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Africa Dips Its Toes Into The Comics Game, And The Results Are Amazing

Africa has always kept its history close, but now a few have stepped into a vehicle that no one else has, and began to share that history with the world.

I’m going to apologize for the brevity of information here, but it’s not because I didn’t look or because it’s hidden somewhere deep and dank.  It’s because this is still very, very new.  There just isn’t a lot out there, in terms of actual material or publicity for what is out there.  But it’s brilliant, and more people should know about it, so here we go.

Storytelling in Africa has been oral for decades.  It’s a tradition, and the storytellers are revered and honored for keeping the history of the people as well as being entertainment.  Africa’s storytellers are moving into a new venue, and while it’s in its early stages, it’s amazing and worth looking into.

Africa and its storytellers are beginning to create comics.  Like I said, there isn’t a lot out there now.  There are only two that really have any traction, but they are very near and dear to the people of Africa, because they are sorely lacking in heroes that walk, talk and look like they do.  The Lion King was about Africa, but from an Americanized perspective.  This is Africa, from Africa.  And it’s beautiful.

First up, The Pack by Paul Louise-Julie:

The Pack is a story woven in mythology and traditional African stories, that follows a group of Egyptian Werewolves as they journey through a fantasy version of Ancient Africa.  Louise-Julie wrote an essay for Bleeding Cool about his idea and the process that went into creating it.  Fascinating read, if you’d like – Bleeding Cool – The Leader Of The Pack

He stated that the idea started here:  A Wolof man named Moktar took him to visit an old man, a storyteller.  Moktar told him to remember everything that he was about to be told.  The storyteller than proceeded to spend hours telling him the history of that entire region, centuries of happenings.  He left with an instruction from Moktar, to “Go back to where you come from and share what you learnt to our brothers and sisters. Tell them about their fathers”.  It took him 5 more years of research and the creation of over 30 different mythical civilizations, but he did what he’d been told.  He told his country about their fathers.

The Pack is available for purchase on iBooks and Amazon.

Next, Kwezi by Loyiso Mkize:

According to Mkize, “It is the journey of a young man. He starts off as an arrogant, opinionated anti-hero who discovers and appreciates his superpowers … the cultural aspect brings him back to his roots.”

Kwezi is 19, and the typical teenager, all about pop-culture, entitlement and arrogance.  His story is his journey from that first boy that you meet to the hero that he is meant to be.  And the artwork is amazing.

Kwezi is available to read online here – Kwezi

It’s also worth noting that these pioneers are doing this without the backing and finances of a publisher.  These are self-published, and build reader fan base and buzz simply by legwork and word of mouth.  This is the amazing chance to watch a culture that has shied away from venues that are as public, emerge onto the global stage.  A chance to support them in their early stages, and hopefully encourage others to share their talents with us all.

Now, I think I’m going to go make some coffee and read a bit…