Mabele na biso: a film in three parts
This is an unlikely but true story. It is a window into the side of Africa that doesn’t make the news. It is a story of autonomy, community innovation, and success. It is a story about women, men, and youth who are defining their own reality, who make creative use of local and global technologies, and who believe in themselves more than they believe in salvation from the West. This is a story we want to share with the world.
Mabele na biso: Act I
In Tolaw, a rural region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, every morning beings with the crowing of the rooster followed shortly by the morning news broadcast from the Mabele Community Radio. Mabele Community Radio is one of those local radio stations whose programs have made significant impacts in the domains of education, agricultural production, women’s rights, and health; Mabele Community Radio runs off a generator fueled by locally produced palm oil. But what makes this story extraordinary is the spirit of independence, self-governance, and autonomy behind the Mabele Community Radio, and behind all the regional projects in Tolaw and Isangi.
Mabele na biso: Act II
This is a story of women, history, and power. Reaching all the way back to the colonial era, women in Tolaw have held unprecedented power. They control the finances, they advise the men, they organize the community. Through the eyes of Mama Maria Gebanja, the current president of the women’s associateion, Mabele na biso Act II tells the story of the women’s association, founded by the women who organized their husbands in the fight against colonialism, and who continue to innovate: they have brought higher education to the entire community and organized a network of hospitals and medical services. They are powerful and empowered and have lessons to impart in their stance against dominance.
Mabele na biso: Act III
How do tradition and innovation coexist in a rural yet progressive society? Through the story of Léon Lital, who is finishing his Master’s degree from the University of Kisangani in rural development and the failure of international aid, Mabele na biso Act III explores how the Tolaw and Isangi communities stay current despite their isolation. At the heart of this episode is a powerful reflection on a community that has the wisdom and the confidence to borrow selective technologies from the West while rejecting practices they deem destructive or irrelevant. The result is a self-conscious modernity that balances traditional practices with their contemporary counterparts for in an unexpected balance.
Alkebu Film Productions received funding to produce Mabele na biso Act I and to research Acts II and III. We are currently raising funds to produce the remaining episodes and appreciate community support for this project.