The Fifth Element: Comic book sees young female lead fight climate change in Zambia

The Fifth Element is a superhero comic book series with a Zambian teen female lead who battles to save the planet from climate change.

The Fifth Element series follows the adventures of 14-year-old superhero Quintessa, a 10th grader in Lusaka, Zambia, whose goal is to fight climate change.

The comic book series was launched in 2018 by Zambian comic artist and graphic novelist, Mwelwa Musonko, and published by his own company, Foresight Comics. He came up with the idea for a comic book over concerns that “the majority of Zambians think that climate change is a foreign problem”.

In Zambia, where the reading culture is very poor, these comic books help people engage with the complex issue of climate change. Mwelwa Musonko told DW News: “The reading culture where I am from in Zambia is really, really bad. So, if you would give somebody a book with pictures in it, I think it sparks their interest. Trying to create value with this art.

“If you follow my comic book, you start to see that this character is not perfect. Her life is miserable, and she rises above all of that to save the world and fight climate change.”

When Mwelwa Musonko launched The Fifth Element series, he visited schools across Zambia using comic books as an entry point to talk about climate change, accompanied by a partner dressed up as Quintessa. Many of the comic books were distributed for free and readers were encouraged to plant trees to win prizes associated with the comic book.

There is a goal to publish 12 comic books in the series. Three comic books have been published to date.

Foresight Comics

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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