Durban writer and illustrator receives international award for King Shaka comic
By Anelisa Kubheka 12m ago
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DURBAN writer and illustrator Luke Molver, who has produced two comic books about the life of King Shaka Zulu is looking forward to a virtual international awards ceremony where he will officially receive his award for his first comic on Shaka.
The book, released in the United States in 2018 and titled Shaka Legend of the Warrior Prince received great reviews from the New York Journal of Books and The Wall Street Journal and was released in South Africa later that year at the first Comic Con Africa.
Shaka Legend of the Warrior Prince won in the category of best honour books for older readers in the Children’s Africana Book Awards (Cana).
Molver explained that these were American awards run by the Smithsonian in Washington and that he had looked forward to attending the ceremony that was supposed to be held in May, but was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“I was looking forward to meeting other awardees such as Trevor Noah and Black Panther author Nnedi Okorafor, but nevertheless the award still stands and I am really honoured,” said Molver.
“The book was also nominated for the Ilube Nommo Award for Speculative History or Science Fiction given to an African Author where it was short-listed along with Black Panther author Nnedi Okorafor, who won. I was very stoked about this, it was an enormous honour to get this type of recognition. I am working on another comic based on a South African story set during WWII about two unknown black heroes.”
Molver said the book publishers had managed to get his books into some South African schools where the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“The children were so engaged when I did book stops last year around SA, it’s not only the content but the medium in which the story is being delivered that keeps children engaged.”
Molver said he was supposed to go on more book stops around the country and publishers were working on getting the book and its sequel into more schools, but Covid had stunted some of these plans.
The second book, titled King Shaka Zulu Legend looks at the last eight years of Shaka’s life.
“After the events of the first one where he had consolidated the kingdom, the main addition to the second one is the arrival of white settlers. In our own history these settlers have always been portrayed as pioneers, explorers and adventurers, but with research I found that they were smugglers, hunters and sometimes fugitives. I have enjoyed infusing all my characters with moral ambiguity because we are all human and there’s good and bad in everyone.”
He said a lot of the time Shaka was thought of a violent tyrant. “He was unique not because of his violence and brutality but also because of his diplomacy.”