the ways you know you’d be at home at Triggerfish:

  1. You’re a team player:We’re a home to skateboard gangs, magic players, bikers, ping-pong players and poolsharks – a wide range of people – talented, motivated, collaborative – who live for the chance to put the most perfect version of a story onto a big screen for the world to see – as a team.
  2. You’re proud: We get a buzz from upping our game every time, making our audience gasp and the storytelling sing. We love that our unique talent can strengthen a story point to make our audience feel something new, find truth in the characters, or lose themselves in the worlds we create. We’re proud to be at the forefront of making animated stories in Africa that shine on the international stage.
  3. You’re humble: We’re generous by nature, sharing our knowledge and experience with each other in order to develop others on the team. We create opportunities for our teams and peers to grow and learn. We bring our individual strengths to compliment the director’s vision. We’re thrilled when our team succeeds, and we back out of the spotlight to share the credit for our success.
  4. You’re curious: We’re fascinated by new ideas, will teach ourselves new software and will take a thought from a lunchtime chat right through to a working prototype. We research, evaluate, evolve. We get a thrill from putting something new in place, and seeing it change our capacity for quality and our ability to tell a better story. We get lost in picking through a movie frame by frame, just to understand what makes it so special.
  5. You care about others: We’re interested in being true and trusting to ensure the best possible communication and collaboration. We care about our fellow creatives and think about ways to make a better working environment. We trust first. We give the benefit of the doubt. We hold ourselves accountable.
  6. You take ownership: We value the opportunity to take on responsibility and are excited by the chance to prove ourselves capable of meeting new challenges, with a plan to follow through and succeed. We take the initiative to develop a deep understanding of the creative intent, anticipating and contributing so that we’re always taking the project in the right direction.
  7. You want to reach people: We love it when a viewer tells us they’ve been inspired to reach further, be better, and hold to a higher standard of excellence. We love surprising audiences around the world with our quality and our fresh voice. We love that millions of children are having some of their first cinema experiences in front of our movies, and that we’re presenting our country and our continent to them.