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Donald Duck illustrator trains youth at East Africa Cup


Donald Duck illustrator trains youth at East Africa Cup

Using the power of comic strips to get a message through: this is the challenge that Norwegian illustrator Arild Midthun decided to take on when joining the East Africa Cup.

Donald Duck illustrator takes road to Moshi

Arild Midthun is the official Disney illustrator in Norway, and has been earning a living by drawing for the last thirty years.

The Norwegian illustrator has been sharing his vast experience by organising workshops in Scandinavian schools, libraries, and even prisons. However, this is the first time he carries out this type of training in Africa: "I know Svein Olsen (one of the founders of the East Africa Cup) very well, I trust him, and he trusts me. So when he suggested I should participate in the East Africa Cup, I said yes."

The East Africa Cup is an event helping more than 1300 youth gain valuable life skills through sports. This gathering takes place during the last week of June in Moshi, Tanzania.

Everyone can tell a story
There is another reason that prompted Arild Midthun to take on this voluntary assignment: "the reason I do this training is that I also really enjoy getting people started to tell a story."

And the youth from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda participating in the first day of training had numerous stories to tell, combining their drawing and storytelling skills.

For the first time in the East Africa Cup, the media training targeting young African journalists and media specialists includes one module focusing on the use of cartoons and comic strips to raise awareness about social issues.

The illustrator’s primary desire is to raise the participants’ level of awareness about visual communication. He also hopes that participants "will have proven to themselves that they are greater storytellers that they ever would have expected."

Paper and pen
At first sight, using comics to address issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, poverty alleviation, or teenage pregnancy in Eastern Africa may seem farfetched. But Arild Midthun reckons that comic strips are the basis of communication. "The comic strip, the story board, the picture and the text is the base of all type of communication," noted the illustrator.

This vehicle may be especially adapted to organisations involved in the area of sport and development, since comic strips target relatively young audiences, their visual appeal is better suited for populations with low literacy rates, and they are require only basic material, since all that is required is a piece of paper and a pen.

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Chris Middleton


Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 23:00

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