DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "DOCUMENTARY"

LONDON EVENT: FILM SCREENING - ‘Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me’.

Film Summary: South African filmmaker Khalo Matabane was an idealistic teenager with fanciful ideas about a post-apartheid era of freedom and justice when the great icon of liberation Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990.

In a personal odyssey encompassing an imaginary letter to Mandela and conversations with politicians, activists, intellectuals, and artists, Matabane questions the meaning of freedom, reconciliation and forgiveness—and challenges Mandela’s legacy in today’s world of conflict and inequality.

The film juxtaposes Matabane’s inner quest for coherence with the opinions of people who both knew Mandela and those whose political perspectives were shaped by him. Matabane weighs equally the words of his subjects, leading us to question these concepts as well.

Awards: Special Jury Award, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2013.

Event Details:

March 21, 2014
6:30 PM / Ritzy Brixton
Screening followed by discussion with filmmaker Khalo Matabane
Presented with: Sheffield Doc/Fest, sheffdocfest.com
March 22, 2014
4:00 PM / Curzon Soho
Screening followed by discussion with filmmaker Khalo Matabane
Presented with: Sheffield Doc/Fest, sheffdocfest.com

DOCUMENTARY: “Fantastic Man” - A Film About William Onyeabor.

From Lagos to London, New York to Enugu, music connoisseurs, industry insiders and intrigued individuals try to unravel the mystery of just who Nigerian pioneering musician William Onyeabor is. 

A fantastic documentary, about a “fantastic man”.

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All Africa, All the time.

On My Radar: Film - “Coach Zoran and his African Tigers”.

Despite my qualms with the title of the film (why couldn’t they have referred to them more specifically as ‘South Sudanese’ and not simply ‘African’?), after watching this trailer, I am highly intrigued by the premise of this film.

On the surface, this 2013-made film by director Sam Benstead documents a year in the life of a group of young men from South Sudan hand-picked to represent their newly independent country at their first international game, and eventually the country’s first major football tournament, and their often conflicted relationship with their overzealous Serbian coach, Zoran Djordjevic. Larger than that, the film brings to light multiple layers of stories surrounding the birth of a new nation - from the harsh realities of the world of international sports, to the always incredible nature of man’s spirit of endurance, even when misinterpreted. 

Watch an excerpt from the film here

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All Africa, All the time.

On My Radar: Three African stories told through film at Sundance.

Difret

Seen from the perspective of a young female protagonist, Difret tells the story of young 14-year-old girl abducted into marriage who, in an effort to escape, ends up killing her kidnapper and would-be husband. Following this incident, a trial ensues as the fate of Hirut hangs in the balance.

The feature debut of Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, the film is based on a true story that occurred in 1996.

Watch: An excerpt from Difret.

Fishing Without Nets

The topic of Somali piracy has been a hotly reported topic in Western media over the past few years. But as with most stories about Africa, the perspective from which it’s been told is often distorted, painting the pirates as scattered collectives of nonsensical rebels without a cause, leaving out much of the complexity of the situation. 

Watch an excerpt/short version of the film.

Finding Fela

If there’s one Nigerian artist whose consciousness has managed to transcend both time and culture, permeating the minds of Nigerians, Africans and the world at large, it is the man who claimed to not fear death - the iconic Fela Anikulapo Kuti. 

In Finding Fela, Academy Award-winningfilmmaker Alex Gabney tackles and dissects the professional career and personal life of the Afrobeat legend, bringing to life the controversial and contradictory life story of Nigeria’s most well-known musician.

Watch: Finding Fela at Sundance.

Hopefully these films will be made accessible to those of us on the continent!

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All Africa, All the time.

Documentary: “Lagos in the Red”.

Made by Danish filmmakers Lotte Løvholm, Karen Andersen & Nanna Nielsen, Lagos in the Red follows Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku. Atiku uses his body as a prop as a means of sensitizing people to the problems that Nigeria - both as a people and a country - face. 

This documentary particularly focuses on his performance ‘Red Light’ which he performs in Ejigbo, the neighborhood he was born and raised in. The color red in his performance symbolizes ‘life, violence, energy and the essence of human life”.

Once a fine arts student, Atiku is an art teacher in Lagos who stresses the importance of are as a symbolic tool, far above monetary value, used to communicate one’s emotions, preserve culture and history, as well as raising consciousness among people - especially in a country like Nigeria.

Related post: “Why don’t South Africans like performance art?

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All Africa, All the time.

MORNING MUSIC: Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Nomathemba.

It’s never to late to say congratulations! Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the legendary South African a capella group won their fourth Grammy at this year’s ceremony held this past weekend. 

The collective took home the award for ‘Best World Album’ for ‘Live: Singing for Peace around the World’, an award they shared with French flamenco group Gipsy Kings.

Founded by lead singer Joseph Tshabalala, the all-male choral group has been making music since the 1960s. Singing in the Zulu vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube, the group first gained worldwide prominence after collaborating with US artist Paul Simon on his hit album Graceland in 1986.

They received their first Grammy nomination in 1988 and, altogether, have been up for a Grammy a total of 13 times. The group have also been nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy for their short documentary film On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom.

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All Africa, All the Time.

Currently Watching: ”We Have To Free Our Imaginations”

"We Have To Free Our Imaginations" is Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina’s  a six-part series in which speaks on “the fear of imagination”. In it, Wainaina speaks on the need to decolonize our educational frameworks in Africa, the boundaries and limitations we enforce on each other through stigma, ignorance and even policy, globalisation, and the importance of ‘madness’.

Watch the entire series above (YouTube playlist).

Guinness Helps Brings Sapeur Culture to Life in Mini-Doc

We’ve seen them in countless pictures and photo-documentary projects, but how many times have we glimpsed actual Congolese Sapeurs present themselves in through their own words? In this 5 minute documentary put together by Guinness, we get to meet and know more about these bold, elegant, dapper and dandy gentlemen of Brazzaville.

Watching the “The Last Battle” was not easy. Not simply because it is the telling of actual events, that are still ongoing, that were horrific in nature, but because this gross miscarriage in justice reveals the brutal extent that man’s inhumanity to man can - and has - manifested itself through the that is coloniliasm.

This fight for justice in the ways in which the victims define it lays out a fact that so many of us are aware of - colonialism never really ended, and for as long as we stay silent about our pain, or silence those who still bear the marks of this gruesome period in our history, we malignantly assist those who are responsible for this in leaving the scars of the victims forcibly open and lacing them with the salt of inhumanity and immorality.

Filmed on two continents over four years, The Last Battle traces the story of a small group of elderly Kenyans in their successful fight to win acknowledgement of the abuses suffered at the hands of the British colonial authorities at the height of the 1950s Mau Mau emergency. 
With intimate and disturbing interviews, observational footage, photographs and archive, this revelatory and compelling documentary follows the legal case in London and lays bare a history that was deliberately hidden, allowing the central protagonists to tell the world, for the first time, their stories and what happened to them.
- Kevin Kriedemann

tw: mentions of torture, violence.

In filmmaker Karim Zoubir’s documentary for Al Jazeera’s Witness segment, we meet Casablanca-based divorced single mother and camerawoman Khadija. Although her family do not approve of Khadija’s profession as a wedding videographer as it keeps her away ‘til very later hours at night, she is the main breadwinner amongst them (she lives her parents, her brothers and her sister).

The realities of Khadija’s everyday life and unconventional profession, given the context of her environment, are so well captured in this near-50 minute peek inside of her world. From interactions with her closest friends and family, to potential clients and business partners.

The final episode in Al Jazeera’s 3-part documentary series, ‘Black France’, that explores the history and relationship between France and its black citizens and colonial territories focuses on the ‘extreme racism and discrimination black immigrants faced during times of economic hardship and through political shifts in post-World War II France’.

Catch up on the series by watching episode 1 and 2.

For Xhosa boys, their ceremonial transition to manhood - a process known as Ukwaluka - includes traditional circumcision. It is a time honoured ritual woven deep into the fabric of their society.

In this documentary,Ndiyindoda: I am a man, Al Jazeera looks at the history behind this sacred tradition and the controversies surrounding this practice in South Africa today.

(tw: mention of surgical practices)

Unfortunately, due to bandwidth limitations (and because I do not have access to Al Jazeera’s televised station) I am unable to watch this video and therefore make any comments about it.

But judging from how in-depth and informative the first episode in this 3-part documentary series by Al Jazeera was, I suspect that episode 2 of ‘Black France’, that deals with the ‘ongoing struggles of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean to achieve rights, form communities and have their contributions to French society recognised’, is just as good.

Starting with the second World War in which African troops from French colonies on the continent, mostly in North and West Africa, were enlisted to fight on behalf of their ‘mother country’, and ending with the wave of immigration that started in the mid-20th century, the continuation of the struggles of black people in France is once again brought to light through this documentary.

Enjoy!

In Al Jazeera’s newly launched 3-part documentary series ‘Black France’, the relationship between one of the most dominant European colonial forces in Africa and the Caribbean, and the political and social dynamics of its former colonies and their citizens is explored to tell the story of black people in France and the country’s history of ‘segregation, racism, protest, violence, culture and community building - from the turn of the 20th century until the present day’.

Beginning in the mid-1500s, and following in the footsteps of the larger and more dominant British Empire, France began to colonize foreign territories starting with North America’s Gaspe Bay in what is today Canada. For centuries France would continue to expand its colonial reach building an empire that spanned across various regions in North America, the Carribbean, South America, Africa and Asia. It would not be until 1980 with the independence of Vanuatu that the French Empire would officially be disbanded worldwide.

Today, France is home to one of Europe’s black communities, mostly of African and/or Caribbean descent - a direct result of the country’s relationship with its colonial territories in these regions.

'Conflicting Identities', the first episode in the trilogy, explores the duality and complexes of what it means to be 'both black and French in the decades before France’s African colonies achieved independence' during the latter part of the 18th century, beginning with the fight for equality for France's black community to the experiences of black people in early 20th century France including both World Wars and the Great Depression.

Interestingly, the particularities of France’s differing and hierarchical relationship between it’s ‘colonial subjects’, with Africans being treated as the most inferior, are also brought to light. Where African-American individuals and culture were celebrated and marveled at with great interest - a perverse fascination of sorts, and where individuals of Caribbean territories were given French citizenship - but not full equality, Africans were mostly denied such privileges and were dehumanized and stigmatized as backward black savages.

Regardless of the differing treatment of black people from various parts of the world, racism was always the underlying factor in France’s social and political approach to black people, seeing them as inferior and ‘the other’ - a view that in some ways still has not changed.

[English & French w/ French subtitles]

DOCUMENTARY: ‘Ever Young’ - James Barnor

Narrated by the photographer himself and accompanied by a range of his work - from studio portraits in Accra and his documentation of Ghanain boxing champion Roy Ankrah’s personal life, to his work for DRUM Magazine shooting fashion photography in London, England, this short but intimate documentary details the birth and life of Barnor’s ‘Ever Young’ photo studio, situated in a pivotal area of Ghana’s capital city during a time when Ghana’s anti-colonial socio-polotical consciousness was rising, and his move from his country of birth to the United Kingdom.

"I had wanted to do a lot of things like being a farmer, being a teacher - so many things, but I don’t regret doing photography." - James Barnor.

September: Highlighting African Photographers