Growing up in Ghana, Farida Bedwei felt there was no representation of disability in any of the comics she enjoyed reading. Now she’s created Karmzah, a formidable super hero who – like Farida – is living with cerebral palsy. She says it was crucial that the crutches which Karmzah uses to walk became a powerful part of her super powers.
“Ghana’s disability laws were passed in 2006 but have still not been implemented,” the simple verdict of one of its biggest disability rights advocate, herself disabled but stressing and stretching her capability than her inability at each turn.
Farida Bedwei, despite her cerebral palsy continues to break boundaries and push the frontiers of what persons like her could do but for the restrictions imposed by a system that has touted and vowed to protect them – persons with disabilities.
Farida has taken to writing to buoy her disability rights advocacy. Till recently, she had authored a book “Definition of a Miracle” which she described as – “a fictional account of some experiences I had as a child, growing up with cerebral palsy in Ghana.”
But the latest is a comic book one with a super heroine, a super heroine who is disabled, her disability; cerebral palsy. With her limitations, the heroine hops, steps, jumps, flips and dives – all in a bid to chase off the bad guys and protect the feeble ones.
In Farida’s words: “Karmzah sounds like the name of a no-nonsense warrior who defeats bad guys. Sure, she has Cerebral Palsy and walks with crutches, but she still fights and does superhero stunts with those crutches.”
She continues: “Persons with disabilities are usually portrayed as being feeble and asking for handouts, in the media. I want to change that perception.
“We have weaknesses and strengths like everybody else and it’s about time the focus moved from what we can’t do to what we CAN do.”
She describes Karmzah as “Tenacious, daring and principled.” It has archaeological slants, it seeks to fill a gap created by a proliferation of able-bodied superheros and whiles at it, very importantly, make disability aids look “COOL.”
Karmzah will be available on Afrocomix app end of October 2018.
Article excerpts from BBC and Africa News.