Film series inspire Nam youth
Namibian children can now have a chance to watch films that talk about themselves, their rights as well as ways of empowering them following the launch of a monthly film-screening series dubbed “Inspiring Young Generations – African Films for Children and Youth”.
The screening project is a result of a collaboration between the Franco Namibian Culture Centre and AfricAvenir, with support from Africine.
For a long time, African children have been exposed to foreign – especially Western – films, which do not have any bearing on their lives.
In most cases, these productions are laden with violence, overt sex, bad language and carry little or no didactic messages, which the children can find ‘useful’ and life-changing.
Such movies often influence children in a negative way, with some African children ending up aping the ways and actions being depicted in the films.
In South Africa, for instance, where the gun culture is rife, it is not surprising to see children smuggling guns into class and threatening their fellow pupils or teachers.
It is hoped that the launch of the series in Namibia will help steer children and youths away from immorality and other forms of vice like premarital sex, child prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse.
The opening is marked with the screening of the movie, “Mwansa the Great” directed by Rungano Nyoni at the Franco Namibian Culture Centre's cinema house.
Co-produced by Nyoni and Gabriel Gauchet, the 23-minute movie targets children of the 7-12 age group while it is made accessible to a broader audience because of its use of Swahili and English subtitles.
A synopsis of “Mwansa the Great” reads thus: “While trying to prove he is a hero, Mwansa an eight-year-old boy does the unforgivable and accidentally breaks his sister’s magic mud doll. He goes on a quest not only to fix it, but to finally prove that he is ‘Mwansa the Great’.”
The film won a number of awards, which include, the Griot Best Short Film during the Tafira African Film Festival held in Spain in 2011; the Audience Award at the Vienna Independent Shots in Austria again in 2011, as well as the Best Directing award at the Naoussa International Film Festival in Greece the same year.
Rungano Nyoni was born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1982. She took acting classes at Method Studio in London before pursuing a Master in Screen (Acting Pathway) at Central Saints Martins College of the Arts. She has a number of awards to her name.