Writing

The African Superhero Universe Widens With South Africa's Teen Superhero 'Kwezi'

The African superhero universe continues to widen with Loyiso Mkize's South African teen superhero comic series, 'Kwezi.'

All images via Kwezi's Facebook Page


The African superhero universe continues to widen with the emergence of a comic book series from South Africa. Kwezi, which means "star" in Xhosa and Zulu, is the brainchild of Loyiso Mkize, a designer and fine artist who got his start in comics as an illustrator for the long-running Supa Strikas soccer series. Mkize describes Kwezi as "a coming of age story about finding one's heritage."

The comic follows a narcissistic teenage boy named Kwezi as he discovers his superhuman abilities amid the daily hustle of the fictional Gold City-- a bustling metropolis modeled after Johannesburg. Portrayed as a cocky anti-hero obsessed with selfies and Twitter, Kwezi is initially fueled by the attention from his adoring online fans, but he soon finds out that his powers come with a cultural responsibility. To accurately reflect Kwezi's world and that of potential readers, the comic's dialogue is peppered with street slang and pop culture references that place the story in a familiar context for young South Africans. Since the release of Kwezi's inaugural issue a year ago, Mkize and his team have followed up with two additional installments to the planned 12-part series. The self-published comic took three years to develop after local publishers balked at the idea that a South African superhero could be a successful endeavor.

In a recent conversation with Design Indaba, Mkezi shared his motivation behind the unique series. “We have never had a superhero that looks like us and speaks like us and shares the same experiences and environment as us. Comic books in South Africa are still at crawling stage. The market hasn’t been tapped into and activated. As someone who is passionate about comics and the power of comics I see it as a challenge to overcome.”

Check out some "Kwezi" artwork  in the gallery above. Read the first issue here.

Music
Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Tems Is Just Doing Her Thang In New Music Video 'Crazy Tings'

The Nigerian songstress is hell bent on taking over your summer playlist and it's getting harder to resist.