Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes will be streamed on Disney Junior and Disney+ and broadcast on France Télévisions, amongst other channels, and released in South Africa later this year.
The project is the first success from Triggerfish’s 2015 Story Lab initiative that saw Marc Dey and Kelly Dillon selected as part of a cohort of emerging creators from around Africa.
The project was selected out of almost 1,400 ideas and now joins Netflix’s Supa Team 4 (previously Mama K’s Team 4) which was also developed as part of the Story Lab.
An original concept by Robert Vargas, adapted from characters created by Dey and Dillon, this action-adventure animated series follows Kiya, a seven-year-old African girl who was inspired by the antics of Dey’s daughter who played dress-up as a ninja-princess but also saves the world, and, through Kiya, the team has wonderfully captured this duality in a heroine who boldly shines bright and makes things right with her two friends.
Triggerfish is currently working with both Dey and Dillion on other properties in development, including; Rosy Days, a series based on Kelly’s short film Belly Flop, and Tonko, created by Terence Maluleke, who is one of the directors in the Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire anthology.
Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes is the product of Triggerfish’s vision of bringing African stories, voices, and creativity to the global market and taking African animation excellence to the world.
The series takes place in the fictional Kimoja City, a city inspired by the sights and sounds of southern Africa.
The visual style of the series was originally developed by South African artists inspired by the vibrant and culturally diverse Bo-kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town.
The show celebrates confidence, diversity and community, and deviates from showing girls only as princesses, offering an opportunity to represent and empower young girls – especially since pre-school action superhero stories traditionally skew to young boys and rarely feature black girls as leads.
“Our belief is that Kiya will represent and empower young girls to be leaders who can use their smarts and skills to solve big problems,” says Tshepo Moche, writer, and creative consultant at Triggerfish.
“While Kiya is not the first Black female protagonist in children’s programming, there is still a tremendous opportunity for representation. There has never been a better moment for the landscape of children’s programming to reflect the diversity and size of the audience they serve.”