As theatres got muted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, highly curated streaming platform Netflix remained committed to its promise of finding and promoting talent on the African continent. Major films and shows from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana were added to the plethora of streaming African titles, along with original contents that were produced by some of the biggest film executives.
Getting to the end of the year, Kunle Afolayan introduced Netflix audience to Moremi (Temi Otedola), a bright student who battles her professor Lucien N’ Dyare (Jimmy Jean-Louis) in a sexual harassment case. ‘Citation’ was Afolayan’s first original export to Netflix, making it the third Nigerian Netflix original title. South Africa brought in three exciting shows ‘Blood & Water’, ‘Kings of Jo’Burg’ and ‘How to Ruin Christmas’. With the exception of the latter, the first two series have received a season two green light. Kenya also submitted its first original title with Tom Whitworth’s directed short film ‘Poacher’, that centers around the life of a desperate farmer who runs into trouble after stealing a stash of blood ivory from a gang of international terrorists.
Behind the streaming moments of these shows and films, big announcements of fresh shows to stream later were buzzing, while new negotiations were made to secure a straight-into-production warrant.
Under the 2021 umbrella, sequels as well as originals and adaptations are steaming up for release despite the pandemic’s continuous havoc on the film market. With details about production reaches kept under wraps, here are some of the most anticipated African original titles to stream on Netflix in 2021 (or maybe 2022).
Castle & Castle, season 2
Before it became part of the Netflix collection, fans of this hit legal drama series were already in agreement to binge-watch season two whenever and wherever it dropped. It would have been on the Netflix shelf by now, but thanks to COVID-19, pre-production was put on hold until it became safe for filming to resume. Aside the dramatic office romance of the show’s frontrunners Tega Castle (Richard Mofe-Damijo) and Remi Castle (Dakore Egbuson-Akande), the show was a delight to watch based on the legal interface it came with. Although well-received, we hope the developing second season will tackle more legal confrontations than it did with the first season.
King of Boys 2
It’s by far the only picture amongst the fold that has ended production. Originally based on the story of Eniola Samali (Sola Sobowale), a rich business woman and philanthropist, who struggles to maintain power amidst threatening oppositions within her circle, the premise for the sequel follows Eniola’s return to Lagos after an abroad stay for five years. The comeback features her attempt to tally her underground might with a legitimate political power. The other interesting part of the sequel is the casting of Nollywood’s big names Richard Mofe-Damijo and Nse Ikpe-Etim, who plays the First Lady of Lagos, H.E Mrs Jumoke Randle (we can imagine the faceoff coming). The sequel is expected to land within the first quarter of the year.
Blood & Water, season 2
Based on the amateur investigative work of Puleng (Ama Qamata), who transfers to a private school to prove that swimming champion Fikeli (Khosi Ngema) is her abducted sister from birth, the second Netflix original submission from South Africa was a big seller for streaming service during the damaging phase of the pandemic. ‘Blood & Water’ was an interesting drama piece away from the cliché teen dramas we are familiar with. Its cliffhanger ending has kept viewers in serious anticipation for a follow-up that zooms into Fikeli’s reaction after Puleng’s disturbing revelation.
Far From Home
‘Love is War’ writer Chinaza Onuzo is teaming up with ‘Rumour Has It’ screenwriter Dami Elebe to create a six-part series that revolves around Ishaya, a teenage artist who wins a scholarship that launches her from humble surroundings into the world of Nigeria’s 1%. Confirmed to play a lead role in the show is Funke Akindele-Bello. The revealed plot is one that has kept critics in anticipation for the end product.
Probably the most anticipated of them all, at the early stages of Netflix’s penetration into the African Film market, Akin Omotoso inked the first Nigerian original series with the streaming platform. Starring Kate Henshaw and Ade Laoye, the series is set in contemporary Nigeria and shot in Lagos. It tells the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister’s death. But first, she must learn how to use and harness her superpowers to defeat her enemies and save her family from destruction. Rififi Pictures is behind its production.
Death and the King’s Horseman/ The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
After throwing in all her produced films and shows on Netflix, Mo Abudu has secured most Netflix exclusives than any other top executive in Africa. In development under her EbonyLife banner is the ‘Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’, which is an adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s novel of the same name. Another adaptation she is developing is ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’, a stage play by Nigeria’s first Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka.