Kugali Media Creates African Comics and More

Posted by on Apr 10, 2024 in People and Culture, Stuff You Should Know, World

Whether it’s on a printed page or a digital screen, comics are growing in popularity around the world.  American company Marvel Comics is a well-known publisher, with its older superheroes, such as Spider-Man, and its newest characters, such as Kahhori, a young Mohawk woman.  An African-owned and operated entertainment company (based in the United Kingdom) is changing the landscape of comics with stories set in Africa and created by African storytellers and artists.   

Kugali Media has accomplished much since its founding in 2017. Its style merges authentic African storytelling with striking digital animation. The company used crowdfunding to support the creation of its first Kugali Anthology. It’s a collection of the company’s African comics with features about the artists and production.  

Collaboration with Disney on Iwájú 

TV remote control against SmartTV operating system.
Kugali Media’s new perspective on animation is now streaming.

The company’s most notable achievement is a collaboration with Disney on the animated series Iwájú. The Disney Plus streaming series is a coming-of-age story featuring two young characters, Tola and Cole. The series is set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria. Iwájú is the first series from Walt Disney Animation Studios based on a new, original concept, rather than an extension of an existing title.  

The popularity of African comics has benefited from critics’ praise for and commercial success of the movie Black Panther, which was released in 2018 by Marvel Studios. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning in three categories. The success of the Black Panther franchise, set in the fictitious nation of Wakanda, is credited with introducing comic book audiences to more diverse stories. 

Kugali Media’s Story  

Kugali Media is led by its two original founders, Nigerians Tolu Olowofoyeku and Olufikayo Adeola (also known as Ziki), along with Ugandan Hamid Ibrahim. The company’s name Kugali comes from the Swahili word Kujali meaning “to care.”  

Kugali Media continues to expand its print and digital creation of comics and graphic novels. The media company also offers a digital app, games, and augmented reality (AR) content in Snapchat.   

Just as manga refers to the Japanese comic style, Kugali Media is popularizing the term Bonzo for African comics. The term originated from the Swahili word kibonzo, which means cartoon. The term is used to distinguish the unique aspects of African storytelling that include African story settings and character inspirations.  

Kugali Media Digital Projects 

As part of its relationship with Snapchat, the company offers numerous creative lenses related to their content. These include BlackHistory King, BlackHistory Queen, KugaliMask, and comic Book me.  

What Do You Think? Which format of storytelling do you prefer: comic books, movies based upon comic books, or graphic novels? Explain your answer.