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.  

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.

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

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