UC Berkeley Library

African Studies General Overviews

Naked Spaces: Living is Round.

A film by Trinh T. Minh-ha. Exquisitely photographed, rich in detail and texture this film explores the daily rhythms and ritual life in the rural environment of six West African countries. This sensuous and philosophical journey explicitly challenges documentary and ethnographic film language, throwing into question prevailing formulas for visual ethnographic studies. 1985. 135 min. web web sites: Description from Women Make Movies catalog

No Easy Walk.

Ethiopia. Traces the history of Ethiopian independence and national sovereignty beginning with the defeat of Italian colonial domination in 1896. Also examines Ethiopia's role in advancing anti-colonialism and the struggles for independence throughout Africa. 1987. 60 min. Kenya. Traces the history of Kenya's opposition to white rule beginning with the arrival of the first European settlers in the 19th century. Focuses on the Mau-Mau rebellion of the early 1950's and the key roles played by the Kikuyu people and their leader Jomo Kenyatta. 1987. 60 min.

Ota Benga: A Pygmy in America

This documentary relates one of the saddest episodes in the history of American racism when a pygmy, Ota Benga, was taken from the Congo in 1904 and subsequently exhibited at the St. Louis World's Fair and the Bronx Zoo. Features archival film and animation, and one sequence filmed in color in 1999. c2002. 17 min.

Out of Africa. (Portrait of the Caribbean)

A sense of Africa pervades the Caribbean, but in Haiti it feels like Africa itself. The history and culture of Haiti and Jamaica are compared. 1992. 45 min.

Repercussions: A Celebration of African Influenced Music.

Dist.: Films Media Group. Born Musicians: Traditional Music from the Gambia. Traveling from remote villages to Gambia's capital, Banjul, this program focuses on the music of the Mandinkas and their jalis, the society's hereditary professional musicians. Displaying the delicate beauty of such instruments as the 21 string harp-lute and the xylophone and the expressive singing of the instrumentalist's wives, Gambian music is presented as an essential part of ceremonial occasions. 1984. 60 min. The Drums of Dagbon.

Rhodes (1996)

A biography of Cecil Rhodes who arrived in Africa at the age of eighteen to join the diamond rush but soon conceived another ambition: to bring the entire land under British rule. By the time he was thirty, Rhodes was one of the wealthiest men in the world and ten years later, a new country had been created and named for him, Rhodesia. A candid vision of the birth of apartheid, and the bitter wars that divided a country and devastated its people. Originally produced for PBS television in 1996. 336 min.

Rise Up and Walk: The Life and Witness of the African Indigenous Churches

Explores the origins, beliefs and practices of a variety of independent African Christian churches, showing how they interpret and live the Christian faith in the context of their own pre-Christian religious and cultural traditions. 1981. 55 min.

Sahara Chronicle: A Collection of Videos on Mobility and the Politics of Containment in the Sahara

Twelve short videos documenting the present sub-Saharan exodus towards Europe. Taking a close look at the modalities and logistics of the migration system in the Sahara, the project examines the politics of mobility, visibility and containment. The material is gathered during three fieldtrips to major gates and nodes of the trans-Saharan network in Morocco, Mauritania and Niger where migratory intensity is bundled. Contains interviews with immigrants with no voice-over narrative. A film by Ursula Biemann. Dist.: Video Databank. 2007. 76 min.

Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora.

A documentary examining the African Diaspora, from the violent scattering of African people away from their continent of origin to their contemporary participation in a global community. The film focuses on the enormous -- though largely unknown and unacknowledged -- contributions of Africans and their descendants to the wealth and power of the Americans, and portrays elements of African culture that characterize everyday life throughout the Americas today. Dr.

Second Nature

More people means more trees -- this is the unexpected finding of an Oxford University research project in this West African country. The researchers found that the most thickly forested parts of the savannah regions are inevitably to be found surrounding human settlements. When villages are deserted the trees disappear and the savannah shrubland takes over. The evidence from photos taken in tthe 1950s backs their findings. Originally presented as a segment on the television program Earth Report. 1998. 26 min.