- Friday 23rd September saw the end of a training workshop on comics named “Heritage and the Past”
- The workshop is one of the activities within the project “Abahizi” of Buja Sans Tabou supported by the Swiss Cooperation in Burundi, through the consortium of cultural actors “Ku.Ziko”
- This training workshop which took place from September 13th to September 23rd, 2022, allowed the 10 young participants to acquire the technical and narrative tools necessary for the exercise of this profession as well as professional complements relating to the production and sale of comics.
Guest on the cultural programme “Ku.Ziko” on Radio Kazoza FM, Freddy Sabimbona, Artistic Director of Buja Sans Tabou, talks about the genesis of the project: “The workshop is the result of a meeting between Paulin Assem at the Goethe Institute in Cameroon in 2019 and me. He was exhibiting on the treatment of the theme of superheroes in his comics and the idea immediately clicked in my head. Aware of the potential of comics, this art form at the crossroads of two different artistic domains: drawing and literature, I said to myself, what if we made a comic book celebrating the heroes of Burundi? That‘s how I got in touch with Paulin so that he could come and give a training course in Burundi. It took three years for the idea to materialise.”
He adds: “Theatre and comics are two different arts but they can complement each other to make people dream, imagine, transport and find other horizons. The idea of this project is to bring together the authors of theatre and cartoonists so that they work in harmony with the cartoonists in order to merge and create a comic book that honours our heroes, so that their bravery can transcend and inspire current and future generations.”
Paulin Assem, the trainer, agrees: “The theme of superheroes allows us to start from African mythology to make Africans and the world dream. To educate as well. So that people know that from their weaknesses, they can pull up strengths, to transform themselves in the image of our heroes.”
The benefits of training
Florian Nifasha is a beneficiary of the training and a cartoon designer: “I was able to explore an art form that is different from and yet close to mine, which is animation.” Yish Karamu, a cartoonist, agrees: “What I liked most about the training was the creative space made available to artists who practice two different forms: theatre and drawing. It was a kind of communion of artists who thought they had no meeting point. This is how I gained important techniques for writing solid scripts. The trainer was clear and demanding on this point: it is the text that makes the comic successful. An ugly script can be redeemed in the comic. The opposite is not guaranteed.”
Florian Nifasha was full of praise for the trainer who took into consideration the different skill levels of the participants in the comics training, while Yish Karamu was pleased to have “gained a mentor even if he is not based in Burundi.” He added: “Apart from the notions of our profession, he taught us about the global context of comics on the African continent: the status of the author, the relationship with publishers, contracts, communication around their work which will be beneficial to them in the pursuit of their career.”
All’s well that ends well, Freddy Sabimbona, Artistic Director of Buja Sans Tabou indicates that a second workshop devoted to the creation itself will soon be organized. After a period of maturation of their projects, the (theatre) author-illustrator tandems will again be supervised to finalize the scripts, correct the technical layout and produce the drawings.
This article originally appeared on bujasanstabou.com