First runner-up in this category is animator Charles Lupali who creates art and animation to tell fictional stories.
He is the creator of Tales of Kijenge, which is a project aimed at telling fictional stories about African societies around 500 BC and 100 AD.
The project innovatively showcases the relationship that ancient African societies had with the gods that they worshipped, unpacking their challenges and experiences. In his home country, Tanzania, animation is not common, as it is very expensive to create and maintain, and Charles is one of the few young people who have managed to crack the industry and make headway.
From a young age, he has always been fascinated by superhero characters, and watching superhero cartoons as a child fuelled his love for art and animation. He started creating his own stories of his favourite superheroes by drawing comics. With experience, and as he gradually improved his drawing skills, he began to create his own original characters, and later brought those characters to life through animation.
In the next five years, his vision is to build a studio that will create animated TV shows and movies with African content to inspire and groom the next generation of animators from the continent. He wants to use his talent to tell authentic stories of African history and creatively showcase the continent’s experiences through animation.
His desire is to train more young artists and animators in the different techniques that can be used in animation and drawing to enable young people to use their talents creatively and profitably. Among some of the challenges that he cites around animation is the fact that young people are not exposed to this field, and more needs to be done to groom the next generation of animators.
With Africa facing socio-economic challenges, Charles sees animation as a channel that can provide opportunity for young people from the continent to use it to creatively tell stories and create content that can be shared with the rest of the world.
He says it is the responsibility of young people to implement these new ideas, and to explore uncharted terrain in order to create new solutions for new challenges, because the old solutions cannot solve the new challenges. With this in mind, he says, it is important for the young to constantly evolve in order to keep up with the changes and stay ahead of the curve in addressing some of Africa’s challenges.
His friends encouraged him to enter the TYI competition and to use the platform to share more about his work and experiences to inspire other young people wanting to explore uncharted territories.
Charles’ philosophy is that knowledge is power. It is important that the youth use all the material available to them to learn more and understand more about the world around them, in order to re-imagine what our world should be like for today’s young people to develop solutions for the future.