African Cinema for Africa

Running under the banner of the Sounds of the Scared Web Festival (SOSAWEF) Dzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions in collaboration with the Sembene Across Africa (4th edition) will host a 3 day film screening from the 21st to the 23rd of October 2020. The screenings which are a celebration of the life and work of Ousmane Sembene will start at 6pm every evening and are part of the ground-breaking program bringing African cinema to communities throughout Africa and the Diaspora, free of charge for one weekend a year.

Sembene Across Africa, an annual program launched in 2017, returns with a week of online and in-person screenings and seminars, produced in conjunction with more than 100 African institutions.

The 2020 program includes two of Sembene’s films and a documentary about him.•

  • Sembene’s classic tragicomedy MANDABI (1968), which documents the plight of a Senegalese man who tries to cash a money order from a relative in France.
  • XALA (1975), a biting satire about corruption in the independence era.
  • SEMBENE! (2015), an award-winning documentary celebrating the life of this great man.

Ousmane Sembene, the father of African cinema, dedicated 50 years to telling stories to lift up his brothers and sisters. But, for Africans, his films have remained nearly impossible to find. The collaborative program Sembene Across Africa unifies hundreds of organizations, schools, universities and individuals, all with a single goal: to connect Sembene’s timeless, urgent works with Africans.

Sembene was a self-taught filmmaker who became a giant of world culture, and his films and fiction remain among the most inspiring works the continent has seen.

Mandabi, Xala and Sembene! will be available to stream for free in Africa from October 19 through October 25.

Sembene Across Africa will also include seminars, broadcast live on YouTube. Seminars include:

• Sembene’s Senegal: Understanding His Home Through His Books and Movies (Wolof), moderated by Boris Boubacar Diop: October 23 

• Fight the Power: Sembene and Black Power, Then and Now (English), moderator TBD: October 24 

• Rewriting History: Sembene’s Afrocentric Storytelling (French), moderated by Samba Gadjigo, participants TBD: October 25

About Ousmane Sembene

Ousmane Sembene, perhaps Africa’s most influential storyteller, is a truly inspirational figure for our times. Against impossible odds, he spent 50 years creating brilliant, timeless, progress-focused films and novels. Though well known to cinema lovers around the globe, Sembene had been largely forgotten in his native country and throughout Africa at the time of his death in 2007.

Ousmane Sembene

The son of a fisherman and a lifelong laborer, Sembene overcame a limited education and learned how to write while in his 30s. In his 40s, he taught himself to make movies. During the last 50 years of his life, Sembene dedicated every moment to galvanizing and inspiring his people, creating visionary, profound and subversive stories. His 1960 novel God’s Bits of Woods remains in the canon of world literature, and his timeless films include Borom Sarret (1963), Black Girl (1966), Mandabi (1968), Emitai (1971), Xala (1975), Ceddo (1976), Camp de Thiaroye (1986), Guelwaar (1992), Faat Kine (2000) and the Cannes-winning Moolaade (2004). Sembene intended for his stories to serve as an “evening school” for African workers and to inspire visions of a just, prosperous and free Africa.

About Sembene Across Africa

Each year, the Sembene Across Africa project—a continent-wide collaboration—shares works by the father of African cinema. Through its first three events, held in 2017, 2018 and 2019, the project reached millions of viewers through in-person screenings, held in 48 of Africa’s 55 nations, through broadcast and through the internet. For many, it was the first chance to experience movies made by Africans, about Africans and for Africans.


“A true African pic, mirroring everyday problems in the witty guise of a folksy tale … it marks points with graceful insights, inventive scenes and technical excellence.” –Variety

After Ibrahima Dieng, an Illiterate, unemployed Senegalese man, suddenly gets a windfall—a money order from his street-sweeper nephew in France for $100—his “friends,” family and debtors swarm, and he finds himself dealing with a Kafkaesque bureaucracy designed to rob him of both money and dignity. The first African film shot in an African language, MANDABI is a winner of numerous international awards.


“Endlessly fascinating … an enormously moving portrait of the profound way that art can transform those who come in contact with it.” –New York Magazine

In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a Senegalese dockworker and fifth-grade dropout, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE! tells the unbelievable true story of the self-taught “father of African cinema,” who fought enormous odds to return African stories to Africa. SEMBENE! uses rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials to craft a true-life epic, as an ordinary man transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized.

About XALA

“Cutting, radiant and hilarious … It is part fable and part satire, but it is much more: with the greatest fineness and delicacy, Mr. Sembene has set out a portrait of the complex and conflicting mesh of traditions, aspirations and frustrations of a culture knocked askew by colonialism and distorting itself anew while climbing out.” –New York Times

Shot in 1975, amidst the increasingly audacious corruption of post-independence West Africa, XALA follows a group of Senegalese businessmen who, having seized power from the French, fall into the same greed and self-serving policies that they pledged to eradicate. Among them, El Hadj Abou Kader finds himself dealing with a curse that leaves him temporarily impotent with his new young bride, his third wife. He traces the curse back to a surprising source.

“Whether it’s DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembéne … we’re all walking in their footsteps every day…” — Martin Scorsese

Nine Ancient Sounds

The Mbira Instrument Narrative

The Story of a People

Mbira is a musical instrument whose history is inseparable and deeply encrypted in the history of Afrikans particularly those in the modern day Zimbabwe. This instrument and the music itself present the very narrative of who we are and where we came from as a people.

By researching on the original tunes of the Mbira instrument and music, one cannot help, but gain lots of appreciation of this instrument as a significant era-peg in the historical migration and identity of the modern day Zimbabwean, which again defines what we call “Hunhu”.

We have 9 Mbira Tunes that have come a very long way in our history, with the very first one having been made from a hardwood, back in Guruuswa 1, which was in the Persia region.

Mbira tunes in brief

Nhemamusasa Tune

../establishing homesteads/shelter.

Guruuswa 1 was all about building an organized society, a collective identity and self sustenance while at the same time scrambling for settling space. There were also many wars being fought to defend the collective and we were not many compared to the surrounding Arab and European groups. It was at this period that the collective led by Mbire the elder brother of Guruuswa who was also Mutapa 1’s father commissioned the making of the first Mbira instrument for the purpose communicating with the Creator with regards to his people’s plea to establishing a peaceful community, thus the Nhemamusasa Tune was established.


../from orora, meaning to triumph.

Mutapa had two sons, Madzudzo and Murenga. His uncle Guruuswa’s spirit was now manifesting and guiding his people through Madzudzo in all the advice that the people needed and all the wars which were being fought. With this guidance, and fighting experience the collective now had a very powerful army in which, all, including women and children were trained and armed to fight. One group after another of invaders came, causing lots of blood shed but they all fell at the hands of this well organized collective led by Murenga. It was after this great triumph that a tune for praise and pride was commissioned and that was the Mahororo Tune.


../was Chaminuka’s other name, so this tune is also known as “Bvunzai Chaminuka”, meaning, ask Chaminuka.

This was now in Guruuswa 2, which is in the Nubia area and Murenga had three children; Chaminuka and Mushavatu the two boys and Nehanda their sister. Chaminuka became the profoundest warrior of all time, with mystic powers such that for all victory in battles he had to be consulted. In his honor, the tune Chakwi/BvunzaiChaminuka, was commissioned.

Mavembe (ma-Vembe)

../Vembe is the name for all Afrikan languages collectively

The migration journey was still on course with the guidance of the spiritual powers, who at this point so it fit to differentiate the people because up until this time the black clan was just one. The oneness of the clan made it weak. It was then given that all the descendants of Chaminuka would have totems from the animal family and those of Mushavatu would have the water and sun family of totems. Thus rituals for these separations were done and allegiances were sworn. It was at this time that Vembe began to evolve into many dialects and languages. The tune Vembe (maVembe) was commissioned to recognize this point in history.

Bangiza (raitidzo)

../the revealer

As revealed by the Spirit, the collective exited Guruuswa 2, which was partially a desert to a much greener land– the Promised Land. Bangiza was then the tune that accompanied them on this journey.


../ Nya = proprietor,  Bango = corner pole.

Upon entering the Promised Land, unlike in Guruuswa 1, people through the spiritual guidance were given freedom and ownership of their own spaces. The joyousness gave birth to the tune Nyabango.


../ we fore warned..

Chaminuka had way back prophesied on most of the significant incidences that would follow including the exiting of Guruuswa 2 and the Promised Land. He had also fore told about what would happen in the promised land; people fighting between themselves, greed, selfishness, people losing their identity, people opting for moral values that were not their own, people denouncing their own culture and history, forsaking their own spirituality, forsaking Hunhu, assimilating into foreign cultures and traditions, forsaking even the Promised land itself.

So Taireva Tune was now a direct statement from the Ancestors.


../Respond now

Chipindura Tune is again a direct statement from the Ancestors, whereby they are challenging us as to where we stand now, whether we are still united, whether we still care for each other, what identity do we carry now, whether we are still holding on to their initial national aspirations.


../stay in there

This tune carries advice on what we should be; the Great Ancestors are saying, since you are one people, with the same Guardian Spirits, identity, race, history and understanding the same light you should stay united, your power is in your unity.

Where there is no unity there is no light, a people losing sight of their own history are bound to lose respect from those who know their own and they will consequently get lost. Stay together in unity. One who strays from the rest will surely perish. The song that goes with this tune is ‘imbwa yangu yaendayega’(my dog gone astray)

This is one of Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions’ research papers, with inspiration from Mr. Garikayi Tirikoti whose dream was purely musical, we at DAI have gone deeper bringing out the historical relevance and we endeavor to continue digging, now with an intend to see how Mbira music in Zimbabwe relates to that of other countries both in the east and so as the south.