Welcome to the first part of the 22nd century and gender equality is no longer a pipe dream… well, mostly. From first female presidents to female business moguls and entrepreneurs, the month of March is about Women all over the world, their achievements and what they stand for. It’s all about girl power and topping the list of our overachieving women are the African queens and goddesses making magic happen a little closer to home.
Women Comic Creators In Africa
1. Marguerite Abouet
Aya of Yop City is the brainchild of Marguerite Abouet and the foremost body of work when it comes to African graphic novels. The graphic novel revolves around a 19-year old Aya, her friends and their families and explores what living was like in the working class suburb of Abidjan, Ivory Coast circa 1970.
This emerged from Abouet’s desire to showcase Africa without focusing on the overdone war and famine narratives. Aya is her first published work and also her first venture into graphic novels. The story has been adapted into an animated film co-directed by Abouet.
Connect with her on Twitter.
2. Comfort Arthur
Comfort Arthur is a Ghanaian editor, illustrator and animator popular for her quirky art style highlighted in her film Black Barbie and her comic, Social Media Zombies. She’s also the creator of the Naughty Nii series which she exhibited at the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in 2017. You can connect with her on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.
3. Carine Umutoniwase
Carine is a Kenyan writer, activist and a member of the youth organization Footprints for Change, which aims to transform Kenyan youth by exposing them to values, knowledge, and skills that promote an accountable society through innovative training in leadership for different enterprises. She’s the author of the
Connect with Carine on Facebook
4. Cassandra Mark
Cassandra Mark is a Scriptwriter, Digital colour artist and Creative consultant at the Comic Republic. She is both Colorist and writer of popular African kids Comic Hero Kekere. She’s also a contributor at Squid Magazine
5. Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi describes herself as a “
She’s the author of Zahra and the Windseekerand Who Fears Death (which is being adapted into a series produced by George RR Martin) among others. She’s also penning a comic series on the Dora Milaje from Black Panther, Antar (due out on April 5 and published by IDW) and an unnamed project with Dark Horse comics.
Jepchumba is technically not a comic artist but her work promoting African digital art including comics over the years is groundbreaking, to say the least. In fact, she’s one of the inspirations for Squid Mag at least for me. She runs African Digital Art, which is arguably the leading source of African digital art in the world. She recently celebrated a decade of showcasing African creativity through her African digital art platform
7. Amanda Chaniwa
Amanda Chaniwa is a 24-year-old Sociology student at Women’s University in Africa. She’s the co-author of Drama Mama with Bill Masuku
Connect with her on Twitter.
Catch her below talking about Mama Drama.
8. Reine Dibussi
Reine Bekoe Dibussi is a Cameroonian-French, 2D illustrator, portraitist and author of the Mulatako, a comic that tells the adventures of a Jengu (water spirit) who decides to take in hand the fate of other Miengu(plural of Jengu) after a grand council decides to exterminate initiation, thus beginning a race for the survival of the condemned Miengu.
Mulatako is basically a science-fiction/fantasy comic, inspired by the mythology of Sawa, Cameroon, and more precisely the myth of mami-wata, also called miengu in the Duala and Malimba languages. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
9. Awele Emili
Awele Emili and is a self- taught digital illustrator, animator and comic maker. She has a webcomic, iJournals which is posted on Instagram and Twitter. According to Tobi Oluwafemi, “her slice of life comic hilariously narrates stories of the Nigerian way of life and family.”
Emili grew up in Lagos and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics from the College of Medicine, the University of Lagos in 2017.
10. Mandy J Watson
Mandy J Watson is an award-winning freelance tech-culture journalist, based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is the founder and co-editor of Brainwavez, the definitive guide to the South African comics and gaming scene.
She founded brainwavez.org in 2005 in order to “have a place on the internet where she is both free to practise writing and reporting, without being constrained by assumptions of her areas of expertise (the tech stuff), as well as experiment with her coding skills.”
The result is an amazing online space where information on the SA comics scene is archived. Brainwavez’ calendar of events is a goldmine that gives you a proper sense of the different spaces available to geeks in South Africa.
In 2017, Mandy co-authored Serious About Games, a report that explored ways video games can revolutionise teaching and learning and how the South African game development industry could deliver the needed games.
These are some of the women creators in comics that I know and believe you should too. I’m confident I missed a whole lot. Who did I miss? Kindly comment their names (and relevant links) so I can add to this list. This is nowhere near comprehensive but it’s an important start for me. Special mention goes to Afua Richardson, Venus Bambisa, Adanna Onuekwusi, EMY aka Eguvwe Majomi Yubgovwre (creator of Aje & Kpako), Najilau Dramundujm and all the awesome women creatives who continue to inspire.
*Cover image by Kelechi Isaac Nwaogwugwu with colours by Cassandra Mark.