Let's start with a three-parter:
1.) How many countries are in Africa?
2.) Can you name more than four?
3.) How many languages are spoken there?
Africa is a continent large and diverse, and most of us know absolutely nothing about it. There is, of course, the recent celebrity-driven tendency to go there and support charitable causes (or perhaps have your baby... or adopt a baby). There is Bono and other celebrity-driven charities to highlight the continent's struggle with HIV and AIDS, amongst other diseases. There is famine and war, and diamonds. There is a long river and pyramids and a huge, hot dessert. There are safaris and big waterfalls in Zambia, apartheid, and Oprah. We know only the soundbites of Africa, quick images and headlines. few of us consider it in the ways that we should. Many would settle for us consiering it at all.
Now you can.
This weekend, join UMSL's Center For International Studies at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival at the Tivoli. There are three days of great documentaries about Africa-- about its people and its struggles, its heroes and its triumphs, its wars and its religions, its languages and cultures. Africa is not one place, but this film festival is a great place for us all to start to understand.
Tickets are $10 for a session (most are three hours and include 4 films), or $35 all day.
MY PICK: Friday, Oct. 5, 2:00-5:00pm
Highlights of this session include "As Old As My Tongue", which challenges our expectations and perceptions of stardom, age, and Muslim women. Also included, "The Professor", about the once-President of Liberia who now lives in NYC.
Film Festival Schedule and Info
Oh, and there are 46 countries (more if you count the island nations) and as many as 2000 languages (many rapidly disappearing).