“Persons With Disabilities Are Usually Portrayed As Being Feeble, I Want To Change That Perception” – Comic Queen, Farida Bedwei, is Changing the Narrative of the Disabled in Africa.
Farida Nana Efua Bedwei is a Ghanaian software engineer and cofounder of Logiciel,whose life and success story began with cerebral palsy, as diagnosed at the age of 1, a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination but does not interfere with the ability to learn. Since then, Bedwei, refusing to let her disability affect her has embraced this disorder using it to rewrite her story and contribute positively to society.
According to statistics, Cerebral Palsy is the largest cause of childhood disability and so its victims are often projected as inadequate or not projected at all. One way Farida is changing this is by representing cerebral palsy patients in form of comic super-heroes in games and comics based on African history and folklore. Her characters portray strength and tells a story of faith.
Bedwei belives that in commonising physical disability, through representation in mainstream media- and its adaptation in characters that exude physical vigour and vibrancy, the stigma often associated with physical disability will wane. To this end, she created “Karmzah”, a comic that portrays a person with cerebral palsy as a heroine trying to change the negative perceptions about persons with disability. In the comic, the character Karmzah, still uses her walking aids, and is empowered through them. If she loses a hold of her crutches, she reverts to her ordinary self and can no longer fight, run or fly as she does with the superpowers, thus making it seem cool!
In 2015 Farida authored her first book, a mini autobiography titled: Definition of a miracle, which she described as – “a fictional account of some experiences I had as a child, growing up with cerebral palsy in Ghana.” She has since received several awards and appointments including her appointment to the Board of Ghana’s National Communication Authority. Today, Farida is considered one of the most powerful women in financial technology on the continent with over 16 years of experience in building mobile and enterprise applications, and is also known for her knowledge in architecting and deploying mobile services particularly for banking applications as well as disability rights advocacy.
As a well-known disability- rights advocate , Farida Bedwei’s advocacy is well documented in Ghana and across the world, and has been featured widely in global media, including CNN African Voices. She has been recognised with a number of awards and was once named one of the most influential women in business and finance in Ghana.
Farida is breaking the norm and defying the odds, well done!
Culled from The Nerve Africa, All Africa, Konbini