By Devina Haripersad
DURBAN – Budding entrepreneur, Brook Mthethwa (44) has embarked on a massive mission to create proudly South African cartoon characters that will provide Durban toddlers with ‘little buddies,’ whom they can identify better with.
Brook, a Pinetown resident who works in Umhlanga, has recently introduced the Durban community to two loveable little characters named Intelligent Dudu and Sipho. The characters seem to be centred around the Dora the Explorer and Ben 10 brand, but with a more home-grown flare and flavour. “The idea was to introduce a sense of diversity to the cartoon network. The characters will be telling our urban and rural stories in a modern way,” Brook explained.
Having grown up on the outskirts of KwaZulu Natal in a rural community himself, Brook has centred the characteristics of these little buddies on his own cultural childhood experience. “I remember playing with a spring stick to herd animals. This is why I have created Sipho with a companion which is his spring stick,” he said.
Sipho is a brave but mischievous little guy who always seems to embark on adventures that play out against a local background and are interpreted in a very cultural way. He is best friends with Dudu. Dudu is the really intelligent one but also the sweeter and (shaped like a heart) is the more loving of the two.
“Little girls across the country will love the sweet lovable character of Dudu as they get to know her through the stories she shares,” Brook said. Dudu also has a traditional companion. She rolls with a calabash.
A first of its kind for the Durban community, the characters and their stories are aimed at children from the age of 2 years old to early primary school.
While Brook is still awaiting production rights that will see the Intelligent Dudu and Sipho make it onto TV screens, he has been punting branded clothing and accessories like school bags and pencil cases onto the local market. “Everything is locally produced. From the material to the designs and embroidery. This is a proudly South African project,” he said.
The Intelligent Dudu and Sipho are on Facebook, with the own page ‘Dudu & Sipho.’ Brook is certain that these characters will definitely one day wander onto the greater children’s cartoon platforms, and will ultimately put local youth on the map.