By Victor Juma
Published August 15, 2017
If you are interested in contemporary black African ways of life as depicted in movies, you shall find Short(s) of Africa, a compilation of 13 short fictional, documentary, animated and experimental movies, quite useful.
While MAJAMBERE LE FONCEUR from Burundi thatrelies heavily on the narrative voice where the actor narrates his story throughout the film on hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity, KU KINGA, a story about a mother’s struggle to save her childhasno single narration throughout the work.
THE LEGEND OF NGONG HILLS from Kenya explains how Ngong Hills on the outskirts of Nairobi city came to be, YELLOW FEVER, also from Kenya, tackles the obsession of black women with skin-lightening creams and lotions.
ZEBU AND THE PHOTO FISH from Uganda revolves around a boy who is determined to put an end to the exploitation of his family by a merchant.
I like ADAMT from Ethiopia because it has little narration but more action. It is also a simple film which can be understood easily by anyone. I also like watching DIALEMI, a film about a sculptor who is searching for inspiration in his work. It, too,has little narration and more action.
The collection also employs the use of style such as symbolism, the representation of a concept through underlying meanings of objects or qualities.For instance, a woman is used in DIALEMI to represent a sculptor’s quest for artistic expression.
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In TAO TAO the pregnancy that the main character’s wife longs to have has been symbolised by an egg. Symbolism in the THE CALL from South Africa is evident when the taxi driver literally receives several phone calls from a woman who unknowingly drops her phone while alighting from the vehicle. This symbolises the wake-up call that the driver experiences when he realises he does not want a prostitute to abort his pregnancy.
A unique feature of this collection is that it comes with a booklet containing synopses of each film in the compilation and information about the filmmakers in in English, French and Dutch.