Finding niche content like homegrown African animation can be a chore sometimes on the internet. Lucky you, we at Squid are passionate about discovering and promoting content we can lay our hands on.
In the spirit of our inner geeks, here’s the first part in a series of lists of five animated projects you can check out and support by spreading the word, appreciating their creators or donating money if the option is available. And most importantly, we hope you’re inspired to add value to what’s out there by creating your own stories, be it through conceptualizing, writing, illustrating or animating. A start is a start wherever you go.
Let’s do this!.
1. The Sim
Sim is a really short but beautiful, minimalist sci-fi animation with fluid motions that will leave you begging for more. Animated by Eri Umusu, it follows a woman, Simisola Williams’ kill or be killed mission in a very basic simulated world. She battles several robots and does so with so much pizazz the Kingsmen would be jealous. The fast-paced fight sequences are reminiscent of RWBY and Sword of the Stranger and the weapons, something between Tron and Star Wars’ lightsabers. Sim ends on a big cliffhanger when Sim’s subjugator operates the machines that facilitate the simulation and the dawning realization that she might be a robot or a clone. If you’re reading this Eri, we’re begging for more.
2. Chicken Core: The Rise of Kings
Chicken Core is what you get when cute but oppressed cluckers take liberation into their own hands. The determined chickens, with but a magical staff for hope dish out some explosive ass whooping against their mind-controlled brethren and the villainous puppeteering crow and with it, usher in a new era. While seemingly light-spirited, one cannot help but ponder the story’s subtle exploration of neo-colonization and destruction of mental barriers. Keep it coming Sporedust.
Gyimah Gariba is a beast. His illustrations are beast 2.0. His animated short, an insightful glimpse into the lives of two friends on either end of the economic divide? See for yourself.
4. Chaskele (OTOO Studios)
A strong contender for favorite, Bertil Toby Svanekiaer’s Chaskele is exactly what it sounds like, an animated short about the Ghanaian childhood game which is either the prequel or sequel of baseball, or both. It tells the story of a naïve nerd drawn into a match with a local champ by a sore loser. What should be an ordinary game of running, throwing, batting and catching crushed cans quickly escalates into a display of mathematical genius, instincts and an affinity for metaphysical African electronics that borrow from the Adinkra symbolism of the Ashanti.
5. The Legend of Ngong Hills
An ogre, a pillaged village and a forced love pretty much sum this animated short by Kwame Nyong’o. It is a retelling of the Massai folktale surrounding the hills that overlook Nairobi and a gentle celebration of tenacity and cunning in the face of looming defeat.
Feature image courtesy Bertil Svanekiaer.