Since 2012, October 11 has been celebrated across the world as International Day of the Girl Child. According to the UN, the day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
The theme of the day this year is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable. Under the theme, the world will celebrate achievements by, with and for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and passage of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child 2019, we’ve put together a list of comics with kick-ass sheroes that will empower, inspire and shape the next generation of Africa’s real-life sheroes.
In this post, we list characters who are lead characters in their own stories regardless of whether they were created by African women in comics or men. We go into detail on a few.
- Akissi: Tales of Mischief
- Aliyah (Zebra Comics)
- Aje (Comic Republic)
- Avonome (Comic Republic)
- Barikisu (Epoch Comics)
- Captain South Africa (Enigma Comix)
- Chayoma (Peda Comics)
- Ireti (Comic Republic)
- Kadumiya (Kugali)
- Karmzah (Leti Arts)
- Malika (YouNeek Studios)
- Nani (Kugali)
- Tatashe (Comic Republic)
- Umzingeli (Enigma Comix)
Please note, some of these are more suited for a mature audience so please proceed accordingly.
African Comics With a Female Lead (Female African Superheroes)
Akissi: Tales of Mischief
Poor Akissi! The neighbourhood cats are trying to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan, and she’s nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana. But Akissi is a true adventurer, and nothing scares her away from hilarious escapades in her modern African city.
Jump into the laugh-out-loud misadventures of Akissi in these girls-will-be-girls comics, based on author Margeurite Abouet’s childhood on the Ivory Coast.
Aliya tells the story of a young and beautiful African globe-trotting translator, chronicling her experiences and struggles in the African corporate world, which puts the concept of African feminism at the forefront. She is constantly courted by enigmatic characters who surface from the shadows.
Avonome is a fantastical story about Hilda Avonomemi Moses, born in 1937 in Edo State Nigeria but disappeared without a trace. She is a reincarnated woman with no memory of her past save for her name blessed with the incredible ability to see spirits and interact with their world.
Aided by a purple shapeshifting babysitter and an angel, she embarks on a mission to discover who she was and to understand her gifts, all while kicking evil spirit ass. The African comic draws references from Yoruba myths like the Abiku as well as Nigerian history and features some exciting character designs. You can read it here.
The story begins from the ancient City of Zazzau in 1610 where Queen Amina defends her crown against the Warriors of Kubra, lead by Mayakinyaki. Queen Amina defeated him at the cost of her life. Flash forward to present day Kaduna, the descendants of Mayakinyaki seek to wipe out all remnants of the bloodline of Queen Amina. Meanwhile, someone bears the mark of the great Queen, she will defend her clan. She is Barikisu.
Check Barikisu out here.
Born to a clan of witchcraft, her noble nature calls for redemption. the priestess is now aware of her destiny, foretold by the Mlezi and it calls for her greatest task. she hails from the great lakes kingdom of Kitara, East Africa, bearing with her the curse of the Jangura.
Karmzah follows the story of Morowa Adjei, an archaeologist who lives with cerebral palsy, and who amazingly gains superpowers through her crutches enabling her to be able to become her superhero alter ego, Karmzah. She uses her newly acquired abilities to do incredible and astounding acts of heroism and make the world around her a better and safer place. It’s definitely a comic worth reading for all action and superhero story lovers.
Learn more about Karmzah and where to read it.
Malika: Warrior Queen is an animated comic book adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika: Warrior Queen follows the exploits of Queen and military commander, Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire.
From dragons to mythical relics, a feuding royal family and magical swords, the story of Malika: Warrior Queen stays true to the fantasy genre while adding something new by setting familiar concepts in an awe-inspiring African setting.
Like all of Roye Okupe’s projects, Malika: Warrior Queen was successfully backed on Kickstarter and was first screened at the Accra Animation Film Festival as part of its Animated Africa programme and subsequently at Fearless Lagos Comic-Con 2019.
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. Mulatako is the brainchild of Reinee Dibussi who handles both art and writing.
Set in Nigeria, the story is centred on Mina, a young girl struggling to recover from the trauma of being assaulted and robbed at gunpoint. The incident leaves Mina feeling powerless so she takes up martial arts. Several years later history repeats itself as two kidnappers attempt to abduct both Mina and her sister Lamin. In their attempt to escape the kidnappers the girls run into the forest but soon find themselves transported to the magical world of Sama, a parallel world rife with magic, mythological creatures and beings inspired by African myths and Legends.
Tatashe follows an eponymous, female protagonist as she encounters friendship and adventure on the mysterious food planet Almonia. Watch as she faces mythological creatures and trials, each more obscure than the last. Whether alone, with her pet baby dragon or with new friends, she explores this fantastical planet in the hopes of finding the magic of food, the mysterious kingdom of Eden and her long lost master.
Read Tatashe here.
Umzingeli, a superhero that belongs to a historically advantaged group – black women, is tasked by a secret organization to tackle corruption. The comic, named after the heroine, focused on Umzingeli’s mission to wipe out corruption and crime across Africa.
Cover illustration by Venus Bambisa.