Every year, the month of March – when Ghana celebrates independence as a nation – creeps up on us with a lethargic monotony. Rehashed choruses of old pledges, charades of congratulations and the doling out of what one can only hope are well deserved awards to a precious few. The annual parade at Black Star Square and the holiday from work and school stand out as really the only things to look forward to. Watching kids mill about animatedly in preparation for the parade march, I can’t help but wonder why there’s a parade in the first place.
Drills used to train militaries to work together and maintain formation are what give the march a larger-than-life feeling. The march is deployed as a formidable psychological weapon. By moving as one, the marching army creates the illusion of a large, united and impenetrable force of focus. Imagine the fear that’ll seize you upon hearing an echo of booming voices and stomping feet coming at the same time. Continue reading
Growing up, African comics were quite rare. My most vivid recollection is the late Frank Odoi’s Akhokhan appearing next to other western-imported comic strips in the Daily Graphic newspaper. Thanks to the digital age and new media, however, no one will have to suffer a dearth of African- created comics as many are now free to download or inexpensive to purchase.
An evolving band of African artists are giving breath to ink and comics are springing up all over the place, either by teams or solo illustrators. These artists are helping build an impressive library of continental comics on life, imagination, desires and the future. I’ve composed a list of contemporary comics that weave together stories that embody many of the traditions, myths and realities that many Africans experience or can readily identify.
Below are 8 African comics you should know about.
South African super teen, Kwezi. Illustrated by Loyiso Mkize
1. KWEZI by Loyiso Mkize
Kwezi is the story of a narcissistic South African teen with extraordinary gifts. A bit of a trickster figure, his superhero strengths allow him to take on the bad guys which he documents quite avidly on social media, occasionally, stepping on the toes of the local authorities. It’s all fun and games for Kwezi until an imposing nomad pays a visit and sets the teenager on a new adventure to discover his purpose and understand his gifts in preparation for a great new responsibility. Check out the first issue here. Continue reading
Ghanaian music continues to undergo a metamorphosis into what can only be described as awesome! From Osibisa’s early beginnings, Gyedu-Blay’s euphoria evoking baritone voice and trumpet to Efya’s soulful, powerful yet peaceful voice, Sarkodie’s tongue twisting antics to Pappy Kojo’s funky Fante bars, Worlasi’s language chasm bridging afrobeat raps and songs, I daresay this is a revolution and all praise to technology, the revolution is being televised, at least on the internet anyway.
Over the past year, Ghanaians have jammed so hard to Sarkodie and Castro’s Adonai and Stonebwoy and Sarkodie’s Baafira that from time to time, I often momentarily get sore from hearing these songs.
That can be quite the chore but perhaps no more. Curtains parted, spotlight on, stage smoke rising, silent anticipation, onto the stage, Adomaa.
The short film form seems almost alien in Ghana where producers prefer standard runtime options, sometimes even stretching beyond bearable lengths. Ghallywood and Kumawood are fast becoming household references even though the names suck but hey, these movies abound in the market, on the streets and online. However lackluster in writing, acting and production quality, the films can not be easily dismissed due to a growing audience on the continent and in the diaspora. Of course there are a few exception depending on whose opinion you’re seeking.
I’m happy to tell you today, folks, that a storm – a really robust web storm – is brewing and I can only hope it results in a hurricane, the likes of which never before seen in the Ghanaian movie industry.
Oh right, I haven’t said anything yet. I actually don’t have to – see for yourself.
Get the full gist here.
The Naija Boyz are baaaaaack! Forgive my over-the-top enthusiasm. Perhaps you have no idea who exactly I’m referring to considering that there are, in fact, Naija boyz the world over.
I’m particularly referencing THE NAIJA BOYZ, fraternal twins and also comedian-musicians based in the states. The brothers have caused a web video craze over the last 7 years by releasing Nigerian cultural spoofs of songs by popular U.S. artists including Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown and Kanye West.
To be fair, they don’t just spoof songs by mainstream musicians. Instead, they come hard with witty, eerily on-point lyrics and culturally reworked choruses. The pair reference many things from skin bleaching, social media behavior, immigration wahala to the church’s love of money. The Boyz’ specific brand of humor is something many young Africans, continental and diasporic, can relate to because it reflects some essence of their day-to-day life.
Peep the full story here
In a vast field of unbelievably similar looking, boring and lusterless music, it is every miner’s dream to strike gold or better, diamonds. Given a certain dearth of original and challenging artists on the Ghana music scene, WORLASI, the baritone “AY3 ADZ3” crooner is a diamond in the rough.
ACCRA [dot] ALT team member, KADI, got chatty with the artist over SMS to understand what he and his craft are all about, and generally, gather his thoughts on a number of related and random subjects.
Looking into the future.Photo credit Socialite Photography
ADA: Who is Worlasi?
Whoa! That’s a packed question. Let’s see. I’m Worlasi. I make music, I paint. I’m just another kid expressing his emotions and experiences the best way he knows how. Truthfully though, I’m yet to discover myself completely. I can’t lie to you, I don’t know myself.
Get the full gist here.
Kwame Addo is a self-employed, freelance copywriter, photographer and music producer. He works from his late mother’s container, which is also his home. Mr. Quaye is a station master at the Madina transport yard who can barely make ends meet for himself and his two kids. Yaa is a street seller, who plies pure water sachets on congested streets near and around Abelemkpe. Nana Osei is the proprietor of a small school that shares walls with Mr. Quaye’s home. Adjo owns a little provisions shop and bar, serving the needs of the people in her working-class community.
What is common amongst all these people? Well except for the fact that they’re all human and obviously Ghanaian, not much. Oh that’s wrong, there is a connection. Like Pavlov’s dogs, these people’s lives have over the years come to be controlled, here by the theme, Electricity Comes and Goes (ECG).
Only now of course, the electricity hardly comes at all. On the heels of Chimamanda Adichie’s recent op-ed in the New York Times, Ghana’s ECG can absolutely be said to be following in the steps of big brother, NEPA (Never Expect Power At All) in Nigeria, whose name has been changed to PHCN, continuing the former power company’s legacy.
This is Ghana where our dishonorable “honorables” can’t be bothered to even fart their incompetence in our direction.
Read the full thing here.