Supa Strikas - The Journey of Africa's Most Iconic Comic


Elder Lister

Supa Strikas is a pan-African(NOTE that) association football-themed comic. It was founded by Andrew Smith, Oliver Power, Lee Hartman and Alex Kramer then produced in Malaysia by Animasia Studio, and Strika Entertainment originally in South Africa, 1st published in 2000 in SA.

By 2002 it was published in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia. Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I remember in Kenya we used to think it was about Harambee stars. It used to be a magazine inserted in the weekend newspaper. That was a very strategic and innovative move. Why you ask?

See, over the weekend children were home. So ,they would 'force' parents to buy the weekend newspaper to be able to keep up with the Supa Strikas comic. It was also an independent magazine, so no fighting with the parents to be able to read the comic. Win-Win situation.

Imagine from that, Supa Strikas comic now prints 1.4 million copies per month in 16 countries in Africa. The televised in 100 countries globally and translated into 27 languages. They have an animated series and a game. The secret to this?
Storytelling and relatability.

1. The stories in Supa Strikas combine humour , action, technology & exploration in the context of a real soccer challenge. The stories are usually positive life messages that deal with self-actualization, fair play, teamwork and respect.
2. There are 10 main players but the rest of the players can be added as per the local context to capture the audience and to be relatable. Even with the global demand for the comic, Supa Strikas’ core characters remained local but a more international cast grew around them!
They also defined and perfected the art of product placement. The comic received sponsorship from several companies, including Nike, Caltex, and other global businesses. Consequently, the main advertiser on the jersey and supporting sponsors went all over the place.
Other than the main characters, they also ensured the name of the team, formation, colour of the jersey, home ground and heroes remains the same. This uniformity ensured that the could scale both wide and deep. Really strategically smart for uniformity, longevity and scale.
In 2019, global entertainment company Moonbug acquired Supa Strikas from the South Africa's media company Strika Entertainment (Pty) Ltd. The acquisition was to furthers the company’s strategy to create and broaden the reach of quality content.

Moonbug Acquires Global Kids Animated Soccer Brand ‘Supa Strikas’Moonbug, a global entertainment company that develops and distributes fun and safe entertainment for kids, today announced it has acquired the popular

I can't even believe that there are no scholarly articles or research or books written about Supa Strikas!! I honestly cannot fathom that. Africans, how? I mean about their model, how they were able to crack the global market, how they've survived this long...I mean..EVERYTHING!

We can discuss so many things about Supa Strikas; from product design, business model, customer adoption spectrum(market, brand and conversion strategies), scalability and adaptability ... I mean... It is the most successful sports comic in the WORLD!!! Somebody write a book!

If you are wondering where things are at with Supa Strikas at the moment: after the acquisition Moonbug they decided to focus on the animated series and licensing of the publication rights. Currently you are able to watch "Supa Strikas - Season 7" streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
I forgot to mention an important thing: The pan African approach in product design was very important in the scaling. Why? Africans are patriotic when it comes to sports esp football. Remember AFCON used to be HUGE in 2000s. This was key in product relatability &adoption.

Let me summary this thread on Supa Strikas by this: If there's a product that was able to crack the African(and global) market in product, biz model, innovativeness & culture, they did it. Supa Strikas a South African brand that all African kids think it's their national team.Image
Please let's tell the Supa Strikas entrepreneurial story in either a book, movie or documentary! In the meantime, I'll be honoured to host/moderate a panel/session with the founding team& early investors of Supa Strikas! I know the magic of Twitter, please make it happen? Please.
So, to conclude (for real, now) this thread @supastrikas was acquired by @MoonbugKids from Strika Entertainment in 2019. They then sold it to @DisneyIndia this year in March 2020.

PS ~ The lead character is Shakes alongside 9 other main characters. Their Surnames could change e.g He was Shakes Makena in Kenya, SA he was Shakes Mokena, in Nigeria he was Segun "Shegs" Okoro.


Elder Lister
I used to read this religiously every Sunday back in the 2000s
Kuna zingine we used to follow religiously courtesy of CIDA nikiwa mchanga... Zilikuwa zinaitwa Pied Crow.

I stack up so many of them in our home library, and till to this day when I go visiting my folks.... Lazima nizipitie zote especially whilst enjoying a meal....

Very fond memories.
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Elder Lister
Reminds me Sunday Standard used to have a pullout akin to Beano with the likes of Roger the Dodger. Good times
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Hehe true... When in primary, our English teacher would encourage us to contribute something for the young nation pull out.... Ile ya kitambo.... And during his double lessons, we would dissect that thing pamoja na ile ya Wahome Mutahi....

... So kuchapa B+ Ama hata A- later on... I guess Paper 2A (English and literature) in high school was easy like a Sunday morning.


Very fond memories.