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Lupita Nyong’o is helping this animated African superhero empower young kids


Sema is a 10-year-old animated African superhero whose powers embody creativity and innovation. She makes use of know-how to unravel challenges in her group alongside her brother, MB. Collectively, they work to cease the villain, an AI robotic named Tobor.

“African youngsters have to see themselves represented on TV, on media,” stated Clara Njeru, head of manufacturing at Kukua, the corporate behind “Tremendous Sema.”

“Tremendous Sema” is Africa’s first animated superhero collection for kids. It premiered in partnership with YouTube Originals on Worldwide Ladies’s Day in March. Based on Njeru, the present had 15 million views inside the first 4 weeks, and half of their viewership comes from outdoors of Africa.

The collection additionally has the help of Hollywood powerhouse and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. She is a shareholder, govt director, and voice of the character Mama Dunia, a sensible supply of information for Sema and MB.

Clara Njeru (second from left) and the team at Kukua pictured with executive director Lupita Nyong'o (center).

“She’s been an inspiration to us,” stated Njeru of the Kenyan actress, who can be featured on the workforce’s inspirational wall of African ladies.

Illustration on display

Njeru has been “technovating” her manner by means of glass ceilings since she was younger. “My mother is a instructor, and I grew up in a household that basically inspired curiosity,” she stated.

As a toddler in Kenya, Njeru didn’t have a pc at dwelling — however in highschool, her proficiency in math gave her entry to the varsity’s computer systems. She then studied laptop science at college, the place she stated she felt a heightened strain to do nicely as a lady finding out STEM.

Njeru, head of production at Kukua, in front of Kukua's wall of inspirational women.

She believes she succeeded due to her upbringing. “I had function fashions,” Njeru stated. “I believe being introduced up by my mom and my grandmother, who’re very robust ladies, that basically influenced who I’ve turn out to be.”

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In 2016, she joined the workforce at Kukua to deliver robust feminine function fashions to the display. Kukua is an “edu-tainment” manufacturing firm based mostly in Nairobi. The workforce, led by ladies, breaks obstacles in an trade that continues to be disproportionately male and white. The present itself additionally challenges gender stereotypes which are common in children’s television.

“Once I was younger, there was virtually no animated content material that was relatable to me,” stated Njeru. “We all know now there is a large benefit for kids to see themselves represented.”

For season two, Njeru hopes that Sema will proceed to indicate youngsters that they are often and do something.

“There’s only a few function fashions who’re Black and who’re in science or know-how, engineering, arts and math and there is additionally only a few who’re African,” stated Njeru. “(At) Kukua, we imagine that in the event you can see it, you could be it.”



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