Aku and the Journey of the Turtle Spirit

Drama Queens, Ghana
three turtles walking
Cover of the Graphic Novel
Drama Queens, Aku and the Journey of the Turtle Spirit, 2023, graphic novel, Ghana

The coastline of Ghana provides essential habitat for three species of turtle: Olive Ridleys, Green Turtles and Leatherbacks. Loggerheads and Hawksbills also visit the country’s waters. Between September and January, turtles’ nest in the sand, where they lay up to 150 eggs each per season.  

Sea turtles are crucial to healthy ocean ecosystems. They support coral reefs, forage seagrass and regulate predatory jellyfish. In traditional Ghanaian stories, turtles are represented as protectors and guides during bad weather and rough seas. They are also regarded as saviours who helped ancestors escape from European slave ships.   

All species of turtle are protected under Ghanaian law. However, poaching and egg harvesting still occur. Plastic debris and fishing nets, pollution, coastal development and environmental erosion are also serious threats.  

To encourage efforts to conserve turtle populations, Drama Queens produced the graphic novel Aku and the Journey of the Turtle Spirit. Alongside an illustrated story, the publication includes a zine that presents short stories and poems written in varying languages and dialects by young people from the towns of Anloga and Anyanui.  

Project collaborators 

Ursula Abanga, Kwame Boateng Acheampong, Ezekiel Addy, Bless Emefa Adevu, Bright Mawunyo Adzagba, Kimathi Agbanu, Dennis Kwaku Frimpong Agyemang, Kokui Edem Axolu, Daniel Baffour, Kofi Konadu Berko, Heine Bravie, Robert Kwame Dapaah, Ramla Bashiru Dapilah, Portia Asantewaa Duah, Amina Gimba, Imara Glymph, Becca Grant, Mirco Gyan, Michaella Gyatsen, Maia Kauffman, Theophly Kwapong, Nyasha Mugavazi, Doris Nana Esi Dede Odoi, Angela Otoo, Xenyo Pearl, James Selasi Quarshie, Gabriella Rockson, Micheala Rockson, Mira Weidner, Alexander Ove Tryde Zachariassen