Director Eliaichi Kimaro reflects on the power of personal storytelling to mobilize people, ignite dialogue, and contribute to the groundswell that leads to change...
Having worked for 15 years as a community organizer and trauma counselor in Washington, DC and Seattle, Ms. Kimaro took her activism to a wider audience by merging her beliefs, experiences and creativity in the medium of film. The result is her directorial debut, the award-winning personal documentary, A Lot Like You.
And now, with every screening, she witnesses the power of story to integrate, connect, transform and heal,
Using her film journey as a backdrop, Ms. Kimaro will engage the audience in discussion about the important connections between creative expression and experience in strategically re-centering conversations around ethnicity, identity, cultural identity, accountability and justice.
Filmed on location at:
WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Annual Conference
Closing Keynote Address
September 21, 2011
This is a work-in-progress of a feature length documentary film currently being shot in South Africa.
Almost 1 million people live in the shack settlements of Durban, South Africa. The city has promised to ‘eradicate the slums’ by 2010 in time for the Soccer World Cup and is evicting shack dwellers from their homes at gunpoint. The shack dwellers are resisting the evictions. They see Nelson Mandela as a second Jesus Christ, and want his promise of ‘a better life for all’ to be fulfilled. For the first time since apartheid was defeated, shack dwellers are organizing into a dynamic force that is transforming the political and social landscape of the country from below.
Few countries regard housing as a human right - South Africa is one of them. The shack dwellers embark on a journey from Durban to Johannesburg to ask the Constitutional Court to repeal the Slums Act and save their communities from bulldozers and chainsaws. 'Dear Mandela' portrays a group of people who are turning their anger and sense of betrayal into hope. Their struggle is difficult, but there are victories along the way that remind us that ordinary people coming together can do extraordinary things.
'Dear Mandela' centers on the lives of three young shack dwellers who are part of the Shack Dwellers Movement, as they try to make sense of what they call the 'New Apartheid'. Set against the backdrop of one of the most unequal societies in the world, 'Dear Mandela' is at once a coming-of-age tale and a revolutionary parable as cities around the world shut their doors to the poor. The United Nations predicts that by 2030, 2 billion people in the world will live in slums. We ignore them at our own peril.
On May 14, Abahlali baseMjondolo traveled from the shacks of Durban to South Africa's Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. In a landmark case they argued that a provincial law known as the 'Slums Act' violates the constitution. They were joined at the court by the Anti-Eviction Campaign, the Landless Peoples Movement, the Rural Network and AbM Western Cape.
This is a mobile update from Christopher Nizza and Dara Kell, who are in South Africa on their first production shoot for the feature documentary film 'Dear Mandela'.