"I wanted to show the world that Africa has heroes too."

Launch Lab resident tells his story and why it is important for everyone to be able to see superheroes who look like them.

Addressing a lack of diversity in sci-fi comics, Ziki Nelson, (MA Creative Writing, 2015) and his co-founders of Kugali, took it upon themselves to create a platform where African writers can tell African stories.

Ziki said: “What is interesting about the world of comic books is our ability to see ourselves in that story or see what we could become.

“You have all these superheroes and there are no superheroes from Africa. The idea that they couldn’t have a hero who represented their own local culture struck me as off.

Ziki Nelson, (MA Creative Writing, 2015)

“That definitely played a part in how I thought about my ambitions growing up.”

Two years on since founding Kugali, Ziki admits that his journey into the arts scene was not an easy one.

“I was a closet creative while I was growing up in Nigeria. A lot of people don’t view the arts as work, they view it as something someone else does.

“One of my sisters asked me if I would be interested in becoming a comic book writer. This was the first time that an adult had asked me that question. So that planted a seed in my head that it was a viable career path to make studying at City, given the opportunities.”

Launching Kugali at City

Now selling 4,000 comic anthologies per year and with an estimated readership of 2,500 people across 20 different countries, Ziki cites City as one of the reasons for his success.

“At City I did a Masters for Creative Writing, there is an enterprise team and they mentored me and helped develop many of my ideas, one of which became Kugali.

“I don’t think we would be where we are now without the support that I have had from the City enterprise team because that helped me evolve much more quickly as an entrepreneur and in refining my business concept. The mentorship gave me an environment where I could flourish.

Ziki Nelson, (MA Creative Writing, 2015)

Telling stories through print, digital and augmented reality, Ziki and Kugali act as proud voices for African storytellers across the globe.

“In term of the audience, it is an opportunity to retain your connection with the culture of your ancestors. I just wanted them to be proud of their culture.”

Kugali is a recipient of City’s entrepreneurial incubation space, the Launch Lab. More information about entrepreneurship at City can be found here.