One of the best things about animation is its versatility.
Animation can be used to tell a wide range of stories covering the human experience from comedy to drama and fantasy.
Its therefore no surprise that Black Animators have used Animation to tell exciting stories inspired by African History and Mythology on a range of topics from Myth and Fantasy to current social ills and stigma.
Below is a list of 5 of African black animation Films that are gauranteed to impress and have you demanding more.
1. Mark Of Uru
First up is my personal favourite Mark Of Uru.
Released almost 10 Years ago, Mark of Uru is an enthralling and visceral black animation epic tale from Nigeria which tells the story of Azuka a girl born with a mysterious birthmark which is associated with an evil Scoceress called Uru.
Azuka’s mother fails to hide the Birthmark from the Village, and Uru is marked for death in accordance with Tradition in order to prevent the curse of Uru from infecting the village.
A twist of good fortune sees Uru saved by some Spiritual beings from the Forest who raise her as she goes through Trials and Tribulations to reveal the secrets behind her Birthmark.
Mark Of Uru is an authentic African tale set within an Ancient Fantasy African world with all the typical elements of the Hero’s journey in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces that has been utilised in both Ancient and modern Epics like Babylon’s Enuma Elish and most recently Star Wars .
Its therefore no surprise that it won the 2009 World Summit Award in the Culture Category.
2. Queen Malika
Next up is the animated short Malika: Warrior Queen based on a graphic novel of the same name published by Youneek Studios.
The main character is derived from the story of Queen Amina, a 16th Century Queen who reigned over parts of Northwest Nigeria.
The sweeping epic feel of this Film saw it win the award for best animated short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards in July 2019.
After the Kickstarter Campaign there are plans to make a full length feauture Film based on the success of the Pilot.
3. Legend Of Princess Yennenga
The story of the founding of Burkina Faso could not have been told more endearingly than it is in this animated short courtesy of the Home Team History YouTube Channel.
The legend of warrior Princess Yennenga who struggled to escape the arms of an overbearing Father in the quest for her own destiny and went on to the meet her Prince with whom she established a new Kingdom in modern day Burkina Faso is told in a Disneyesque style that manages to convey the story with both authenticity and a love for Africa that just exudes throughout the entire story.
4. Black Sands
Set as an Epic tale, Black Sands tells the story of the young Prince Ausar and his family as he embarks on a Hero’s journey to demonstrate that he deserves to become Pharaoh in the midst of a War amongst the Seven Kingdoms.
Black Sands has also garnered multiple awards due to its impressive visual aesthetic which is partly based on the Historical accounts of the Native inhabitants of both Upper and Lower Egypt including the Kingdom Of Kush.
5. Sade The Secret Princess
Last but not least, is the story of Sade The Secret Princess, another classic black animation from Trans-Tales, the Creators of Mark Of Uru.
It tells the fairly common story of an anxious King eager for a Male Heir.
As a result, when two babies are born at the same time, one a Princess and the other being a Farmer’s Son, the two are switched at birth.
Soon afterwards, the Farmer vanishes from the Village, and the King’s Wife who had been childless until the Birth of her Child is accused of being a Witch so she flees into the forest with her Baby girl, Sade, who is a Princess and the King’s true child.
In the forest, the animals help Sade and her mother survive the ordeal until Sade meets the Farmer’s Son mistakenly recognised as the Prince, and they fall in love.
Sade The Secret Princess is a story with some intriguing twists and turns towards the end that conveys the despair that certain Stigmas like being a Childless woman can carry in some African Societies.
Its safe to say the world of African animation will no doubt continue to expand as more African stories are told.
So far, the authenticity and themes dealt with in my favourite Films is mature, engaging and encouraging.
Check out the movies if you haven’t done so already, and subscribe to the Creator YouTube Channels.
Please support them on Patreon, their Kickstarter Campaigns on upcoming Projects because they need our support to keep creating these interesting African themed animation stories based on authentic African History, Mythology and Fantasy with a much needed dose of creative Social critique.
It would also be great for Children of all Races and Ethnic backgrounds to be exposed to the world of African animation and the captivating stories it has to tell.
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