With this rich cultural heritage, there’s a multitude of stories to be told from, and about, the continent and its people. That’s why Netflix has systematically continued to increase its presence on the continent, and strengthen relationships with African creatives through investments and partnerships that help to support and create opportunities to showcase their stories and films on a global stage. For African month, Netflix unveiled a “From “Cape to Cairo Collection” written and produced by talent from across the continent There’s plenty that’s unique about Africa — from being the world’s hottest continent to being home to more than 1.2 billion people spread over 54 countries who speak more than 2,000 different languages. As part of its initiatives to promote global accessibility and awareness, Netflix also expanded its audio description and subtitling capabilities so that members across the world can enjoy stories no matter what language.
In this interview with Dorothy Ghettuba, Director of Series Africa who shared more insight on Netflix’s new collection “From Cape to Cairo” in honour of Africa’s month this May, as well as upcoming plans for the continent.
What is the purpose behind the “From Cape to Cairo collection?
Africa has a large pull of talented yet undiscovered voices, the aim of the From Cape to Cairo collection is to celebrate African Unity during Africa Month. The collection comprises a selection of African movies and television series that will help members around the world discover their next favourite show from the African continent, allowing us to see the unique stories that come from some of Africa’s most talented creators.
What is the Podcast “Never Late-African Time” about and how will it be different from every other podcast around the world?
The difference between “Never late-African Time” and every other podcast around the world is this podcast will focus solely on Africa and African Content. Our Culture, Our Heritage, Our History. The podcast will introduce us to the talent behind world-class content and entertainment from all over the African continent. The podcast will dig deeper into the on-screen and off-screen talents. The inner process of what it takes to create African content.
Where will the collection be available?
From “Cape to Cairo” is already available on the platform to mark African Month and will be available till the end of the month. This collection will enable our viewers around the world to discover their next favourite show from the African continent as the world celebrates Africa Day. Programs like Jiva!, How to ruin Christmas, Blood sisters, A Naija Christmas, and many more will be available to everyone. Titles from Africans in Diaspro storytellers will be included. Comedy, Thrillers historical programs will be available. Africa has 54 countries and over 2000 languages. Some Programs have lines in other languages, especially in francophone programs and programs that speak broken English or just lines in a different language entirely. The page is available to browse, watch and search for members in African countries only on TV, Mobile and Web devices. To access them easily from a browser, members can also find and share the collection using the direct URLs netflix.com/fromcapetocairo, netflix.com/capetocairo or netflix.com/africamonth on all devices.
How will Netflix Africa combat the language barrier on “From Cape to Cairo”?
Subtitles, obviously! All programs are translated with English subtitles. If the world can watch La Casa De Papel, Squid Game, or Lupin then there’s no problem with understanding Xhosa or Pidgin English. Netflix is home to a global audience.
How does Africa on Netflix plan to improve customer experience?
Customer experience is not only about entertainment. At Netflix, customer experience is about enhancing customer feelings and emotions, giving people access to stories that reflect their lives on screen, whether African or otherwise. For global accessibility awareness day, we announced the expansion of our language availability of Audio Descriptions (AD) and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH). Starting this month and into 2023, these features will be made available across more of our catalogue and in more languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and French. For decades, your access to entertainment was determined by where you lived and what language you spoke, meaning that until recently people who needed AD or SDH could only enjoy a story if it was made in their local language By increasing our SDH and AD language availability to over 20 languages, we hope to give all of our members the ability to see their lives reflected on screen, no matter where you’re from, what language you speak, or what abilities you have.
Since Netflix’s Inception in Africa, what has been the biggest success?
One of the biggest successes for us at Netflix is that we have become a home for African storytellers, both established and undiscovered storytellers. We continue to aim to be the home for fresh voices, showcasing African talent to the world. We’ve been fortunate enough to partner with the best in class across all industries, this includes our recent collaboration with UNESCO, to execute the innovative short film competition called “African Folktales, Reimagined” to promote Africa’s arts and culture while also supporting the development of young African filmmakers. Aside from this, we’ve partnered with global and global talents like Kunle Afolayan Production Academy, in a post-production workshop with the University of South California, School of Cinematic Arts. As part of the also established Netflix Creative Equity Fund, we also launched the East Creative Equity The scholarship fund will cover the costs for tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses at select partner institutions in Kenya where beneficiaries have gained admission to pursue a course of study in the TV & film disciplines in the 2022 academic year. The Netflix CESF is targeted for rollout across the African region in the academic year commencing in 2022 and the East African region.
The term “the future is female” is used so often nowadays. In Africa do you think we have reached the pinnacle of female empowerment, especially in the Entertainment Industry?
No, we have not but we are getting there. It’s an amazing milestone for the current African female directors, producers, and actresses to be where they are today without having to break their morals and principles. Netflix collaborates with and encourages females in the entertainment sector. Women such as Kemi Adetiba co-directed and co-produced King of Boys 2, Mo Abudu Produced Blood Sisters which was written by talented young Nigerians, and Bolanle Austen-Peters produced and directed Man of God. Women in the entertainment industry who are both inclusive and influential have given females a voice and had a significant impact. It’s never too late for a woman to enter this industry irrespective of their age or race. There are still so many more initiatives we at Netflix can establish to increase the number of women in front and behind the camera. Netflix is committed to increasing gender equality and diversity. Never Late-African Time will also explore the female movement in the African entertainment industry in this generation.
What genres will Netflix break into in the near future?
At Netflix, we already explore best in class stories from all genres, and in Africa, we have consistently pushed the boundaries of what it means to tell the African story and we are capable of so much more. The gaming and animation sector has the potential to be a growth engine for Africa, and Netflix continues to explore ways to engage in the continent’s diverse culture. We are witnessing the growth of various African animation studios and animators working on appealing stories and content, using the continent’s vast storytelling potential.