Relocating to a different country to live can be a bag of blessings mixed with struggles and the Lujwangana family from Tanzania are showcasing that dilemma in their new reality show Growing Up African. The show centers on five siblings–Johnson, Eliza, Jesca, Bea and Andrew–and their single mother Vicki who now live in the United States.
The concept was originally developed by the eldest son, Johnson Lujwangana, as a way to highlight positive images of an African family. With the never-ending supply of trashy reality shows, he wanted to do something that would give people a glimpse of the daily difficulties a family faces when they have to combine their customs and traditions of African culture with their new American culture. He also wanted to provide a platform to showcase the talents of his siblings who range in age from 21 to 30.
I had a chance to speak with Johnson and he explained how, initially, they garnered support for the concept of the show from various blogs on the internet. From there, it spread like wildfire allowing them to meet with network executives in Tanzania who picked up the show. Now the program airs on East Africa TV and can be seen throughout Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
So far, the show’s a big hit. They constantly receive email and facebook messages from fans who enjoy the show. However, the one drawback is their inability to be a part of that excitement. Johnson stated “we don’t get to feel that success” since the family is here stateside living in New York.
Their aiming to extend coverage throughout Africa and eventually get picked up in the States bringing a positive portrayal of an African family to the landscape. As their website states…”This isn’t the means to the end but an introduction to make African culture mainstream.”
Below are introduction clips of the family. You can follow them HERE.