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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid