A younger African Violet just after the Qularr invasion.
Thandiwe "Thandi" Wessels was born just before the end of apartheid in South Africa. As she was growing up, she had an affinity for pageantry and talent shows. She did decently at school but soon became plagued with bad dreams at an early age. The doctors called them night terrors, but her father knew better. Her dad tried reading her stories of mighty Zulu warriors and African explorers in the 19th century. He regaled her with tales of her as a princess who carried part of the soul of Africa itself, which he always would call the "Dark Continent." The stories were somewhat reassuring and her nightmares began to lessen, at least until her teenage years.
Things took a turn at puberty when she discovered that she could project a cold, dark energy around herself. Darkness would appear or envelop her at inappropriate or stressful times. She kept the powers to herself because they scared her. The darkness was chilling and cold and she worried that it was something bad. Her dad understood that it was time to have a talk with his daughter about her heritage.
One evening, her dad came to her room and talked to her about the Wessels family, and how one of her ancestors, Johannes Wessels, was in fact the explorer from the tales he told her. While exploring the deepest parts of the Congo, he stumbled upon a dark magical spring that represented the Heart of Africa. He traveled south, being noticed by many tribes along the way before finally and making his way to the Zulus. He lived among them for many years, taking a wife from among their tribe. The magic within him was passed onto his children and now to her.
Her father helped her train to take advantage of the cold darkness, and not let it distract her or cause her pain. He showed her how it could be used to give her speed and clarity, and how when it manifests she could protect herself with it. Soon, the darkness stopped appearing under stress and she began to control when it emerged.
Thandi decided to take time and look for ways to help people with her newfound abilities. She became a South African sensation at age 16 when she rescued several families from a burning building. The flames didn't even seem to hurt her at all--she had harnessed her dark energies into protecting herself. At the end of the year, she also helped with the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami relief effort. She started with local efforts in East London, South Africa and other port cities before being a part of a global superhero delegation to Indonesia to help with aid.
She spent the next couple years before graduating from secondary school helping out with crime and social issues in her city. With a combination of her good looks, attitude and her heroic acts, she became a sort of celeb in Johannesburg. Being so young, she was not used to the press and the attention. She took it with grace though and was soon doing as much helpful things she could with her new-found fame.
In 2006, she spent the summer as part of a peacekeeping delegation in the Darfur conflict. A superpowered rebel had championed the cause of opposition fighters, and Thandi was part of a team to disarm and persuade them to stop terrorizing civilians. After difficult standoffs and several engagements, her team was successful in putting an end to the threat.
Eventually, the South African government turned to their young and popular heroine to represent their country in the International Superheroes League. She was given training through the government by UNTIL on crime-fighting and security techniques for a year, taking advantage of her resilience, poise and athletic ability and her burgeoning dark energies. She was also given a pair of katanas to use to wrap her energies around.
During the training, her instructors recognized some of properties of the magical energies she displayed around her body and taught her how to use them to travel short distances between places. For the first time in her life, she confronted the cold dark and let it envelop her. She was so scared those first few trips, and still hasn't gotten used to "porting" as she calls it.
She arrived in Millennium City in 2009 to help with the Qu'larr invasion. At the time, she was one of the younger members of the ISL.
Attending a meet and greet social
After the ISL drifted ways, Thandi stayed around Millennium City awhile with her friend Finality. For a few months, she took on the moniker of Dark Violet and began helping with some of the crime around the city. She was there when the evil villain Malcya made her appearance in the city. In 2010, a demented villain attacked her at her apartment and put her into the hospital for several weeks. This change left Thandi with a new outlook and a bent on taking down crime with less naivete than before. She spent the summer after recovery back in South Africa in anticipation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. She was on hand during the cup, lending her support to the South African team and helping out as a celebrity.
She eventually returned to Johannesburg and began helping with the threats and social work there, representing her country again. One of her main villains was Krugerrand, a ruthless African warlord who was exploiting people to mine blood diamonds to fuel his mercenary organization. She was able to thwart his plans, disrupting the mining operations.
It was during this time, that she discovered she didn't need her katanas anymore. Her training had allowed her to create her own swords made of pure dark energy to wield in combat.
Global Superhero Accord
In 2012, African Violet was called by her country to join the UNTIL-sponsored Global Superhero Accord. Led by the American hero Bald Eagle, and containing several venerable heroes such as Angelight and Lightwave, Thandi trained for a month with them before their first operation in Okinawa to repel an attack by Warlord.
The global heroes fought hard as Warlord attacked an American military installation on the island with his team of supervillains. Their defenses held and they were able to fight off Warlord, who managed to escape again.
She returned to South Africa, but still remains on call with the Accord in case any global threats require UNTIL support.
Protectors of the World
In late April of 2013, Thandi was offered a spot in the Protectors of the World. UNTIL suggested her name to founder Sparrowhawk as a possible candidate for the team due to her past global efforts and UNTIL training.
Thandi has been on quite a few missions with the Protectors of the World, and has earned a bit of a reputation specializing in civilian rescue.
Thandi was once a very scared kid, unnerved by the night terrors she used to have. Her confidence has grown over the years and Thandi has blossomed into a mature woman that bears the scars of what she has seen through her life. The attack in her apartment and the crimefighting stint she did on the city peeled away her naivete. She is not a cold person, and is in fact very friendly, yet guarded.
She will stand up for injustice and believes that being a hero is a difficult but important duty for the protection of the world. She enjoys working with teams and always makes sure to treat her team members well and discuss with them the best ways to collaborate in combat.
Thandi likes to listen more than talk, and former team members report they appreciate her openness to talk to. She rarely gives advice since she feels as though she is still learning and not wise enough.
Powers and Abilities
Thandi is able to use 'dark energies' that appear to be magical in nature. The energies are linked to the heart of the African continent itself, and have been passed down through the generations of children of 19th century explorer Johannes Wessels. The dark energies are not simply shadows, but a cold dark energy that appears to be part of her being.
She can perform the following feats:
- Protection - Thandi can use her dark energies to envelop her body for protection. The protection seems to only defend against fire, cold, kinetic energies, and other types of energies. It has very little protection against projectiles or physical objects.
- Teleportation - She can shift into the darkness, disappearing into an interdimensional cold darkness to appear a short distance away. She has been able to use this for combat advantage, to strike behind foes, appear in hard to reach locations. Thandi is able to bring one person with her, and frequently uses this for rescues. Thandi finds the realm that she shifts through to be a cold, mysterious dark place, with a landscape similar to the world around her. One of her greatest fears is that she will get lost and unable to escape this realm.
- Energy Blades - After training with katanas through UNTIL for several years, Thandi decided to forgo the weapons and use her energies to create her dark energy blades. The blades have a magical dark energy property and are not solid.
- Dark Energy Lash - Thandi can propel some of her dark energy from her towards another. When away from her body, the energy is much less powerful, yet seems to sap the energy from those it touches. The dark blast can make those it touches more vulnerable to her Energy Blade attacks.
- Thandi has a couple years of UNTIL training. She has been trained in various tactics against supervillains. She also has training in unconventional combat environments, including underwater, zero gravity and various climates.
- She is knowledgeable in martial arts and dual sword techniques.
- She is experienced in humanitarian rescue. She is able to help coordinate relief efforts.
Thandi has very little resistance to conventional munitions and has to take care around them. She will usually try to teleport behind or out of the way of such attacks. She prefers to fight at close range and is also vulnerable to skilled ranged fighters. She relies on her combat suit to protect her from any physical damage.
Thandi's powers are tied to the heart of Africa, and hence Earth itself. In other dimensions are realms outside of Earth, Thandi's powers diminish and then vanish entirely until she returns to Earth.
- Threat Level - Regional Medium
A terribly violent South African warlord. He sometimes allies with VIPER, but most often works solo, terrorizing the rural areas, using forced labor to mine and make money for his operations. He originally worked only in South Africa, but has moved his operations north into the Congo and interior regions as well.
Krugerrand rose to power under the oppression of apartheid in South Africa, stealing from South African government banks and financing his operations. He eventually amassed a personal army and moved to his base from Soweto to the Congo Republic. His mercenaries and teams control several diamond mines to continue to pay for the expensive lifestyle of their regime and to finance some of the better technological equipment and armaments.
Trivia and Rumors
- Her ISL friend Chidori got her into admiring Japanese film and anime.
- She had modeled in her late teens for several commercials and companies in South Africa. She never did make it internationally though.
- She is multilingual and speaks the following languages: English, Dutch, Zulu, Afrikaans, French, and Xhosa.
- She is a big football fan and supports the Johannesburg-based Premier Soccer League team Kaizer Chiefs F.C. She will tend to wear yellow and black when out supporting her team.
- To most peoples dismay, she knows how to play a vuvuzela
- Rumor has it she has dated the following people - Captain Phillipines, the British heroine Union Jackie, Foxbat, and Millennium City Mayor Biselle. She's not sure how all these rumors get around but she claims not to officially be dating anyone.
- Some people say she will occasionally glow purple at various times for no reason at all.
Do you know Thandi? Feel free to leave your comments here.
"Violet's a really... I'm down with her, y'know? Call me sometime, Violet, you got my digits. I'll show you that not all of Westside is THAT bad." - Midnight Brawler
"I've ran into her a few times and noticed some things; She really really cares about folks. And will literally drop whatever she is doing to help them out at the drop of a hat. Hell I wish I could do that and punch the baddies all at once, but my attention can only go so far. Plus her whole shadow trick had gotta be like really handy when she can't find her keys. This is a very compassionate person from what I've seen and frankly I can sleep a little better at night knowing she just plainly exists."- SoulStar
"Violet has quietly settled into a position as the 'heart' of the Protectors. She specializes in civilian rescue operations, which allows others to pay more attention to the direct threats. Not that her preference to tending to innocents in danger means she is a slouch in the combat department... quite the contrary. Violet is a true professional, and others would do well to take a page from her." - Sparrowhawk
"Violet's pretty boss. I can trust her to look after civilians and other noncombatants while I can focus my attention to dealing with the enemy. And she's seems really nice too!" - Artifist
"African Violet is a dedicated and knowledgeable hero, and a solid addition to the Protectors of the World. I know it'll be a better day when she shows up at my side." - Razira
"Thandi is awesome and super sweet and kicks butt!" - Keioseth II
"I don't know Violet all that well yet, but she definitely seems capable with or without her powers. Imagine the confusion the two of us could unleash with my cheating via teleporting and her shadow tricks." - Tesseract
"She's pretty cool and has a diverse powerset. She can pull of dreads, I know I couldn't." - Imp
"It's funny that her powers should be darkness based, given her incredibly bright personality. Violet's compassion, combined with her competence, make her invaluable as a hero and as a teammate." - The Peacemaker
"Rainbow Nation, represent! And dayum, you've got fine taste in men, sister. I'm totally shipping you and Midnight Brawler." - Jinn
African Violet on patrol with Captain Phillipines, English Winter and Tricolore
The ISL braves the depths of Lemuria (art by X99)
Thandi and Chidori with her Atomic Japan bento box (art by X99)
Dark Violet out on patrol of the streets
At the party for Atomic Japan's birthday
Surprise parties are the best
Dancing with Captain Phillipines at the party
African Violet fights some ARGENT troopers
African Violet takes down a VIPER adept
With ISL members for a night relaxing at Club Caprice
Malyca makes her first appearance. Soon after, the heroes make a hasty retreat as Asylum joins her.
Attending a planning meeting with the Global Superhero Accord
Thandi posing for a photo in her South African colors.