Tibeb Girls – Changing the Narrative on Girls’ Agency

With the abundance of male superheroes giving young boys a male reference in the animation they are exposed to, an Ethiopian social enterprise has set out to address the dearth of female super heroines by creating its own animation show. Tibeb Girls is an action-drama show about three young girls who use superpowers to fight the injustice and oppression Ethiopian girls routinely face.

AF had a short chat with the inspiring Bruktawit Tigabu to learn about Tibeb Girls. 

Brukty

Bruktawit Tigabu, Founder of Ethiopia’s Whiz Kids Workshop

AF: Brukty, among your innovations that have recently garnered enthusiasm and attention is Tibeb Girls. Can you share with us what it is?

BT: Tibeb Girls is about three Ethiopian girls who use their superpowers to fight against injustice and the many harmful practices Ethiopian girls routinely face. Using their powers to see the past and future, Tibeb Girls draws the audience into the typical lives of Ethiopian girls, building empathy for their hardship and a vision of a brighter future. They enforce equal opportunity for young, marginalized girls and girls in general. Girl empowerment is the theme and it’s meant to engage young girls in Ethiopia and all throughout Africa.

AF: What inspired the creation of Tibeb Girls?

BT: The creation of Tibeb Girls was inspired by the young girls that have been held back in life in Ethiopia. They go through issues such as early child marriage, genital mutilation, unequal opportunities. Tibeb Girls is meant to empower girls and let them know that they can live an equal, independent life no matter their circumstances.

AF: Would you say Tibeb Girls espouse feminist activism? If so, how so?

BT: Yes, I’ve always been passionate about equal rights and it reflects in my work. The characters I’ve created have always shown that equal rights are important and Tibeb Girls embodies the activism I want to display. All girls & women should live life equally.

AF: Do you consider yourself a feminist and by extension, your work a channel for your feminism?

BT: I would consider myself a feminist due to my strong passion for girls having the same rights as boys. The content I provide is a tool for girls and boys to use for the rest of their lives. Girls are shown to be educated, strong, & passionate.

AF: What is your feminism? What is it rooted in?

BT: My feminism is girl empowerment. It’s rooted in my life and my work. I plan to spread the message of equal opportunity in Tibeb Girls.

AF: How has Tibeb Girls been received so far locally?

BT: I’ve set up a Tibeb Girls street festival to bring awareness about the message as well as promoting the concept and heroines. Hundreds of people were interactive and shared their own stories about their hero. The festival previewed the series and it engaged both boys and girls. It’s going very well and they are taking it all in. Young boys were reflecting on what young girls meant to them. The quality of the series has received great feedback; we’ve been shortlisted for an African Animation Network award with DISCOP. I’m excited for what’s to come.

AF: How would you know that Tibeb Girls has been successful in accomplishing its mission and realizing its vision?

BT: We’ve held focus groups a d young girls reflected what they learnt through the episodes. That tells us if they are engaged and also comprehend the message. We intend to do long term studies to see the changes that will be made for them in the long run. Young girls are excited about seeing super heroines that look like them and also understand the reality they live. Tibeb Girls sends a powerful message about girl empowerment & fighting the stigmas that have been placed before them.

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AF thanks Brukty for sharing with us. You can catch a short intro clip of Tibeb Girls here below:

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