‘Afrimaxx’: Celebrating contemporary African lifestyle

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To be as diverse as the continent: that’s the motto of the creators behind “Afrimaxx.” And fortunately for them, Africa offers an almost infinite wealth of fascinating people, breathtaking landscapes and clever ideas. What’s more, sub-Saharan Africa, the target area of DW’s new program, is a “young” region where, according to the United Nations, the average age of the people is, in some cases, well below 30.

That played an important role in shaping the show’s concept, says DW’s Managing Director of Programming Gerda Meuer: “With Afrimaxx, we’re focusing very clearly on a young target group that we want to inspire and tap into with their topics. The result is a different view of the continent, one that’s all about lifestyle, trends, fashion and modernity.”

From national drinks to award winners
In the first episode of the 26-minute English-language program on August 5, 2022, viewers can expect a colorful mix of topics ranging from architecture and a “rebellious national spirit” from Ghana to garish party buses in Kenya.

The show will feature 57-year-old Francis Kere, who was the first African-born architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize this year. Viewers will also learn about “Akpeteshie,” Ghana’s national spirit — a drink made by distilling palm wine or sugar cane, which was once banned by the British colonial rulers. Ghanaians say it reflects their history of rebellion and desire for freedom.

The first episode of “Afrimaxx” will also cast a spotlight on the legendary Matatu cabs in Kenya. The minibusses, pimped up with graffiti, amplifiers and disco lighting, are very popular among young Kenyans, especially in the evening and at night. And “Afrimaxx” will profile one of the best-known artists transforming rusting jalopies into these hip party vehicles.

‘Euromaxx’ goes Africa
The idea of showcasing the continent’s lifestyle in all its facets has proven successful at DW. For years, “Euromaxx” has featured the lifestyle of young Europeans and those who are young at heart. Following on from this successful concept, the culture and Africa departments created “Afrimaxx,” which aims at a young African audience between the ages of 14 and 49.

Produced jointly with an African cooperation partner, the new program is not intended to be merely a copy of the European original, emphasizes Rolf Rische, Head of the Culture and Documentaries Department at DW: “We see Africa from a unique perspective: we see creativity, inventiveness, talent, skill, dynamism and success.”

Claus Stäcker, Head of Africa Programs, is convinced that the production kills three birds with one stone: “We are conveying a positive attitude to life from Africa that is often neglected in news reporting. We are combining Deutsche Welle’s strengths — a successful lifestyle program here, regional expertise there. And we’ve been working hand in hand with a strong African partner from the word go.” This combination could become a formula for success, says Stäcker, while also complementing other successful productions like EcoAfrica or The77Percent.

A superstar presenter
Presenter Ayanda Thabethe combines many of these attributes: The 36-year-old South African had already made a name for herself as an entrepreneur and actress before she also became known as a top model and television presenter.

She will be the face of “Afrimaxx”, guiding guide viewers on their weekly excursions through the culinary and cultural diversity of the continent she calls home.

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