Netflix cooks in Africa, while taking continent to the world

Lifestyle

Netflix cooks in Africa, while taking continent to the world

Streaming service aims to become big gun with African originals. There’s a snag, though: data, but there are solutions

Joseph Cotterill

The starting budget was $8,000 in a country where retrieving that kind of cash from a bank is all but impossible and the shooting schedule had to work around constant power cuts and other shortages.

Three years later, Cook Off, a feel-good Zimbabwean romantic comedy, is on the Netflix carousels of millions, a powerful illustration of how the US online streaming giant is expanding in Africa by licensing or producing content that challenges regional stereotypes.

“No water on set, no electricity ... If anyone was trying to do it who didn’t live here, they would have stopped on day two or on day three,” said producer Joe Njagu, describing how it was made in 2017, just before the military coup that toppled Robert Mugabe as dictator...

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