Film

'FRAMED' Documentary Explores The Images & Myths That Cast A Continent As A Victim

FRAMED documentary investigates what's behind the West's fascination with "saving Africa"


In FRAMED, documentary filmmakers Cassandra Herman and Kathryn Mathers follow Boniface Mwangifounder of PAWA254, as he explores the attraction of "saving Africa" and investigates the images and myths that cast a continent as a victim.  FRAMED, turns a lens on popular representations of Africa and Africans, as seen through the eyes of Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina and South African born educator Zine Magubane, who ask a chorus of questions about the selling of suffering.

Recognizing that people want to do good in Africa, the film raises questions about privilege, power and the misrepresentation that arises from the relationship of aid. "Images reach us faster today than ever: through Facebook, Twitter, 'voluntourism' dispatches, and branded social causes," explain the producers. "Our response to the images we see of Africans makes us feel like good, caring people who can make a difference. We want this film to speak to that sincere intention, by taking a second look at the framing of Africa in crisis, and listening to African experiences and perspectives; to explore how our “saving” ultimately undermines the agency and self-determination of Africans, and how we might be complicit in creating the same inequalities we hope to erase."

[vimeo_embed //player.vimeo.com/video/97756107?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]

Hoping to incite not only discussion, but also self-evaluation the film takes a look at hashtag campaigns like #StopKony and more recently #BringBackOurGirls and prompts us to consider how and where we do good in the world. "Why did millions of young Americans seem to be angrier about a faraway Ugandan tyrant than two protracted wars, a shattered economy, and social inequality at home?  Why is it easier to engage online or overseas rather than in our own communities? At a time when many Americans are struggling to find a job or put food on the table or pay for mounting student debt, we think that FRAMED will inspire young people to tackle social inequality locally and nationally," the producers challenge.

What FRAMED hopes to impart is the complexity surrounding humanitarian interventions and how hashtag campaigns oversimplify political or social issues. Moreover the film highlights African writers and artists contributing to the combat against "saving Africa." Check out the trailer for the FRAMED documentary above.

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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