You are invited to attend INPUT 2008 taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. Registration is free for all   INPUT 2008 sessions  as from Wednesday 7th May to Saturday 10th May.

Visit for more info.


Restorying Africa

The Story Tree      Re-storying Africa



DATE: Tuesday 6th May 2008, 18h45

There are two Africa’s that exist one is a virtual Africa that exist largely in the imagination of the West and the real Africa that exists for those who claim to know and understand more. How Real is the Virtual Africa?   And how Virtual is the Real Africa? Are they both constructions that in fact only exist in the imagination of the programme makers that construct the vision  of Africa . Or do they both exist to varying degrees.


The programmes makers  we are going be talking to are sometimes critical, sometimes confident about the Africa they have before them. Some look back examining the past with its pain. The voices are varied but emphatically African whether the film makers reside on the continent or are working and living elsewhere. What is certain is that the filmmaking and television culture in Africa is more exuberant and prolific than it has ever been and they are producing an infinitely more complex depiction of the continent.


This session hopes to ask difficult questions of those programme makers who belong to the continent and the way they are restorying  Africa.


Moderators  :  Jean Pierre Bekolo –Independent  Filmmaker, Academic, Input Shop Steward

                   :   Kethiwe Ngcobo  – Head of Drama SABC, Input Shop steward


Films and Filmmakers


500 years Later  Directed by Owen Alik Shahadah -UK

All About Darfur – Directed By Taghreed Elsanhouri  – Sudan –

Cuba The African Odyssey – Director by  Jihan El-Tahri- Egypt

More than Just a Game – Directed by Junaid Ahmed -South Africa

Meokgo and the Stick Fighter – Directed by Teboho Mahlatsi – South Africa

input at nsako







If you couldn’t make it to INPUT or you need to get away for awhile, this is a great place to do it!


The filmmakers will be in attendance.


ANTONIA – (Drama series from Brazil) – 30 mins

Four women who work as backup vocalists start their own hip-hop group called Antonia and deal with crime, violence, and social issues in Brasilandia, a neighborhood of Sao Paolo. Antonia is not a story of vulnerable women in a harsh society – these women are models of assertiveness and perseverance. Featuring four real Brzailian hip-hop stars in the main foles, Antonia is filled with vital energy, great music, and an irrepressible spirit.


A SON’S SACRIFICE (Documentary short from USA) – 27 mins

How does TV deal with the conflict between Islamic tradition and western values? How do Islamic immigrants in western societies identify their deep roots? How do Muslims make sense of living in these contradictory worlds, how do they divide themselves between these opposite lifestyles? Find some answers through the story of Imran, a young successful man in the advertising business in New York who, one day, decides to take over the family business, a Halaal slaughterhouse. 


NOSALTRES (Docmentary from Senegal) – 71 mins – TO BE CONFIRMED tonight

“Nosaltres” means “us” in Catalan. A group of immigrants from Mali have been living in a small town in Catalonia, Spain, for almost eight years and have had mininal contact with the local Catalan community. The film articulates the social isolation experienced by Malian men working in Catalonia, while voicing the feelings of uncertainty expressed by the indigenous Catalan people. This documentary takes off the “make-up”, the prejudices we all wear, and achieves the goal of bringing the two communities together for a real exchange of opinions and perceptions. Can they achieve harmony and equilibrium? 


Mahala Media is producing this screening series every Tuesday night at the House of Nsako, screening local and international truths and fikshans through an AfriKan lenz. Dinner and drinks are served at the venue.



The House of NsAkO is a Museum and Institute of African POpular KAlture – MIAPOKA!  Music, Art, Film, Food, Fashion, Literature & Dance all come together to create Josi’s most unique, inspiring venue that ACCURATELY reflects the contemporary South African experience. NsAkO was recently featured in the City Press. More info at


To reserve a seat or for more information please contact Neo at 072 619 6203 or Senele at 082 958 6677. email: 

Ousmane Sembene tells it like it is…

The following interview with Ousmane Sembene is recorded on the Guardian websiteSunday June 5, 2005.

Ousmane Sembène, the Senegalese-born ‘father of African cinema’, talked to Bonnie Greer about film-making in Africa, his European experiences and why Live 8 is fake, before receiving the fellowship of the BFI. Here’s a full transcript.

Bonnie Greer: Before I start, I’d like to say that I am a huge fan of this gentleman, so I am really nervous. But I am going to do my best. There will be simultaneous translation by Mr Samba Gadjigo, Mr Sembène’s biographer and himself an eminent professor of French at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Moolaadé is the second film in a trilogy, and you call it a trilogy about the heroism of daily life. Could you expand on that, please?

Ousmane Sembène: We are talking here about the African continent, and it is a continent going through a crisis. Nobody can deny that we have a lot of wars going on; brothers killing brothers; we have a lot of diseases and catastrophes. But on the other hand, we have a majority of individuals, both men and women, who are struggling on a daily basis in a heroic way and the outcome of whose struggle leaves no doubt. This is a struggle whose purpose is not to seize power, and I think the strength of our entire society rests on that struggle. And it is because of this struggle that the entire continent is still standing up. So I’ve tried in my own way to sing the praises of those heroes, because I am also a witness to that daily struggle. In the traditional society which I come from, when you look at our societies, whether you’re talking about the Mandinka, Bambara or Fulani, we have the tradition of the storyteller called the griot and also other kinds of storytellers. Their role was to record memories of daily actions and events. At night, people would gather around them and they would tell those stories that they had recorded. I think there are parallels between myself and these storytellers, because in that traditional society, the storyteller was his own writer, director, actor and musician. And I think his role was very important in cementing society. Now, with new technologies and the tools that we have acquired, I think we can take inspiration from them and do some work.

BG: You have said that Moolaadé is your most African film. Can you expand on that?

OS: When I made such a statement, I was referring to its narrative structure and aesthetic. But then, ultimately, it’s up to my people to judge whether or not I have come close to telling their reality. What makes the difference between this film and the others I’ve made, is I already know what the people are saying in the rural areas. I think it is up to you, brought here in the west by the contingencies of history, it is up to you to understand and to see what is African in this film. And I think your appreciation and judgment is going to help me improve my future work. Right now, I am very, very obsessed, because right now, Moolaadé is enjoying some measure of success. So what am I going to do with my next film? Since the setting for the next film is going to be an urban area, how am I going to talk about African cities? Of course when I talk about African cities, there is no difference between a building in London or Abidjan or anywhere in the world. But what is important is to wonder, the men or the women who live in that building, what kind of life are they living? It’s not enough to have all kinds of gadgets. This is what I’m working on right now.

BG: I adore the title of the latest film in the trilogy, Brotherhood of Rats. I love it because you’re talking about a very important subject: it’s about the cities and the complicity or not of African governments in some of the troubles afflicting African states.

OS: I think that’s just part of my job. If I centre that film on an urban area, how can I show it to people who live in the rural area? How can I make this film in such a way that a peasant in my village in Casamance can understand what’s going on? And how can I now really raise my voice against all the embezzling that’s going on in the cities? Here I am talking about people of this new generation. I am making this film for the young people who are here in this room, and who are going back home: how can I inspire them?

BG: What do you think of the cinema numerique, the digital cinema?

OS: For us, everything is good. I think that every tool that we can appropriate and use is good for us. What counts here actually is the result of the battle of the sexes, the war between husbands and wives.

BG: I want to go back a little bit to the early days – your life was formidable even before you began to make cinema. You were in the war, you fought for freedom in Algeria, you were a dockworker in Marseilles, you hurt your back and then decided to take a less strenuous job and investigate some of the literature of the African and diasporic world, particularly Claude McKay, the great Jamaican novelist and member of the Harlem Renaissance, and his idea about the docks in Marseilles and the languages of the African diaspora.

OS: I am really unable to talk about my life – I don’t know my life. I’ve travelled a lot and this is the life that I have lived, but that doesn’t mean that I know myself.

BG: All right then, women?

OS: I love all women. Can you show me one man who doesn’t love women?

BG: Well, you are in England. I was struck, and the reason why I wanted to show Ceddo, although you didn’t want me to show Ceddo, is because of the moment in it where a strong woman is putting a line in the ground. So I want to ask, first about the idea of women in African cinema, especially in your cinema, and how important they are for you?

OS: Here we are talking about past civilisations. When I was growing up, married women, of their own accord, always tied a belt around their waists. I think it’s a symbol of their loyalty, their fidelity. It didn’t have anything to do with the men. So when she takes off her belt and shakes it, she was putting her own life and honour on the line. So for husbands like myself, when they shake their belts and tell us not to cross the line, none of us would be able to do it. And it is only on those occasions that the community recognises the woman’s right to kill. Of course you can rape the body, but you can never go against that rule. So one has to die for that rule to be broken. But here we are talking about what I call medieval Africa, and of course now things have changed. Right now, women wear belts that are gold or leather or whatever, but that doesn’t mean that they are more loyal.

BG: Madame [Fatoumata] Coulibaly [who played the lead role of Colle in Moolaadé], how was it for you, playing in this movie?

Fatoumata Coulibaly: Thank you first of all, and I think that it shows that you have a strong interest in African films. Even before I was called upon to act in this film, I was already working in Malian radio and TV. My job was working in programmes designed for women and children, and centred on the family. I travelled a lot into rural areas, and I talked to the women and everybody there. And I tried to touch on all the issues relevant to their lives. During that work, I noticed that many young girls died following the female genital mutilations (FGM), through haemorrhaging. So I did some research in the rural areas. When I decided to conceive of a programme without consulting my boss, I ran into a lot of problems.

I myself made a documentary film which was broadcast only once on Malian television, and of course people hid the tape and said that it was lost. That’s when our administration decided to silence any dialogue about FGM. In spite of that, of course, I wanted to continue that kind of work. In my work I also collaborated with an NGO composed of women. We would go to the rural areas, and we would try to educate them about hygiene and the family, in their own languages, not in French or English. We brought together the village chief and every man, woman and child – everybody came to those meetings. Of course, we don’t start head-on with FGM; we would strategically beat around the bush for a while and then only come to the issue that is important to us. Because in our society, talking about sex is still a taboo, and of course many village chiefs don’t want to hear about that issue. “You are trying to deviate us from our way of life, our traditions.” And of course the argument they give is that these traditions date back to before our birth, and actually they accuse us of being funded by the outside world to subvert their way of life. But with persistence we would come back and get our message across.

Sometimes we used dolls to show the body parts of a woman in childbirth, we show them the pain and suffering of a woman who has been excised. Of course when we show those things graphically, they hide their faces. But we always managed to find a strategy, through jokes and whatnot, to bring them to look and take responsibility and face what we are showing them as a reflection of their own bodies. Of course, the position I hold in Mali – I am very popular – so that helped me in my job. After a while I can see that they are not closing their eyes anymore and they face the body from which a baby is emerging. Of course we do all this with the complicity of a midwife. People ask us questions and we engage in dialogue. We also talk about all the consequences of excision, and I think that has yielded some positive results in abandoning FGM. And so afterward, when Mr Sembène was casting in Bamako – at the time, he did not know how involved I was in the struggle against FGM – I was honoured, privileged and lucky to be chosen to play this lead role. I’ll tell you, this is just the beginning of my struggle, and I want you all to join and support me so that we can reach a positive result.

BG: This leads me to the two most interesting lines in the film. One, the last words of Colle’s husband, “It takes more than a pair of balls to make a man”, but the strongest sentence is when Mercenaire says, “Africa is a bitch”. I’d like you to elaborate.

OS: Mercenaire says “Africa is a bitch” because he’s completely in despair: he was shocked at what he was witnessing. Maybe it’s me who put my words into his mouth.

BG: That’s what I would like you to speak about.

OS: Because I love Africa, that’s why I call it a bitch. When you love something … I think there is no contradiction between loving Africa and calling it a bitch. I am saying it out of desperation. And the other sentence you refer to is a phrase that is used a lot in Africa, in many languages. Actually, when you look at the Bambara version, it is rendered as “It takes more than a pair of trousers to make a man.” But since I wanted to make it a more powerful statement, I made it “It takes more than a pair of balls to make a man”. In the Bambara, the metaphor of trousers is important because a male child cannot wear trousers before circumcision. Circumcision is a symbol of entry into manhood. So that’s why I was playing with those two metaphors; but I decided to use “pair of balls”.

BG: You’ve said that Africa is matriarchal, the idea of the woman as the strong force in Africa. But for us in the west, polygamy is not an acceptable or pleasant practice. Yet you sort of nuance it, the way you nuanced several customs like the excision and the protection, so in the film it is a polygamous situation, yet the women are very much in control. So is this the African language of cinema, is this an African aesthetic?

OS: As far as I am concerned, Africa is a woman. As far as I can tell, and maybe my knowledge is very limited, I really don’t think that 2,000 years of Christianity has brought anything to humanity. When you look at African education, the basis of all African education is this idea of femininity that I’m talking about. Whether you are talking about me or my father, usually, women just give us the illusion that we are in control. Actually, even our virility depends on the gaze and the control of women. Without women, we cannot do anything. I think it’s a good thing.

BG: One, almost final question, and this is a political and philosophical question, about pan-Africanism. You’ve been a great fighter for the liberation, through cinema, of African consciousness, African thought, African people. People in the diaspora, as many of us are in this room – I am myself a soixante-huitard, so I understand, but for the generation after me, and the generation after them, does pan-Africanism necessarily speak to them? Does it have any meaning at all today?

OS: For me, anything that unites is useful. Anything that can bring understanding and peace is important. And for me, there was a phase in which pan-Africanism was a political action. At the beginning of the last century, London was the centre of pan-Africanism. Actually, the first time I visited London was for a meeting about pan-Africanism. In the 1920s, Africa was not the centre of pan-Africanism; the centre was in the diaspora. And it was during those early years, around the 20s, that we saw the first educated Africans. After the first world war, it became stronger and all the people who came from all horizons knew each other. And we met and talked about independence: Chou En-Lai from China, George Padmore, WEB DuBois – those were the people engaged in the struggle. After independence, we preserved the idea of pan-Africanism for the unity of the continent. For me, that is very important.

BG: But today?

OS: Nowadays, with the kind of policies that our leaders are engaged in, and here I am specifically talking about the French-speaking parts of Africa, they are the most alienated individuals I have ever seen. I think it is France that is really leading the job of dividing Africa. Most of our presidents have dual nationalities, French and African. When the going gets tough, they run away to Paris and all our decisions are made in Paris. I think in that context it’s very difficult to talk about pan-Africanism. Of course, it’s just plain rhetoric. Why don’t they abolish political borders in Africa? What is stopping them from developing education in Africa? And again, when talking about the francophone countries, there are a lot of states where the annual budget is secured only with the intervention of France. So that’s why I think in that context it is difficult. But I don’t think we should give up. I am positive that one day we will become independent.

The toughest fight we engaged in was the struggle against apartheid, and many people in Europe joined, supported that fight, and some of them were gunned down. I think what we need is goodwill because now our struggle is harder because it is an economic struggle. And now Europe is organising itself. So I think there needs to be a rupture between Africa and Europe, and all the international laws being conceived here in the west have to be revisited and changed. Just one case in point, now European countries are running into problems with China because of T-shirts. What did China do? China’s flooding their markets with T-shirts. But last century, France and England bombed Shanghai – they took weapons and invaded them. They can no longer do that because China has organised itself; and Vietnam has organised itself. That is what we lack back in Africa: we have been subjugated so much that all we can do is beg, and some even think what we are going through is a comedy.

Then there is the issue of cotton. During slavery, negroes were in the cotton fields. Everybody knew about that. Now that they are not forcing us to make cotton, we make cotton and they don’t want it. What should we do? I mean, even our leaders have failed to build factories to transform that cotton for our clothing. We could make any kind of material that would be even better than what is made here, but we wait for everything to come from European industry. They are selling us rags. And everywhere you go in Africa, in the big cities, you would think that you were in a Salvation Army store. They have even created an NGO whose role is to sell us second-hand clothes. I think the youth need to hear these stories. The struggle continues.

BG: That leads beautifully into my next question. What do you think of the big campaigns going on now in Britain: Make Poverty History, Live 8, Hear Africa 05? Big initiatives to make people aware and to maybe give money.

OS: I think they’re fake, and I think African heads of state who buy into that idea are liars. The only way for us to come out of poverty is to work hard. Poverty means begging throughout the world. I know your prime minister is spearheading that kind of campaign. A few years ago, the British army was in Sierra Leone – were they there to fight against poverty? It’s a mistake, it’s a lie. But it’s up to Africans to know that, and I think we have to start that revolution back home.

BG: Well, let’s see if that hits the newspapers tomorrow. How much do you want to bet it won’t? My last question, I saw you on French television, on a programme called Rideau Rouge. You were speaking with a young realisateur from Burkina Faso, and you said, “African realisateurs have to be less modest” and then you went into a discussion about the future of African cinema. Can you elaborate on those two things?

OS: I think cinema is needed throughout Africa, because we are lagging behind in the knowledge of our own history. I think we need to create a culture that is our own. I think that images are very fascinating and very important to that end. But right now, cinema is only in the hands of film-makers because most of our leaders are afraid of cinema. Europeans are very smart in that matter – every night they are colonising our minds, and they are imposing on us their own model of society and ways of doing it. And many of our men dress in English suits, with British ties. Our first ladies are called the duty-free ladies and they use only European perfumes and only wear labels.

tonight at input2008: ousmane sembene inside out

Ousmane Sembene Inside Out

A Tribute to African Cinema

Venue: Red Room Level 2;      Time: Monday May 5th    

19:00 – 21:30


“Of all African film directors, Sembene is the first to confer value to images.”  — Med Hondo




“The work of an African filmmaker is to find a way that is his own and to find his own symbols, even to create symbols if he has to.”  Interview with Ousmane Sembene by Dr Harold Weaver



The aim is to create a discourse at Input2008 that goes well beyond Ousmane Sembene, the man and his work; to track the impact of African cinema on the world with Sembene as a founding father.

Sembene said: “Cinema is a night school,” and on a continent where literacy is low, public broadcasting can serve as a short but effective route to a bright and hopeful future.  A formal independence has taken place, a political independence on paper, but now we must forge an independence of the minds, a cultural independence.

Discussion will be fueled by extracts from Sembene’s works (Moolaade and Faat Kine) as well as the Manthia Diawara film Sembene Ousmane, the Making of African Cinema.


Seipati Bulane-Hopa –Secretary General of FEPACI, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers.

Jean Pierre Bekolo Obama-Award-winning filmmaker, Input2008 Shopsteward

Ramadan Suleman- Director of Fools and Zulu Love Letter.


Glen Ujebe Masokoane- Filmmaker, African Cinema Pioneer

input2008 kicks off

The Chinua Achebe foyer at Input2008 – registration opened today as delegates were checked in, tagged and bagged… registration at input2008 will remain open at the venue until the 9 may, one day before the conference closes.

Participants at the Made in Africa workshop and training session, a two-day precursor to Input2008 that ended today, as registration for the official conference opened.

Mayenzeke Baza from Port Elizabeth is interviewed live on Radio 2000 by presenters Zai & Victor at Input2008. Mayenzeke is one of three Made in Africa participants whose documentary pitch won him a 3 month Thomson Foundation documentary course in Cardiff, Wales.

Tracey-Lee Dearham from Cape Town takes her turn at the Radio 2000 mic after the news that her pitch was selected as another Made in Africa winning entry.

** The third winner of the documentary award, Makhela Phululu from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was unavailable at the time for a snapshot…but we’re bound to catch up with him over the Input week…

Andy Glynn (DFG) and Sally-Anne Wilson (CBA-DFID Broadcast Media Scheme) – are asked by Radio 2000 about the criteria used for selecting the winning pitches…

All together now… Sally-Anne Wilson, Mayenzeke Baza, Andy Glynne and Tracey-Lee Dearham…

pics by Modise aka Dise


4: A feature documentary



In four corners of the globe, in the four seasons, four outstanding violinists guide us on an extraordinary journey through their four distinct homelands.

From the springtime blossoms of Japan, into the blistering heat and thunderstorms

of an Australian summer; from a joyful autumn in New York, to the unforgiving cold and human warmth of a Finnish winter.

The resonant and much-loved music of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and the timeless stories they tell, form the backbone to this bold and engaging celebration of friendship, homeland and the cycles of life.


SPRING / Tokyo

It is April in Tokyo and Spring has arrived. Cherry blossoms sweep across the country, bursting into their short, magnificent life in one of nature’s finest festivals. With ‘Hanami’ – cherry blossom viewing – as the backdrop, international violinist Sayaka Shoji leads young, brilliant students from a leading Tokyo music school through Vivaldi’s Spring Concerto, revealing the timeless lessons in the music, and in their own culture

SUMMER / Australia

At the beginning of an Australian Summer, Niki Vasilakis travels 3000 kilometres from

her home, Adelaide, in the far south of the country, by train, boat and plane, towards

Australia’s northernmost town on Waiben (Thursday Island) to perform a concert

with her friends, who will fly in from all parts of the country. As the storm clouds gather, music is exchanged across cultures, as we learn about the way that summer and its pleasures and great challenges shapes the Australian people.

AUTUMN/ New York

As Autumn dresses New York with her vibrant colours, a group of friends – most well known musicians – reunite at the Barney Greengrass delicatessen, an old haunt on the Upper West Side. Violinist, Cho-Liang “Jimmy” Lin, a performer of wonderful spirit, is the ring leader of this

motley group, a rich cultural melting pot of musicians who were either born here, or chose to make New York their home many years ago. Jimmy’s own story, of his journey to New York from Taiwan, to achieve his childhood dream of attending the famed Juilliard School, mirrors the ambition and drive of the city itself.

WINTER/ Finland

Now it is Winter. In the furthest reaches of Finnish Lapland, 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, the enigmatic violinist Pekka Kuusisto and his musician friends travel through the ice and dark to te home of an old family friend, Jaakko Alatalo, to perform the Winter Concerto in a neighbourhood concert. Here, in this extraordinary and beautiful landscape, we reach the end of our international journey. Pekka and his friends create a soundtrack to this intimate view, as we celebrate the warmth and hope the language of music gives all of us.

(extract from the press kit for 4, which can be seen at Inpu2008 as part of the “Art Attack” session on Mon 5 May – see the “catalogue” category for more information on the Input programme)