The back story of video game character, Niuma – the first superheroine with Albinism from West Africa – is the subject of a new comic book, Blind Frontier: Niuma’s Tale.
The story follows the adventures of Niuma and her struggles with nystagmus, involuntary movement of the eyes. Like all children in Wadis City, Niuma dreams of exploring the outside world. Her disability excludes her from the other children, who rub shoulders with her only to make fun of her. Niuma has an innate understanding of mechanics, and she spends her free time making her prosthetic arms and goggles from scrap materials.
One day, Niuma decides to follow a group of children, against their will, in a forbidden exploration far from the slum. The children find themselves face-to-face with an old machine that they accidentally reactivate, which Niuma must navigate to save the children and the wider community.
Niuma is a character from Blind Frontiers, a video game currently under development at France-based Blind Bend Studio, founded by Teninke Camara. Blind Bend Studio want to promote a better representation of people with the genetic disease in video games and fight against the superstitions and stigma associated with albinism.
Ghanaian video game company Leti Arts with support from Institut Français Ghana and Institut Français Paris launched the superheroine comic book, Blind Frontiers: Niuma’s Tale, in February. The comic book was created while Teninke Camara took up artistic residency with Leti Arts.
Teninke Camara was inspired to create the character, Niuma, given her own sister’s experience of albinism. She told eSports Africa News: “I have a little sister that has albinism and she struggled to make a path in the society, people told her that she can’t do this kind of work.
“So creating this character for me was natural because it represents a category of person that is overshadowing the society, people have misconceptions due to the fact that in media we always represent them like antagonists, like a villain never in a bright way.”
Eyram Tawia, co-founder of Leti Arts Studios, said: “Video games can be approached as an awareness-raising tool to help combat prejudice and stigma. At Leti Arts, we use the superhero figure to promote an African cultural and historical narrative to players. Niuma’s character is also part of this awareness-raising objective.”
Blind Frontier: Niuma’s Tale will be available on the Afrocomix, Amazon and Kindle platforms. A release date has yet to be announced.
Blind Bend Studio’s in-development game Blind Frontiers is set to be released in 2024.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about entertainments and storytelling of all kinds.