Molly Jackson: Class time!
Happy May the Fourth! It is a big day for Star Wars fans but rather than talk about adventures far far away, let’s look at a comic in this galaxy.
Nigeria has been going through a rough time lately. Falling oil prices, violence popping up regularly affected the country poorly, while changes to school curriculums seem to have made learning history very difficult. Enter Panaramic Entertainment. They have started a new comic series called Okiojo’s Chronicles, which explores the different ethnic groups in the country. There are over 250, so this series will be going on for quite a while.
With Panaramic taking the time to write down Nigeria’s ethnic histories, it can be preserved for future generations. Currently, it is most often passed down verbally through families and very few historical books are available to kids.
History in comics has always been a long standing practice. In the US, it was famously used during the civil rights movement to share the story of the Montgomery non-violent protests. Then, the comic was used to spread a message and now, it stands as a teaching tool to make sure those circumstances never happen again. The first comics from Panaramic serve the same purpose, teaching youth about the two biggest ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Yoruba and Hausa. A third comic, titled 1897, teaches the history of British occupation in southern Nigeria.
Comics as a teaching tool have really taken off in the past decade, with graphic novels being an easier way to get kids interested in reading. It’s been working well in this country, and the concept has continued throughout the globe. Without The Montgomery Story to inspire change and spread hope, it would have been possible to stop the movement before it began. Now, that comic is used globally to show how that movement grew and the impact it had at the time.
The past fuels the future, and to deny that means to deny any growth. Nigeria is currently on the path for pure capitalism. However, if they want to be a global power, understanding each other and where they came from would be a big start.