Film

Netflix’s first original African series ‘Queen Sono,’ is about a cross-continental female spy

Netflix has had its sights on the ever-growing film industry in Africa for the last few years. It finally made its first moves earlier this year with the acquisition of Genevieve Nnaji’s yet-to-be-released movie titled “Lion Heart” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and landing an upcoming world premiere at Sundance for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Malawi-shot directorial debut, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”

Netflix has made another bold move to ascertain their eager involvement with the continent. The company confirmed on Monday (Dec. 10) its first original African series titled Queen Sono, which centers on a complex, diverse female character. ‘Queen Sono’ played by South African actress Pearl Thusi in the lead role will have to juggle dangerous missions with personal drama. Her missions will take her across the continent, with her home base a spy agency in South Africa. Thusi is best known for her role alongside Priyanka Chopra in the action drama Quantico.

“Queen Sono” was created by comedian-turned-director Kagiso Lediga and is being executive produced by Tamsin Andersson.

“We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world,” says Kagiso Lediga, the show’s creator and director.

Netflix’s director of international original films, Funa Maduka, told Variety in Marrakesh earlier this month that such moves are “just the beginning” for the streamer’s plans for the continent. “Africa is birthplace to one of the oldest storytelling traditions in the world. It also has a rich cinematic history. The talent is here and we want to present ourselves as an option as they choose the best path to connect their stories with audiences,” she said.

The announcement of the show comes barely a week after Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president of international originals, told a gathering in London that the company would begin commissioning original series in Africa starting in 2019.

Speaking about “Queen Sono” with South Africa’s Independent Online, Barmack said: “Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in ‘House of Cards’ and Jessica Jones. Over time, our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”

Queen Sono will debut in 2019 and is set to be available for streaming in 190 countries.

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