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Image courtesy of Etan Comics.

'Hawi' is Ethiopia's first female superhero comic book.

Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic 'Hawi' Nominated for 'Best Graphic Novel'

Ethiopian writer Beserat Debebe's 'Hawi' has been nominated for the annual NOMMO Awards for African Speculative Fiction.

Founder of Etan Comics and Ethiopian writer, Beserat Debebe, has been been nominated for this year's NOMMO Awards for African Speculative Fiction for his Hawi comic in the category of "Best Graphic Novel". The Nommo Awards are presented in four categories namely "Best Novel", "Best Novella", "Best Short Story" and "Best Graphic Novel". Hawi is the first female comic to ever come out of Ethiopia. Additionally, Debebe's Jember, which was the country's first ever comic, made it onto the long-list in the same category.


Hawi, as described in OkayAfrica's interview with Debebe, "centers a female superhero, a young Ethiopian woman named Ement Legesse, who is tasked with having to rescue her mother after she's abducted. The colorful visuals are stunning and showcase Debebe's talented team of African artists and their unique ability to capture the vibrancy of Ethiopia. A story about returning to one's roots and having the courage to rise above the challenges that come with seeking reconciliation and belonging, it's one we can all relate to whether literally or figuratively."

Following its wildly successful kickstarter which covered the remaining costs of production, Hawi has become a beloved work of art not just for Ethiopians but Africans across the continent and the diaspora.

Speaking about the recent nomination, Debebe says, "This is incredible." He adds that, "I loved fantasy stories but I'd never considered myself as a writer. All I wanted was to see a story with places I recognize and characters that think like me. To see this journey balloon from a simple "what if" into a community of passionate fans is exciting and motivating. Last year, Nnedi Okorafor took this award for writing Shuri (Marvel's Black Panther). She is a Hugo-Award winner. To be recognized as a finalist in the same category as her means so much."

Writers who have been nominated for the NOMMO Awards in the past include Akwaeke Emezi, Biram Mboob and T.L. Huchu among several others.

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Still from 'Road to Yesterday'

Kayode Kasum’s Quarantine Watchlist

From 'Wives on Strike' to 'Goodwill Hunting' here's what the Nigerian filmmaker is watching while stuck at home in Lagos.

Kayode Kasum, like most filmmakers, has been stagnated by the coronavirus pandemic. The director behind the blockbuster Sugar Rush and the critically acclaimed Oga Bolaji was working on the post-production of his upcoming movies, The Fate of Alakada: Party Planner and Kambili—a collaboration between FilmOne Entertainment and Chinese Huahua Media— when the Nigerian government announced the lockdown order.

While post-production on Alakada has concluded, the stay-at-home orders have delayed work on Kambili. "Since the team cannot meet at a single point, we are moving hard drives left and right," he says to me over the phone from his home in Lagos. "It is a challenge, but the beautiful thing about a challenge is, when you make it work, it is fulfilling."

Still from 'Kambili'

Kasum has turned to books and films for an escape from the unpleasant realities of the pandemic. "I have been reading Elnathan's books: Born on a Tuesday and Becoming Nigeria," he tells me. "I have also been reading film directing books, Directing Actors by Judith Weston." However, Kasum longs for the movies. "I miss going to the cinemas; I miss that experience," he says. "There are times during this pandemic that I'm like 'na wa o, I wish I can go to the cinema.'"

Below are five films he recommends you watch during this pandemic.

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