‘Hip-hop re-brands Africa as one people’

Published On January 24, 2011 | By Greg | Africa, Events, Film and DVD, Mali, Nigeria

iidffby Samuel Okocha (AfricaNews.com)

Malian Professor Manthia Diawara said hip-hop as a music genre and art form is helping the branding of Africa as one united continent, irrespective of the boundaries created by nationalism and countries that make up Africa. The Professor of Comparative Literature and Film at the New York University was speaking at the maiden edition the annual International Film Documentary Festival [iREP] held in Lagos, Nigeria.

“If you look at the hip-hop generation in Nigeria, of course they talk about local issues, but there is this branding of Africa in their music, if you go to Senegal it’s the same thing, you go to the United States it’s the same thing, they all have defined this new Africa that they even spell with a ‘K’,” the scholar and cultural theorist said.

“I think what is beautiful about it is that they are actually going back to the beginning of the struggle when people wanted to decolonize Africa and then the nation-state came and undermined that struggle… the young people are saying to really free Africa, we need to free Africa not only from Europeans but from nationalism as well,’’ Professor Manthia Diawara added.

Some participants at the film Festival, that included training workshops on documentary film making, spoke to AfricaNews about the event that brought resource persons from across the world of film and practising and aspiring film makers together

Kunle Afolayan, award winning Nigerian film maker: There are organizations that gives grant and documentary film making is always from the real point of view…there is a market for it and there is always a way of sourcing for funding for it… there are TV stations all over the world that want to document things that are happening all around the world from different point of view. So, if you have a good documentary, you can enter it into festivals…you can get buyers for these films.”

Obinna , video editor and young film maker: Its very educative especially for a young person like me who just passed through a four month course,… with events like this we will see it [documentary film making] from different angles, especially with someone like Professor Mathia who just gave me his contact, its now easier for me to seek for advise on things they have done before now and then try to shape the way I think and the way I am going to present African stories this time around.

Steve Ogundele, theatre arts practitioner: You can’t over emphasize the fact that the stories written by us, produced by us, re-enacted by us would probably tell our story better, and so that says that you cannot rule out the importance f such a medium [film documentary].

Documentary as vehicle for positive change

The executive director of iREP, Femi Odugbemi said iREP would continue to create awareness of the power of documentary as an intervention force.

“If the young people of our country intend to contribute to development, to create the kind of country that they wish to live, then they have to become engaged, and one of the ways they can be engaged is to utilize the bully pulpit the documentaries provide.

“Documentaries provide a way for us to make our leaders accountable in government. Documentaries provide a way for us to reflect to our leadership, the level of development as it is, and where we will like it to go.’’


  1. The Holstar says:

    Lookout for a documentary on Zambian Hip Hop! Africa stand up…