Lovers and creators of African comics now have a reason to smile following the release of Kugali, a new digital showcase platform that curates the best comics from Africa.
In a recent interview with Face2Face Africa, Kugali co-founder Ziki Nelson said the platform is designed to help global lovers of comics discover the best African comics while giving African illustrators a chance to be discovered.
“Our goal is to facilitate the growth of the African comic book industry using technology,” says Nelson.
Birth of Kugali
While admitting that he and his two co-founders Tolu Olowofoyeku and Maculay Alvarez have varied reasons for developing the platform, Nelson insists that one of the chief reasons he wanted to create Kugali was due to the fact that virtually none of the most popular foreign comics represent African culture.
So instead of wallowing in self-pity, Nelson and his team embarked on a mission to gather “amazing” African comics, video games, cartoons, and other “cool projects.”
Although they literally had to sift through thousands of webpages to find something that told the African story, they finally found what they were looking for.
“I can’t tell you how proud I felt to see so many artists and writers across both Africa and the African diaspora spreading our culture and creativity through art and storytelling,” Nelson says.
Afterward, the trio decided to aggregate all the content they had gathered so that people can discover and share it from a single location — and that’s how the idea of starting an all-African-comics platform was born in 2016.
A Wide Range of African Comics
Kugali carries a wide range of comic books, including historical, fantasy, and science fiction.
Although most of their contributors are from Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, Nelson is optimistic that they will soon be able to expand their pool to all African countries as well as the African diaspora.
Nelson also likened Kugali to “Netflix in the early days,” adding that they are more of a content aggregator than a creator.
“We don’t serve a specific genre or niche; the most important thing is that the comics we showcase are either set in Africa or created by Africans,” he said.
The new website, which was officially launched just a week ago, has garnered more than 100 African comics, and Nelson hopes to hit the 1,000 mark by the end of this month.
“We specifically wanted to make Kugali a digital service so that all people of African descent would be able to join our community regardless of where they may live,” says Nelson.
Currently, the company is operating in Lagos, Nigeria, and London, U.K., and Nelson says they plan to expand their scope to include gaming and animation.