“Twende”: Showmax’s First 2D Animated Series Takes Center Stage

“Twende,” the inaugural Showmax Original 2D animated series, emerges as a shining star in the animation universe. Twende, an endearing pangolin recognized for its status as the slowest-moving creature in the African savannah, weaves a captivating tale that tugs at the heartstrings. However, Twende’s narrative takes an unexpected twist as he assumes the role of a boda boda driver navigating the bustling streets of Milima, a fictitious East African city.

At the heart of “Twende” lies a profound belief in cherishing life’s journey over its final destination. This philosophy, in constant contradiction with Twende’s boda boda driver persona, is masterfully orchestrated by South African showrunner Greig Cameron. Cameron, known for his creative brilliance displayed in “Seal Team” and the immensely popular soccer animated series “Supa Strikas,” is the visionary behind this project.

“Twende” boasts a stellar cast as one of its standout attributes. Junior Nyong’o, celebrated for his roles in “The Legend of Lwanda Magere” and “Hamlet,” lends his voice to the character of Twende. Additionally, June Gachui breathes life into Nuru, an unlikely best friend and navigator for Twende. Nuru, a sharp-witted bird constantly watching over her easygoing companion, bears the title of Kenya’s national bird – the lilac-breasted roller.

Elsaphan Njora embodies the character of Boss, a perpetually cash-strapped and exhausted hyena who owns the boda boda agency where Nuru and Twende are employed. As a single father, Boss grapples with the challenges of financial stability. The rest of the Kenyan voice cast includes Charles Ouda as Kimbe, an ostentatious stunt driver, and Mkamzee Mwatela as Madam Mongoose, the CEO of the foreboding tech empire known as Goober. Nyokabi Macharia, Joyce Musoke, and the seasoned voice actor and director Khaemba W. Edward also play pivotal roles in the ensemble.

It’s essential to note that while “Twende” is a light-hearted show, it does not directly address the issue of pangolin trafficking, which is a significant concern as pangolins are among the world’s most trafficked and endangered species. Nevertheless, the series aspires to cultivate awareness and affection for these unique creatures through humor and adventure.

The creative minds behind “Twende,” Charlie and Regan Maas, drew inspiration from their East African travels. Their mission to capture the authentic ambiance of African streets led to fruitful collaborations with London-based Braintrust and Johannesburg-based Mind’s Eye Creative. These partnerships birthed a team of gifted African writers, directors, and animators.

The co-creators of the show, Mike Scott and Kayla Archer, along with the writing team, bring an impressive array of credentials to the table. Notable talents such as Malenga Mulendema, Vanessa Kanu, J. Njogu Macharia, and Sheldon Bengtson add depth to the project. The legendary Kenyan producer Eric Musyoka lends his musical expertise to “Twende,” while top South African music studios contribute a compelling score.

“Twende” is a groundbreaking endeavor as the first 2D animated series of this scale and quality produced predominantly in Africa. Showmax has set the premiere date for December 4, 2023, with subsequent episodes released every Saturday. Prepare to slow down and embark on an exhilarating journey through the savanna with Twende, the pangolin driven by an innate need for speed!

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