YouTube Originals Kids and Family has ordered a second season of African animated series Super Sema, which is exec produced by Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o.
Made by an all-female team, the show is about a young superhero girl called Sema and her adventures saving the world. Season one debuted in March and its finale was made available last week.
Super Sema is produced by Kenyan outfit Kukua, with Kenyan-Mexican actor Nyong’o voice-acting on the show as well as exec producing. YouTube Originals creative exec Daniel Haack and kids and learning head Nadine Zylstra helped develop the series for the video platform.
Zylstra said: “The success of the show is due to both the creative guidance of its all-female led team and the relatability of the characters to our diverse, global audience of young viewers.”
Other shows on YouTube Originals Kids and Family include virtually filmed teen series Lockdown, Pinkfong Wonderstar and Sherwood.
Kenyan kids’ animated superhero series Super Sema is set to launch on YouTube next month, comprising 20 five-minute episodes.
Produced by Kenyan studio Kukua, the show debuts on March 8 and aims to teach kids how to think critically and solve problems using creativity and teamwork, using the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) framework.
It is set in an ‘Afro-futuristic’ world where the central character uses her science-fueled superpowers, plus some help from her brother, to protect her village from a heartless robot villain.
Super Sema director Lynne Southerland told Entertainment Weekly: “Making my own way as one of the early black female directors and producers in animation has taken the same kind of determination that Sema exemplifies.
“I’ve been longing to tell a story that really resonated with me and that inspires black children to dream beyond what they think is possible. And when you go further behind the scenes of the animated series, you’ll find it’s produced by a female-led team at the Kenyan production company, Kukua. It also pulls all of its voice talent from Kenya as well.”
Vanessa Ford, Kukua’s chief operating officer and Super Sema’s executive producer, added: “At Kukua, we’re building a company where we can take risks, have total creative freedom and change the way we make content for kids from the inside out.
“We’re based in Kenya with a female-led team from all over the world, with many from Africa and the African diaspora, like me. I know what it’s like for me and my own children growing up and not seeing ourselves represented in the cartoons we love. Yes, we want to empower today’s generation of children with positive black role models and STEAM skills, but we also want to make sure their voices are heard. It’s not a coincidence that our hero is named Sema, which is Swahili for ‘speak up!’”