Described in a tweet as a “first-of-its-kind collaboration”, Disney have partnered with the pan-African entertainment company Kugali to produce a brand-new, science fiction series: Iwájú.
This is the first time Disney will be working with African storytellers to create an animated series. Founded by Fikayo Adeloa, Hamid Ibrahim and Tolu Olowofoyeku, Kugali is an entertainment company with a focus on telling stories inspired by African culture, through comic books, art and augmented reality. The stories respect the history of Africa, whilst imagining the future through science-fiction.
Iwájú is said to be based in a futuristic Lagos, and, according to the Kugali website, ‘Iwájú’ roughly translates to ‘The Future’ in the Yoruba language. Although there isn’t much information about the plot or cast, the BBC has quoted Disney in saying the series will explore “deep themes of class, innocence and challenging the status quo”.
Kugali also tweeted: “It’s been quite a challenge keeping this one a secret for so long, but we could not be more proud to share this with you all!” The visual development art from the series suggests the show will be vibrant, futuristic, and inspiring, with fans taking to Twitter to share their excitement:
— Gregory Littley (@LittleyLittley2) December 11, 2020
— Tamara ~Openly Black~ Brooks (@MisfitsTamara) December 11, 2020
Whilst it may be the first production collaboration, this is not the first time Disney has partnered with African entertainment companies; earlier this year Disney teamed up with Nigeria’s FilmOne to distribute Disney-owned films in English-speaking West Africa. Iwájú is due to be released on the streaming service Disney+ in 2022.
Words by Meghna Amin