News

Sierra Leone's Amputee Soccer Team Spotlighted In Documentary

'The Flying Stars' documentary on the Freetown-based amputee soccer team makes its Al Jazeera premiere.


Bornor Kargbo, captain of The Flying Stars. Photo by Johnny Vong. Courtesy of Al Jazeera.

Bornor Kargbo is the captain of The Flying Stars, an amputee soccer team based in Freetown. Like many of his teammates, he lost his leg during Sierra Leone's eleven-year civil war, in which rebels took to amputating limbs as a way to garner fear among citizens.

Kargbo and his Flying Stars are the subject of a 2014 documentary. “When I started training, people would say, ‘Oh, this guy has one leg. How can he play football?’ But I did not listen to anybody,” the soccer player says in the film. Good thing he didn't. Kargbo has gone on to play in three Amputee World Cups in Brazil, Russia and Turkey.

The Flying Stars film, which marks a collaboration between Toronto-based directors Allan Tong and Salone-born Ngardy Conteh George, became the first project to win the Toronto International Film Festival's Telefilm Canada Pitch This competition!. Following this initial success, the film received financial support from the Sundance Documentary Institute, naming the directors Sundance Documentary Fellows.

This Sunday, The Flying Stars will make its Al Jazeera premiere on the network's observational documentary strand, Witness, at 2230GMT, with repeats on September 14th (0930GMT), September 16th (330GMT), September 16th (1630GMT) and September 17th (0530GMT).

The film is also screening in New York City on Saturday, September 12, as part of the 10th annual Harlem International Film Festival at MIST Harlem, where the filmmakers will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. Tickets for this can be purchased here.

Find out more on The Flying Stars by heading to the team's official page. Check out a short teaser for the film below.

Mohamed "Census" Jalloh, midfielder on of The Flying Stars. Photo by Johnny Vong. Courtesy of Al Jazeera.

Popular
Image supplied by Candice Chirwa.

In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.

It's 2020, and naturally, tremendous advancements have been made across various spheres of society. From the prospect of self-driving cars and drones delivering medicines to rural areas to comparatively progressive politics and historic "firsts" for many disenfranchised groups, we've certainly come a long way. However, in the midst of all that progress, there is still one issue which continues to lag behind considerably and consistently, particularly in less developed countries: menstruation.

Candice Chirwa is a young Black woman on a mission to fiercely change the disempowering narratives and taboos that still shroud the issue of menstruation. The 24-year-old South African activist, who is endearingly known as the "Minister of Menstruation" on social media, wants young girls and women to not only accept but embrace their bodies fully in a society that insists on speaking in hushed tones about a perfectly normal biological process. Both Chirwa's research and advocacy work with the UN and her award-winning NGO, QRATE, has focused on dispelling common myths about menstruating, removing the shame and stigma around it and giving menstruators the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their world through impactful workshops.

And when Chirwa isn't collaborating with Lil-Lets, one of the biggest sanitary product brands on the continent, or co-authoring a bad-ass book titled Perils of Patriarchy, she's dominating the TEDx stage and making sure that her audience, no matter how diverse or varied, leaves the room feeling comfortable and courageous enough to boldly shout the word "vagina".

We caught up with Chirwa to discuss what initially compelled her to become a "period-positive" activist, her continued advocacy work with QRATE and what kind of world she imagines for menstruators.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The Nigerian Army Has Denied Opening of Deadly Fire on #EndSARS Protesters

Despite considerable footage depicting #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate having been shot at by security forces, the Nigerian military has denied that they were responsible.