Pa Gya 2019! African Comics Make a Home in Accra

October 18, 20199 min read

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 it our third time at the festival. You can read about our first time at Pa Gya as well as our second-time last year.

This year, we’ve switched things up a bit and are adding some pretty cool new things to the festival regarding comics. 

Our planned activities at Pa Gya 2019 are as follows: 

  • Comic Making Workshops
  • Made In Germany: A Massacre in Congo (Comic Exhibition)
  • Making Comics a Leading Voice in Ghana’s Literary Scene (Panel)
  • Roundtable Discourse: Fusion of Literary & Graphical Art
  • Comic Café

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from Squid Mag at Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra 2019. 

Made in Germany: A Massacre in Congo (Exhibition)

A Rwanda militia commits massacres against the civil population in eastern Congo – its leaders live in Germany. Why is Africa’s history so bloody? With this question in mind, the artist El Marto travels from Burkina Faso to Berlin – to the city, in which the African continent was once divided. Here he discovers that the aftermath of Germany’s colonial history continues to have a lasting effect. 

The artist El Marto and the journalist Frederik Richter turn this case into an illustrated journey between Europe and Africa. Because the two continents are connected by more than just crime.

This exhibition will run throughout the festival from October 18 – 20th at Abansuro within Goethe-Institut. 

Making Comics a Leading Voice in Ghanaian Literature (Panel)

Squid Mag at Pa Gya A Literary Festival in Accra
Love Comics?

Comic books are often overlooked in Ghana’s literary space and quickly dismissed as for children, despite its potential to tell more diverse stories. This panel with local creators and stakeholders will explore ways this situation can be changed and the inherent benefits in taking sequential storytelling more seriously in Ghana.

The panel will share ways writers and artists can collaborate more to exploit the storytelling possibilities in comics.

Our panellists for this session are Jesu Kobi Crentsil (creator of Generation Identity), Precious Bonsu (founder of Treasure Kids and author of Adventures of Jojo comic book) and Delali Avemegah (illustrator and author of children’s illustrated books). 

When: This panel will take place on Sunday, October 20th from 2 pm – 3 pm at Abansuro within Goethe-Institut.

Comics: Fusion of Literary and Graphical Art (Roundtable Discussion at Pa Gya 2019)

‘Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!’ Unforgettable words from the 1950s, heralding one of comicdom’s most iconic characters, Superman – Man of Steel, son of Krypton, or simply Clark Kent if you prefer.

Words, phrases and entire stories about super-powered individuals and civilisations have long been penned by writers and set to image by artists. Graphic novels, comic books, cartoon strips; these are but a few names associated with one of the products of this aged relationship between writers and artists.

Ever wondered how illustrators and writers can work together and how comic-making has evolved and where Africa’s influence is in all this despite the historic role of graphical art in storytelling and recordkeeping in many African cultures? 

During this near-hour-long symposium, we plan on making a short presentation, then facilitating a roundtable discussion aimed at exploring achievements in, challenges to and opportunities in the African comic industry. We invite you to engage with us as we look towards new frontiers in both the writing and the illustrative art involved. 

That’s what we aim to go into during this roundtable discussion. This discussion will highlight the importance of writers to any type of storytelling, graphical or literary. This hour-long session will start off with a presentation by both Squid Mag’s Kadi Yao Tay and Samuel Osinubi Temidayo and followed by a roundtable discussion aimed at exploring achievements in, challenges to and opportunities in the African comic industry.

We aim to speak to all ages and races, from lovers of Calvin and Hobbs, Archie, Dennis the Menace, X-Men and the Avengers, to Ikebe Super, Aya, Kwezi, E.X.O., True Ananse, and Guardian Prime. Join us in a celebration of literary and graphic art in comic book form.

When: Saturday, 5:40 pm – 6:40 pm at Abansuro. 

Zero to Hero: How to Create an African Hero Everyone Can Relate With (Workshop)

There will be two comic-making workshops which focus on how to create local characters with international appeal. This is a workshop on creating characters who are intrinsically African but who can easily be understood by the whole world, regardless of background and culture.

This workshop will run on the last two days of the festival. Saturday for Adults and the last day for kids. To tackle children’s short attention spans, this will be on a revolving door basis, meaning, at any point that kids show up, we’ll take them through a session.

Because of time constraints, Kofi Ofosu will not be present throughout the day. Instead, the Squid Mag team will co-facilitate based on instructions from Kofi Ofosu and Kevin Sampong.

The facilitators of these workshops are Natasha Nayo (illustrator and animator) who will do a session for adults. The other facilitators are Kevin Sampong (comic book writer and creator) and Kofi Ofosu (illustrator & character designer). Kevin and Kofi will facilitate the session for kids on Saturday while Natasha will facilitate her session on Sunday. 

When: The adults’ session with Natasha Nayo will take place on Sunday from 3:05 pm – 4:05 pm. The children’s session with Kofi Ofosu and Kevin Sampong will take place on Saturday from 2:25 pm – 3:25 pm. 

Comic Café

Love Comics? Come read African comics at our Comic Café for the price of nothing; you only need to show up.

For all days of the festival, we’ll have a lounge or café dedicated to the soothing act of reading comics. We’ll provide Wi-Fi with instructions to read comics online in addition to the limited physical copies provided.

In partnership with the Jooce Guy, Amishadai Ofori, 50 pearly eyed readers (over the course of the festival) will receive a bottle of juice to go with their reading.

To make it interactive, we’ll put together a treasure hunt made up of simple puzzles and questions. We’ll pull puzzles and questions from within some of the books in the Comic Café.

That’s everything we’re doing this year at Pa Gya 2019. Check out the full schedule of events at Pa Gya which include book launches, panels and other workshops at the official Pa Gya website here

Catch you, ink creativity!

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