Have you ever watched your kid go off to a dress-up party and been jealous that you couldn’t dress up too? Comic Con Africa is the perfect opportunity to indulge your inner hero as the country’s most prestigious, yet accessible, cosplay (costume play) event returns for its fifth iteration. From 22 to 25 September 2023, pop culture enthusiasts from across the country will gather at the heart of Johannesburg to showcase their fandom passion, craftsmanship, and love for all things geek culture.
Since 2018, Africa has been making its mark in the international cosplay arena, competing in the esteemed Crown Championships of Cosplay held in Chicago. South Africa’s cosplayers have consistently impressed the world, with three consecutive African Champions placing in the top three for the international competition.
The talented Kinpastsu Cosplay, Jinxie Cosplay, and Ludus Cosplay, all hailing from South Africa, have brought honour to Africa with their exceptional cosplays, representing diverse characters from beloved gaming and pop culture franchises.
With such prestigious titles being held by the country from Comic Con Africa, the festival has cemented itself as the epicentre of dressing up and getting into character.
However, dressing up at Comic Con Africa is not reserved for the elite – there are various photo opportunities, fandom engagement sessions, general fun, and casual competitions to enjoy. Boasting the largest gathering of casual cosplayers in the country – Comic Con Africa offers sessions every day of the festival, in partnership with GES, where fans can show off their store-bought, makeshift, tailored, or hand-crafted outfits on the main stage in front of fans to stand a chance to win spot prizes.
With the popularity of the competition growing each year, Comic Con Africa has expanded the offering to two sessions a day which are now held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:00 and 14:00, and one session on Monday at 11:00, providing more opportunities for cosplayers to strut their stuff on the main stage. There is also a dedicated casual competition for contestants younger than 13 with a host of prizes to be won.
No pre-registration or payments is required for the casual cosplay competitions at the event – interested fans simply have to register on the day they attend Comic Con Africa.
Additionally, the Nintendo Cosplay Competition, in partnership with the official Nintendo South Africa Distributor, adds a touch of gaming flair to cosplay at the event. Fans are invited to embody beloved characters from Nintendo properties – such as Mario Bros., Bayonetta, The Legend of Zelda, and even Splatoon – on Saturday (23 September 2023, at 14:00) on the main stage for a chance to win their share of R8000. As with the casual competition, there is no pre-registration or payment required to participate.
For those looking to compete professionally, Comic Con Africa hosts the Comic Con Africa Championships of Cosplay, which welcomes fans that hand-craft character-inspired outfits from scratch across a variety of categories, including an overall winner (referred to as Masters), an armour division, as well as a needlework division. After rigorous pre-judging, the top 25 contestants are selected to battle it out on the main stage on Monday, 25 September 2023, at 14:00 – a spectacle to watch that is marked on the calendar of most con-goers.
Contestants’ stage presence, creativity, and performance in front of a large audience are thoroughly assessed, culminating in the announcement of the new Comic Con Africa Champion of Cosplay. The deserving winner will have the honour of representing South Africa at the prestigious C2E2 in Chicago in April 2024, competing against champions from around the world.
Pre-registration is required for the Comic Con Africa Championships of Cosplay. For more information on how to compete and the criteria that surrounds the competition, fans can visit this link for more information.
More than fans casually or competitively participating in the festival – Comic Con Africa has also invited three internationally acclaimed cosplayers to attend the event – namely Lindsay Elyse (USA), Sakura Flor (Netherlands), as well as Har_Fie (England). These guests will have photograph opportunities available, as well as sell prints of some of their most iconic outfits.
Comic Con Africa 2023 promises an unforgettable celebration of creativity, talent, and the magic of cosplay. Whether you’re a seasoned cosplayer, a passionate parent, or a young enthusiast, there’s something for everyone at this year’s festival. Join us for an incredible Heritage Day weekend filled with incredible costumes, memorable performances, and an atmosphere buzzing with fandom excitement. Tickets are available from R200 through Howler on this link here.