Animation: Muyiwa Kayode, Turtle Taido’s Six Years of Magical Adventure, the Hard-Road, the Fun
He’s always been an eclectic creative powerhouse. Muyiwa Kayode’s decision to delve into full swing animation series production, a subject largely unpopular and also burdened by the paucity of requisite equipment, makes the decision seems exasperating to none initiates.
Exactly 6 years ago today, our groundbreaking animation series Adventures of Turtle Taido premiered on DSTV Africa Magic Channel and was beamed to more than 10 African countries wrote Muyiwa Kayode, CEO, USPBrands on his social media handle yesterday relishing a worthy anniversary story.
Six years of treading uncharted territory! Prior to this, animation was rarely discussed, when at all, it surely had to do with one foreign animation film, character, or ad, mostly conceived and produced abroad. None availability and Nigeria’s not unusual preference for anything foreign conspired to rev up the popularity of this genre of creativity. Kids and adults in some cases are always hooked on Barbie and similar productions and characters. But what are these foreign cartoon characters teaching the Nigerian kid in terms of his environment and culture?
This is where Turtle Taido, the first Nigerian animated character, and film series come in, according to Muyiwa, Turtle Taido is about an African Turtle who travels around the world in search of wisdom. On his journeys, he learns about other people’s cultures and makes friends.
“With Turtle Taido, our mission is to make children happy while giving them a sense of pride in their African identity”. And the first set of the project, the Adventure of Turtle Taido was released exactly six years ago.
“Since then, it has been a magical adventure! Telling the African Story has never been so much fun! 6 years later, the series has won 8 international awards and made Official Selection and Nominations at more than 15 film festivals around the world”, Muyiwa revealed.
Made to a world-class standard, the series has reached a global audience through various broadcast and streaming partners including DSTV, WatchAfricaNow, Amazon Prime, YangaTV, WAPTV, NTA Network, KweliTV, Simone’s Oasis, Nollywood MoviesUK, SKY TV UK, STV, WazobiaTV and TVC.
In 2017, the story got even more exciting when The Turtle Taido Game Show was launched. The game version has featured more than 1200 pupils from more than 80 primary schools in Nigeria.
Through the art of African storytelling, Turtle Taido teaches all – adults and children – that when we make the effort to understand other people’s cultures we will treat them with respect and together we can build a more united and peaceful world.
Choosing the less travelled route sometimes might be the only option, so it is for the force behind the Turtle Taido project as Muyiwa confirms, “Animation is not exactly the easiest medium of creative expression. But it’s the most appropriate for achieving our objectives. We love breaking news grounds. It’s tougher but always more fulfilling”.
Yes, part of the achievement is a conference and awards spin-off project, “The Lagos International Festival of Animation, LIFANIMA”. LIFANIMA is aimed at promoting animation in Africa especially animated content that tell the African story. The festival currently attracts more than 900 entries from more than 40 countries. And it’s growing.
Impressed by the hard work and the resultant relative achievement so far, Sunil Mahbubani Chairman, Fairbanks Construction Nigeria Ltd., describes Turtle Taido as an excellent work, adding that Muyiwa is teaching the upcoming generation how to respect all cultures. In the same token, Segun Ologunleko reminiscing on the day of launch in Lagos, noted with satisfaction that the animation series is a “great and unique tool for tourism attraction” while Adeyemi Adegbehingbe, Picture Editor, West Africa Deployments at BBC News, said “launching Turtle Taido was an unforgettable experience. Let’s go again”.
Tony Akinbola CEO, Mastapiece Productions Limited gives Muyiwa another pat on the back for job well done. “Thanks for doing a fantastic job of rebranding and preserving our history, culture and our great tourism destinations in a unique way for the buy-in of upcoming generations”, said Akinbola
Half a dozen years after, the industry is the better for it. The commercial value is headed north, more animation films and commercials and being churned out. Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters (LBMM)—an animated film about a curious little girl that accidentally gets transported through time and Malika: Warrior Queen—an animated film inspired by a 16th-century queen in northern Nigeria, to mention a few, are some of the beautiful animation films conceived and produced in Nigeria by Nigerians. Meanwhile, the number of fans and converts continues to increase across the land by the day. Congratulations to the forerunner.