When one thinks about Zimbabwe, animation is not the first thing that comes to mind. Like many African countries, Zimbabwe is plagued with numerous difficulties but surprisingly the entertainment sector/industry continues to grow. In comparison to performing arts, film and music; animation has quite a distance to go before it is established. So how is the Zimbabwean animation industry is faring and how animators are surviving in our economy?

   

 

One of the vanguards of animation in Zimbabwe is Nqobizitha “Enqore” Mlilo who produced Zimbabwe’s first fully animated music video at the age of eighteen. Since then he has done more than 40 animated music video as well as a myriad of videos, films and documentaries. He has also educated more than 400 digital media artists, and was a lecturer at ZIVA (Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts) and later started his own campus . Nqobizitha is also the founder of the award-winning Nafuna TV ( which produces the “Angry Mwana” cartoon).

Nqobizitha Mlilo is one of many with an animation studio in Zimbabwe, some other studios of repute include Bako Animation Studio, Makanimation, Sigma Digital Studio, Ruvara Studio, (this list is by no means exhaustive but highlights the prominent). Some production houses such as InVision Studios. focus on other areas but also produce visual effects if the script calls for it and if there are sufficient funds however animation is not its focus.

 

The animation industry in Zimbabwe is predominantly male due to a number of factors but over the years women have become more prominent and greater in number.  One such animator is Claire Dongo who is on IMDb for the production of the animated short film “Amoeba” (which she created with another Zimbabwean animator Batsirai Freddie). She is also one of the founding members of the Joint Afrikan Animators Group (JAAG) which was formed in 2007 and has been working to promote the animation industry since. You can see some of her animations on her Youtube channel here.

 

The Joint Afrikan Animators Group (JAAG) was conceptualized in 2007 by Nqobizitha MIilo, Marvel Banda and Solomon Maramba and had made strides in building the animation industry in Zimbabwe, sadly the group has been inactive in recent years. The group birthed the Zimbabwean Festival of Afrikan Inspired Animation which saw the government acknowledge that animation is a high potential industry through engagement through and national census.

Even though animation is a relatively new industry in Zimbabwe it is backed by people who are passionate about what they do and will not rest until they have  established it in the country. The journey has been long and hard but the momentum is building and the revolution has only just begun.

 

Original Article: Posted by Aaliyah Zadok, June 10 2016