This saying in Swahili, “We don’t want the gun click click, we want the kiss kiss for peace, “ reverberated the neighborhood as 6000 people who were gathered for the closing ceremony of SKIFF chanted and raised their arms in unison. The cry could be heard by the military post down the street, defying the violence that has brought their beloved country, Democratic Republic of Congo, to its knees.
Yole! Africa hosted the most successful SKIFF yet: over 9000 people attended throughout the 10-day festival for film screenings, dance competitions, music performances, and artistic workshops. It was the largest public gathering in Goma since President Kabila visited the the town for the first time.
Yole!Africa pulled off an incredible feat. The festival took place in Goma, the epicenter of what is being deemed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Not only with the challenges of impending war, but coupled with sporadic electricity, hosting international artists, and maneuvering through the complications of an unstable and insecure situation, Yole Africa hosted one of the largest film festivals in the Great Lakes region.
SKIFF showed 22 films throughout the festival and hosted international filmmakers such as Ndungi Kithuku, a well-know human rights activist in Kenya. Congolese filmmaker, Petna Ndaliko premiered several of his highly anticipated films.
The films were shown at several venues throughout Goma including the large soccer stadium, the main basketball court, and conference centers. SKIFF also went into the classrooms and showed socially conscious films in secondary schools. Productions from Congo, Kenya, Zambia, and several Eurpean countries were showcased. Discussion and debate was facilitated after each film.
SKIFF also hosted workshops for young, aspiring filmmakers. Ndungi Githuku stressed the responsibility of the filmmaker to be fearless in exposing the injustice in society.
Over 6000 people attended the closing ceremony which in addition to a film screening, included a urban dance competition.
“Our region is in the grip of war and poverty, but we the youth must stand up, create, and find a way through urban dance to reach the world,” said Alain Muhindo winner of the dance competition.
Renowned Congolese dancer Faustin Linyekula led workshops throughout the week as did French dancer Anna Muinonen.
“That such quality photography workshops by well-known professionals are offered throughout the festival is an incredible opportunity for the photographers of Goma,” exclaimed an attendee.
For Walter Astrada, a photograph is a source of information where the photographer must be willing to put his own body at risk as the best photograph relies on position and light. The photographer must also know for whom he works…
Yole! Africa Founder and Filmmaker Petna Ndaliko is interviewed by a BBC Reporter
Let’s keep on bringing hope and struggle for peace”