cover image Crossroads: I Live Where I Like: A Graphic History

Crossroads: I Live Where I Like: A Graphic History

Koni Benson et al. PM, $20 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-62963-835-5

Black women who led resistance to South Africa’s apartheid policies tell the powerful story of their collective struggles to live with safety and dignity in this collaborative graphic work. In the 1970 and ’80s, the Crossroads settlement became internationally famous as the community of between 4,000 and 7,000 people resisted the South African government’s eviction orders and efforts to bulldoze their homes. Based on over 60 oral histories that Benson collected, the narrative aims to bring this ethnography into conversation with South Africans’ dire need for affordable housing today. Originally published as several single-issues, the collected edition shows some rough edges, such as big blocks of backstory rendered in compressed fonts, but shines when the voices of the community members are quoted directly (such as when police plan a raid and Crossroads resident Mama Nomangezi tells the other women, “We are going to fight today, because we’ve got nowhere to go”). The art by the South African artists, André Trantraal, Nathan Trantraal, and Ashley E. Mara is crisp and dynamic, with rounded figure drawings that straddle comedy and pathos; the portraits of community members particularly stand out. Their voices resonate through the panels to speak to activists today—and to any reader who wants to delve deeper into the apartheid struggle. (May)