You’ve seen her sitting on the bench in San Telmo. But why does everyone want to take their photo with her? What’s the big deal about this life-size little girl? When my co-worker asked me what I thought of Mafalda, they were appalled to know I had no clue who she was.
Mafalda is the main character in a famous comic strip written by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, more recognized by his pen name, Quino. Originally written as a promotion for a line of household appliances that never saw the light of day in 1962, she was brought to life 2 years later, as a full comic strip in a weekly publication.
Mafalda is a little girl wise beyond her years who lived in a middle-class family in Buenos Aires in the 60s and 70s. Loves pancakes. Hates soup. She is known for her curiosity, political and social musings, and her worldview, always worrying about humanity and world peace. Constantly peppering her exasperated parents with questions, she expresses her dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and her frustration with adults and their reluctance to do anything to change it. She talks about grand themes but with a child-like simplicity making her character loveable and at the same time humorous.
Many of Mafalda’s commentaries relate to social and political issues in the 70s. She loves the Beatles, and believes fervently in women’s rights. Her friends consider her worldview pessimistic. Many say you have to read Mafalda to understand Argentina. But the issues that she covers are universal, and her books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Read her just for fun, or to practice your Spanish and learn more about this Argentine gem.
Next part, we’ll give you a brief run down of all the major characters in the world of Mafalda.