Homegrown comic superhero Kwezi is proudly South African

Kwezi, which means “star” in Xhosa and Zulu, is the brainchild of Loyiso Mkize, a designer and fine artist who got his start in comics as an illustrator for the long-running Supa Strikas soccer series.

The comic follows a narcissistic teenage boy named Kwezi as he discovers his superhuman abilities amid the daily hustle of the fictional Gold City– a bustling metropolis modelled after Johannesburg.

John Maytham talks to the man behind the comics, Loysio Mkize.

I knew from the beginning that South African had been waiting for a superhero that looks like them and speaks like them, and shares the same environment as them.

Loysio Mkize, Kwezi comic book creator

Mkize says the comic book has been up and running for two years and it is finally getting nationwide distribution.

He says he has always had a passion for reading comics.

I still do get myself some comics whenever I have a free moment to get to a comic book store. I grew up on comic books.

Loysio Mkize, Kwezi comic book creator

Mkize says he was lucky his parents supported his talent and his dream.

They pushed my talent by exposing me to as much artistic material as possible.

Loysio Mkize, Kwezi comic book creator

He describes the evolution of the character of Kwezi and his companions.

I was very clear immediately that I would have to develop this character out of a more African aesthetic.

Loysio Mkize, Kwezi comic book creator

Kwezi himself is an urban kid. But these companions boast Basotho culture, Zulu culture and Khoi San culture, and the list goes on as the story progresses.

Loysio Mkize, Kwezi comic book creator

Kwezi needed to be portrayed with honesty. And a 19 year old discovering his super powers might not be as noble as we would like him to be at first, says Mkize. So Zwezi starts out as self serving, but through his journey discovers his powers come with social responsibilities.

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