Touring “Kubuni Comics from Africa” Exhibition Coming to Gabs

  • Official opening panel features Mabijo




A travelling “Afropolitan” comics exhibition styled “Kubuni Comics from Africa” is headed to six major southern African cities, including Gaborone.


Following the Alliance Française of Port Elizabeth, the Alliance Française of Gaborone will host the Kubuni exhibition from 3 July to 5 August 2023. The exhibition will then travel to Alliance Française establishments in Lusaka (Zambia), Maseru (Lesotho), Pretoria (South Africa) and to IFAS’s Dibuka Library (located at the Alliance Française of Johannesburg (South Africa), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.


“With the Kubuni exhibition, we are thrilled to showcase the extraordinary work of over 50 talented artists from sub-Saharan Africa,” said Angélique Saverino, Director of the Alliance Française (AF) of Gaborone.


The exhibition’s official opening is slated for 29 June at the AF of Gaborone and will host an online panel discussion featuring prominent illustrators and experts in the field of African comic books discussing the impact of African illustration and literature on the global stage. The online panel will be free and open to everyone.


Mabijo and “imaginary creation”


The speakers for this inaugural conference are Joëlle Épée Mandengue, who is a cultural entrepreneur and the director of Bilili Festival in Brazzaville (Congo Republic), as well as renowned local comic book author, Mabijo.


The exhibition is a roadmap dedicated to discovery of comics from sub-Saharan Africa through three focal points: in the past, the present and the future.

Presented in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and French Alliances, the exhibition “Kubuni” (“imaginary creation” in Swahili) takes comic lovers on a journey of discovery of comics whose story takes place in Africa, and/or made by authors from sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.


Global nature

The exhibition presents works that draw their inspiration from ancient traditions but also from more recent cultures. The comics exhibited are conceived and distributed in the West and on the African continent, emphasising the global nature of the context in which they are set.


Saverino added: “Building on the success of our recent exhibition featuring the work of the renowned comic artist Hector Sonon from Benin, Kubuni promises to captivate audiences with its diverse and vibrant collection of comics.


“Recognising the educational value of comics as a medium, our teachers have developed pedagogical material that will enhance the exhibition’s accessibility to schools, students and teachers. This initiative aims to create a valuable learning experience, inspiring young minds to explore the diverse cultural heritage and creative potential within sub-Saharan African comics”

Bilingual adaptation

The touring exhibition is a bilingual adaptation of the exhibition first held at the Cité de la BD in Angoulême (also host city of the International Comic Book Festival), curated by Joëlle Epée Mandengue (director of the Bilili Festival in Brazzaville) and Jean-Philippe Martin (Cité de la BD).

Sophie Boulé, Cultural Attaché of France to South Africa and Deputy Director of IFAS said in a statement: “It is one of France’s imperatives to bring to life the spirit of the Africa-France Summit in Montpellier in 2021, and to ignite meaningful exchanges with our South African partners, especially in the field of the creative industries”