AfricAvenir celebrates ten years

By Selma Neshiko

Windhoek

AfricAvenir is celebrating its ten year anniversary with a busy schedule lined up for this year with various film screenings including, “Zabana” in celebration of Africa Day on May 28, “Miners Shot Down” by Rehad Desai on July 22 and the premiere of “The Unseen” by Perivi Katjavivi, to name but a few.
Since opening shop in 2007 in Windhoek, AfricAvenir has been proving to be the best at not only contributing to a tame local film industry by giving access to and developing audiences for quality African film production but also promoting African culture through film screenings.
Since 2006 AfricAvenir has been organising African Perspectives, a monthly African film series that to date has aired more than 200 films to the public. Through the screenings and follow-up discussions, the series has provided a platform to enjoy and discuss African films, their relevance, and the social issues they address., It has been upported by AfriCine, the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute Namibia and Turipamwe Designs.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Hans-Christian Mahnke, Director of AfricAvenir in Namibia says this film series resists the temptation to focus on “The Other/The differences” within cinema from Africa in reference to American or e.g. European cinema. Mahnke adds that coming from the periphery, the series “African Perspectives” questions the eurocentristic domination in global cinema, decentralises global cinema and adds its legitimate voice to the global debate of cinema – all this by contributing African knowledge systems and clear sighted postcolonial interventions to the global cinema dialogue.
“If we as a globalises human race think of world problems as global responsibilities, only to be solved globally, why would we exclude and not equally value voices from all over, including African voices? With our film series we want to give these African voices a platform at least in Namibia. By doing so, we contribute positively to the advancement of society and the continent at large,” says Mahnke. He adds AfricAvenir came about to present fresh African cinematic content to local movie fanatics and despite its challenges at first, believes are close to changing African cinema. “When I first started, I didn’t think it was worthwhile but we’ve changed the attitude of African cinema from standard to high quality. We manage to bring African content to Namibian people. Even though screenings come with a cost, there is more to be done from our sides.”
Even though the limitation of the screenings was only done in Windhoek, AfricAvenir has stretched its wings to Oshakati. Despite “African Perspectives”, AfricAvenir run several projects such as the monthly African film series called, a film series for Children and Youth “Inspiring Young Imaginations”, the Namibia Movie Collection and several other activities. AfricAvenir in Windhoek emerged as a reaction to witnessing the overwhelming socio-political and cultural structures being shaped by the Apartheid-past. A group of young cultural activists saw the need to overcome the dominance of euro-centristic viewpoints on the cultural and socio-political scene in Namibia. By providing platforms on African thoughts and ideas through exhibitions, film events, workshops, and dissemination of African literature, AfricAvenir partners with institutions and projects seeking to decolonise the mind of Namibians, who have been shaped by over 100 years of colonialism and a fierce liberation struggle leading to independence only in 1990.
AfricAvenir so far collaborated with Spoken words, Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC), Studio 77, and Sister Namibia but encourage more collaboration for broader base responsibilities within Africa.



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