The Adventures of Noko Mashaba is one of the most popular animated black comedy series from South Africa. With Noko Mashaba as its main fictional character, the South African sociopolitical satire was inspired by the adult-rated American animated comedy, South Park. And just like South Park, The Adventures of Noko Mashaba also has a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer which says that: “All characters and events in the following clip—even those based on real people—are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated… Poorly.”
The show began in early 2013 and first premiered on YouTube with an episode called “Noko & the Famous Venda Tree”. The episode was based on a mythological tree from the deep ends of Venda, South Africa, which supposedly extends men’s penises if planted in the right manner. However, the show first gained prominence after its episode, “Noko in High School” was released. Since then, it has won a few awards and has become one of the most-watched comedy videos in South Africa.
Characters of The Adventures of Noko Mashaba
Noko Mashaba, who is voiced by Jonas Lekganyane, the show’s creator, is the main character of the show. Mashaba is a regular guy who occasionally goes out on various adventures to solve mysteries while portraying the lives of both past and present real-life South African personalities, reliving different incidents that have occurred in the country and sometimes elsewhere.
The character is very humorous, but yet very audacious. His biological parents were political activists during the South African apartheid era. He never really got to meet them as no one knows what happened to them during that time. He was, in turn, raised by his grandmother and has lived a horrid life, often finding himself in between jobs, a challenge familiar with many.
Noko Mashaba who most times appears as a police officer sometimes finds himself as the president’s right-hand man or a Barber in his Barber’s Shop. He is always spotted with his sidekicks; Phusu or Mthembu. He also has an uncle in the show called Uncle Dons.
Phusu is Noko Mashaba’s sidekick and is a graduate of the Loying University (a fictional university), which is the same university Noko’s grandmother graduated from. They both have a degree in Loying Engineering, giving them the ability and knowledge of sorcery. In the series, Phusu combines science and sorcery to solve difficult problems, which makes him a remarkably exceptional Sangoma.
Mthembu is a short and chubby fellow with big eyes and also Noko’s mute cop partner. Although he is a very smart but quiet character, he always finds himself in situations he shouldn’t be in, but Noko always comes to his rescue. Mthembu has been featured on several episodes of the show and all those episodes, he has never said a single word. He only cares to arrest the bad guys and go home.
Donald Mashaba (Uncle Dons)
Another interesting character in this animation series is Noko’s uncle, Donald Mashaba. Also known as uncle Dons, Donald is a greedy and stubborn man. He is mostly unemployed but enjoys the company of various women. Uncle Dons has fourteen children from five different women and always struggles with their up-keep.
He was introduced into the show in the episode South African President Jacob Zuma and a painting of him called The Spear. Uncle Dons has gone ahead to appear in his own show titled The Dons Show. It premiered with an episode inspired by a true story about a man from the province of KwaZulu-Natal who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
And last but not least, it would not be right if we talk of Noko Mashaba and not mention his high school sweetheart, Mahlodi. She is a very independent lady from a rich home and most times finds herself getting Noko out of tight situations. Mahlodi believes in the equality between men and women both at work and in relationships. She sometimes uses such uses that power to win gender equality arguments against Mashaba.
Meet The Creator of The Adventures of Noko Mashaba
The Adventures of Noko Mashaba was created and executive produced by self-taught animator Jonas Lekganyane and his company – Rams Comics (Pty) Ltd. Lekganyane created the animated series in 2013, shortly after he dropped out of school due to financial issues. He went out of his way to teach himself about animation production; learning about 2-dimensional animation on the internet using Google, YouTube, and other animation forums online.
The outcome of all he practiced online was his first animated work titled Night Shift with Khaphela. It featured former Generations actor, Khaphela and a gigantic bee called Nthato. The animated visual was created under a month with the help of Windows Paint & Windows Movie Maker.
The success of his first work led him to start his own animation company, Rams Comics. Soon after that, Lekganyane created the first image of Noko Mashaba which was inspired by his close friend, Soul Mashaba. The animation is mostly in Lekganyane’s home language, “Sepedi”. Nevertheless, other languages such as isiZulu, Setswana, and English are also used. Lekganyane chooses to use more of his homegrown languages, as he believes it is important for the younger generation to preserve their identity through languages.
Its first-ever episode was released in March 2013. It was made available on YouTube under the title “Noko & the Famous Venda Tree”. The animated series airs on Soweto TV, Ekurhuleni TV and is also available on YouTube for its worldwide audience.