Comic strip: twelve years later, “Aya de Yopougon” has not aged

In volume 7 of their successful saga, Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie include questions of homosexuality and poor housing in Ivorian universities.


At the Fnac d’Abidjan, the first 150 copies of the comic strip left like hotcakes as soon as it was released on Wednesday, September 14. Many readers were looking forward to discovering the new adventures of “La Belle Aya”, a young Ivorian from the popular commune of Yopougon. The comic strip “Aux 800,000 readers”, whose saga was published by Gallimard from 2005 to 2010, translated into fifteen languages ​​and even adapted to animated film in 2013, was indeed lost in its popularity.

In this seventh highly anticipated volume of Aya de Yopougon (the previous one dates back twelve years!), Marguerite Abouet to the pen and Clément Oubrerie in pencil renew with everything that made the charm and the success of the series: The line, the tone, the sensitivity, the humor and the Nouchi, the Ivorian slang. Without forgetting the palette of colorful characters that draw a human and living landscape of Yopougon, and more broadly from Côte d’Ivoire.

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This time, we are in 1981, in the last years of the “Ivorian miracle”, a period of strong economic development thanks in particular to the production and export of cocoa. The emblematic characters have grown up a bit, the youngest have more responsibilities. Yopougon’s three friends lead now very different lives. Aya left medical studies for the law, Bintou alias “Flora” is an unhappy actress on television, while Adjoua juggles between her maquis and Bobby, her son born in lies and misunderstandings at the start of adventures Aya. Innocent says “innov”, Aya’s best friend, is still in France and tries to get out of it, undocumented, in a country where to be homosexual and black is not yet so easy.

Marguerite Abouet humorously transcribes the often funny adventures of the Abidjan daily newspaper, the relationship to money, to alcohol, to traditions. It explores issues of Ivorian society sometimes taboo. The first volumes tackled in particular the questions of abortion, infidelity, polygamy and homosexuality. This last theme is largely treated in this new volume, just like poor housing in Ivorian universities and the rights of students, which Aya wants to be the defender.

If Aya’s adventures take place between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, most of the subjects treated were still hot in Côte d’Ivoire. Despite the promises of enlargement and renovation of university cities, many students still sleep in amphitheatres or outside the classes. 2> “I was looking forward to”

For Laure Gnagbé Blédou, editorial director and marketing at Bayard Africa, the Tour de force de Marguerite Abouet is to succeed in diving the reader, wherever he comes, in the Ivory Coast of yesterday and D ‘today. “In Aya, the problems and stories of the characters are universal, even if the decor and the references are Ivorians, she underlines. While here, people are used to immersing themselves in stories of Americans , Europeans, it’s interesting to see that it can work on both sides. “

A week after the comic book release, the book libraries for all, founded by Marguerite Abouet in several municipalities in Abidjan, also offer the last volume. “I was waiting impatiently and he is very good. Aya has grown up, she has more responsibilities, more challenges, observes Sonia Arruda Touré, responsible for the association. As usual, the author tells the concerns of The time, the position of women, student demands … His commitment has not moved. “The 112 pages devour and will necessarily call others in view of the twists and turns this new part.

/Media reports.