HARARE – A documentray on the late Ousmane Sembene — widely regarded as the father of African cinema — will be screened in Harare on Saturday afternoon at the B2c Working Space located at corner First Street and Jason Moyo Avenue.
The weekend screening is part of the “Sembene Across Africa project” — a three-day series of free public screenings, house parties and free streaming of the award-winning documentary film.
The documentary on the late Senegal-born film director, producer, screenwriter, actor and author, who spent decades shaping a meaningful, visionary cinema for a newly-independent Africa, premiered at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.
It has been screened throughout the world, and was included in seven best-of-2015 lists, including a top-ten-of-2015 notice from New York magazine.
To date, more than 90 public screenings in 30 countries have been confirmed, with more venues being added on a daily basis.
All screenings are provided free of charge. Funding is provided from the Ford Foundation and the Sundance Institute, and through a grassroots efforts, including a kick-starter campaign that runs from May 1-25. All events feature post-film discussions, with many introduced by scholars and filmmakers. In addition to the screenings, seminars will be held in Dakar, Senegal; Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso and Conkary, Guinea.
The project is motivated by Sembene’s desire — unfulfilled in his lifetime after 50 years of focused work — to return African stories to the African people. For decades, during Africa’s colonial period and until African independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, European-run schools, newspapers, TV, movies and languages were Africa’s dominant cultural forces. African culture was criminalised and marginalised, and many Africans lost connection with their past.
Starting with his first film, Borom Sarret, completed in 1962, Sembene set out to use movies as what he called “an evening school” for Africans. His works revisited history from African perspectives, called out corrupt leaders and celebrated what he called “the heroes of the everyday.”
Sembene, who died in 2007 aged 84, spent 50 years making films and writing books in a tireless and forceful attempt to reorient Africans after generations of colonisation. Unfortunately, 10 years after his death, Sembene — a true hero of cinema and of self-empowerment — remains unknown to most young Africans.