April 25, 2024

Comic Con Africa was a blast and I am disappointed to have missed it

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Yes, I missed the continent’s biggest pop culture and gaming festival. Why? Well, unfortunately, I have not been well and have been bed-ridden…or should I say couch-ridden, for the past few weeks, getting back to work yesterday only to realise that the event I had been soo looking forward to had passed me by.

So then why write about an event you missed out on? Well, my dear reader, that is because, from the information reaching me from individuals who were fortunate enough to attend the event, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! and I may have just missed out on the biggest event of the year.

Comic Con Africa, for those unaware, is a multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that features comic books, games, art, movies, pop culture elements, and so much more. The event, which was coming out of a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ran from September 22–25 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, South Africa.

This year’s Con was moved from the event’s usual venue of the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuits & International Convention Centre to the Johannesburg Expo Centre, with organisers of the event explaining that the move was necessary as previous editions became too cramped and the Expo Centre was a bigger and more spacious venue.

This brings me to the first reason why I am gutted to have missed out on the Con, as after its two-year hiatus, Comic Con Africa came back stronger than ever, receiving its biggest attendance to date (with a reported 20,000 people), meaning more opportunities to chat with and learn from interesting individuals just went down the drain.

Individuals like Johannesburg-based Thifhuriwi Nephawe, who was dressed as princess Neytiri from the James Cameron film Avatar. She spoke to Africa News about what the character, who is of the alien Na’vi race, means to her.

“The character Neytiri is for me, an African woman who’s very powerful and fighting for her village, for her tribe,” she explains.

“People from the outside are coming to try and take everything from them, so she’s trying to fight against that, that’s what I resonate with, just the power. And just knowing that you’re very strong as an African woman for me, personally.”

This statistic, however, brings a smile to my face as it means the continent’s biggest pop culture and gaming festival continues to grow and gives organisers new challenges to overcome at the next edition of the event, which is something to look forward to.

Going back to Nephawe and her incredible cosplay, the second reason I wish I was at the event was…you guessed it, the incredible cosplay. Cosplay is always an exciting feature of any Comic Con, and this year’s Con was chock-full of beautifully and well-made costumes. I wish I was there to take a pic with someone in an amazing Arcane cosplay.

That was not all, as the Cosplay Championships were held at the Con and saw 60 contestants compete for the only slot available for the Cosplay Crown at MCM London Comic Con, with Luke Andalis’ (who has been cosplaying for six years) Aratak cosplay from Horizons Zero Dawn; the Frozen Wild DLC pack coming out on top.

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“I’m cosplaying Aratak from the video game Horizons Zero Dawn; the Frozen Wild DLC pack. He’s the war chief of the Banuk. They’re a tribe that the main character of the game, Aloy sort of assists in a few missions and things. He’s kind of this burly stoic type character,” Luke said about the character.

The final thing I will speak about is the fact that I missed out on all the gaming and esports content at the event, as the latest in gaming gear and accessories were available for purchase. This year’s show also played host to the Dorito’s Crunch Cup, which saw fans enter to play a different title each day, ranging from Fortnite, Street Fighter, Tekken, and FIFA.

These free-to-play tournaments saw Doritos looking for those flaming hot moments and crowning a title champ daily with R4,000 ($223) in prize money.

And honestly, that was just the tip of what was on show at this year’s Con. There were also incredible deals and board games, among others, but if I were to go through all of it, we’d be stuck here all day. So what is the lesson in all of this? Well, my dear reader, it is that the Con is rapidly expanding, and you should begin planning for Comic Con Africa 2023 because I can assure you that it will be spectacular.