SA an­i­ma­tion starts to come of age

CityPress - - Trending - PHUM­LANI SITHEBE LANGA phum­lani.sithebe@city­

An­i­mated sit­coms on TV have be­come a genre that walks a line be­tween hi­lar­i­ous and crass. The Boon­docks, South Park and The Simp­sons come to mind. They use kiddy styles with adult con­tent that isn’t shy to com­ment on so­ci­ety.

But we’ve gen­er­ally had to tune in to US ac­cents to get our fix.

Now there’s a sud­den boom in the lo­cal in­dus­try and 2016 will see at least two adult-hu­moured an­i­mated se­ries on the box. It’s part of a big­ger pic­ture. We’re pro­duc­ing an­i­mated fea­tures to match some of the best in the world (think Trig­ger­fish’s Zam­bezia and Khumba) and de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes are pay­ing off as young an­i­ma­tors en­ter the in­dus­try. Mdu Comics’ web se­ries Izikhokho Show was South Africa’s big­gest YouTube hit in 2014 and could eas­ily have made it to TV, but hasn’t yet.

The ques­tion is whether we’re de­vel­op­ing our own style or just copy­ing what’s hot in Amer­ica.

Sys­traat (Side Street) and My Child: Teenage Mu­tant Aza­ni­ans – the two new TV shows – sug­gest we’re find­ing our own ac­cents. Afrikaans se­ries Sys­traat pre­miered on SABC3’s YouTube chan­nel, the first de­but of this na­ture for the SABC. It is South Africa’s first an­i­mated sit­com. It fol­lows the lives of a mul­tira­cial fam­ily of four and how they deal with a sub­ur­ban neigh­bour­hood full of pretty odd char­ac­ters. The Kotzes are vi­brant folk who are do­ing all they can to nav­i­gate their way through the chal­lenges of sub­ur­bia. It comes off as closer to The Simp­sons than the raw and edgy South Park, as it aims to poke a lit­tle fun at our South African­ness. A stand-out is Hein, the younger of the two sons, who brings a touch of dark­ness to this oth­er­wise light-hearted sit­com. It’s clas­si­cally drawn from pup­pet per­for­mances, bring­ing the char­ac­ters to life but not really push­ing the en­ve­lope.

Far more ex­cit­ing, as an­i­ma­tion and sweary con­tent goes, is My Child: Teenage Mu­tant Aza­ni­ans on Com­edy Cen­tral (DStv chan­nel 122). With fresh, ex­per­i­men­tal an­i­ma­tion, its cast boasts heavy­weight co­me­di­ans such as Trevor Gumbi, Mpho Popps, Nina Hastie, Griffy 2Tril­lion and ac­tress Mag­gie Bene­dict. If th­ese new devel­op­ments are any­thing to go by, the fu­ture looks bright (and de­light­fully dark).

RAW AND UN­CUT My Child: Teenage Mu­tant Aza­ni­ans


SCHOOL DAZE A still from Sys­traat, the SABC’s new se­ries

MEET THE NEIGH­BOURS Sys­traat’s sub­ur­ban char­ac­ters have to deal with the mul­ti­cul­tural SA

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