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IREP2017 Film Review – Cuba: An African Odyssey

Cuba: An African Odyssey Jihan El-Tahri 120 Mins. It is a common saying that’ he who does not know where the rain beats him cannot tell where his cloth dries’. Same can be said of Africa, the second largest continent in the world, with an estimated population of over 4 billion people still grapple with the perils of economic frustration, political instability and social disillusion. The Film, Cuba: An Africa Odyssey is a classic by the Egyptian diplomat turned documentary filmmaker – Jihan El-Tahri. The film seeks to affirm certain anomalies in the polity that had besieged the continent for over four decades, connecting the dots of our forgotten past, recognizing certain heroes of this cause and the very importance of chronicling our beloved history. Of the film she says, ‘there’s always another side of the story when archiving Africa but you have find it’. The 120 minutes narrative explores vividly with relevant footage, the influential roles of Cuban General-Fidel Castro; the Argentine revolutionary – Che Guevara in surmounting western subjugation. The voicing trailing the narrative from beginning says “Cuba was a living proof that David could beat Goliath”. We also see footage of Patrice Lumumbam who was a force to reckon with when discussing African politics and nationalism. His fiery speech at the Independence of his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and active participation in seeing to the truest liberation of his people, fighting ensuring the ideals justice and equality became entrenched. Alas! He died before the sun shone upon his dreams. He was assassinated by King Baudouin’s military junta. The determined efforts by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in striving for a stable and self-dependent Democratic Republic of Congo is well reflected in this documentary. An illuminate filmic example of the way archival research can be used to inform us of the historic events of our past that make us who we are today. One of Africa’s historic milestone in an ever-changing world. Babatunde Odubanwo. iREP Media Team