About 65% of the total population of Africa are below the age of 35 years, and over 35% are between the ages of 15 and 35 years – making Africa the most youthful continent. By 2020, it is projected that out of 4 people, 3 will be on average 20 years old. About 10 million young African youth arrive each year on the labor market. The African Development Bank has called the continent’s youth bulge a “ticking, demographic time-bomb.”
The Africa Is Rising narrative is being challenged by issues facing many young people in Africa. Youth activism have led to The ‘North Africa Spring’ and less heralded but still significant era of protests has unfolded in the past few years in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some have called this the “Black Spring” or “Sub-Saharan Spring,” The frustration of many of Africa’s youth is manifested in many ways but unemployment, migration and radicalisation challenges have recently been central in exacerbating the situation. Africa’s transformative agenda is threatened by high level of unemployment, particularly among the youth. The situation is compounded by an increasing mismatch between the skills workers offer and those demanded by the labour market. Whilst recent horrifying incidents of mass drowning of young Africans in the Mediterranean Sea is a vivid testimony of their loss of confidence in the ability of the continent to deliver for them, the lack of opportunity among the youth is a key driver of Religious-inspired extremism.
Despite these challenges there are many things to celebrate in regards to the continent’s youth. Youth activism has ensured that governments are held accountable and this can be seen from may youth demonstration that can be found in many parts of the continent. Consider recent events in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As the Arab Spring began in January 2011, a group of young Senegalese rappers established the “Fed Up” movement to protest the frequent blackouts in Dakar. The growth in Arts sectors across the continent has allowed young people to embrace their Afrikan-ness than ever before. Whether through Music, Film or Art, voices of young Africans are being heard and many of the skilled, young Africa Diasporas from across the World are returning to the continent to open businesses and take a leading role in building their nations.
This theme will explore these challenges and success stories coming from across the continent. From films about iconic figures and revolutionaries such as Fela Kuti to family films such as Lamb and Forgotten Kingdom which disects the continent’s changing social, political and economic dynamics.
FINDING FELA! + Q & A with Dele Sosimi, Fela’s former bandmate
Director: Alex Gibney
A look at the life and music of Nigerian singer Fela Kuti. Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. His influence helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world. The power and potency of Fela’s message is completely current today and is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people, embracing Fela’s music and message in their struggle for freedom. Finding Fela was directed by the Academy Award winning director, Alex Gibney.
Hadyn Ellis Building, Cardiff Unversity: 3rd October from 19.00 Book Tickets
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 11th October from 14.00 Book Tickets
Cell B, Gwynedd: 17th October from 14.00 Book Tickets Soon
Dele will be performing at Chapter Arts Centre on the 2nd October with Kishon Khan’s Lokkhi Terra, who are described as “London’s best kept secret and probably the world’s best Afrobeat- Cuban-Bangladeshi group”.
This performance is brought to you by Cardiff University School of Music.
THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM
Written and Directed by: Andrew Mudge
Atang Mokoenya leaves the slums of Johannesburg to return to his ancestral land of Lesotho, where he must bury his estranged father in the remote, mountainous village where he was born. Stirred by memories of his youth, he falls in love with his childhood friend, Dineo, now a radiant young school teacher. Through her, Atang is drawn toward the mystical beauty and hardships of the people and land he had forgotten, and faces his own bittersweet reckoning.
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 9th October from 19.00 Book Tickets!
Aberystwyth Arts Center, Aberystwyth: 23rd October from 20.00 Book Tickets!
KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS: ANIMATION WORKSHOP FOLLOW AFTERWARDS 12.00 – 14.00 PLEASE BRING LUNCH
Director: Michel Ocelot
A huge hit in France and joint winner (along with Chicken Run) in 2002 of the British Animation Award for best European animated feature, Kirikou and the Sorceress is a children’s animated film that is a world away from Disney. Based on a traditional West African folk tale, Kirikou and the Sorceress is the story of innocence defeating evil, with a modern twist. Glittering with gold and exuding malevolence, Karaba is a sorceress who has eaten the men-folk of the village and dried up the spring. No one seems able to stop her until a remarkable baby is born. The tiny but brave Kirikou delivers himself from his mother’s womb to emerge walking and talking and undertakes a perilous journey in order to disarm the sorceress by discovering the cause of her own pain.
Writer-director Michel Ocelot’s rich animation plunges his audience deep into the myth and spirituality of the African bush. The animation style and setting are unapologetically African with no attempts to westernise the people or setting. From emerald jungles to the glowing hellfire of Karaba’s lair, Kirikou’s world is a kaleidoscope of joyous colour. The drawings of plants and trees are stylised reproductions of real tropical flora, inspired by Egyptian drawings and the paintings of Henri Rousseau.
The soundtrack by internationally renowned Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour gives an authentic pulse to what he calls the mythical Africa of children’s tales. Kirikou and the Sorceress, the only film to attract his talents, features only traditional African instruments. The music and voices were recorded in his Dakar studio.
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 11th October 10.00 am Book Tickets
Director: Yared Zeleke
Ephraim is a young Ethiopian boy. His father leaves him and his sheep, from which he is inseparable, to be looked after by distant relatives, far from his drought-ridden homeland. Ephraim isn’t very good at farming, but he has a hidden talent: he is an excellent cook. One day, his uncle tells him that they have to sacrifice his sheep for the next religious feast. The young boy, however, is ready to do anything to save his only friend and return home. Selected in Cannes 2015.
Aberystwyth Arts Center; Aberystwyth: 23rd October from 18.00 Book Tickets!
Chapter Arts Centre; Cardiff; 21st November from 13.00 Book Tickets!
Burkina Faso/2013/French/96 mins
Director: Olivier Delahaye, Dani Kouyaté
A road-movie through time and space revisiting relationships between Europe and Africa. An allegorical road-movie that transcends both space and time through a whimsical tracing of African history. Set against the backdrop of Burkina Faso’s stunning landscape, Soleils follows the adventures of Sotigui, a wise griot, who is entrusted with curing Dokamisa, a young girl struck by amnesia. Together they begin a healing journey that takes them through Africa’s rich history – from the Mandingo Empire of the 13th century through to the cells of Robben Island – meeting along the way the many ‘suns’ (icons) of African literature, folklore and politics. Through their quest, Sotigui and Dokamisa reveal the pride of the continent, reminding us of how much Africa has given the world.
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 10th October from 11.40 am Book Tickets
UNDER THE STARRY SKY
Director: Dyana Gayel
Between Turin, Dakar, and New York, Sophie, Abdoulaye and Thierno’s three destinies cross paths and echo one another, delineating a constellation of exile.Sophie, 24 years old, leaves Dakar to join her husband, Abdoulaye, in Turin. Meanwhile, Abdoulaye has already left for New York through a smuggler’s network. 19-year-old Thierno is traveling in Africa for the first time. With these three characters’ destinies, Under the Starry Sky takes us on a journey through the diversity of the cities the characters travel to, confronting us with the realities, hopes, and dreams of contemporary emigration.
The Magic Lanter, Tywyn: 10th October from 18.15 Book Tickets
B FOR BOY + Q&A WITH CHIKA ANADU
Director: Chika Anadu
B For Boy is a contemporary drama set in Nigeria, about one woman’s desperate need for a male child. It explores the discrimination of women in the names of culture and religion.
St David’s Uniting Church in Pontypridd, 11th October 18.00 Book Tickets
SEMBENE! + Q&A WITH DR RACHAEL LANGFORD
Directors: Samba Gadjigo, Jason Silverman
In 1952, Ousmane Sembéne, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE!, a feature-length HD documentary, tells the unbelievable true story of the “father of African cinema,” the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a monumental, 50-year-long battle to give African stories to Africans. SEMBENE! is told through the experiences of the man who knew him best, colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo, using rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials. A true-life epic, SEMBENE! follows an ordinary man who transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized, becoming a hero to millions. After a startling fall from grace, can Sembéne reinvent himself once more?
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 11th October from 16.30 Book Tickets
BLACK GIRL + Q&A WITH DR RACHAEL LANGFORD (CARDIFF UNIVERSITY)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
Coming to France from Senegal, she believed her white employers when they promised she’d be taking care of the kids. Instead, she’s become an all-purpose maid and cook — shall we say slave? The English title of 1966’s Black Girl only captures part of the original French, La Noire de… which means “the black girl of…” and Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène is quite serious in exploring what it means to be owned, or at least under the thumb of raced power. What does it mean to be in a strange nation, far from one’s family and anyone else Black, trapped in a house under the watchful, cranky eye of the same couple who misled you in bringing you here? And how do you protest?
The Magic Latern, Tywyn: 11th October from 18.25 Book Tickets
BOUND: AFRICANS VERSUS AFRICAN AMERICANS + Q&A WITH DIRECTOR PEREZ OWINO (VIA SKYPE)
Director: Peres Owino
BOUND: African versus African Americans (AVAA) is a hard hitting documentary that addresses the little known tension that exists between Africans and African Americans. AVAA uses personal testimonials to expose this rift, then it takes us on a journey through the corridors of African and African American historical experiences as it illuminates the moments that divide and those that bind Africans and African American.
Butetown Arts & History Museum, Cardiff: 18th October from 19.00
100% DAKAR + Q&A WITH DIRECTOR SANDRA KRAMPELHUBER (VIA SKYPE)
Director: Sandra Krampelhuber
“100% DAKAR – more than art” is a portrait about the creative arts scene in Dakar, Senegal. Dakar booms with live and this energy can also be found in the creative, artistic and cultural expressions of the city. Many young artists in Dakar took on the role as agents of change of their generation. “100% Dakar” visits fashion designers, Hip Hop musicians, graffiti artists, a photographer, an art blogger, dancers and many other artists and cultural entrepreneurs who stand for creativity, passion, social conscience and a collective, creative fight against all economic and political burdens in the sense of “l’union fait la force” (“unity is strength”).
The Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 11th October from 20.15 Book Tickets
Cinema & Co, Swansea: 23rd October 20.00 – Plus photo exhibition by renowned photojournalist Glenn Edwards Book Tickets
Bit Acres Building, Bute Building, Cardiff University: 27th October from 19.00 pm – Q&A with Sandra Book Tickets
WHITE SHADOW + Q&A
Director: Noaz Deshe
The story of Alias, a young albino boy on the run. After witnessing his father’s murder, his mother sends him away to find refuge in the city. He’s brought to the care of his uncle, Kosmos, a truck driver struggling with a few small businesses. In the city, Alias is a quick learner, selling sunglasses, DVDs and mobile phones. He is fond of his uncle’s daughter, Antoinette, although his uncle disapproves. Gradually the city becomes no different than the bush and wherever Alias travels the same rules of survival apply.
Cinema & Co, Swansea: 24th October from 16.00 Book Tickets