Written by Amina Mama on April 12, 2011 — Add a Comment
Last nights screening was very well attended and received. It also provoked some interesting questions and discussions about the relationship between economic poverty and cultural changes, including rising cultural and religious fundamentalism being part of neoliberal globalization. The number of witches in the various camps around Ghana is reported to have risen from the 1,000 that Yaba reports in the film, to over 3,000 at the last count. Meanwhile the lack of access to education, social and cultural development, as well as money, continues to create confusion and anxieties at community level, and more women are made into scapegoats for social ills and outbreaks of poverty-related diseases, stripped of their assets and driven out of their home communities.
The discussions being provoked in New York are of course different from those stimulated in Ghanaian and other African contexts, but the level of interest is still very high, and raises many additional issues about African culture in the world.
We were especially delighted to share last nights’ the screening and discussion with two exciting emergent and highly artistic film makers – Zina Saro Wiwa presented two colouful and surreal shorts ‘The Deliverance of Comfort’ – and ‘Phyllis’ (Nigeria), while Ekwa Msangi Omari presented an intense foretaste of Taharuki (‘Suspense’, Kenya) an excerpt from a thriller she is developing on child trafficking.
Mahen Bonetti and her team do an fantastic job curating this fabulous festival – now in its 18th year. A veritable visual feast of Africa and African film in this global era, featuring state of the art up-to-date works, and as full of new talent as it is of newly uncovered material and insights into the home of all humanity. For more info on tonight and other screenings in the US go to http://www.africanfilmny.org
Yaba is off to Sarah Lawrence College today, and then to Binghampton and Rutgers, before traveling across for the Bay Area to join me for a screening at Mills College in Oakland.