Tag Archives | cultural

Ivorian resilience in the face of multiple crises: a kaleidoscope of cultural and geographic diversity

A cultural and artistic anchorage that transcends the boundaries of nation and time Côte d’Ivoire is a bona fide kaleidoscope. The country’s impressive human geography and cultural diversity, alongside its economic performance, testify to its richness as one of the central lungs of West Africa. As a country, it is famous not only for the football prowess of its national team, the Elephants, but for being the world’s largest cocoa producer. Since the turn of the millennium, Côte d’Ivoire has impressed the world with its economic performance and its artistic and cultural expressions. The country has come a long way since the heyday of the 1970s when Ernesto Djédjé’s successful hits such as Zibote launched Ivorian music onto the international scene. Equally, the rhythms of Mapouka, Zouglou, and Coupé Décalé have in turn exploded on the continental African scene, before flourishing worldwide. “The country’s impressive human geography and cultural diversity, alongside its economic performance, testify to its richness as one of the central lungs of West Africa.” For example, in August 2019, the magnitude of grief that poured in from the four corners of the world following the   tragic death of DJ Arafat – a well-known Ivorian singer and music […]

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The disidentification of Mahamat Saleh Haroun

2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of Chad’s first feature film, ‘Bye Bye Africa.’ It is a blessing and a curse to bear the title of a country’s “first feature film.” As we saw in the past decade with Haifa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda from Saudi Arabia, a country’s first feature can generate attention and momentum to inspire a future generation of filmmakers. In 1999, Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s Bye Bye Africa debuted as the first feature film from the country of Chad. The film is to an extent autobiographical, enlisting techniques of both fiction and nonfiction filmmaking to tell the story of an exiled filmmaker returning to Chad to make a movie, identical in many ways to Haroun’s own journey. The film was a runner-up for Best First Film at the Venice Film Festival and launched Haroun onto a string of feature-length dramas set in Chad: Abouna, Daratt, A Screaming Man, and Grisgris. Despite its richness in philosophy, buttressed by Haroun’s careful dialogue as well as his deliberate alternation between Arabic and French, the film has been remembered as simply Chad’s first feature film, the one that helped launched Haroun’s career. Yet if one digs deeper than the surface-level film reviews, they may expose Haroun’s very personal statements of cultural disidentification throughout Bye Bye Africa as […]

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