Resilience and Innovation during the current Lockdown


Press Release

Dzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions Trust’s All Afrika Village has remained resilient under the current Covid-19 lockdown, while it has maintained the lockdown measures by downing “hard tools” and remaining closed to the public. The team,which successfully pulled down the curtains on its Sounds of the Sacred Web Festival which was funded by Culture at Work Africa a consortium that includes Culture Fund and co-funded by the European Union, towed from August 2019 to December 2020, breaking off to observe Covid 19 national restrictions now and again. Having constructed the Igbo compound of Nigeria, the Zezuru, Tonga, Ndebele, Ndau and Doma huts representing Zimbabwe, Tswana and Khoisan representing Botswana and Kavango hut representing Namibia, the team has moved quite a milestone regardless. The team is looking forward to have completed the construction of the SADC region before the end of the year.

Through their innovative skills the team will soon be launching an Online Library of Indigenous Afrikan Architecture, this has come out as a way maintaining continuity during the current travel bans. This library will help inform the All Afrika Village construction team, as they will be able to reference for accuracy during the construction of the remaining countries’ homesteads. It will also avail information on indigenous Afrikan architecture to diverse audiences worldwide. The library will not just consist of images of huts, but detailed information on materiality, construction methods and underlying aesthetics, knowledge systems and narratives on how the custodians respond to their architecture. For the formation of this library, we have created links, people and communities in other Afrikan countries, whom we are working with. So far we have linked up with people in more than 30 different African countries and are still waiting for confirmation from the remainder. These links will be working as our research coordinators, visiting and documenting information on the ground in their respective communities via video, photographs and written narratives. All collected data will then be availed on our online platforms.

We highly consider the accumulation of such information, which we believe is rarely found, be it in academia and also wherever it is found it is never in the voice of the cultural custodians and it is frivolously labeled. This library will be groundbreaking in the understanding and appreciation of indigenous African architecture. African architecture is in general eco-friendly, built with natural material, which in most cases is locally available, is viewed by many as an entity of the past, if not backward. Yet the information we have gathered so far proves how efficient these structures are in terms of energy circulation and preservation, acoustics and how in their simplistic appearances are by far more complex than one would think. Each structure’s respective details serve more than one purpose and the details have remained quite specific over centuries. The fractals seen on the ceilings, which are a new phenomenon in modern mathematics, have been a feature in most of these structures since time immemorial and to hear how the Karanga people relate components of these fractals to the woman and man’s ribs as the computable methodologies for construction, indeed opens up another window of understanding. This is some of the information and details that the library will be availing to the global public once the project is complete.


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





This is an initiative by Dzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions Trust, an art and culture hub located on Plot 1, Stonehurst farm in Harare, Zimbabwe.

About the Project:

All Afrika Village (AAV) is one of DACI’s projects, the first of its kind, a unique project aimed at presenting 54 African countries’ various indigenous architectural structures in one culturally rich place. Emphasis is on indigenous construction methods, architecture, design and the respective traditions as they have been passed on from generation to generation. Each model, with properties that are based on local narrations, needs and purpose; intricately entwined with the local culture, beliefs and traditions of each respective community.

During the residency, expert builders from the selected communities of the respective countries will be leading participants in architectural discourse, construction and narrations on accessories and overriding aspects of their village structures. It is a unique opportunity to explore, challenge and resuscitate the influences of indigenous architecture on contemporary and modern designs.

Residency slots:

Slots will be per specific country. Each slot will be three weeks long.

Currently the residency is developing two African villages, notably Zimbabwe and Nigeria. This is to rehabilitate festival space in Support of Sounds of the Sacred Web Festival (SoSaWeF) co-funded by the Culture at Work Africa and the European Union.

Participants are welcome to state their country of interest.

A nominal fee will be charged to cover residency costs.

Purpose: WHY?

  • To bring together local, international, diaspora, professionals from the built, design, interior design, architecture, anthropology, art and culture and related fields to share, discover and learn more about the African indigenous construction models as a source of inspiration.
  • To revive and share the skilled craftsmanship and knowledge found within African indigenous architecture.
  • To investigate the relevance of indigenous architectural styles in today’s society and identify opportunities for new design processes that are changeable and inventive.

This is a unique opportunity to immense one’s self in an experientially explorative environment of African indigenous architecture, related knowledge systems, construction methods and the cultural nuances that inform these “form and pattern languages”. Further the human value of indigenous architecture goes way beyond what is normal perceived of it, while the design and construction methodology may render it “outsider” to the architectural establishment and academia, this architecture is fundamentally fractal, thus highly mathematical. A lot can be learnt from it.

Who can apply?

Architects, students, architecture enthusiasts, engineers, designers, urban planners, interior designers, cultural experts and enthusiasts, artists and other professions in the built, design, arts and culture and related environment are invited to take part in this remarkable project.

How to apply:

Send application together with

For further general inquiries with regards to the project do not hesitate to contact us.

Deadline for applications: September 30, 2019

This Project is           In partnership