Sex In African Comics

Sex in African comics on Zebra Comics Blog

There are many things that human beings of this generation are obsessed with – money, power, fame, etc. People will do anything to obtain these things, and they show how much our societies have evolved to revere materialism. Among these objects of human obsession is sex. So much ink has been shed, and so much has been said around this topic that excites and angers, at the same time. From the discourse on liberty passing through equality and identity, sex has been part and parcel of our daily life.

Sex, in its own right, should not be taboo. Sex is part of creation and until now, it still constitutes the main way through which babies are conceived. To be fair, though, the main thing which sex is most known for is the pleasure it procures. The emotional, erotic and romantic aspects of sex are what thrill people the most about this activity, the reason why it has been portrayed endlessly in different kinds of entertainment.

Today, sex is everywhere around us. Movies, television shows, books, video games, magazines, social media, websites and even advertising make use of sex to hook people and keep them coming back for more. The craving for sex can even be seen in how popular pornographic sites have become. Some of these sites have even become platforms where people make a lot of money while engaging in sexual activity. Well, we will talk about that some other time. Let’s focus on comics here.

So, like all other entertainment mediums, comics have also used sex to hook fans. In some cases, it is used casually as a plot device to push the story ahead. In this category, you will find comics like The Pro, Batman: Son of the Demon, Blankets, New X-men and Sky Doll. In other cases, it is literally used as the main element of the story. A good example here will be Sex Criminals. Others have gone farther to actually present things in a pornographic nature. These types of comics are popular online with Franco Belgian comics and Japanese Hentai at the forefront of this movement.

So, where does Africa fit in all this? Well, note that throughout history, African culture in general, has been very conservative when it comes to sex. Actually, until recent times, Africans have usually mythicized sex, making it look like something reserved only for the gods. And maybe it is a good thing that African culture presents sex as something sacred. The ease and looseness with which the activity is carried out is alarming. As a wise man once said, “We may all yearn for a free world, but we should also be ready for the consequences of this freedom.” Unwanted pregnancies, abortion, child trafficking, HIV AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and outright suffering due to poverty and inability to care for newborns are some of the consequences of promoting a world where sex is as cheap as dust.

Ok, that’s enough for the moral lesson.

So, do African comics incorporate sex in their storytelling? Hell, Yes! Like it was stated above, you will find sex scenes in some comics from Africa. The following are some great examples.

1. LES DESSOUS DE POINTE-NOIRE by KHP

LES DESSOUS DE POINTE-NOIRE by KHP African comics on the zebra comics blog

In Les dessous de Pointe-Noire, KHP (Koutawa Hamed Prisley) tells the story of two young women whose economic constraints lead them into prostitution. A curse that can also be a source of hope, that of finding the man who can get them out of the country. Yes, this is a story about prostitution, and so there is sex in it. However, it is nothing pornographic. It is just used to depict a disturbing context in Africa.

Oups! By Georges Pondy African Comics on the Zebra Comics Blog

Set in a university hostel in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, this comic strip by Cameroonian artist Georges Pondy focuses on the daily lives of attractive, funny and oblivious teenagers. Of course, when we talk of university students and hostels in this age, there will be sexual activity involved. However, Georges Pondy does not use this comic to put forth an explicit view of sex in this context. It is just used as a theme, which is used to explain the precarious context in which Cameroonian youths and students find themselves.

Mulema Legend Arts African comics on the Zebra Comics blog

Mulema is a young woman heavily involved in anomie. She has been courted by Ronet, for over two weeks, to no avail, because she only involves herself in lucrative relationships. He nevertheless manages to get her telephone number, and immediately seizes the opportunity to invite her out for a drink. However, Mulema is ignorant of what she is about to discover, when she goes on the date. In this comic, sex is not made obvious. Instead, it is just insinuated through the sexual energy that the characters carry around with them. It is a device that works well with the story and leaves readers wanting more.

City Blues African Comics on the Zebra Comics Blog (1)

City Blues presents a story that revolves around the lives of university students faced with hardships that university students usually go through. Most of these hardships are tied to lack and poverty, and as a result, these students usually find themselves involved with questionable things just to make ends meet. Sex for money is therefore one of the things that these students engage in and it is very present in this comic.

Anaki African comics on the Zebra Comics Blog

This is probably one of the most unexpected comics on this list. Anaki is an afrofuturism African comic that tells the story of a young witch (Anaki) who struggles to survive in a world that seeks to annihilate her kind. Heavy on science fiction and fantasy elements, sex in ANAKI is used solely for plot development purposes.

Palaba African comics on the Zebra Comics Blog

PALABA is a highly humorous and satirical take on contemporary Cameroonian and African societies. This story is published for free online, and has entertained readers from different corners of Africa and the world. PALABA in Cameroon pidgin loosely translates to “problems,” or “faults,” and presents some of the issues the common African goes through, on a daily basis. Sex is present in this comic, and it is depicted in a rather humorous way. It is used to show how Africans manage their sexual urges and desires in a world that constantly pushes them to have more of it.

Sex has always been present in entertainment, and it will not stop being in it any time soon. The issue, however, is that the proliferation of sex has reached alarming heights, and has fostered a culture of promiscuity, which has been frowned upon for as long as mankind has existed. This proliferation of sex is seen in different media, among which we have comics. American, European and Asian comics creators and publishers have explored sex in their works to the extent that they have included heavily pornographic content in their productions. Africa is not left out in this trend. However, given the conservative nature of African cultures, when it comes to sex, many African creatives have not dared to go beyond mere insinuation or depiction when talking about sex. Some artists, like Georges Pondy and Maitre Show, have dared to wander a little more in this sphere, but they haven’t gone too far. Sex comics are therefore all around us. Nevertheless, it may just be good that Africa is taking a conservative position on this issue: when all sense of decency escapes the world, Africa may be the one place where we can find it.

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