The cost of a child marriage in Africa

Child marriage is costing African countries at least $60 billion in lost lifetime earnings, more than what the world gives the continent in aid each year, the World Bank said on Wednesday. Be it high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy or poor health outcomes, the cost of child marriage is far from just monetary, the Bank said in its report. But the vast sums lost might just be the headline that helps provoke long-awaited change, activists said. "When it comes to policy making, money talks. What this research shows is that ending child marriage is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do," said Lakshmi Sundaram, Executive Director of Girls Not Brides. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest child marriage rates in the world, with more than 3 million - or one in three - girls marrying before they turn 18. The report said... Read more

First – ever albinism contest held in Uganda

Uganda has held its first-ever beauty contest for people with albinism. Among the twenty two candidates from six districts, the judges chose 5 men and 5 women to represent Uganda at the Mr. and Miss East Africa’s beauty contest in Nairobi at the end of November this year. ‘‘Today was an important opportunity because we had the first hearings in Uganda of people with albinism for Mr. and Ms. Albinism from East Africa. This is extremely important because representation is important. That says a lot about how society perceives this difference’‘, said director of the Malengo foundation and judge, Michelle Omamteker. For contestants, the platform was an opportunity to showcase their incredible talents and be seen. “I think next year it will be huge, there will be even more than the 22 of today. I think the numbers will reach a hundred, or even 200 and more”, said Brenda Boonabaana, a... Read more

Local Histories of African Cinema: Interview with Projectionist Boureima Ouédraogo

By : Boukary Sawadogo, Ph.D.

 This is the first in a series of interviews with key participants in African cinema that I hope will provide more insight into the local history of African moviemaking than what has been provided repeatedly in scholarly articles and books. By talking with projectionists, actors, private movie theater managers, and moviegoers, I hope to unearth the nuance and texture that are missing from the official history to help increase our understanding of African cinema, particularly the cinema of Burkina Faso. This first interview looks at the physical condition of movie theaters and how it affects the moviegoing experience. The overall condition of movie theaters in Burkina Faso is mixed, and theaters are unevenly distributed among the two major cities—the capital, Ouagadougou, and the second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso—and the regional provinces. Ouagadougou has three main theaters in operation, Ciné Neerwaya, Ciné Burkina, and Canal Olympia Yennenga, which are in relatively good condition... Read more

Review: “Medan vi Lever” Showcases Complex Identity Crise

By : Boukary Sawadogo, Ph.D.

The struggle of finding your place in an increasingly globalized world is examined in this Gambian-Swedish dramedy. Medan Vi Lever, is a haunting study of identity, acceptance, and the tug-of-war between tradition and modernity by the critically acclaimed and award-winning Burkinabe director Dani Kouyaté. Kouyaté’s extensive filmography since the early 1990s addresses the complex social dynamics of tradition, modernity, history, and shifting identities, and this film is an extension of his work on these themes. Medan Vi Lever, set in Sweden and Gambia, tells the story of the conflicting relationship between a single mother, Kandia, and her aspiring-musician son Ibrahim, known as Ibbe, age 18. Kandia is a nurse from Gambia who has been living and working in Sweden for more than twenty years. Ibbe is the result of her relationship with her deceased Swedish boyfriend, whose parents Ylva and Olof were not accepting of the relationship. Olof is portrayed... Read more

A Closer Look At Burkinabe Cinema

By : Dr. Boukary Sawadogo

 Dr. Boukary Sawadogo provides an insight into Burkina Faso: one of the African continent's most important countries for cinema. At the international level, the mention of Burkina Faso is quickly associated with either its slain revolutionary leader, Thomas Isodore Noël Sankara (1949-1987), or the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). During his four-year rule, from 1983 to 1987, Thomas Sankara changed the name of this former French colony from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (“Land of Upright People”) and developed progressive policies for women’s conditions, the environment, education, health, and culture. The sense of pride and confidence of Burkinabe people in themselves and their country has been unparalleled throughout the history of this poor, landlocked country. The aura of the Marxist and Pan-Africanist president brought unprecedented global attention to Burkina Faso, particularly during the Cold War. Today, Sankara is a celebrated revolutionary and Pan-Africanist icon like Kwame Nkrumah,... Read more

Why and How FESPACO Needs To Reform

By : Boukary Sawadogo, Ph.D.

   Africa's most important film festival is fast approaching its 50th anniversary. Boukary Sawadogo suggests how it can improve and better prepare for the future. The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) takes place every two years in Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta). Fespaco was created in 1969, building on the ‘Semaine du cinéma africain’ (African Cinema Week) initiative launched by the Centre Culturel Franco-Voltaïque’s ciné-club in 1968. Initiated and promoted by François Bassolet, Alimata Salembéré, and Claude Prieux, the ‘Semaine du cinéma africain’ initially sought to create a space for Africans to see and discuss their own cinema. In 1972 the government institutionalized Fespaco as a public state-funded biennial event. For a poor, landlocked country like Burkina Faso, which had no internationally recognized filmmakers or significant national film corpus at the time of the festival’s inception, the creation of such a Pan-African festival stands as a truly... Read more