African Metropolis | 6 Cities, 6 Tales

African metropolis

African Metropolis is a series of short fiction films that tell urban tales about life in major African metropolises, a unique partnership towards new African cinema. The films were made in six African cities – Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. Kenya’s entry is Homecoming by Jim Chuchu. His film conveys a voyeur’s obsession with the girl next door, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, science fiction and fiction.

The films were developed over a period of one year with workshops held in Durban and Berlin. This film project is an initiative of Goethe-Institut South Africa and South African executive producer Steven Markovitz, with support from Guaranty Trust Bank plc and the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

In July 2013, African Metropolis premiered at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), one of the most important film industry events on the continent.  Two years of intensive preparation lead up to the premieres: Based on 40 scripts submitted, the film makers were chosen from the six cities. A mentoring programme and workshops ensued, which started off at the Durban Talent Campus in July 2012. Rasha Salti, Head of international programming at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF),

If the African Metropolis Short Film Project is to be continued (…) an intriguing testimony of contemporary film making may emerge – a testimony of a continent that has served as a projection screen for rigid and superficial clichés for too long.

All six of the African Metropolis films get their European premiere at the 43rd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR 2014) and their US premiere at the 29th Santa Barbara Film Festival. Homecoming will screen at the CinemAfrica Film Festival in Sweden (19 – 23 March). Read about all the entries in the project below.



Homecoming, Directed by Jim Chuchu, Nairobi, 2013 © Homecoming


Directed by Jim Chuchu
Language: English / Kiswahili
Subtitles: English

Fantasy, science fiction and infatuation fuse as an obsessed neighbour invents ever-stranger scenarios for wooing the girl of his dreams.

Nothing is what it seems as Max – a nerdy voyeur – turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the attention of Alina – the girl next door. The city of Nairobi is threatened with imminent extinction, and now is his chance to save her and verbalise his unspoken desire. However, a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will Max overcome his fear and save the girl? Is Alina looking for a hero? A quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.

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Call For Papers | International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa


Theme: Oral Literature and Education

Deadline: October 15, 2013


The 10th Conference of the International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA) will take place at University of Cocody, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  on June 11-15, 2014. ISOLA is committed to the promotion of excellence in scholarship. Proposed papers should have a clearly defined thesis, show familiarity with research trends, and address the conference theme, highlighting Africa and the African diaspora. The working languages of ISOLA are English and French.
Abstracts should be of no more than 500 words, in both languages, bearing the author’s name, institutional affiliation and a brief bio.

For more than a century already, a formal system, originating in a more script-oriented and supposedly universal tradition, meant to open the way to more transcultural values, has been superimposed on this “traditional” oral education. This evolution comes with a challenge: how is it possible to open up to the world without abandoning the specific values at base of the identity of these societies with an oral tradition? How can we preserve this cultural originality by avoiding excessive acculturation?
By examining the question of a fundamental need for balance, certain teachers came to the conclusion that various aspects of the oral tradition could be fruitfully imported into the school system. Consequently, many school handbooks made room for folktales, proverbs, epic or oral poems. In fact, in “modern” education in Africa, from the primary to the tertiary level, an opening was made for the inclusion of the oral literature.

Avenues of “popular” education, originating in the contemporary context, have also been added to the more formal sectors of education. This is a complex phenomenon, and might take the shape of public policy or of a religious institution or national or international NGO initiative. This “popular” education operates within the frameworks of sanitation, health (the fight against the HIV-AIDS, for example), civic education, etc. The various actors involved choose sometimes the recourse to oral literature for a greater impact of their educational message.
Education of members of a community occupies pride of place in the heritage of the societies with oral traditions. Beyond the youth, the education in question targets individuals throughout the course of their lives.

The primary framework is that of the so-called “traditional” operation of  societies. This first context has known various genres which served the purpose of the ethical (transmission of moral values and behaviours), artistic (oral arts training) and practical (suitable community activities and the assorted social behaviours) training of users. The majority of these genres, including the more playful ones, often fulfil an educational function as well. Some target the entire community (the case of the “knowledge” genres, including the proverb, proposing a body of general ethics), while others (marriage and agricultural songs, for example) address a specific group.

This conference proposes that we think about “Oral Literature and Education” following three broad thematic areas.

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Football Rebels: Didier Drogba


Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba is the focus of the first episode of Football Rebels, which premiered on Al Jazeera on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 at 22:30 GMT.

Presented and narrated by former Manchester United star Eric Cantona, Football Rebels is a five-part documentary on five football heroes whose social consciences led them to use their fame and influence to challenge unjust regimes, join opposition movements and lead the fight for democracy and human rights in their countries.

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