Karmzah! A heroine with cerebral palsy, comic launched

Hannah Awadzi, GNA

Accra, Oct. 7, GNA – Karmzah, a comic that
portrays a person with Cerebral Palsy (CP) as a heroine, was launched on
Saturday, 6th October to coincide with the celebration of World CP Day

The comic, to be made available online on the
Afrocomix App on Google Playstore, is expected to change the negative
perceptions about persons with disability as feeble, weak or poor.

Ms Farida Bedwei, a person living with
cerebral palsy and an IT Entrepreneur who launched Karmzah together with her partners
Leti Arts, said comic is an attractive way to change perceptions, saying
“children are easily moulded and can be influenced quicker thus using comic to
attract children and the general public.”

“If a child with cerebral palsy sees Karmzah,
the child will grow up feeling proud of him or herself regardless of the
walking aid or the wheel chair he or she uses,” Ms Bedwei said.

She said there is limited representation of
children and adults with disabilities in the comics/ cartoons. Some characters
in Marvel’s X-Men have disabilities, e.g. Professor X is in a wheelchair and
Cyclops is visually impaired; then there’s Misty Knight, an amputee with a
bionic arm.

“Considering the number of children / adults
with varying disabilities worldwide there is the need for more characters they
can relate to in the world of animation.”

According to statistics, Cerebral Palsy is the
largest cause of childhood disability and there is no superhero/superheroine
with cerebral palsy for children to identify with.  Having a superhero (ine) with such a
condition would provoke more conversations about neurological conditions and
lead to a broader acceptance into society as a whole. 

Ms Bedwei said Persons with Disabilities are,
most often than not, portrayed as helpless victims who need to be rescued/
helped by their able- bodied counterparts. The focus is on their disabilities
not their capabilities and that perception will only change when we start
focusing on their strengths, not their weaknesses.

She said with the introduction of a
superheroine who, in spite of having Cerebral Palsy, fights bad guys and does
the rescuing, we’ll be changing the narrative and making it seem, at the very
least, not that big a deal having a physical disability.

The character – Karmzah, still uses her
walking aids, and is empowered through them. If she loses a hold of her
crutches, she reverts to her ordinary self and can no longer fight, run or fly
as she does with the superpowers. 

Ms Bedwei said the idea is to make the aids
(wheelchairs, walking aids, hearing aids, etc) ‘cool’. If there are crutches
that unleash whips and darts, and braces which allow the wearer to run
superfast, it makes it more appealing to the average child/ teen who has to
wear/ use them to get around.  

Mr Eyram Akofa Tawia, Chief Executive Officer
and Co- Founder of Leti Arts, a video game development organization, said
people with disabilities are usually under-represented hence his organization’s
partnership with Farida Bedwei to change how disability is represented.

Leti Arts creates games and comics based on
African history and folklore with the aim of re-telling the African story and
culture in a 21st Century reality.

He said Leti Arts creates African superheros
and heroine based on local historical figures urging people to patronize
Karmzah which promises to be educative and exciting.


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