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Image courtesy of Etan Comics

Check Out 'Jember,' the First Ethiopian Comic Book Super Hero

Jember will feed your appetite for more African and diaspora lore.

With vivid illustrations and sleek storytelling, Jember brings us the first Ethiopian superhero comic. It's a story that represents something we've all faced or are yet to face—the scary reality of coming into adulthood. More than just a hero's journey, it explores the challenges many face in finding out their ancestral, familial history, and in deciding what mark they will make on the future.


The story follows a young college graduate named Amanuel who, after much efforts trying to solidify his career, finds disappointment in his non-success. His attempted quest to make a life for himself by pursuing the ticket that will grant him the opportunity to pursue the facade of the American dream, in connection to his American girlfriend, comes to a halt. His initial quest brings him face to face with decisions that involve sacrifice, and leads him down the road of finding self-worth, power, responsibility and hope.

"Amanuel's story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities. Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get," says creator and writer, Beserat Debebe.

Etan Comics' founder Debebe created an entertainment platform for innovative African superhero stories. He, along with line and color artist Stanley Obende, line artist Brian Ibeh, color artists Akanni Akorede and Waliu Edu, and letterer Rebecca Asah, brought Jember to life.

Instead of coming up with a completely fabricated backdrop for his story, Debebe cleverly interweaves Africa's ancient history and mythology. The history of the East African civilization known as the Kingdom of Punt is a big part of the creation of Jember's rich story. We asked Debebe about the artistic decisions he made with Jember, and his mission with Etan Comics:

Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present day African countries. We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life.

Available in both Amharic and English translations, you can obtain your own copy Jember here, and immerse yourself in its compelling story.

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, NJ. Follow her on Instagram @zu_thecute and visit her website to indulge in her blog and find out about her latest film and tv projects.

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Photo by Trevor Stuurman.

Interview: Thando Hopa Never Anticipated Acceptance in the Industry—She Anticipated a Fight

We speak to the South African lawyer, model, actress and activist about her historic Vogue cover, stereotypes imposed on people living with albinism and her work with human interest stories about vulnerable groups as a WEF fellow.

Vogue Portugal's April edition was a moment that caused everyone to hold their breath collectively. For the first time ever, a woman living with albinism was featured on the cover of the magazine in a sublime and timeless manner. Thando Hopa, a South African lawyer, model, actress and activist was the woman behind this historic first. It was not just a personal win for Hopa, but a victory for a community that continues to be underrepresented, stigmatised and even harmed for a condition outside of their control, particularly in Africa.

At just 31, the multi-hyphenate Hopa is a force to be reckoned with across different spaces. Through her considerable advocacy work as an activist, Hopa has and continues to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about people living with albinism as well as changing what complex representation looks like within mainstream media. In 2018, Hopa was named the one of the world's 100 most influential women by the BBC. After hanging up her gown as a legal prosecutor after four years of working with victims of sexual assault, Hopa is on a mission to change skewed perceptions and prejudices when it comes to standards of beauty.

As a current fellow at the World Economic Forum, she is also working towards changing editorial oversights that occur when depicting historically underrepresented and vulnerable groups. The fellowship programme prepares individuals for leadership in both public and private sectors, and to work across all spheres of global society.

OkayAfrica recently spoke to Hopa to find out about how it felt to be the first woman with albinism to be featured on Vogue, the current projects she's working on and what's in the pipeline for her.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Uzo Aduba Snags 2020 Emmy Award for Role in 'Mrs America'

Nigerian-American actress Uzo Aduba was awarded an Emmy for her stellar performance as Civil Rights icon Shirley Chisholm in 'Mrs America'.