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bird TenX: 10 promising animation studios in Africa

AFRICA’S animation industry has seen remarkable growth in recent years, captivating audiences worldwide with its unique storytelling and creativity. From South Africa to Nigeria, these studios have been making waves and significantly contributing to the vibrant animation landscape across the continent.

1. Triggerfish Animation Studios – South Africa
Arguably the biggest and best-known animation studio in Africa, Triggerfish is home to renowned projects such as Kizazi Moto which put Africa on the map in terms of high-quality and well-scripted animations. Triggerfish Studios is known for its visual and innovative animation that speaks to the heart of Africa through its relatable storytelling.

Other successful animated films produced by the studio include “Zambezia,” “Adventure Time: Distant Lands,” and “Khumba.” For its pioneering work, the studio won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for “The Lost Thing” in 2011.

2. Creatures Animation Studio – Uganda
Led by its lead animator, Raymond Malinga, Creatures Animation has produced some of the best-animated films in Africa that have gone on to win awards. Malinga’s most famous work is a short animated film, “A Kalabanda Ate My Homework” produced in 2017. The film garnered six awards and twelve nominations across the globe.

The short film was shown at Cape Town International and Cannes Film Festivals. It was also here that Malinga met the international film directors who selected him for the Kizazi Moto anthology.

3. Ng’endo Studios Limited – Kenya
Best known for ‘Yellow Fever,’ her documentary animation exploring Western influences on African women’s ideals of beauty, Ng’endo Mukii is the brainchild behind Ng’endo Studios in Nairobi. The studio primarily works on independent and commissioned short films.

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The award-winning director and animator is a writer on Netflix’s Mama K’s Team 4 series, and was also part of Disney+ and Triggerfish animated anthology, Kizazi Moto.

Her films have won numerous accolades, including the Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival and Best Short Film at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards for “Yellow Fever.” Additionally, her first 360 film, “Nairobi Berries,” won the Encounters Immersive Grand Prix.

4. Kugali Media – Nigeria
True to its “discover African narratives” tagline, Kugali is a pan-African production studio paving the way for its innovative use of technology and dedication to telling African stories in a visually stunning way. Their first animated film, “Iwaju,” a sci-fi animated series, recently premiered on Disney+ in 2023 to favourable reviews.

The studio also dabbles in comic books and Augmented Reality.

5. Fatboy Animations – Kenya
Founded in 2010 by Michael Muthiga, Fatboy Animations is the creative force behind some of the best animation commercials in Kenya. Leaning heavily into 3D production, his most popular work was “Faiba,” commissioned by the leading telecommunications company in Kenya.

He has been recognized by Forbes magazine twice – in 2014 and 2016, as one of the 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa.

6. Spoof Animation – Nigeria
Known for producing 2D and 3D animated content, Spoof Animation, Lagos, is known for its humorous and satirical style of animation, and its work has been featured on a number of international platforms. The studio also focuses on illustrations and digital paintings.

7. Alula Animation Company – Zimbabwe
Also part of the Kizazi Moto project, Pious Nyenyewa leads Alula Animation Company based in Harare. The studio specializes in 3D animation, mainly TV commercials and Illustration(2D/3D).

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For Kizazi Moto, Nyenyewa collaborated with Tafadzwa Hove, who holds a bachelor’s degree in film and media from the University of Cape Town, to produce “Mukudzei,” a futuristic take on Great Zimbabwe.

8. Clockwork Zoo Animation – South Africa
With a focus on high-quality animation for commercials, Clockwork Zoo Animation is behind Jungle Beat: The Movie, Urbo: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, Caillou, and Florrie’s Dragons.

They were the recipients of the prestigious 2010 Cape Film Commission Imbongi trophies in both Training & Development and Animation.

9. Guez Show – Rwanda
Founded in Rwanda in 2013, Guez Show is well-versed in Graphics, Advertising and Motion Design. With time, they grew to cover film and overall content production.

Among their famous projects was the Gikoba Underground & Open Air Museum where they presented a Virtual Reality Visualization of the museum to President Paul Kagame.

10. AnimaxFYB Studios – Ghana
Based in Accra, Ghana, AnimaxFYB Studios is an award-winning animation and visual effects studio. Their mission, according to their website is “to create and export authentic African content that showcases African stories and imagination for profit on both local and global markets.”

The studio focuses on shorts, flicks (feature films), and series. Some of their awards include NOMMO AWARDS for Best Graphic Novel “Moon Girls” 2021, and 6th EMMY Africa Awards Creative and Support Arts Award,2021.

Other African animation houses to look out for:

Ubongo Kids – Tanzania
Ubongo Kids produces an educational cartoon show that teaches school-going children math, science, and life skills through fun, animated stories and catchy original songs.

Samaka Studios – Egypt
Samaka is a popular Egyptian animation studio that swims through a wide range of animation services but is primarily a producer of Egyptian culture targeting a young audience.

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Tabproduction Studios Limited – Zambia
Tabitha Mwale, widely recognized as Tabs Kun. Tabs Kun marked her official entrance into the creative realm as the creator of Zambia’s inaugural Anime, “The Super,” and was featured on Aljazeera in 2022. Following this achievement, she established Tabproduction Studios Limited, the first successful Traditional animation studio in Zambia.

By ESTHER MUSEMBI, BIRD STORY AGENCY

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