Arts & Entertainment

Unpacking First Two Episodes of “‘Iwájú’: Disney’s Love Letter to Lagos”

Iwájú officially premiered on DStv, Disney Channel (Channel 303), and GOtv Channel 92 on Monday, April 22, 2024, and will air for a week until the 26th of April. Two episodes in and we can already tell that viewers are in for an adventurous journey.

The opening episode introduces us to Tola Martins, a 10-year-old girl who seemingly has everything in life. She lives in a mansion with a garden providing serenity and robots serving her every need. However, her house becomes a prison when her father, Tunde, forbids her from stepping outside. It doesn’t take long to feel the tension brewing in the household, with an overprotective Tunde becoming more consumed by work, and a lonely Tola yearning for a little attention from her father.

The first episode offers a visually stunning and creative portrayal of futuristic Lagos, Nigeria. The series is proudly African, with a particular focus on the vibrant city of Lagos. Through its vivid animation, viewers are taken on a trip into a futuristic version of Lagos that is familiar yet advanced.

The attention to detail in the first episode of “Iwájú” is impressive. Despite the futuristic portrayal of Lagos featuring flying cars, the essence of the city remains authentic. Digital faces on robot drones replace traditional hawkers at the windows, capturing the well-known street life. The bustling streets, complete with familiar traffic-packed roads, offer a glimpse into a world where innovation meets urban reality.

Another interesting aspect of the first episode of “Iwájú” is its rich and diverse use of Nigerian languages. While the languages promote African culture on the surface, they introduce Pidgin as a commonly spoken tongue of the mainlanders. It was also impressive to see the young Tola eager to speak her Yoruba language.

The second episode builds on the antagonists and focuses on the relatable class difference that occurs between the high and the low. The centre of focus is Bode, the villain of the series and Kole, who comes from a modest family and works as a gardener for the Martins’. The episode briefly shows a scene of Bode during his childhood, where he rebelled against their upper-class employers. It then builds on the same energy in Kole when he gets treated badly by Tunde.

Kole has access to Tunde’s life which Bode sees as an opportunity in extracting money from Tunde. Given Kole’s current impression of Tunde, it seems like Bode intends to lure Kole into his plan and get help from him to run one of his dirty tricks. However, things can get tricky as Bode is known for kidnapping kids and Tunde’s daughter is Kole’s friend. It is intriguing to watch everything unfold.

“Iwájú” has brought a fresh and relatable perspective, making it a must-watch for anyone seeking a storyline different from the regular. Viewers can also anticipate the adventure packed in the next episode, as the show leaves no room for evident predictions.

The series currently airs on DStv, Disney Channel (Channel 303), and GOtv Channel 92. For viewers who missed the initial airing, there would be a marathon on Saturday, 27 April from 1 pm to 4 pm. With repeat broadcasts to run daily from Monday, April 29 to Saturday, May 4, at 4 pm with a marathon on Sunday, May 5, starting at 12:35 pm.

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