Making ends meet around Virunga

Sample 3

This comic was produced for the Centre of Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It was supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC).

The story focuses on Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The park is Africa’s most biodiverse protected area, and the park guards are seen as heroes, creating a safe environment for tourists and protecting the wildlife. However, the people living near the park tell a different story. The family in this comic is fictional, but the story they tell is based on testimonies, gathered in Verweijen, J., Kubuya, S., Mahamba, E., Marijnen, E., Murairi, J., and Mvano, C. (2020) Conflicts around Virunga National Park: Grassroots perspectives. The Hague: Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law. The artwork is by Didier Kassi.

This summer we relaunched our website; the new comics journalism section is currently being developed and will be online soon. That's why we are publishing this comic on our blog first. Read the comic below or download the PDF version here. A French version is available here.

This comic is part of a series of six comics on public authority in different countries in Africa. Other installments:

Vigilantes: security or insecurity?

 

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Next week: new comics journalism

SampleFragment from Making ends meet around Virunga.

Next week, on Wednesday November 11, we will publish the second comic in our series of comics journalism about public authority in Africa, made together with the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa. Making end meet around Virunga (artwork by Didier Kassai) tells the story of a family living next to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park guards are often hailed as heroes of environmental protection, but this family tells a different story.

The first comic in this series, about vigilante justice in Uganda, can be read here.


Vigilantes: security or insecurity?

This comic was produced for the Centre of Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It was supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Economic Social and Research Council (ESRC).

The story focuses on a fictional town in Uganda, but is based on real events; what happens when a town tries to fight crime using vigilantes?

The narrative is based on research by Rebecca Tapscott. The artwork is by Kenyan cartoonist and comic artist Victor Ndula.

This summer we relaunched our website; the new comics journalism section is currently being developed and will be online later this fall. That's why we are publishing this comic on our blog first. Read the comic below or download the PDF version here.

This comic is part of a series of six comics on public authority in different countries in Africa. Other installments:

Making ends meet around Virunga


1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8


Locked in Kashmir

Kashmir

CRNI has posted a comics journalism piece by cartoonist Suhail Naqshbandi to mark the first anniversary of the repeal of Article 370, India’s suspension of the Jammu & Kashmir region’s autonomous status and the subsequent degradation of civil liberty, including one of the world’s longest internet shutdowns.

We recommend you read this essay by Suhail first, describing his experiences prior to the repeal of Article 370. The you can read the full comic here.


Work in progress: comics journalism about public authority in Africa

One of the projects we're currently working on is a series of comics on public authority in Africa, commissioned by the Africa Centre of the London School of Economics. The comics are based on field research in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone and South Sudan. We are currently in the storyboarding phase, where the artists have made rough drafts of the story to get a feel for the story flow and the visuals.

We try to make the comics as authentic as possible, working close with the researchers (who know the subject matter intimately), using a lot of reference photographs, and trying to incorporate as much of actual dialogue from the field research as we can. Although at first glance the topic of public authority can seem a bit dry, the stories we are trying to tell are fascinating.

One narrative is about vigilante justice in Uganda. A village is plagued by crime and has no funds to set up a police presence; the local council enlist a group of youths to patrol the streets and things go downhill from there...

Vigilate justice- sotyboardStoryboard fragment of 'Vigilantes: security or insecurity?' - Story by Rebecca Tapscott, art by Victor Ndula

Another narrative takes place in Palabek Refugee Settlement, also in Uganda. Here, a woman is accused of witchcraft. The authorities in the camp fail to take adequate action; violence ensues as the community feels they have to take matters into their own hands.

Poisoning in Palabek - storyboard

Storyboard fragment of 'A poisoning in Palabek' - Story by Ryan Joseph O'Byrne, art by Charity Atukunda

Other narratives that are currently worked on deal with the formal and informal economy in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis and the precarious situation of people living next to Virunga National Park in DRC. The full series will be six comics of eight pages each, which will be published on Cartoon Movement later this year and early next year.