What you need to know:
- Kwame's dedication to animation and his commitment to sharing fresh, uplifting narratives rooted in African culture have been the guiding principles of his journey.
In an enlightening interview, Kwame Nyong'o shared his insights into "Twende," its significance for African animation, and the meticulous criteria for selecting a Kenyan voice cast to tell a genuinely African tale.
"Casting for Twende was very exciting and super fun, and I am so grateful for all the amazing, all-Kenyan voice talent we have on the show. They have turned it out; the chemistry is palpable," Kwame expressed.
Kwame Nyong'o, a pioneering figure in Kenyan animation, has assumed a pivotal role as casting director and executive producer for "Twende," the upcoming Showmax Original 2D animated series set to debut on December 1, 2023.
This groundbreaking series unfolds in the vibrant, fictional East African city of Milima, where it follows the adventures of a boda-boda-driving pangolin.
The character's mantra, "Life is about the journey, not the destination," often finds itself at odds with the demands of his profession.
Kwame's dedication to animation and his commitment to sharing fresh, uplifting narratives rooted in African culture have been the guiding principles of his journey.
Whether through his children's books, which celebrate African children and utilise African cuisine as a medium for cultural exchange, or his award-winning short film, "The Legend of Lwanda Magere," delving into the story of a remarkable Luo warrior with superhuman powers, Kwame seeks to bridge the past, present, and future of the African continent through compelling storytelling.
"Twende" has already generated buzz as Showmax's first 2D animated series. It promises not only world-class animation quality that rivals the best projects worldwide but also an innovative approach to storytelling that resonates with African audiences.
Kwame Nyong'o's involvement with "Twende" traces back to his encounter with co-creator Mike Scott during the UNESCO 'Africa Animated!' project in the mid-2000s.
The idea of a laid-back pangolin boda-boda driver navigating Milima's bustling traffic ignited their interest.
The concept not only seemed fun but also presented a remarkable opportunity to elevate the profile of African animation.
"Twende" features East African voices and introduces a range of unusual animals not typically seen in children's cartoons, including a pangolin, a mongoose, and Kenya's national bird, the lilac-breasted roller.
The incorporation of Swahili and references to uniquely East African elements like mandazi and boda boda in the show resonates with them, dispelling the myth that 'the West is best' and contributing to a more equitable world. It is poised to make a significant mark in African animation and beyond.