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An 8-episode fantasy, social issue drama set in DR Congo


An ancient Congolese spirit, trapped in a robotic body and trying to regain his powers, helps a young woman reconnect with her homeland as they’re hunted down by an evil mining corporation. 

'Lelo’ is everything that happens today.

It is the world we are bound to,

one day at a time.


‘Lobi’ is everything that is not today.

It is yesterday and tomorrow at the same time,

The world of both our ancestors and descendants.


Only ancient spirits can bridge both worlds.

Some are good,

Preserving the connection between lelo and lobi,

Maintaining balance.


Others cross over to create chaos.

Lelo ezali nyonso ekomisa sikoyo.

Ezali mokili oyo tongalisa yango,

mokolo na mokolo.


Lobi ezali nyonso oyo ezali sikoyo te.

Na ntango moko oyo ezali lobi eleki na lobi ekoya,

Ezali mokili na bankoko mpe na bana na biso.


Kaka bilimu bokoki kokende na mokili mibale.

Bilimu mosusu bazali malamu,

Babatelisa gbagba ya lelo na lobi

Basalisa kokima na alima.


Bilimu mosusu bazali awa 

mpo kosala nungu-nungu.


This story takes place in DR Congo in the year 2024. It begins with two deaths and one birth. A miner is fatally crushed by a collapsing mine shaft and the Corex Mining Corporation does nothing except cover its tracks. His friend is seduced by a witch and sacrificed in the river. And the ancient spirit NGUYA is reborn as a robot in a scrapyard.

That same night, during an electrical storm, a young woman named NIA ZABANITA, mother- and fatherless, is packing to leave “this doomed country” to start over fresh. But Nia’s great escape gets derailed when her path collides with Nguya and her long-lost brother IMANI inexplicably pops up in a video on her broken phone. When Corex identifies Nia and Nguya as a threat, they are forced to flee into the country together. 

Fugitives on the run, Nia must come to terms with the fact that she has now lost everything. Even the home she was so eager to give up. Nguya must learn to adapt to the new and limiting robotic body he reincarnated in. They will arrive at the conclusion that they will need each other to survive and form a pact. Nguya will help Nia escape the prison she calls Congo if she helps him regain his true form and power.  

Together they will visit places and other spirits that will allow Nguya to reclaim his dutiful position as gatekeeper between lobi and lelo and restore balance between the two worlds. Gradually he will unleash his powers and learn to control them in his robotic anatomy. Coltan will light up underneath the earth, Electromagnetic fields will be disrupted. Visions and events from the lobi will start passing through to the lelo via electrically powered appliances. As they venture deeper into the country, evading Corex, Nia and Nguya will meet a lot of fellow Congolese people, listening to their stories and learning about their problems. Helping them where they can. These interactions start to affect Nia as well and she begins to see her country and her people through different eyes.

As Nguya’s power grows, so does the target on his back and with the help of the evil witch PELISA, Nguya is captured by Corex. To save Nguya, Nia must bring down Corex executive EMANUEL MARTIN and Pelisa with the help of BIENVENUE BIFAMA, a young activist who has his own personal vendetta with Emanuel and Corex. In Nguya’s last vision, Nia sees what really happened with her brother and, now believing he is still alive, decides to go look for him. Nguya must choose between his duty and the risk of keeping his mortal form to help his first and only friend.

nguya character.jpg

NGUYA is an ancient Congolese spirit in charge of maintaining the balance between the lelo and the lobi. He has done this for as long as the land exists and there are people living on it. In the lobi, he serves as the guardian of Congo’s collective memory, a sort of librarian for all its cultural traditions and historical events. In the lelo he performs the task of advisor for those who seek his guidance in difficult moral and cultural matters. Nguya is in essence a shapeless being but can transform and incarnate in any form he wants when he visits the lelo.

One day, many years before our story starts, things went wrong for Nguya. When they were starting up the mine in Rulingo, they had to chop down an old forest, including a sacred tree. One of the lumberjacks felt conflicted and called upon Nguya for advice. Nguya crossed over from the lobi to the lelo and incarnated into the tree to answer the man’s call. But before he could do so, the tree was chopped down and Nguya got trapped in the remaining trunk and roots of the tree and had lost his power to return to the lobi. Nguya had no choice but to accept his prison and go into a dormant state and wait for an opportunity to free himself.

Many years later, a fatal mining accident near the trunk provided the necessary amount of sacrificial life for Nguya to reawaken and transfer his essence into a piece of coltan before being dumped on a scrapyard. Later, during an electrical storm, he was able to reincarnate into a new physical, robotic-looking, form consisting of scrap metal parts and coltan.  

Reborn, but still trapped in the lelo, he must go on a quest to regain his full powers and reclaim his position and duty. And stay out of the hands of Corex, who want to enslave him as a profitable ultra-conductor for coltan mining. The proud and wise Nguya, is used to doing things alone, but in his new form, which he hates, he is weaker and more vulnerable than ever, and needs help. He finds it in Nia, an independent young woman who, by choice, rejects her culture and history, the very things Nguya embodies. 

As he starts to regain his powers, they are linked not only to his new robotic body, but also to his heightened emotional state. All the while, restrengthening his relation to the lobi via electromagnetic networks he can physically connect to. But he often short-circuits and breaks down and has to rely on Nia to fix him back up. Nguya’s journey with Nia not only gives him a new perspective on the human condition, but it also makes him really feel things for the first time. 


NIA ZABANITA (24) was born in a small village in northern Kivu, where she lived with her parents and her brother Imani who was 4 years older than she was. When Nia was only two years old, the war reached her village and her father was shot and killed. Then the UN Peacekeeping forces restored order but one of the soldiers raped Nia’s mother. Her brother witnessed the whole thing and it filled the boy’s heart with rage. Pregnant with her third child, Nia’s mother relocated them near Goma to stay with family, where she eventually died in childbirth. In the following years, the wrathful Imani refused to accept his little brother and his aunt and uncle were forced to give the child away when Nia was 4 years old. It broke Nia’s heart. She never understood her brother’s anger, even hated him for it, and nobody ever told her what had happened. When Nia was 10, Imani too disappeared from her life. 


When Nia turned 18 she moved out of her aunt’s and uncle’s house to go live on her own. Since her brother had left, she had always felt alone and, in a way, homeless. She made a living working on cars, a skill and passion she had picked up from her uncle. Nia loved cars. Repairing them, but also racing them. She was fast. She would stop a conversation just to listen to a car in the distance and tell you what kind of engine it ran. This resulted in her girlfriends not really seeing her as one of the girls and the boys claiming her as one of the boys. It was the opposite of what she wanted. She didn’t see herself as a tomboy, she was just great at fixing stuff. But she would never fix anything for free, except for kids. It was her way of filling in the holes of her own childhood and the siblings she lost. But in the end, she felt she had lost so much, there just wasn’t enough worth staying for and decided she was going to leave Congo. Even if it meant selling her beloved car. 

When Nia runs into Nguya, her plans fall apart and she feels like she has lost everything once again. But Nguya doesn’t really stop her from leaving. He stops her from running away. And as they grow closer, Nia finds a source of friendship and love she hasn’t felt for a long time. A relationship that will slowly but surely encourage her to open up to people and their stories, forge new friendships, and ultimately dive deeper into her own family’s history and the disappearance of Imani. 


On our journey with Nguya and Nia we travel through the country with a gaze filled with both the wonderment and wickedness of discovery and rediscovery. Nguya is an ancient spirit as old as the land itself, who despite his robotic-looking body, is forced to experience our world, the lelo, as a mortal being for the very first time. He is teamed up with a young woman who has known nothing else but the harsh reality of modern life in Congo and has decided she has had enough and wants to leave. The philosophical conflict between that of optimistic and protectionist traditionalism and the hopelessness of a lost generation looking to escape to fulfill their inherent potential lies at the heart of our story. 


Nguya is a series that, besides the political background, bathes in an atmosphere of magic and mysticism. Nguya is set in a version of our world that is also inhabited by a pantheon of spirits and gods, both adapted from traditional folklore as well as of our own creation, that are for the most part ignored by the people living in it. Magic is found in the way Nguya interacts with electricity, allowing him to control, and often lose control of, electrical appliances and being able to make Coltan glow up through the earth. The access to a mystical and mythological realm, the lobi, also goes through the interference Nguya creates, interrupting radio waves, television shows or social media feeds broadcasting stories saved in Nguya’s memory and that of all his previous incarnations. 


We all know the African masked dancers forming a bridge between the real and spiritual world with their disguised performances. We could say that Nguya is a modern reincarnation of a masked dancer, disguised as a superhero. It is the combination of scientifically explicable magic, a robot made from coltan that functions as an ultra-conductor of electricity, and mysticism through Nguya’s visions and connection to the past and future, that make Nguya a modern African spirit. This series deconstructs and plays with the stereotypes of superhero stories we all know. A marvel figure transported to Congo in the form of a scrap metal robot stripped of any grandeur but gifted with an ancient superpower: connecting people through the magic of storytelling. 


EMANUEL “NOKO” MARTIN (47), descended from the illustrious Martin clan, wealthy industrialists who had been active in Congo since the colonial period. His family’s mining business has expanded since then and branched out into an international conglomerate, but the Corex Mining Corporation remains its crown jewel. And despite his impetuous nature, Emanuel serves the crown. His passport labels him Franco-Belgian, but he has only ever known Congo as his home. He grew up as a Congolese, but with all the privileges of a rich, white European. He ownes a hotel, boats, and a chain of hair & nail salons. The other Congolese call him “noko” (uncle) and accept him as one of them. But he isn’t. Not really. He knows all the people he must. He is a cowboy. He is untouchable and ruthless. He is a father too. He married a 29-year-old Congolese woman, and they have a 2-year-old son. He has a love for vintage arcade games and the biggest, and quite possibly the only, collection in the country. Space Invaders, Dig Dug, Mortal Kombat II and Smash TV, ... he has all the classics. He loved to play. He feels like he has endless lives. 

When a worker dies in a mine that he manages, he sells the story as if they did everything to save the miner. As if there had been no safety issues in the mine. As if it had been nothing but an accident. It is his job to protect the image of the company and its political insurance and that’s what he always does. That’s how he climbs further up the ladder. But then a robot and a young woman trespass the night after the worker’s death. Emanuel doesn’t know how much they know about the accident and the cover-up but realizes that if certain information were to come out this time, it would mean his downfall. He also realizes the robot is valuable as he can light up coltan and that it could prove a fast-track to the top of the ladder. Emanuel chases them through Congo, but his lives are slowly running out with an angry political activist breathing heavily in his neck and extradition out of ‘his Congo’ on the line. 


BIENVENUE BIFAMA (25), Bene to his friends, grew up in a modest, hardworking family in the East of Congo. When he was ten years old, the family relocated to Kinshasa because of his father’s work (he worked for an NGO at the time) and there they lived in a modest, but nice house. Both Bene and his sister went to university and that’s where Bienvenue got interested in journalism and politics and found kindred spirits. When his father fell ill and could no longer provide for the family, Bene’s mother opened a little streetside restaurant where she made potatoes and other eastern Congolese dishes. Bene’s sister donated to the household from the modest earnings she made as a nurse. It was Bene’s job to travel to the east of the country and buy and transport potatoes for the restaurant. He didn’t particularly like to make these trips, that would often be hard, especially if he could only travel by boat. The extra money he made from side deals buying and selling cheese and sausages didn’t do much to change that feeling. But that is what he did, though his family wanted him to do more. Bene was passionate about two things: football and political activism. As self-declared Directeur Sportif of his local football team he was proud to be responsible for the signing of Valère, the club’s first international player and, conveniently, Bene’s childhood friend that had spent two seasons as a sub in a Moroccan third league club. When his team won, Bene would see it as his duty to go and buy whiskey to celebrate. 


Besides football it was social injustice that would play his heartstrings. He would have dedicated all his time to activism if he could. It had even landed him in prison on a couple occasions. His parents wanted him to contribute more to the family, but Bene had a bigger picture in mind. One where everyone in the country would have the opportunity to go to university if they wanted, just as he had. One where his fellow countrymen and women would no longer be exploited by the state and big companies, like Corex, but protected. He was ideological and maybe even a bit naïve sometimes. But they were making noise and gaining support. And then Rosy, their leader and one of Bene’s best friends died in a fire. It got reported as an accident. It was not.


A beautiful, thirtysomething woman with big, seducing eyes.

A hermit, living riverside next to an industrial dumping ground.

An enchantress, her powers bound to the river’s wicked water spirits.


Mama Pelisa is an elima, a human henchman of the evil water spirits who grant her magical powers in return. She helps them carry out their malign schemes above ground and keeps close contact with them underwater in the river, where they live. Mama Pelisa uses her terrible beauty to make men fall in love with her. From the moment she gives them what they desire, they are indebted to her and fully under her spell. Once in control over their bodies and minds, she shepherds them to the river at night for the underwater ghosts to feed on. In return, the water spirits grant her the gift of eternal youth.


The river hosts a vast community of water spirits with a sizeable demand for human sacrifice, but it is getting harder for mama Pelisa to serve them. Before, she got help from the ba ngando, the crocodiles, but nowadays they are all gone because the river is being polluted by the mining company Forescore, which uses parts of the shore as a landfill. This has turned the water spirits against mama Pelisa. They are angry because they don’t have enough to eat, and their home is being poisoned. The spirits are angry and have had enough. With so little to feed on, they cannot stay there any longer. On top of that, they forewarn mama Pelisa of a vision they had. A powerful and threatening spirit is coming soon. For the spirits, the danger is too great and there are plenty of other nourishing and auspicious rivers they can go to. 

But while the spirits can leave, mama Pelisa can’t. As an elima, she is connected to the place she got her powers from. If the water spirits move elsewhere, Mama Pelisa will lose her magic and her youth. She will get old fast and die. A witch fighting to retain the powers she is slowly but surely losing, mama Pelisa has two options: chase out Forescore or offer the water spirits something big. Something like a newly reborn righteous spirit. Something exactly like Nguya.


Throughout the series, Nguya will evoke visions through interferences with electronic devices; from security televisions, radios and cell phones to arcade games. If it has electronics, Nguya can use it to broadcast. The visions themselves are reflections from the past through which we dive deeper into the lives and history of both main and side characters, ranging from ancient myths and stories to memories of our characters and their close relatives. The visions’ function in the series is not to distract or stray, but to always serve and impact the main storyline and character development.

The African mermaid Mami Wata is both fish and human. She accompanies individuals (often diaspora) on their journey to a new home, which also represents a new version of themselves. Mami Wata is commonly seen with a mirror in hand. Her mirror represents a movement through the present and the future where her devotees can create their own reality through the imaging of themselves in their own recreation of Mami Wata’s world. They see who they want to be in her mirror. 

When Nguya and Nia arrive on the island it isn’t at all the mystical place they imagined it to be. It’s a place filled with vacation houses for rich Congolese people on the one hand and a community of struggling fishermen on the other. They search for Mami Wata in vain and only find a desolated night club with the same name. Even though the music plays and its neon lights burn, Mami Wata is empty. Nguya and Nia stand on the dancefloor in front of a big mirror and see themselves reflected. But they don’t see what they are used to. Nguya walks through the mirror and finds himself standing in the forrest in front of a big tree. The roots stretch out and connect to people. The tree is Nguya. Is what he can be. He follows one root that turns into an electrical cord. When he plugs the cord into a socket, he suddenly wakes up again, standing in front of the mirror. He wants to know if Nia saw the same thing, but Nia is quiet. She saw herself in the mirror with her older brother Imani in an army uniform standing next to her. 


Nguya is lost in the streets of Kinshasa and is haunted by strange images of an open plain with a single palm tree. In a scanty bar on the outskirts of town, he meets Merveille, a drag queen, who tells him the story of Mahungu. 

Mahungu is the Myth of the Perfect Being, of the Creation of Man and Woman amongst the Congo people. Mahungu was complete in itself. Total, perfect, closed indeed. Mahungu was neither male nor female. As a complete being, Mahungu was both man and woman. One day, Mahungu saw, sprouting not far from its home, a tree known as Ba Ndia Nzambe, the Tree of God. What we now call a palm tree. But Mahungu was forbidden to go near it, and especially to go around it. Mahungu obeyed for some time. But one day, driven by irresistible curiosity, approached the tree and walked around it. Almost immediately, Mahungu split in two and became two distinct entities: Lumbu, the Man, and Muzita, the Woman. At the same time, both men and women felt the pain and sense of incompleteness, a feeling and urge that would follow them into eternity. 

Nguya understands the story as a call to duty and a reminder of the sacrifice one must be able to make to preserve the balance of things. Merveille has a different take and tells Nguya that most people feel lonely because they feel empty, because they want to complete themselves with the company of others. 


Imani was six years old when he was living with his four-year younger sister Nia and his parents in a small village in the North-Kivu province. Their family had always lived there, it had been their home for generations. But those days, life was not easy over there. They lived in a region occupied by armed rebel groups, but the family enjoyed being together. Everything changed when one day the Congolese army, with the help of the United Nations army, tried to reclaim back terrain. Heavy fights broke out and Imani’s father and some other villagers were taken hostage by the rebel army. When the Congolese army and the United Nations tried to free these hostages, the worst possible thing happened. Imani’s and Nia’s father was killed. 

A few days later the Congolese Army and the UN succeeded to free Imani’s and Nia’s village. First, they were received as heroes but then Imani witnessed something that would haunt him for the rest of his life. One of the UN soldiers was invited by his mother Adia for some tea. The soldier misinterpreted Adia’s hospitality. While she was boiling the water inside the house the soldier came in and dragged her on the bed. The two-year old Nia was fast asleep and didn’t notice a thing, but young Imani stood in a corner paralyzed and witnessed his mother being raped. Marked by the events, the mourning Adia decided to leave their village behind and start a new life in the small mining town of Rulingo where she would be able to live with her brother’s family. But Imani quickly noticed that apart from the grief and loss his mother was going through, her body was also changing. Each week she was getting bigger. Adia was pregnant. 

First her family was very happy, they said it was a gift that her husband left behind before passing away. God was merciful to them, but Imani saw his mother grow more silent each day. Adia died at childbirth. Another shock hit the family when they realized the newly born Ganza was light skinned. After a year and a half, Ganza was given away. They said it was because Imani wouldn’t accept his brother, even tried to hurt him, and although that wasn’t entirely untrue, it was the shame that it had brought to the family that was too much to bear. 


Nia and Nguya’s story continues as they go looking for Nia’s brother Imani, who has joined an armed rebel movement operating in the eastern provinces of Congo. The series will stay true to its original blend of buddy adventure and socio-cultural critique. As they navigate treacherous terrain, unravel clues and face peril, their journey further explores the complexities of friendship, trust and loyalty. 


Through Nguya’s visions we will peel back the layers of current (and past) conflicts and the way they have shaped affected families and communities, challenging our characters (and viewers) to contemplate the intricate webs of power, ideology and human resilience that underlie such conflicts.  


But above all, Nguya will remain a series that is warm at the core and we aim to strike a delicate balance by infusing the serious themes, high-stakes adventure, and pulse-pounding action with moments of lightheartedness and heartfelt connection.



password: africansuperhero



8x40 Episodes



Magical realist buddy adventure series



Writer/director & concept

Michiel Robberecht


Concept & principal actor

Precy Numbi



Toon Anthoni



French, English, Swahili & Lingala



Producer Maarten D’Hollander

Krater Films

+32 486 549 260

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