Tinga Tinga Tales

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Tinga Tinga Tales
Tinga Tinga Tales.png
Genre Children's Television
Starring Lenny Henry
Voices of Eugene Muchiri
Shaun Parkes
Johnnie Fiori
Lenny Henry
Patrice Naiambana
Miriam Margolyes
Theme music composer Eric Wainaina
Opening theme "Tinga Tinga Tinga"
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • Kenya
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52[1]
Production company(s)
Original network CBeebies
Disney Junior

Tinga Tinga Tales is a British–Kenyan children's television series, based on African folk tales and aimed at 4 to 6-year-olds. It was commissioned by the BBC for its CBeebies channel, and by Disney Channel for its Disney Junior block. Named after Tingatinga art from Tanzania,[2] Tinga Tinga Tales was produced in Nairobi, Kenya by Homeboyz Animation,[3] a studio of approximately 50 people.[2] The music is produced by Kenyan singer-songwriter Eric Wainaina.[4] The series comprises 52 episodes.

The series was first conceived by Claudia Lloyd, head of animation at the London-based Tiger Aspect Productions, while travelling through Africa. The first three episodes premiered on the BBC website in early February 2010. The distribution rights have been bought by Entertainment Rights (which in 2009 merged with Classic Media, then in 2012 it was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed into DreamWorks Classics, and ultimately became the property of Universal Television in 2016).[5]


Tinga Tinga Tales is centered on various animated animals and employs music, dialogue, and colorful imagery to tell African folk tales about the origins of animals, and to answer questions such as, "why do monkeys swing in the trees and flamingos stand on one leg?"[6]


Main characters[edit]

  • Monkey (voice by Eugene Muchiri (UK)/Geoffrey Curtin (US)): He's the narrator for all episodes.
  • Elephant (voice by Lenny Henry): He has a tiny brain that makes noise when shaken.
  • Lion (voice by Patrice Naiambana): He's well known as the king of Tinga Tinga since he found his roar.
  • Hippo (voice by Johnnie Fiori): She usually lives in the Tinga Tinga waterhole.
  • Tickbird (voice by Tameka Empson (UK)/Elizabeth Curtin (US)): She became hippo's best friend ever since she beat her in a "sea drinking contest".[clarification needed]
  • Monkey 2 (voice by Ben Spybey): Monkey's brother.
  • Monkey 3 (voice by Faraaz Meghani): The youngest monkey in Tinga Tinga.
  • Tortoise (voice by Shaun Parkes): The genius in Tinga Tinga and also Elephant's best friend.

African characters[edit]

  • Buffalo (voice by Lenny Henry)
  • Bat (voice by Prince Abura (UK)/Jules de Jongh (US))
  • Frog (voice by Wakanyote Njuguna)
  • Warthog (voice by Kennie Andrews)
  • Porcupine (voice by Catherine Wambua)
  • Crocodile (voice by Edward Kwach)
  • Chameleon (voice by Patrick Kayeki (UK)/Kerry Shale (US))
  • Hare (voice by Felix Dexter (UK)/John Guerrasio (US))
  • Vulture (voice by Felix Dexter (UK)/Lorelei King (US))
  • Giraffe (voice by Miriam Margolyes)
  • Lizard (voice by Junior Simpson)
  • Eagle (voice by Ninia Benjamin)
  • Mosquito (voice by Ninia Benjamin)
  • Bushbaby (voice by Bhumi Patel)
  • Cheetah (voice by Angelina Koinange (UK)/Sophie Okonedo (US))
  • Snake (voice by Johnny Daukes (UK)/Dan Russell (US))
  • Aardvark (voice by Johnny Daukes)
  • Puff Adder (voice by Johnny Daukes)
  • Jackal (voice by Terence Reis)
  • Rhino (voice by Terence Reis)
  • Ants (voice by Terence Reis)
  • Chief Ant (voice by Peter King)
  • Lieutenant Ant (voice by Eric Wainaina)
  • Wildebeests (voice by Terence Reis)
  • Zebra (voice by Eddie Kadi (UK)/Dan Russell (US))
  • Parrot (voice by Eddie Kadi)
  • Flamingo (voice by Flaminia Cinque)
  • Ostrich (voice by Janet Suzman)
  • Camel (voice by Paul Shearer in season 1 and Jim Cummings in season 2)
  • Dragonfly (voice by Corine Onyango)
  • Leopard – (voice by Dona Croll)
  • Hyena (voice by Stephen K Amos)
  • Millipede/Pediless (voice by Stephen K Amos)
  • Baboon (voice by Anton Rice)
  • Owl (voice by Meera Syal)
  • Guinea Fowl (voice by Rosemary Leach)
  • Mole (voice by Sophie Thompson)
  • Meerkat (voice by Morwenna Banks)
  • Hen (voice by Lindiwe Brown Mkhize)
  • Antelope (voice by Claudia Lloyd)
  • Bees (voice by Claudia Lloyd)
  • Queen Bee (voice by Penelope Keith)
  • Fish (voice by Claudia Lloyd)
  • Cricket (voice by Derek Griffiths)
  • Cubs (voice by Tracy Rabar, Mikayla Odera, Cullie Ruto)
  • Tinga Tinga Birds (voice by Atemi Oyungu, Muthoni Mburu)

North American characters[edit]

Asian characters[edit]

Ocean characters[edit]

  • Whale (voice by Ruth Madoc)
  • Crab (voice by Terence Reis)

Mysterious characters[edit]


  • 1 Why Elephant Has a Trunk
  • 2 Why Snake Has No Legs
  • 3 Why Hippo Has No Hair
  • 4 Why Tortoise Has a Broken Shell
  • 5 Why Hen Pecks at the Ground
  • 6 Why Bat Hangs Upside Down
  • 7 Why Warthog is So Ugly
  • 8 Why Owl's Head Turns All the Way Round
  • 9 Why Monkeys Swing in the Trees
  • 10 Why Tickbird Sits on Hippo's Back
  • 11 Why Frog Croaks
  • 12 Why Spider Has a Tiny Waist
  • 13 Why Vulture is Bald
  • 14 Why Giraffe Has a Long Neck
  • 15 Why Porcupine Has Quills
  • 16 Why Lizard Always Hides Under Rocks
  • 17 Why Crocodile Has a Bumpy Back
  • 18 Why Jackal Howls at the Moon
  • 19 Why Hare Hops
  • 20 Why Mosquito Buzzes
  • 21 Why Rhino Charges
  • 22 Why Caterpillar is Never in a Hurry
  • 23 Why Lion Roars
  • 24 Why Zebra Has Stripes
  • 25 Why Flamingo Stands on One Leg
  • 26 Why Woodpecker Pecks
  • 27 Why Ostrich Sticks Her Head in the Ground
  • 28 Why Camel Has a Hump
  • 29 Why Wildebeest Stampede
  • 30 Why Chameleon Changes Color
  • 31 Why Leopard Has Spots
  • 32 Why Hyena Has Short Back Legs
  • 33 Why Ants Work Together
  • 34 Why Flea Jumps
  • 35 Why Hummingbird Hums
  • 36 Why Baboon Has a Bare Bottom
  • 37 Why Bees Sting
  • 38 Why Peacock Struts
  • 39 Why Aardvark Has a Sticky Tongue
  • 40 Why Whale Spouts
  • 41 Why Parrot Can't Keep a Secret
  • 42 Why Bushbaby Has Big Eyes
  • 43 Why Guinea Fowl Has Dots
  • 44 Why Buffalo Has Horns
  • 45 Why Puff Adder Sheds His Skin
  • 46 Why Eagle Rules the Skies
  • 47 Why Skunk Smells
  • 48 Why Cricket Chirrups
  • 49 Why Mole Lives Underground
  • 50 Why Squirrel Gathers Nuts
  • 51 Why Meerkat is Always on the Lookout
  • 52 Why Cheetah has Tears


  1. ^ Chonghaile, Clar Ni (8 July 2010). "Tinga Tinga puts Kenyan animation on the map". The Africa Report. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Gibson, Owen (26 June 2008). "BBC to tell children why giraffes have long necks in Tinga Tinga Tales". theguardian.com/. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Bynum, Aaron H. (20 November 2009). "Africa Animation in 'Tinga Tinga Tales'". animationinsider.net. Animation Insider. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. 
  4. ^ The BBC on Tinga Tinga Tales: Music by Eric Wainaina.
  5. ^ The Times on Entertainment Rights
  6. ^ "Tinga Tinga Tales". abc.net.au/. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 

External links[edit]