Pan-African SVOD platform Showmax has released the trailer for its new animated series Twende, the first 2d animated Showmax Original. The producers of the series are touting this as the “first 2d animated show of this scale and quality made almost entirely in Africa.”
A pilot episode for Twende screened in competition at Annecy in 2021, and now, Showmax’s parent company Multichoice Studios is bringing the finished series to Mipcom to court international distributors outside of Africa. Twende will debut on Showmax across Africa on December 4.
The trailer looks great and the show’s sense of humor shines through. Aimed at 6 to 11-year-olds, Twende looks like the kind of series that parents will enjoy watching with their kids.
- Twende is showrun and directed by Greig Cameron. The series was created by the husband-and-wife team of Charlie and Regan Maas, Kayla-Jaymee Archer, Mike Scott. It’s produced by London-based Braintrust and Johannesburg-based animation studio Mind’s Eye Creative.
- Twende’s titular protagonist is a pangolin, an endangered species which is one of the slowest-moving animals of the savannah. He works as boda boda (motorcycle taxi) driver in a fictional East African city where his incongruous career choice and belief that life is about the journey and not the destination often cause friction with riders who just want to get where they’re going quickly.
- In a release, Charlie Maas explained how a tour of East Africa inspired the show: “My older brother is always late, so we were constantly yelling at him, ‘Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go.’ And the guide started saying, ‘Twende! Twende!’ So, his nickname for the trip became Twende the Pole Pole Man. We wrote the original theme song in the back of that Jeep and sang it about 100 times over the next few days.”
- Regan Maas added: “Driving through Nairobi later, we were astounded by the traffic. We couldn’t believe the many matatu buses and boda boda drivers weaving in and out of traffic. That really left an imprint on us, so we started to imagine the slowest man on the Savannah driving a boda boda, and what that might look like. And so, in true Twende fashion, it took a long, meandering yet overwhelmingly positive journey to get from there to where we are now.”
- Executive producer Kwame Nyong’o finished: “Twende is a super silly show, but we hope that, between all the humor and all the hijinks, our audience will fall in love with pangolins as much as we have and do their part to help protect them.”
- The series features an all-Kenyan voice cast led by Junior Nyong’o, June Gachui, and Elsaphan Njora.