Update: From June 1st, Kwezi has been stocked in Exclusive Books stores nationwide – making it the first South African comic book to be made available at a major retailer. Go get yours!
Loyiso Mkize is no stranger to the world of South African comics. A bit of a chameleon; he has established himself as an illustrator, designer, and fine artist. Starting out as a co-illustrator for Supa Strikas, Loyiso has branched out with a new initiative and has founded his own visual arts and communication company, Loyiso Mkize Art which is publishing South Africa’s first home-grown superhero comic book, Kwezi.
With Loyiso as the creator and illustrator, the talented team behind the comic is also comprised of Clyde Beech the colourist, Viwe Mfaku the digital art director and Peter Phillip the software engineer. What makes the narrative of Kwezi profound is that it is set in a South African context, making it easy for a South African audience to relate to the characters. The story and its main character, Kwezi, take place amongst the hustle and bustle of the City of Gold.
Kwezi means ‘star’ in Xhosa and Zulu; an appropriate name for a 19-year-old youngster who discovers that he is gifted with super powers. He starts out as a bit of an anti-hero torn between the temptations of the big city life and staying true to his cultural roots. Like any other kid walking the streets of Johannesburg, Kwezi likes girls and fashion, but his life gets more intricate when he learns that he is different from his peers. The narrative unfolds as Kwezi tries to mediate living large in the city and accepting social responsibility for his powers. With Kwezi, we finally have a South African superhero who deals with local issues and makes references to local jokes and who uses slang that is true to the streets of Johannesburg. Loyiso’s hope is that Kwezi will ultimately become a cult figure; a one of a kind superhero that truly represents the youth of South Africa.