The thing about Netflix deciding to expand their African content is that they have been quite consistent. At the 2019 Canne Film Festival, wherein Senegalese-French filmmkaer Mati Diop emerged as the first black female director to win the Grand Prix for her debut Atlantique, Netflix had quickly nabbed the film rights. Netflix has a huge purchasing power in the streaming market, and it has got its eyes on stories told from an African lens.
While we wait for more diverse African stories, we can still binge the ones Netflix has made available to us. Here’s the latest show you can stream right now:
I have binged Shadow twice and it feels like a blend of Luke Cage and Daredevil. It’s not a bad thing – the show is en eight-part, gritty crime drama, set in Johannesburg and follows the titular Shadow (Pallance Dladla) who becomes a vigilante and can’t feel pain, an ability acquired after being struck by lightening as a child.
Black Earth Rising
Michaela Coel has taken on another project post-Chewing Gum, the Netflix British comedy that thrust her into the spotlight. This one, titled Black Earth Rising, is dark and quietly disturbing as it focuses on Coel as a woman who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Harriet Walter), a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law. The show has its flaws, but it provides another engaging Michaela Coel performance that will keep you riveted.
Siempre Bruja: Always A Witch
Witchcraft has since been a go-to storyline in Hollywood: Charmed, The Witches, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and many more that have always featured white characters as leads. Enter Siempre Bruja, which stands out for centering and humanising a black witch. Inspired by Isidora Chacón’s 2015 novel Yo, Bruja, the show opens in 17th-century Cartagena, Colombia, with an enslaved Carmen (Angely Gaviria) time-traveling to the city in the present to avoid being burned at the stake for practicing magic.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.