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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora