Two young artists have decided to join the Marvel route to tell Botswana stories through comic illustrations.
The duo of Zwelithini Masuku and Tshepo Kraai, both 22, have been working on a number of comic illustration books that have not yet been published for the past five years. Masuku said the passionate duo’s work has an indigenous flavour that showcases the life and day-to-day events that are taking place in the country.
“Most of our work is local content that shows the diversity of Botswana, which is educating and entertaining,” he said. The comic illustrations that the duo has worked on is in different forms, which have the same style as that of the Marvel Comics that are famous for the Batman and Superman comic books, which have been sold worldwide.
Kraai who is the art director mentioned that the current comic books are for different age groups, “We have a super hero comic book, which is still under works that is for young children. The other one called Skirts is for young adults as it touches mainly on HIV/AIDS and youth.”
She further said their main target readers are teenagers as they are planning on distributing the books in secondary schools. Kraai said that passion for art and creativity drove them to focus on comic illustration, “A number of artists are still trapped in the traditional form of art which mainly focuses on portraits and the same old designs.” She is willing to help upcoming artists with comic illustration skills.
The duo said that lack of funds is a huge blow for developing their work as they are failing to acquire proper resources and equipment.
Masuku mentioned that most of the equipment that they use such as copic markers and certain fine liners are only available outside the country.
“We are currently looking for sponsors that can help us acquire printers, a digital working space and also to distribute our books,” he said.
He added that the lack of funds is the one reason that has stopped them from publish books that they have written. The two artists who did not attend art school for their craft believe that they have a natural talent.
Masuku is a Psychology and Sociology student while Kraai is a Fashion and Design graduate.
Kraai believes that the comic illustration competition in Botswana is very low and if they get help from sponsors they can create a comic foundation in the country that can pave way for upcoming artists.
South African soccer comic book Super Strikers is one of the few comic books that is well distributed and appreciated in the country.