Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka delivered the Keynote address at the Guild of African Filmmakers- FESPACO workshop two weekends ago in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. His paper was titled ‘Pan-Africanism: Adapting African Stories/Histories from Text to Screen’.

In his very long address, Soyinka revealed many hindrances to making good films in Africa. He pointed at funding as a big factor, noting that a fraction of the money being embezzled by leaders will go a long way in making good movies

He also had good words for Big Brother Africa, even when he said he detested the show. “The incursion of the negative or dubious alien cultures, values and tendencies is best countered by the strengthening and exposure of indigenous cultures, ideally in innovative ways, not by creating a hermetic society, closed to all external development.

Even Big Brother Africa, a series I thoroughly detest – suitably overhauled is not, as format, without cultural and transformative possibilities.

To be able to watch, for instance, a group of young people – Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and traditional believers such as the ‘Aborisa’ – interacting as normal beings, worshipping in their own way day in day out, indifferent to the frenzy of religious extremists, within an intimate environment – now that may speak meaningfully to viewers regarding one of the most devastating crises of cohabitation that currently confronts us…” he said in his speech

© 2013

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