South Africa isn’t just a beautiful country, but it is a country with talent that you have to see to believe. One such talent is Ziyaad Rahmaan creator of Siri Watu.
A few days ago we were lucky enough to receive a copy of Siri Watu: Deseendants of Africa, courtesy of the publisher – Awali Comics. The book is a vividly styled Manga with characters straight out of Africa.
Written and illustrated by the talented Ziyaad Rahman, who has taken the time and dedication into the development of both art and characterisation.
The story follows the adventures on a select group of local individuals and their adventures. The story full of fun and excitement from the very first panel as Dialo battles the monster Ufiti in spectacular fashion. Along with his friends Senzo, Zita and Ayanda.
The art work is simply stunning. His use of lines and a vibrant colour pallet gives the book a sense of true motion and the writing fills the gaps with emotion.
My favorite part is as you read along their are what I call poster pages where the artist gets to really power pose the heroes. The best comics soften comes from fans and here we see both the talent and the fan shine bright.
What was your inspiration behind this gem of a comic book?
My pure, visceral and unnecessary hatred for Captain Planet! I’m absolutely kidding… well slightly. To be fair, I am a blasphema, and Captain Planet is probably an international treasure, and I am also probably the worse planet conscious person, but definitely the great grandfather of inspirations comes from the little bit of Captain Planet that I and my uncle watched. Combining that than with my immense LOVE for Shonnen anime, the 90s symbolism etched in Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Spider, my self-obsession with myself and the history and heritage of South Africa, and POOF! out comes a Siri Watu baby, born from love, passion and the desire to get moving images scratching at the grey matter of my brain out on paper.
Do you draw from material that you reading?
Is this a question about my secret illustration techniques that I trained for years in secret caves on secret mountains to obtain? I don’t think I can answer them without you going through the trials yourself. Haha, I absolutely am inspired to steal every bit of knowledge I can from more experienced creators, especially from those willing to share them directly with me. I find absorbing the brain matter of eastern, western and some of the emerging African creators to be the greatest material to draw upon artistically to make me a better artist.
What are you reading at the moment?
I want to give a super smart answer and sound really REALLY intelligent, but honestly, I am reading the equivalent of Saturday morning cartoons every now and again. I’m a HUGE normie. Oh! I do read a bunch of history articles that will numb your brain, do these count as smart? Cause I feel like real dumbo when I read them. I am half listening to the audio books of the Witcher, so check mate question, I do kind of read… by listening to some other guy read.
Tell us more about your characters and where you would like to see them?
My characters are the most amazing characters in the entirety of fiction… and I am not just saying that cause I am bias… no not at all. Salesman aside though, haha, they are a collective of seemingly ordinary teenagers thrown into a MAD world by a seemingly destructive old man who believes them to be part of world of people who were lost in exile long ago… where do the teenagers go? Well that’s the beauty of the story, maybe they are these extra-ordinary children of a lost people… and what do you do when your people are lost? Why is eveything a secret in the first place? Siri Watu does loosely translate into secret people… Hmm… I don’t know… what would you do?
How hard is it getting comics published in South Africa?
Oh now that is a great question! Have you ever tried climbing Table Mountain whilst extremely unfit? Now try doing that for 3 years straight. That’s a lot harder than it is to publish in South Africa. Truthfully, I can’t answer that question, yet. I am self-published, and at this point in time, find that to be relatively easy. It really is all about creating a story that you are happy with and then having an audience to get into your story. As for publishing the traditional way, well, we in South Africa don’t have many publishers focused on the graphic novel scene, most of my contemporaries have self-published their work. And by contemporaries, I mean comic artists, as opposed to Manga, because there are not many manga artists in South Africa.
Where can reader get a copy?
Right now the best place is to order through is my official website | www.awalicomics.com | Alternatively, if you like the adventure, you may be able to find them in local bookshops throughout Cape Town, specifically Reader’s Den and Clarke’s Books that I am currently aware of, potentially book lounge as well. If not, you can ask those who don’t have it to contact me for copies.
Will we see you at futures cons? (I want to have my copy signed )
Absolutely! I am a sucker for a good convention. Con’s feel like my Disney Land, an almost religious-eque pilgrimage! I enjoy meeting new people, especially those who love the work I do. Love the atmosphere of other artists, shows, toys, games and just the entire experience! I am hungry for my con fix… it’s been too long!