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There's a New Hero in Town—His Name Is Sandale-man

These Senegalese filmmakers are making superhero cinema magic on a shoe-string budget.

The Sandale Man is a force to be reckoned with. Like the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, he protects and aids the people of Senegal from petty criminals and felons alike. Although the Sandale Man is often shown hilariously saving the day by slapping criminals upside of their heads or across town with his mighty sandals, he actually offers much more.


Distributed and presented by Sen Network, a YouTube Channel by local Senegalese filmmakers, La Légend de Sandale-man made its debut back in December of 2015. The creators' original intent was to create a mock-superhero film about a young hero whose special skillset is kicking butts with superhuman, sandal throwing accuracy and customized sandal weaponry. Yet the joke gained clout by many, receiving over 29k views on YouTube. The cast was soon featured on local tv news stations and BBC News.

Unlike Hollywood's Marvel and DC franchises, The Sandale-man films were not created on a big budget. Considering their limitations, Jean Jacques Toue, co-director of the Sandale-man films, and his fellow crew members, were still able to create stunning comic books to incorporate in the film, with an intro reminiscent of Marvel's trademark comic-book film intros, witty storytelling, and decent special effects. Most importantly, the Sandale-man is a beautiful representation of African producers coming together to both support one another and expand the Senegalese film and entertainment industry without waiting for outside assistance. They are a group of filmmakers who have decided to put the works of producers in Africa first and foremost.

As Toue put it in a recent interview with BBC News Minute, "We appreciate the film, Black Panther. It's beautifully written. But what bothers me, there are many African film producers but they don't benefit from the same support. We have to realize that sometimes we should favor our own productions instead of others."

Watch the first installment, La Légend de Sandale-man below. The sequel, Sandale-man 2: Arc du Révolutionnaire is now available on YouTube.

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, New Jersey. Follow her for updates on her latest editorials and film projects on Instagram @zu_thecute, or on her website.

Art
Image courtesy of Peintre Obou.

Ivorian Artist Peintre Obou Speaks on Expression Through His Masked Characters

Peintre Obou talks about how he came to be an artist, his fervour for the mask, and his uplifting project, 'Abobo E Zo'.

Gbais Obou Yves Fredy better known as Peintre Obou is an Ivorian artist whose work is centered around the political-military crisis in his home. To date, his career has been an exploration of his passion for the human condition and the traumas he has experienced as a result of human-orchestrated disasters. He goes as far as highlighting life in the slums and the individuals who opened their arms to him in the lowly communes of Abidjan. He distinctively distorts the faces of his subjects with masks and places vibrant colors upon their bodies as he weaves tales of war, trauma, suffering, and oppression.

Last summer, the Ivorian commune of Abobo underwent renovation in a project titled, Abobo E Zo commissioned by the Minister Hamed Bakayoko. Not only were downtrodden areas within the community rehabilitated and sanitized but multiple buildings around the populous commune were painted to the delight of residents. It was street art set on enlightening a disadvantaged community piloted by Obou with help from hundreds of crafty volunteers.

This interview was conducted in French and has been translated and edited for length and clarity.

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