Pitshou Mampa is a Congolese comics artist, animator and illustrator. He is best known as lead illustrator of 'Nelson Mandela: the Authorised Comic Book' (Jonathan Ball Publishers, Umlando Wezithombe, 2008), an award-winning graphic novel about the life of South African activist and president Nelson Mandela.

Pitshou Mampa was born in Kinshasa, Congo, as the son of a Zairese army general. His parents travelled a lot and during his youth he studied in Canada. In the 1990s Mampa moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he still lives to this day. Among his graphic influences are Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Reynolds, Moebius, Angela Hardy, Jim Lee, Walt Disney, Christopher Eliopoulos, Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane and Ricky-Pascal Nzoni.

On 16 July 2008 'Nelson Mandela: the Authorised Comic Book' was published, two days before Mandela's 90th birthday. The graphic novel adapts Mandela's entire life, from his youth over his famous emprisonment to his presidential election. It is comprised of eight individual comics which were circulated for free to South African school children between 2005 and 2007 as 'The Madiba Legacy' series . The first one, 'A Son of the Eastern Cape' (2005) reached a print-run of a million copies! The series was produced through Umlando Wezithombe ("History of Pictures"), a South-African company headed by scriptwriter Nic Buchanan, which publishes comic books about African history and role models for a young audience. The creative team for the 'Madiba Legacy' series consisted of Pitshou Mampa (lead penciller, inking, colours), Sean Abbood (colours), Santa Buchanan (storyboards), José Jungo (inks and colouring), Sivuyile Matwa (illustration), Ricky Pascal Nzoni (illustration) and Ritchie Orphan (inking, colours). The authors were sometimes faced with challenges. Since no pictures were ever taken of Mandela before he reached the age of 19, the artists studied his facial bone structure as an adult and tried to imagine what he might have looked like as a young boy? The book was well-researched in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

On the day the book was launched Nelson Mandela gave an official speech and joked: "You know you are really famous when you become a comics character." He expressed the hope that it would encourage young people to read more: "That joy has been mine all my life, and it is one I wish for all South Africans. If it is easy to read for other people like me, with eyes not like they used to be, and it reaches entirely new readers, then the project will prove to be worthwhile." The book was published in South Africa, but also appeared in translation in the Netherlands, France and the United States. In 2010 'Nelson Mandela: the Authorised Comic Book' won the Children's African Book Award for "Best Book for Older Readers", chosen by the Outreach Council of the non-profit corporation African Studies Association.

Pitshou Mampa also works as a 2D animator, poster artist and painter.

The Madiba Legacy Series by Pitshou Mampa

Series and books by Pitshou Mampa in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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