By Iminza Keboge
Published May 28, 2017
A film that celebrates pan-Africanism through cultural empowerment shall be screened and discussed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
SEMBENE!, a documentary by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman on the life of Ousmane Sembene, the late Senegalse writer and moviemaker, shall be shown at Pawa 254 in Nairobi on June 9, 2017 at 2:00 and 6:00 PM.
The organizers of the event say the Ford Foundation and Sundance Film Institute-supported project is not only inspired by the late Sembene’s desire to ‘return African stories to the Africans’ but also celebrates the ‘message of self-empowerment, ownership of one’s own culture and pan-Africanism’ that was preached by the man who is also referred to as the ‘Father of African Cinema’.
Starting with BOROM SARRET in 1962, the organizers say, Ousmane Sembene set out on the mission of using movies as ‘an evening school’ for Africans.
Ousmane Sembene may have spent half a century “making films and writing books in a tireless and forceful attempt to reorient Africans after generations of colonization,” the organizers say. “Unfortunately, 10 years after his
death, Sembene—a true hero of cinema and of self -empowerment—remains unknown to most young Africans.”
But that has to change; with a three-day continent-wide free public screening of the Sembene biographical documentary in schools, museums, and cultural centres in an event dubbed ‘Sembene Across Africa’.
“Sembene Across Africa is designed to inspire any one working for African progress,” says director Gadjigo, the late Ousmane Sembene’s official biographer. “This project represents a giant step towards our primary goal: to inject Sembene’s essential legacy of engaged, empowering and progress-minded storytelling back into the African consciousness. Using the new tools of cultural empowerment—digital delivery, social media, grassroots organizing—we hope to share Sembene’s powerful story across an entire continent, to the large audience that will appreciate SEMBENE! the most.”