Editor's Picks 9 October: Africa Spotlight

Collection with 7 media items created by Editor's Picks

07 Oct 2013 17:15

From a urine-powered generator invented by a 14 year-old in Nigeria to Fashion Week in Ghana, and from Pygmy communities to a business built on flipflop recycling, this collection of produced and raw footage offers a unique glimpse of Sub-Saharan Africa's rich and diverse human stories.

Sub Saharan ... Editor's Picks Video Raw Footage Feature Stories Documentary Entrepreneur... Kenya Ghana Drc Nigeria Stock Footage Pygmies Nollywood Gabon Hiv Kinshasa Rwanda Uganda Afromysterics

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Flip Flop Recycling
Mombassa, Kenya
By Ruud Elmendorp
29 May 2013

A Kenyan company based in Nairobi is recycling flip flops left on the beach in Mombosa and turning them into art and household beauties. This cultivation of used flip flops is helping in cleaning the beaches around the area and providing jobs for a lot of nationals.

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Hollywood Versus Nollywood, Trailer
Lagos, Nigeria
By Preditor Push
04 May 2013

Hollywood Contra Nollywood By Tee Jay Dan
APRIL 23, 2013 2 COMMENTS

“Critics should be active participants…propound and participate.” BM Dzukogi.

Nothing said in praise of Nollywood, in whatever fashion or design will invalidate the fact that the industry is threatened with poor funding, low quality production, technical ineptitude, piracy and blighted distribution channels. But we must not dwell on the many sins of Nollywood. We should appraise the industry; analyze her with the genuine hope of rediscovering her lost beauty. We must, stakeholders and consumers alike, collectively and jealously trade ideas and criticism; serve as a galaxy of souls to our very own motion pictures enterprise. I am playing my quota by writing this article in hopes that every reader will play their role by spreading the word until the identified defects are righted!

Here’s a little education on how a proper film industry functions. Top on the chain is THE MONEY nearly bracketed by THE FINDERS.

THE MONEY is further categorized into FILM and TV. The FILM category consists of major studios such as Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers e.t.c, whereas the TV category refers to Cable Networks such ABC, FOX, CBS e.t.c. Like every other business, these studios and Networks are structured with CEOs, Presidents, Creative Executives, Assistants and Business Affairs Executives.

THE FINDERS literally refers to professionals who find talents/stories for the studios/networks. The Finders serves as mediators between studios/networks and the products. Since studio execs are too preoccupied to read through heaps of specs/scripts these guys handle the hunt job. They function just like literary agents in the business of publishing.

It is the collation of these two factions; THE MONEY and THE FINDERS that makes up what is known as Hollywood. There is more to the solid structure of Hollywood but this will suffice for lack of space. Sadly, Nollywood strives on the exact the opposites of these dictates! There is no single Studio in Nigeria! The absence of a skeletal framework is Nollywood’s first and major problem. With a functional structure in place, Nollywood will look sexier to potential investors as investment returns will become guaranteed – only then can we bury the old days of financially constrained productions.

It is funny how the lots of producers in Nollywood believe funding to be the most pressing need that must be remedied if the industry is to be revitalized. They often find out albeit painfully so that even with the billions of the world they cannot make mind blowing movies with only money. In this business of ours it is believed that a good film could be made with a bad cast and poor production but no good film can be made with a bad story. There is no gainsaying the fact that our home videos are pretty predictable because the stories made into films are stereotypes! Any good screenwriter could easily hash out two or more stories from a typical Nollywood flick! Do you feel mentally exhausted after seeing a Nollywood film? This is because your brain is busy trying to patch together the unrelated stories/scenes in our home videos. Our producers need to pay closer attention to stories before they give the green light. Here’s an assignment: watch a Chinese, Bollywood or Hollywood movie without the sound then watch a Nollywood film in the same manner – watch the Nollywood clip first if you like. Then return here and share your experience. Please pick films you have not seen before and remember to mute the sound. Yes, that is the power of a good story of the lack thereof!

Recently I joined camp with Balogun Omo Oba Dayo of Ravernsbourne UK; a Nigerian Filmmaker based in the United Kingdom. In the course of our joint venture I learned a great deal. Nigerians making good movies are either independent producers or our brethren in the Diaspora. Movies like DR. BELLO, LAST FLIGHT TO ABUJA, TWO BRIDES AND A BABY, THE LOST NUMBER by Tony Abulu, Obi Emelonye, Blessing Egbe and Kester Nsirim respectively are clear examples. Oh, there are three kinds of filmmakers in Nigeria; the Nollywood filmmakers, Nigerian Filmmakers in the Diaspora and the Independent filmmakers. It is therefore out of good faith that I propose a conscious romance between these three factions of Filmmakers of Nigerian origin.

Funding is a crucial part of filmmaking especially in Nigeria. Here’s a bitter truth. Over 80% of filmmakers in Nigeria source for production money from marketers in Alaba. These marketers go as far as dictating names for films without reading the scripts! Have you noticed some Nollywood flick with a title that clearly conflicts with the storyline? Now you know why. A similar percentage of the technical crew are a bunch of ‘trial and error’ apprentices who self-graduated or were actually sent forth by their ‘masters’ to wreck Nollywood the more. The camera man you hire for your birthday today might be shooting Nollywood’s next ‘block buster’ tomorrow if he knows a producer or if a friend of his wins a lottery and decides to make a movie. As much as lack of funds is a problem, industry veterans should sign up for professional courses. It doesn’t take a lifetime!

We still suffer some shamefully from poor sound and picture quality in Nollywood. Take the just concluded AMAA 2013 event for instance.

Finally, because Nollywood churns out thousands of movies annually is not a yardstick to say it is without blemish. Popularity isn’t necessarily prosperity so goes the saying. A female Nollywood apologist argued that the industry guys are making big bucks alright hence do not need to up their game. This is laughable. See, in Nigeria pirates earn more than the filmmakers. Forget the paparazzi, safe for some side ‘runs’ our movie stars will be dying in penury. To say Nollywood is fine as it is is a terrible misconception. Let’s have a working structure then we can attract investors. Let’s build a tight knit industry and engage in collaborative ventures so we can make superb movies. Deal with Nigerians in the Diaspora, tackle piracy and pirates head on, mend the rift in AGN, and awaken DGN and SWG from slumber then watch Nollywood bloom.

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Young Girl Invents a Urine Powered Ge...
Lagos, Nigeria
By Taiwo Adeleke
23 Jan 2013

Journalist:
Taiwo Adeleke

CUE:
Fourteen years old Nigeria girl created a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single liter of urine as fuel .

Headline:
Girl power generator with urine in Nigeria.

SLUG:
RAW-NIGERIA-ELECTRICITY-GENERATOR-:

Byline:
Taiwo Adeleke / --

SYNTHE:
Duro-Aina Adebola (Female), Urine power Generator initiator (Student)
Omotayo Fakinlede(Male), Professor of Engineering
Olatuji Araoye (Male), Engineer
Patrick Uloba (Male) Teacher.
SHOTLIST:
LAGOS, NIGERIA, JANUARY 2013
VAR of student starting the Generator.
VAR of cylinder and filters
VAR of bulb and socket with electricity
VAR of students talking
VAR of School University
VAR of Man in the Office
VAR of Lagos Street at Night
VAR of man starting generator
VAR of generator sounds
VAR of secondary school building
VAR of teacher with student in the classroom

SOUNDBITE 1, Duro-Aina Adebola (Female), Urine power Generator initiator (Student) (English, 00:14:18 seconds ):
"I got the idea when i went on net and i saw a family of five (5) killed by carbon-monoxide poison. its now stroke me that people are dying regularly from generator poison and that what could be done that wouldn't releases any harmful gases into the environment . Urine is a waste material definitely Nigerians will opt for urine since is a waste material, Nigerians like cheap things "

SOUNDBITE 2, Omotayo Fakinlede(Male), Professor of Engineering (English. 14:01 seconds)
"we can view hydrogen as the hydro carbon minus the carbon. There are very good properties that its as one of the most important thing is the environmental friendliness".

SOUNDBITE 3, Olatuji Araoye (Male), Engineer (English 10:18 seconds).
"Its depend on the cost of the generator first and i will look at the durability at the same time".

SOUNDBITE 4, Patrick Uloba (Male) Teacher.(English 20:18 seconds)
"We have done several other project before this, we are hoping that with the volume of information that as gone out on this project, we are trusting that somebody will come and pick up this project , so that it can be mass produce and it can be there in the market.

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Slum Echoes - Street Angels Foundatio...
Kampala, Uganda
By William Ranieri
01 Feb 2013

Documentary: Slum Echoes -- Street Angels Foundation Uganda
Kisenyi is the oldest slum/ghetto in Kampala. The Mask and the Teacher will guide you through an incredible journey along this multi-ethnic reality. We meet the Karamojong women, listen to real story of the kids of the slum and dance to unique music. Witness the incredible reality in the heart of Kampala.
This video was realized
with no funding
as a tribute
for all Kids in Slums
around the world.

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Lost In The Jungle: The Mbuti Pygmies...
Etaeto, Democratic Republic of Congo
By Piero Pomponi World Focus
10 Sep 2012

Kalibo Mandigo - Etaeto - Democratic Republic of Congo - September 10th, 2012
The hunt for precious coltan is killing Africa's dwindling Pygmy population. The village of Kalibo Mandigo, located in the Ituri rain forest in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, lies in the heart of an obscure war zone that few in the West know about. The densely forested expanse along a stretch of border between the nation once known as Zaire and Uganda, furnishes some 80 percent of planet's Columbite Tantalite, or "coltan," an ore that is an essential ingredient in the creation of the miniature Tantalum capacitors present in virtually all electronic devices, including laptops, cell phones and pagers. Coltan is panned for by hand in much the same way as gold during the California gold rush of the 19th century. The demand by major companies such as Nokia and Sony for coltan (Australia is the other major source) has made the Congo into a battleground for rogue miners, who enter the country, through Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. The number of Pygmies is in constant decline as a result of the border fighting. On the move constantly, the pygmies, who are considered inferior, face the wrath of Congolese troops and Rwandan raiders who cross the border seeking the coltan. They were victims of rape, murder and cannibalism. According to Minority Rights Group International there is extensive evidence of mass killing, cannibalism and rape of Pygmies and they have urged the International Criminal Court to investigate a campaign of extermination against pygmies. Although they have been targeted by virtually all the armed groups, much of the violence against Pygmies is attributed to the rebel group, Movement for the Liberation of Congo. Pygmy is a term used for various ethnic groups worldwide whose average height is unusually short; anthropologists define pygmy as any group whose adult men grow to less than 150 cm (59 inches) in average height. A member of a slightly taller group is termed "pygmoid." The best known pygmies are the Aka, Efé and Mbuti of central Africa. 
The term "pygmy" is sometimes considered pejorative. However, there is no single term to replace it. Many so-called pygmies prefer instead to be referred to by the name of their various ethnic groups, or names for various interrelated groups such as the Aka (Mbenga), Baka, Mbuti, and Twa. The term Bayaka, the plural form of the Aka/Yaka, is sometimes used in the Central African Republic to refer to all local Pygmies. Likewise, the Kongo word Bambenga is used in Congo. The term pygmy, as used to refer to diminutive people, derives from Greek πυγμαίος Pygmaios via Latin Pygmaei (sing. Pygmaeus), derived from πυγμή – a fist, or a measure of length corresponding to the distance between the elbow and knuckles. In Greek mythology the word describes a tribe of dwarfs, first described by Homer, and reputed to live in India and south of modern day Ethiopia. Various theories have been proposed to explain the short stature of pygmies. Evidence of heritability has been established which may have evolved as an adaptation to low ultraviolet light levels in rainforests. This might mean that relatively little vitamin D can be made in human skin, thereby limiting calcium uptake from the diet for bone growth and maintenance, and leading to the evolution of the small skeletal size characteristic of pygmies.
Other explanations include lack of food in the rainforest environment, low calcium levels in the soil, the need to move through dense jungle, adaptation to heat and humidity, and most recently, as an association with rapid reproductive maturation under conditions of early mortality. Other evidence points towards unusually low levels of expression of the genes encoding the growth hormone receptor and growth hormone relative to the related tribal groups, associated with low serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 and short stature. Pygmies live in several ethnic groups in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. Most Pygmy communities are partially hunter-gatherers, living partially but not exclusively on the wild products of their environment. They trade with neighbouring farmers to acquire cultivated foods and other material items. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 600,000 Pygmies living in the Congo rainforest. There are at least a dozen Pygmy groups, sometimes unrelated to each other, the best known being the Mbenga (Aka and Baka) of the western Congo basin, which speak Bantu and Ubangian languages; the Mbuti of the Ituri Rainforest, which speak Bantu and Central Sudanic languages, and the Twa of the Great Lakes, which speak Bantu Rundi and Kiga. A commonly held belief is that African Pygmies are the direct descendants of the Late Stone Age hunter-gatherer peoples of the central African rainforest, who were partially absorbed or displaced by later immigration of agricultural peoples, and adopted their Central Sudanic, Ubangian, and Bantu languages. This view has no archaeological support, and ambiguous support from genetics and linguistics..Genetically, the pygmies are extremely divergent from all other human populations, suggesting they have an ancient indigenous lineage. Their uniparental markers represent the most ancient divergent ones right after those typically found in Khoisan peoples. African pygmy populations possess high levels of genetic diversity; recent advances in genetics shed some light on the origins of the various pygmy groups. The transition from hunting and gathering to farming involved a major cultural innovation that has spread rapidly over most of the globe in the last ten millennia. In sub-Saharan Africa, hunter–gatherers have begun to shift toward an agriculture-based lifestyle over the last 5,000 years. Only a few populations still base their mode of subsistence on hunting and gathering. The Pygmies are considered to be the largest group of mobile hunter–gatherers of Africa. They dwell in equatorial rainforests and are characterized by their short mean stature. However, little is known about the chronology of the demographic events — size changes, population splits, and gene flow — ultimately giving rise to contemporary Pygmy (Western and Eastern) groups and neighboring agricultural populations. .
Source: WP.

The footage shows a pygmi women traditional dance in the middle of the village.
Original footage: AVI

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Laolu Sebanjo Afromysterics Art
Abuja, Nigeria
By Taiwo Adeleke
01 Dec 2012

Name: Afromystrerics Art.

Journalist: Taiwo Adeleke

CUE:
A Nigerian born Artist and musician use his works of art to interpret the mystery of the African thought pattern and the weak economics situation in Nigeria from the fuel scarcity, crisis and killings , political power tussle and the challenges of Africa Artist at large. Images and soundbite of people at the art exhibition.

Headline:
Artist use his work of art to interpret the Economic situation in Nigeria and Africa at Large.

SLUG:
RAW-NIGERIA-ART

SYNTHE:
Timi Inekoba (Woman) Participant at the Exhibition
Stanley Ibansu (man) Business man Participant at the Art Exhibition
Laolu Senbanjo (man) Artist / Musician

SHOTLIST:

ABUJA, NIGERIA, NOVEMBER 30, 2012, AT THE ART EXHIBITION
ABUJA NIGERIA, DECEMBER 02, 2012 AT THE MUSIC CONCERT

VAR of a Artist drawing
VAR of Artist art exhibition in Abuja
VAR of people registering at the Art exhibition
VAR of Artist show casing his Art work to Audience
VAR of Artist playing is Guitar and singing to the audience
VAR of Artist Playing his music alone in the garden.
VAR of Artist at his music Concert in Abuja at the city park Abuja Nigeria

SOUNBITE:1 Timi Inekoba (Woman). Participant at the Art Exhibition ( English, 00:00:07:24 ). "My second favorite pieces is about the visual cycle, all the random things that as been going on in Nigeria, the subsidy things, the oil thing, the corruption thing is like he just recycle everything. Am pretty sure you know its art and music it comes together, so he translate everything from art to music , music to art. I think this will stand any were and its good. i like his art because its abstract, its beautiful, its something else,but i think it we go very far".

SOUNDBITE 2 : Stanley Ibansu (man) Business man Participant at the Art Exhibition. (00:00:51:17) "A picture speaks volume. i mean in thousand words , now pictures is in millions of words his art speaks millions of words , its mind blowing , i love what he does, most of what he as done envoy round the women fold , and all this while, why the event was going on i was thinking about why the women but you know discover that its actually the women its a woman world,everything involve around the woman , he has been able to, i had something very peculiar today somebody said that if you are able to change the woman, 80% of the challenges we have in the society is handle and that is the truth. What he is doing is affecting the women fold and i must tell you this is cutting across the change we expect and to tell you the truth he is making the impact that is needed with that ".

SOUNDBITE 3: Laolu Senbanjo (man) Artist / Musician. ( 00:00:47:08)
"My name is Laolu Senbanjo and am an artist and also a musician, my style of art is called Afromysterics art which simply means the mystery of Africa thought pattern, and what i do is hat i like to use my art to interpret different scenario and situations. I draw inspiration from methodology, symbols, Africa life, the Africa third pattern, everyday life and you know what we do is a narrative of a busy mind. An African mind is very busy is thinking of many things at the same time, so with this i try to tell you a lot of stories with just one picture, i take you through a story in a particular painting.

After having exhibitions outside the shore of Nigeria, i have been to few exhibitions am in a position to compare and contrast what the acceptance is like, you know you cant compare the monetary value in terms of appreciation in terms of the value of the artist itself. We in Africa, we need to do more , we need to value our artist and treat therm better because its sad to know that a lot of artist don't even have art galleries.

the major challenges is that of perceptive and understanding of what art is and a lot of people, like i tell people you don't pay an artist for his labour, he is not a laborer, you pay an artist for his site and ability to see what you cant see and put it in imagination on canvas ability to connect what is in your mind to your art. That is what people should value and that is priceless in the sense that when you see a work of art you see people price it like its a commodity like tomatoes and its very heart breaking sometimes the way we treat our own artist and this is something that is absence somewhere like i had exhibition in Germany , the artist are treated with respect and dignity and you know what ever costs a work is the value behind the work , basically you cant price art.

Afromysterics is going on loud , we are launching out and what we want is to take the message of our people , we want to take it to the world in charcoal something that the world have not seen, we want to take it out in a very unique manner, there is notting fetish or demonic about africa art, we should stop demonizing our history , our root because that is what saddens me the most , because most people see carving, mask , they start saying its as this and that , many people have been brain watched, and its painful , very very painful, i menthes are beautiful things that is been appreciated globally , this is what makes us unique, i mean while should be more European than an European, i mean he doesn't want to see the like of Michelangelo , Da vinci, of this world, i mean while not do what is natural to you , we have our styles of art , we have what cones to us naturally and the reasons while am doing this is that , this is what comes to me , this is what i feel, this is what i imagine and this is what am dreaming , i mean my art , i that is what am actually doing here i just sit down and let it flow that as been my life i let it flow."