Afrofuturism – “Imagining possible futures through a Black cultural lens”

By Yolanda T. Marshall

Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo is a brilliant Canadian-born author, photographer, illustrator, and owner of the publishing company named Black Sun Comics. His comic series, ‘Black Sun’, is set in the fantasy realm of Alkebulan, where powerful heroes unite to reclaim the homeland while battling their enemies. Kelvin is described as “a lover of science fiction, lo-fi instrumental Hip Hop, zombie movies and retro gaming.” His art embodies science, technology, liberation, reclamation and all the things comic book lovers crave. Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo had been writing about Afrofuturism before Black Panther dominated the movie industry. It was an honour meeting this author, who creates comic books where the past, present and future of Africans remind readers, especially children, of Black Excellence!

Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo

Caribbean Camera: Why is Afrofuturism so important to our young readers?

 Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo: When asked to discuss Afrofuturism and its importance for The Caribbean Camera, I was more than just a little overjoyed. Any opportunity to discuss a topic I am so passionate about always makes me smile.

I had never heard the term Afrofuturism until the late 2010s, but once I

understood it, I realized that it was something I had already been creating for

many years.

CC: So what, exactly, is Afrofuturism?

K N-M: To understand Afrofuturism, we must step back and look at Science Fiction because the two are related. Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars or the Avengers movies will have a general idea of what Science Fiction is about. In brief, Science Fiction is based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes. It frequently explores ideas about space, time travel or life on other planets. With that foundation, a rudimentary description would be that Afrofuturism is like Science Fiction, but the stories are told from a Black perspective. Ingrid Lafleur, a prominent Afrofuturist curator, defines Afrofuturism as “a way of imagining possible futures through a Black cultural lens.

 CC: Why is Afrofuturism important?

 K N-M: Some may dismiss the value of Afrofuturism because it does not deal exclusively with the real world. The stories tend to involve larger-than-life characters, some with supernatural abilities, in mythical realms or alternate realities going through impossible circumstances with very high stakes. It’s certainly not something the average person would experience on any given Tuesday. However, we have missed the point if we only focus on the fantastical elements of Afrofuturist storytelling. Everything starts in the human imagination. All the physical objects we use, whether a smartphone or a spoon, were conceived in someone’s mind. There was a point when any given item wasn’t real and only existed as an idea in someone’s imagination. It is essential to recognize this because Black children (teens and adults, too) are constantly bombarded with negative images of Blackness in the majority of the media that we have no part in controlling but consume all the time. One detrimental effect of this is that it limits the Black imagination. You must be able to imagine yourself in better circumstances in the present to do what is needed to be in better circumstances in the future. Instead of limiting the Black imagination, Afrofuturism does the exact opposite. Albeit fiction, Afrofuturism is relevant because it explores the social issues that people of African descent deal with in the present day. Dressing the narrative with fantastical elements makes the experience more entertaining and palatable while informing and educating.”

CC: Did you have access to books like Black Sun Comics as a child?

K N-M: As a child, I never had access to anything like this, which is the driving force behind why I created my Afrofuturist comic series entitled “Black Sun: The Longest Night.” I want to contribute to expanding the imaginations of Black children so that they can, in turn, be the real-life reflection of the positive and empowering images they read about in our books.

Black Sun

To learn more about Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo, please visit

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