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A la découverte d'un lecteur de Ziga

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Hervé écrit :

saw ridoine.jpgSawadogo Ridouane est un élève de la classe de CE1 de l'école primaire de  Ziga Centre A. Il fréquente la bibliothèque communautaire de Ziga, située à proximité de son école. Avec ses camarades lecteurs, il fait la différence par la lecture. Abonné depuis octobre 2016, il a à son actif lu plus de 20 livres. En effet, pendant ses heures libres, il lit au moins deux livres de 24 pages chacune. Nous sommes allés à sa rencontre le 4 décembre passé. On a trouvé un infatigable lecteur qui ne se laisse pas distraire par autres choses pendant ses lectures, nous confie sa mère. Il a été encouragé à poursuivre dans cette lancée car dit-on que les habitudes de lectures s'acquièrent dès le bas âge et se fortifient au fil du temps.

Nice profile of photographer Sory Sanlé in Burkina Faso

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The full article, and great photos, is here.

Since that meeting, Mr. Mazzoleni has spent much time with Mr. Sanlé, helping the photographer preserve his work. He created a website for him and hopes to gain more exposure for Mr. Sanlé's contributions to the photographic canon. After his first exhibition curated by Mr. Mazzoleni in 2013 at the Institut Français du Burkina Faso, both in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, Mr. Sanlé was interviewed on national television and became a local hero. Though Mr. Sanlé's work documenting the cultural scene is reminiscent of that by Malick Sibidé and Seydou Keita -- revered African photographers -- he had been working more or less on his own. He never set out to become famous: In his hometown of Bobo-Dioulasso, one of the largest cities and cultural capital of Burkina Faso, he was seen as a craftsman. In some ways, his experiences show that although photography studios became popular in the 1960s in most major African cities, there is much still left to discover. Mr. Sanlé began modestly with support from a relative who had established a driving school, the band Volta Jazz and Volta Photo, the studio where Mr. Sanlé began his photographic work. He documented vibrant periods during the two decades that followed Burkina Faso's independence from France, and was soon able to afford travel by motorbike and by car throughout the city, capturing a flourishing music scene, youth culture, dance parties, weddings and portraits, using the 6×6 format and up to 20 or 30 rolls of film in a day. He followed bands like Volta Jazz, Dafra Star and Echo del Africa when they played and sometimes illustrated their record covers, the same covers that caught Mr. Mazzoleni's eye.
HT: Penelope Hartnell

Comment lire une bande dessinée

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Hervé écrit :

Les élèves de l'école primaire Centre de Ziga ont bénéficié  d'un encadrement  sur  la lecture des bandes dessinées. La BD  une suite de dessins étalés sur une ou plusieurs pages et ayant pour but de raconter une histoire. Les participants environ une trentaine, ont reçu des bandes dessinées,  à partir desquelles ils ont suivi la démonstration. Après une séance bien animée, les élèves ont appris dans quel sens on lit une BD et comment en profiter. Ils ont été par la suite divisés en quatre groupes pour un exercice de création de livre de dessin. A la fin chaque groupe a réalisé un livre. Cette activité a beaucoup amusé les enfants et leur a  permis de découvrir d'autres facettes de la BD.



"We throw the ball as we throw our spears"

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Elisée wrote:

Maasai warriors are known to be excellent hunters. I've always been impressed by their dance (jumping dance)  and their eternal red tunic. But here's something I never imagined: The Maasai playing cricket! An amazing video...

Artists Struggle in Africa - NYTimes

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I don't often post from the NY Times, but this was a pretty decent article.  Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso has a lively arts scene.

Even in stable times life can be hard for artists in West Africa. Not that art ever stops being made. Cities like Abidjan, Dakar in Senegal, and Bamako in Mali are saturated in it. Murals cover public walls and the sides of trucks and buses. Pottery, metalwork and weaving, in styles new and old, fill open-air markets. Portraits of jazzy beauties, Sufi saints and culture heroes (Che, Mandela, Obama, Madonna) are for sale everywhere. But the elements that in the West make a healthy contemporary scene -- galleries, museums, collectors, journals, critics and a steady, responsive audience -- are in short supply. And the degree of isolation of individual artists from others across the continent and from art developments worldwide is almost inconceivable to an urban Westerner who takes instant global communication for granted. Both despite and because of such isolation, local artist networks coalesce occasionally into tight and efficient collectives like Huit Facettes in Dakar, more often as loose affinity groups of fellow art students and friends. For a visitor, like this art critic on a monthlong trip in Africa, such groups can be difficult to find in cities that have nothing resembling art neighborhoods. But they're there. So are a few alternative spaces, conceived on a Western model, often with Western backing, like Raw Material Company in Dakar; Appartement 22 in Rabat, Morocco; and Zoma Contemporary Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Raw Material, run by Kuoho Koyo, a curator from Cameroon, encompasses a gallery, a library stocked with foreign catalogs and magazines, and a cafe-bar. It's more than just an urbane hangout. You could practically live there.

Fabulous Pictures from FESTIMA 2012

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Every other year in Dédougou (a city in northwestern Burkina), a festival of masks takes place called FESTIMA or Festival International des Masques. It showcases masks from Burkina as well as other west African countries. There are several performances each day, each featuring a different type of mask. The concept of a mask is not as simple as it is in the United States. It is said (in Burkina and I'm sure elsewhere) that once a person places a mask on their face, they embody the spirit of the mask they are wearing, whether it's a bird, an alligator or an antelope. Also the person does not only wear the mask, but they also wear a suit of sorts, made out of tree fibers, leaves or other materials.

I did not attend the mask festival, though I am somewhat familiar with the masks that are a part of the Bwaba culture because of Abdoulaye in Boni, a sculpture and a good friend of FAVL. When I was in Boni for reading camp last year, there was a funeral, and Jonas (the librarian in Boni) took me and the other volunteer to see the masks dancing. People were playing drums and balafones in the background and the masks were dancing in a circle to celebrate the life of the man who'd died. Women (who are not allowed to wear masks) danced in a bigger circle around the masks. The dancing and music went on day and night for four nights, the masks going in shifts. It was really interesting to see, though I've heard that some masks can get violent (they hit people with sticks) and ask people (especially tourists for large sums of money).

A fellow PCV and another friend of FAVL, Scott, did attend the festival and also happens to be an excellent photographer. For absolutely amazing images of FESTIMA 2012, visit Scott's blog.

Photo courtesy of Scott Worthington (available on his blog).

"Aya" Film to debut tomorrow

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The Aya de Yopougon film will debut tomorrow at the Salon du Livre in Paris.
(from Clement Oubrerie's here.)
I've found that books always tend to be better than their movie versions, no matter if it's a novel or comic book (after all the great memories of reading The Adventures of TinTin in French with my mom as a child, the film did not compare). But who knows, maybe the Aya film will surprise me.

Em's Movie Review: "The First Grader"

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1st grader.jpgIt's 2003. The Kenyan government has just promised free education for all. Kimani Maruge is thrilled, because now he can finally learn how to read and write. Kimani Maruge limps to the school gates and asks to be admitted to the school. The teachers laugh, and send him away. Why?
Because Maruge is 84 years old.

"The First Grader" is the true story of an old man who wants nothing more than to learn to read and write after never being able to afford school. Despite his being turned away, Maruge continues to show up to the school everyday, finally winning over headmaster Jane Obinchu.

In between his present battle of fighting for his right to an education against the parents and administrators determined to kick Maruge out of the school, we learn about Maruge's horrific past as a Mau Mau veteran, a man who fiercely battled for the independence of his country. He witnessed his entire family murdered before his eyes. He was held in detention camps for years and brutally tortured (beat, whipped, toes chopped off, sharp pencils jammed inside his ears).

Despite being illiterate and sharing a desk with children nearly 80 years his junior, there is no doubt that Maruge is a smart man; a man who understands the importance of education and literacy.  "A goat cannot read or write," he tells his classmates. "If you don't learn how to read or write, you will become an old goat like me."

It's beautiful to see the relationships develop between Maruge and the young children. "The First Grader is a powerful and uplifting film, one that I definitely recommend! It's proof that literacy and education are important and valuable at any age.

(At right, the real Kimani Maruge, Guiness World Record holder for the oldest person to start primary school, died in 2009)

Em's Film Review: "The Constant Gardener"

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Constant Gardener.jpgI popped in the 2005 film "The Constant Gardener" into the DVD player, not really expecting much. By the end of the movie I was still not impressed, but I can't deny that the film left me thinking about, as one reviewer put it, " the world leaves Africa behind."

Justin (Ralph Fiennes) is a calm and reticent diplomat in Kenya. His wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) is a feisty, passionate activist. Rumors run rampant, and Justin believes that his wife is having an affair with her Kenyan colleague. But when Tessa is brutally murdered, Justin discovers the real motive behind her death. She was working to uncover a global conspiracy: the illegal, unethical testing (with lethal side effects) that pharmaceutical companies were doing on innocent, unknowing Kenyans, and the organizations, governments and individuals that helped them do it. It is said that the film is based on true events that occurred in Nigeria in the mid 90s. Maybe so, but I would not be surprised to learn that this sort of thing had/has been going on for years in numerous other underdeveloped African countries.

To be frank, "The Constant Gardner" is just too Hollywood for me. If true, this conspiracy is absolutely horrific and deplorable. I wanted to know more; I wanted to know the truth. Unfortunately, all the Hollywood explosions and high speed chases sort of ruined it all for me. I also found it strange and ironic that, in a film that portrays how the "rich, white" world abused Kenyans, that not a single one of the film's protagonist was an African. I think that if this story were made into an investigative documentary, it would have been a much more interesting and powerful film (though unfortunately probably wouldn't have made a dime).

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't cry in the film. There were a couple really heartbreaking scenes. In one, Justin has just arrived on a plane dropping off food and supplies to a refugee camp. Soon after, the camp is attacked by rebels. The violent scene that follows includes rebels heartlessly shooting anyone that gets in their way, women being raped in front of their families, children running and screaming while the rebels chase and capture them to become child soldiers. In another scene, still during the rebel attack, all the white aid workers are whisked away on a plane. When one tries to bring a young Kenyan girl with him on the plane, a girl who has been by the aid worker's side since day one, the pilot refuses. The man and the pilot argue back and forth over the girl. Quickly and quietly, the girl simply jumps off the plane with this sad look on her face, as if saying "I know my place. I know I'm not wanted in your world." Within two minutes the aid worker apologizes for the scene he caused and forgets about the girl.

My appreciation of these two scenes had nothing to do with the film's direction or cinematography. Instead I considered these scenes, a daily occurrence in Africa, as a reminder of how damn fortunate and lucky I am. I easily could have been like the girl in the above scene, a child whose only misfortunate was to be born in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the "wrong" skin color. Especially during the ridiculous hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the hundreds of dollars spent on frivolous gifts, it's nice to be reminded to simply appreciate life.  

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Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, FAVL Burkina Faso representative Koura Donkoui, FAVL Burkina Faso program manager Krystle Nanema, and FAVL friends Emilie Crofton and Elisee Sare.

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