In this year’s edition of the FESPACO, there were two movies with a connection to Sweden. This is surprizing as there aren’t a lot of connections between these two countries overall. I’ve never met a Burkinabe in Sweden and as far I have understood, the Burkinabe diaspora is tiny. Regardless, in this tiny diaspora there happens to be two directors of cinema. Of course wanting to promote this connection, the Swedish embassy borrowed the lovely garden of the Goethe Institute and held an open air movie night for each of the movies. Because the number of Swedes present in Burkina is very small, I’ve heard around 30 people, all the Swedes willing to participate plus a good number of Burkinabe guests could easily be fitted into the garden.
The first movie is called Medan vi lever (while we’re alive) and is made by Dani Koyaté. He is Burkinabe but lives in Sweden since 2007. The movie is set in Sweden and in Ghana. It tells the story of the up-and-coming rapper Ibbe (played by actual Swedish rapper Adam Kanyama) who is struggling with his relationship to his mother and with his intercultural identity as well as his rapping ambitions. I liked it a lot. Is somehow feels as a very Swedish movie although it doesn’t tell a the kind of story you’d often see in one. Plus there’s a lot of humor in it relating to the clash between culture and age of it’s personalities.
The second movie is called Ouaga Girls, directed by Therese Dahlberg Traore. She has a parent from each country and grew up both in Ouagadougou and on the island of Öland in Sweden. She also went to the International School of Ouagadougou, where I play floorball on Wednesday evenings, a few blocks from where I live. Ouaga Girls is a documentary about a group of girls studying to become garage mechanics. The roles of men and women remain fairly traditional I Burkina, and these girls are likely to be part of the first dozens of women mechanics in the country. We get to follow the girls during a few years in school, at home and when they hang out outside of school. The movie does not have an obvious message, there are many themes that are up for discussion. I brought my friend Yaya and we met both the director and two of the girls who were in the movie. If you know Swedish you can read more about the movie here.
Ouaga girls was shown last Monday, actually two days after the Fespaco ended. That brings me to the story of how the Fespaco ended for me. Both Thursday and Friday night I went to the Fespaco HQ festical area to meet up with some friends, have dinner and listen to live music. On Thursday I met my Ghanaian friend Innocent. We had Attiéké, an Ivorian dish based on cassava, in the big food court of the area. After enjoying a beer and watching a Reggae band, we ended up walking a good part of the way home through the festivity-spirited city.
Friday night was similar, hanging out in one of the festival area restaurants.
We had some brochette and fries, but afterwards I got this weird sensation. It wasn’t really stomach related, more like a weird ache in the muscles. It slowly got worse, so I asked Yaya to drive me home. I went straight to bed but woke up feeling very nauseous and probably woke the other person staying in the house up by very unpleasant sounds. The muscle and joint ache had gotten worse and together with fever made it very hard to get any sleep. I slumbered through the night and woke up not feeling any better. This was Saturday, the closing day of the Fespaco. I overheard parts of the distribution of prizes and closing ceremony from the TV outside my room. It was bitter, but all in all I am really glad I was here for the Fespaco.