Category Archives: Last Year’s Highlights
Lord Paul Boateng spoke on challenges and opportunities for democracy in North and sub-Saharan Africa. Paul Boateng is a British Labour Party politician, who was the MP for Brent South from 1987 to 2005, becoming the UK’s first black Cabinet Minister inMay 2002, when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Following his departure from the House of Commons, he served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from March 2005 to May 2009.
Edge of seat tension as parties slog it out in run up to Ghana’s 2008 general election. Will dirty tricks win the day or will the process be held to be free and fair? AN AFRICAN ELECTION is filled with big personalities, colourful speech-making and high-stakes intrigue. Following the steps that lead to the election, the re-vote and the run-off in this young democracy, Merz addresses many of the problems of contemporary politics in a two-party state, from poisonous rhetoric to corruption of the vote.
Blind musician Hassan Erraji plays oud, violin, and percussion. Born in the village of Tazart, south of Marrakech, Hassan was introduced at an early age to the traditional music of the Atlas Mountains, practised and taught by ear and passed on from generation to generation.
”…He made his first instrument from a tin can and a piece of wood with bicycle brake cables for strings and losing his sight at the age of six only made his passion for the universe of sounds deeper. ”
Wonderfully archived, and told with a remarkable sense of intimacy, visual style, and musical panache, Susanne Rostock’s inspiring biographical documentary, SING YOUR SONG, surveys the life and times of singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte. From his rise to fame as a singer, inspired by Paul Robeson, and his experiences touring a segregated country, to his provocative crossover into Hollywood, Belafonte’s groundbreaking career impacted many democracy and social-justice movements. Rostock reveals Belafonte as a tenacious hands-on activist, who worked intimately with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., mobilized celebrities for social justice, participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and took action to counter gang violence, prisons, and the incarceration of youth. Because of his beliefs, Belafonte drew unwarranted invasions by the FBI into both his personal life and career. But an indomitable sense of optimism motivates his path even today as, at the age of 84, he continues to ask, “What do we do now?”
Robert Mugabe… what happened?, charts the Shakespearean rise and fall of the man who led a very successful African country, and then ruined it. Mugabe was damned as a terrorist, then knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and is still in power more than 30 years later. The film explores what happened through interviews with some of his closest comrades. It assembles a unique collection of southern african archive to powerfully evoke each of the decades of Mugabe’s reign. This is a complex and compelling view of Zimbabwe the country and Mugabe the man.
The early promise of Mugabe’s reign deteriorated and Simon Bright was inspired to make the film after imprisonment for a short time in 2003, and so he slipped back across the border in 2007 to start research. Five years later the eye-opening film was finished. Containing never-seen-before archival footage and interviews with some of Mugabe’s closest comrades, the film has been a great success at festivals around the world, and went on to do be the first African documentary to get a UK theatrical release.