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  Jonas Lekganyane was born in Johannesburg and moved to Mankweng Township in Polokwane when he was seven years old.  He was raised by his single mother and grandmother.Jonas realized he had a talent for drawing when he was in primary school. He was able to re-draw pictures from magazines and paintings.

 

He was never motivated by anything or anyone to be an artist, he just found himself doing it naturally. By the time he got to high school he was sketching comic strips.  At the time, he wasn’t aware what animation was.

In 2011, after matric he registered for a BSc degree at the University of Pretoria but dropped out at the end of 2012 due to lack of funds. He tried to get find work but was unsuccessful.  He watched a lot of American cartoons and liked the way cartoons were used to address social issues.  To keep himself occupied, he began online research about animation. He taught himself animation by watching YouTube tutorials and asking questions on online animation chat rooms and forums.Jonas showed his first video to his friends and their positive feedback encouraged him to post it on YouTube. The video went viral and people started asking Jonas for more videos. This encouraged him to do more.  He considers himself an ‘edu-tainer’ and says “a lot of young people relate to my storylines in the videos; this inspiration comes from everyday experiences and current affairs.

 This year, Jonas went back to school and is studying optometry at the University of Johannesburg. Stephen Hillenburg, a marine biologist is one of Jonas’ inspirations; he is the creator of SpongeBob cartoons.  To Jonas Stephen is living example that a person can pursue an academic career and still be creative.  He makes some income from clips that go viral; online companies offer to pay him per view. His biggest dream is to turn ‘The Adventures of NokoMashaba’ into a television show. He would like his characters to eventually have the same status as cartoons like Superman.His videos are intentionally in his home language, Sepedi.  The animated characters he grew up watching were always Western and English speaking and he feels it is important for young people to preserve their languages.

 Jonas has been approached by the CEO of the Supastrickas print cartoon series to develop his characters for an African online cartoon channel. He is also finalizing a deal with a prominent business; the plan is to take the NokoMashaba character to a level of merchandising and other brand extensions. Watch Episode

 

 

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