By Ogova Ondego
Published June 6, 2017
How can you travel and appreciate people, cultures and creativity across Africa inexpensively?
Buy the third collection of short movies on a DVD titled Short(s) of Africa in English, Afrique tous courts in French or Afrika kort en krachtig in Dutch for €12 and watch it in 160 minutes and you are likely to have a fairly well informed overview of life in black Africa.
Part of the Short(s) of Africa series compiled by a Belgian Non-Governmental Organisation called Africalia, this third compilation, a collector’s item, has 13 films that run the whole gamut of movie genres ranging from fiction to documentary and animation to experimental. Another strength in this compilation is its diversity of narrative styles, contexts and themes. A journey across Africa in 160 minutes through short movies just about sums up what this project is about.
Whether it is movies from English or French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa–from western Africa’s Ghana and Burkina Faso; eastern Africa’s Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda; central Africa’s Gabon, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo-Kinshasa; the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar or southern Africa’s South Africa–you shall find them all on Short(s) of Africa 3.
Though there is something for every lover of cultures and the 7th Art, I am particularly drawn to TAO TAO love story by Adama Salle of Burkina Faso; KU KINGA by Frank Mukunday and Tetshim from Congo-Kinshasa; and MAJAMBERE LE FONCEUR, the only documentary in the compilation, by Burundi’s Evrard Niyomwungere. Yes, that I also like ZEBU AND THE PHOTOFISH, a Ugandan production directed by Kenya’s Zipporah Nyaruri and THE LEGENDS OF NGONG HILLS by Kwame Nyong’o of Kenya is a foregone conclusion. Together with MAJAMBERE LE FONCEUR and SCHOOL FEES by Horeb Butambo of Congo-Kinshasa and YELLOW FEVER by Ng’endo Mukii of Kenya,
these movies are likely to appeal to children and families across the mother continent.
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KWAKU ANANSE, a movie by Ghana’s Akosua Adoma Owusu that is based on the legendary spider man, DIALEMI by Nadine Otsobogo of Gabon and COLORS by Tojosoa Andoniaina Andrianarison of Madagascar, too, are creative in their own right.
If there is anything for anyone to take away from this compilation, it is its attractive packaging, 28-page full colour promotional booklet in English, French and Dutch, and the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the processing, marketing and distribution of short films as salable wholesome edu-tainment based on the wisdom of Kiswahili-speaking people: Haba na haba hujaza kibaba or Ndo ndo ndo si chururu.
Frederic Jacquemin, Director-General of Africalia, writes that the organisation has since 2001 “been teaming up with artistic organisations working in a wide range of contemporary disciplines” in building “networks of artists in order to put culture and creativity at the centre of economic innovation and social transformation in Africa” besides mobilising “Belgian cultural sectors. . . to draw the attention of its audiences to African creativity.”
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Consequently Africalia, that says it supports and promotes artistic initiatives in Africa on the premise that ‘development’ is inconceivable without culture and creativity, acknowledges various players in Africa’s movie sector–Congo International Film Festival and Kidogo Kidogo Films(Congo-Kinshasa), FESPACO (Burkina Faso), FESTICAB (Burundi), Lola Kenya Screen (Kenya), Mashariki African Film Festival (Rwanda) and Zimbabwe International Film Festival (Zimbabwe)–as collaborators on this project.
Short(s) of Africa 3 is available in English and French or with subtitles in English, French and Dutch.