If you took a look at African media, specifically TV, you'd definitely see that the quality of homegrown TV is often quite lacking. This goes without say for the national channel in my home country, Zimbabwe.
In my quest to share the experiences of creatives making a name for themselves all over the continent, I encountered NafunaTV a Zim-based urban entertainment show station definitely making a name for itself.
According to NafunaTV's founder Nqobizitha Mlilo, the station aims to represent all things truly African by being an Afrocentric brand that tries to represent the continent to the best of their ability in all of their productions.
Mlilo originally hails from Bulawayo, and for those Blues peeps of mine reading this, "Salibonani!"
'Nqobizitha' may be a bit of a tongue twister, so I'll use his industry name, Enqore. He started off as an illustrator and an animator in 2003, and he describes himself an Entrepreneur, TV producer, and animation supervisor.
There's always a reason someone starts a business or chases their dreams, and Enqore's reason of having started NafunaTV was to represent all things truly African. As they are an Afrocentric brand and they try to reflect that in all of their productions.
"I started Nafuna from an apartment in 2012 with nothing more than a camera and a laptop", he explains. "I just knew what I wanted to create and set on my journey from there."
Focus is important, and as Enqore explains, it is easy to get lost in the distraction of what others might be saying, but that should not stop you from doing what you set out to do.
"Always stay true and focused on what you want to do", he notes. "No matter what people say – and they never run out of stuff to say anyways – and no matter what challenges may come, keeping your eye on the prize and staying motivated is really key."
"When I started NafunaTV", he continues, "there were very few online video startups creating consistent content online. In fact, when we started off, we were one of the first startups to do that. I saw a gap in the digital media scene for original African content and I know that it would be the best thing to do."
It's evident that Nafuna has made significant inroads in Africa. They have sizeable audiences in Kenya and South Africa, where a lot of their online content is consumed. It also helps that the company and Enqore are starting to get recognition elsewhere. The company has won a number of awards both locally and regionally, most notably sharing the 2014 Google Africa Connected award with 9 other Africans with exceptional web-based success stories.
NafunaTV has produced and shared over 200 original videos on social media, making them one of the leading online video producers in Zimbabwe, garnering over 1.6 million views. The'r flagship Angry Mwana animated series has received over 800,000 views, and has proven to be quite popular on platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. In addition, the company is venturing into game design, partnering with Twunhu apps to make that happen.
Im'ma end this off by saying that we need to do a lot with the little we have. I dig the innovation aspect that NafunaTV brings to online and live media to Zimbabwe, as the company is always evolving and venturing into new spaces.
As Africans, we have a lot going against us, so we have to move forward with what we have! Develop good networks and professional circles that will uplift you as well.'
For now, Bless Up!