Remember back when we associated rainfall with lovemaking and (justified) lateness?
Instead of disorder and death.Kobina Ankomah-Graham (October 29, 2019)
When it rains in Accra especially, disaster or the threat of it strikes. The biggest culprits are always poor urban planning and plastic-choked gutters.
Ghana is a beautiful place and an equally ugly one. It seems for every step forward in keeping it beautiful, there are multiple steps back enforcing its ugliness. Ghana has a sanitation problem, people litter indiscriminately every day and don’t see anything wrong with it. Massive campaigns and initiatives have rolled out to keep it clean and yet, they remain largely ineffective.
These campaigns include education and sensitisation of the masses. The few times they’re effective, it seems to only be by a negligible margin. The evidence? Take a stroll to any of Accra’s bus terminals and it won’t be out of place to see people mindlessly littering with plastic.
Adults who should know better are the biggest culprits. A colleague at work recently recounted how someone threw out refuse from his car as he sped on the highway. This is not limited to “uneducated” or “illiterate” people as some may have you think. A colleague of mine during my final year of university for example casually dropped a plastic bag he had just eaten from, on a rather spotless campus. He couldn’t supply a good reason for littering when there were clearly bins around.
The solution to the menace of littering lies in further education and sensitisation. But as pointed out earlier, it hasn’t exactly worked. That’s probably because the right audience, impressionable kids, are being targeted wrongly. It’s time to take a fresh approach via comic books and animation.
Comics can be escapist epics, but they can also be engines of education.Luke Molver
I personally don’t drink coffee nor indulge alcohol thanks to a colourful, illustrated book I read as a child. That book told me about many things that have stuck with me until this day, including littering. Then there was the beloved Captain Planet animated series which introduced many concepts around climate change and the environment way before the school system could catch up. Imagine how many more kids it could have a lasting impression on into their adulthood.
Cycil Abban shares this same viewpoint and understands how important it is to teach lessons to people at an early stage. This led him to create Mighty Joo with his studio, Parables Animation. Mighty Joo is a superhero comic about an environmental crusader who stands in the way of enemies of the environment. What began as a comic 20 years ago is now making the jump into animation in the form of Mighty Joo, the Animated series.
The series tackles issues of littering, open defecation, water pollution and the latest to hit Ghana, illegal mining. The menace of illegal mining, known in Ghana as galamsey was covered in the pilot episode of Mighty Joo titled Galamslayed, recently screened at the AnimateGH Animation Festival. Come December the second episode of the series, Floods and Fire will be screened during Parables Animation Studios’ annual Time With Ananse show.
This is our planet, we can’t keep destroying it and spending so much effort to fix it again and again. We need time to do other things. It’s up to us, we have the power.Daniel Coker
Daniel Ebow Coker is another creator who holds the environment dear to his heart and also understands the need to teach the next generation about protecting it. Daniel’s animation and comic studio, LOL GH, recently released Global Warning, an animated short about the effects of pollution and how we can do better.
Speaking passionately about why Global Warning was made and its importance, Daniel says, “We’re doing it for a generation, for our children. They’ll suffer if we don’t take action, the same way we’re suffering now. It’s annoying, we can’t wait until the last minute for someone else to solve this for us. This is our planet, we can’t keep destroying it and spending so much effort to fix it again and again. We need time to do other things. It’s up to us, we have the power.”
He continues, “this topic is very dear to my heart and I really pushed for this to happen. We as humans like to wait until it’s too late to take action. We need to take action now.”
Pushing beyond just entertainment, LOL Gh has partnered with Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees to reforest the planet. For every 50 likes/shares of Global Warning across social media, a tree will be planted.
Comics and animation are visually appealing and have a lasting quality to them that multiple generations can benefit from. They simply need to be made and widely shared. If done right, they can make a lasting impression on kids and adults to produce the kind of impact Ghana and the rest of the world needs to curb obvious sanitation problems.
Comics’ unique combination of text and image make them accessible to a wide spectrum of language, literacy and understanding. They have the potential to teach any subject, to anybody, in any language – or even, without language.
Galamslayed and Global Warning are just two examples of how comics and animation are being used to sensitize the public from an early age. Here’s to hoping more creators join the fight.
KaDi Yao Tay
AnimateGH Animation Festival 2019 Celebrates International Animation Day
Monday, October 28 is International Animation Day and to celebrate, the Animators Association of Ghana and Animation Africa in partnership with the Goethe-Institut will present the 2019 edition of the AnimateGh Animation Film Festival. The event will open on Monday,…
Maputo Fast Forward & The Rise of African Comics – Bill Masuku
This post was originally written to highlight the SUPERHEROES: Comic Book and Video Games from Africa exhibition at Maputo Fast Forward 2019 and later turned into a brief overview of African comics by Bill Masuku. It has further been edited…
Pa Gya 2019! African Comics Make a Home in Accra
The 3rd edition of Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra (Pa Gya 2019) kicks off this weekend, starting today, October 18 up until Sunday, October 20 at the Goethe-Institut in Accra. We’re stoked to be participating this year, making…
Lagos Comic-Con 2019 Award Winners
A breakdown of all the Lagos Comic-Con winners in 2019. Lagos Comic-Con is the biggest geek and pop-culture event in West Africa, drawing in scores of animation, comics, games and digital art enthusiasts. Other than being a great gathering for…
Fearless Lagos Comic-Con: The Good, the Bad and the Future
Despite the scandal that rocked the Lagos Comic-Con last year, West Africa’s biggest geek gathering returned in a new dimension. The three-day event took place at the Alliance Francaise/Mike Adenuga’s Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos and the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island Lagos,…