Takalani Sesame

Educating and Entertaining South African Children for Nearly Two Decades

Production on Season 11 of Takalani (“Be Happy”) Sesame is underway! Launched in 2000 in a country where over half of children lack access to preschool, Takalani Sesame addresses a range of early childhood development needs—from literacy, math, and life skills to instilling in children a greater sense of self and nurturing their readiness for lifelong learning. Currently broadcasting on SABC, Takalani  is complemented by outreach programs that engage children, caregivers, and teachers in their communities and schools.

Tackling a Taboo

Our groundbreaking character Kami helped break the culture of silence and stigma around HIV/AIDS in the early 2000s, when the epidemic affected almost every South African family. Working closely with South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, we developed the first ever HIV/AIDS curriculum for young children, centered on Kami—a bright yellow, furry, 5-year old who happens to be HIV-positive. Cheerful Kami helped give children information, a new vocabulary, and a greater understanding—that they could play with, love, and hug friends who are HIV-positive without fear of transmission. Kami is still the star of the show that has become a beloved household name across South Africa.

Embracing Community Values

As we pursue our vision of creating a better world in which all children reach their highest potential, Takalani Sesame is poised for a new dawn of exciting growth. We envision an Afrocentric show anchored on the uBuntu value system that binds African societies and communities together. From championing the principle of ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ (You Are because We Are) to instilling in children the values of sharing, respect, and kindness to nurturing the spirit of living and working together, uBuntu will be at the center of what Takalani stands for and aims to achieve moving forward.