“Kizazi Moto Generation Fire,” an animated series produced by Triggerfish and set to premiere on Disney Plus globally on July 5, has the potential to revolutionize the African animation industry. With executive producer Peter Ramsey, known for his work on “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and collaboration with Triggerfish’s Anthony Silverston and Tendayi Nyeke, this 10-part anthology series combines mythology, science fiction, and Afrofuturism to present a unique vision of the future from an African perspective.
Featuring animators from six African countries, the series draws inspiration from ancient histories, folklore, and modern urban landscapes to create a world filled with cyborg cattle, flying minibus-taxis, radioactive octopi, and robotic birds. Through these imaginative stories, “Kizazi Moto” offers a never-before-seen portrayal of the African continent.
Ramsey and the show’s creators believe that this series is just the beginning and that African animators have so much more to offer. They express the belief that the world will be fortunate to witness the new and distinct voices emerging from Africa. Ramsey, who attended the Cape Town Animation Festival in 2019, was deeply impressed by the creativity, positivity, and warmth of the African animation community. He sensed that something truly groundbreaking was unfolding within the industry.
The Rising Tide of African Animation: “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire” and the Future of the Industry
When Triggerfish approached Peter Ramsey about collaborating with Disney+ on “Kizazi Moto,” he eagerly accepted the opportunity. Ramsey was inspired by the energy he experienced during his time at the Cape Town Animation Festival and believed that capturing and sharing that energy with the world would be something truly remarkable.
Marie Lora-Mungai, founder of Restless Global, a creative sector advisory firm, considers the release of “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire” to be a significant moment for the African animation industry. She praises Triggerfish, the South African studio behind the series, for their dedication and perseverance in bringing the project to fruition. Lora-Mungai believes that this anthology exemplifies the achievements of African creators and animators when provided with the necessary resources, including training, time, and budget. She expects the series to inspire and invigorate aspiring animators across the continent.
For Triggerfish, the release of “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire” is a triumph. The Cape Town-based production house has evolved from a small stop-motion animation studio that emerged in the post-apartheid era into a powerhouse in the industry. They have earned prestigious accolades such as a Cristal at Annecy and an International Emmy for their collaboration on Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes” (2016), which was also nominated for an Oscar in partnership with Britain’s Magic Light Pictures.
After presenting a preview of “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire” at Annecy, Anthony Silverston from Triggerfish expressed his belief that African animation has reached a turning point. He observed a wave of momentum and a growing recognition of the possibilities and capabilities within the African animation community.
Continued Commitment and Future Prospects for African Animation
As part of its efforts to diversify its animation slate, Disney has increased its investment in Africa in recent years. In 2015, Disney partnered with Triggerfish for the Triggerfish Story Lab, a talent search across Africa aimed at discovering the next generation of animators on the continent. This commitment to Africa continues with upcoming projects such as the futuristic series “Iwájú,” a Disney+ Original from pan-African entertainment company Kugali, and the musical comedy show “Kiff” created by South African talents Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal.
Triggerfish, recognized as one of nine animation studios worldwide selected to produce a short film for the upcoming “Star Wars: Visions Vol. 2” anthology on Disney+, has several projects in the pipeline. Anthony Silverston, from Triggerfish, hinted at these projects and teased future collaborations with the creators of “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire.” Peter Ramsey also expressed his hopes for further exploration and continuation of the “Kizazi Moto” series, acknowledging the abundance of talent available for future installments.
Raymond Malinga, the Ugandan creator of the “Herderboy” short within “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire,” sees the series as validation for years of grassroots efforts across the continent to develop the animation industry. He emphasizes that African animators often face challenges in gaining opportunities and must fight for recognition. Malinga has a straightforward message for studio executives and global audiences as “Kizazi Moto Generation Fire” prepares for its worldwide release: “Witness our capabilities and achievements. If you want more, pay attention to our upcoming projects.”