Here are four great local options to enjoy with your kids these holidays – all produced by South African animation pioneers Triggerfish.
KIZAZI MOTO: GENERATION FIRE S1 | Binge now on Disney+
Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is an action-packed sci-fi anthology that’s up for Best Animated Series: Tweens/Teens at the 2024 Kidscreen Awards, where it’s competing against Bob’s Burgers and The Great North. In November, it was also up for the Children & Youth prize at Rose D’Or.
Half of the ten shorts are from South Africa. In Mkhuzi: The Spirit Racer, a half-alien, half-Zulu boy must come to terms with his identity to win the 2066 Soweto Super Circuit. Surf Sangoma takes you to Durban in 2050, where two surfers’ friendship is tested by a gang using radioactive octopii to illegally surf the colossal, deadly waves. In First Totem Problems, Sheba is determined to get her digital totem, even if it means breaking into the ancestral world. In Hatima, two South African tribes, one on land and one under the sea, are locked in an endless battle. And in You Give Me Heart, a lowly artist hopes to win Who Wants To Be A God? but could lose his heart in the process. With additional shorts from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, this is Africa as you’ve never seen it before.
With Oscar winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse) as an executive producer, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire has a rare 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Colossal writing, “This visually spellbinding series, bursting with hope, optimism and pride, is one of the best animated shows of the last decade.”
Recommended for ages 6+, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is streaming on Disney+.
SUPA TEAM 4 S2 | Stream on Netflix from 21 December 2023
In Supa Team 4, four teens are just trying to survive secondary school when an ex-spy recruits them for her superhero team. Their newest assignment? Saving the world.
Netflix’s first animated series from Africa, Supa Team 4 features a star-studded voice cast that includes Black Panther and The Lion King legend John Kani, five-time SAFTA winner Tshamano Sebe, and four-time SAFTA nominee Pamela Nomvete.
At MIPCOM’s 2023 Diversify TV Awards, Supa Team 4 was nominated for Representation of Diversity in Kids Programming – Older Children. It’s also a Common Sense Media Selection, with a four-star rating that calls it “a lively, action-packed intro to Africanfuturism.”
Rated PG, Supa Team 4 is streaming on Netflix, with Season 2 set to land on 21 December 2023.
AAU’S SONG | Stream now on Disney+
South Africans Nadia Darries and Daniel Clarke co-directed Aau’s Song, the final short film in the Emmy-winning second volume of Lucasfilms’ Star Wars: Visions anthology.
Aau’s Song follows a girl who has a calling to sing but is raised by her loving, stern father to stay quiet because of the calamitous effect her voice has on the crystals in the nearby mines – the kyber that powers lightsabers.
Aau’s Song was ranked as “the best episode” of Star Wars Visions: Volume II by Screenrant and described as “gorgeous” by everyone from Empire to Polygon, who called it “a perfect note to end the season on”.
The characters’ distinctive felt textures are inspired by Ndebele dolls, one of a number of South African-inspired touches. Also listen out for the likes of SAFTA winner Tumisho Masha and Blood Psalms and Flatland star Faith Baloyi, as well as the acclaimed score by local electronic music legend Markus Wormstorm, featuring the Cape Town Youth Choir.
Aau’s Song is co-written by Darries and Clarke with fellow South African Julia Smuts Louw, who also adapted this year’s International Emmy winner The Smeds and The Smoos.
Recommended for ages 12+, Star Wars: Visions is nowstreaming on Disney+.
KIYA & THE KIMOJA HEROES S1 | On Disney Junior and YouTube
Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes follows the high-action adventures of seven-year-old Kiya, whose crystal headband transforms her dance and martial arts talents into amazing Dance Ninja superpowers. Kiya’s two best friends, Motsie and her stepbrother Jay, have their own crystal-supercharged talents; together they are the Kimoja Heroes.
At MIPCOM’s 2023 Diversify TV Awards, Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes was nominated for Representation of Diversity in Kids Programming – Pre-School. It’s also a Common Sense Media Selection, with a four-star rating. Recommending it for ages 3+, Common Sense Media calls the show “upbeat, funky and fun,” as well as “entertaining and educational.” As they say, “Viewers are sure to love Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes’ bright animation and lively action scenes. The show does a wonderful job at celebrating diversity and the importance of teamwork. It also packs hugely important and developmentally-appropriate social-emotional lessons into the superhero storylines.”
Listen out for SAFTA winner Bonko Khoza (Mqhele in The Wife) as Daddy Jo, and dialogue peppered with isiXhosa too.
In addition to screening on Disney Junior (DStv Channel 309), full episodes of Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes are now streaming on YouTube, where the series already has over 13m views.
Triggerfish alumni also had a great year, with Daniel Snaddon and Samantha Cutler directing International Emmy winner The Smeds and The Smoos; Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman directing Kidscreen winner Superworm; Seal Team director Greig Cameron showrunning the first Showmax Original 2D animation series, Twende; and Mkhuzi: The Spirit Racer co-director Malcolm Wope working as a character designer on Netflix’s Blue Eye Samurai, currently at #73 on IMDb’s all-time Top-Rated TV list.
LOOKING FOR A HOLIDAY PROJECT? HELP YOUR KIDS MAKE THEIR FIRST ANIMATION
Looking for a holiday project for the kids? The free Triggerfish Academy website will talk them through making their first animation: https://www.triggerfish.com/academy/.