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21.

Sierra Leone [electronic resource]: Soldiers of Fortune: Sierra Leone

Inside a helicopter mercenaries fly over RUF rebel areas, shooting anything that moves, although it's uncertain whether this is a civilian area or not. The men say they're working for the Sierra Leone government, but their history suggests they are with the infamous Sandline International, a so-called "private military contractor" based in London. Officially, the mercenaries' mission is to defeat the rebels that UN forces failed to stop, but is their true motive to capture the diamond mines that have been financing Sierra Leone's civil war? This provocative film raises the question of whether mercenaries can bring peace or only further destruction to Sierra Leone.
Online
2000
22.

Liberia [electronic resource]: A Fragile Peace

With the departure of the despotic Charles Taylor in 2003, the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces, and the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005, Liberia was ready to begin the arduous task of creating a viable economic and social infrastructure. How does a nation mired in years of anarchy establish itself in the modern world? Is it possible to find administrators who will be dedicated to government accountability and transparency? In examining Liberia's attempts to abide by the four provisions of the UN's initiative - to disarm, demobilize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate - this program provides a case study in the difficulty of rebuilding a society once it has lapsed into anarchy.
Online
2006
23.

Afro@Digital [electronic resource]

This program looks at the impact of digital technology across a broad swath of contemporary African life, examining the ways in which it affects traditional culture and considering how it can best be used to overcome poverty without falling into the trap of neocolonialism. The film also raises the intriguing possibility that computing technology is indigenous to Africa due to the discovery of the Ishango Bone, which may be the oldest calculating tool in the world; and filmmaker John Akomfrah encourages viewers to look at digital technology not just as a tool but as a mindset.
Online
2003
24.

All About Darfur [electronic resource]

Director Taghreed Elsanhouri says she felt uniquely qualified to make this documentary "because as a northerner in Sudan I know what it is to belong to a dominant group, and as a black woman in Britain I know what it's like to be marginalized." The film follows Elsanhouri as she returns to Sudan to see how the seemingly-racially harmonious country of her youth could have become the scene of two of the worst instances of ethnic cleansing in recent African history. Talking with Sudanese people in cafes, markets, refugee camps, and living rooms, Elsanhouri finds that race does matter.
Online
2005
25.

Baka [electronic resource]: Cry From the Rainforest

Award-winning filmmaker Phil Agland returns to the African rainforest to find the pygmy family who captivated viewers around the world as the stars of his acclaimed documentary Baka: People of the Rainforest. Twenty-five years on, Agland is back in Cameroon to chart the experiences of the Baka family's next generation. Discovering that pressures beyond their forest world are irrevocably changing their centuries-old way of life, Agland witnesses the testing of the Baka's limits and the human dramas of their everyday lives. Their sparkling sense of humor and unique charm shines through as this compelling film draws viewers into their extraordinary world.
Online
2012
26.

Keita [electronic resource]: The Heritage of the Griot

In this story-within-a-story, Mabo Keita, a young boy living in contemporary Burkina Faso, receives a message from a traditional storyteller (griot) that he must "learn the meaning of his name." Mabo is a descendent of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the Mali Empire and hero of The Epic of Sundiata. As Sundiata Keita comes to understand his role in Mandé history, so the younger Keita grasps the scope and significance of his heritage - a lesson that was not taught in his school's Westernized curriculum.
Online
1995
27.

Street Journeys [electronic resource]: Using Theater to Transform the Lives of at-Risk Youth

Shangilia Mtoto wa Afrika (Rejoice Child of Africa) is an orphanage in Nairobi that uses performing arts as a tool to improve the lives of street children-and, in the process, change the negative stereotype of these children held by Kenyan society. This inspiring documentary tells the story of how veteran actress Anne Wanjugu created Shangilia-and how, after she suddenly passed away, the organization overcame obstacles that arose with the loss of their dedicated "Mama Anne." Archival footage of Anne Wanjugu, interviews with Shangilia children, and rehearsal and performance clips from Kenya and the U.S. offer multiple perspectives on urban poverty and the healing potential of the arts to transform troubled children once looked upon as a danger to society. "It is the stage that has hel [...]
Online
2012
28.

The Kwegu [electronic resource]

Along the banks of the Omo River in southwestern Ethiopia, an almost feudal relationship plays out between the 500-strong Kwegu, a small group of hunters and cultivators, and the Mursi, who number 5,000. Every Kwegu offers ferrying, honey-gathering, and metalworking services to his Mursi patron. In exchange, the Mursi offers security - defending his Kwegu from attack by other members of the stronger tribe - and the all-important cattle, without which, in the complex tribal bride-price rituals, no Kwegu marriage can take place nor Kwegu children thus be born. Unfortunately for both Mursi and Kwegu, their mutually profitable relationship cannot last much longer. With birth rates falling among the already depleted Kwegu, and once-taboo intermarriages becoming more accepted, the Kwegu ar [...]
Online
1982
29.

The Mursi [electronic resource]

The Mursi are a tribe living in southwestern Ethiopia, along the Omo River. They are constantly at war about grazing rights with a neighboring tribe, the Bodi - and the most interesting feature of their way of life is the open public debate through which they settle their most important problems, including that of the war. As we learn from the filmmakers, "They never shout each other down, never interrupt, always allow every man to have his say - [there is] no chairman, no vote.
Online
1974
30.

14 Up [electronic resource]: South Africa

Spotlighting the age of 14, this program continues the South African version of the famed British documentary series Up, in which participants are featured every seven years speaking about the society around them. From Capetown to Durban to Soweto, viewers reenter the lives of each youthful subject to learn about his or her goals, dreams, fears, and frustrations. Dramatic political changes have taken place in South Africa since the last episode was filmed, and it is clear that many of these young people are undergoing a transformation as well. Some are rethinking what they believe is possible or impossible in the future. Others are coming to terms with the darkness of the nation's past and their own previous attitudes, as when Willem looks back on his racist comments of seven years a [...]
Online
1999
31.

7 Up [electronic resource]: South Africa

As you know, says Bonita, "whites are people too." The 7-year-old daughter of a Zulu chief in rural Natal, she beguiles the camera with quiet authority: "You see, there is only one difference between us. They speak English and we speak Zulu." Bonita is one of 19 children featured in this South African version of the famed British documentary 7 Up, in which young participants speak from their hearts about the society around them. Luyanda and Andiswa live in a hostel for migrant workers near Capetown. Lunga attends a "mixed" school in Durban and lionizes Nelson Mandela. With only a squatter camp in Soweto to call home, Thembasile and her grandmother subsist without electricity or running water. And what of the white children in the group? Their attitudes are often a far cry from Bonita [...]
Online
1992
32.

The Rendille [electronic resource]: Disappearing World

Each morning and evening, the Rendille elders in north Kenya pray together - their prayer centered on their camels. In this driest part of Africa's semidesert, the Rendille grow no crops. They keep sheep and goats but depend largely on their camels, the only domestic animals that can convert thorn bushes into milk and meat. As the herds quickly exhaust the vegetation in an area, they must be taken wherever there is sufficient grazing - even 200 miles away. This arduous job can only be done by young, fit men with no domestic ties - so each male Rendille youth must serve 14 years as a warrior herdsman before he can settle down. The Rendille are experiencing the worst drought in nearly a century; having survived droughts before, they are confident they will again. But there is another p [...]
Online
1977
33.

South Africa [electronic resource]: Forest of Crocodiles

Like the crocodiles that carpet their country's riverbanks, some South Africans have never evolved beyond a primitive state that links survival with fear. Their homes are equipped with electric fences and hired security crews for the purpose of keeping out intruders - who would, of course, be black. This program explores the persistence of racist attitudes among white South Africans and also takes a heartening look at those who have overcome their prejudice. "How do you teach a child in South Africa not to be afraid?" asks Johannes, a retired white pastor who works closely with a black congregation. "It has been so emphasized in our history.
Online
2009
34.

Dakan [electronic resource]

The first feature film on homosexuality from sub-Saharan Africa, Dakan (it means "destiny") was met with angry protests and heated debate when it was shot in the director's native Guinea. The film is a contemporary African reinterpretation of the age-old conflict between love and social convention, the story of two men who by coming out become invisible to their society. The men try to deny their sexual orientation to please their families, but eventually accept it, and each other, as their destiny.
Online
1997; 2012
35.

My City, Your City [electronic resource]: A Senegalese Mayor Fights Sea Level Rise

During the annual rainy season in Saint-Louis, one of Senegal's largest cities, thousands of people face upheaval from flood devastation linked to rising sea levels. There are no funds to build a cement sea wall, so the city dumps garbage along its waterfront in an attempt to shield itself. As mayor, Cheikh Bamba Dieye took on the responsibility of protecting his constituents from flooding, but with a severe lack of financial and infrastructural resources, the world stage became his principal weapon. Filmed prior to his appointment as Minister of Regional Planning in Senegal's national government, this program follows Mayor Dieye as he visits the imperiled streets, structures, and beaches of his city and as he travels to Mexico City to address the World Mayors Summit on Climate Chang [...]
Online
2011; 2013
36.

Faat Kine [electronic resource]

This feature film from Ousmane Sembene, known as the father of African cinema, examines the interplay of gender, economics, and power through the fictional life story of Senegalese businesswoman Faat Kine. The deceptively light domestic drama explores themes of traditional family roles, patriarchal personal and political relationships, and economic self-reliance in the country's post-independence era. French and Wolof with English subtitles.
Online
2001
37.

Nigeria [electronic resource]: Endless Oil Spills

Over the years, Nigeria has become an economy based almost entirely on the mining of crude oil. But having a single economic focus has not kept the country safe from violent rifts and factionalism - indeed, rebel groups have regularly battled the government for control of oil pipelines while attacking the installations of foreign oil companies. Meanwhile, those companies often came up short in their obligations to maintain and repair the infrastructure that keeps oil flowing. This film illustrates what resulted from the chaos, both military and corporate, that engulfed Nigeria's foremost industry between 2003 and 2009: case after case of oil spilling from a damaged pipeline, with tremendous commercial and ecological ramifications. In retrospect, is sabotage largely to blame, or are t [...]
Online
2012
38.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Chimamanda Adichie - the Danger of a Single Story

Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of Westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's works are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature. Her novel Half of a Yellow Sun helped inspire new, cross-generational communication about the Biafran war, and literary giant Chinua Achebe deemed her "wise," and "endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers." In this TEDTalk, Adichie tells the audience how she found her authentic cultural voice, and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Online
2009
39.

Asante Market Women [electronic resource]

The Kumasi Central Market in Ghana is alive with noise and color: the noise of women's voices raised in barter, the color of their clothes and the bright produce they trade. The few men to be seen are laborers and secretaries, as here women rule supreme. In the home it is a different matter. Heirs to a great warrior tradition, the Asante have a society based on polygamous marriage in which women are subservient to men in all things domestic. While it is a matrilineal society in that a man's wealth is passed onto his sister's children, inheritance traditions allow for a widow to be evicted by her husband's family, forcing her to work to support her own children. But things are changing slowly. Asante women's supremacy in the marketplace is based on the real need for economic independe [...]
Online
1984
40.

This Is Nollywood [electronic resource]

First came Hollywood, then Bollywood, and now Nollywood, Nigeria's booming film industry, which released 2,000 feature features in 2006 alone. This program explains why Nigerian film production, little known outside its own country until recently, is becoming recognized as a phenomenon with broad implications for the cultural and economic development of Africa. Offering an close look at the technical, economic, and social infrastructure of the industry, the film follows a typical shoot from first day to last, while the director, producer, actors, crew members, and notables from the industry describe how it all works and why they do it.
Online
2007