Takalani Sesame’s 20 Year Milestone Celebrated With Catchy Tune


Sanlam’s creative agency, King James Group, invited Mafikizolo to create a campaign that comprises of a song, music video and dance challenge in true Takalani style and that helps children to count to 20.

Two decades since they first burst onto our screens, the Muppets from Takalani Sesame have gone on to win the hearts and minds of millions of children all over SA – from Strandfontein to Sandton. With their most recent birthday collaboration however, they’re about to earn some serious street cred too. The song, ’20 Years and Counting’ is as catchy as it is cute.

Graeme McCree, King James Creative Director said, ’Song is such a great medium through which to communicate. Through this catchy tune, we got to celebrate 20 years, sneak in some financial literacy and have tons of fun along the way.’

Kate White, Senior Copywriter, explained, ‘Initially we had planned to shoot Mafikizolo collaborating with the Muppets in the making of the song – brainstorming, sitting alongside one another by a piano, that kind of thing. But to ensure social distancing at all times, we ended up shooting the Muppets and singers separately, without it looking that way.’

As one of the first shoots produced after the nationwide lockdown, the set itself was restricted to less than 50 people at all times. Still, the opportunity for all involved to be somewhat together again with others created a wonderful atmosphere on set. ‘Everyone was so happy to be there,’ said McCree. ‘There was a real feeling of joy and camaraderie.’

Mafikizolo’s Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza were only too happy to get in on the festivities. ‘I’ve always loved how the show has made education seem cool,’ said Nciza, ‘Although I wish Takalani had been around when I was younger, my eight-year-old son loves to watch. I’m so excited for him to see our music video and song. He’ll see me grooving with some of his real heroes.’

A parent himself, Kgosinkew concurred, ‘We’re honoured and excited to be celebrating this incredible show – not just as performers, but as parents too. We can’t wait for more people to hear it, and for all to sing along with us when they do. 

‘We’re delighted with the song, and so proud of the contribution that Takalani Sesame has made to education in South Africa,’ said Mariska Oosthuizen, Sanlam’s Head of Brand.   ‘Education is central to this. Learning to count is a fundamental part of numeracy, and singing is one of the most effective ways to help children learn and remember. This song is not only fun to sing along to, but another opportunity for us to help lay the building blocks for future generations to learn, earn and contribute towards the sustainability of our country.’ 

Since unveiling the video on the Expresso Morning Show, the song has been met with positive reactions all round. Listed on Spotify too, its message of inspiring smarter, stronger, kinder children (for a brighter world) is one the team hopes will ring out loud and clear.