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Africa, Sub-Saharan — Social Conditions
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Female Circumcision [electronic resource]: Human Rites

This program documents the ritual of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, practiced among some African groups; explores its roots in myth; and discusses movements under way to ban the practice. Interviews with anti-circumcision activists, including medical personnel, describe the health ramifications, including hemorrhage, infection, and painful sex. Victims discuss both the physical and emotional pain of circumcision, and both males and females discuss why they support or reject circumcision as a valid cultural practice. Graphic scenes of an actual female circumcision are shown.
2005; 1998

Last Chance for Peace in Sierra Leone [electronic resource]

This compelling program documents the daring efforts of the Interreligious Council of Sierra Leone to press for peace and reconciliation in a country devastated by civil war. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, president of Sierra Leone; William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International, U.S.A.; Diana Eck, of Harvard Divinity School; and others offer their views on topics including atrocities committed against civilians, the questionable Lome Peace Accord, and the power of religion to affect politics. Sierra Leonean history provides a larger context for the program, while news footage and interviews with those directly affected bring home the reality of the civil war and its turbulent aftermath.
2006; 2000

African Art [electronic resource]: Legacy of Oppression

Belgium's Tervuren Museum contains the world's largest collection of Central African art, which consists of approximately 250,000 pieces. Noted journalist Paul Solman discusses the power and the true price of this collection with art historian Ramona Austin and journalist/author Adam Hochschild. In the immense Congo region, there are more than 250 different cultures, so there is a broad range of artistic styles to be found there. Austin is particularly drawn to the emotionally riveting abstracts, with their modernistic qualities and generalized forms that influenced Picasso and other European masters. She also admires the intricate detailing lavished on everyday objects like combs. But how did the Tervuren collect this body of art? Hochschild says that when Belgium's King Leopold II [...]
2005; 1998

Facing the Truth With Bill Moyers [electronic resource]

The years 1960 through 1994 were a time of terror in South Africa. With the destruction of the yoke of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has had to come to terms with its oppressive past: recrimination and punishment, or forgiveness? This compelling program describes the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to investigate human rights violations, to heal the country, and to help South Africa in its process of reinvention. Prize-winning journalist Bill Moyers and producer-director Gail Pellett speak with apartheid victims to hear their stories firsthand. Additional interviews with Nobel laureate and TRC architect Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former officers of state security, counterterrorists, and journalists-combined with footage of some of the most dramatic confrontat [...]
2005; 1999

Archbishop Desmond Tutu With Bill Moyers [electronic resource]

Renowned as a voice of conscience in apartheid South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu-Nobel laureate and Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)-has spent his life opposing his nation's discriminatory policies. In a powerful interview with prize-winning journalist Bill Moyers, this courageous Anglican prelate discusses his life and work and shares his thoughts on justice, truth, and forgiveness-so timely at the end of a century notorious for genocide and flagrant human rights violations. The Archbishop candidly describes his experiences during three years traveling the country to unflinchingly gather atrocity testimony. Archbishop Tutu and Mr. Moyers also discuss the TRC's international impact as a model and what America in particular can learn from South Africa's at [...]
2006; 1999

Africa's Children [electronic resource]: Kenyan Women in Transition

This program explores the pressures on female adolescents in the Third World through the stories of four young Kenyan women growing up in a time of cultural upheaval: Christine, a Masai who escaped an arranged marriage so she could study law; Dekha, brought up in a rigidly patriarchal Muslim town, who aspires to be a doctor; Anastasia, who works on her family's farm while yearning to become a Catholic nun; and Mboone, who dreams of exchanging her affluent urban lifestyle for a career of service in the UN, to help improve the lives of women all over the world. Female circumcision, polygyny, AIDS, reproductive choice, equal access to education, and other issues are discussed with candor.
2005; 2000

Chinua Achebe [electronic resource]: Africa's Voice

Things Fall Apart has been translated into 50 languages, has sold over 8 million copies, and is considered one of the 20th century's literary masterpieces. This program analyzes the impact Chinua Achebe and his writings have had on world literature, as well as his influence as an editor and a spokesman for a generation of African writers. Dr. Achebe, noted professors Abiola Irele and Gerald Graff, and Charles Larson, editor of the anthology Under African Skies, discuss the characterization, social implications, and levels of interpretation of Things Fall Apart. Vital concepts indigenous to the Ibos of southeastern Nigeria such as oral culture, reincarnation, and negotiation-concepts essential to a deep understanding of the novel-are also presented. This program is an indispensable su [...]
2005; 1999

AIDS in Africa [electronic resource]

With millions dead of AIDS and millions more infected with HIV, Africa is in danger of becoming little more than a graveyard. In this program, ABC News anchor Ted Koppel and correspondent Dave Marash deliver three successive reports on the AIDS epidemic currently spinning out of control in Zimbabwe. Together they address the hardships of a society composed of mostly the very old and the very young; the wildfire spread of HIV in a culture that supports casual sex; and the grim future facing a nation deprived of its core adult population. Archbishop Desmond Tutu joins in the discussion of this monumental tragedy.
2008; 2000

Alhaji's Wives [electronic resource]

Alhaji has taken five wives; one died, he divorced another and lives with the remaining three. This program travels to Nigeria to examine the impact of polygamy and divorce on the country's population demographics, focusing on a case study of one family to highlight trends and concerns. The connection between religious values and family planning becomes apparent in interviews with various people in the community. The program also visits a school for women who have been divorced or widowed and want to learn a skill or receive a basic education. A United Nations Production.
2006; 2001

Africans in America [electronic resource]: Unfolding of Ethnic Identity

This program uses in-depth interviews with two generations of five African families now living in the Denver area to explore the dynamic process that is ethnic identity. Having emigrated from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, the families bring unique traditions to a shared experience: life in America. The interviews reveal the hopes of the first generation for the second, the thoughts and feelings of both parents and children on cultural transition, their sense of self as they live in America and interact with others, and their pride in adding to the rich national tapestry.
2006; 2002

The Masai Today [electronic resource]: Changing Traditions

Swahili or English? Extended or nuclear family? Cattle or camel herding? For the proud, pastoral Masai tribe of Africa, Western culture's advance brings decisions in every area of an ancient lifestyle. Filmed over the course of seven years, this program follows one family as it contends with the challenges of modernity facing the Masai people as a whole. Through interviews and an extremely detailed depiction of Masai daily life, the program explores changing gender relations, language and identity, tribal leadership and family structure, and the influence of education.
2006; 2003

Breaking the Silence [electronic resource]: Lifting the Stigma of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, fear of HIV has led to a stigma against those who carry it. This case study spotlights the heroic efforts of individuals and organizations such as Dawn of Hope, the Cheshire Foundation, Mekdim, and Save Your Generation to open a life-saving dialogue about the disease that includes community education on HIV transmission and prevention as well as counseling and care for those in HIV-related need. "This issue is knocking on everybody's door," says Tsegaye, a young man who came out about his infection to open the eyes of his friends to the danger of unprotected sex. "Each of us must do our part." Contains discussions of condom use.
2005; 2003

Dying to Be Free [electronic resource]: Zimbabwe's Struggle for Change

A portrait of the politics and history of Zimbabwe, this program traces Robert Mugabe's rise to power and depicts his 22-year dictatorship in a country where millions rely on food aid to survive, inflation is at 500 percent, and almost three quarters of the country's workforce is unemployed. Also included is rare footage that captures the demand for change and the popular support for the new opposition party, MDC, during the presidential election in 2002.
2006; 2003

Sudan [electronic resource]: Black Kingdoms of the Nile

A major gateway to sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan has seen the rise and fall of many powerful kingdoms and refined cultures-and the key to understanding these ancient civilizations lies in the multitude of archaeological treasures that dot the landscape and that are still buried beneath the sands. This program follows the trail of the young French naturalist and pioneer Frederic Cailliaud, whose account of his journey to Merowe in 1820 first sparked interest in Sudan. Excavations and artifacts provide insights into the way of life, beliefs, and accomplishments of the peoples who inhabited the region from Neolithic times onward.
2005; 1997

The Ashanti Kingdom (Ghana) [electronic resource]

The Ashanti are the best-known tribe of Ghana, comprising around 2 million of the country's 12 million inhabitants. All of the Ashanti kings belong to the Oyoko Dako clan, the clan of chieftains; they are the ones who have created and strengthened the Ashanti nation. This program shows the Ashanti kingdom: it explains the strict hierarchical organization of the village, the importance of the characteristic kente garment, the naming of children, the Ashanti religious beliefs, the importance of traditional values and traditional festivals, and the protocol surrounding the paramount chief of the Ashanti.
2006; 1992

Malawi [electronic resource]: Nation Going Hungry

Poverty, unstable government, and disadvantages in trade have virtually eliminated food security in Malawi. This program explores the African country's struggles on both a personal and national level, interviewing frustrated civil servants and impoverished citizens, and reflecting widespread despair over WTO policies and the government's inability to subsidize the agriculture of its own people. Highlighting the additional problems of environmental degradation and AIDS, the program offers a moving glimpse into human lives that revolve around one constant challenge: getting something to eat.
2006; 2004

Umoja, the Village Where Men Are Forbidden [electronic resource]

In the Samburu district of Kenya, women have only the rights they can seize for themselves. To break free from spousal abuse, forced marriage, genital mutilation, and the spread of HIV/AIDS-and to defend themselves against rape by local British soldiers-a group of abandoned Samburu women founded Umoja, a village off-limits to men. Two decades on, the tiny community is thriving, but in a growing climate of menace as the Samburu men seek any means to destroy Umoja and reestablish the age-old status quo. Filmed on location, this program gives a voice to town matriarch Rebecca Lolosoli and other villagers who communicate their determination to remain free while painting a realistic picture of their uphill battle to establish gender equality in the region-and to simply survive.
2010; 2008

Modern Slavery [electronic resource]: Debt Bondage and Child Soldiers

Indentured servitude, however dehumanizing, played a role in the colonization and development of early America. But its 21st-century incarnation, the practice of debt bondage, contributes virtually nothing to the common good of southern Asia. This program examines the plight of workers in India's rural areas, exposing the conditions in which they toil to pay off staggering personal debts. More tragic still are the ranks of child soldiers forced to fight in African militias and armies. Viewers meet Moses, who was kidnapped as a boy and absorbed into Uganda's LRA insurgency. The film shows him going through the process of shedding his soldier's ways, rejoining his family, and trying to reclaim his life.
2010; 2008

The Right to Femininity [electronic resource]: Fighting Female Circumcision in Africa Today

The custom of female circumcision faces growing opposition in Africa. This program presents multiple perspectives on the issue, interviewing health care personnel, professional circumcisers, women who have undergone the ritual, and men who are against it. Examining medical and emotional problems that follow genital mutilation, the video also features signs of positive change, including a Nigerian drama troupe that stages anti-circumcision productions and groups like UNICEF, CARE Austria, and the Girls' Power Initiative that campaign in areas where the ritual's effects are most profound. Includes graphic footage of births and circumcisions.
2005; 2004

It's Time [electronic resource]: African Women Join Hands Against Domestic Violence

Once accepted as a cultural norm in Africa, domestic violence is increasingly recognized for what it is-an assault on the rights and well-being of women, as well as a major impediment to progress on the continent. This program examines the issue in Ethiopia and South Africa, focusing on efforts to reduce and hopefully eliminate violence against women. Viewers meet survivors of domestic abuse and sex crimes who are regaining control over their lives in safe houses and educational centers. Also featured are Nomfundo Mogapi of South Africa's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation; Annalize Teichmann, a South African prosecutor; Senait Berhanu of Ethiopia's Addis Ababa Women's Association; and other activists.
2010; 2009