There’s a new superhero on around and we are so excited! Ement Lagesse, the protagonist of Hawi, the brand new comic created by Beserat Dabebe is the first female superhero from the Etan Comics founder.
Hawi follows Ement on her quest to rescue her mother, who has been abducted on a trip to Ethiopia. In the course of her journey. In Hawi, like in Jember, Dabebe draws inspiration from an ancient African civilization. Rather than the ancient East African Kingdom of Punt, in Hawi, Dabebe incorporates the legendary Ethiopian historical figure Queen Yodit Gudit, called Esato (Amharic for fire) by her people because of her fiery temperment and tendency to burn churches and other monuments as recorded by Ethiopian oral tradition.
Ement is an Ethiopian living in America and Dabebe as an immigrant himself uses his comics to make an important statement about the diasporic experience. Dabebe was born in Ethiopia and moved to the United States . Dabebe tells the BBC that he relates to the feeling of being an outsider from another culture and feeling like he need special powers to survive the culture shock.
“I wish I had seen an Ethiopian superhero growing up…I would have embraced my ability to make a difference earlier and acted on it”
Dabebe believes in the importance of representation and the effect it has on young people whose tells OkayAfrica “I wish I had seen an Ethiopian superhero growing up…I would have embraced my ability to make a difference earlier and acted on it”Representation in Hawi seems to go beyond having a protagonist who is female and just happens to be. Hawi is rooted in African culture and history, is going to be available in Amharic as well as English, and has been created by an all African team. Hawi will soon be available in both Amharic and English translations.
We’re glad Dabebe is using his skills and imagination to bring this fierce, fiery Ethiopian superhero to life and we’re sure she’ll be an inspiration for many Africans. You can support Hawi and Etan comics on Kickstarter now!
Inspired by Okay Africa’s original post.