THE ORIGINS OF THE “LEGEND OF WAZAL”
The legend of Wazal is the brainchild of stylist, Joseph Marie Ayissi Nga. Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon in 1984, Joseph’s inspiration for sartorial art came from his artist father. After discovering a young Joseph’s talents, his father encouraged him. He taught him technique, discipline, and passed on a passion for creation.
Although amazed by the universe of sartorial art, Joseph moved away from the area to train as a mechanic. He later admitted that his time as a mechanic provided materials and skills he applied to the comic strip he went on to develop.
A PASSION IS LIVING …
We all have an inner calling, a passion that drives us to give up everything and make illogical decisions we convince ourselves will pay off. Joseph is no different. Feeling an inner calling for the world of art, he moved to France. At Vanessa Ruiz school, he learnt about looks, patronage and moulding.
In 2013, he launched his own fashion line, the Wazal brand, which has gained global recognition. In 2016 he was nominated for the BEFFTA Awards, a ceremony that rewards African personalities according to their field of competences. He was also nominated for the International Achievers Awards (London) in 2018, in the best male designer category.
… IT FEASTS ON YOUR EXPERIENCES
“My collections are inspired by the continent that I call home where took my first steps. It is a land full of many resources and has a rich history, not very known to both nationals and foreigners.”
Beyond fashion, the burning desire to narrate the story of Cameroon and Africa as a whole, birthed a comic book. The Legend of Wazal feeds on his personal and professional experiences. The life of his main hero “Wazal” is inspired by his personal life and that of his close friends. From his professional experiences in fashion and mechanics, he imagines the extraordinary designs and clothing of his characters.
“The legend of Wazal shows that the stages of our lives, and our challenges can be used to catalyse our talents.”
… THE STORY OF A YOUNG KING THAT MUST SAVE HIS PEOPLE
As you will see, the “Legend of Wazal” is a representative tale of everyday life. Whether we are from a royal family or not, there is always, in every family, a person who must lead and take care of his family. It’s not always the father or the mother, nor the elders, it is just that person who picks up the burden.
“The Legend of Wazal” carries within it numerous messages about life and African culture:
– Knowledge is acquired through recognition and respect of the elders and the people.
– Mastery of ancestral traditions is fundamental. This is what keeps people together and ensures the transition of cultural values to future generations.
– Betrayals will always be on our path, but in no way should it be a reason to lament.
– Strength is a word generally associated with the physical state of a being. Let us not forget that mental strength is just as important to cope with hardships that physical strength alone cannot overcome.
– Life is a puzzle. By bringing the right pieces of the puzzle together, we become what we aspire. To find these right pieces, you have to live, try, fail, get up and move forward.
With his clothing brand, Joseph aims to create boutiques around the world to better satisfy his customers. Above all, he dreams of launching a manufacturing plant in Cameroon; which will create jobs desperately needed. He views his comics as a continuity of the ideological momentum of his clothing brand. His aim is to keep pushing the plot, arouse curiosity and most importantly bring real knowledge. He would also love to invest in charitable activities for young children in the near future.
“If life teaches us one thing, it is that one must start living with a certain baggage. This baggage is knowledge, experience, and it is our duty to share them to better arm others.”
A BRIEF FORAY INTO WAZALVILLE …
“Once upon a time, in the far north of Cameroon, in a small village called WAZALVILLE, lived a people, the Wazalgeois. In this small kingdom, rich in natural resources and traditions, the inhabitants lived in harmony with the beauty of the wildlife and nature that surrounded them, the red soil that nourished them and the spirits that protected them.
It was a small paradise on earth, a real haven of peace where the gentle wind made tree leaves murmur, the peaceful singing of birds and the streaming shimmering waters brought with them a certain charm. The villagers were woken every morning at the crow of the rooster. The street vendors then arrived to sell maize and cassava donuts much appreciated by the villagers. As an every day routine, before going to the fields, to hunt or toil, they sat together on the sidelines called beignetariats. There they ate breakfast in groups while talking; donuts-beans-porridge, the most appreciated dish of all Cameroonians, rich or poor.
Each village had its codes and rules. Legend says that woe to whoever will pick plums or mangos in his neighbour’s yard without his permission: misfortune will befall him and his family! Each maintained his yard, the wind that blew every night, participated in sweeping the leaves. For any outsider or visitor, the village gave the impression of a robust village, hard to conquer. “