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Nigerian schools cut history classes — so these comic books are picking up the slack.

They say, 'Those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it.'

Most Americans know as much about George Washington as they do about Spider-Man.

We all know the deal — guy with false teeth learns all about great power and responsibility while crossing the Delaware, then gets bitten by a radioactive spider that turns him into the first president of the United States, and so on. Somehow, the enduring legacy of some floppy four-color comic book pages is as ingrained in our collective cultural mind as our country's foundational history.


All images from Panaramic Entertainment, used with permission.

But things are different in Nigeria, where recent changes to the national curriculum mean that history class is, well, history.

The country as a whole decided to shift its educational focus more toward technology and engineering — which certainly makes sense, given the current state of their world. As a result, “history” as a subject has been folded into the larger civics and government curriculum, with maybe a few details touched on here and there in religion or English class.

It's not that Nigerians can't study history; it still exists at the university level, and there are plenty of scholarly texts and award-winning novels written about the country's rich and complicated past, and all of the important lessons that go along with that. But unless it's something you actively seek out, you're left with the short summaries that are covered in civics class, or the oral histories passed down from the elders in your village or family.

And while that kind of storytelling is great for folklore like Anansi and Hercules, it's … not so good for the accurate, objective details that teach important lessons from the past.

Clearly there's only one solution to this problem: comic books!

That's why a group of Nigerian comic book creators founded Panaramic Entertainment in 2007, with a mission "to tackle the high illiteracy rate in Nigeria and enable Nigerians and the rest of the world engage in our rich history & culture, helping to promote and preserve it."

"I got into reading proper through comic books at about age 5," said editor-in-chief Tunji Anjorin. "I feel like the combination of images and words creates a story in still image format capable of entertaining and teaching readers/audience in a fun way. It's an affordable form of low-income entertainment that can bring value to both the readers and creators, and the next edition is always something to look forward to."

Their flagship comic book series, "Okiojo's Chronicles," recounts the history of a different Nigerian culture in each issue.

The publisher has so far released three quarterly issues chronicling the struggles of the Yoruban emperor Oduduwa, the fall of the Benin Empire at the hands of the British, and the legendary exploits of Amina, the warrior queen of Zazzau.

"A 10-year-old who grows up reading 'Okiojo's Chronicles' for 10 years would have read 40 different ethnic groups comics and he would have a better understanding of the people who are left and right to him and [of] Nigeria as a whole," Anjorin told U.S. News.

But even those 40 comic books would barely scratch the surface of the more than 250 ethnic groups recognized in Nigeria.

And yet, that daunting challenge is not enough to keep Panaramic from pursuing their ultimate goal of publishing a comic book for every single ethnic group, so that future generations can learn about and from the histories of each splendid culture. (Even if it does take 60 years or more.)

"If you just look at the past, if you look at when we started democracy, we seem to be making the same mistakes over and over again," said Oriteme Banigo, the series' creator. "In our stories we emphasize ... why this has happened, why we should remember it, and how we could stop ourselves from going through the same issues moving forward."

Comics aren't just a sneaky-clever way to get kids into history. For Nigerians, they also represent an opportunity to reclaim their country's narrative and share their own stories with the world.

Another new publisher called the Comic Republic recently launched the first-ever all-African superhero universe, full of colorful heroes of color to rival the massive world building of companies like Marvel and DC.

And a Nigerian creator named Roye Okupe also founded his own YouNeek Studios and launched a sci-fi comic called "E.X.O."

"I want [audiences] to see a different side of Nigeria, our booming tech industry, amazing city architecture, unique culture, African humor, Afrofuturism … a side that is not regularly shown in mainstream media," he told The Guardian.

From Tunji Anjorin's upcoming Panaramic superhero comic "Omo Boy."

Comic books are surprisingly effective tools for education, empowerment, and change. They engage readers with their stunning visuals, and challenge different parts of our minds to work in tandem to comprehend the combination of words and images.

It doesn't hurt that they're affordable and accessible to everyone. "A reader of any age can usually interpret the message," Anjorin told Upworthy over email. "Comics are also easier to share through digital format."

Currently, Panaramic's comics are available in print at schools, bookstores, newsstands, and even through a local restaurant chain in Lagos. But as the company tries to break through to the international market, they're also offering their books online for the low, low price of $1.

"Every comic book industry has their own signature, so we would be bringing in our own way of depicting ourselves and the rest of the world as well as our culture and ideologies," Anjorin said in an interview with Spaceboy Nigeria. "So I took it upon myself to create my own comic book universe and introduce the average Nigerian and the rest of world."

Preserving history. Changing a global narrative. All with nothing but paper and pencil.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son's death.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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