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

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

Breaking the chains of indifference

The significance of ending the ongoing war in Sudan cannot be overstated, and represents more than just an end to violence. It provides a critical moment for the international community to follow the lead of the Sudanese people.

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.

Paradise forgotten

While there is much to mourn about the passing of legendary American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, we should hold a place for his bold statement-album against apartheid South Africa.

The two Africas

In the latest controversies about race and ancient Egypt, both the warring ‘North Africans as white’ and ‘black Africans as Afrocentrists’ camps find refuge in the empty-yet-powerful discourse of precolonial excellence.

A vote of no confidence

Although calling for the cancellation of Nigeria’s February elections is counterintuitive, the truth is that they were marred by fraud, voter suppression, technical glitches and vote-buying.