A great show can really suck you into another world, and make you feel a part of something from the moment it starts. Tinga Tinga Tales is one such show – deeply rooted in Africa, from the stories themselves to the striking artwork and amazing musicians and actors, and even the way the episodes are made. I’ve been fascinated with this show ever since we started investigating adding it to Hopster and wanted to tell you why we love Tinga Tinga Tales – and why you will too.
Initially conceived during a trip through Africa by Claudia Lloyd, Head of Animation at Tiger Aspect Productions, the show is jointly produced by the London based Tiger Aspect and Homeboyz Entertainment in Nairobi, Kenya. This local studio of about 50 staff animates original artwork drawn in the tingatinga style of painting native to East Africa to illustrate traditional folklore tales about the various animals of the wild. The colourful characters are voiced by a great ensemble African cast, supported by stars from the UK, including Lenny Henry and Stephen K Amos, with a theme song composed and performed by local artist Eric Wainaina.
We loved this show the moment we saw it – the fantastic stories combined with a unique and vibrant art style make for great watching no matter your age. But more than that – the story behind the show is just as interesting and exciting as the mythology it presents.
The animation studio was the first to open in Nairobi and provided an opportunity to train, develop and employ staff who might otherwise have struggled to find this kind of work in their home country. Using local talent in this way is not just helpful to the community – I think that this approach lends an authentic feel to the art and stories that might otherwise have been lost if the show had been fully produced overseas. And the good work doesn’t stop there – Tinga Tinga Tales books read online around the world are not just great fun for that one child – they’re great for many more. For every book read, a book was donated to an African school or community group, so that even more children could join in the fun. The programme even teamed up with The Pearson Foundation to provide resources and training to primary school teachers in Africa, using the show as a way to engage with younger children and improve attendance.
With all this behind it, Tinga Tinga Tales is an excellent new addition to Hopster, and one that we know your little one is going to love watching to learn about all the different animals of Africa. Check it out on Hopster today, and look out for some Tinga themed activities in our newsletters, coming soon.