Innovative Computer Animation alumnus creates award-winning multimedia enterprise in home town of Kampala


Award-winning animator David Masanso graduated from UWTSD with a BA in 3D Computer Animation in 2007. On his return to Uganda David founded the Crossroads Digital Multimedia company in Kampala, which has grown into one of the biggest animation studios in East Africa, employing a team of more than 50 animators. His animation hub creates everything from animated shorts, educational content, television commercials, to awareness content and documentaries.

Wearing a grey herringbone blazer over a white-and-red checked shirt, David Masanso sits in his office, some sketches from his work on display behind him.

His passion for animation grew from watching the Toy Story films as a child, and after some research David chose UWTSD as the Animation course was practical and vocational. David said: “ The best thing about the course was the hands-on skills learning, and the SANDS events. Swansea Animation Days festivals exposed me to big studios and provided an opportunity for networking and learning business skills from experts in the creative industry. The most important thing about animation is the power to tell appealing stories.”

David’s dream was to tell African stories through cartoons, so African children can relate to their tv programmes and see their own lives reflected in them. The team are working on Mukago, a kid’s animation tv series based on African games, but interwoven with problem-solving and STEM skills, to create content that helps boost the educations system whilst still appealing to children. Crossroads has won numerous awards, and David is a policy contributor on content for the Ministry of ICT in Uganda. 

As a pioneer in Uganda’s animation industry, David found that the lack of animation and computing skills was problematic in setting up the business, so in 2012 he developed a training scheme which has helped more than 250 students to gain valuable skills in animation. This has provided a pipeline of talent for the industry in Africa and for his own business. He has also created Crossroads Kids Animation club, which organises art training programs for children, who can earn while they learn, providing the voices for the company’s animated cartoons. There is also an advanced Computer Art Bootcamp, providing workshops on animation and artificial intelligence led by Andrew Maximov, Crossroads creative mentor.

Twelve people sit at light-shaded wooden desks working at a variety of PCs and laptops.

Phil Organ, Senior Lecturer in Animation & VFX at UWTSD said: “The end of the 90s and early 2000s certainly heralded a rise of interest in digital 3D animation, following on the heels of a lot of the big blockbuster releases from PIXAR, DreamWorks and others. At UWTSD in Swansea we were one of the first in the UK to offer 3D Computer Animation awards. David was studying back then, part of a big cohort, and he always brought a lot of positivity and his warm friendly nature to each class. You could tell he had a determination to learn as much as he could, and to do well upon graduation.

 It has come as no surprise that he started his own animation courses and training, capitalising upon what he learnt with us here at UWTSD, empowering young adults and students to master MAYA and other animation software. He has now become an award-winning industry leader and a visionary series director, inspiring the next generation of would-be animators to follow in his footsteps in Africa. His career has really branched out into all fields of education and entertainment, standing out as a strong Acacia, framed on the horizon as an inspirational beacon on the Ugandan plains; it all started from what was planted on our animation course in Swansea, all those years ago. Well done David!”

David is also the founder of Women in Animation Uganda, established to create awareness and support for female animators through partnerships with schools and universities. Promoting inclusion and diversity is part of the DNA of Crossroads, which organises numerous training courses and internships in animation, particularly targeting young people and women in an effort to represent and promote marginalised groups in the facilitation team. Fifty per cent of Crossroads animation team is now made up of women.

David believes there is a bright future for animation in Uganda and across Africa. This continent has one of the youngest populations, new streaming platforms are appearing rapidly as are new television channels. Alongside this, the reduction in the cost of internet use means that these numerous platforms are hungry for content, which animators can supply. David is looking forward to responding to those opportunities and expanding the business, providing better prospects for digital creators in this growing market.

Animation still: four children sit around a table with a map in the centre.

Further Information

Llinos McVicar BA (Hons), MA, AFHEA, ACIM
Principal Communications and PR Officer Alumni
Prif Swyddog Cyfathrebu a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus Cyn-fyfyrwyr
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