For the production of the comic strips and audio clips that are available on this platform, UNESCO commissioned talented musicians, singers and illustrators from different countries (France, Madagascar, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, United States, etc.).
This project will contribute to the visibility of illustration and graphic arts in Africa and constitute a springboard for the young artists involved.
Illustrator of the comic strip on Sojourner Truth
Born from the cradles of Queens, NY, Y. Sanders was seven when her mother introduced her to the world of comics. Having found her life's purpose as a comic artist, her path lead her to attend LaGuardia High School of Arts and later majored in illustration and graphic design at The School of Visual Arts. Currently, she continues to improve her talents at The Art Students League of New York. One of her many achievements was winning the Blue Dot Award for her short comic Possessed. She also worked on Single Serving with up and coming writer Ellen Goodlett. It was featured in Amy Chu's Girls' Night Out: The Way Love Goes. Sanders takes breaks by indulging in her favorite artists. She also continues to inspire herself with books, museums, graphic novels, anime, and current events.
Illustrator of the comic strip on Gisèle Rabeshala
“Sleeping Pop” is a female illustrator and graphic designer based in Tananarive, Madagascar. She has been working professionally since 2008 on several projects such as “Fara et le Gardien de Masoala” (Vali Edition, 2013), the collective comic strip on children’s rights “Zonay ankizy andavanadro" (UNICEF and Tantsary, 2011), and the comic strip on children’s education “Karapapaka hors série” (Alliance française de Tananarive, 2008).
Illustrator of the comic strips on Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Taytu Betul
Alaba Onajin is a Graphic Designer for novels. He has been working professionally since 2005. He is currently writing and illustrating a series of young adult and children’s graphic novels and comic books. He has a certificate in Freelance Cartooning and Illustration and was born, raised and is currently living in Ondo state, Nigeria.
Illustrator of the comic strip on Wangari Maathai
Eric "Zoe" Muthoga is a self-taught Kenyan artist, illustrator, and author of comic strips. He was born and raised in a small village in the countryside and began to illustrate from a young age. It was thanks to his brother, also an artist, that Eric discovered illustration. Since this time, he has never stopped designing, inspired by cartoons, manga comics, and any rare comic strips he was able to find. He started his career working for Shujaaz.fm, a monthly Kenyan comic strip which received the first prize in the Emmy awards for comic books. As an artist, Eric is encouraged today to tell the stories of the history of Africa and its people through the art of comic strips, illustrations, and animated films with the ultimate goal of presenting a positive image both in the continent and abroad.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Yennega
Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from New York, residing in Paris. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging altogether Hip Hop, Soul, and literary audiences. She dedicates her time and energy working with inner-city adolescence, providing performance poetry workshops and opportunities. Her first book of poems, The Black Unicorn Sings, was independently published. She recently collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams to edit a book of poetry. She is currently working on a book of science-fiction and new music.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Wangari Maathai
Anna Mwalagho is more than a triple-threat performer. She is a true remarkable renaissance woman, an internationally recognized actress, comedian, poet/spoken word artist, African dancer, singer/songwriter and storyteller. She has won numerous national awards in her native country Kenya, and in the U.S.A, where she is recognized as the Queen of spoken Afro beat and also called "Mama Africa".
Illustrator of the comic strips on Njinga Mbandi and the Women Soldiers of Dahomey
Originally from the province of Bandundu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pat Masioni is a comic strip designer and scriptwriter. He is also a press cartoonist and painter. Having lived in Kinshasa for 20 years, he has created several comic strip albums and was the official illustrator of the publication house Saint Paul. He has worked and lived in Paris since 2002. In addition, he designed the famous series "Samba Diallo," published in the journal "Planète Jeunes." Publicly renowned for "Rwanda 94" which appeared in 2 volumes in 2005 and 2008 and was published by Albin Michel and Glénat, Pat Masioni is the first Sub-Saharan African illustrator and designer to be published in the United States with the famous American editor DC Comics/Vertigo.
Lauren May (from DC Youth Slam Team)
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Njinga Mbandi
The DC Youth Slam Team uses poetry to teach and empower teens from the DC metropolitan area to speak up about issues of social justice. With annual travel to regional and national poetry slam festivals such as Brave New Voices, the team provides outstanding opportunities, training, and a platform for talented youth to develop their writing, performance, and public speaking skills with guidance from mentors and teaching artists.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on the women soldiers of Dahomey
Safia Elihillo is Sudanese; she studies in New York at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in “Poetry as a Tool for Therapy”. She has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway. She is founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and she was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. She published a book of poems entitled The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles.
Illustrator of the comic strips on Yennega and the Mulatto Solitude
Yann Dégruel is a French comic strip illustrator and designer. After having studied at the "L'Ecole des Arts Décoratifs" in Strasbourg, he worked on "Genz Gys Khan," a poetic recounting of the adventures of Genz, Gys and Khan. In 2003, he decided to focus on a classic of youth literature : Nobody's Boy by Hector Malot. In 2012, he joined a group of illustrators to work on the project "Women in African History: an E-learning Tool."
Raquel "Ra" Brown
Author and performer of the soundtrack on the Mulatto Solitude and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti
Raquel "Ra" Brown grew up in Philadelphia. She's been writing since she was 13. Using poetry and prose as an outlet, she found her voice to express her ideas and experiences. Mother to a 16-years old superstar, she continues to find art in watching her daughter blossom and to hear her share her beautiful voice with the world. Ra Brown was the host of one of the longest running open mics in D.C., then called Mangos. She now hosts an open mic every Wednesday at Sweet and Natural, in Mt Rainier, Md. where artists of all walks come to share, laugh and love.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Wangari Maathai
Antique is an Independent Recording Artist based in Oakland, California who bends time with a vintage sound reflecting past present and future as one. Her voice is reminiscent of the great singers of old, and her ability to model traditional Jazz, Pop, and Soul sounds make her energy and music unique. She often performs solo with only a looper and her own voice. Her band, Antique Naked Soul, is a live vocal ensemble that blends her unique and soulful sound with an acoustic hip hop feel that is refreshing and organic.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Taytu Betul
Amira Ali studied International Relations and Conflict Resolution; she is a certified mediator, negotiator, psychosocial worker and multi-track diplomacy practitioner. Firmly believing in the power and capacity of the creative industry, she has expanded her experiences towards using creative mediums as an educational instrument for developmental communication and the (re)creation of images with a positive narration of cultures. She engages with organizations that look to investigate and take action on social issues. Currently, she is focused on using the arts- poetry, creative writing and visual arts as an instrument for developmental communication and social transformation.
Author and performer of the soundtrack on Gisèle Rabesahala
Elizabeth Acevedo is the daughter of Dominican immigrants, proudly born and raised in the heart of New York City. Through poetry that is infused with hip-hop and bolero, she uses her words as a way to translate the world. Her words have been published in Off the Subject: The Words of Lyrical Circle, The Acentos Review, and The Ostrich Review. She works in Washington, DC as a youth mentor of the poetry organization Split This Rock.