Tag Archives: Film

Part 2 of 2: Hollywood star SEBATI MAFATE

Hello friends! Donald Molosi here. I linked up with Hollywood actor-writer SEBATI MAFATE again to do the second half of our conversation about his latest sensational book, “MEMORIES OF LOTSANE.” I have read the book myself and recommend it to lovers of literature as well as to people who just simply enjoy good writing. The book is available on amazon.com and other book-selling sites like Barnes and Nobles.

DM: Most, if not all, of your work tells an African story in some way. Do you, as an African writer, feel that it is your responsibility to tell African stories?

SM: Yes, for the simple reason that Africa is rich with stories and we should never deny the world the beauty of our cultures and our tales, not only do I as an African feel the responsibility to share those stories, I just enjoy doing it.

DM: You mention denying the world of African stories. Do you feel that a certain type of African story has been denied the world or that a certain type of story has been “overtold”?

SM: Not at all, what I mean is that there are many African storytellers out there whose voice is never heard for the simple reason that they have not come forward, and there are many reasons for that, but whatever the reason is it is time that they step out of the shadows and tell those stories. I am glad that the Nigerian film industry is doing just that, and the results speak for themselves in seeing the market they have created for themselves.

DM: Nollywood is a perfect example of Africans consuming what they produce. But let us get back to you. Having seen your work, I often wonder – how does your background as a martial artist define the work you do as a writer if at all?

SM:Part of the martial arts is meditation and other spiritual aspects of the art, it helps deal with the curve balls life throws at you, including ‘writer’s block’, and that is why my dedication to the art has helped me as a writer, it doesn’t mean that it solves all my problems, but it helps a great deal. In a way it also enriches my imagination, especially when I delve in a fictional project.

 DM: What do you want people to take from your latest book, Memories of Lotsane?

SM: Nostalgia, we have all been teenagers at some point, and we have all been in high school (at least that is what I hope), and I hope people will be taken back in time to their own experiences good or bad that made them what they are today. In short really I would like people to relate to the story whether they are in Africa or some province in China.

DM: Who is the one writer that has had an impact upon you and how?

SM: That has got to be the great Elechi Amadi (The Concubine, The Great Ponds, and The Slave to mention a few) I was first introduced to Mr. Amadi’s work when I was a student, and soon found out that he held a degree in Mathematics and Physics, a strange combination at the time since I was an Engineering student as well, but a writer at heart, so I could relate. His style of writing was simply magnificent and dealt with deep rooted African culture and lore; you are drawn to his work even though his novels end like a Greek tragedy, but you realize through his writings that even though we would like it to be, life can at times not be the fairy tale we wish it would be, case in point the novel ‘The Great Ponds’, it tells the story of two warring villages fighting over a pond rich with fish. The protagonists from both sides are determined to win at all costs that in the end both villages lose, and this done at a great loss of human life.

Native Son [Short Film]

After his mother dies, a young boy travels from his village in northern Ghana in search his father in Accra. An impossible task. The boy initially oblivious to the dangers of the big city soon learns the hard way when his backpack is stolen and then is woken from his street sleep by horse riding marauders. He is saved by a young woman, a sex worker but a mother to the street boys. Beautifully shot the film exposes the meanness of even little doses of wealth and power and the ease with which one can be corrupted.

Native Son from Jonathan Sidego on Vimeo.

“God is a game” a load of money, miracles and hate!

Nigeria is now trending as ” a very religious country” and Nigerians as “a very religious people”. Well if one meausres religious by the numbers who attend churches and mosques then it must be true! The business of church and religion is probably the most competitive business in the country so competition for new bodies to save and pockets to burn can get heated. One of the fastest growing churches are those led by “prosperity” and “charismatic” preachers – everyone wants to be rich right and lets face it with miricles and all, the medical profession have outlived their usefulness.

So who are prosperity preachers? Millionaire and multi millionaire preachers who preach not humility and humanity but how to get rich, how to get one over your neighbour or basically how to fuck the peson next door, miracles, possessions, demons and yes bring life to the dead!
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Elder’s Corner: A Social history of Nigeria through music

Elder’s Corner: Another awesome project by musical innovator, Siji which traces the history of music in Nigeria through interviews with our country’s musical giants – Please support the project – no amount is too small.


 

SYNOPSIS

Elder’s Corner is musical journey through pivotal moments in the colorful history of Nigeria as told through the lives and careers of the nations foremost music legends. It is a story about the eroding effects of colonialism, bitter ethnic clashes, politics, oil, power, money and their combined effects on a nation that recently celebrated its 50th year of self rule.

THE FILM

Shot against the colorful and gritty backdrop of some of Nigeria’s urban cities particularly Lagos and through the clever use of extensive in depth interviews, archival footage and still photographs, Elder’s Corner will take viewers on a musical journey through the country’s turbulent and colorful history. It will chronicle and showcase the lives and work of some of the leading exponents of the various musical movements that spawned Afrobeat, Juju, Apala, Highlife and Fuji music.

I Am: When being one’s self is enough – A film by Sonali Gulati

The journey home is always fraught with contradictions. The longing for the place you left and the realisation that your imagination was far from the reality; the joy of the familiar and remembrance; the realisation that possibly your home is now somewhere else and breaking away is as difficult as coming home. I Am is a journey home but one which is compounded by the loss of a mother and coming out.

Trailer for I AM (documentary film by sonali gulati) from Sonali Gulati on Vimeo.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

I started making I Am in 2005. My personal experience of leading a closeted life and my inability to come out to my mother before she died, serves as not only the motivation, but also the starting point for the film. As I began to come out to some of my friends, I noticed that this was not as muted, or invisible, or shameful a subject as I had perceived it to be. I managed to connect with a community of people who were out to their parents, some of whom were even very accepting and understanding. As a departure from my own story, I Am became a portrait of various Indian families, living in India, dealing with having a gay or lesbian family member.

I knew that I wanted to focus on people living in India, because at the time, lawyers in favor of keeping Section 377 (the law that criminalized homosexuality in India) argued that homosexuality was a western import and that it was not part of Indian culture and history. What was ironic was that they were fighting to keep in place a British law that was exactly that.

I Am is an innovative film that takes more than simply creative risks. The experience of making this film has shown me the power in representing one’s self and one’s community from the inside, striking a balance between the need to inform and the need to maintain privacy.

Interview with Yaba Badoe – Its so easy to be called a witch

 

Ghanaian writer “True Murder” and filmmaker “The Witches of Gambaga“, Yaba Badoe is interviewed by Beti Ellison  [African Women in Cinema Blog].  Yaba discusses how she first visited the village of Gambaga and the long journey to gain the trust of the women and their “protector” and ultimately complete the film.

 

I first heard about the Witches’ camp at Gambaga in January 1995 when I was covering a story in Tamale for the BBC World Service. I was working as a stringer for the BBC’s Network Africa back then. I returned to Tamale in March of the same year, hoping to make a day trip to Gambaga to interview some of the women living at the camp. It took me a lot longer to gain access to them than I’d anticipated. When I eventually got to interview three of the women’s representatives, I was shocked to discover that two of them actually believed they were ‘witches’. Tia, who told me she’d been wrongly accused of witchcraft, was quickly forced to retract her statement. I was horrified to find that women accused of witchcraft were forced to undergo a trial by ordeal. Depending on how a chicken died — with its wings facing the sky or the ground — you were either a witch or not. I had to spend the night in Gambaga. I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking what would happen to me if I was accused of witchcraft and the chicken test went against me. How would I let my family down south know? It was then, I suspect, that alleged witches became more than objects of my curiosity. Instead they became women I identified with, because I could see that but for an accident of birth, I could easily be one of them…...Continue here

 

 

“Reflections Unheard”: Black women, Black nationalism and the origins of womanism

The clip below is from a documentary in the making on the origins of” womanism” as a result of tensions between Black feminism and Black Power ideologies in the United States. The project will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign but meanwhile donations to help complete the documentary can be made to YelloKat Productions.

Should African feminists be having similar discussions – many already believe we should! Whilst the issues raised in the documentary are familiar to many of us, African feminisms are rooted in different political and social contexts and different understandings of feminism. I use the plural “African feminisms” to emphaise that the identity “African” outside of a geographical context is problematic. Simidele Dosekun discusses “the discourse of African authenticity” in her essay “Defending Feminism in Africa

However for African feminists like their sisters of colour elsewhere, the focus is on challenging the existing power structures [Western imperial and corporate domination as well as national ones] and local patriarchies which lead to the marginalisation and socio political exclusion of women, LGBTI people, shackdwellers, rural communities and migrant workers to name a few.

“Circumstance” -  With Circumstance, Iranian-American director Maryam Keshavarz delves w

“Circumstance” - 

With Circumstance, Iranian-American director Maryam Keshavarz delves where no President of Iran suggests there’s reason to go: Into a love affair between two Iranian women. Her first feature film,Circumstance is making its Canadian debut at Inside Out after winning the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” – A film by Pratibha Parmar 

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth” - A film by Pratibha Parmar

Difficult Love a Film by Zanele Muholi

Difficult Love will be showing at the Toronto LGBT Film Festival

Review of Difficult Love by Nadia Sanger

Difficult Love and Faces and Phases do more than merely sketch Muholi’s life, however, or document the existence of black queer people — it can be read as a practice in post-colonial feminist research methodology. In Difficult Love, the centering of Zanele’s role as the viewer/ the gazer, disturbs the often invisible and ‘objective’ role of the producer of images. Through zoning in on Zanele – her words and experiences – we see how power is distorted. Her attempt to channel power to those who make her images possible, who tell their stories through her photography, visibilises black queer people, and turns on its head false ideas of the objective position of the photographer/filmmaker. Zanele’s focus on subverting power and disrupting norms around gender and sexuality is clear throughout the book and film. Principles of reflexivity, located-ness, being-in-the-world, the complex, but often ignored relationships between the ‘viewer’ and the ‘viewed’ are central to Zanele’s work. The ‘owning’ of an image, and the ‘owning’ of a life, which Zanele refers to in the film, is clearly articulated in the black and white photographs in Faces and Phases. The portraits reveal that a life cannot be owned by anyone other than oneself. The expressions on the faces of the individuals in the photographs express pain, frustration, happiness, arrogance, sadness and joy. These photographs reveal diverse and complex human expressions that scream ‘we are here to stay’ in a social and political context that is unkind to gender and sexual non-normativity
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Helsinki African Film Festival

Wanjiku wa Ngugi is the founder of the  Helsinki African Film Festival. Here she talks about Africa in Finland and this year’s theme “Women’s Voices and Visions”.

Wanjiku, please talk a bit about yourself and the creation of the Helsinki African Film Festival.

I was born and raised in Kenya. After high school, I attended New York University (NYU) where I studied Sociology and Political Science. It was actually here that I first met Dr. Manthia Diawara, a film-maker and critic, who was also the head of the Institute of African-American Affairs at NYU. I got a job assisting in his office and thus begun my introduction to African films. Growing up in Kenya, all we got to watch were Hollywood films and seeing black people on the big screen was a very rare occasion if ever. Anyway, a few years back I moved to Helsinki and was surprised at the level of misinformation about African people, both in the continent and the Diaspora. Even Finland has not escaped the Hollywood machine and the chronically negative representation of Africa in the News, so information about Africans is largely informed through the same narrow prisms. Hollywood has not exactly done any justice to the story of Africans, as most of their films–I am thinking here of popular films such as The Last King of Scotland or Blood Diamonds for example, are replete with stereotypes about Africa and Africans. And basically this is how HAFF was born–out of this need to deconstruct the depiction of Africa as this Dark Continent that only produces dark images, one-sided stories, and dehumanised people who should be pitied. Africa is not a country; I want to repeat this over and over again! We wanted to show the diversity of this continent, and begin a different conversation, one informed by a more realistic view as told by the Africans themselves…… Continue reading here.

Difficult Love - is an intimate portrait of Queer visual activist, photographer Zanele Muholi, her w

Difficult Love - is an intimate portrait of Queer visual activist, photographer Zanele Muholi, her work, her community and her loves.  Watch the full film on IMDB 

Dakan – A coming out story

Dakan begins with the most sexually explicit opening scene in African cinema. Rather than the usual rural landscape or urban panorama locating the characters in a recognizable social or geographical context, the camera focuses on an isolated couple locked in a clandestine embrace in a sports car at night. The shot becomes even more transgressive when we recognize the couple are two young men. When one of them later tells his mother he’s attracted to another man, she replies: “Since time began, it’s never happened. Boy’s don’t do that. That’s all there is to it.” Dakan thus becomes the story of two men who by “coming out” disappear, become invisible to their families and society, because their society has no language which recognizes their love.

Dakan 1997 Guinea – A coming out story Dakan begins with the most sexually explicit opening scene in

Dakan 1997 Guinea – A coming out story

Dakan begins with the most sexually explicit opening scene in African cinema. Rather than the usual rural landscape or urban panorama locating the characters in a recognizable social or geographical context, the camera focuses on an isolated couple locked in a clandestine embrace in a sports car at night. The shot becomes even more transgressive when we recognize the couple are two young men. When one of them later tells his mother he’s attracted to another man, she replies: “Since time began, it’s never happened. Boy’s don’t do that. That’s all there is to it.” Dakan thus becomes the story of two men who by “coming out” disappear, become invisible to their families and society, because their society has no language which recognizes their love.

“The last word has not been spoken” – Beah Richards

I’ve watched Beah Richards in many films and I remember reading somewhere about her poetry. But I never knew she was a feminist, wrote powerful political poetry speaking truth to power; was a playwright, a strong fiercely political, inspirationally powerful Black woman. Richards had no fear of speaking out at on her commitment to truth and freedom at political rallies. What frightened her was fascism not communism, after all as she said “I grew up in Mississippi and lived with it every day”. In an interview with the director and co-producer, LisaGay Hamilton – who herself must be congratulated for such a selfless work of art – Ann Marie Offer, described Beah Richards as a “Minister of Human Dignity.” what an apt obituary for such a great woman.

Like most life stories the film is full of those joys and sadnesses we all pass through – some better and worse than others. At the time of the interviews, Beah was suffering from the last stages of emphysema and was on oxygen 24 hours a day. Her next to last journey, back home to Mississippi, in which she leaves her home of 25 years, is one of those indescribable painful sadnesses which sap your strength leaving you weak and utterly forelorn.

3 months later, Beah Richards received an Emmy Award for her role in the series, “Practice” and soon after she passed away. Her last request was that her ashes be scattered on the confederate graveyard in Mississippi – even death was to be made an act of struggle.

Her life story is told in the film “Beah: A Black Woman Speaks” a documentary film by LisaGay Hamiliton. As a young woman trying to be an actress and dancer in Hollywood in the 1950s and facing the proverbial slammed door, Beah decided to go to New York. She was penniless and hearing about a peace conference in Chicago with a prize for the poem which best expressed peace, she decided to enter her poem “A Black Woman Speaks……” Beah entered a poetry competition. I never heard of this poem yet it’s at least as powerful as Sojourner Truth’s’Aint I a Woman“. The poem speaks to the primordial memory of pre-Americas, slavery, rape, imprisonment, racism,humiliation, lynchings and centuries of dehumanization of Black peoples. The poem though it speaks to these vile memories and realities, is a poem of resistance. An act of survival and despite the terrible hardships of the journey from there to here, I, we remain standing our pride in tact.

I kept your sons and daughters alive.

But when they grew strong in blood and bone
that was of my milk
you
taught them to hate me.
PUt your decay in their hearts and upon their lips
so that strength that was of myself
turned and spat upon me,
despoiled my daughters, and killed my sons.
You know I speak true.
Though this is not true for all of you

A BLACK WOMEN SPEAKS…
OF WHITE WOMANHOOD
OF WHITE SUPREMACY
OF PEACE

A poem by BEAULA RICHARDSON

Read by Beaula Richardson at the Women’s Workshop at the American People’s Peace Congress held in Chicago on June 29, 30 and July 1, 1951 bringing a standing ovation from all 500 women attending.

It is right that I a woman
black,
should speak of white womanhood.
my fathers
my brothers
my husbands
my sons
die for it: because of it.
and their blood
chilled in electric chairs,
stopped by hangman’s noose,
cooked by lynch mobs’ fire,
spilled by white supremacist mad desire to kill
give me that right

I would that I could speak of white womanhood
as it will and should be
when it stands tall in full equality.
but then, womanhood will be womanhood.
Void of color and of class,
And all necessity for my speaking thus will be past.
Gladly past.

But now, since ‘tis deemed a thing apart
Supreme,
I must in searching honesty report
How it seems to me.
White womanhood stands in bloodied skirt
and willing slavery
reaching out adulterous hand
killing mine and crushing me.
What then is the superior thing
That in order to be sustained must needs feed upon my flesh?
Let’s look to history.

They said, the white supremacist said
that you were better than me,
that your fair brow would never know the sweat of slavery.
They lied
White womanhood to is enslaved,
The difference is degree.

They brought me here in chains.
They brought you here willing slaves to man.
You, shiploads of women each filled with hope
That she might win with ruby lip and saucy curl
And bright and flashing eyes
Him to wife who had the largest tender.
Remember?
And they sold you here even as they sold me.
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Interview With Ntozake Shange

Film: For Colored Girls

Some Sing Some Cry is a new novel by Ntozake Shange written together with her sister, Ifa Bayeza

The first orange light of sunrise left a flush of rose and lavender on Betty’s hands as she fingered the likenesses of her children. There were tears she was holding back and cocks crowing, as well as her granddaughter’s shouts, ‘Nana, you ready?’ Betty sighed and closed the album reluctantly. Time had come for the last of the Mayfields to leave Sweet Tamarind, the plantation they’d known as home for generations.”

Ntozake Shange is interviewed by Black Voices about the book and the film “For Colored Girls” directed by Tyler Perry. Ms Shange is non-committal about the film saying Perry has put his own stamp on the film by shortening the original title but she had approved of it in the beginning and enjoyed some of the rough cuts she had seen. Read the full interview here…

Below Ntozake Shange speaks about growing up in St. Louis – sounds wonderful!

For Colored Girls opens on November 10th 5th

Difficult Love

Difficult Love, is an intimate portrait of Queer visual activist, photographer Zanele Muholi, her work, her community and her loves.

Difficult Love is showing at the Out in Africa film festival in Johannesburg

City One Minutes – Sankara Lives!

City One Minutes is an ongoing collection of portraits of cities around the world. Each city is divided into 24 one minute films. Each week there is a new city and each city can be viewed as a whole 24 hours or you can check out what happens in London and Accra between 5 and 8 in the evening. Anyone can join and send in their city entries. Brilliant, I feel like I need to go and buy a high definition video and film my 60 seconds!

Below is a Thomas Sankara moment in Ouagadougou [Tomorrow 15th October marks the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of Sankara]

Via Africa is a Country

“For Colored Girls”

Directed by Tyler Perry, “For Colored Girls” is an adaptation of the play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf,” by Ntozake Shange.

My initial excitement for the movie was dulled because I feared Perry wouldn’t get it right, stray so far away from the premise of the poetry and bring in his own interpretations. My fear is well justified. Did you see the gun toting Granny Madea, or action in films like Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion? I am guilty of sitting back and laughing at his character on many occasions but once I was questioned by friends about the validity of the character, and how Madea parallels with my grandmother, I started to doubt if he was the right person to bring For Colored Girls into fruition.

I feel the same way as the writer, [Laniaya Alesia of Velvet Park Media] hesitant, skeptical but I will go to see the film which is released on November 10th

Via Velvet Park Media

Here comes the judge

“Dont even try to mess with me- I may look like I am about to fall asleep but its just my look!”

Courting Justice ” is a film about the experiences of female [Black] judges in South Africa’s highest courts

Courting Justice” features seven South African women judges, all of whom were New Democracy appointments. They serve on the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the provincial High Courts. They speak to us while at work in their court rooms and chambers, at home and in the communities in which they were raised. Courting Justice is their story. It is a very personal story, revealing the challenges they confront working in a previously all-male institution [in 2008, only 18% of a total of 200 judges countrywide were women-Sean] and the sacrifices they make to effect the Constitution’s human rights promises.

Via Africa is a Country