AUMA Obama, half-sister of the sitting American President Barack Obama, will grace this year’s International Images Film Festival at Zimbabwe German Society in Harare.
Report by Tinashe Sibanda
Obama, whose documentary will be shown tonight, will be accompanied by the maker of the documentary Branwen Okpako.
“The documentary portrays the life and education of Auma Obama, a Kenyan academic, artist and half-sister of the sitting American president Barack Obama,” said IIFF director Yvonne Jila.
She said Obama’s story was a moving example of remarkable patriotism, wisdom, courage and sacrifice displayed by a generation of post-independence Kenyan intellectuals, who were educated in the West and had the option to remain in the global north, but committed to return to impact on the development of their county.
Jila said through the eyes of Obama herself, the film reflects conflicts and events in colonial Kenya to begin with, then in the newly-independent State.
“The film aptly depicts the impact of a life between cultures when one must leave one’s own continent and country for further education, placing one in an ‘in-between’ position,” she said.
Okpako raises the question of how Kenya’s young people like Obama successfully negotiate their roles as temporary immigrants and preserve their sense of belonging to their own cultures and people.
Confrontation with these challenges resembles a steeplechase through several European and African countries. She has won the race in imitable Kenyan fashion.
“It presents the viewer with a kaleidoscope of voices and images describing Obama’s experiences, her choices in life and the current situation she finds herself in as a half-sister to the most powerful man in the west.
“Although not everybody turns out to have a brother who becomes the US President, IIFF audiences will probably appreciate and understand this film more than in most places around the world,” added Jila.
She said many young women in Zimbabwe were experiencing the dilemmas Obama faced and were also negotiating their way forward, thus she and Okpako were true African “Women Alive” being celebrated in this year’s IIFF whose theme they embody perfectly.
This year’s IIFF will run under the theme, “Women Alive” and it will be officially launched after the screening of The Education of Auma Obama on November 23, running through to December 1 in Harare before moving to Bulawayo from December 4 to 6 and Binga from December 3 to 6.
More than 80 films are scheduled to screen at Rainbow Cinema, Alliance Francaise, Book Café and the Christian College of Southern Africa.