For me the comic book industry in South Africa is a steadily growing one. It isn’t an easy industry to go into because there are scarcely any platforms where people can hone their skills and develop world standard work. And even when you have such skills, one needs sheer resilience to create work that may not initially have financial returns. If one can overcome those hurdles, then a career in comics becomes more accessible.
The following task is the biggest challenge facing South African comic book creators, commercialisation. Our books are not yet breaking the barrier of small book shops to get into the chain stores. Perhaps the reason for this is that the industry is overlooking the marketing aspect of the comic book.
An important aspect, which most creators forget, is that we need to cultivate a comic book reading culture beyond our own circles and further into the lives of other South Africans who may not readily read our comics or, more importantly, be able to access them.
There’s still room in this country for explosive growth, but we need radical action in actively activating this market. The Internet and social media become key components in this regard. But beyond this is the challenge to create stories that South Africans care for. I like the idea of proudly South African superheroes because when people read Kwezi they immediately resonate with the characters and overall story.
I personally aim to make Kwezi a household name with distribution around South Africa and abroad. As well as for other subsequent titles I’ll create. I want to see kids glued to their TVs watching a Kwezi animation series – which is what we’re working on currently. Toys. Clothes. Games. My ideal is pushing my creation to its fullest potential.
Written by: Loyiso Mkize, comic book artist and creator of Kwezi