You are on page 1of 21

1/21

Stupid Hares and Margarine: Early Swahili Comics
By Jigal Beez, University of Bayreuth, Germany To be published in: John Lent (ed): Cartooning in Africa, Cresskill: Hampton Press.
• • • • Paperback: 304 pages Publisher: Hampton Pr (December 30, 2006) Language: English ISBN: 1572735546

That comics are a global phenomenon is an odd statement these days. In nearly all corners of this planet comics are drawn, printed and read (Lent, 1996, Knigge, 1996). But African comics remained unnoticed for many years. One example of this neglect is a statement by Vitorio Lanternari, an anthropologist who wrote the Africa chapter of an article on Comic Art and Caricature in the famous Encyclopaedia of Word Arts. He summarized: “Caricature and humour are generally absent from primitive art.” (Lanternari, 1970: 774). It was common sense among Western academics of the 1960s that African art had to be primitive, hence void of caricature, humour and of course comics. That Africa is not only a supplier of primitive art but has a vivid comic culture as well, is common knowledge nowadays. Some light on the East African comic scene had been shed by Gikonyo (1986), Graebner (1995), Beck (1999), Packalén (2001) Beez (2003, 2004), Obonyo (2004) and Beez and Kolbusa (2003) as well as by some websites that are dedicated to East African comics like Bongotoons or Worldcomics or published by the artists themselves 1 . But whereas Western comic traditions claim the roots of the genre in graphic literature to be as old as the 15th century (Cuccolini, 2002: 65, Kunzle, 1973) and the actual birth of the comic strip with “Yellow Kid” in 1895 (Harvey, 1994: 4ff.), for East Africa there has been little known about comics about the time before the 1980s. This article intends to give an idea how early Swahili comics looked like. Most research on early Swahili Comics which has been published so far relied on the memory of comic artists. Just like all forms of oral history it is not peculiarly accurate but often serves to establish a certain tradition in which the orators take a significant position. 2 But there are more reasons for the neglect of the Swahili comic history besides uncertain oral sources. One important one is that comics were not fit to be a research topic for serious scientists. Neither East Africans nor foreign researchers took comics, especially African ones

2/21 serious. It seemed to be more appropriate for a scientific career to analyse Swahili novels which were only read by a handful than to take a look at comics which are admired by millions. Another reason is that it is difficult to do research on comic history, because libraries do not collect comics and rarely the popular journals in which they appear. Moreover the newspaper archives of East African libraries are often in a state of confusion with volumes missing or having been eaten by insects. There are also inadequate means of conservation for the poor quality paper on which most popular publications were printed. Therefore, the data presented in this article is only a sketch, as for sure, there are other journals and newspapers containing Swahili comics which could not be traced yet. According to Whiteley in the 1950s, there were forty newspapers in regular circulation in Tanganyika Territory alone and in Kenya there are said to have been even more periodicals (Whiteley, 1969: 62, 67), a vast source for potential comics. But only a few of them have been preserved in archives. I had the chance to have a look at 27 different colonial newspapers and magazines, though not all contained comics. The libraries which I had the chance to consult are the Macmillan Library in Nairobi, the Kenyan National Archives in Nairobi and the East Africana Collection of the Library of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and I thank the staff of these institutions, who searched dusty shelves for me.

What are Swahili Comics?

But before tracing Swahili comics the question arises: What is a Swahili comic – what is Swahili and what is a comic? Concerning comics various people have come up with different definitions. Some call comics a hybrid medium, a “bastard on paper“, in which text and picture complement each other (Cuccolini, 2002: 67). A point supported by Harvey, who calls the “visual-verbal blend principle … the first principle” (Harvey, 1994: 10) in the analysis of comics. Others put more emphasis on the sequence of pictures that narrates a story like Eisner who calls comics “sequential art” (Eisner, 1990) or McCloud who defines comics as “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” (McCloud, 1993: 9). However more problematic is the question, what Swahili is. There are those who support the classical image of the Swahili as the urban Islamic merchant population which acted as an intermediate between the population of the East African hinterland and foreign traders who arrived at the East African coast (Middleton, 1992). Today this definition seems to be

3/21 obsolete as Swahili is spread all over East Africa and many people acquired it as mother tongue without having any connection to the old trading folk (also see Askew, 2003: 54, 65, 80). If we know what comics are and who Swahili are, do we know what Swahili comics are? Definitely, they have to use the Swahili language, but what about the artist? Does he or she have to be a Swahili or an African? Is any comic written in Swahili a Swahili comic, even if it has been translated into Swahili from a foreign language? The answer seems to be no. For examples many bible comics which are used by missionaries are simply translation without any cultural adoption of the setting or explanations for an East African audience. Nevertheless for this article I have considered all comics which use the Swahili language to be a Swahili comic, though I am aware of the shortcomings of this approach. But it is often difficult to find out whether the artist is an African or not. Often the comics are not signed by the artist. Moreover when they are signed the name alone does not indicate the origin of the artist as an African may choose an English pseudonym or vice versa.

Comics in Advertisement

The earliest example of the use of Swahili words and drawings which could be found was an advertisement for tea, which appeared in the August 1940 issue of Rafiki Yetu (see Figure 1), a catholic journal for the Kenya Colony. 3 The same series advertisements started in the September 1940 issue of Mambo Leo a Swahili monthly journal published by the administration of the Tanganyika Territory and on sale since 1928 (Whiteley, 1969: 63). These advertisements endorsed the consumption of tea as a healthy beverage at any time. Under the headline “CHAI inakupa nguvu” (Tea gives you strength), four panels tell the story how tea cheers up your husband after work, how it helps your sleepy brother to get out of bed in the morning or how your hardworking wife gains new strength after doing the laundry. Although no speech-balloons are used in this comic, the visual-verbal principle is obvious. The speech is situated above the persons within the panels. The story differs from advertisement to advertisement but the fifth unframed picture always displays a happy family drinking tea with the bold slogan “KUNWA (sic!) chai upata (sic!) nguvu” (Drink tea and you will get strength). This comic is not signed so it is not possible to tell, who the artist was. But it seems to be obvious that it was not somebody with a proper command of Swahili as the slogan contained two spelling mistakes. The Swahili word for to drink is kunywa and not kunwa. The second mistake of the second person singular subjunctive form of -pata (to get) which is upate and not upata was corrected from the fourth advertisement onwards.

4/21

Insert FIGURE1: Tea Advertisement Comic in Rafiki Yetu 1940

That the earliest Swahili comic, which could be traced so far, is a commercial comic for advertisement is significant for the beginning of the Swahili comic genre. In the 1950s and 1960s many companies endorsed their products via comics. In most popular Swahili journals and newspapers commercial comics appeared. Usually they promote the product within an African environment and with African heroes. An exception is Hamam Soap which used Indian ladies and Swahili text to endorse their beauty product (Tazama 18.01.1955) hence creating a funny hybrid which was obviously not appreciated by the African target group, as Indians are not very popular in East Africa. But the Hamam PR department learned and later African ladies appeared in the adverts (Baragumu 06.09.1956). The African context does however not mean a specific Swahili context. For example the promotional comics of Blue Band margarine were published in Swahili in the Kenyan paper Taifa but also in Luganda in the Ugandan sister paper Taifa Empya. The hero of the Blue Band adverts is the boy Juma who prevents a train disaster (Tazama 1960) (see Figure 2), fights cattle thieves (Taifa Empya 22.08.1964) or kills a cobra that is about to eat a baby (Nyota 03/1964). These comics seem to be the result of a brainstorm from European PR agents as they display prejudiced images of Africa as a dark continent full of dangers in which a boy strengthened by Blue Band margarine can become a hero.

Insert FIGURE2: Margarine advertisement comic in Tazama 1960.

Another commercial comic which exploits the images of dangerous wild Africa is the advertisement for Eveready batteries in which a boy survives adventures. Here the Eveready batteries put in the torch of the herding boy gave such a bright light that enabled the raiding leopard to be hunted down (Taifa 1969). But there are also other examples of advertisement comics which tell the reader, supposedly the modern African of the 1950s and 1960s, how to succeed in life. In various comics, Singer sewing machines were propagated as the basis of making a fortune. By investing in a Singer, the buyer would start a flourishing tailoring business (Taifa 1969, Baragumu 08.12.1957, Baragumu 1959). Also, commercial banks like Barclays (Tazama 1955) and Standard (Nyota 03/1964) promised riches to the readers of their comics. In fact, the early Barclays adverts have similarities with the awareness campaigns of present day microfinance development projects, as they both appeal to the readers not to hide

5/21 their money in the pillow or mattress, where it will be stolen, but to bring it to the bank, where the interest rates would even make your money grow. Another comic story narrates the way a clever guy managed to buy a bicycle – a great achievement in those days - after just a few months of bank savings. Bears’ Honeydew Cigarettes comics (Tazama 05.01.1955) tell the tales of the sportsman “Tomasi Tembo” (Thomas Elephant), who is named after the elephant that is displayed on the cigarette packet. “Tomasi Tembo” wins bicycle races in spite of a sliding chain, knocks out his opponent in heavy weight boxing and of course scores the last minute winning goal for his soccer team and explains his success by the fact that he only smokes Honeydrew cigarettes. There are also many other products which were endorsed by Swahili comics. In the Kenyan Tazama 4 Journal of 1955 which had a circulation of around 17,000 (Whiteley, 1969: 67) and was distributed throughout East Africa there are examples for Timex watches, Burnol Antiseptic Creme, Palodrine anti malaria pills and Royal baking powder. The weekly paper Baragumu which appeared in the Tanganyika Territory had furthermore in its 1956 editions comic advertisements for: Antepa anti worm medicine, Simba Brooke Bond Tea and Rexpel anti worm medicine. And the Kenyan weekly Baraza ran comics for Michelin tyres in 1953 as well as for Phensic painkillers, Cadbury’s chocolate, Surf soap, Life Guard soap, Nucycle bicycle polish and Calgas cooking gas. These are just a few examples to demonstrate the range of products that used Swahili comics for their promotion. From the 1970s onwards however the use of comics for the promotion of commercial products has declined as the advertising industry started using other formats to sell their clients ideas.

Early funnies

Besides commercial comics there are also various examples of Swahili funnies though the earliest example which could be traced appeared eleven years after the tea promotion comics. The October 1951 issue of Mambo Leo introduces “picha za kuchekesha” (pictures which make you laugh), a regular feature strip with a little introduction to its readers: Mwezi huu tunaanza picha za kuchekesha , na tunatumaini kuwapa wasomaji wetu picha namna hizi kila mwezi. Kwa kukosea picha za mwezi huu zimepigwa chapa ndogo – miezi mingine tutazikuza. (This month we start humorous pictures and we hope to give our readers pictures of this kind every month. By mistake the pictures of this month have been printed in small size – we will enlarge them in the months.) This first strip does not have a title but it is signed with C.S.S., probably the acronym of the artist who could not be identified closer and the year of its publication. This first strip is a

6/21 sequence of five square panels which narrate the story of a guy, Bwana Ali, showing off with his bicycle and carrying two ladies, Bibi Fatuma and Bibi Chausiku, one sitting on the rear carrier, the other one sitting on the front carrier. They all fall down and Bwana Ali complains that his beautiful bike got broken, without caring about the injured ladies. The dialogue is not written in speech balloons but underneath each panel. That this first strip was printed in a small size is explained by the fact that it consists of five panels. Its successors have only four panels. As there was a clearly defined spacing for these funny pictures in the journal, each of the panels could be printed in bigger size than the five panels of the maiden strip. These strips also had a capture explaining the content of the strip like Mtu aliyejaribu kuua tembo na mkuki (Someone trying to kill an elephant with a spear) (Mambo Leo December 1951) or vijana huweza kuchunga au kuwa askari wa mflame (youths can do herding or become a royal soldier) (Mambo Leo November 1952). These strips had everyday colonial life as topic. Although they quite often made fun out of the European colonial masters, like their inability to distinguish an egg from a golf ball (January 1953) or their incapability to hit a nail properly (July 1952), they perpetuated the image of Europeans in superior positions whereas the Africans, who sometimes might be clever, were just fit to be servants, houseboys or in the best case, soldiers. Obviously the colonial administration was propagated in this government paper while African values were portrayed as outdated as is seen in the November 1952 edition. Here Juma, who is a regular character in the Mambo Leo comics, was send by his father with a foot kick to herd cattle as it is the duty for youths in many East African societies. But instead of following the father’s orders as African custom requires he reports at the local recruitment office to enrol as colonial soldier. Afterwards he returns to his father’s home and asks to be saluted. Here he commits two insults: first disobeying his father’s orders to herd the cattle then behaving disrespectful by asking to be saluted by the father instead of saluting him. As I doubt that East Africans would ridicule their elders in this way I speculate that the artist C.S.S. is a European.

Insert FIGURE3: A Funny in Mambo Leo 12, 1954: The youth can become a herdsboy or a royal soldier: Father: Go and herd the goats you lazy child, stupid Juma.; Juma sees a soldier; Juma is enrolling himself in soldier’s work; After six months he reaches his home. Juma: If you see me stand up and salute me. I am Juma a royal soldier. The first hint for an African cartoonist can be found in Tazama No. 21 of 27th August 1952. This is the start of the strip “Mrefu” (the tall one) drawn by W.S. Agutu (see Figure 4). As

7/21 Agutu is a name from the Luo community whose origins are in Western Kenya, it can be assumed that the artist is an African. Also Obonyo (2004: 101) mentions a William Agutu, but without giving details. The main character of the “Mrefu”-strip is a tall man called Mrefu. In two or three panels Agutu lets Mrefu get in trouble with his tall legs, shoving the tea table or falling over rubbish bins but usually people laugh about Mrefu’s backwardness. For example when he is told to typewrite, piga tapureta, which literally translates as “hit the typewriter”, he hits the typewriter with a stick much to the anger of his boss.

Insert FIGURE4: “Mrefu” by W. Agutu in Tazama 1952. “I want work as a secretary”; “Do you know how to beat a typewriter [meaning to type]?” “This is easy for me.” “You what is this?”

Besides Mrefu, Tazama printed also other comics. One sports strip without words was “Alnacha Mwendaspoti”. It was drawn by Heriz, probably a pseudonym for a European artist. Another strip which ran in Tazama for many years was “Rita”. It narrated in serialized form the adventures of a young African lady called Rita. Every “Rita”-strip consists of two rows so that it stands out from the other single row strips. The heroine Rita accompanies expeditions into unknown parts of the continent (“Rita and the lost Tribe”, 1955), fights with criminals (“Rita and the gun runners” 1955) and also takes part in fighting the Mau Mau peasant revolt (“Rita and the Mau Mau Gang” 1954). The artist of the Rita series is not mentioned, only a “copyright Tazama Nairobi” is remarked. Rita, just like Mambo Leo’s Juma, is a collaborator of the colonial regime, as she fights the Mau Mau freedom movement. Later in 1960 she is still an ideological hardliner as she ridicules communism in “Rita Ukomunisti” (1960). But it is remarkable that her language has changed. She mastered her early adventures in English. This suggests that this comic was not originally drawn for the Swahili paper Tazama. However later, the examples which could be obtained are from 1960, Rita started talking Swahili.

“Juha Kalulu”: A Kenyan Comic Veteran

But Tazama’s main contribution to Swahili comics is the fact that it is the birthplace of the longest running Swahili comic: “Juha Kalulu” (Stupid Hare). “Juha Kalulu” is created by the grand old man of Kenyan cartooning Edward Gicheri Gitau. 5 The first strip was published in Tazama on 18th May 1955 (see Figure 5). Gitau remembers that there was also a Luganda

8/21 Version of Tazama for the populace of the Uganda protectorate. But no Luganda version of Tazama could be traced in the libraries. Instead a Luganda version of Taifa, the Swahili paper which continued publishing “Juha Kalulu” later could be found, though the few volumes available did not contain any “Juha Kalulu”-strips. Nevertheless it seems likely, that the Luganda speaking “Juha Kalulu” appeared there. Gitau, born in 1930, started drawing in his childhood days. But due to lack of pencils and papers he used to scratch images in Stones or simply draw in the sand. He was one of the few Kenyans at that time who received secondary education at the Kenya Teachers College. In fact one of his teachers was Jomo Kenyatta who later became the first Kenyan President. After finishing his education he headed for Tanganyika where he worked for the Overseas Food Cooperation as an electrician. During that time he developed his masterly command of Swahili, because in Tanzania, Swahili is spoken by everyone and at all occasions. Gitau returned to Kenya after a few years to work for the Public Works Department, whose acronym PWD he translates as Punda Wengi Duniani, “many donkeys on earth”, referring to the work conditions. After he got an accident he looked for another job. He capitalized on his drawing skills and was employed by the East African Standard. There he started doing illustrations for newspapers, like drawing advertisements or a picture for a serialised novel. One of the major entertainments in the 1950s was the cinema. Gitau says that he enjoyed watching Walt Disney’s “Mickey Mouse” and got inspired to draw a cartoon. He chose to draw a man, behaving in a stupid way and he called the man “Juha Kalulu”. Juha is Swahili with the connotation of an idiot, though Gitau translates it more humorously as clown. Kalulu, according to Gitau, is the Nyasa expression for hare. 6 Nyasa is a language which is spoken around Lake Malawi and he came about it as he worked in Southern Tanzania. In East African folktales the hare is portrayed as a clever guy, having the qualities of a trickster. Gitau says he liked the contradiction between clownish and clever, therefore choosing the name. Moreover, he decided that his hero should have long pointed ears resembling the hare’s ear. Insert FIGURE5: “Juha Kalulu’s” maiden strip in Tazama 18th May 1955: “Ahh and still you continue to laugh!”

When he presented the strip to the editor, the editor was impressed thus “Juha Kalulu” gave his debut in Tazama. According to Gitau’s memory, “Juha Kalulu” moved to the weekly paper Baraza after Tazama ceased to be published. But these claims could not be verified in the archives. In fact no drawing signed with Gitau could be traced in the available Baraza

9/21 issues. The only hint for Gitau’s activities at Baraza is an illustration of 1953 signed “Kalulu”, probably Gitau’s pseudonym. Other cartoons of Gitau appeared in the Journal Nyota (e.g. in the March 1964 issue). But for sure “Juha Kalulu” started appearing in the weekly Taifa paper, and as Taifa became a daily, Taifa Leo, “Kalulu” featured in the Sunday edition, Taifa Jumapili. But on the 1st April 1974 “Juha Kalulu” gave his debut in the daily Taifa Leo after a facelift of the layout of Taifa Leo. This strip was remarkable as it contains a self portrait of Gitau who is sending his creature “Kalulu” to the readers of Taifa Leo (Figure 6). 7 Since then, “Kalulu” has been with Taifa Leo, culminating to more than 10,000 “Juha Kalulu” strips that Gitau must have created to date. These days, “Kalulu” is even appearing in colour, which takes much more time to draw as Gitau is brushing by hand (see Figure 7). Insert FIGURE6: “Juha Kalulu” giving his debut as a daily strip in Taifa Leo 1st April 1974: “Kalulu wake up, the readers of Taifa Leo are eagerly waiting for you” “All right Sir, I am coming”; “Kalulu wake up. Mr. Gitau is calling you to enjoy the readers of Taifa.” “Tell him I am tired. He let me sleep a little bit.” “Stand up. Don’t sleep like FUKARA. Wake up and beat laziness.” “Leave me, you cruel woman!”; “Dress fast and go to work.” “Ah why do working days start in the morning, when sleep is the sweetest?”

It seems as if “Juha Kalulu” has not changed much during the last fifty years. His appearance today is the same as in his oldest strips. Kalulu likes to sleep long, never manages to dress properly, lacks sufficient financial resources and in social interaction with his fellows he always gets into trouble. He is married to his wife Seera. She is more sensible than Kalulu as she throws him out of bed in the mornings to make sure he won’t be late for work. Seera more or less tries to manage Kalulu’s life which he regularly messes up. They have a son called Ujimoto, meaning “hot porridge”. Though Kalulu and Seera have not aged in their appearances, Ujimoto has grown from a child to a youth 8 . Kalulu’s best companion however is his dog Taska. The name of the dog has been derived from the Kenyan beer brand Tusker indicating that the dog is a useless drunkard. The format of the strip is four panels which either appear in a long row or in two rows of two pictures. In the early days Kalulu countered different problems in each strip. But since “Juha Kalalu” appears as a daily strip, the readers follow his life as a never ending, always continuing story. Kalulu can spend several weeks trying to lead his goats to the market for sale but chasing after them as they run away. Due to the immense productivity of more than ten thousand “Juha Kalulu”-strips, Gitau sometimes recycles his own work. E.g. the strip of Kalulu being too stupid to milk a cow appears more or

10/21 less similar on 10th/11th February 1986 and on 14th/15th December 2003. Notwithstanding Gitau also gets inspired by other comics.

Insert FIGURE7 E.G. Gitau colouring a “Juha Kalulu”-strip in December 2003.

Kalulu’s problem of fast growing hair after consuming the herbal medicine of a local medicine man, which he faces over some weeks in January 1989 has striking similarities to the way Getafix cheats the Romans by brewing a fake magic portion for them which keeps their hair growing fast in the first Asterix volume, “Asterix the Gaul”. The only change in Kalulu’s life is that he started as an urban character but later changed into a rural dweller. This seems to be the consequence of a changing audience. Whereas in the colonial days Swahili was the lingua franca of the Kenyan towns (and of course of the coastal region) in the rural areas the various vernaculars dominated. This has changed. The modern urban Kenyan of today buys English papers whereas Taifa Leo is targeted at the less educated Swahili speaking readers and has its biggest market outside of the capital Nairobi. “Juha Kalulu”-strips were published in three books in 1978, 1981 and 1991, though Gitau says he never made any profit out of these. Even in 2004 at the age of 73, Gitau does his daily strip on his desk in the news office of the Nation Group, Kenya’s biggest media company. He even has plans for a “Juha Kalulu”-radio programme of 15 minutes which will be aired by Nation FM, a radio station of the same media group which publishes the cartoon. Besides his big success “Juha Kalulu”, Gitau also started the strips “Masharabu World” for the Sunday Nation and “Darubini ya Pweza” (The binoculars of the Octopus) for the Saturday edition of Taifa Leo.

Tanzanian Comic Ancestors

In his article on Tanzanian cartooning Packalén wrote: “During the colonial period up to independence, Tanzanian cartooning was almost non-existent” (Packalén, 2001). However if he means that there were no cartoons in Tanzania, he is wrong, as the Mambo Leo strips and other examples below demonstrate. But if Packalén means that there were not many cartoons drawn by Tanzanians, he might be right, as the only strip which was for sure drawn by a Tanzanian at that time and could be traced in the libraries is “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo” (Idiot Kasembe and the modern environment), which was drawn by Peter Paulo Kasembe, who gave his cartoon his very own name, adding a not so charming Juha (idiot).

11/21 “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo” gave its debut in the weekly paper Baragumu on 9th August 1956. It was accompanied by following editorial remarks: Sasa Baragumu lawatolea mpango mpya wa vichekesho. Hapa tunamwona Juha Kasembe katika nyumba ya mpenzi wake. Kwa sababu ya uroho wake wa maji ya moto ambayo mpenzi wake alitaka amtegenezee chai alimmwagikia na kumuunguza vikale sana. (Now Baragumu publishes for you a new programme of funnies. Here we see Stupid Kasembe in the house of his lover. Because of his greediness for hot water which his lover wants to use to make him tea he pours it on himself and burns himself badly.) Kasembe’s outfit consists of a checked long sleeved shirt which in combination with white shorts and sandals gives him a comical appearance. Moreover he is wearing shades and combs his hair parted in the middle. Kasembe is a youth who likes to show off but blunders in doing so as he crushes into a tree after doing stunts with his new bicycle (6th September 1956), or falls from a ladder because he does not want to remove his trendy sandals before climbing (25th October 1956). As the strip is called Idiot Kasembe and the modern environment, quite often Kasembe proves his ignorance in the use of modern utensils of the 1950s. As he hears the voice of a radio he starts talking to it (4th October 1956), furthermore he does not know that he has to lift the receiver while making a phone call (27th September 1956) (see Figure 8). Kasembe’s mishaps are framed into four panels. The artist, who initially signed with P.P.K. and from 1957 onwards with P.P. Kasembe, used speech balloons but there is still a text under each strip which explains what is happening in the pictures. Probably the editors felt that the readers needed some guidance to understand the new medium of comic and to develop their comic reading skills. Therefore the text dominates over the pictures in the whole composition. Insert FIGURE8: “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo” in Baragumu 20th September 1956: ”Kasembe, John is badly injured. Go and phone the police.”; “Hallo police, John is very badly injured.” Subtext: Living in town does not mean to understand all what’s going on in town. Look at Mr. Kasembe who is known to be a hooligan in town but still he does not know how to use a telephone. His friend John fell with a bicycle and was very badly injured and Mr. Kasembe was send to phone. But is this the right way to use a telephone? I hope it is only Kasembe who does not know this thing.

The “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo”-strips seem to end in 1957. But in 1959 Peter Paulo Kasembe had a comeback with another strip called “Mhuni Hamisi” (Hooligan Hamisi). The earliest “Mhuni Hamisi”-strip which could be traced was published on 12th November 1959. It narrates how Hamisi tries to escape arrest by cops in a bar but gets caught

12/21 by the use of tear gas. As Hamisi’s offence is not revealed in this strip there seem to have been predecessors which could not be obtained yet. Later he escapes the police cells and is on the run. The “Mhuni Hamisi”-strip is drawn in quite a realistic style. Whereas “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo”, “Juha Kalulu” and the Mambo Leo cartoons were funnies, “Mhuni Hamisi” seems to be the earliest Swahili adventure strip. Fist fights are drawn in a very dynamic way and Kasembe used a lot of black ink to create dark shadows where Hamisi hides from the police force. This style is remarkably different from Kasembe’s first naïve “Juha Kasembe na ulimwengu wa leo” strip. One possible influence could be the Western cartoon “Roy Rogers” which appeared in Baragumu around 1958 and 1959. These strips were printed in the English original whereas a Swahili translation was given underneath the panels. 9 Another adventure comic appeared even before “Roy Rogers” in Baragumu. For a few weeks in 1957 a cartoon which had no title, but a hero called Victor, was published. This African boy was working for Bwana Morton, a European agent of an oil company (Baragumu 16.11.1957ff.). As there are no oil wells in East Africa, this comic seems to be an import which was translated into Swahili. Another very popular cartoon is “Chakubanga”. According to Packalén “Chakubanga” started appearing in 1967 in Uhuru (Packalén, 2001). 10 Uhuru was the paper of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU, later CCM Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Revolution Party), the Party of President Nyerere. With the nationalisation policy and the idea of state controlled economy Uhuru became the dominant Swahili paper in Tanzania in the 1970s and 1980s whereas most other Swahili papers were closed down. For those who follow the comic definition of sequential art, “Chakubanga” is not a comic figure as he appears only in one panel and not in a sequence. But as he appeared in the leading Tanzanian paper, “Chakubanga” had a strong influence on the Tanzanian cartoonists of the 1970s and 1980s. “Chakubanga” was created by the artist Christian Gregory who was just like his Kenyan colleague Gitau a trained electrician. Packalén explains that the name “Chakubanga” has the meaning of “the one who looks foolish” in the Makonde language of Southern Tanzania. And indeed Chakubanga’s looks are particularly smart as he walks around barefoot and in torn shorts (see Figure 9), but after a few years of appearance, Gregory dressed him in a decent pair of black trousers. “Chakubanga” poses as the ordinary man from the street, at least the way the ordinary man was seen by the ruling party TANU, having some minor vices like drinking and chasing women or criticizing corrupt practices in local administration but being content with the political system and government in general and a bit conservative, e.g. when he makes fun out of women wearing mini-skirts. Chakubanga has a son called Chupaki and a

13/21 wife known only as Mama Chupaki (Chupaki’s mother). Other regular characters that appear in the cartoon are the friend Polo and the old man Mzee Bushiri. The “Chakubanga” cartoon became very popular. “Chakubanga” booklets were published containing a collection of his cartoons. 11 Insert FIGURE 9: “Chakubanga” “Ok, two for one, who has seen where the European [a playing card] is lying?” “Stop your daylight robbery. Are you not ashamed? And where have you seen that a European is lying [sleeping] on the street?” In: Uhuru 27. March 1969

Christian Comics

Besides commercial comics, funnies and adventure strips there are also early examples of Swahili comics to be found, which are less profane. In the monthly protestant journal Uhuru na Amani (freedom and peace) a series called “Hadithi Yesu alizosema” (Parables which were told by Jesus) started in June 1961 (see Figure 10). Each parable was put into a comic of four rows which took around three quarters of a page. Such a big space dedicated to one comic story was quite a lot. Unfortunately the artist of this series is not known but without a doubt these comics targeted an African audience because quite frequently in the last panels of each comic some Africans are shown reading the bible and discussing the lesson from the parables. Therefore Obonyo’s assumption that “missionary-sponsored publications may have not carried cartoons since this may have been considered a dilution of the seriousness of the gospel message” (Obonyo, 2004: 99) cannot be generalized for all mission papers. At least Uhuru na Amani and Kiongozi, as will be shown below, used the means of comics to spread the gospel and to get the attention of the readers. Just like today in the 1950s and 1960s there is not much difference between advertising a commercial product or a new belief to the customers. Even in the 1980s and 1990s missions published Swahili Christian comics like “Yesu Masiha” (Prophet Jesus), which was drawn by the Dutchman Willem de Vink and translated into Swahili (Vink n.d.). Another example is a comic series called “Heroes of Faith”, which narrates the lives of Moses, Abraham, Elijah and others and was published by United Bible Societies also in a Swahili version. As the originals were drawn by Johnny Yngente, an artist from the Philippines, this is a remarkable example of South-South relations in the comic scene. 12 As they are relatively cheap and printed in colour they are quite popular, and are commonly brought for children of Christian families. But as they lack humour and sex, the essentials of

14/21 successful Tanzanian comics, they are not in such a high demand like their secular counterparts. The same can be said of development comics, which could be labelled a form of mission comics as they propagate a western educated life.

Insert FIGURE 10 “Hadithi Yesu alizosema”. In: Uhuru na Amani August 1961

Cartoons and cartoonists crossing borders

The article so far has shown that there were comic imports coming to East Africa from overseas, probably Europe and North America. However there is also an inner-African exchange of comics. An early example can be found in the catholic paper Kiongozi (Leader). From August 1955 onwards there appear the adventures of “Karikenye”. The early stories carry the hint “adopted from Hodi”. Hodi is a mission newspaper from the Belgian Congo in which this comic appeared under the name “Rukukuye”. The Hodi editions which could be obtained date back to 1960. “Rukukuye” was also published in the Congolese paper Katanga, which appeared in the Southern Katanga province of Congo (Katanga 08. April 1959). But as “Rukukuye” was that successful, leading to its adoption by a Tanganyikan paper in 1955, it could be speculated if the Swahili comic tradition in Congo is older than in East Africa or not. But without a doubt the Congo roots of Swahili comics are important and have been overlooked so far. If one considers the comic traditions of the Belgium colonialists in the Congo it is not surprising that they had the idea to adopt this medium in their publications. Other hints on cartooning in Belgian Congo can be found in Knigge, who mentions the Congo as the only African country with a comic scene dating back to the 1940s, when the series “Mbumbulu” was published and mission journals like Tamtam, Caraven or Vivante Afrique used comics to entertain their readers (Knigge, 1996: 238). The adoption of the Congolese comic for the Tanganyikan audience meant changing names and places to fit into an East African setting. Moreover the Congo-Swahili, which differs a bit from the Standard Swahili of East Africa had to be changed. Quite often there were also some changes concerning the number of panels. In the Congolese original, each “Rukukuye” story consists of ten panels whereas in the Tanganyikan version, the story is split into two parts consisting of five panels each. The “Rukukuye/Kalikenye” stories do not use speech balloons but have the dialogue and explanations written under each panel. “Rukukuye/Kalikenye” is a boy who dresses like a scout in shorts, shirt and a beret. The outstanding tip of the beret makes him look like an African brother of “Totor”, the first strip of the famous Belgian comic

15/21 artist Hergé (http://www.herge.de/totor.html). This is an indication that Fivet, the artist who signed the strip is a Belgian. In fact some of the jokes like “Rukukuye/Kalikenye” falling from a train platform belong to Hergé’s repertoire of the clowneries of the detectives Dupont and Dupondt (Kiongozi September 1959) (see Figure 11). “Rukukuye/Kalikenye” is a schoolboy doing odd jobs but nevertheless he is travelling around the world to win bicycle races in France (Kiongozi November 1957) and even to become President (Kiongozi 9. Noveber 1959). But in the later editions of the Kiongozi paper the “Karikenye” cartoon changes. The style of the “Karikenye” became close to that of “Chakubanga”. Instead of being an adventure hero in five to ten panels, “Karikenye” starts commenting on social issues in only one panel, e.g. on Presidential elections (Kiongozi 10, 1975) or advises how to get unemployed townspeople to work on the fields (Kiongozi 01, 1976). His appearance is the same as in the old editions but the artist has changed. Instead of “Fivet” the panel bears the signature of “J.M.K.”.

Insert FIGURE11 “Karikenye” missing a train after spending too much time in a bar. In: Kiongozi September 1955

Besides “Rukukuye/Kalikenye” there are other examples for East African cartoons crossing borders. In the last ten years the Tanzanian cartoon “Kingo”, which has been created by the Tanzanian James Gayo spread all over East Africa and beyond. It started as a cartoon for Uhuru before moving to the Majira paper. Nowadays it appears in various Tanzanian papers like Mtanzania or Bingwa as well as in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia. Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia (Packalén, 2001, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 2001:120 and Manyire, 2002). But the most successful emigration of a cartoon is the example of “Ndumilakuwili” (Graebner, 1995: 264, Beck, 1999: 92). “Ndumilakuwili” entered Kenya and changed his name into “Kazibure”. Kenyan papers were in need of funnies thus “Kazibure” was very welcome. “Juha Kalulu’s” success as a Swahili daily strip had its impact on other Kenyan Swahili newspapers. In May 1983 the then ruling only party Kenya African National Union, KANU, started the Swahili paper Kenya Leo (Kenya Today) as a sister paper of the Kenya Times. After a few cartoon-less weeks the strip “Visa vya Mtupeni” (the adventures of Mtupeni) drawn by Oswaggo appeared. But it seems as if “Mtupeni” was no match for the competitor “Kalulu” as it was stopped after only one and a half years. Nevertheless Oswaggo continued being a designer for Kenya Leo. He was drawing the editorial cartoon which appeared on the prominent page for political comments. As Kenya Leo was a party

16/21 newspaper, Oswaggo’s cartoons never criticized the government or even dared to draw caricatures of politicians. Instead he appealed to the readers to do their best in building the nation by stopping being corrupt or drinking. In the same instructive manner are Oswaggo’s “Uungwana ni…” (“Gentlemenlike is…”) cartoons, which are a remake of Kim’s “Love is…” . There he suggests: “Gentlemen like is … not to quarrel with your boss”, or “Gentlemen like is … not to stay in town without a job” (but to return to the village and till the field). In this case cartoons were used to bring the readers straight to the line of KANU, the ruling party. But what makes Kenya Leo of interest for comic research is the fact, that from 5th January 1985 onwards the strip “Kazibure” (useless job) started appearing in this newspaper. It was drawn by Philip Ndunguru. Ndunguru was born in 1962 in Southern Tanzania. At young age he was given the job of the chief cartoonist of the SANI magazine where he developed prominent cartoons like “Madenge” or “Komredi Kipepe” (Bongotoons, 2003). As an economic crisis hit Tanzania hard and according to rumours after a quarrel with the SANI editor he tried his luck in neighbouring Kenya. It was a remarkable step at that time as Tanzania was seen as a socialist role model, whereas Kenya was the darling of the capitalist West. Both countries did not get on very well at that time as the Tanzanians criticised Kenya’s “man eats man society” whereas the Kenyans made fun out of the Tanzanians calling them a “man eats nothing society”. Even the borders between both countries were closed in the 1980s. Nevertheless Ndunguru made it to Nairobi and found employment with the Kenya Times publishing house. Nairobi’s media scene also attracted other foreign cartoonists, as the examples of Frank Odoi from Ghana, the Ugandan James Tumusiime or the Tanzanian Gado demonstrate (Obonyo, 2004: 105ff., Salahi, 1998, Gikonyo, 1986: 189). Ndunguru’s strip “Kazibure” which started on 5th January 1985 (see Figure 12) became one of the most popular Kenyan cartoons. His first strip depicts “Kazibure” as he reads the paper finding out that he got a new job as a cartoon for Kenya Leo. The “Kazibure” strips were such a success that on the 24th January 1985 not even three weeks after his debut in Kenya Leo “Kazibure” also appeared as a Swahili speaking cartoon in the English paper Kenya Times. It is remarkable that a distinguished paper like the Kenya Times publishes a Swahili cartoon as Swahili is in Kenya regarded as a rural language spoken by the folks who cannot use English properly. Nevertheless the educated readers of Kenya Times did not want to miss their “Kazibure” and they found him on the same page as the English speaking cartoon “Bogi Benda”, drawn by James Tumusiime. The “Kazibure” cartoon was on top and had the heading: “The footloose and happy-go-lucky new sensation of the East African comic strip scene, KAZIBURE, appears in The Kenya Times courtesy of Kenya Leo.”

17/21 Ndunguru used his Tanzanian comic character “Ndumilakuwili” from the SANI magazine whom he renamed “Kazibure”. The name “Ndumilakuwili” seemed not to be appropriate for the Kenyan market where the Swahili is slightly different from Tanzania. “Kazibure” is a tall slim guy who walks barefooted through life and wears a black shirt and white trousers. His hat which covers half of his face makes him resemble the famous “Andy Capp” who was published in various English East African Papers, e.g. The Nationalist of the 1967. “Kazibure” is streetwise and has a big mouth which quite often gets him into trouble though through his wit he usually ends having the upper hand in quarrels. Together with “Kazibure” other characters of the SANI magazine appear in “Kazibure”’s strip. The most prominent one is “Madenge”. In 1986 the name of the strip changed and it became “Madenge”. After Ndunguru’s death on 24th May 1986 Oswaggo continues drawing “Madenge” after he had already taken over the job for short periods in 1985. This is the end of the sketch of a Swahili comic history. The developments of the 1990s have been reported by Packalén (2001) for Tanzania and Obonyo (2004) for Kenya. To describe the latest trends like the use of computers in Kenya or the change from comic magazines to comic tabloids in Tanzania 13 would be beyond the scope of this article and has to be done somewhere else.

Insert FIGURE12 “Kazibure” giving his Kenyan debut together with his colleagues Pimbi and Mwinyi Mpeku in Kenya Leo 5th January 1985: “It is true, God is ATHUMANI. They chose me!”; “Hey Kazibure, why are you coming in a rush?” “Have you already read the Kenya Leo newspaper?”; “Oh, it’s news about us!” “I don’t believe my eyes.”; “Welcome to the New Year. Kenya Leo starts the New Year with a new face, the deeds of Kazibure. Don’t miss to read them every day and tell your friends about them.”

Conclusion

This article aimed to shed some light on early Swahili comics. Interestingly there are various roots of Swahili comics. On the one hand comics developed in various places, at the East African media centre in Nairobi, as well as in the centre of popular Swahili culture in Dar es Salaam. Moreover there was also a Swahili comic scene in Congo which had its impact in Tanzania. Maybe it is still there but has not received much attention because of the ongoing civil war. Notably there had been various Swahili comic genres namely funnies or adventure comics for entertainment, commercial comics and also Christian comics. In those early days

18/21 the Swahili audience learned to read comic strips. As Eisner says, “Comics communicate in a ‘language’ that relies on a visual experience common to both creator and audience” (Eisner, 1990: 7). Therefore it was necessary for the Swahili artists as well as the readers to experience comics and to develop their comic language. It took time to develop the “aesthetic perception and intellectual pursuit” (Eisner, 1990: 8) which are the precondition to read comics and are lacked by those who ignore comics. Up to the 1960s the development of comics in East Africa was quite uniform due to the common British colonial administration. Later the scenes split into party guided journalism in Tanzania, whereas in Kenya a professional media scene was established, which is nowadays controlled by two big media groups. Therefore, in Kenya the variety of cartoons is limited but on a very professional level. On the other hand, the liberalisation in Tanzania in the 1990s gave birth to a very diverse media landscape with many opportunities for cartoonists, but with a less professional style. Therefore Tanzania is viewed as a field where an artist can develop his talent but when he (very rarely she) is good he tries to get a good job somewhere else. 14 The different scenes in Kenya and Tanzania have also developed a different comic vocabulary as well. Kenyans call their cartoons vibonzo (sg. kibonzo). They use a different Swahili expression than their Swahili speaking neighbours, the Tanzanians. The Tanzanians talk of katuni if they talk of funnies. Comic narrations are called hadithi za michoro (drawn stories), which can be translated as graphic novels. 15 Katuni is obviously an Anglicism derived from “cartoon”. It is remarkable that Tanzanians who are considered to speak a better and purer Swahili borrowed the English word whereas the Kenyans, in whose country English has a much more prominent role than in Tanzania, use a word with Bantu-roots. Katuni, as well as kibonzo are found in the latest Swahili-English dictionary (TUKI, 2001), both with the same translation as “cartoon” and without further hints towards the root of kibonzo. An older Swahili dictionary (TUKI, 1980: 104) explains katuni as “picha inachorwa kueleza wazo fulani lakini kwa namna za kuchekesha” (A picture drawn to explain a certain idea but in a funny way). However there is also an explanation for kibonzo. A dictionary of the Kenyan Swahili slang called Sheng translates the root bonzo as “a person, especially a girl, with an ugly face” (Mbaabu/Nzunga, 2003: 3). Therefore, if the diminutive prefix ki- is added, kibonzo means “a small person with an ugly face” – which makes a good description of a cartoon. Besides the vocabulary there is also a difference in the forms of publications. Whereas in Tanzania there are special comic magazines and newspapers dedicated to cartoons, in Kenya all strips appear in the daily or weekly newspapers. The Tanzanian artist GADO who works

19/21 as political cartoonist for the Kenyan Daily Nation explains this with the hard competition of the Kenyan market, which is dominated by the Standard and the Nation media groups. In Tanzania it is easier to start a magazine and distribute it, whereas a successful Kenyan cartoon magazine like Penknife gets swallowed after several issues by the dailies. Cartoons are part of Zeitgeist as Cuccolini (2002: 66) points out. Through their visual narrative patterns comics are able to give hints on Zeitgeist of the time of their publication. Therefore the Swahili comics of the 1950s tell us something about late colonial Zeigeist, depicting Africans in subordinate positions, and struggling with modern city life, though the latter theme is still popular until today. “Chakubanga” and “Kasembe” are not much known as cartoons in Tanzania these days. But they still have an impact on Tanzanian society as they are still popular nicknames for funny or foolish people, as my friends told me. In the young African nations of the 1960s and 1970s, cartoons often served nation building purposes. Idleness and wastefulness were criticized in cartoons, whereas in the 1990s and in the new millennium the display of wealth is a major topic in Swahili cartoons (Beez and Kolbusa, 2003). The change to multi-party politics also resulted in a vibrant political cartoon scene (Packalén, 2001; Obonyo, 2004: 109ff.). Therefore the study of historical comics does not only serve the documentation of a comic history but gives also insight into the development of public discourses within the framework of popular culture.

References

Askew, Kelly M. 2003. Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics. Dar es Salaam: Kapsel. Beck, Rose Marie. 1999. “Comic in Swahili or Swahili Comic?” AAP 60: 67-101. Beez, Jigal. 2003. “They are Crazy these Swahili – Komredi Kipepe in the Footsteps of Asterix: Globalisation in East African Comics.” International Journal of Comic Art. 5:1, pp. 95-114. Beez, Jigal. 2004. “Katuni za Miujuza: Fantastic Comics from East Africa.” International Journal of Comic Art. 6:1, pp. 77-95. Beez, Jigal and Stefanie Kolbusa. 2003. “Kibiriti Ngoma: Gender Relations in Swahili Comics and Taarab Music.” Stichproben Vienna Journal of African Studies. 5, pp. 49-71. Bongotoons. 2003. “Phillip Ndunguru: Pioneering Comic Artist.” http://www.vmcaa.nl/bongotoons/engels/pages/stripfiguren.htm. Accessed 12.11.2003.

20/21 Cuccolini, Guilio. 2002. „Ein Bastard auf Papier.“ In Ästhetik des Comics, edited by Michael Hein, Michael Hüners and Torsten Michaelsen, pp. 59-69. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag. Eisner, Will. 1990. Comics & Sequencial Art: Principles & Practice of the Worlds Most Popular Art Form; Expanded to include print and computer. Tamarac: Poorhouse. Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. 2001. Art in Politics – Sanaa katika Siasa: The first East African competition on political caricatures and cartoons. Dar es Salaam: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Gikonyo, Waithira. 1986. “Comics and Comic strips in the mass media in Kenya.” In Comics and visual culture: Research studies from ten countries, edited by Alphons Silbermann & H.D. Dyroff, pp.185-195. München: Saur. Graebner, Werner. 1995. „Mambo: Moderne Textformen und rezente Sprachentwicklung in Dar es Salaam.“ In Swahili Handbuch, edited by G. Miehe and W. Möhlig, pp. 263-277. Köln: Köppe. Harvey, Robert C. 1994. The Art of Funnies: An Aesthetic History. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press. Knigge, Andreas C. 1996. Comics: Vom Massenblatt ins multimediale Abenteuer. Reinbek: rororo. Kunzle, David. 1973. The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and Picture Stories in the European Broadsheet from c. 1450 to 1825. Berkely: University of California Press. Lanternari, Vitorio. 1970. “Comic art and caricatures in non-European cultures: Africa.” In Encyclopaedia of World Art Vol. III, edited by Mario Salmi, pp. 774. New York: McGrawHill. Lent, John A. 1996. Comic Art in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America: A comprehensive international bibliography. Westport: Greenwood Press. Manyire, Wilson. 2002. “The Brain Behind Kingo Cartoon.” New Vision (Kampala) January 17, 2002. Mbaabu, Ireri and Kipande Nzunga. 2003. Sheng – English Dictionary: Deciphering East Africa’s Underworld Language. Dar es Salaam: TUKI. McCloud, Scott. 1993. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Northampton: Kitchen Sink Press. Middleton, John. 1992. The World of the Swahili: An African Mercantile Civilisation. New Haven: Yale University Press. Mung’ou, Titus. 2000. “Ni Mzee Mbabe wa Vibonzo.” Taifa Leo 26.10.2000 Obonyo, Levi. 2004. “Cartoonists in Kenya: Past Present and Future.” International Journal of Comic Art. 6:1, pp. 96-116.

21/21 Packalén, Leif. 2001. Comics: Tanzania overview. http://www.worldcomics.fi/tzarticle.html. Accessed 19.08.2003. Salahi, Katherine. 1998. “Talking Books: James Tumusiime in Conversation with Katherine Salahi.” BPN Newsletter 24, December 1998. http://www.bellagiopublishingnetwork.org/newsletter24/salahi4.htm Accessed 01.03.2004 TUKI. 1980. Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu. Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press. TUKI. 2001. Swahili English Dictionary. Dar es Salaam: Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili. Vink, Willem de. n.d. Yesu Masiha. Houten: Sichting Wereldtaal. Whiteley, Wilfred. 1969. Swahili: The Rise of a National Language. London: Methuen.

Jigal Beez is an anthropologist who has studied, worked and did research in Tanzania and Uganda. He has published to various aspects of East Africa, including comics. Since 2000 he is a member of the collaborative research programme “local agency in Africa in the context of global influences” at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

Gado’s website is http://www.gadonet.com/ and the site for Kingo Magazine is http://members.tripod.com/chumvi/kingo.htm. There also used to be http://www.kenyatoons.com, a site of Kenyan comic artists. 2 The claim of the artist Gitau (as in Obonyo 2004: 101) of being the first cartoonists to draw Swahili comics is not correct as this paper will demonstrate. Also Gikonyo (1986: 190) gives incorrect dates of comic publications whereas Packalén (2001) does not reveal the sources for his statements at all. 3 There are also hints on comic strips in Swahili military journals of the second world war, but they could not be verified yet. 4 The Kenyan Tazama Journal of the 1950s and early 1960s should not be confused with the Tazama tabloid which appeared in Tanzania in the 1990s. 5 The information on Gitau come from an interview with him from 18.12.2003 and an article by Mung’ou (2000). Also Obonyo (2004: 101), (Beck 1999: 69, 93) and Gikonyo (1986: 190) mention Gitau briefly. 6 The website http://dancinghare.com/africa/ presents two Kalulu stories and explains that the origins of the word Kalulu are from Zambia. Another site http://www.darsie.net/talesofwonder/kalulu.html tells a Kalulu tale from central Africa. It seems Kalulu is widely known in the Bantu world. 7 The information given by Gikonyo (1986: 190) who wrote that Kalulu started appearing 1973 is not correct as he obviously had his first appearance in 1955 and started as a daily in 1974. Though Packalen (2001) did not cite Gikonyo he also mentions 1973 as the beginning of Kalulu even claiming that Kalulu was a spinoff of the Tanzanian cartoon of Juha Kasembe by Peter Paulo Kasembe. Juha Kasembe was according to Packalen published in the 1950s and 1960s but he does not say where, nor does he give an example. 8 Ujimoto is also the name of a hero of a comic strip that appeared the journal Habari za Redio which was published by the African Broadcasting Service in 1957. As there are no indications who the creator of this Ujimoto was it is not possible to say if Gitau created it himself or got simply inspired. 9 Another example for the techique of printing an English original strip and adding Swahili translations can be found in the Tanzanian monthly Lengo. There Paul White’s strip “Jungle Doctor’s Fables” was changed into “Chui aliyekua” (Growing Leopard). Not all speech balloons were translated though but some explanations for the Swahili readers were added. 10 I could not get the 1967 Volume of Uhuru for verification. The 1966 Volume of Uhuru does not contain any Chakubanga cartoons, whereas in 1969 Chakubanga had already started his career. 11 I thank Prof. Gurdrun Miehe for this advise and borrowing me her Chakubanga booklet. 12 On UBS comics see http://www.gospelcom.net/rox35media/noteable.html, accessed 17th March 2004. 13 These were topics of interviews with STANO (17.12.2003) Anthony Mwangi (18.12.2003) and Chris Katembo (05.02.2004). 14 Interview with GADO, 19th December 2003. 15 Interview with Chris Katembo, 05th February 2004.

1