From the director and singer-actors of the 2005 film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha comes a new “opera” film. Unogumbe/Noye’s Fludde follows the plot of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde work but moves the action from medieval England to present-day South Africa.

Nomads is a musical documentary by Mohamad Hanafi, produced by the Goethe‐Institut’s Sudan Film Factory (also check out the Factory’s other recent work). It tells the story of a group of artist friends working as mechanics in Khartoum. Here’s a trailer:

The starting point for German filmmaker Eva Weber’s Black Out documentary is the “nightly pilgrimage” hundreds of Guinean school children undertake, “searching for light” at the airport, petrol stations and wealthier parts of Conakry. (Here’s a facebook page detailing the power failures in Guinea.) The film has been winning prizes since it started doing the rounds at festivals earlier this year.

Another prize-winning documentary is Dieudonné Hamadi’s first long-feature film, Atalaku (Lingala “The Caller”*), in which Hamadi follows pasteur Gaylor making a living by convincing people in Kinshasa to vote for “his” candidate during the 2011 elections. No (English) trailer yet, but here’s a fragment:

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And also set in Congo is Avec le Vent (With the Wind), a documentary by Belgian researcher Raf Custers about foreign investors who continue to still do pretty much what they want in the Congolese mine industry.

* Footnote on the translation. According to Arizona M. Baongoli’s Lingala Learner’s Dictionary: Lingala-English, English-Lingala (p.5), “atalaku” is “A kind of rapper in Congolese music; a singer who speaks the words during show time while other singers are dancing; e.g. Atalaku Bill Clinto ayebi mosala na ye malamu. (The rapper Bill Clinton knows his work well.) / The term “atalaku” comes from Kikongo language and it means “look here, look at me”. It is derived from the verb “ku-tala” which means to look, to watch, to see. It first appeared in Congolese music in the early 1980s. The term was initially associated with a popular music dance step but later came to refer to the accompanist singer who is in charge of injecting words, yelling and shouting during the second part of a song which consists of a fast paced dance sequence. In French “atalaku” is also known as “animateur”. Some of the very first atalakus were used by Zaiko Langa Langa and later many others followed. Some of the most popular atalakus in recent history include Bill Clinton Kalonji, Juna Mumbafu, etc. Atalakus play a major role in “mabanga” or “dedicates”. That is why they are also known as “mobwaki-ya-mabanga”.”

There you have it. Thanks to Joshua Walker.

Further Reading

Take it to the house

On this month’s AIAC Radio, Boima celebrates all things basketball, looking at its historical relationships with music and race, then focusing on Africa’s biggest names in the sport.

El maestro siempre

Maky Madiba Sylla is a militant filmmaker excavating iconic Africans whose legacies he believes need to be known widely—like the singer Laba Sosseh.

Madiba and Mali

There is a remarkable connection between Mali and South Africa, dating back to the liberation struggle, and actively encouraged by the author’s work.

A devil’s deal

Rwanda’s proposed refugee deal with Britain is another strike against President Paul Kagame’s claim that he is an authentic and fearless pan-Africanist who advocates for the less fortunate.

Red and Black

Yunxiang Gao’s new book takes a fresh look at connected lives of African American and Chinese leftist activists, artists and intellectuals after World War II.

The Dar es Salaam years

In the early 1970s, Walter Rodney, expelled from Jamaica, took a post in Tanzania. In Leo Zeilig’s new book, he captures those exciting, but also difficult years and how it formed Rodney.

Rushing to boycott

The cultural boycott of Russia turns to the flawed precedent of apartheid South Africa for inspiration, while ignoring the much more carefully considered boycott of official Israeli culture by the BDS Movement.

The party question

Marcel Paret’s book, “Fragmented Militancy: Precarious Resistance in South Africa after Racial Inclusion,” tries to make sense of politics in South African urban informal settlements.

The missing pieces

Between melancholy, terror, and disillusion, Petit Pays is a groundbreaking and eye-opening take on one of the darkest pages of African history, one that is often misunderstood in the West.