New African sci-fi series Iwájú on Disney+ created by University of Hertfordshire alumnus

 28 February 2024 27 February 2024
28 February 2024

A University of Hertfordshire alumnus' epic new, African sci-fi series is available on Disney+ from today (Wednesday, 28 February).

Titled Iwájú - which roughly translates to “the future” in the Yoruba language of West Africa - the animated coming-of-age story, set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, is the brainchild of Herts alumnus, Hamid Ibrahim.

Five years in the making - and a first-of-its-kind collaboration - the six-episode mini-series was created by Hamid’s entertainment company, Kugali Media, in partnership with Disney. Described by Disney as a “coming-of-age story,” which “introduces Tola, a young heiress from the wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole, a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds,” it is the first original, long-form animated series produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) in the Studio’s history.

Exploring themes of inequality, class divide and challenging the everyday status quo, the series also has an animation style that differs from Disney’s traditional technique, with it instead integrating elements of African, Eastern and Western styles developed by Hamid and his Kugali team.

Hamid Ibrahim, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Kugali Media said:Iwájú is a reflection of a lot of hard work from the past few years. My first goal was to work on a big Hollywood film, which I achieved when I worked on The Lion King. After that, I wanted to give something back for the rest of the world and the first idea that came to mind was to tell African stories. I want to show the world what Africa can do and Iwájú is going to do that.”

Born in Uganda, Hamid grew up in Kenya before moving to the UK where he studied 3D Animation and Visual Effects at the University of Hertfordshire, graduating in 2017. Hamid went on to work for Moving Picture Company on feature films including the remake of Disney’s The Lion King, before setting up and becoming Chief Executive Officer of Kugali Media, which he co-founded to tell stories inspired by African culture, using comic books, animation and augmented reality.

“The University of Hertfordshire helped me realise my full potential,” he continued. “Studying here developed my confidence and skills, allowing me to become the best I could be.”

Iwájú officially premiered in London over the weekend, with episodes screened at BFI Southbank on Saturday, 24 February, ahead of a UK gala screening in Shoreditch’s Rich Mix Theatre the same day. Hundreds of people attended the vibrant celebration, which also featured DJs, hand drummers, speeches and a youth dance troupe.

All episodes of Iwájú will be available exclusively on Disney+ from 28 February.

Find out more information about Herts’ animation courses by visiting the University website.


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