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'Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire' - Mhkuzi: The Spirit Racer

The second episode of the highly anticipated Afrofuturism series delivers with a high-speed race teaching us to go far beyond just accepting ourselves.

The second short story of the fantastic new Afrofuturism series, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, features sci-fi racing and standing up for one’s community. Manzo, is the son of legendary racer (his mother), Mhkuzi, but his mother has retired and does not like the idea of Manzo racing. Manzo struggles with more than his mother’s legacy, as his heritage of being half Zulu and half alien makes him in outcast in other ways. He has the ability to enlarge his left-arm to a Hulk-like, blue-skinned degree. Manzo struggles with his need for speed and mixed heritage throughout the short.

Spirit Guide, Jangu (R) and Manko (Nasty C) pictured center.

The central conflict of the story comes in when alien overlord and bitter rival of the legendary Mhkuzi, comes to Soweto demanding that Manzo’s mother, Manomi, don her costume and give him a rematch as Mhkuzi, or watch their community be destroyed. It turns out he has bought Soweto in hopes of forcing the retired and injured Manomi into giving him a chance to finally beat her. Realizing his injured mother has no hope of winning this superhuman race, Manzo takes her legendary costumer for himself and takes on the alien overlord. With the help of his mother and his spirit guide, Jangu, Manzo finally accepts his Zulu and alien birthrights, awakening his true power and saving his village.

The animation style suits this fast-paced narrative. It is neon colored and graphic, similar to a digital comic style. The voice actors are all believable and authentic. I here natural accents, not forced nor shied away from. South African rapper, Nasty C, gives Manzo life with his performance. I can feel the air whipping through Manko’s shirt. The stakes feel real and the action is evenly paced. This is a second story now of a young man wanting to be hero for all the wrong reasons, but finding his heart when the stakes are raised. I wonder if we will see this theme explored more deeply, and more importantly, I look forward to seeing the stories featuring Black women and girls.