American cartoonist highlight role of editorial cartooning in a Democracy

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Barbara Brandon-Croft, the first nationally syndicated African American female cartoonist, visited Nigeria from February 18 to 24, for a U.S. Speaker Program titled “Sketch & Satire: The Art and Impact of Editorial Cartooning.”

Brandon-Croft is best known for creating the comic strip Where I’m Coming From. During its 15-year run, the comic strip appeared in over 65 newspapers across the United States and Canada, as well as Jamaica, South Africa, and Barbados. Her comics are in the permanent collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.

The week-long speaker program was organized in collaboration with the Punch Media Foundation and held at the American Corner Lekki.  Through workshops, panel discussions, and interactive sessions, Brandon-Croft exchanged views with Nigeria’s prominent and emerging cartoonists, journalists, comic artists, illustrators, caricaturists, animators, students, journalists, and arts professors.

As part of a three-day editorial cartooning workshop, Brandon-Croft joined veteran Nigerian cartoonist Wale Adenuga for a lively panel discussion on the significance of visual storytelling in shaping public opinion. Together, they highlighted the importance of freedom of expression as one of the key pillars of a vibrant democracy.

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During a moderated interactive session with aspiring editorial cartoonists, students, and professors of journalism and creative arts, Brandon-Croft covered a range of topics, including the creative process, the art of visual storytelling, writing and drawing comics, and getting noticed and published in national newspapers.

U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Julie McKay highlighted the importance of cultural exchanges like Brandon-Croft’s visit to Nigeria and their ability to bring Americans and Nigerians together to share ideas and expertise, promote mutual understanding, and strengthen democratic institutions like the media.

“The United States government will continue to promote the importance of a free press because the media plays an essential role in preserving democracy.” McKay said. “Democracies need tenacious storytellers, like journalists and editorial cartoonists, who challenge us to think critically and help shape public discourse. Their work shines a light on important issues, exposes injustice, and helps hold leaders accountable.”

The editorial cartooning workshop is the latest example of the U.S. Mission’s longstanding engagement with and support of the Nigerian media. For years, the U.S. Mission has sponsored training programs for hundreds of Nigerian journalists on themes such as media fact-checking, investigative journalism, and media ethics and helped hone reporting on topics including health, elections, and the environment.

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