First comic featuring deaf hero launched

The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) launched its first ever comic book featuring a deaf hero last Thursday at the National Institute for Special Education in Windhoek.

The comic book story-line was developed by pupils from the School for the Hearing Impaired in Windhoek.

Speaking at the launch, education ministry deputy executive director Edda Bohn said children with disabilities have little access to arts education.

“Most arts projects are not adapted to children with disabilities and not often do they have a chance to take part in such projects,” she said.

In realising this gap, OYO developed the project ‘Hear Me’, to encourage pupils with disabilities to take part in the arts.

During the comic book workshop, the children were involved in creating the first comic book featuring a deaf hero, said Bohn.

“The deaf children decided on the heroine, the symbol representing her, the colours she should wear and the superpowers she should have, the ability to analyse details, to be strong and have a sense of balance, and the ability to fight,” she said.

After the pupils decided on the details of the superhero, the cartoonist then prepared the sketches and the pupils selected the sketches they liked the most. The children then identified the problems they face at school and in the community, such as bullying, sexual harassment, lack of support and health services, and the director then created a story.

“The story was sent to the children to review and to correct the first two stories. Eight pages in total were prepared and cartoonists started working on them,” Bohn said.

The idea behind the project is to provide a hero which deaf children can look up to.

OYO executive director Philippe Talavera said the first of its kind comic was started to stoke interest and they are working on scaling up the comic book, using the same concept to develop the storyline with the pupils.

“The idea is to continue with the same principle and we make it professional,” Talavera said.

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