So promising and yet so short.
I first heard about Lake of Tears on Writer’s Project of Ghana on Citi FM many weeks ago. The story was interesting to me because it promised to use a modern form of story telling to shed light on a menace that has plagued our country for so long. Seeing that Setor was tasked with creating the images, I knew what to expect and so wasn’t so surprised by his creativity in depicting the story so well.
Lake of Tears is a story about child trafficking on the Volta. The creators call it a story of captivity and redemption in the world of the dangerous fishing industry, and up to the last page of the graphic novel, you realise the story arc has been set for the different characters. Kyei has to make a decision on whom to call friend or enemy, and after what he goes through in the murky waters, you realise he has already been shaped for the future. Adu sees the callousness of his master first hand as his own cousin disappears, and though his initial and only response is resignation to the painful twist of fate, you know his is a reflection of all those with whom he shares that ordeal. His acceptance or otherwise of his plight (or destiny) has been set in motion. And, it remains to be seen whether familial ties are a strong enough compass to lead him to salvation or a lifetime of slavery under the watchful eyes of Opanyin…
Opanyin the albino is a particularly intriguing character for me. In one vein, he is willing to sacrifice a soul for his own material gain. But back home, we realise he is so remorseful he has to drown his pain in a night of drinking. There is a lot of drowning going on now! But then you look again at the part where he throws only scraps of food at the kids in a shed, and you wonder if there is not another story for the self deprecating albino.
Lake of Tears is set on the Volta River/Lake, a water body that is as pervasive in many aspects of our lives as one can imagine. There is the fish. There is the power. There is the transportation on that side of the eastern corridor. And the famous Adomi Bridge traverses both banks of the wondrous river. And now, Setor and friends are reminding us all about child slaves right under the glare of our eyes. The shed part was depressing enough, but when Aya says, “You can come with us and help us stop this once and for all,” you get the feeling there are many more sheds and many more bodies falling to their deaths in the vast river.
And that lady with Aya, is she like his sister?
Her name is Anima, and she is desperately looking for her lost father who disappeared on the lake years ago.
Like I said in the title, the story is very short. Which is to say that the images and the promising tale is just too mouth-watering to end in 14 pages. I found out about Setor Fiadzigbey through the Mozi and Kezi series and was on the verge of doing a personal project with him. It never came to be, but that dream still lingers, for the young man does some fantastic imagery. The others I am just finding out about, but you can imagine there is more from where this came from. The best of Ghana’s creative industry is yet to see the light of mainstream. There are amazing people doing great things in their respective corners.
Aya’s costume is dope; and that fish hook holding his belt…I can’t wait to get under that miniskirt!
Read it here.