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“Iwájú”: A Futuristic Nigerian Coming-of-Age Story Premieres on Disney

After years of dedication, the animation team at Kugali Media celebrates the release of its comic book series turned animated show, “Iwájú,” on Disney+. The series, set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, marks a significant milestone in showcasing African storytelling on a global stage.

Kugali co-founders Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola (left), Hamid Ibrahim (middle), and Tolu Olowofoyeku (right) attend a screening of “Iwájú: in Lagos, Nigeria on February 27.

Co-founded by Hamid Ibrahim, Tolu Olowofoyeku, and Olufikayo “Ziki” Adeola in 2017, Kugali Media aims to share high-quality African stories with the world. “Iwájú” is a testament to their mission, with all six episodes now available for streaming on Disney+ after Walt Disney Animation Studios picked up the show in 2020.

For Ibrahim, Disney’s decision to feature “Iwájú” on its platform is a validation of their efforts. He believes it demonstrates that authentic African narratives can resonate with global audiences. Adeola shares his sentiment, emphasizing the importance of viewers experiencing an authentic portrayal of Lagos while enjoying the sci-fi elements of the story.

Simisola Gbadamosi, who voices Tola in the animated series “Iwájú,” attends the world premiere in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 27.

To ensure authenticity, the team enlisted the help of cultural consultant Tolu Olowofoyeku, who provided insights into Nigerian culture and language. Nigerian voice actors, including Simisola Gbadamosi and Siji Soetan, bring the characters to life, adding depth and authenticity to the storytelling.

“Iwájú” aims to capture the essence of Lagos, showcasing its vibrancy and complexity. Ibrahim emphasizes the importance of depicting the city accurately, including both its positive and challenging aspects. Through the show, audiences have the opportunity to learn about African culture and gain a deeper understanding of its nuances.

While the series premiered on Disney+ on February 28, it will also be available on the Disney Channel in Africa starting April 22. Ibrahim hopes that “Iwájú” will resonate with viewers of all ages, inspiring them to persevere through challenges and discover the beauty of resilience.

As “Iwájú” makes its debut, it represents a significant step forward in pushing African storytelling onto the global stage, showcasing the richness and diversity of African culture to audiences worldwide.

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