Disney has entered a collaboration with Kugali Media, an African entertainment company. On December 11, 2020, the entertainment company took to Twitter to announce a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Kugali Media formed by three friends, based in Nigeria and Uganda, with the aim of seeing Africans telling African stories.
The friends —Tolu Olowofoyeku, Hamid Ibrahim, and Fikayo Adeola— have created a comic book collection titled Iwájú which translates to “The future” in Yoruba language, a West African tongue, from which the title is chosen. The book is set in futuristic Lagos and is now picked up as a new TV series by Walt Disney Animation Studios to premiere on its Disney+ streaming platform in 2022.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer, Jennifer Lee, said that the show is steeped in science-fiction and explores “deep themes of class, innocence and challenging the status quo”. Lee who discovered the series from a BBC article that highlighted it as a “pan-African comic book hoping to kick Disney’s arse” said of the partners as “three talented comic book artists. Their dream was to bring African stories created by African artists to the world, highlighting the diversity of cultures, histories, and voices across the continent. Their talents as storytellers blew us away.”
Disney has previously partnered with African entertainment companies. In September, the studio teamed up with Nigeria’s FilmOne entertainment to distribute Disney-owned films in English-speaking West Africa.