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Posts tagged "comoros"

Happy (belated) Independence Day Comoros!

Four days ago on July 6th the island nation of Comoros, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of east Africa, celebrated its independence from French colonial authority that was won on that day in 1975.

African and Austronesian settles who traveled to the island by boat are thought to have been the first human inhabitants of the island who are speculated to have arrived around the sixth century AD, the date of the earliest known archaeological site, found on Nzwani.

The Comoros islands have since been populated by a diverse array of settlers ranging from Arab and Swahili settlers, traders and human traffickers, to Malagasy slave raiders, and Portuguese, Dutch and French colonists.

French colonial rule was established on the islands beginning in 1841 with the signing of the Treaty of April 1841 between France and the Malagasy King of Mayotte Andrian Tsouli. The Treaty surrendered the Comoros island of Mayotte to France. By 1912, the islands of the Comoros were all under French colonial control.

In 1973 an agreement was reached between France and local Comorian authorities for the islands to become independent and self-governing. On 6 July 1975, the Comorian parliament passed a unilateral resolution declaring independence with Ahmed Abdalla as the country’s first president.


Ylang Ylang Residence

The Ylang Ylang Residence, directed by Hachimiya Ahimada, is Comoros’s first film, and shot on 35mm, is in no way any the lesser for its short running time of 20 minutes.

The island archipelago has had a very chequered history, still affected by occasional civil war today. It also has a truly cosmopolitan history, due to its proximity to Africa, the Middle East, and Austronesia, the cultures from which have all left their mark across the centuries. In the film, this is evidenced by the fact that those who have returned have elevated their socialstatus by previously living and working in France, the predominance of Islamic culture, and the language of the film being Arabic – just one of the languages used on the islands.

The Ylang Ylang Residence is also a film about knowing who your friends are in times of hardship. For Djibril and his wife, when family has deserted them, salvation comes in the kindness of strangers, or more accurately, friends and neighbours. It is the kind of communal altruism we typically romanticise as being the lifeblood of rural areas, yet in reality is by no means guaranteed to occur.

If it shows anything about Comoros, it’s that twenty minutes is nowhere near enough time to truly understand this complex, multi-layered culture. Ahimada clearly agrees, and is doing something about it. via

watch the preview here, watch in full for a fee at the same website (in Arabic with French subtitles). 

Happy Independence Day to all of our followers from the Comoros!

July 6th, 1975