Gambian filmmaker Ebou Waggeh has returned from Burkina Faso where heEbou Waggeh
was invited to attend a seminar organised by the African Union
Commission to look at ways of increasing the use of African oral
tradition in African cinema.The 3-day seminar held on the sidelines of the 24th FESPACO brought
together African historians, traditionalists, writers, achivists,
university professors, researchers and filmmakers and was coordinated
by the Center for Linguistic and Historical Studies through Oral
Tradition (CELHTO) in partnership with the West African Programme
The seminar heard 15 presentations made by experts in respective
fields. Gambian Filmmaker Ebou Waggeh, the only English speaking
member of the team invited, made a guided audio visual presentation
showing his attempt at telling an African story through the words and
songs of a Gambian griot. He projected footage from his yet to finish
video documentary in which he reenacts 12 living ethnic cultural
practices in The Gambia using the image, words and songs of a Gambian
Inspite of increasing number of African films released in the course
of the last twenty years, not many have used oral tradition in telling
their stories. The AU believes Africa must overcome the repetitious
nature of criticism which has addressed itself to African film in the
last 25 years and to make possible the definition of a dynamic
aesthetic view of the continent. The lack of enough African film
critics who know African traditions as well as the critical practice
of the ethnocentrism of European and American film critics has limited
them to evaluating African cinema through the prism of Western
language film. They refuse to look at African cinema “straight in the
eyes”. By bringing together a group of experts the AU hopes a way will
be found to bring about a change to that situation.
Africa is immensely rich in colorful culture and tradition captured in
the words and songs of its griots and that is what the AU is
encouraging African filmmakers to tap into and put on cinema.
This will not only help to educate the young people in Africa about
the continent’s diverse culture and traditions while providing
entertainment but will also preserve images and sounds of the dynamic
African culture, for posterity.
Source: WAX Media