It’s common knowledge that children gain pride when they see positive images of themselves during their early years. African and African American children don’t have many opportunities to see themselves when watching cartoons or television programs aimed toward ages one-year-to-10 years old. Nigerian animator Adamu Waziri decided to create change with his animated educational cartoon “Bino and Fino.”
Bino and Fino are a close-knit Nigerian brother and sister duo who along with their magical friend, Zeena the butterfly, discover and learn things about everyday life and the world. Set in a Sub-Saharan African city, “Bino and Fino” has a modern twist of African culture but still remains traditionally pure. Waziri believes it is very important for children to see positive perceptions of themselves at an early age. Waziri was inspired to develop the cartoon because there was a lack of children’s programming created within Nigeria.
“All of the children’s cartoons where I’m from are imported. Plus, none of them showed any characters that looked like us. The older I became, the more I noticed it in other African countries,” said Waziri.
Waziri insists he had nothing against foreign shows but wanted to help create balance. “The important existence of ‘Bino and Fino’ is crucial to the self-esteem of children because we all know that beyond the layers of issues that affect our culture, an important aspect of this is centered by the lack of knowledge of who we are and where we come from,” Waziri said.
In past episodes, Bino discusses independence and colonialism with his grandparents and Fino’s mere existence, with her adorable natural afro-puffs and unapologetic confidence, unknowingly makes a statement about self-acceptance and being a young girl in 2015. Although the intent of “Bino and Fino” is to entertain and educate, the intermixing of fun, education, history and honest dialogue raises our social consciousness in a way that has been absent in animation.
“Bino and Fino” has become popular with children around the world and now has a growing following in the United States. The students at First Step Academy in Marietta, Georgia had the opportunity to meet Bino and Fino at the educational screening held at their school last week.
“For us, Black History month is an all year thing,” said First Step teacher Mr. Cameron. “It’s important for our students to learn about Africa and global diversity.”
In St. Louis, MO, Kidz Biz Academy also utilizes “Bino and Fino” as part of their creative curriculum.
“Our students learn a lot through ‘Bino and Fino’ and they love that there are cartoons where they see others that resemble them,” said Kidz Biz owner Monica Moore.
The “Bino and Fino” new DVD 2 series is now available on www.binoandfino.com. Along with the DVD, the show now offers plush toys from the series.
Bino and Fino are available to visit classrooms throughout Georgia for schools and/or educational organizations.
Watch the “Bino & Fino” teaser at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfz02Qc9Lqc