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Graphic Lit

from the February 2019 issue

From City of Fear

Translator's Note: Didier Kassaï's Storm Over Bangui is a comprehensive chronicle of the instability of the Central African Republic following the overthrow of President François Bozizé in 2013 and the beginning of a civil war which continues unabated to this day. Kassaï, an artist from Bangui, the CAR's capital, takes us on a tour of his country's recent history, depicting the rise of Séléka Muslim militias and the Anti-balaka Christian militias that arose in response to them, showing how the CAR was eventually split into two, between the Muslim north-east and the Christian south-west. Kassaï lost a brother to the Séléka in 2012 and this is an important feature of the book itself, as it is not a mere historical chronicle, or a shock-exposé, since it highlights the effects of the war on the CAR's people and society.

Click image below to enlarge

From Tempête sur Bangui, première partie. © La Boîte à Bulles, 2015. By arrangement with La Boîte à Bulles. Translation © 2019 by André Naffis-Sahely. Lettering by Mercedes Gilliom. All rights reserved.


Didier Kassaï

Didier Kassai (b. 20 April 1974 in Sibut, Central African Republic) is a cartoonist and illustrator. He has worked for the Baptist Mid Mission’s Sibut and as a cartoonist for the MLPC political party's newspaper, Le Perroquet. He has also participated in festivals, residencies, and exhibitions in other parts of Africa, Europe, Japan, and the United States. In 2005, he collaborated with Olivier Bombasaro on Gipépé le pygmée, other Gipépé books, and Aventures en Centrafrique for literacy training. They were published in Cote D’Ivoire in 2005 and 2006. He has contributed to other book projects, such as À l’ombre du Baobab in 2001; Africa Comics, published by Lai-momo (Bologne) in 2003 and 2006; Une journée dans la vie d’un Africain d’Afrique, published by the association l’Afrique Dessinée (St Ouen) in 2007; and Vies Volées in Afrobulles in 2007. In 2006, he won the “Prix africa e mediterraneo” in Bologne with Azinda et le mariage force. He also won the Pan-African competition “Vues d’Afrique ” with “Bangui coquette” at the Angoulême festival. In 2009, he won the “Prix du meilleur projet” for the best comic book project at the Algiers festival for Pousse-pousse. His books include L'Odyssée de Mongou, Tempête sur Bangui, and Pousse-Pousse (forthcoming). 

Translated from French by André Naffis-Sahely

André Naffis-Sahely is the author of The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin UK, 2017). He is currently a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Met's Writing School and is the poetry editor of Ambit magazine. He is from Abu Dhabi, but was born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother. His translations include over twenty titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from French and Italian, featuring works by Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Rashid Boudjedra, Abdellatif Laâbi, and Alessandro Spina. Several of these translations have been featured as “books of the year” in the GuardianFinancial Times,and NPR.


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