Tuesday, January 20, 2009


We initiated the African Effect festival in 2003 to celebrate the impact of African cultures. This year’s festival asks a still more pressing question: What lessons can we learn from Africa’s current transformation? While many of us are familiar with Nelson Mandela’s bridge-building work in South Africa, other inspiring, courageous and instructive peaceful revolutions also deserve our attention. In Liberia, women joined together to challenge a vicious dictatorship, and then assumed leadership of their country. In Rwanda, survivors and perpetrators of a hellish genocide are now seeking ways to live together and heal deep psychic wounds. We’ll show films and present discussions on these historic moments. We’ll also spotlight Mumia Abu Jamal’s steadfast commitment to social justice, celebrate Youssou Ndour’s transcendent choice of faith above politics, dirty our hands with Malian mud, travel to Louisiana for a tale of redemption and discover American hip-hop’s influence on urban youth worldwide. And we’ll again showcase Ousmane Sembene, Africa’s leading cultural figure of the last half of the 20th century, whose entire career was dedicated to creating what he described as “liberating and galvanizing stories for Africa.”
To highlight the relevance these stories have to our everyday lives, three special guests will host this year’s festival. Samba Gadjigo, a treasured co-curator of this event for the past three years, is the world’s authority on Sembene, and will return to introduce two classics by his countryman from Senegal. Atema Eclai, a Kenyan native and director of programs at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, is one of the world’s leading human rights and mediation experts. And Liberia’s Bill Saa is a peace-builder and co-director of the internationally acclaimed NGO Everyday Gandhis. While the films themselves are inspiring, the presence of our guests, who demonstrate their progressive ideals through action, will resonate deeply during this time of crisis, transition and new visions.

-Jason Silverman, Festival Director


Friday, January 30

5p Mandabi Presented by Samba Gadjigo
7:30p Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
Preceded by live music by Casadimanza

Saturday, January 31
1:30p Camp de Thiaroye Presented by Samba
Gadjigo, followed by discussion
5:15p Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
Presented by Samba Gadjigo
7:30 Pray the Devil Back to Hell Presented
by Atema Eclai, followed by discussion

Sunday, February 1
2p In Prison My Whole Life Followed by a
discussion on American judicial reform
5p Pray the Devil Back to Hell Presented
by Atema Eclai

Tuesday, February 3
7:30p Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Wednesday, February 4
7:30p Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Thursday, February 5
7:30p Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Friday, February 6
7:30p Ballast

Saturday, February 7
10a-1p Workshop: Lessons from Africa:
Truth, Reconciliation and

3:30p In Rwanda We Say…
Followed by discussion with Atema Eclai
5:45p Planet B-Boy
8p Ballast

Sunday, February 8
1p Pray the Devil Back to Hell Presented
by Atema Eclai
3p Iron Ladies of Liberia Followed by
discussion with Atema Eclai and Bill Saa

Tuesday, February 10
7:30p Future of Mud

Wednesday, February 11
7:30p Ballast

Thursday February 12
8:15p Ballast


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