African Comics

Dunamis: Hope for the Marginalized 

Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in 2011 together with a local journalist and an activist released a documentary that showed harrowing visuals of the ordeal of Albinos in Tanzania, who are believed to be vested with magical power. According to an Al- Jazeera article on the documentary, for some people,

a white-skinned African person is seen as a kind of phantom or ghost, who rather than die, will dissolve or disappear with the wind and rain.

That begs the question, how much do you know about the struggles of albinos or people considered physically handicapped? Do they have friends? How do they interact with the world? How do they deal especially in extremely conservative societies where perceived irregularities in behaviour and appearance are a recipe for discrimination?

Answering such questions is what the Avandu (formerly Urban Design Kings) collective seek to do through their comic, Dunamis.

18

The comic follows the life of Kenny, an albino who, in addition to being a loner and target practice for school bullies thanks to his hereditary lack of hair, skin and eye pigmentation and desire to focus on his education, has to deal with a witch doctor who’s obviously after his body parts for some nefarious purpose.

Thanks to his natural speed, Kenny is able to run long enough to catch the attention of four other people, each different somehow by society’s narrow standards.

His triumph over the evil witch doctor likely rests in the hands of Kenny’s new allies. How they will fare is a question that’ll be resolved in subsequent issues.

16.png

Sharing his thoughts on the comic, Squid Mag co-founder Asare Sydney remarks,

Dunamis is a game changer. Presently, all African titles we know or have heard about are based on full-bodied, normal functioning, socially “accepted” protagonists with super abilities. A huge exception that easily comes to mind is Dare Devil which isn’t African.

We’re pleased that, the Avandu crew (formerly UDK), a multimedia company out of Kenya are using comics for the powerful tool that it is, to highlight society’s ills. There are too many horror stories of kidnapping, dismemberment and discrimination against people who seem different or are physically handicapped especially albinos across Africa because of perceived supernatural inclinations.

It is absurd that such a belief even exists. We’re hopeful that Dunamis, which is defined by the creators as “miraculous power, natural ability, power in action”,   not only raises awareness on the plight of our marginalized comrades but demystifies magical perceptions and erodes whatever morally selfish justifications people might have about them.

22.png

We at Squid Mag are totally down to the comic’s vision, to have a generation that does not discriminate but appreciates the differences among us, making the inclusion of the disabled in all aspects of our society the norm rather than the exception” and are deeply interested in seeing how this comic develops. We especially look forward to how Kenny and his friends deal with constant discrimination, making new friends and embracing who they really are, human beings.

Check out the first issue in English or Swahili.

Editor: Fafa MacAuley

Related posts

7 Comments

  1. This Kenyan Comic Set in the Star Wars Universe is Awfully Short But Many Levels Awesome! – SQUID MAG | AFRICAN COMICS, ANIMATION & GAMES

    […] Crew (now Avandu), the guys behind socially conscious Dunamis of which we happily spoke, are back with another dose of visual dead gorgeousness for […]

  2. Ma-Otero: This Kenyan Animation is a Throwback to Childhood Role Playing Fun – SQUID MAG | AFRICAN COMICS, ANIMATION & GAMES

    […] by Avandu formerly Urban Design Kings), a  Kenyan art studio responsible for comics such as Dunamis and Rovik as well as games like Kade:Ule Mtoi Mrui and this fascinating African superhero […]

  3. Keeping Up With the Continent: The First Kugali Comics Anthology – SQUID MAG | AFRICAN COMICS, ANIMATION & GAMES

    […] to expect? Some of our favourite comics from Salim Busuru (Dunamis), Bill Masuku (Razor Man) and Mad Comics! Gbenle Maverick […]

  4. Our Favourite African Comic Book Covers of 2017 – SQUID MAG | AFRICAN COMICS, ANIMATION & GAMES

    […] Kugali put together an anthology of African comics – some of which we’ve written about (Dunamis, Oro) – that features some of the best of African art and storytelling. The mag pushes 3 […]

  5. This Kenyan Comic Set in the Star Wars Universe is Awfully Short But Many Levels Awesome! | Squid Mag

    […] Crew (now Avandu), the guys behind socially conscious Dunamis of which we happily spoke, are back with another dose of visual dead gorgeousness for […]

  6. Peda Studios to Release Under the Sun: A Spectacular Comic About Albinism in Africa | Squid Mag

    […] the Sun, a poetic title that embodies humanity follows in the footsteps of Dunamis (which tackles a similar theme), Lake of Tears and Karmzah which use the fluid comic book medium to […]

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *