Streaming giant Netflix recently announced its first Kenyan licensed Branded Series, Country Queen.
Set in contemporary Kenya, Country Queen is a family drama series that tells the story of ordinary Kenyans fighting against a corporate power that threatens to destroy their homes and lives. The series focuses on the issues of land grabbing and exploitation, and how these factors impact the lives and relationships of the main characters, their families and communities.
Filmed in Nairobi, Machakos County and Murang’a County, Country Queen stars Melissa Kiplagat as Akisa, a woman from a sleepy village who now leads a comfortable but complicated life in the city. Her dark past and complex relationship with the powerful and ruthless Sibala family sets in motion a string of events with rippling consequences. Directed by Vincent Mbaya, Tosh Gitonga and Brian Munene, the series also stars Melvin Alusa, Blessing Lung’aho and Nini Wacera in a thrilling tale that shows what happens when the past and present collide.
The show Features a language mix of English and Swahili. It also explores themes like rural-urban conflict, inter-family relationships, betrayal, love and commitment, as well as the intersection of tradition, leadership, culture and capitalism. A prevailing theme of the show is also the pursuit of ambition in the face of loyalty to tradition and cultural history.
“We’re excited to bring this authentic Kenyan story to our viewers around the world. More than 222 million entertainment fans will get the opportunity to experience Kenya’s talent and creativity with Country Queen,” says Nkateko Mabaso, Netflix’s Director of Licensing in Africa. “The MOU we signed with the Kenyan government in April signaled our intention to meaningfully contribute to Kenya’s creative community and through this title, 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.”
According to the Daily Nation, the six episodes of season one of Country Queen cost Sh152 million. The pilot episode was shot at the end of January 2019, involving 25 actors, 52-crew members and 160 extras, majority Kenyans.
Country Queen premieres exclusively on Netflix on Friday the 15th of July 2022.