Kubuni – Artist Biographies

Below you will find the biographies of the authors presented in the exhibition Kubuni: Comics from Africa.

BIOGRAPHIES 

Bob Kanza – Nofi (Congo Brazzaville)  

Is a Congolese artist living in France. After studying computer science, he began his career in communications at the Ivorian satirical weekly Gbich! in 1999. There he studied press drawing (“Bob Krokeurz”, “The African Heads of State Union”) and created his first comic strip character: Sergeant Deutogo. Sergeant Deutogo, a police officer, is in perpetual search of two Togos.  

In 2002, he immigrated to France where he worked as a web developer and multimedia graphic designer. He authored some press cartoons for the magazine “Jeune Afrique l’Intelligent’ in 2003.  

He wrote the comic strip Sam & Sam en Het verdwenen masker published in 2008 by the Dutch magazine Samsam. In 2015, he produced the comic strip ‘Ne me coupez paz!” For the Rouen-based association ASIFA, a tool to raise awareness against sexual mutilation. Besides being involved in many multimedia and artistic projects (web development, graphic design and live music), Bob Kanza is currently preparing the release of his new comic book: “Babette Motuka, Princess Afropolitiane”. His 40-page book tells the story of the integration of a young African woman in a large European metropolis.  

Digital Book: www.bobkanza   

Jérémie Nsingi (République Démocratique du Congo)  

He began his career as a professional cartoonist in 2001, with the comic “The Pillars of Democracy and The Virtue of Tolerance”, financed by the US Embassy in Kinshasa.  

In 2008, he took part in the 1st International Comics festival in Algiers. The following year, he participated in the collective comic album “La Bd conte l’Afrique”. In 2010, he created two series of school comics, “Tchoutchou, l’enfant prodige”, and “Miss Diva”, which were distributed for free to schools thanks to the financial support of Beltexco, a leading local company.  

In 2019, he joined the Congolese Comic Strip Centre (CcBd) and created with another author the “Zando Bd”, a mini-comic strip festival in the city’s schools.  

Serge Diantantu (République démocratique du Congo)  

He was borne in 1960 in Mbanza-Ngugu. He developed his talent for drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa. In most of his work, the artist recounts true stories that are often unknown. In particular, he has illustrated the life of Félix Éboué, the governor of Guyana who answered General de Gaulle’s call in 1940, or that of Simon Kimbangu, the oldest African prisoner of conscience during colonisation in sub-Saharan Africa.  

Published by Michel Lafon,” Il fût un jour à Gorée, l’esclavage raconté à nos enfants” (Once upon a time in Goreé, the story of slavery told to our children), with Joseph N’Diaye, a former curator of the House of the Slaves in Gorée (Senegal).  

He is the author of a comic book series entitled “Memory of slavery”, supported by UNESCO and the Slave Route. He has been nomitated three times in the “Gotha de Boirs de France” and received the Prize for Engaged Comics in Lyon in 2008 and the FETKANN (Mémoire des Pays du Sud) Youth Prize in Paris in 2013.  

Koffi Roger N’Guessan (Côte d’Ivoire)  

Born in 1975, in Bouaké, Ivory Coast and trained at the Abidjan Fine Arts School, Koffi R. N’Guessan is an illustrator, engraver and an art teacher. He embraced the profession of comic book author with his first album Mille mystères d’Afrique (2013), then followed by “Nouvelles d’Afrique” (2014), “Paris vaille que vaille” (2014), “les Fins limiers” (2016), “Légère amertume – une histoire du thé” (2019). Awarded the UEMOA prize at the Ouagadougou International Comics fenstival (2015) and Chaka, based on the work of Thomas Mofolo, on a script by Jean-François Chanson.

Jeki Joëlle Esso (Cameroun)  

Born half a century ago on the banks of the Mungo River (Cameroon), Joëlle now called Jeki Esso, who is passionate about drawing, was opposed by her parents to what they call “a useless distraction”, claiming that a woman has never been seen drawing in Cameroon. Through tenacity, she managed to convince them to let her attend a graphic art school in Paris. This was the beginning of a great adventure that led to the publication of fifteen comics, including the eventful series “Eto’o Fils”, a comic biography of the famous footballer Samuel Eto’o, commissioned by himself after reading Jeki’s previous comic, “Petit Joss”.  

At the same time, she has had a successful career as a professional singer for about thirty years with Carole Fredericks, Yannick Noah, Manu Dibango, Céline Dion, Nicolette Maurane, Salif Keita, Rokia Traoré, Goerges Seba, Khadja Nin, Touré Kunda…  

A multidisciplinary artist, Jeko Esso also dubs films and gives dance lessons to senior citizens, while composing music for films and documentaries.  

Massire Tounkara (Mali) 

Through a fortunate chain of circumstances, he attended an introductory training course in comic strips and participated in the Amiens Comic Book Festival “Rendez-vous de la BD d’Amiens”. He met his stalwart partner, Julien Batandéo, with whom he collaborated on a series of projects, fairs and festivals in Africa as well as Europe. His very first comic book is entitled “Yoona, la nouvelle planète”, and was inspired by the discovery of a new planet beyond Pluto. In his comic strip Alpha set in northern Timbuktu in the Malian desert, he created an African Gaston Lagaffe type hero that has countless fun-filled adventures. 

AL’MATA- Alain Mata Mamengi (Democratic Republic of Congo)  

Born in Kinshasa in 1970. After graduating from the Arts Academy of Kinshasa, the Académie des Beaux-Arts, he was hired as a cartoonist for the newspaper “L’Observateur” and later appointed artistic director. In 1998, Al’Mata won the “Calque d’or” prize, which honours the best press cartoonists in Kinshasa, and in 2000, he won the Press Prize at the 3rd Salon de la Bande Dessinée. Al’Mata currently lives in Burgundy in France, and his comics often address the theme of inclusion, as in “Le retour au pays d’Alphonse Madiba, dit Daudet”, (The homecoming of Alphonse Madiba a.k.a. Daudet), produced in collaboration with Christophe Ngalle Edimo and published by Harmattan. 

Christophe Ngalle Edimo 

He is a comics screenwriter. He was born in France to a Cameroonian father and a French mother and then lived in Cameroon until the age of 24. After completing a degree in earth sciences at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon and a post-graduate degree in analytical microscopy at the University of Créteil, in 2001 he became a youth judicial protection service educator at the Foyer d’action éducative de Villiers-le-Bel (95) and at the educational (penitentiary) facility in Beauvais, the Centre éducatif fermé de Beauvais. He is also co-founder of the association L’Afrique Dessinée (set up in 2001 in Paris). Screenwriter of several short stories, particularly in collective albums, he published, among others, Une enfance volée drawn by Simon Pierre Mbumbo in the collective album À l’ombre du Baobab, as well as Gri-gris d’amour, drawn by Titi Faustin. Winner of the Grand Prix de la ville at the Grand Bassam Festival in 2001, Christophe N’Galle Edimo also won the FNAC Prize for Marcel et Léa, working collaboratively with the illustrator Sandrine Martin. 

Simon-Pierre Mbumbo (Cameroon) 

He is the co-founder of the association “Mouvement des Auteurs Camerounais de la BD“ in Cameroon, and of the association „L’Afrique Dessinée with Edimo“ in France. In 1998, he completed his studies in computer sciences at the Beaux-Arts in Angoulême. From there, he started his 10-year journey, fraught with pitfalls, as an African immigrant. “Être immigré ! Être Africain ! Être dessinateur ! C’est pas noir, c’est pas blanc, c’est pas rose non plus !” (Being an immigrant! Being African! Being a comic book artist! It’s not black, it’s not white, it’s not rosy neither!) After working with numerous French and Italian publishing houses, in 2008, he worked with Les Enfants rouges to publish his graphic novel, Malamine, un africain à Paris (Malamine, an African in Paris), which was written by his fellow countryman, Edimo. 

MADA – Didier Randriamanantena (Madagascar) 

A monument of the very rich Malagasy comic strip, MADA has to his credit about ten personal albums and collaborations in more than 15 collective works. He has won numerous national and international competitions, including the Special Prize of the city of Bologna (Italy) in 2003 for his comic strip Enfant de rue. He has published albums on the history of Madagascar such as Nampoina or Imboa. Didier Mada is also the founder of the association “MADA BD Kolontsaina”, organizer of comic strip festivals and exhibitions in Madagascar for 10 years (1992-2002), a comic strip and painting teacher and has participated in numerous events on African and European comic strips in Libreville, Algiers, Brussels, Paris, Turin, Angoulême, Munich, New York, the Netherlands… Didier Mada lives between Paris and Antananarivo, and is a member of the association “l’Afrique dessinée”. 

Yann Kumbozi (Democratic Republic of Congo) 

Was born in December 1988. He is a Congolese illustrator, cartoonist and graphic designer. While studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2010, he published short comic stories and worked as a freelancer in advertising agencies. After his university studies in 2012, he participated in the directing of the Kinshasa animation film KAYEMBE LE TENASSE at B3 Matrix-Melodies Studio. In 2016, he won the comic book competition at the Kinshasa book fair. Since 2017, he creates illustrations and communication supports for different advertisers and publishes comics under the label GraficBDArt, which he founded. 

Gaspard Njock (Cameroon) 

Was born in 1985 in Douala, Cameroon.  Passionate about visual arts since his childhood, he reads French-Belgian comics and started painting abstract pictures in 1999. In 2008, he obtained a scholarship that allowed him to go to Rome. There, he discovered opera and attended the Roman School of Comics (Scuola Romana dei Fumetti). Gaspard published a comic strip in Italy, evoking the great inventions of the illustrious Aldo Manuzio at Tunué. At Nouveau Monde Graphic (Paris), he published “Un voyage sans retour” (2018), a comic book that takes an alternative look at the subject of migration. His latest comic strip “Maria Callas, L’enfance d’une Diva” (2020) is an opportunity to explore the connections between comics and music. 

BADIK’ART – ValérieBadika nzila (Congo Brazzaville) 

Was born in 1976. Passionate about literature and drawing, he enrolled in 1995 at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa, from which he graduated in 1999 with a degree in graphic arts.  He is a cartoonist, scriptwriter and caricaturist, and teaches comics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brazzaville and plastic arts at the Lycée Français Saint-Exupéry in Brazzaville. Triple winner of the “Africa and Mediterranean Prize” (Italy 2010), the “GrandPrix Senghor” (International Organisation of the Francophonie 2006) and the “Regard 9 Best Script Prize” (Abidjan 2006), his comics have been exhibited all over the world, especially his self-edited series “La Perle de Kitokoville”. 

KanAd – Folly-Nostron Kanyi Adrien Magloire, from (Togo) 

is a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer from Togo. He participated in several training workshops in children’s book illustration and comics. In 2003, he published his first two children’s books with Editions Harmattan in France. However, he is more prolific in the comic book field: to date, he is the Togolese author who has published the greatest number of comics. A regular at major international book and comic book festivals, he has won several prizes and scholarships, such as the prize for the best comic book at the Ouagadougou International Comics Festival.  In 2014, he was awarded an artist residency in the city of La Rochelle. The same year, he obtained a creation grant from the Centre National du Livre. In September 2019, he flies to Sweden where he spends four weeks making comics with Nordic artists during an artist residency in Malmö, a residency funded by the Swedish Comics Association. 

Eyram Tawia – Leti Arts 360 (Ghana) 

is the CEO and co-founder of Leti Arts, an interactive digital studio that creates Afrocentric mobile games and comics. His love for comics and computer games inspired him to learn programming in high school, as he wanted to bring to life on the computer screen the comics he drew in his youth. He is convinced that Africa will make a significant contribution to the world of games development and believes that this will create new employment opportunities for Africa. 

Eyram is a frequent speaker at technical conferences and has participated in the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco) and the US-Africa Leaders Summit. He has won several awards for his contribution to the industry, including the British Council Young Creative Entrepreneurs Media Awards (2012), the Vodafone Ghana and Global Appstar 2014 competition and the Africa Entrepreneurship Award. In an effort to promote African success, he published his biography “Unfompolding”, “Uncompromising Passion”: The Humble Beginnings of an African Video Games Industry”, which documents his journey while aiming to inspire young Africans to tell their stories. 

Annick Kamgang, alias KAM (Cameroon) 

is a French-Cameroonian cartoonist and comic book writer, born in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Raised between Bokassa’s Central African Republic and Maryse Condé’s or Aimé Césaire’s West Indies, she regularly collaborates with the magazine Jeune Afrique and facilitates workshops with Cartooning For Peace. In 2018 she published “Lucha”, a chronicle of a revolution without weapons in Congo, which was shortlisted for the Prix Artémisia. 

Her next graphic novel will be entitled “Main basse sur le Cameroun”. 

Ramón Esono Ebalé, alias Jamón y Queso (Equatorial Guinea) 

is a self-taught artist, cartoonist and illustrator who combines his passion for drawing and comics along with his actions against the dictatorship in his country. He has won several prizes, including one awarded by the magazine “Afrique et Méditerranée” (Italy). He has exhibited in the French and Spanish cultural centres in Malabo and Bata (Equatorial Guinea), as well as in Feshcary (Cameroon), ARCO and the Instituto Cervantes (Spain), Planta Alta, Monocromo and Museo del Barro (Paraguay) and in art galleries in Africa, Europe and America. He published “Cauchemar d’Obi”, a satirical comic strip that ridicules the president and the dictatorial regime of his country, led to several months of imprisonment.

Damien Hector Sonon (Benin) 

was born in 1970. As a self-taught arrtist, his first cartoons were published in the first major independent newspaper “La Gazette du Golfe” in 1988, then in the satirical newspapers “Le Canard du Golfe” (Benin) and “Kpakpa Désenchanté” (Togo). After several internships at the “Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels Saint-Luc” in Brussels and at the “Académie Royale des Beaux Arts” in Brussels in 1990, he published his first comic strip “Zinsou et Sagbo”, which was also the first comic strip in Benin. 

Invited to the African Comic Strip Days 1998 and 1999 in Libreville, he received the Discovery Prize. He also won the 1st Africa e Méditerraneo Edition prize in 2007-2008 for his Darfur project. In 2012, he received the best album award at the Algiers Comics Festival for “Toubab or not Toubab” published by Casterman, a picaresque thriller in the chaotic streets of Abidjan. 

Mawuto Assem Paulin (Togo) 

Born in 1980 in Lomé, he holds a degree in modern literature. He was secretary and then president of ATAILE (Association Togolaise des Auteurs et Illustrateurs de Livres pour Enfants). At “Graines de Pensées” publishing, he was a sales manager until 2011, when he created AGO Média. In 2006, he won the France-Togo literary prize and several grants from the National Book Centre. He has published tales (e.g. “Rose-fleur”, “La Belle ensorcelée”), children’s albums (“Un intrus dans notre Takyienta”) and comic books (“Haïti mon amour”, “Monfay chez les magiciens du fer”). 

Reine Dibussi (Cameroon) 

A graduate of the Émile Cohl school in Lyon, Reine Dibussi masters the techniques of drawing, painting, classical sculpture, digital art, illustration, cartoon and graphic design. Illustrator of “Abito and Kiraa” published by Planète J’aime Lire, she participated in the first Cameroonian animated feature film “Minga et la cuillère cassée” (2017). She published Mulatako, a youth series planned in four parts. In 2019, she produced a Doodle for Google, which is the pride of Cameroon, her country of origin. 

Elyon’s (Cameroon) 

Was born in 1982 at Bafoussam, in Cameroon. Joelle Epee Mandengue holds a Bachelor degree in modern English and French literature and a Undergraduate degree in graphics , visual and spatial arts. She began her professional career as a cultural mission manager at the French Cultural Centre of Douala, Cameroon, then worked as a graphic designer and finally as a designer- editor within the MW-DDB group, under the pseudonym Elyon’s, she is the author of the comic book series “The life of Ebene Duta” _ Already 3 volumes published. Stand Upper broadcast on Canal+ in the Africa Stand Up Festival or Valery Ndongo Comedy Club. She publishes in magazines, Comic collectives of several countries (Canada, France, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Cameroon, Germany, at “Spirou” in Belgium…) also ensures orders for individuals, institutions, festivals as well as BD workshops around the world. She is the curator of various temporary exhibitions of comics on the African continent, including the South African virtual exhibition, Afripolitan Comics and in Europe with Kubuni, the African Comic strips. She is also the creator and director of the international festival of the comic strip of Congo: Bilili. 

Loyiso Mkize (South Africa) 

Was born at Butterworth in the Eastern Cape Province. He graduated as a graphic designer from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology  in 2009. Mkize has created artwork for various comic book projects, and is also an artist himself. The character of Kwezi, drawn by Mkize, explores the life of a 19-year-old teenager in Gold City (picture a Metropolis version of Johannesburg) who struggles with conflicting cultural and urban identities, and with his growing superpowers.

Juni Ba (Senegal) 

Juni Ba was born spontaneously from a chemical reaction between a pile of books and a CD of Sonic the blue hedgehog, on the Senegalese soil. Using art as medium to create bizarre and quirky things, while communicating the themes that interest him in his stories, he does the storyboarding as well as the illustration of his comics. Author of the poster for the 2020 edition of the Bilili Comics Festival and the Kubuni exhibition, the comic strips of Africa (s), he currently lives and works in France. 

Ziki Nelson Fikayo “Ziki” Adeola  

Is a writer and entrepreneur born at Lagos, in Nigeria. His method and his mission are both deeply rooted in his heritage, which led him to co-found Kugali Media and ensure better presentation of African stories internationally. Today, Kugali works with some of the world’s leading production compagnis and tirelessly strives to help showcase African culture through accessible and innovative media. As a writer, Ziki’s first book, “Iku”, was featured in Kugali’s original anthology, and his latest book, “NANI”, was nominated for Nommoawards. Since the beginning of his career, Ziki has worked on project ranging from comics to animation, film and television. All these projects have led to the development of a vibrant community that follows Ziki’s work, and have raised over £70,000 to fund Kugali’s titles over the past two years. Looking ahead, Ziki and Kugali continue their mission to bring African culture to the mainstream, and with over 40 million impressions on snapchat, with an augmented reality team and ever-growing list of African artists to their ratings, they are on track to make Kugali a household name.

Kiro’o games (Cameroon)  

First video game studio in Central Africa. Launched in 2016 by Olivier Madiba with the release of Aurion, « l’Heritage des Kori-Odam », the first African-RPG on PC, which received a very good review worldwide. Through their games, applications, comics, Kiro’o imagines the most inspiring digital catalog in Africa. Olivier Madiba, programmer and designer, the Founder of Kiro’o Games spent time to design “Aurion” the Heritage of the Kori-Odan”. It has taken thirteen years to create a video game “made in Cameroon”. The project was financed through a crowdfunding campaign. Olivier Madiba joined the faculty of Yaoundé in 2003, the year of Madibao Corporation Studio’s creation, with a bachelor’s degree in hand, with the idea of studying computer science. However, Olivier Madiba is not a realistic, he is an idealist. He believes since he has discovered the PlayStation and legendary games such as the “Saga Metal Gear Solid” or “Final Fantasy”, that he, as a young African, would one day be in charge of a production that provides as much thrill as those produced by American and Japanese companies. Young Olivier’s desire and passion surpass any social pressure that can be felt in Africa by an ambitious young man like him. His strong desire for craetivity drives him to spend hours in the Yaoundé’s cybercafés refining his project, while looking for partners who would share his vision. 

Ejob Nathanael Ejob and Zebra Comics (Cameroon) 

He is a law graduate, Ashoka scholar, member of the Obama Foundation and former insurer. He is the founder of Zebra Comics, a platform for downloading African Comics, for reading on mobiles. He is also the author of two African novels: The Dead Daughters and Queen of a lie. He has worked with several comic book publishers, including Harmattan BD alongside Christophe Ngalle Edimo, for a graphic novel entitled “Pour la couleur d’une peau (for the color of a skin). He is a graphic designer by profession and a 20D animation designer by passion. He spends most of his days illustrating, animating or reading a comic or a novel. He is the creator of “Anaki”, “The Artist”, “Tumbu”, “Okada”, all published by Zebra Comics as well as the co-creator of Totem and Aliya.