#Fun4thedisabled interviews Ghanian author and activist Farida Bedwei about her comic series KARMZAH!, and how her heroine represents her life as an African and as someone with cerebral palsy.
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Hey Parents! You will find this vlog very interesting. It’s about a NEW superhero who flies with the use of crutches. The comic is available now with an app from the Google Play Store and is a great read to share with your kids. Karmzah is a superhero created by Farida Bedwei. Both Karmzah and the creator, Bedwei have cerebral palsy. Both have overcome enormous odds. Karmzah uses her crutches to combat criminal activities worldwide. Bedwei solves major financial problems in western Africa using software that she designs. This interview is with Farida Bedwei and Vanessa Harris. Check out the video here:
Fun: I don’t want to give the storyline away because I think that my viewers should read it for themselves. But the story starts with some very interesting characters! We could start with the main character, her name is Morowa. Tell me about her.
Bedwei: Well, she is an archaeologist and she has cerebral palsy. Which is very strange because women with cerebral palsy do not have high powered jobs like that. That is how she was created. And because of cerebral palsy, she walks with crutches and cannot go on most digs, because of how hard and unfriendly the terrain would be.
Fun: How did you come up with this character?
Bedwei: That’s really funny because I met the CEO of the company at a conference, who ended up actually producing this comic for me and it got me thinking that growing up, i loved Super heroes. i was a tomboy, I loved Superman, I loved Mr. T love it i love all those Super heroes from the mid-80’s. And there was nobody that i saw that represented me. And I thought to myself, cerebral palsy is said to be the major cause of childhood disabilities. So that means that there are more children with cerebral palsy than there are with any other disability in the world. So why can’t there be someone with cerebral palsy in a cartoon who is a Superhero? So I started thinking about it. So now, there’s actually a process between me and Leti Arts where I write the story and they produce the amazing artwork.
Fun: Is Leti Arts based in Ghana?
Bedwei: Yes they are a Ghanaian company. And they do comic books and digital artwork.
Fun: We meet her colleagues Kola and Panyin. Tell me about them.
Bedwei: Well, Kola is of Nigerian origin and Panyin is Ghanaian. But as the story goes on, I am going to add characters from other customs and countries. We are certainly a low percentage in this industry and stories coming out of Africa and I want to change that pattern.
Fun: I know you know probably don’t want to give this away but something her colleagues did caused Morowa to transform into Karmzah for the first time so let’s talk about Karmzah. Let’s talk about how she gets transformed. Your readers will find that out so the first person she meets after transforming is another mysterious entity by the name of Muzu.
Bedwei: Muzu is supposed to be a medicine man who had been trapped in the jar for the past 5,000 years. Morowa accidently breaks the jar, and he comes out. And immediately he gives her the superpowers. Because he is a medicine man, he is able to give others powers. Because he said that he’s going to supply differently-abled people with super powers, so Karmzah is not the only person who’s going to get her powers. He’s going to go out and look for people with other disabilities and give them super powers,
So that’s the whole idea. A lot of people will have different disabilities who are super heroes.
Bedwei: What exactly do you want to know about Karmzah?
Fun: She experienced running for the first time in the Unleashing. Can you share any other power she’s gonna have or is that something we have to wait to find out about?
Bedwei: Ok, I will share another one. The rest of them, I will let them find out later. She has the power to use her crutches and when she points them at her enemies, a rope will come out and wrap around the person the person who she’s fighting.
Fun: She gets her first superhero assignment. So will we find out next Friday what the assignment is .
Bedwei: Yes that’s right. You will also find out what her other super powers are.
She’s going to be like the superheroes who go to Namibia and rescue people who are being captured and placed in the slave trade or something like that. Oh she goes and rescues somebody who had been kidnapped by the pirates in Somalia. She faces the Big problems we have on the continent and rescue the people and solve problems starting in Africa and then going worldwide. It’s her main mission.
Fun: All right so now we know a little about Karmza. I’m really excited about this. This is wonderful! I can’t wait! Can you tell me so everybody knows how does someone get access to the comic, how much it costs and how they can read it?
Bedwei: The comic is available on the Afrocomix App in the Google Play Store for Android. It will be available in ITunes ln the future. One issue covers 14 episodes (the episodes are released weekly on Fridays, and you get all 14 episodes for only one dollar (one dollar covers the entire 14 weeks).)
Next year (2019), when we finish the full comic they’re going to put it on Amazon, so that other people can get the print edition. Some people prefer to read comics in print form instead of reading it on an app.
Hopefully by the end of February 2019 the first full issue should be available.
The following comment was submitted by Eyram Tawia, CEO of LetiArts as a correction: Get the AFROCOMIX app from Google Play store and purchase the Karmzah Comic for $0.99 ) or order it [online from https://booknook.store/product/karmzah-the-unleashing-pre-order/ ]. It will be be available later this year on Amazon. The first issue is 32 pages is available at the Google Play Store now and the second issue will be available later this year. There will not be weekly installments.
Fun: Can you tell me about life in Ghana from your perspective as a person with a disability?
Bedwei: It’s not the easiest place to live wiith a disability. We have all of these negative misconceptions about people with disabilities. I started my advocacy about 15 years ago and I’ve seen a good improvement in the public’s attitude. A lot of new buildings are being built now according to some accessible rules. But a lot of buildings are not accessible, so you always need help.
Fun: Even though you think you’re not as powerful as Karmzah, you have been described as a superhero yourself. Not only are you an author and a comic writer, but the MasterCard Foundation said that you are one of the most powerful women in financial technology. Can you tell me about that?
Bedwei: Well, I co-founded a technology company and we build banking solutions for the micro-finance industry. We have the largest market share in Ghana. We are hoping to add to expand to other countries in west Africa by the end of next year (2019). So that’s that’s my day job.
Fun: About nine years ago, you published a book called Definition of a Miracle. Can you tell me about that book?
Bedwei: It’s a fictional account of some of the experiences I had growing up in Ghana.
Fun: The book is out of print is there any way for my viewers to get a copy of it?
Bedwei: It will be back in print next year (2019) so I will let you know when it comes back.
Fun: That’s great! You were quoted as saying that persons with disabilities are usually portrayed as being feeble and asking for handouts in the media, you’re trying to change that image with Karmzah; and the wonderful role model that you are and also as a disability activist. .So what else have you done as a disability activist?
Bedwei: I’m part of an organization in Ghana called ShareCare. It is an advocacy and support group for people who have neurological conditions. Most of us have become disabled because of these conditions. And locally, we have a rehab center for children who shave cerebral palsy in an impoverished part of the city.
Fun: Is there anything else you’d like my viewers to know?
Bedwei: I would like them to get the app, read Karmzah and let me know what they think. (Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also send tweets to @karmzah.)
I didn’t write this just for myself but for everybody with conditions that limit them. When I was writing this, I was thinking of children, I never expected it to go this far!
I’ve had people to provide encouragement from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and even there in the United States.
They’ve been tweeting about it, posting on LinkedIn and Facebook from all over the world. All I have to say is WOW!
Please share this with everyone you know. This makes a great belated Christmas gift or even a birthday gift!
A Special Thank you to Farida Bedwei for this fun interview! Get the app from Google Play store or order it from Amazon. Share this with your children, your friends and everyone you know. If you have any comments please share them below. Thank you for reading this and I hope you enjoyed the video.
Please come back next week for a video about INCLUSIVE DANCE!
HAPPY KWANZA AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! Talk to you next week! Vanessa