In May, Under The Sun creator Austine Osas reached out to tell us a bit about the series, a pertinent and political science fiction story with crucial social justice themes. It was made with the aim to raise awareness about persons with albinism in Africa. Although we are a bit late in featuring Under The Sun on our blog, we think the comic is a great initiative and wanted to share it! The series was released in December of last year, and published by Peda Comics, a Nigerian comics and animation company.
Under The Sun was written by Austine Osas and Abiodun Awodele, and illustrated by Yusuf T. Shittuh, with art direction/lettering by Peter Chizoba Daniel, and colours by Nsia Ndidi. Austine Osas is a Nigerian science fiction and fantasy writer and co-organizer of Lagos Comic Convention (2016).
To produce the comic, the creators worked with The Albino Foundation (located in Nigeria) as well as Under the Same Sun (a Canadian NGO in Tanzania). Both organizations host support programs for persons with albinism, such as educational and recreational initiatives, and health support services, as well as educate the public about albinism and advocate for inclusive human rights of people with albinism.
Under The Sun is a science fiction/action epic that features protagonists who have albinism, which is signified by lack of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. The comic makes visible common prejudices, discrimination, and attitudes towards those who have albinism in Africa and around the world. Particularly, it highlights the danger that persons with albinism face in the context of certain societies believing in the supernatural, witchcraft, and voodoo combined with superstition and lack of education surrounding albinism. These dangers can be life threatening, culminating in markets that trade body parts of those with albinism who are murdered or maimed for the colour of their skin, hair, and eyes, for ritual purposes.
“In Zamia, an imaginary country in Central Africa, Albinos have been forced to migrate to the island of Kurume in the middle of Lake Tanganyika due to persistent attacks by people and their witch-doctors who use their body parts for rituals. They live peacefully on Kurume for over a century with government approval and protection, until a deadly civil war broke out after the president was assassinated during a failed military coup.
“The rebel group led by General Abdul seizes control of the southern part of Zamia after the coup which led to a civil war. As advised by his witch doctor, Baba Jitujeusi, General Abdul embarks on a manhunt for two albino kids believed to be gifted with ‘luck’ and capable of turning the tide of the war in his favor.
“The legitimate Government based in the capital city of Wanza and controlled by the Vice President Badr Amne, also receive intelligence on the kids and their special gift. To forestall their falling into rebel hands, the new President makes rescuing them a top priority.
“Saida (an eleven-year-old girl) and Tusajigwe (a ten-year-old boy), are ordinary kids with albinism believed to be gifted with ‘luck’. They lose their homes, families, and friends to the rebels and their only hope of staying alive is to evade capture by both warring factions.”
You can read the first issue of Under The Sun here for free!: https://pedacomics.com/under-the-sun/
If you are interested in learning more about other Nigerian and black comics publishers such as Peda Comics, check out our blog post here, and you can also read about the wonderful Nigerian Comics Industry with a focus on publishers Comic Republic on our blog post here.