How is the African continent unique, and how can we leverage that in the animation industry?
Animation has historically been led and shaped by the Western world, but this is about to change as African artists make waves in this space.
Deidre Jantjies’, founder of Na Aap Productions, says that “the Western way has become the norm in animation”. But, she says, the time has come to mould the industry in different ways by showcasing stories in unique and different ways.
Esther Pearl, Founder and Executive Director at Camp Reel Stories, agrees and says that there is a “desire to create more animation that’s pushing the boundaries”, what better opportunity is there for emerging African artists to push those boundaries and bring African storytelling into animation.
Stories that sprout from African roots have a unique narrative steeped in history and with a spiritual connection and meaning. Older generations have been telling stories to younger generations for centuries as part of a rich storytelling tradition. Now is the ideal time to transform these storytelling techniques and translate them into powerful animations.
“Africa has a unique opportunity to transform this intergenerational connection into a global one”, says Deidre. She has herself launched an inspiring short film animation web series, Stories in die wind. This web series tells the story of young girl finding her purpose in life. It is based on the Nama story |!hûni //gāres |(The Rain Flower) Die reën blom: /Nanub !Khas.
Deidre highlights that there is power in a native telling the stories of the continent, but interestingly, has found that the uptake from the Western world has been slow on these deeper-connecting stories. The indigenous type of story “is new to the Western world and will naturally take time to grasp and understand,” she says. Interest has been shown in other parts of Africa and New Zealand, which she believes is due to their ability to relate to the indigenous aspect. It is time the animation industry in Africa needs to make to evoke the powerful stories and leverage the storytelling tradition that is in our African DNA. Our continent is full of unique, deeper-meaning stories, and our history and traditions can assist in building the ones that will stand out in the world.
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