Web-comic series launched

The Pivot Collective team.

Covid-19 has inspired a new web-comic series, drawing on the efforts of contributors from Kenilworth and the Cape Flats.

The Pivot Collective, a Kenilworth-based non-profit, worked with Interfer, a storytelling company, also from Kenilworth, as well as young people from across the Cape Flats and partners from the UK and India to produce Planet Divoc-91.

It’s a nine-part sci-fi satire about a pandemic on another planet, to which 15% of Earth’s population, including 23-year-old Sanda Oung and her 19-year-old non-binary sibling, Champo Oung, has been taken by aliens.

Interfer uses art to help young people explore a range of issues.

The Pivot Collective’s co-director, Nabeel Petersen, said the web comic tackled ideas not seen in mainstream comics and it had more black and minority central characters.

The content grew out of Zoom discussions with young adults in the UK, India and South Africa as well as with senior medical, social science and creative professionals.

Locally, the Pivot Collective and Interfer have been working with 18-to-27-year-olds from the Cape Flats who call themselves the Young and Curious Collective and who help with researching issues key to the development of the story.

Pivot Collective coordinator Adilah Petersen works with both the local and international teams of contributors.

“I work in the background, supporting. I do a lot of the continuous background work for the project and play a large role in the facilitation of discussions and creative exploration.”

Mfuneko Miyagi Mtshofeni, a musician and member of the Young and Curious Collective, said: “It has been an amazing experience, and seeing everyone working together on this project and learning from everyone else’s art makes me feel comfortable.”

Mr Petersen said the web comic touched on important Covid-19 social issues, including stockpiling in the early days of the pandemic, misinformation and stigma.

The first chapter was released in April. He has written the sixth chapter in the series to be released next month. It features local artist FOK who designed the comic cover and local musician NV FUNK who compiled a mix tape for the chapter. Each chapter is accompanied by a mix tape from a musician based in either the UK, India or South Africa. Planet Divoc-91 is produced by Vocal, Wowbagger productions, Interfer and Pivot Collective and DBT Alliance from India. It is supported by the UK’s National Institute of Health Research, Wellcome Trust Education and the University of Manchester.

The comic series can be read for free when downloading the free Webtoons mobile app.

You can also follow @PlanetDivoc91 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find out more about the series.