Art Scene: This is My Africa

I always find it fascinating to learn about a person's experience and feelings about a particular place. Recently, I've been getting to know more about my current home of Washington D.C., learning about other people's experience in the city and reflecting on my own history with the city which began so many years ago. The same can be said about the exploration of people's relationship to various countries throughout Africa.

This is where Nigerian-born, London-based film director Zina Saro-Wiwa steps in with her documentary This is My Africa. The reason for the film is easily summed up by Zina:

whilst it is vital that Africa’s problems are reported and tackled, I have always felt the need to balance the overall picture. By far the easiest way of doing this was by turning to my own backyard – so to speak. As an African I am party to some amazingly warm, thoughtful, dismayed, hilarious, searing, blistering and heartfelt conversations about “the state of Africa” amongst my peers and my parents’ generation. On the global stage “Conversations About Africa” are held between world leaders, pop stars, NGOs. Not between ordinary people that love the continent. I want to push these more private, nuanced and passionate conversations into the public realm to add subtlety to the public dialogue.

With only 4 days to shoot what was suppose to only be a 5-minute short, Zina was able to roundup 21 interviewees from throughout the continent (but based in London) as well as a few non-Africans who have experience on the continent. From 5 to 50 minutes, Zina presents a this brief slice of Africa as seen through the eyes of those who are passionate about the continent. Their passion is so familiar to those of us who also love the continent yet reachable to those who have never been.

You can see snippets of the film on the This is My Africa site while also learning more about all 21 subjects, many of who you have seen here on the blog.

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