Kenya's First Netflix Series, Country Queen, Hits the Screens

Kenya's first produced Netflix series, Country Queen premiered on July 15. Its production marks the start of the streaming company's significant investment in African film.

Kenya's First Netflix Series, Country Queen, Hits the Screens
Country Queen Series

The series, which was shot in English, Swahili, and a variety of other local languages, features a female lead character and chronicles the lives of ordinary Kenyans fighting corporate power and land grabs. It looks at urban and rural Kenya through the eyes of characters who are linked by love, betrayal, and conflict.

“We want to show – not just tell – how committed we are to making sure Kenyan stories find a place to shine on a global stage,” stated Nkateko Mabaso, Netflix’s director of licensing in Africa.

Netflix has increased its investment in African films and television series, and earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to develop the country's talent and production capacity.

An eager audience has largely welcomed the series as a step toward a more nuanced depiction of the country and its people on television.

According to series producer Kamau Wa Ndung'u, pre-development research revealed that Kenyans wanted to see a broader range of their experiences depicted in order for their realities to be more accurately reflected.

“We are so used to seeing other people on our screens, so I really hope this translates into a celebration of who we are, a celebration of our culture, our languages, and our personalities. I know it’s just a scratching of the surface of the stories we tell about ourselves,” stated the series director, Vincent Mbaya.

Country Queen is centered on Akisa Musyoka, an ambitious Nairobi event planner who challenges society's expectations of women.

Melissa Kiplagat as Akisa Musyoka on Country Queen Series. PHOTO FILE