South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela is to become a comic strip hero in a new project aimed at encouraging young people to read, his charity foundation said.
"We are harnassing [sic] comics to get across the message and the values of Mr Mandela," John Samuel, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said Thursday.
One million copies of each of the seven comic strips depicting Mandela's life will be distributed in newspapers and schools across South Africa as part of events celebrating the ex-president's 87th birthday on July 18.
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Samuel dismissed a suggestion that the world's most revered statesman should not be reduced to a comic figure.
"It would take a lot more than comics to demean his stature," said Samuel. "That's the least of our problems."
Only two more comic superheroes are needed to launch a Fantastic Four for the new milennium -- "Iron Lady" and Dalai La-man, anyone?