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The Rising CEO Somto Ajuluchukwu

Developing animation for children in Nigeria
Nigeria’s dependence on international media entertainment for kids has been timeless. While it
is very uncommon easily access a variety of local media that children can interact with, new
generational creatives like Somto Ajuluchukwu are bringing Nigerian culture to life through
animation.
The young CEO started an African creative content company called Vortex Inc in 2014. The
company, which has captured 60k followers monthly, focuses on exploring African culture
through comics and animation. Guardian Life had a short chat with the inspiring creative as he
speaks keenly about the exciting direction of his animation Company.
Q – When did you start your career and what influenced you?
A – I started my career in publishing and content production in 2013 when I was working with a
digital mobile content company called Starfish Mobile. It was a company that created a base for
me to understand content. After that I moved to investment banking at Zenith for a few months
then I founded Vortex in 2014 ending. It’s been an amazing journey since then.
The idea of Vortex came to me in a traditional art exhibition at Victoria Island in Lagos. I was so
absorbed in the beauty, diversity, colour and originality of the art and messages and I wanted to
do the same in a more contemporary format, in a way where we could redefine Africa for future
generations and also teach them to the way they should grow.
Growing up as a kid reading Enid Blyton and watching Disney cartoons a lot of my direct culture
and lifestyle wasn’t expressed in thatsame magical fashion I don’t want the generation behind
us such as my beautiful niece to miss out on that.
The media is one of the most powerful tools for expressing who we are as a people and telling
our own stories, values and experiences
animation
Q – Tell us about your work and what you would like to accomplish?
A – Vortex Comics Home of the Spirit Guardians is the most popular and foundational division of
Vortex Inc.
At Vortex we believe in reproducing the beauty of African culture and people through our titles
and stories through our comics.
Some of our popular titles are Strike Guard, Orisha Pikin, June XII and Agbara, we also believe
in creating strong visual-motion experiences in animation and expressing the prime of African
animation to the world through Vortex Animations. I also believe strongly in the power of
entertainment tech such as games, Virtual & Augmented reality this is the newest department in
the company and the research I see every day fills me with excitement for the future.
Putting African stories and narratives in the media forefront cause our unique culture and
tradition has birthed the most amazing stories of all time.
Q – Do your life experiences or background have anything to do with your work?
A – I don’t have the luxury to create a lot of titles as we source for creators and writers across
the continent, however the stories I write and create are inspired from the eyes of an African
child and I know I speak for our creators too. All our comics tackle social, political and
contemporary issues, they also mirror the Nigerian or African struggle, bounty and lifestyle.
Q – Are you looking forward to this Year and what are your plans for the future?
A – We will be working on three short films Strike Guard, Agbara and one surprise and working
towards movie treatment for a project of ours to shop around (top secret). We are currently
working on two animated shows Aje and Kpako as well as Strike Guard. Finally we will also be
realising our first console quality PC game. The plan for this year is to diversify our characters
across all media, create more revenue streams in this economy and raise more funding!
Q – What are some Interesting facts about yourself, especially relating to your work?
A – Well I hate mirrors. I all things in the Otaku or Geek sphere. As much as I’m accused of
being the leader of the local hippie movement I have a great sense and love retro, afro-futuristic
fashion and I love Afro beat thus our partnership with Seun Kuti.
 Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 are our merchandise partners, they take our merchandise as they go on
tour. We are also fortunate to have acquired rights from the Kuti family to use the name
“Anikulapo” and also stories from the family timeline to create a comic series. “Anikulapo” is the
Voice Of the Orisa a title created by Seun Kuti, which we hope to port into film and other media.
We have also been granted licence of a few tracks from his coming EP, Struggle Sounds
distributed by Sony to use in any content we hope to create in the future.
In this article:
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