11 July 2017

Africa Still Negatively Portrayed in Film

Zanzibar — The way media in other parts of the world portray Africa has attracted attention at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2017.

Speaking at a two-day China Africa film and television conference in Stone Town Prof Martin Mhando said that the negativity that surround Africa's image is basically a stereotype issue.

"We wanted to bring about a conversation on how the Africa's image is constructed in China and how China's Image is constructed in Africa," he said.

According to him society has set a premise that everything has to be negative and therefore spending a lot of energy on things that don't really matter.

"There are times when people just choose to be negative especially on things that they have little knowledge about in most cases," he said.

The conference attracted 16 film scholars from China's Zhejiang Normal University who admitted that there is a lot of negativity about Africans in China.

Speaking to The Citizen Dr Hodan Osman Abdi said it was because of this that they felt they should make a film about the realities of Africans living in China.

"Even of the 16 scholars that we came with here for this difference, there were some that still held that misinformed image about Africa and it is only when we got here that they realized how wrong they were," said Dr Hodan.

She added: upon arrival here they found that even the cats in Zanzibar are friendly.

The film titled 'Africans in Yiwu' explores the lives of Africans who have settled in the Chinese business city.

"We follow up the lives of 18 African families who tell their stories on how they have managed to live in China."

Commenting on their participation, Dr Zhang Yong said it was rather unfortunate that these perceptions continue and that is why they find it important as film makers to have these conversations.

This was the second China-Africa Film and Television conference, the first was held in China two years ago and another is set to follow next year.

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