What’s the news?: Netflix has announced its first Kenyan licensed series–Country Queen, it will begin streaming on July 15, 2022.
Why it matters: Country Queen is a family drama series that tells the story of ordinary Kenyans fighting against a corporate power that threatens to destroy their homes and lives. The series focuses on the issues of land grabbing and exploitation, and how these factors impact the lives and relationships of the main characters, their families and communities.
About Country Queen: First created in 2017 by a cream of writers which is made up of 10 Kenyan creatives with diverse experience in visual storytelling, Country Queen stars Melissa Kiplagat—a professional actress working primarily in Kenya and most known for her role as Amara in the TV Show: This Is Life as Akisa—In her role as, a woman from a quiet village who now leads a comfortable but complicated life in the city. Her dark past and complex relationship with the powerful and ruthless Sibala family sets in motion a string of events with rippling consequences.
The series was directed by Vincent Mbaya, Tosh Gitonga and Brian Munene. It also stars Melvin Alusa, Blessing Lung’aho and Nini Wacera in an intriguing tale that shows what happens when the past and present collide. It also features a language mix of English and Swahili. Country Queen further explores the themes of rural-urban conflict, inter-family relationships, betrayal, love and commitment, as well as the intersection of tradition, leadership, culture and capitalism. A prevailing theme of the show is also the pursuit of ambition in the face of loyalty to tradition and cultural history.
The series was produced by Good Karma Fiction, supported by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Collaboration and Development and Deutsche Welle Akademie, and in partnership with Kenyan Production Company Tililiz Pictures.
“We’re excited to bring this authentic Kenyan story to our viewers around the world. More than 222 million entertainment fans will get the opportunity to experience Kenya’s talent and creativity with Country Queen,” Nkateko Mabaso, Netflix’s Director of Licensing in Africa. “The MOU we signed with the Kenyan government in April signaled our intention to meaningfully contribute to Kenya’s creative community and through this title, we want to show – not just tell – how committed we are to making sure Kenyan stories find a place to shine on a global stage.”
Netflix in Africa
The African continent in recent times has seen a massive investment from streaming platforms, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The both heavyweights have shown key interest, especially the former which had featured over 11 African movies. Recently, Amazon Prime partnered with Nemsia Films – a Nollywood production company for the release of 3 films. Amongst the most popular video streaming services in Africa, Netflix rules with the highest number of subscriptions with an estimate of 2.6 million subscribers. Also, MultiChoice Showmax, an arm of MultiChoice Group—a South African company that provides the service in over 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, while the American company is present in all 54 African countries followed with some 860 thousand subscriptions. The group in 2020 had about 20 million users in Africa.