For some families in the Sukuma tribe in Tanzania, daughters are seen as nothing more than as a short-term investment for poor, rural households – cash cows that can boost a family’s financial position at the expense of a girl’s schooling and wellbeing. Cash Cow is the story of one such girl, Grace Masanja, forced to marry a much older man for financial gain of her family.
Cash Cow tells the story of a teenager who wanted nothing more than to go to school and become a nurse, but who was forced to give up her future life against her will.
Cash Cow is a mix of several media. First and foremost, it is a graphic novel that tells the tragic story of Grace, who represents many other girls who have to go through the same horrors as she did.
The power of Cash Cow is in the mix of different media. It is a graphic novel that mostly consists of hand drawn images. Although these images tell a real story, this medium has given storytellers Marc Ellison and Christian Mugarura some more artistic story to visualize the story how they want it.
However, Cash Cow is most powerful when it switches from being just a graphic novel to being a photo and video. Although hand drawn frame is a painting on its own, mixing these images with real photographs and video make the audience realize that is indeed a real story, and that Grace is a living human being who had to suffer through all this.
Together the drawings, pictures, and videos tell an immersive story of despair, resilience and hope that should inspire everyone that reads it, in either English of Swahili.