Classic African Films N°2: ‘Touki Bouki’ by Djibril Diop Mambéty

LOVE this movie!!! ❤

Here is an excerpt from my paper “African Youth Exercising the Margins” where I compared Touki Bouki and Karmen Gei (another great movie)

“In the film Touki Bouki, directed by Djibril Mambety, the main characters Anta, a university student, and Mory, a herder, set out on an adventure for France to become rich. They talk about going to Europe illegally on the Ancerville set to sail the next day by dressing up as aristocrats, getting a bunch of money, tipping the “right guys”, and pretending like their loaded by handing out francs so no one will suspect them. Mory and Anta live in Senegal during a time of globalization  and neocolonialism, where there is a high influence of Western things, lifestyle, and especially money. For Mory and Anta, they have seen in the West and their own country that money is associated with corruption, “those red cross ladies get fat during a drought1”, so to live comfortably and be successful they must engage in corruption. Even the red cross, who is supposed to supply aid and food to these countries have their own agenda and are not necessarily helping as much as they claim. Through narrative and montage sequences, Mambety’s film is a commentary on greed, Western materialism2, and the hundreds of young Africans who die every year trying to cross the ocean to Europe hoping for a better life and who never make it.

Anta, who perfers to drink bottled water and doesn’t believe in friendly lending of food, and Mory, who has debt yet rides a motorbike and desires to be called Mr. Mory, are marginal characters in their country because of their desires to be Western; perhaps their marginality and distance from their peers and family helped lead them to their decision that they must leave whatever it takes. Anta is constantly ridiculed by her family for her style of dress, pants and a button up shirt, and for going to a university because they may be afraid that she is forgetting her heritage and adopting an all Western attitude. These youths only wear traditional dress when they are trying to blend in with the audience during the wrestling match. Greed and the power of money is seen in the scene where Mory and Anta drive through a crowd of people who once yelled at them for their attitude and desires are now being greeted with song and dance in hopes that they will be able to procure some of their money. Touki Bouki filmed in 1973. taking place during a time of economic crisis which encouraged youths to migrate Westward instead of, like the previous youths associated with the nationalist project, staying in Africa and fighting underdevelopment, poverty, and, illiteracy. This new heightened need to migrate and interest in a quick fix to the problems of poverty aided Anta in her willingness to go along with Mory’s plans of theft and deceit3.”


1Mory. Touki Bouki. Mambety, Djibril. 1973

2The Hyena’s Last Laugh

3 Mamadou Diouf, “Engaging Postcolonial Cultures: African Youth and Public Space,” AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW, VOL. 46, NO. 2 (SEPT. 2003) 1-12

Make sure to read the analysis written by the original blogger, it’s very good and has a different focus. And make sure you watch this film!   



Africa is a Country (Old Site)

This is, perhaps, one of my favorite films of all time. A shifting and fragmentary tale of two young lovers — Mory and Anta — and their attempts to flee Senegal for Paris, ‘Touki Bouki’ is Djibril Diop Mambéty’s masterpiece. It fizzles with wit and acuity, it diagnoses the ambivalence toward the colonial master and the at times surreal practices of ‘traditional’ culture.

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Invisible Children’s plan to rage war in Africa is going ahead as promoted

Fight war with war? The issues are complex, Invisble Children don’t get it. If they get Kony there will be someone to replace him until the main problems are fixed.

Rising Continent

Going after Joseph Kony militarily is an objective that the American charity Invisible Children has being pursuing for a number of years.

That could be understandable if the root cause of the Ugandan rebel issue – Museveni dictatorship, was also being addressed.

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Africa is a Country (Old Site)

In October 2011, the Ugandan government sent Ingrid Turinawe to the infamous Luzira Prison–Uganda’s Guantánamo–for the treasonable act of walking to work. This week, the State, again, attacked Turinawe and other women activists for the “crime” of standing, speaking out, driving, and generally being. Big mistake.

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15th Haitian Book Day

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Repeating Islands

On Sunday, April 22, 2012, activities for the 15th Haitian Book Day will be under way from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Events will take place at the Atrium at York College-CUNY, located at  94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica, New York.

Description: For eight years now, the Association of Haitian and Francophone Studies of the Department of Foreign Languages, ESL, and Humanities has been hosting a daylong program: The Haitian Book Day, which gathers more than thirty Haitian authors coming from Haiti, the New York area, Canada, and Europe.

This year, in addition to putting more than two thousand books on display at the Atrium and having a huge number of Haitian authors, the event will feature well-known Haitian writer Syto Cavé, and Hérard Jadotte, director of the State University of Haiti Press, as guest speakers.

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]


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New Book: Haïti, réinventer l’avenir

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Repeating Islands

Haïti, réinventer l’avenir [Haiti: Reinventing the Future] (2012, Éditions Maisons des sciences de l’homme, State University of Haiti), edited by Jean-Daniel Rainhorn, gathers 26 essays and testimonial pieces taken from a colloquium that attempted the beginning of a conversation with three groups: Haitian intellectuals in Haiti, those living in the diaspora, and international cooperation organizations.

The book presents ideas for the reconstruction or rebuilding of Haiti. In his review of the collection, journalist Paulo Antonio Paranagua asks: “Can we move away from a purely compassionate discourse about Haiti? Can we avoid prolonging the outlook on Port-au-Prince as “capital of pain” that attracts the “humanitarian empire” after the January 2010 earthquake?

But isn’t this viewpoint essentially the same as in the past? Is it a taboo to consider critically the responsibility of Haitian politicians and parties? Can one not point fingers at the “guilty incompetence of former President René Préval, elected…

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Classic African Films N°1: ‘Xala’ by Ousmane Sembène

Sembene is one of my fav directors.

Africa is a Country (Old Site)

We hope to build an archive of reviews of classic films in African cinema to build a resource, but also to help readers learn more about the history of different film cultures on the African continent. Where possible, we’ll link to where you can watch/rent/see them, in a bid to get more people to see the films. If you have any suggestions, please comment below this review. We’ll start with a bang: Ousmane Sembène’s “Xala.” Before we begin, here’s the entire film on Youtube:

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