SA movie goes trilingual for DVD release

17 February 2014

In a first for South African film, animated adventure comedy Khumba will be available to the South African public on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans from 3 March.

The film, which took the number one position at the South African box office when it was released locally in October 2013, and is still on circuit internationally, has been translated into over 20 foreign languages.

It will be the first time that Zulu-speaking children can watch an animated feature in their own language, since Disney released a Zulu version of The Lion King 20 years ago.

“Each language brings a whole new layer of humour and authenticity to the film,” says Khumba director Anthony Silverston. “It’s been an incredible rewarding process to have the film translated, and it can now reach a bigger audience than ever on DVD.”

The film tells the story of Khumba, a zebra who has only half his stripes. When he is blamed for the drought by the rest of his herd, he sets off on a daring quest to earn his stripes. He meets a range of quirky characters and teams up with an unlikely duo: Mama V, an overprotective wildebeest, and Bradley, a flamboyant ostrich. But he also has to come face-to-face with Phango, a sadistic leopard who controls the waterholes and terrorises all the animals in the Great Karoo.

The DVD features a number of extras, including the movie trailer, the music video The Real Me by Loyiso, a series of previously unreleased outtakes called Acting Out, a character evolution which describes the personality of each of the animal characters, The Karoo – A World of Difference, and a glimpse into the development of Nora the sheep voiced by Catherine Tate in Nora, a Great Partnersheep.

Khumba has all the makings of a classic tale: it’s well told, visually stunning and emotionally evocative,” says Helen Kuun. “It’s like The Lion King of the 21st century. To be able to release a 3D animated film of this quality on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans is a major achievement.”

The English version features voice-overs by well known international actors with Jake T Austin as Khumba and Liam Neeson as the malicious leopard. Richard E Grant, AnnaSophia Robb, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Buscemi are some of the other famous voices featured in the movie.

In the isiZulu version, the role of Khumba is voiced by Siphiwe Nkosi, a singer and film, television and theatre actor best known as the uncle of the title character in the popular SABC1 sitcom Nomzamo. The role of Nora the sheep is voiced by Gcina Mkhize, a familiar face on Gaz’lam eKasi and the SABC1 drama series Intersexions. Actress and voice artist Jessie Palmer takes on the role of bighearted wildebeest Mama V, while Bradley, the insecure ostrich, is voiced by gospel star Neyi Zimu.

The Afrikaans version features the voices of several well-known Afrikaans actors. Popular actor and comedian Hannes Brummer provides the voice for Khumba, with Rika Sennet as his mother. Veteran voice artist and actor Francois Stemmet is the voice of the evil Phango. The meerkat dad is voiced by Afrikaans musician and actor Lochner de Kock, while the loony old sheep is voiced by cabaret star and actress Elzabe Zietsman. The dubbing of both the Afrikaans and isiZulu versions was done at Presto Post Production.

Khumba is the second animated feature produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, following the successful global release of Adventures in Zambezia.

Triggerfish Studios and SAinfo reporter