Why my books promote Nigerian culture – The Sun Nigeria

By Damiete Braide

Bolaji Ajayi is an illustrator, animator and author based in the United States of America. She is the author of Akiti the hunter, which has three series. She participated, as an executive, in the production of an animated series inspired by the series of children’s books. Interestingly, she writes for a Nigerian or American audience. “My words and my creativity are for anyone from anywhere,” she says daily sun.

Bolaji says a trip to the bookstore inspired the Akiti the Hunter series. She recalled what happened at the store: “I shared Batman, Superman and Spiderman with him to familiarize himself with, but he rejected all three, pushing back and saying he needed a hero who looked like his father.” Unfortunately, there were none.

“So, I went home and called my dad and asked him to direct me to a hero of African descent, and he told me about Mansa Musa. Through my research, I found the story of an African action superhero named Akiti the Hunter.

This nameless, faceless hero was an opportunity for me to present something real, something that comes from our ancestors,” she explained.

Akiti the hunter The series, she says, is aimed at both boys and girls, and it’s a great teaching tool in the classroom. “My series encourages the young reader to learn more about Nigerian culture. Akiti the hunter can help parents and teachers start the conversation about Nigeria to help children understand the importance of our language, music and culture.

“In the series, we incorporated traditional clothing and artillery. We quote places and other culturally relevant topics that can allow the child’s imagination to intimately explore the subject of African culture. I believe that every child in the world, no matter where they come from, seeks representation, and representation matters.

Western culture, the author said, often celebrates three specific heroes, Superman, Batman and Spiderman. “And very often Hollywood would re-edit another version of the same story. After spending over 20 years watching the same materials being recycled over and over again in Hollywood, I decided to invest in the Akiti the hunter series to give fans more options. The success of Part I led to the demand for Part II, in which Akiti, the hunter fans, insisted on introducing a female character, Fatima, also known as Akiti’s love interest, in Part II. In Part III, we are introduced to Fatima and Akiti’s daughter, Princess Nadia, a warrior princess.

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She implied that Akiti the hunter The animated series explores the cultural sounds and musical characteristics of established and up-and-coming artists from around the world. “Our music is an integral part of our history. There will never be an artist like the late Fela Anukulapo, King Sunny Ade and other artists whose music has crossed western culture. Akiti the hunter the music soundtrack hopes to do the same. I want to create an opportunity for African, European and American artists to come together to create a unique sound that resonates with viewers through animation.

Bolaji celebrates Nigerian culture in her works, as she was born in Nigeria many years ago. The author said: “I love my country. It’s part of who I am, and half of my children’s genes are Nigerian. No one will help you write your story or celebrate your story without you taking the lead first. Akiti the hunter allows me to dispel so many rumors about African culture which is often exploited in popular culture and Western culture mainly.

“I’ve seen Hollywood and children’s literary culture influenced by topics surrounding jungle themes and wildlife safari themes when talking about African culture. But they missed the people, the music, the art, the rituals and the beautiful languages. Every time I dive into the animated world of Akiti the hunter, as captured by my animation team at Bolaji Animation Production Studios (BAPS), is like taking a free flight to Nigeria in December. When so many family members come home from abroad, sharing stories in the living room, celebrating Christmas, like the New Year, with fireworks and endless block parties all over the city. Being away from home, I miss the fantastic food, tropical weather, colorful fashion and history embedded in the fabrics hidden in our mother’s gele and buba. Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and no one will ever understand the magic that exists on this continent until you visit it for yourself. Parents can pick up a copy of Akiti the Hunter for their children and allow your imagination to connect with people and the foreign land.

For her, folklore contains hidden messages wrapped inside an action/adventure tale. “Akiti the hunter is inspired by folklore based on West African culture. Akiti demonstrates her ability to shapeshift and communicate with animals and nature. I want children to develop a real relationship to take care of animals and all living things, in order to better preserve our planet for the future generation,” Bolaji said.