During the first half of 2022, Netflix in Africa released an exceptional slate of content from the sub-Saharan Africa region across multiple genres, including the pan-African reality show “Young, Famous & African,” the South African action film “Silverton Siege,” the South African soapy drama series “Savage Beauty,” Netflix’s first Kenyan licenced branded series “Country Queen,” the first Netflix-owned Nigerian series “Blood Sisters,” a riveting South African crime documentary “Senzo: Murder Of A Soccer Star” and most recently, “Justice Served.”
The response has been astounding, with several of these titles landing on the Netflix weekly Global Top 10 lists, which rank global and country lists for the most popular titles on our service, in addition to the Top 10 daily product rows on Netflix.
Bringing together talent, filmmakers, and press from South Africa and Nigeria, Netflix hosted a “See What’s Next Africa” content showcase to spotlight its increased investment in Africa’s rich heritage of storytelling through exciting new projects that span a diverse range of genres and formats that will be available in 190 countries.
“We believe that Africa is one of the major creative centres for great storytelling that resonates around the world, so it only makes sense for us to increase our investment with our slate with an even more exciting slate. We’re proud to continue creating global opportunities for the talented creatives of this great continent and sharing their authentic stories with our members in Africa and around the world,” said Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix Director of Series in Africa.
As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to creating sustainable relationships with African storytellers, Netflix announced a multi-project partnership with acclaimed South African filmmaker Mandlakayise Walter Dube. Under the partnership, Mandla—who directed Netflix’s first commissioned African film, “Silverton Siege” (and “Kalushi“)—will direct a variety of Netflix-owned projects which will be shared in due course. This partnership joins other multi-title agreements between the company and African creatives, including Mo Abudu (and Ebonylife Studios) and Kunle Afolayan (and KAP).
At the event, Netflix also gave a glimpse into the progress of the various projects being created by emerging filmmakers from the various initiatives the company introduced in the past year, which include the UNESCO & Netflix ‘African Folktales, Reimagined’ Competition; the Netflix & NFVF Film Fund; and the Realness Institute Episodic Lab.
Tendeka Matatu, Director of Local Language Films in Africa, said, “We are working with top talent and filmmakers as well as exciting emerging voices from the continent. We are thrilled to expand our partnerships with Africa’s talented storytellers. With an ever-growing slate of series, movies, and licenced content across a rich variety of best-in-class content across genres, we want to give our members more moments to share the joy that comes from being immersed in great stories made in Africa, to be watched by the world.“
At the event, Netflix previewed a diverse range of best-in-class and exciting African content through exclusive promo reels and images. These include:
Netflix’s first Afrikaans title series, “Ludik,” is set to burst onto screens globally on August 26, 2022. The racy, skop, skiet en donder six-part series features South African-born Hollywood actor Arnold Vosloo in the titular role of Daan Ludik, alongside local heavyweight talents Rob Van Vuuren (Swys De Villiers), Diaan Lawrenson (Anet Ludik) and Zane Meas (Brigadier Davies).
“The Brave Ones”
From the one and only Akin Omotoso, this supernatural drama series is set in modern-day South Africa and is inspired by African folklore. “The Brave Ones” launches on September 16, 2022. The series was created by renowned film director, writer, and actor Akin Omotoso and features Sthandile Nkosi, Sthandiwe Kgoroge, Bonko Khoza, and Tony Kgoroge. More details about the series will follow shortly.
“Kings of Queenstown”
“Kings of Queenstown” tells the tale of a young soccer prodigy who must deal with his washed-up pro-footballer father while navigating some difficult choices. The series launches on November 4 and stars Zolisa Xaluva and is directed by prolific South African director Jahmil XT Quebeka, whose films, “Knuckle City,” “Sew the Winter to My Skin” and “Of Good Report” will also be available on Netflix later this year.
“Blood & Water” and “How to Ruin Christmas: The Baby Shower”
At the 4th South African Investment Conference, which was held earlier this year, Netflix promised to invest more than ZAR920 million in four productions in South Africa for 2022 and 2023. The four projects were One Piece, a worldwide live-action series presently being produced in the Cape Town Film Studios, and two series for which Netflix disclosed debut dates at the content showcase: “Blood & Water,” returning in November, and “How to Ruin Christmas: The Baby Shower,” premiering on December 16.
“iNumber Number: Fool’s Gold”
The fourth title in this investment that was shown at the showcase event is the sequel to the well-liked South African film “iNumber Number.” “iNumber Number: Fool’s Gold” is directed by Donovan Marsh and stars S’Dumo Mtshali and Presley Chweneyagae as buddy policemen entrusted with breaking Africa’s biggest gold heist. More information about this high-octane picture will be released closer to the film’s release date in 2023.
“Young, Famous & African”
Netflix also reaffirmed its commitment to reality by confirming the return of “Young, Famous & African,” which will start production soon to showcase some of Africa’s biggest stars as they go about their everyday fabulous lives.
“Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman”
Based on the lauded play by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka “Death and The King’s Horseman“—this film, produced by Mo Abudu and her EbonyLife production company, explores the collision between Yoruba traditions and British colonialism through the experience of a king’s horseman on the most important day of his life. The film, which will make its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 10, will launch on the service on November 4, 2022.
The screen adaptation was written and directed by Biyi Bandele and stars Odunlade Adekola, Shaffy Bello, and acclaimed musician Olawale ‘Brymo’ Olofooro as the Praise Singer. Entertainment fans can also look forward to Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowunmi Dada, veteran actors Jide Kosoko and Kevin Ushi, Jenny Stead, Mark Elderkin, Langley Kirkwood, and a special appearance by acting legends Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Ajoke Silva.
“Anikulapo,” which was part of Netflix’s multi-title deal with Kunle Afolayan, is a one-of-a-kind mystical folklore drama centred on the life of Saro, a young zealous man seeking greener pastures in the great Oyo Kingdom. However, unfolding events and his illicit affair with the king’s wife, Arolake, lead to his untimely death and an encounter with Akala, a mystical bird believed to give and take life. The film is directed by Kunle Afolayan and features Kunle Remi, Sola Sobowale, Aisha Lawal, Bimbo Ademoye, Debo Adedayo (Mr Macaroni) and Dele Odule. The film will be released on September 30th.
Netflix has also invested in a wide variety of licenced films and series that will make their debut on Netflix this year. These include:
“Office Invasion“: Three friends believe their lives can’t get any worse after the mining company they work for is taken over by the owner’s degenerate son. That is until the mine is targeted by a monstrous band of aliens looking to plunder the mine and exterminate all of its staff. A sci-fi comedy feature directed by Gareth Crocker and Fred Wolmarans. It will premiere on August 10.
“Lockdown“: A couple attempts a high-risk, high-stakes jewellery heist at a department store. It will premiere on August 5.
“The Razz Guy“: While preparing for an important business deal, an arrogant executive loses control of his voice after being cursed by an office cleaner. It will premiere on August 12.
“Wild is The Wind“: In a small racially segregated town, a corrupt cop struggles to take responsibility for his part in the wrongful arrest of a black teenager charged with the brutal murder of a young Afrikaans girl. This crime drama is directed by Fabian Medea and stars Mothusi Magano. It will premiere on October 28.
“Disconnect 2“: The sequel to a well-loved story about a self-centred Otis who falls victim to a wedding scam, months after volunteering to organise a destination wedding for his Nigerian investor buddy, who will arrive with the wedding party in two days, so he desperately enlists the help of a reluctant TK and friends. It is produced and directed by David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, who will also have two more stories, a film “Nairobi Half Life” and a series “Volume” launching on the streaming platform at a later date).