African-based news, lifestyle & popular culture platform that brings you stories and information concerning Africa and the African diaspora. Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.

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Posts tagged "documentary"

TRAILER: “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace”.

New documentary investigates Wiley’s life and identity as it relates to his artwork and the Western hegemonic world of art in which he must navigate as a black African-American artist.

The film had its premiere in the US on PBS on September 5th so be sure to check your local listings to see when its on next. Don’t have PBS? US residents can try stream it online here.

Cecile Emeke’s ‘Strolling’ Series Documents and Gives A Voice to Diasporan Youth in the UK.

Armed with the objective of removing the veil of invisibility cast upon young black voices and faces, Strolling is a multimedia series created by filmmaker Cecile Emeke that sees her walking through the streets of London with other young black individuals discussing any and everything that concerns their daily realities. Strolling was birthed from Emeke’s everyday conversations with friends and acquaintances that often found her sentiments about issues relating to life as a young diasporan African in the UK being echoed, inspiring the filmmaker in her to document these interactions.

Whilst the series adopts a one-way casual form of dialogue, the importance of this project is not in any way diminished by the nature of the conversation. Rather, the messages embedded in these videos are all the more amplified by this form of broadcast, and the visual communicative platform allows the audiences to engage with the individuals without interrupting their agency or representation of themselves.

As Emeke says:

"Growing up in London I was not reflected anywhere, not fully. I think most of us tried to grasp on to images of African-American culture, and we tried to cling on to our identities from the Caribbean and Africa. We’d wave our Jamaica flags at carnival and watch reruns of fresh prince but ultimately nothing reflected us. We didn’t exist.

Part of the aim of erasure is to alienate you and therefore silence you. Strolling is the complete and utter rejection of this implicit call to silence and the self-destructive assimilation required for survival.”

In this video, Abraham strolls through Hackney with Emeke as he chats to her (and us) about everything from male feminists, patriarchy, crying, to “great” Britain, reparations for Africa, Palestine, Boko Haram, hair and more.

The full playlist is embedded above.

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Movie Mondays: Watch South African Marikana Documentary ‘Miners Shot Down’ in Full.

Filmmaker Rehad Desai looks into the incidents surrounding the 2012 massacre of protesting mine workers at the Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana, as well as the socio-political implications of this shocking and tragic event. 

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Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People - Soon Showing at Film Forum.

A compelling documentary, from the looks of the trailer alone, by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris that looks at the visual history of black people in America through the power of photography.

On one hand, Harris delves into the world of black photographers in the United States who have used the camera to define themselves and re-create narratives that speak to African-American experiences and audiences on a fundamental level. On the other hand, the film looks at how the same medium of photography was used as a political and propagandist tool to demean and continuously oppress America’s black population through racist imagery. 

The film was inspired by Deborah Willis’s book, Reflections in Black,and sheds light on the profound importance and influence of how art can be used both as a form of empowerment and suppression. 

Through A Lens Darkly is will be on show at New York’s Film Forum from August 27th until September 6th

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DOCUMENTARY: “The Dark Side of Chocolate”.

A documentary that highlights the exploitative labour practices within the global chocolate industry, and how this creates slave-like conditions for many children that are forced to work on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. 

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"Anita: Speaking Truth to Power."

Recently watched this powerful and compelling documentary about Anita Hill and the sexual assault case where she provided testimony against Judge Clarence Thomas who was then nominated for the US Supreme Court.

At the time Hill, who was a former employee of Thomas’ (who shamefully called the proceedings a case of ‘high-tech lynching’ as a way to deflect from the issue of sexual harassment by using race as a factor - the only factor), was a law professor at the University of Oklahoma where she grew up. She gave her testimony live on national television in October 1991 and, unbeknownst to her, the effect of her decision to speak out would almost immediately spark what the Boston Globe called, “a passionate debate about sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere”, and one that is far from over.

In a world where gender and racial oppression are systemic, and where victims are blamed and perpetrators shielded by the oppressive and shaming nature of rape culture, Anita Hill’s story remains both relevant and necessary in its telling. What’s I found particularly interesting about the film is how director Freida Mock conveyed this story in such a way that made it both Anita’s story and that of so many women in the United States and around the world.

Hill, now a professor and Brandeis University, has dedicated much of her life to speaking about sexual harassment and gender issues, as well as how these matters often intersect with race, as well as helping others find their voice. 

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DOCUMENTARY: “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords.”

In a world where segregation was back both by laws and social attitudes, it’s no surprise that the mainstream press in the United States served as a reflection of these ills.

Knowing firsthand the impact of words and images as weapons against their welfare, black people in the United States knew that left in the hands of racist publications, their representation, history, culture and identities would forever be at stake. Starting with communities and individuals of free black people in the 1800s, to the birth of more contemporary publications like Ebony, the power of images and the written word of black people by black people, and in the interests of black people, has always been an act of self-preservation.

This documentary brings to light a powerful and engaging account of American history that has been virtually forgotten: the story of the pioneering black newspapermen and women who gave voice to black America. 

Watch it here.


DOCUMENTARY: “Kaffir Culture” by Kannan Arunasalam.

In some parts of the world, the word ‘kaffir’, an Arabic term meaning ‘infidel’, is or was used as a derogatory racially offensive term in reference to black people. Used during the Arab slave trade, the it was later adopted by various European communities, such as the Dutch and Portuguese, to refer to the Africans they kidnapped and enslaved.

Through the enslavement of black people from the African continent to other parts of the world, the word found its way to Sri Lanka where it was used to describe the descendents of Africans brought there by Portuguese enslavers and British colonists from around the 16th century. But where in South Africa the world still carries a negative connotation even amongst black people, Sri Lankan kaffirs use the term boldly as a descriptor and a way of acknowledging their East African roots and heritage.

In this short documentary, filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam tells the story of a small group of Sri Lankan kaffirs, many of whom are mixed, and their struggle to keep their culture alive as their community shrinks.

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All Africa, All the time.

DOCUMENTARY: Soul Power (The Greatest Music Festival, 1974).

"In 1974, Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine set out to organize a music festival in Africa. Their dream was to bring together the most renowned African-American and African musicians in their common homeland. 

They approached boxing promoter Don King with the proposal to combine the festival with a little fight that King was organizing between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. King had already persuaded President Mobutu of Zaire to underwrite and provide the venue for the fight. Mobutu agreed to host the festival, but declined to provide financial support.”

Released in 2008, ‘Soul Power’ is a 2008 documentary film directed by Jeff Levy-Hinte that chronicles the Zaire ‘74 music festival that accompanied the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between US boxing greats Muhammed Ali and George Foreman in October of that year. The film was made entirely out of archival footage, some of which was first used to make the documentary film “When We Were Kings”.

Performers in the film include James Brown, The Spinners, OK Jazz featuring Franco, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, B.B. King, Pembe Dance Troupe, The Crusaders, Fania All-Stars featuring Celia Cruz, Big Black, Afrisa featuring Tabu LEY, The Mighty J.B.’s and Manu Dibango.

"When We Were Kings" is documents the fight between Ali and Foreman, mostly from the perspective of Ali, and includes breaks with talking heads providing commentary on the event.

This October will mark the 40th anniversary of both occasions.

Documentary: “Racism: A History”.

Currently watching this three-part BBC documentary on the history and global impact of European racism beginning with the origins and motivations behind the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the colonisation of the Americas.

The series thoroughly examines the relationships and power dynamics between the native populations of Europe, Africa and the Americas, as well as the social and economic factors that helped both create and sustain European-formed racist societies.

Part 2 | 3.

#TBTAfrica: The Black Pharaohs - Nubian Pharaohs (Ancient Egypt History Documentary).

Dr Vivian Davies claims that a recently discovered set of hieroglyphs proves that, in 800 BC, Egypt was under the rule of black Pharaohs from neighbouring Nubia. This film examines the impact of these discoveries.

Historians have long known about Kush, but relegated its importance to a vassal state of Egypt, significant only for its gold reserves. Early excavations in the Kush capital at Kerma suffered from the innate racism of the archaeologists. Fabulous grave goods, discovered in the 20th century, were thought to have belonged to Kush’s Egyptian overlords. They didn’t consider that a black African culture could have challenged Egypt’s supremacy.

The inscription exposed the truth. Although it won battles, Kush eventually lost the war, and for the next 1000 years, Egypt had the upper hand. But the inscription served as a warning prophecy to Egypt that it might pay a high price. The enslaved Kushites would have their revenge. Allowed, and even encouraged, to rebuild their own kingdom along the lines of Egypt, in 747 BC, Kush attacked the Pharaoh’s power in a daring land grab.

The Kushite king, Piye, overthrew the yoke, conquered mighty Egypt and established a 100-year rule of black Pharaohs. Even after being ousted from the Egyptian throne, Kushite kings continued to rule an empire as mighty as any, until the arrival of Alexander the Great. For a number of years, British Museum archaeologists have been making find after find in the Upper Nile Valley to substantiate this story - huge lost pyramids, burial chambers of 200 workers, and stores of gold.

The only thing that this documentary leaves me confused about is, if the Kushites are black, what race where the Ancient Egyptians? At times, I think it’s best not to racialize these portions of history, at least in the same manner that we racially categorize each other today, according the a white western lens, as race in past civilizations was not interpreted or structured in the ways that we’ve become familiar with.  Although I’m no student of history or anthropologist, in instances such as these I think it best to guide classifications based more on ethnicity than interpretations of race.




cool documentary: "Deaf Role Models in Kenya"

The idea of ​​this documentary was released by the Deaf Organizations of all seven East African countries plus Zambia during the East African conference “Deaf Education” in Kampala, Uganda in 2012. One of the main findings was that the early intervention program lacking in any East African country. The documentary could therefore contribute to increasing the awareness of parents and other stakeholders of young deaf children in East Africa plus Zambia.

"Staff Riding" documentary captures the risky and rebellious activities of train surfing in South Africa.

Just outside of Johannesburg in the township of Katlehong, young men, who fall somewhere between daredevils and wreckless rebels, find freedom and expression through a train surfing activity called ‘staff riding’ - a dangerous activity that involves riding on trains and performing perilous stunts and tricks.

In this short documentary, photojournalist Marco Casino captures this subculture through the eyes of those who ride, those who risk and those whose lives have been affected by it all.

TW: disfurgement, amputated limbs.

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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