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Iwájú, Nigeria’s first major animation series produced by Disney set for 2023 release

Iwájú, which is being touted as Nigeria’s first animation series is set to be released in 2023 at the D3 Expo by Disney.

D23 Expo is the ultimate Disney fan event which brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. This includes Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and more.

Iwaju, which roughly translates to “the future” in Yoruba is a science fiction series and will be an original long-form animated series. The is produced by Toluwalakin Olowofoyeko, and spearheaded by Olufikayo Adeola (Ziki), the managing director and co-foundr of Kugali.

Fully created by an African team, Iwájú will be set in a futuristic version of Lagos and will explore themes of inequality, class divide, and coming of age. Ziki described it as “the everyday reality of life in Nigeria and other parts of the world”.

What people are saying

While most people are commending Disney for making more diverse content, there have been some valid criticisms about the project. The most notable is that Disney Plus, the streaming service that the project will be on exclusively is not available in Nigeria.

Since the series is launching in 2023, there is some time for the conglomerate to remedy the issue.

Another thing people noted was that Disney, and Hollywood in general have a habit of using generic, soulless African accents. Nigerians voiced their concerns over this, hoping the project uses proper Nigerians as their voice-over artists.

“Did you have actual Nigerian voice artist on the project or we will have to endure fake accents the entire time?” a Twitter user posted.

When is Disney Plus coming to Nigeria?

The streaming platform was launched in November 2019 by Disney. Of all 54 countries in Africa, Disney Plus is only available in 6 countries – South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya and it was only unveiled in these countries earlier this year.

People in other African countries like Nigeria have had to resort to virtual private networks (VPNs) and cards that allow foreign transactions since its launch.

As for now, Nigeria isn’t included in the countries where Disney Plus plans to extend its services but following the announcement of Iwájú at the D23 Expo, it is likely that they may come to the market soon as the core target audience should be people that can relate to the story and the culture the most.

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