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The first Original African concept animated developed in partnership with Disney is finally here.
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Disney Animation/Kugali Original Series “Iwájú” is now confirmed to Stream On Disney+ Beginning Feb. 28
“Iwájú” is an original animated series set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria. The exciting coming-of-age story follows Tola, a young girl from a wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole, a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds.
Kugali filmmakers—including director Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, production designer Hamid Ibrahim and cultural consultant Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku—take viewers on a unique journey into the world of “Iwájú,” bursting with unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos. Disney Animation’s Christina Chen produces the series with a screenplay by Adeola and Halima Hudson, series casting by Lala Akindoju and series music by Re Olunga.
“Iwájú” features the voices of Simisola Gbadamosi, Dayo Okeniyi, Femi Branch, Siji Soetan and Weruche Opia.
On making the series, Adeola shares, “Crafting the narrative of ‘Iwájú’ has been a journey of creative alchemy, blending the rich cultural tapestry of Lagos with imaginative leaps into the future. Collaborating with my Kugali co-founders and the visionary artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios has been nothing short of magical.
The heartbeat of my hometown resonates through every scene, and I am thrilled for the world to experience this unique fusion of tradition and futurism.”
Also debuting Feb. 28 on Disney+ is “Iwájú: A Day Ahead,” a documentary special filmed across three continents that shares the story of the founders of the Pan-African entertainment company, Kugali, who made their dream a reality creating an original animation series with Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Created by the ABC News Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios team that brought you “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2,” the documentary shows anything is possible when talent meets opportunity. “Iwájú: A Day Ahead” is directed by Megan Harding and executive produced by Amy Astley and Beth Hoppe.
First Look Images
MEET TOLA – Set in futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, “Iwájú” is a coming-of-age story from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pan-African entertainment company Kugali.
Tola (voice of Simisola Gbadamosi) is a curious and opinionated girl who’s eager to learn more about the world around her.
This exciting coming-of-age story follows Tola (voice of Simisola Gbadamosi) and her best friend Kole (voice of Siji Soetan). Kugali filmmakers Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, Hamid Ibrahim and Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku take viewers on a unique journey into the world of “Iwájú,” bursting with unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos.
“Iwájú,” an original animated series set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria—a world bursting with unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos. Among them is Otin (voice of Weruche Opia), a high-tech robotic pet lizard with powerful capabilities.
Kugali filmmakers—including director Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, production designer Hamid Ibrahim and cultural consultant Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku—take viewers on a unique journey in this six-episode event. Produced by Disney Animation’s Christina Chen, and written by Adeola and Halima Hudson, “Iwájú” streams exclusively on Disney+ on Feb. 28, 2024. ©
While the series debuts on Feb. 28 in the US, release timing and distribution platform for select regions, including Nigeria, will be announced shortly.
Global companies are building their animated series library from the continent
streaming platform Netflix released its first African animation series in June 2023. Created by Zambian Malenga Mulendema, the series “Supa Team 4” is set in a futuristic version of the Zambian capital Lusaka and tells the story of four teenage girls recruited by a former secret agent to save the world.
Malenga Mulendema created the series after being one of eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a continent-wide talent competition in Africa.
When the series was announced for 2019, the scriptwriter said she wanted to set the story in her home country, Zambia, to “show that anyone, from anywhere, can be a superhero”.
Showmax debuted two animations from last year which include the Original 2D animated series titled Twende. The series follows a pangolin of the same name, the slowest-moving animal in the savannah. Twende’s belief that ‘Life is about the journey, not the destination’ is constantly at odds with his job as a motorbike taxi driver.
Rated 7-9 PGV, Twende is produced by London-based Braintrust and Johannesburg-based Mind’s Eye Creative, with Greig Cameron (Seal Team, Supa Strikas) as the showrunner and an all-star writing team that includes the likes of Supa Team 4 creator Malenga Mulendema and Kizazi Moto’s Vanessa Kanu.
Iwaju from Disney Plus joins this exciting array of animated titles created by African storytellers.
With authenticity and creativity at its heart, Kugali is an African-owned and operated storytelling collective spearheading Africa’s modern emergence into the AAA media landscape.
Founded in 2017 by Tolu Olowofoyeku, Olufikayo Adeola and Hamid Ibrahim to take African stories to the world, Kugali Media has attracted recognition from companies like Disney and the BBC, as well as paved the way for a generation of new African storytellers to find their voices in graphic novels.
Their most notable achievements include record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns, a slew of award-winning graphic novels and their upcoming Disney+ series in collaboration with Disney Animation, “Iwájú.”
All Six Episodes of “Iwájú” Stream on Disney+ Beginning Feb. 28, 2024 and it this quite exciting to see the representation of Nigeria and Africa on screen.