Monday, September 28, 2009

Mugabe 10 Amanpour 0

I've watched the Mugabe/Amanpour interview over and over again on Youtube. The next time that CNN plans to interview RGM, they should let the interviewer be Fareed Zakaria (on his GPS show). Fareed Zakaria, an Indian-American, has a greater feel for the delicate subtleties and brittle idiosyncrasies that beset Non-Western leaders.

Christiane Amanpour - so unused to the determined and dogmatic mindsets of revolutionary leaders like Robert Mugabe - was always going to be eaten alive by President Mugabe. The man has eight degrees - one in violence - and he's no intellectual lightweight. If the folks at CNN thought that they were going to interview an Obiang Nguema, an Ian Khama or Ali Ben Bongo - in other words, an intellectual lightweight - then they were tragically mistaken.

When you enter into the arena of intellectual gladiators against the likes of Robert Mugabe, you must be fully prepared for an onslaught of logically sound arguments; facts not trivia; and a bone-jarring determination to see through one's point of view. Amanpour was mauled by the old lion, and so next time around, someone like Fareed Zakaria should handle any TV questioning.

Thank you
James Chikonamombe

Monday, September 14, 2009

Documentary: Pan-African Cultural Festival

Last Sunday I watched a documentary about the 1st Pan-African Cultural Festival that took place in Algiers, Algeria in 1969. I watched it at the Pacific Film Archives, on the campus of U.C Berkeley, here in Northern California. The film is actually a re-mastered version of an original film that was released much earlier. For some strange reason the director, William Klein, loped off twenty minutes from the original version.If like me you are a rabid Pan-Africanist, then this is a film you have to watch. Swapo, ANC, The Black Panthers, Frelimo, Zapu, they're all in the film.

The film starts with cultural performances from various African countries, and then really takes off with a marvelous, lyrical ditty performed by Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuka. There is archived footage of Africa's greatest soldier/philosopher, Amilcar Cabral, explaining what they (The PAIGC) were up against in their battle against the colonial Portuguese. Augustino Neto appears after that, and then there is a philosophical tour-de-force by the Beninoise Stanislas Adetovi, one of the main thinkers of the Negritude Movement. The Black Panther leader, Eldridge Cleaver, also makes a cameo appearance.The film ends with a superb live jazz performance by Archie Shepp, and a group of Algerian musicians. Once again: for Pan-Africanists, this is the film for you.