Netflix has launched its Made by Africans, Watched by the World campaign, which showcases talent from across the continent involved in Netflix’s African Originals.
The company released a video featuring local stars, including Pearl Thusi (who starred as Queen Sono in the Netflix Original of the same name) and Ama Qamata (from South African Original Blood & Water). On a not so normal Monday in Johannesburg, Netflix gathered 18 eclectic creatives from across the continent to speak to and celebrate their stories currently on, and soon to be on the streaming platform in a moment captured on film, entitled, ‘Made By Africans, Watched By The World’. These visionaries and storytellers, who have been at the forefront of African content on Netflix.
“Our aim at Netflix is to have stories that are made by Africans to be watched by the world. We are focused on giving our consumers in Africa, and globally, authentic African content. Having all of these incredible voices in the same room, and on the same platform going forward, is something to celebrate,” Dorothy Ghettuba, who leads African Originals for Netflix, said in a statement.
“We’ve always had our stories told by others from the outside-in but this time, we get to tell our own stories from the inside-out,” she adds.
Ghettuba is a Kenyan filmmaker. Before her position at Netflix, she was the CEO of Spielworks Media — a media production company based in Nairobi.
Nao Serati, owner of NAOSERATI, a brand that specializes in unisex garments that explore the margins of gender, was tasked with the job of translating the importance of African creative stories through fashion for the campaign. “With some of the best African talent in one room coming together to celebrate African creativity, we knew we had to put African fashion at the forefront. To remain true to the messaging, we wanted to work with talented designers from the various countries where each of the creatives are from, ensuring we were being as authentic as possible. The direction for the styling had to be glamorous, fresh and rooted in Africa. Each of the creatives featured in this collaboration is so beautiful and dynamic that creating looks for each individual was a surreal experience,” said Serati.
Expressing his excitement to work with fellow creatives, Serati added “we as Africa are a world of our own. We tell stories through our craft. I was so inspired, as a designer myself, researching every country and its designers. I saw all the obstacles some of these designers had to overcome and I am humbled by the fact that they still see the beauty in our world and create the most moving work. We collaborated with each artist to ensure that each story worked and that they came together beautifully. Once the final firework went off, it was a defining moment for all of us”.
South African star of Catching Feelings and Queen Sono, Pearl Thusi, was dressed by Nao Serati and spoke enthusiastically about Netflix’s investment in the African continent. “Africa is so intriguing to the rest of the world as there really is nothing like the beat of the African drum. It resonates with everyone,” said Thusi. The writer of Mama K’s Team 4, Malenga Mulendema of Zambia was dressed by Viviers and said, “like any other storyteller across the globe, we are just trying to tell our stories and explore our lives and communities that we live in, so it’s incredible that Netflix gave us a voice to do so globally”. Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian all-round creative, dressed by Andrea Iyamah, echoed this statement and said “It’s a good thing, especially for upcoming artists who want a chance. We have so many more stories to tell in this part of the world.’’
If you want to browse African content on Netflix, simply search for “Made in Africa”. This will bring up content that the streaming service has licensed from African creators, as well as African Originals.
African fashion designers are making ways on the international fashion scene. They are choosing to put a modern spin on international African fabrics and accessories. They are passionate about displaying what Africa means to their global consumers.