I think we can all agree – most of us are very ignorant when it comes to Africa.
Africa is a place of unparalleled beauty, hope, and love, and there’s a new wave of African artists using the power of storytelling to change the way the world thinks about the Africa that we love and live in.
Chonchon’s Veneration Z is one such story.
It is an online manga-inspired comic book series from Kenya that publishes a new chapter every Saturday.
With its varied characters and locations, Veneration Z is doing a good job at educating the masses about Africa and its people.
Here are 5 things Veneration Z teaches us about Africa:
1. Africa’s complex architecture.
African architecture is as diverse as African people themselves.
Veneration Z exhibits Africa’s complex and awe-inspiring architecture mainly through a character called Kaka.
Kaka is a famous warrior from the Polo Clan of Ziwani, who has the unique ability to summon magical barriers that tend to take the form of traditional African buildings such as:
(a) Thimlich Ohinga
Thimlich Ohinga is the name of some stone structures found in Western Kenya, built from undressed blocks and set without mortar.
Thimlich Ohinga; The Great Stone ruins found in Western Kenya.
Kaka, while traveling with his father’s party, summons a magical barrier that takes the form of Thimlich Ohinga to protect them from an explosive.
(b) Djenne Mosque
The great mosque of Djenne is an architectural wonder found in Mali that was constructed in the 13th century almost entirely from clay.
In “The Exception to the Rule,” Chapter 6 of Veneration Z, a young Kaka who is just discovering his magical abilities, summons a large barrier that takes the form of this African landmark.
2. Africa’s indigenous religions (Nyame)
Nyame is the god of the Akan people of Ashanteland.
He is described as all-seeing and all-knowing. He is sometimes regarded as the father of the famous trickster, Anansi (who happens to be on Chonchon Media’s logo).
In the world of Veneration Z, the Ziwani tribe is led by a powerful “Ker” (King) named Nyame, a character inspired by this West African deity.
Though he is yet to make his debut, he has been mentioned severally by many of the characters in-universe.
With a new chapter of this African comic book being published every Saturday, hopefully we will get to see him soon.
3. Africa’s myths and legends
(a) (Lwanda Magere)
Lwanda Magere is a legend among the Luo people of Kenya.
He was an invincible and indestructible warrior who was famous for tearing entire armies apart. Not even the sharpest sword could pierce his skin.
He led the Luo from victory to victory against their Nandi neighbors.
Veneration Z makes passing mention of Lwanda Magere when Mzee Polo Piach is taking his son to a surprise location. An excited Oru who is trying to think of all the possible places his father could be taking him asks this: “I know! I know! You’re taking me to Lwanda Magere’s site?”
Hopefully, Lwanda Magere will make an appearance in Veneration Z soon.
(b) (Gor Mahia)
Gor Mahia is the name of, arguably, the most prestigious football club in Kenya.
Very few people know it was named after the great ruler of the Kanyamwa clan in Ndhiwa.
Like his father Ogalo before him, Gor Mahia was a dreaded medicine man who had over 20 wives and several children but was more famous for his ability to shape shift.
Like Lwanda Magere, he is alluded to in Chapter One of Veneration Z.
Nyamgondho Wuod Ombare is still a somewhat famous figure in some parts of Kenya.
Once a poor man, living on the shores of Lake Victoria in what is now Homa Bay county of Kenya, Nyamgondho happened upon a beautiful woman. She married him and due to her hard work, made him an extremely wealthy man.
With his newfound wealth, Nyamgondho grew arrogant. So much so that one day he slapped his wife. Silently, she left him and walked into the Lake and surprisingly, all her wealth followed her.
Nyamgondho became a poor man once again.
4. Africa’s fashion
African fashion is celebrated in many parts of the world.
However, due to the kind of diversity Africa boasts of, it is difficult to refer to any one style of clothing as all-encompassing for Africans. From the silky flowing robes of the Tuaregs, to the beautiful face masks of the Wodabe, to the widely-recognized maasai shukas, Africa is a fashion treasure.
Veneration Z, with its breathtaking character designs, does highlights some of the less known fashions that Africa has been hiding.
The inspiration behind the characters comes from several African tribes such as the Turkana and the Shilluk.
5. Africa’s ancestral veneration.
Veneration Z points out the close relationship that most African’s shared with their ancestors due to its unique combat system.
In the world of Veneration Z, there exist two realms; the physical realm in which human beings reside, and the spiritual realm where the ancestors and the living dead reside.
Each clan has a leader known as a “Ruoth” who can access supernatural abilities from the ancestors by saying special words known as “prayers”. These prayers can be used in battle in three different ways.
This battle system highlights the dependency of Africans to their ancestors. It also makes for cool action-packed fight scenes.
While there is still a lot about Africa that remains undocumented, it is possible to use the power of storytelling to preserve our rich African history and culture.
What new thing about Africa have you learned thanks to Veneration Z? And what lessons do you think it needs to teach?