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 "film"

"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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FILM: ‘Kebab’ by Abraham Popoola (Trailer).

When Cameron, an unemployed God-fearing graduate, runs out of food he turns to Anthony, his wealthy, atheist flatmate for help. The pair rumble through capitalism, religion, education and morality as they tussle over the evening’s desired meal…Kebab.

Abraham Popoola is an actor, currently training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and director based in Hackney, London. Popoola worked alongside fellow filmmaker Cecile Emeke, who is the film’s cinematographer, and stars alongside actor Jamael Westman. Kebab is Popoola’s first film.

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.

“Your perceptions become your reality” by Nikissi Serumaga-Jamo.

Am I Going Too Fast? is a poetic documentary filmed in Nakuru and Nairobi, Kenya by Hank Willis Thomas and Christopher Myers. As successful applicants of the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge, it was one of 5 short films to receive a $10,000 prize and premiere at a private event at Sundance.

With an engaging soundscape and capturing cinematography, this film exchanges talking heads and sympathetic storylines for practical economic solutions and beautiful characters and stories.

To all filmmakers interested, you can still apply for this same grant, deadline is July 1. There is no fee to apply.

More information can be found at tongal.com/sundance.

#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.

Comments?

MORE HISTORY POSTS.

Five African Films that Highlight Mothers (and Mother Figures).

SARAFINA!

There are not one but two women in this film that are wonderful mother figures. The first, and most prominent in the film, is Whoopi Goldberg’s character. An inspiring woman from the moment we meet her, Mary Masombuka is not only a teacher, but a woman who’s vision of black liberation in apartheid South Africa propels her to defy racist and brutal authorities. Where Masombuka lacks the vigor of youth, Sarafina fills in and fulfills the dreams that cannot be contained to the four walls of their classroom. But let’s not forget Sarafina’s real mother played by the unforgettable Miriam Makeba. Although in this part of the film we see Sarafina almost mocking her mother’s complacency as a domestic worker, we know that Sarafina sees beyond their circumstances to understand the sacrificial nature of this relationship.

YESTERDAY

Dedicated wife, mother and friend, Yesterday (played by Leleti Khumalo) is a hard-working young woman living in the Zululand village of Rooihook whose life takes a sudden turn for the worst when she discovers that she’s infected with HIV/AIDS. As she confronts her husband, a migrant labourer working in the mines, his violent reaction and rejection of her and her young daughter, Beauty, shocks Yesterday but also makes her more dedicated to ensure that Beauty receives an education and is taken care of when Yesterday is no longer around.

MADAME BROUETTE

A single mother who divorced her abusive husband, Mati (Rokhaya Niang) toils daily by selling various goods at a nearby market, which she transports there via a large wheelbarrow — prompting local residents to dub her “Madame Brouette.”

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST

Perhaps one of the most cinematically beautiful films ever made, this diaspora film by directer Julie Dash is full of women of various generations who are more than inspiring in their own right.

FARAW, MOTHER OF THE DUNES

Dedicated to the mother of the film director, Faraw tells the story of Zamiatou - a woman who more than fulfills her role as a dutiful wife and mother for her Sahelian family. It’s a difficult and burdensome life for her and, tired of seeing her mother suffer, Zamiatou’s daughter Hareyrata offers to work as a maid for rich French tourists, but her mother refuses. However, it’s not long before Zamiatou has to find a job of her own to support her family.

The censors’ action is a knee-jerk political response, yet there is a sense in which it is not entirely unreasonable. Nigeria is on edge, with upcoming elections that will be fiercely contested, religion and ethnicity increasingly politicized, and Boko Haram committing mass murders and abductions. In a political culture already averse to openness, this might seem a particularly appropriate time for censorship.

But we cannot hide from our history. Many of Nigeria’s present problems are, arguably, consequences of an ahistorical culture. As a child, I sometimes found rusted bullets in our garden, reminders of how recent the war had been. My parents are still unable to talk in detail about certain war experiences. The past is present, and we are better off acknowledging it and, hopefully, learning from it.

As the Nigerian Censors Board puts a ban on public screenings of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ film adaptation, the author takes to pen and paper to express her feelings on the situation.

Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako and French-Ivorian director Phillippe Lacôte make official 2014 Cannes Film Festival selections.

Sissako’s fifth film Timbuktu and Lacôte’s first Run have both been selected for screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Timbuktu is a tragic tale based on the recent true story of two lovers who, because they were not officially married, faced the tragic consequences of Sharia law and were executed by stoning for their crime.

Lacôte’s Run, staring the intensely handsome Isaach de Bankole,is a fast-paced drama who’s protagonist, for which the film is named after, is as his name suggests - a runner. But what is he running from? From so much, from everything it seems, most of all, from the assassination of his country’s prime minister - a crime he is guilty of committing.

Omar El Zohairy, a student at the High Cinema Institute, Academy of Arts in Egypt, had his film The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375 selected for the Cinéfondation section which focuses on films made by students at film schools.

The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival is due to take place from 14 to 25 May 2014.

(top photo by Arnaud Contreras)

"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.

Watch the trailer for ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’, the award-winning film about a man who journeys to his home in Lesotho and the life-changing experiences that he encounters there. The cinematography is beautiful - a must-see film based on this clip alone.

Now showing at select cinemas in South Africa and Lesotho including:

PIONEER MALL LESOTHO

V AND A ART CAPE TOWN
PROMENADE MALL CAPE TOWN
WESTGATE JHB
ROSEBANK MALL JHB
CARLTON CINE JHB
STERLAND PTA
MAPONYA MALL SOWETO
GATEWAY KZN
MALL OF THE NORTH LIMPOPO

British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor gets personal with the BBC as he discusses why and how he got involved in the screen adaptation of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’.

You’ll also get to hear clips from the film and Ejiofor’s experience of shooting a film in Nigeria.

Read The Guardian’s review of the film.

Watch here: Nigerian filmmaker Shola Amoo releases futuristic short film ‘Touch’.

When love is forbidden, how much will you sacrifice to feel the things you know are real to you?

Released in 2005, “Sometimes in April” is an Idris Elba-starring made-for-television film that tells story of the 1994 Rwandan genocide through the lives of two brothers on opposing sides of the conflict.

The film was directed by Raoul Peck, who also developed the screenplay. Peck is an award-winning Haitian filmmaker who also brought to life the story of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba first in the 1990 documentary “Lumumba: La mort d’un prophete”, and later in “Lumumba”, a feature film biopic.

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All Africa, All the time.

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