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Behind The Rainbow Jihan El-Tahri 124 Mins. In the wake of an Independent South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC); the country’s foremost partisan political organisation is set to nominate the first democratically elected president. The one who is first to be considered for this leadership position is Mr. Oliver Tambo because of his courageous exploits during the apartheid era but his failing health disqualifies his candidature. The man whose feet best fit this big shoe is no other than another respectable politician, brilliant lawyer – Nelson Rolihaha Mandela. Upon being elected, he is saddled with the onerous task of ensuring that the Republic is set on the wheel of social reconstruct. A task which guarantees overall economic gradation and political stability but this was short lived with instabilities of policies ranging from Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), a socialist pilot programme aimed at ensuring general social wellbeing of the people to the outrageous GEAR’s capitalist policy – one who is targeted at enriching only a few. The live coverage of the ANC’s National Convention and selected interviews with past and present political eggheads such as Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, and Chris Homi etc. gives an in-depth analysis to the very essence of the film. The precision with which narration follows and subsequent footages from street and actual parliamentary scenes affords the audience the rare privilege of living in the gory moments of the Katsung clash. The police and people confrontation as well the schism that pervades the ruling ANC party as well the defining moments when Mandela relinquishes power, the Thabo Mbeki ascension to power as well the incumbent Jacob Zuma. An intensified piece it is as it digs deep into the analysis of history and nationalism describing in all sense describing the pitiable state of the African politics. Using archival contents derived therefrom, it will certainly do well for further academic and sociological researches. Babatunde Odubanwo iREP Media Team
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Green Passport in a Rainbow Nation Robke Macauley 30 mins. The short film is a welcome detour in the wake of recent xenophobic attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians living in South-Africa. With its backdrop as Ubuntu, a term in South-Africa that means ‘humanity’, the documentary investigates the implications of being a Nigerian (Green Passport) living in South-Africa (Rainbow Nation) and also profiles the resourcefulness of Nigerians that have gone on to establish successful businesses despite the existing stereotype ascribed to them. Ronke Macaulay interviews other nationals living in the country and their references about the Nigerians they have come across since living in South-Africa are nothing short of honourable. ‘They are responsible people’, says a Cameroonian, excitedly. Temi a Nigerian Law student in one of South-Africa’s Universities complains that ‘it is a difficult living as a Nigerian here because we are usually associated with drugs and termed as ‘snubs’. Despite the stereotype, the Nigerian Consul General in South-Africa, Mrs. Uche-Aijule, says that some Nigerians have gone on to appropriate the negativity by dominating and holding strong positions in major sectors in South-Africa including education. Perhaps Ronke is right when she states that ‘what unites us should be more than what divides us’. Eseosa Eguamwense. IREP Media Team
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The reputation of Jihan El-Tahri the foremost female Eygypian documentary filmmaker is a rare one. Her tenacity and painstaking attitude and elan towards her art is phenomenal. The in-conversation was much anticipated by the audience, and on the heels of the screening of her significant documentary, Behind the Rainbow. The documentary examines the transition of the African National Congress (ANC) and its crucial aspiration as a liberation party “by means of the evolution of the relationship between the prominent leaders, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.” Not only does the film show the bitter rivalry, but the resultant temprament is such that it threatens to tear apart the ANC and the South African nation, while the masses seek and anticipate the much needed hope of change. The conversation became a moment of reflection for we Africans, and indeed the filmmaker herself-whose decision to make such a documnetary, is met with a kind of awareness. An awareness that the problem of African leadership, is constituted by the ‘veritable antipathies’among party members in any nation’s democracy, which has also become for Africa, a universal phenomenon. Fielding questions from media practitioner and scholar, Ropo Ewenla (who stood in for the much revered curator, documentary film maker, and professor of long standing) Professor Niyi Coker, Jian El-Tahir provides sensitive and yet techinical responses that encourages one to come to terms with her reasons to make Behind the Rainbow. Her stance is essentially humanitarian, as it resonates deeply with the challenges of a people whose political structures in the twenty first century are not divorced from its imperial past, and how such a past has influenced the development of a political and yet democratic birth or rebirth. The conversation with Jian El-Tahri was framed in such a style that it was inextricably linked to the screening of Behind the Raindow. The documentray is much more than an interrogation of South African politics but, an interrogation of an African political system. The film raises questions that are crucial to the current climate and problematic issues that are associated with African political independence such as: What are we not getting right in postcolonial African democracy? How has the mythologies of poltical independence in Africa, cut the people of Africa out of her restructurung agenda?Can the subaltern speak? If they can speak can they be heard by thier politcal leaders? If they are heard how do they (their political leaders) respond? What is the appearance of the structural problems of African poltics? In spite of the problems that actually lingers in South African politics, one thing comes to mind. Among the ANC party members and stalwarts, there are no lords and servants. And even if there were lords and servants such dichotomies are not allowed thrive or exit among them. (An ideal that has permeated the party simce the time of Oliver Tambo- handed down to Nelson Madela, to Thabo Mbeki and then to Jacob Zuma). Jian El-Tahri has given provided an important cinematic thriumph which tasks us all to rethink our politcs, our democracies as Africans and begin work (if we ever will) on changing the structures, which relied heavily on antiquated colonial structures. The documentary is a turning point to rethink Africa’s future. The first shift to the much anticipated restructuring of an ideal African dream. Jian El-Tahir’s growth and reputation is significant to African cinema. Her work will continue to generate discussions, conversations and controversies at various points and platforms for a long time. For the 2017 IREP Festival, her particpation and appearance, and the screening of her films are a set of mines, to the quality and finesse of the festival. – Tunde Onikoyi IREP Media Team
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