Nongqawuse - The Prophecy of the Cattle Killing

Sivuyile Matwa is a South African graphic designer and comics artist. He was one of the affiliated artists of Umlando Wezithombe ("History of Pictures"), a company headed by scriptwriter Nic Buchanan, which publishes comic books about African history and role models for a young audience. One of their best-known releases was '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. Matwa was one of the illustrators.

The artist was born in Johannesburg. From 2001 to 2004 he studied at the Design Center College. Between 2007 and 2009 he worked as a graphic designer at Sign-A-Rama, and since then at MMP-Solutions in Roodepoort. He ranks Zapiro and Nelisiwe Mwase among his graphic influences and favorite artists. 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 Publishing by 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.

Umlando Wezithombe also assigned Sivuyile Matwa to illustrate comic books in their series 'Africa Illustrated' from 2006 onwards. These included 'Kingdom of gold : the curse of Mapungubwe' and 'Nongqawuse - The Prophecy of the Cattle Killing' (around 2006). The latter documents another important event African history. In 1850 the Xhosa nation killed large amounts of cattle after the prophecy of a young girl called Nongqawuse.

Series and books by Sivuyile Matwa in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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