Meet Thandiwe Mlauli The First Independent Black Woman to Build an Animation Studio in SA

Today, Studio Yezi, an animation studio founded by Thandiwe Mlauli, officially announce their first development – South Africa’s first independently produced and women-led afro-animation which will see Thandiwe as producer, director and showrunner. The production, titled SOLA will comprise of a series and short film based on the series.  

Per the company’s official site, “Studio Yezi is a development and animation studio based in South Africa.”Yezi” is short for “inkanyezi” which means “star” in isiZulu. As a company, we intend to be a symbol of hope and light, we intend to serve the world with our storytelling.”

As the studio’s founder, Thandiwe is already carving out a unique space in the South African animation and entertainment industries that focuses on heart-warming local stories, diverse narratives and character representations, as well as nurturing and developing fresh local talent. 

Having graduated with a BFA in Producing for Film & TV from the New York Film Academy, the studio founder spent time in Los Angeles studying the international animation game by attending workshops like the first-of-its-kind, Black Women Animate Bootcamp in 2018 and returned to her home country having built a bad-ass network of like-minded creatives all over the globe. 

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