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At the Intersection of Ancestral and Imported Ways: An African Dilemma? A Critical Review of Maangamizi: The Ancient One

Siendou Konate


Cinema is one of the newest forms of creative expression in Africa, aside from writing. The first generation of African filmmakers began producing films as a political act of representation. Customarily in Western cinema, Africans served as background props for movies such as Tarzan and safari-type films; they were hardly represented at all. Sembe Ousmane, the late pioneer Senegalese director, explained that [b]efore [Africans] started to make films, Europeans had shot films about the African continent. [But] the African we saw in those films were unable to set one foot in front of another. . . . African landscapes were used as settings. Those films were based on European stories (Plaff 3). His generation of filmmakers knew that for things to change, they had to tell their own stories themselves. In addition to the goal of correcting erroneous images of Africa, they also had a higher and nobler objective to address problems that plagued people on a daily basis. Since the political and economic problems African faced were tied to both their inner beings and the external forces that governed people's lives, it was imperative that their films addressed how people felt about themselves, their inner struggles, their feelings; in short their ats de.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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