PBS ‘History of Africa’ Open Casting Call for Lead Speaking Roles

Project Casting

PBS new series open casting call for lead speaking roles.

Mahogany Model Management is now casting actors to appear in a PBS series about the history of Africa presented and written by Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. Filming will take place in London, UK.

They are going to be creating some beautiful animated sequences, which tell the stories of several iconic characters from African history. These sequences will feature highly stylised live-action footage of the characters.

Here’s the casting breakdown:

SHAKA

Country: South Africa, Zululand
Region and Ethnicity: This person would be a black South African, ethnically Zulu (an ethnic group in South Africa who speak Zulu and are generally from the south eastern province of South Africa called KwaZulu-Natal).

Description: Physically strong

Male
Age range: 20s
TIPPU TIP

Country: Zanzibar
Region and Ethnicity: This person should be ethnically Swahili from the east coast of Africa. Swahili is a widely spoken language in Kenya and Tanzania, but the ethnic Swahili are from the coastal strip of these countries which includes a number of islands, including Zanzibar, and people from along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coast too.

Description: A beard if possible (not essential)

Male
Age Range: 50s / 60s
MENELIK II

Country: Ethiopia
Ethnicity: This person should be Ethiopian, specifically from northern and central Ethiopia from regions like Shewa or Tigray.

Description: beard, if possible

Male
Age Range: Early 50s
IBN BATTUTA
Country: Morocco
Ethnicity and Bio: Battuta was a Moroccan explorer from the 14th century who travelled all over the Muslim world and wrote a definitive guide we still use for historical research today. Reference picture: 19th Century illustration of Ibn Battuta by Leon Bennet featured in Jules Vernes Devouverte de la terre

Male
PERSON OF GREAT ZIMBABWE
Country: Zimbabwe
Ethnicity: This person should be Zimbabwean and ethnically a Shona speaker (which the majority of Zimbabweans are).

Gender: A woman or a man

Male
Age: 20s – 30s
.
EWUARE – the Oba of Benin
Country: Nigeria
Ethnicity: This person should be of Nigerian decent, preferably Edo speaking – Edo is also a region where this language is spoken in south central Nigeria. Other people from surrounding regions might be good too.

Male
Age: 20s – 30s

SULTAN AL HASAN IBN SULAIMAN
Country: Tanzania
Ethnicity: This person should be a Swahili speaking and ethically Swahili person probably from Zanzibar or the coast of Tanzania.
Description: A Swahili person, but possibly more of a mix between Persian and African.

Male

Age: early 40s

EZANA
Country: Ethiopia
Ethnicity and bio: Ezana is an Axumite king from around 300 – 400 BC. Axum is a city in the north of Ethiopia. It would be good to have a person from the northern regions of the country as they look quite different to those in the south. Ezana was a militaristic king who expanded his empire, while also being the first Ethiopian king to convert to Christianity.

Male
Age: 20s – 30s

TARIQ
Country: Morocco
Ethnicity and bio: Tariq was a Berber from the north East of Africa, probably in what is today Morocco. It would be good to have someone from Morocco of Berber heritage, ideally. Tariq was a Muslim Berber general who led an army of Arabs and Berbers into Southern Spain in the 8th century, conquering large part of Spain and establishing a Muslim empire there.

Male
Age: 20s – 30s

LALIBELA
Country: Ethiopia
Ethnicity and bio: Lalibela was a king of Ethiopia, who built 11 incredible churches hewn from the ground. He is also a saint in Ethiopia. He is from northern Ethiopia.

Male

Age: 40s – 50s

AFONSO
Country: Angola
Afonso was a king of the Kingdom of Kongo (a large kingdom near the Atlantic, just south of the River Congo) in present day Angola. We would be looking for someone from Northern Angola. Afonso dealt with the Portuguese in the 1500s, converted to Christianity and took it very seriously, transforming his kingdom into a Christian country.

Male
Age: 30s

NJINGA

Country: Angola
Ethnicity and bio: Njinga was a queen of Ndondo and Matamba in modern day Angola. She was a strong ruler who fought off the Portuguese and became a symbol of resistance in Angola until today.

Female
Age: 20s – 30s

USMAN DAN FODIO
Country: Nigeria (northern Nigeria)
Ethnicity and bio: Dan Fodio was Fulani, an ethnic group found across northern Nigeria. He was a religious teacher who founded an empire across the Muslim parts of northern Nigeria and Niger based around a more rigorous interpretation of Islam.

Male
Age: 40s – 50s
SCORPION KING (early ruler of pre-dynastic Egypt)
Country: Egypt/Sudan
Ethnicity and bio: The Scorpion King is a legendary early ruler of pre-dynastic Egypt / Sudan. A powerful figure, his tomb is in Abydos which is in southern Egypt – but ethnically it is difficult to say what he would have looked like. More likely to have been like someone from northern Sudan than Egypt though.

Male
Age: 20s

KERMA PERSON
Country: Sudan
Generic character – possibly a woman. This person would have lived in the ancient Sudanese city of Kerma which is in northern modern Sudan.

Female or Male
Age: from 20’s up to any age

TAHARQA

Country: Sudan

Ethnicity and Bio: Taharqa was descended from people in the middle of Sudan around Napata (present day Karima in northern Sudan). His father was a Nubian (Sudan) who conquered Egypt and he ruled as an Egyptian Pharaoh.

Male
Age: 20s and 30s
QUEEN AMURENSIS

Country: Sudan
Ethnicity and bio: Amurensis was a queen of Meroe (near Khartoum in modern day Sudan). She was a strong ruler who, according to legend, had only one eye, and defied the Roman Empire to keep Meroe independent.

Female
Age: 30s and 40s
IBN YASIN
Country: Morocco
Ethnicity and Bio: Yasin was a member of a Berber group in Southern Morocco. He was a religious teacher who founded a dynasty in Morocco based on a more rigorous form of Islam.

Male

Age:

OBALUFON

Country: Nigeria
Ethnicity and Bio: Obalufon is a legendary king of Ife and patron of the arts who some say is depicted in the above mask. He would have been of the Yoruba ethnic group, which is mostly in Nigeria. Ife is an ancient city in southern Nigeria.

Male
Age: 20s – 30s

MANSA MUSA

Country: Mali
Ethnicity and bio: Mansa Musa was an Islamic emperor of Mali in the 14th century, one of the richest people in the world, he had more gold than he knew what to do with. A pious man, on his pilgrimage to Mecca he distributed gold along the route.

Male
Age Range: 50s

To apply e-mail your headshot and resume to: [email protected]


If you are not local and/or do not fit the description, do not apply

Do you think you are perfect for this role? Leave us a comment below and tell casting directors why you should be selected!