2 November 2017


In November, AfriDocs on BET Africa includes a number of films that look at the lives of young people across Africa. With 40% of its working age population between the ages of 15 and 24, Africa is the youngest continent in the world, and there are multitudes of stories to be told.

This month, these stories include Ouaga Girls, a new film from Burkina Faso that follows a group of young women studying to become auto-mechanics. The film is a classic coming-of-age story, filled with much warmth, laughs, heartbreak and depth.

Fire at Sea is an international story, the tale of a boy on an island, Lampedusa, the most symbolic border of Europe, crossed by thousands of migrants in the last 20 years in search of freedom. Unlike many stories of refugees, Fire at Sea is impressionistic, asking you to understand something about the texture and organization of life in Lampedusa, and about the effect that migration has had on the island by focusing on Sameule, a local boy of 12.

Samuele is hardly a child of privilege. Life on a small, rocky island is not easy. But he has everything the refugees have lost: a stable daily routine, freedom of movement and a sense of belonging to the place where his family has lived for generations. A home, in short.

When Voices Meet is the story of a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir formed just after the release of Nelson Mandela. The film documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years; never lost touch with one another; and then reunited 20 years later.

The month ends with another new film from Ethiopia that focuses on the critical issues of land and farming. The Director of Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas, Joakim Demmer, explains the motivation behind the film, “Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas was triggered by a seemingly trivial scene at the airport in Addis Ababa, six years back. Waiting for my flight late at night, I happened to see some tired workers at the tarmac who were loading food products on an airplane destined for Europe. At the same time, another team was busy unloading sacks with food aid from a second plane. It took some time to realize the real meaning of it – that this famine struck country, where millions are dependent on food aid, is actually exporting food to us.”

The AfriDocs documentary program on BET Africa can be seen on Sundays at 10pm (CAT), on BET Africa DSTV channel 129, with all movies available the following week for FREE streaming on #AfriDocsAnytime

5 November – Catch up 13 November

Ouaga Girls | Theresa Traore Dahlberg | Burkina Faso | 2017 | 59 min

A group of young women from Ouagadougou study at a girl school to become auto mechanics. The classmates become their port of safety, joy and sisterhood, all while they are going through the life changing transition into becoming adults in a country boiling with political changes.

Visions du Reel, Nyon, 2017

12 November - Catch up 20 November

Fire at Sea | Gianfranco Rosi | Italy | 2016 | 106 min

Samuele is 12 years old and lives on an island in the middle of the sea. He goes to school, loves shooting his slingshot and going hunting. He likes land games, even though everything around him speaks of the sea and the men, women and children who try to cross it to get to his island. But his is not an island like the others, its name is Lampedusa and it is the most symbolic border of Europe, crossed by thousands of migrants in the last 20 years in search of freedom.

Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.

19 November - Catch up 27 November

When Voices Meet | Nancy Sutton Smith | South Africa | 2015 | 86 min

When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, courageous South African musicians formed a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train. When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members.

Audience Award, Philadelphia Film Festival, 2015

26 November - Catch up 4 December

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas | Joakim Demmer | Ethiopia | 2017 | 90 min

Around the globe, there is a massive commercial rush for farmland – the new green gold. One of the most profitable new spots for farming is Ethiopia. Hoping for export revenues, the Ethiopian government leases millions of hectares of allegedly unused land to foreign investors. But the dream of prosperity has a dark side - the most massive forced evictions in modern history, lost livelihoods of small farmers, harsh repression and a vicious spiral of violence. Contributing to this disaster are the EU, the World Bank and DFID, providing billions of dollars in development money.

DOK.fest Munich 2017 (Special Mention)