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Netflix Orders Its First Original African Series, ‘Queen Sono’

By Britni Danielle, Essence

Netflix is adding yet another groundbreaking series to its lineup next year when it welcomes Queen Sono to the platform.

The South African-based production will be the first original African series the streaming giant has ever commissioned. The announcement comes just a week after Erik Barmack, Netflix’s VP of international originals, said the network would be partnering with more creators on the continent in 2019.

According to Pearl Thusi, a veteran actor and one of the stars of the show, Queen Sono is “a thrilling story about a kicka-s female spy.”

In a video, Thusi also said she “cannot wait for…every woman on this continent, and actually on this planet, to meet Queen Sono.”

Barmack compared Thusi’s character, Queen Sono, to the powerful female leads already on the network.

“Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in House of Cards and Jessica Jones,” he said. “Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”

Queen Sono was created by Kagiso Lediga, who starred with Thusi in the Netflix original film, Catching Feelings, which was also the first for the platform. Lediga hopes the new series will allow other African stories to find their way to viewers around the world.

“We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world,” he said.

Funa Maduka, Netflix’s director of international original films, called the company’s recent foray into original African content “only the beginning.”

“Africa is birthplace to one of the oldest storytelling traditions in the world. It also has a rich cinematic history,” Maduka told Variety back in November.

“The talent is here and we want to present ourselves as an option as they choose the best path to connect their stories with audiences,” she added.

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