Thursday, May 14, 2015

My wake up call to appreciate African films

Kenya has in the recent times witnessed the entry of Nigerian and Ghanaian films in the
entertainment industry. These films have overtaken the popularity of most local productions and have earned massive airplay in most television stations. Luckily, it is up to you to make the choice on whether you want to watch them or not and most of the times...I tend to sail in the 'not' boat. This however changed in an instance in my French class when I watched an acclaimed award-winning film by a renowned African writer, Ousmane Sembene.
At first, I felt skeptical about watching the film from the fact that the lecturer had previously explained that the film was based on Female Genital Mutilation...A subject I have grown to dread talking about let alone watching a film about it, and it's not just a regular African film.
The movie started off with a series of events showcasing the cultural setting of the people in the movie. Everything seemed unique from the architecture, dressing to the language they spoke. What was striking for me in this film was that it was relevant to the lives of African women. It depicted the similarity in roles that are entrusted to African women which include cooking, cleaning, nursing children and the general maintenance of the household. Being set up in traditional African setting, the men were obviously superior to the women and hence they only took up administrative duties.
Moolade, the name given as the title of the movie refers to a season where young girls were circumcised as a form of purification. Just like in the Kenyan communities that practice Female Genital Mutilation believe that a girl of child-bearing age can not get married if she has not been circumcised.

   Despite the fact that the practice led to loss of lives through excessive bleeding, this community still goes on with it ignoring the impeding dangers to the society. It however takes the efforts of one woman who was able to stand firm and safeguard her daughter as well as other young girls who sought sanctuary in her care, to fight the menace to the core and stop it forthwith.
 Despite opposition, Colle Ado (pictured) was able to beat all the odds and bring an end to Female Genital Mutilation in her community. Public flogging and ridicule were just few of the challenges that Colle had to endure so that she could protect the lives of the girls who depended on her. Despite the fact that her daughter was to be married off to the Prince only if she was circumcised, Colle was relentless in what she believed and she was ready to give up all forms of pleasure, riches and luxury that come with her daughter getting married into the royal family.
 The entire film is a classic example of how women are their own enemies judging by the fact that Colle received opposition and threats mostly from fellow women who chose to follow tradition rather that face facts concerning the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation. Despite that, the film also brings out the authoritative nature of women to make decisions and stand firm in what they believe is right no matter what the consequences are. It is also at this time that women redeemed themselves from being subordinate to their husbands and also taking part in leadership as well as decision-making.
To me, the movie was an eye-opener that not all African content is meaningless and too mainstream. There are a lot of new discoveries one can make from watching indigenous movies like Moolade which go back in time to narrate a story in full account. It was also impressive to see a male-inspired creation depicting women with so much power in African communities that seem to have embraced the fact that men are superior to women.

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