News / Africa

    SAF Filmmaker Examines Xenophobia Riots

    Somali nationals demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, (File photo).
    Somali nationals demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town against recent xenophobic attacks, (File photo).
    Five years ago this month, xenophobic riots broke out across South Africa, leaving 62 people dead. Filmmaker Akin Omotoso made a movie about the violence in 2011, and has embarked on a project to show the film in areas where the violence was worst. He documented those screenings and reactions to the film with a multimedia project, which is now touring South Africa.

    After the 2008 xenophobic riots, filmmaker Akin Omotoso set out with a plan - to find out what happened and why. So he and a few others hired a researcher to help them go into communities to talk to people about the tensions, the riots and the aftermath.

    Rethabile Motho is project manager for the resulting exhibition called "We are From Here," which opened Friday in Johannesburg.

    "From there one of the people they interviewed was this teenage boy and they asked him well, if you could see your attackers again if you could meet them again, what would you stay to them, what would you want them to know? And his big thing was 'Tell them we are from here. We're all people, we're from here," he said. "Why are you doing this to us?' And I guess that one phrase just stuck with them, Akin and the team that were researching."

    Out of this research, Omotoso decided to make the movie Man on Ground, which was released in 2011. The film is a fictionalized story of a Nigerian banker in Britain who comes looking for his brother in South Africa and gets caught up in the riots.

    The movie was well received around the world and in South Africa, but Motho said, there was something that seemed not quite right to Omotoso and the film's producers.

    "We've made this film, so what? What do we do with it? The people who actually should see it in communities aren't seeing it because there are no cinemas out in townships, there are no cinemas where these riots took place," noted Motho. "So we've seen the film and suburban people have seen the film and city folk have seen the film, but people who should be seeing it, haven't' seen it, so let's get the film to them."

    So they did. Over the last few months, they set up screenings in four communities throughout South Africa that were most affected by the 2008 violence.

    The screenings opened up dialogue. A camera crew interviewed immigrants and South Africans who attended the screenings, and out of that came a short, 24-minute video that is being shown on a loop in the exhibition.

    Fabian Lojede was the co-producer of, and actor in, the film Man on Ground. He went to screenings around South Africa.

    "The exhibition for us now and this whole community engagement is perhaps one of best things to happen to our dream in regards to this film, because now the aim of it really was not to become millionaires by making this film," said Lojede. "The aim really was to be able to put our own creative voice to an issue we felt really strongly about. To see it now living and having legs from that perspective is really heartwarming."

    Along with the looped movie at the exhibition, there are three television screens on the ground playing videos on loop. On the right side, a video of police dragging Mozambican immigrant Mido Macia behind a police truck; on the middle screen is Gabriel Sibiya, a South African interviewed for the project who said the solution to these tensions is understanding; and on the left is a video of the photo of Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, who was burned to death during the 2008 riots.

    The walls are covered with photos of those interviewed during the project as well as two long canvas sheets on which people write their comments on the exhibition.

    The exhibition was packed on opening night, and has been open to the public during the week since, said Henrike Grohs, with the Goethe-Institut, which helped to fund the project.

    "I think it was just like it was important to take a moment to reflect on what happened five years ago with the different xenophobic attacks," Grohs stated. "But also how it recuperates today. and to keep on one side the memory alive and on the other side engage in a continue discussion on it."

    The exhibition will soon travel to other communities around South Africa.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.