CNN speaks to the man putting African inspirations and history into comic books

On this week’s episode of African VoicesCNN International travels to Kenya to meet Mutendei Akhaya Nabutete, a comic book artist bringing cultural mythology and historical legends to African story telling.

Nabutete tells CNN about how reading comic books as a child influenced his: “As a kid growing up, I was a big fan of Batman, Wolverine, those were like my staple comics, what I really got into…that really inspired me [and] was always at the back of my mind.”

While American comic heroes inspired Nabutete to create his own comics, he quickly realised most African stories were told by others. For Nabutete, creating a comic book with an African voice would help highlight the rich history and culture of Africa: “African history and culture has been told by other people and being told by other people, whether directly or indirectly, they haven’t done it the justice it deserves. So, I wanted it to be anAfrican story told by Africans. My Africa is creatively diverse, vibrant and uncharted.”

Nabutete’s novel Shadow Walkers enjoyed much success and encouraged the author to adapt his fantasy fiction into a comic book series. Nabutete explains: “People like to see things artistically, like to see things visually. So, you can have a good story, but they want to see the world brought to life. So, with the comic, that was the first step in me achieving that and then I wanted to give a visual representation of how an originalAfrican concept would look if brought to life.”

The work Nabutete does provides him with enjoyment and satisfaction and he hopes to inspire others, he tells CNN: “What I love most about my work is inspiring people to push the boundaries, encourage people to create something new, do something that hasn’t been done before… With Shadow Walkers I want to create for everyone who will be interested in learning more about African history and mythology. There is a lot of unexplored territory and I want to be the one to expose that.”

African Voices is sponsored by Globacom

African Voices airs at the following times on CNN International: