Comics as an expression of the African Culture
Perhaps one of the core African literatures i was most endeared to while growing up was “The gods are not to blame” by Ola Rotimi. The story of the cursed Odewale who was predestined to kill his father and marry his mother is an epic classic any day! The unique diction and rich usage of African Proverbs makes the work further stand out. Fast forward several years, i found myself researching the works of Yoruba African trailblazers like the master of Thespian art “the late Hubert Ogunde”, the eclectic Duro Ladipo whose epic play on the Yoruba thunder god ” Sango” titled: Oba Ko So ( the king did not hang) remains one of the best epic depictions of Alaafin Sango till date, arguably unrivaled. Within this same hall of fame is D.O. Faguwa’s famed work “Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irumole” translated to the English Language in later years by our own WS: Professor Wole Soyinka.
Be that as it may, there is of course no denying the fact that in some quarters legends like Hubert Ogunde and Duro Ladipo were regarded as principalities in the occult. I have however decided to look beyond this tainted glass for obvious reasons. From my chain of research, one thing you can never take away from these African Icons is the fact that they were uniquely talented, exceptionally gifted and their taste for excellence was second to none. In fact Hubert Ogunde’s command of the English Language can readily throw you off balance. He was not an illiterate in any sense of the word. It will interest you to know that at the later part of his life he was awarded Doctor of letters by the then University of Ife and University of Lagos, earning him the scholastic title of “Dr” Hubert Ogunde before his demise in 1990.
In the same way therefore that drama, literature and music within the African context is a clear expression of Africanism, comics in Africa cannot be disconnected from the core of the African Culture. In fact, comics are another medium through which the African culture finds its expression. Our art is unique to us. Our stories are unique to us in the same way that our way of life is unique to us. This remains one of the key things that the west admires most in our art and creativity. It is on the heels of this that “Duro” arrives. I am sure you did not see this coming, neither did we. We already have our hands full with enough pending projects before this surfaced. What exactly is Duro? For now all we can say is: Duro is a short scholastic work, an awesome rendering of Yoruba African Mythology in a way you’ve never seen it.
Duro is ready and set for release before the year runs out. For now, enjoy this teaser poster but when the cover art drops you can be sure it will drop with a big bang!
Story : Ayo Makinde
Graphics: Artvantage studio