We’re excited to welcome Animation SA’s new treasurer, Kebakile Nage, to the ASA fold! With a background in brand activation, Keba has been working for Bugbox Animation in Johannesburg for nearly five years. She’s keen to help move South Africa’s animation industry onwards and upwards.
Q: Can you give us a little insight into your background and what attracted you to the animation industry?
I started doing promotions and brand activations as a way of earning extra income, and, over time, I became more involved in development and research. I learned how big brands ensure people keep talking about them.
As a child, I attended art classes, and by the time I entered high school, I was interested in Fashion Design. My first interaction with animation was at Bugbox Animation as a visitor – I never knew animation studios existed in South Africa, so it was quite intriguing. During my gap year, I was approached by the owners of Bugbox to be a part-time intern: I said yes and set sail to explore this new world.
Q: How would you describe the current state of animation in SA?
The industry looks like it’s pumping and alive, but we’re still very small. The industry is successful with commercial work, and recently co-productions, but there is a need to create our own stories and get them out there. As an industry, we’re very tight and diverse—that is what makes us stand out.
Studios are also seeking independence and to be taken seriously in the international market, but in terms of development, we still need more support from our government.
Q: What was your role at Bugbox and how is the studio helping to shape SA’s animation landscape?
I was an Assistant Producer at Bugbox Animation, but because I was ready to learn as much as I could, I also developed other skills such as HR, Admin and Social Media Marketing. Bugbox is one of the pioneers of this industry. Tim and Candice have personally invested in nearly every person; they connected with their staff on a personal level, inspiring them and pushing them to be the best they can be. They are always actively involved in getting government-type bodies in the arts and culture division to wake up and ensure industry standards are met.
Q: How can the industry improve its branding and engagement both locally and internationally?
Attend all the necessary markets every year. We need to meet up with broadcasters, buyers, distributors and build meaningful relationships with them: this is what I’ve observed over the past four years.
In terms of the local space, education for the previously disadvantaged demographic is very important. We need to invest in education, especially for those who can not afford it and encourage the government to continue to support groups and organisations that empower people and offer employment. For our young artists and storytellers, our animation industry would be very exciting, but we need to make sure they’re aware of it and spark their interest.
Q: Why are you keen to get more involved with ASA, and what do you hope to achieve during your time on the board?
Every role I’ve ever had has been a learning experience and I want to continue to learn all that I can. Our industry is driven by passion, creativity and storytelling; I am here to support it, to do all that needs to be done to make the industry stronger.