"Spirit of the dead, rise up and claim your story!" Namibian Premiere of cult classic Sankofa!

October 28, 2015, 8:12am


On Friday, 31 October 2015, AfricAvenir presents the Namibian Premiere of the cult film ”Sankofa” (Ghana/UK/Burkina Faso/Germany/USA, 1993, 125 min, directed by Haile Gerima).

Powerful, moving and highly acclaimed, director Haile Gerima’s Sankofa is a masterpiece of cinema that has had a transformative impact on audiences since its release in 1993. Its considered a cult film by African and African diaspora audiences. 

Haile Gerima can be considered the most influential African film director in the United States, not only due to his body of film-work, but also in terms of his influence as a film professor at Howard University, Washington DC.

AfricAvenir director Hans-Christian Mahnke expresses delight about the upcoming screening. “Presenting Sankofa to Namibian audiences has been on AfricAvenir's wishlist since the beginning of “African Perspectives” in 2006/7. We finally can say: This master piece is showing in Windhoek. We can finally celebrate “Sankofa” in Windhoek.”

When: Saturday, 31 October 2015
Time: 19h00
Where: Goethe Centre, Fidel Castro St. 1-4, Windhoek
Entrance: 40,- N$
Special Guest: H.E.  Alhaji Haruna Atta, Ghanaian High Commissioner to Namibia

This screening is made possible due to the financial assistance of the FNB Foundation.

Synopsis: "Spirit of the dead, rise up and claim your story!"

This empowering film tells a story of enslavery and of the African Diaspora from the perspective of the enslaved, challenging the romanticizing of enslavery prevalent in American culture.

Sankofa (1993, 125 min) was developed from 20 years of research into the Maafa (the word used for the trans-Atlantic enslavery-trade/genocide) and the experiences of African enslaved in the New World. The film represents complex characters and empowering moments of resilience that assert humanity in the face of subjugation. Unlike Hollywood’s depiction of enslavery, Gerima presents the often suppressed history of enslaved resistance and rebellion and represents the enslaved as agents of their own liberation.

The story begins with Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano), an African American model on a fashion shoot at the former enslaved castles in Cape Coast, Ghana. Mona undergoes a journey back in time and place to a plantation in North America where she becomes Shola, a house enslaved, and experiences the suffering of enslavery firsthand. In becoming Shola and returning to her past culture and heritage, Mona is able to recover her lost enslaved identity and confront her ancestral experience. Shola’s interactions with her fellow enslaved are marked with humanity and dignity, most notably with Shango (Mutabaruka), a rebellious field enslaved, and Nunu (Alexandra Duah), one of the few enslaved to remember her life in Africa before being stolen by Europeans.

The film’s narrative structure follows the concept of “Sankofa,” an Akan word that signifies the recuperation of one’s past in order to comprehend the present and find one’s future.

Awards, among others:

Nominated for Golden Bear, Berlin International Film Festival, Germany, 1993 First prize, African Film Festival in Milan, Italy, Best Cinematography, FESPACO, Burkina Faso, 1993 Technical Details: Director/Writer/Producer: Haile Gerima Co-Producer: Shirikiana Aina Line Producer: Ada Marie Babino Featuring: Kofi Ghanaba, Oyafunmike Ogunlano, Alexandra Duah, Nick Medley, Mutabaruka, Afemo Omilami, Reggie Carter, and others. Cinematographer: Augustin Cubano Editor: Haile Gerima Music: David J. White Language: Original with English subtitles African Perspectives, a monthly African Cinema series in Windhoek, organised by AfricAvenir since 2006, is supported by AfriCine, JacMat, the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, Goethe-Centre/Nads, Turipamwe Designs and the FNB Foundation.