With all the turmoil, visible and invisible that Zimbabwe has been going through in the last decade,
the hunger for a hero to battle the darkness can be said to be natural. The need for an icon that faces
what we face (as Zimbabweans) and overcomes, not only because of special ability but the tenacity
of hope against all odds, is the major driver behind the comic book Themba.
Appreciation for comic books in Zimbabwe has been growing significantly these past few years.
With the advent of events such as Comexposed, more people are beginning to see comics as more
than just children’s storybooks with fancy artwork. For some, it is no longer just a hobby but a
business, a means for survival albeit a hard one since the current economy is not too friendly to
artists especially those in the visual/literary domain, but there is hope yet.
Created by Adrean Sigogo (penciller) and Albert Nyawo (inker) with Carlton Gumede (inker),
Daniel Rodrigues (writer), Mbongeni Mabhena (letterer), and Maison Rosslee (colourist), Themba
is a testament to their strong desire to create their own representations and realities.
Their comic book follows the story of Themba, a young man struggling to get out of the slums and
make a better life for his younger siblings, whose world turns upside-down when he discovers that
he was experimented upon under a secret intelligence program. Implanted in his brain is an AI
being that gives superhuman power channeled through his hands to form various objects, and its
creators want it back at any cost.
The Themba comic book project began December 2016. Initially they wanted to make it an ongoing
series, however, due to financial, hardware/software, and time constraints, they re-imagined it to a
six issue series. To date they have completed the yet to be published first issue.
Navigating the tempestuous waters of the local comic book scene, the team behind Themba is
working towards establishing a recognized icon and contributing to the furthering of the
Zimbabwean comic book culture, earning a living from it whilst they are at it. It is their hope to see
Themba go on from generation to generation akin to the likes of Spider-Man and Superman that are
still going strong decades after their first issue came out.