African creatives make digital mark

Lwazi Msipha brings us an animated satirical show about world issues
Lwazi Msipha brings us an animated satirical show about world issues

‘Imagine Space Ghost Coast to Coast meets The Daily Show but authentically South Africa.”

This is how Lwazi Msipha described his Ringa Mzansi animation show, which was one of the 10 winners in the Digital Lab Africa contest for rising creative talent on the continent.

This initiative, a collaboration between the French Embassy and the French Institute of SA, sifted through 500 applicants to arrive at just 10 winners in categories that include animation, web creation, digital music, virtual reality and video gaming.

The selection committee approves pitches for projects it feels are deserving, which then get a cash injection of R42 000. What makes this even more of a golden opportunity and a step towards nurturing bright ideas is that this platform is afforded to Africa as a whole.

Msipha’s animated talk show delves into current affairs and pressing world issues using a satirical point of view which makes for comical as well as insightful viewing.

“It’s a hybrid animation show,” says Msipha of his project.

The show is 22 minutes long and there are currently 26 episodes, targeting young people aged 16 to 29.

The sharp-tongued host of the show is voiced by comedian Ebenhaezer Dibakwane.

Popular comedian, talk show host and film maker Kagiso Lediga has also made a guest appearance.

The young animator plans to rope in comedians from other parts of Africa to further tailor this concept for regional tastes and content.

Another South African, Shaka Ramulifho, also got the nod – for his music funding service, Sunkambe.

Ramulifho was thrilled by his win in this category.

His is not so much a streaming service, as the market is completely flooded by such platforms. Instead, he is focusing on providing a platform to fund music projects.

Hence, Ramulifho’s service matches musicians who are in need of funds for things like studio time with potential investors, who will take a share of future revenue generated from the project.

“It sounds complicated,” says Ramulifho. “The simplest way to explain this would be to call it ‘the stock exchange of music’. Instead of a big company registering for funds, an artist does. They will create a profile on Sunkambe and ask for a certain amount of money for their project.”

But what about the security of one’s investment and the likelihood of a return?

Sunkambe evaluates the fanbase of the artist, their traction in the market and the overall potential for investment. Once this has been established, investors can contribute from R1 000 upwards for a share of future revenue.

Other winners include Zimbabwean visual artist Komborerai Chapfika, for his virtual reality film Trvlr. The second winner in the animation category is Uzi, a three-minute, 2-D animated short film by Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya from Kenya.

  • Digital Lab Africa has already put out a call for the next group of hopefuls. All you need to do is submit your idea on the website

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