Why we should be talking about Africa’s first Superhero TV Show

       Jongo, Africa’s First Superhero TV Show, just finished its debut run on TV. People all over Africa could watch it on BET. Was it a great show? Did it fall short of expectations? Jongo is the brainchild of a white South African. Did it represent African culture and black people well? I have a more pressing question than these though, and that is, why is no one talking about Jongo?

Jongo
       Africans and people of African descent all across the diaspora complain a lot about our lack of representation in science fiction and fantasy stories as well as the mainstream superhero genre. Then someone goes and makes an entire TV series set in Africa, with African lead characters getting super powers, only aired in Africa and we’re not making noise about it. The season finale should have trended on social media. We should be seeing Jongo memes. Black people living outside of Africa should be wondering what they missed or didn’t miss by not being able to watch Jongo. There should be constructive criticism. That is how you foster a community. That is how you encourage more creators to take the risk and make more shows and movies like this.
Kay is not pleased! Why you no talk about Jongo?
Kay is not pleased! Why you no talk about Jongo?
        The quality of the actual show is not the issue here. The culture of the black geek community is what bothers me. Batman vs Superman came out and got terrible reviews, yet broke Box Office records. Everyone is ranting about how terrible certain aspects of the movie are, people are arguing about the direction and generally creating a lot of buzz about the movie, regardless of whether they think it’s great or terrible. Where is the buzz about how terrible the acting in Jongo is? Where is the talk about how the story escalated and left us with hints about how much bigger the second season could be? Where are the arguments about which of the 3 crystals bestows the best power on the wielder?
       At Kugali, we have a saying. “Stories shape our society so let’s shape our stories”. We should be shaping our stories through these conversations. Almost all fans of the DragonBallZ anime watched the terrible 2009 live action movie because even though we knew it would suck, we felt like we needed to see it. We needed to know. Same can be said about comic fans and the Batman vs Superman movie. If we want to improve the quality and reach of Afrocentric stories, then we owe it to ourselves to experience said stories whenever we can and talk about them. We wrote a review and eventually interviewed the creator (and talked about our review during the interview). DSTV is available in most of Africa, and while Jongo’s run on BET is already over, it’s on EbonyLifeTV (channel 165). If you have e.TV in your country though, Jongo started airing on April 19, so let’s get this conversation going.

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11 thoughts on “Why we should be talking about Africa’s first Superhero TV Show

  1. Pingback: Review: Jongo TV Series

      1. Tnx Kugali, A great deal of our culture relies on Africa, and we also fell the lack of representation. My friends were thrilled when I shared it on FB this morning.

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    1. African BET. We’ve asked the director what the plans are for airing Jongo outside Africa, and they are trying to get on as many networks as possible. You’ll soon have a way to watch the show. Leave your email at kugali.com or at our podcast on taoofotaku.com to stay in the loop when we have more information. We’re going to speak with the director on this Sunday’s podcast so watch out for that

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  2. I like how you’re thinking and I totally get your concerns but…

    That a show is on TV doesn’t mean a whole lot of potential viewers would know about it. I’m in Nigeria, I have DSTV, I follow African film happenings closely but I didn’t hear about this. None of my geek friends did too. We might have liked or hated it (just like we loathe series like Arrow, Supergirl and co) but we would have watched and argued about it.

    In my opinion, DSTV isn’t doing enough promoting shows on its platform – it’s beyond just allocating slots and advertising only on DSTV. As a Nigerian, I can use the case of Hotel Majestic as a case in point. Take a look at DSTV or Africa Magic websites, the activity there regarding updates on shows isn’t really gonna get anyone excited.

    Where is Jongo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? How are they engaging potential viewers and making fans out of them? For the most part, fans don’t really start the conversations, the show itself does. BvS is on social media, I can reply, tweet, post, repost and share videos and all. I can’t say the same for Jongo. Visit the Facebook page of The Flash for instance and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

    Inasmuch as I understand your attempt to draw parallels with Batman Vs Superman, it’s a bit unfair and stretched. Superman and Batman started with comics decades ago, the most ardent fans today are comic geeks whose prayers for them to be brought to life were answered by animated screen adaptations and feature films. Of course they would rave, because the comics succeeded in creating a cult following for the heroes. This is what Jongo hasn’t done. I’m not saying they should go do comics, all I’m saying here is that the show relied too much on it’s novelty value and presence on cable TV than on other means, and scarcely made any attempt to build a following or start conversations.

    And the reasons above should sum up why we are not talking about Africa’s ‘first’ superhero TV show. For the most part, we can’t talk about what we don’t know about.

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  3. Pingback: Episode 36: Jongo | The Tao of Otaku

  4. Pingback: Review: Jongo TV Series – Kugali Blog

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