The first original African-helmed production on Netflix, the six-part series Queen Sono, features a South African female lead, Pearl Thusi, and two South African directors, Kagiso Lediga and Tebogo Malope. It’s a spy thriller that follows the story of secret agent Queen Sono, played by Thusi, as she tackles criminal operations and terrorism while also trying to uncover the truth behind the assassination of her mother, a heroine of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Why It Matters
The creative freedom that Netflix offers compared with traditional film and television studios has opened up new avenues for non-Western writers, actors, and directors to break into lucrative markets. Netflix has helped to spread African cinema to viewers around the world, streaming a number of African television shows and films, such as Ghanaian director Sam Blitz Bazawule’s The Burial of Kojo and the Nigerian film Lionheart, directed by Genevieve Nnaji.
Queen Sono is one of the few shows set in modern-day Africa that avoids typical Hollywood tropes, such as portraying the continent as a single entity beset by violence, corruption, and poverty. The series also incorporates several African languages, which helps to celebrate minority tongues.