CNN Speaks To The Man Putting African Inspirations And History Into Comic Books

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On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International travels to Kenya to meet
Mutendei Akhaya Nabutete, a comic book artist bringing cultural mythology and historical
legends to African story telling.

Nabutete tells CNN about how reading comic books as a child influenced his: “As a kid
growing up, I was a big fan of Batman, Wolverine, those were like my staple comics, what I
really got into…that really inspired me [and] was always at the back of my mind.”

While American comic heroes inspired Nabutete to create his own comics, he quickly
realised most African stories were told by others. For Nabutete, creating a comic book with
an African voice would help highlight the rich history and culture of Africa: “African history
and culture has been told by other people and being told by other people, whether directly or indirectly, they haven’t done it the justice it deserves. So, I wanted it to be an African story told by Africans. My Africa is creatively diverse, vibrant and uncharted.”

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Nabutete’s novel Shadow Walkers enjoyed much success and encouraged the author to
adapt his fantasy fiction into a comic book series. Nabutete explains: “People like to see
things artistically, like to see things visually. So, you can have a good story, but they want to see the world brought to life. So, with the comic, that was the first step in me achieving that and then I wanted to give a visual representation of how an original African concept would look if brought to life.”

The work Nabutete does provides him with enjoyment and satisfaction and he hopes to
inspire others, he tells CNN: “What I love most about my work is inspiring people to push the boundaries, encourage people to create something new, do something that hasn’t been
done before… With Shadow Walkers I want to create for everyone who will be interested in
learning more about African history and mythology. There is a lot of unexplored territory and I want to be the one to expose that.”